The West Highland white terrier pups, also known as Westies, look like tiny balls of fur, but are equipped with high intelligence and a cheerful personality. People have been in love with this adorable pup breed since it was introduced in the early 1900s.
A Beginner’s Guide On How To Properly Groom Your Westie
But adopting one will make you think twice due to the maintenance they need. They carry two layers of fur coats which are coarse in texture, with the upper layer of fur being hard and the lower layer being soft.
They require regular grooming to maintain their white, shiny fur coat and to look presentable. Regular grooming can also prevent skin troubles in westies such as shedding and growth of parasites. It helps in improving blood flow and discovering any cuts or developed lumps on the skin. It maintains your westie’s hygiene, which ultimately prevents diseases and health issues.
Taking your westie to a professional groomer can be expensive and so you need to learn how to groom him daily at home.
This beginner’s guide can help you learn a few tricks for the same:
Begin With Brushing the Coat
West Highland terriers carry a tremendous amount of hair. Regularly brushing your westie’s coat is the first and probably the most important step among other tips on grooming your dog. He will lose a lot of hair and most of it will stick within his coat. Brushing the coat daily can get rid of any loose or dead hair and all the muddy lumps that hang at the end of his fur.
With all the fur in place, it will also make him look more attractive. Make sure that the brush you use is slick and not too sharp to avoid hurting your furry friend. Use a smaller comb to carefully brush his face hair and do not be hard with the untangling. A practice that daily for five to ten minutes to achieve a healthier coat.
Strip and Trim the Fur Coat
While you have always taken your westie to a professional groomer for a proper trim, you can practice it yourself at home to achieve that dapper-dog look like in a dog salon.
Stripping is done using your hands in which you remove dead and loose hair from the coat. It is a tedious job and can take some time. You can follow it by pulling hair from specific areas every day. There are specifically designed westie stripping gloves available that you can use for efficient stripping or you can apply grooming chalk on your hands for proper hold. You can carry out a full stripping session once every six months. Do not be too hard on the pull as it could result in bald spots and irregular growth of hair, and make sure to pull in the direction of the hair grain to achieve an even growth.
Clipping and trimming is done using scissors and an electric clipper. Be careful with the use of certain types of clipper blades, such as tooth blades as it can cut or hurt the skin. Gently trim the fur in the direction of the hair grain. Keep a light hand and add extra pressure over uneven hair growth. Use smaller scissors with a blunt tip instead of the electric clipper to trim the extra hair around delicate areas such as around the eyes, inside the ears and around his paws. Trimming the coat will result in softer fur and a better look.
Bathe Your Dog Every Few Weeks
Bathing is necessary for your westie to smell good and remove excess debris collection within his fur. Take your dog to a vet and get him checked if you detect any skin issues, redness or rashes after the trim. The vet will assign a medicated shampoo for washing his coat, or you can buy a specially formulated westie shampoo to avoid infections and irritation.
Do not go overboard with the bathing sessions as it can dry out your dog’s skin resulting in a loss of luster. Also, avoid shampooing near his eyes as it could cause irritation. Finally, dry his coat with a towel. It might take a few hours for his hair to dry entirely due to the double layered coat.
Routine Hygiene Chores
Maintaining your dog’s hygiene is an important part of overall grooming. Basic hygiene chores such as clipping nails, brushing teeth and cleaning ears are as important for dogs as they are for humans. And so, you need to perform these regularly for your westie’s health and hygiene.
Use dog nail clippers to carefully and slowly cut your dog’s nails. You need to keep your dog stable because if this ever-fidgety creature moves even a little, it could hurt him or worse, could get his blood flowing. Practice cutting nails in your dog when he is still a puppy so that he gets used to it and does not resist eventually.
With a lot of dog dental hygiene products available, do not make the mistake of using human toothpaste. There are specifically designed toothbrushes to suit the dog’s mouth and teeth. You will have to test the toothpaste you buy for your dog by giving him a little to taste. Usually they are made of malt or poultry and thus preferred by most canines. The right technique to brush your dog’s teeth would be to clean the gums and exposed teeth along with the back upper molars and canines. Brushing your westie’s teeth every day is necessary to maintain his dental hygiene. Even though it can be a bit challenging to keep him steady, rewarding at the end of each brushing session can make him calmer.
Cleaning the westie’s ears at home can be stressful in the beginning due to the delicate inner ear parts. You can consult your vet to learn the right method of cleaning his ears daily at home. Buy an ear cleaning product and use it with a cotton ball to carefully clean the inner ear. Be careful not to push too deep.
Once you have learned and practiced this guide, follow it on a regular basis. It will get easier with each attempt. Apart from these steps, make sure to take your westie to a professional groomer once in a while and to the vet for regular checkups.