Tips for Grooming Your Pet Westie

 

Many people buy Westie because of their fabulous looks in the show ring or in commercials but have no idea that they have to be regularly groomed to keep them looking that way.  There are two methods of grooming a Westie, one is hand stripping and the other is clipping. 

 

Show dogs are always hand stripped and some pet owners also hand strip their dogs to keep that great long hard Westie coat but pet owners generally have their dogs clipped off.  There are many books and web sites available with grooming information so this is just a page for basic grooming tips.

 

Tools you will need to keep your Westie looking good:

 

        *  Untangler comb (metal teeth rotate/spin)
        *  Terrier Pad 
        *  Nail Clippers - (scissor type give you more control)
        *  Calcium-Carbonate Chalk/Cornflour/Baby Powder with Cornstarch.

Grooming should start immediately you take your baby puppy home. 

Make it an enjoyable experience and you won't have any trouble. 

Start by running  your fingers through the coat, up his tail,  massaging his feet, legs and head even down to his nose.  

When he has got use to this being done then you can introduce the comb and brush.  If he tries to bite you, reprimand and start again.

Westie babies try to dominate you.  Be firm and your persistence will prevail.

He needs to have his coat combed and brushed at least once a week to keep him healthy and to keep the undercoat from matting.

Baby puppies should not be washed,  yes they will get dirty, but can be easily cleaned without immersing in water - see "Cleaning Method".

Stand him up on a bench, with a rubber mat under his feet to stop him from slipping,  if you don't have one, a shower mat or a towel will work just as well.   Westies need to feel safe when they have their four paws off the ground. 

BRUSH: Using the Terrier Pad, first start by brushing the coat away from the skin, paying particular attention to behind the ears,      underneath the front legs, arm pits, under the belly and between the back legs where knots can be found. 

COMB:
Use this after brushing, which will allow the comb to move freely through the coat, then comb the coat flat.

Brushing stimulates the hair follicles and keeps the coat healthy, just as you would do to your own hair.   
DO NOT WASH YOUR DOG BEFORE IT HAS BEEN BRUSHED AND COMBED. ONCE YOUR DOG IS WET, ANY KNOTS WILL BECOME MATTED AND ARE ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE TO REMOVE AND CAUSE DISCOMFORT TO YOUR DOG.

Don't forget to check on his nails and dewclaws (inside of leg) and make sure they are not overgrown as these can cause pain to the feet and legs. Easily trimmed with dog nail clippers.

Westies do not moult like other breeds, therefore their coat needs to be trimmed at least twice a year or more though three or four times will keep them looking great and feeling comfortable.   The club gets many requests for recommendations of grooming parlours.  We know it is difficult to find one that knows how to clip a Westie to look like a Westie but unfortunately we donít keep that sort of information.   Itís a good idea to learn the basics of grooming your own dog, Books and information on the world wide web are readily available and your breeder should be able to show you the basic trimming method. 

 

CLEANING METHOD

Washing your Westie can cause skin problems by washing out its natural oils.  When the coat gets muddy, allow to dry and the dirt will brush out.  If you need to wash your Westie do not attempt this before combing through the coat as the undercoat will matt.  Put a non-slip mat in the bottom of the tub so that their paws don't slide.  Always use a quality soap-free shampoo especially formulated for canine skin.  Never use  human shampoos or detergents and steer clear of wool wash.  All these products are too drying and harsh for their skin, which is 6 times thinner than ours.  Thoroughly dry off with the hairdryer (on a low heat setting) as Westies love to rub themselves dry on the lawn, the carpet etc and they can end up dirtier than when you started.

 

TO WHITEN THE COAT:   Stand the dog on the bench, with a mat under his feet and a towel, with a container of  warm water (with a drop of shampoo, donít make the water all soapy) squeeze the cloth out in the water and with the damp cloth (not saturated) rub over the coat,  when he looks clean (the water black), just brush in some Calcium- Carbonate Chalk or Cornflour or Baby Powder with Cornstarch (not talcum powder as this is too soft) and then brush it out, then he'll be white again.

PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT!

     Note: THE MORE FREQUENTLY YOU WASH YOUR WESTIE, THE QUICKER HE WILL GET DIRTY!

   *** The WHWTC of NSW does not keep any information on or recommend particular grooming parlours ***