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West Highland WhiteTerrier Grooming - Key Considerations
Whether you intend to show your Westie, or keep him for a household pet, the first key to West Highland Terrier grooming is to start while he is a puppy.
Take your Westie to his first groomer appointment after he has had all of his shots, at approximately 14 weeks. Acclimate your dog to the grooming process, and he will grow to accept it as part of his natural routine. If you intend to groom your dog at home, give him his first clipping at around the same age.
West Highland Terrier grooming, whether performed at home or by a groomer, should be performed with the dog's safety and comfort as the first considerations. Be aware of the practices used by your groomer, and be sure to remain with your dog until you are convinced that he is safe.
Contact your local Westie Club to find a reputable groomer. If you intend to show your dog, you will want to be sure that your groomer knows what a Westie cut looks like. It is not unusual for owners to find that their Westie has come home from a grooming looking like a Schnauzer or a Scottish Terrier. If you are uncertain, bring photographs to your first groomer visit.
Although you might think that, after safety, your first consideration is price, how to groom your Westie is your next decision. A show dog must be hand stripped to give the dog its Westie look - round head, carrot-shaped tail, and blended skirt.
Hand stripping involves actually pulling hairs. When they grow back, they tend to be straighter and coarser. Many claim that a hand stripped Westie coat sheds dirt, allowing the dog to go longer between baths. Hand stripping is not necessary for a Westie that is kept as a pet, and a regular clipping from your groomer, or at home, is all that your dog needs. A clipped Westie coat will be softer and curlier, and more prone to staining.
Because of their white coats, staining is another problem peculiar to West Highland Terrier grooming. If the hair is white at the base, licking might be the problem, and is often triggered by cuts and abrasions, or objects lodged in the hair around the paw.
Hair that is stained down to the base may indicate a fungal or yeast infection, and your Westie should see a veterinarian. Staining around the muzzle is most often caused by the food the dog eats. Check for red food dies, or beets in the formula. If you want your Westie to attain show dog perfection, a cotton ball dipped in hydrogen peroxide, and wiped on the beard daily, will lighten and prevent the stains.
(Disclaimer: Any information contained in this site relating to various medical, health and fitness conditions of Westies or other animals and their treatments is for informational purposes only and is not meant to be a substitute for the adviceprovided by your own veterinarian. You should not use the information contained herein for diagnosing the health of any animal. You should always consult and check with your own vet or veterinarian.)
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