What Are the Best Tips for Grooming a Cairn Terrier?

Amber Eberle

A cairn terrier is a small, energetic breed of dog that has a non-shedding double coat of fur. When grooming a cairn terrier, care must be paid to the dog's coat to ensure optimal health of the fur and skin, as well as an overall good appearance. In addition to coat care, this dog needs its ears cleaned, toenails clipped regularly, and face trimmed.

A cairn terrier requires considerable grooming.
A cairn terrier requires considerable grooming.

Despite its shaggy appearance, a cairn terrier actually requires a lot of grooming to keep its skin and hard coat in good condition. A lack of care can result in a coat that is matted and dull, which can cause serious skin problems for the dog. It is recommended that a home grooming routine is started as soon as possible when a puppy is young in order for it to become used to being handled and groomed.

Electronic clippers may be used to trim a dog's fur.
Electronic clippers may be used to trim a dog's fur.

Bathing is not a regular part of grooming a cairn terrier; this breed of dog does not need a bath more than three or four times a year. Shampooing a cairn terrier dries out its skin as well as its coat. When a bath becomes necessary, a canine shampoo made for hard coated dogs should be used. The nature of the dog's coat makes it difficult to work the shampoo into a lather, and special care must be used to ensure that the dog is thoroughly rinsed to remove all traces of soap.

Cairn terriers usually do not shed, but it is important to remove dead fur and skin cells in order to prevent infection of the dog's hair follicles. Regular brushing, at least a few times a week, should be done while grooming a cairn terrier. Several times a year, the dog's coat should be stripped. This process involves using a special grooming tool called a stripping knife which pulls out all of the dead and dying fur.

When grooming a cairn terrier, its feet should be checked to make sure that the toe nails are not too long. Toe nails that are long can become curved, which will disrupt the dog's gait and can lead to joint and muscle problems; it can even cripple the dog in cases of extreme nail neglect. The nails can be clipped using canine nail clippers, or they can be filed down to a proper length.

Additional requirements for grooming a cairn terrier include caring for its ears and trimming its face. Excess hair should be plucked from the dogs ears, and a cleaning solution can be applied to remove any build up inside. The face should be trimmed carefully, making sure that the hair around the eyes is kept short.

Pet nail clippers may be used to clip a dog's nails.
Pet nail clippers may be used to clip a dog's nails.

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