What Are the Best Tips for Grooming a Westie?

Madeleine A.

Grooming a Westie, or West Highland terrier, can be done in the home or at a professional grooming facility. In addition, grooming a Westie typically involves placing it in a tub of warm water and shampooing its coat and rinsing thoroughly. The coat of the West Highland terrier is silky and white, and if grooming a Westie is not done on a frequent basis, the coat can become matted and dirty. Periodic haircuts should also be part of the grooming routine to make sure the coat doesn't get too long.

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

After the Westie has been shampooed, its coat should be gently dried with a blow dryer set on a low setting. As the coat is drying, a slicker brush should be used to smooth the coat to prevent matting. Most Westie owners can bathe their dogs at home, however, professional groomers should be used when grooming a Westie involves clipping or cutting its hair. West Highland terriers are small dogs with delicate skin, which can easily become injured if improperly groomed.

Only a veterinarian or groomer should clean deep inside a dog's ears.
Only a veterinarian or groomer should clean deep inside a dog's ears.

Clipping the nails should also be part of grooming a Westie. It's best to clip small portions of the nail at a time to avoid nipping the quick or paw pads. Doing so can cause significant bleeding, as the pads of a dog's feet are very vascular and can bleed even when the slightest abrasion occurs. If the pet owner is anxious about clipping the nails, he should ask the veterinarian or the groomer to clip them instead.

Daily brushing of the Westie takes only minutes and should be done on a daily basis to keep the coat smooth and tangle-free. Since the ears of the Westie are not long and floppy, they are easy to clean, by gently wiping the outer area with a wet, warm wash cloth. Cleaning deep inside the ears is not recommended unless done by a veterinarian or groomer because injury can occur if the cloth is pushed too deeply inside the ear.

Trimming the paws should be done carefully with small scissors to keep them looking neat, and the frontal leg hair should be brushed so that it stays in the direction of the the dog's feet. Since the Westie has a stark white coat, tears can stain the area around the eyes. To discourage tear staining, the eyes should be wiped with a soft, warm washcloth and cleaned on a daily basis.

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