Skip to content

When Can I Get My Westie Puppy Groomed?

When Can I Get My Westie Puppy Groomed

Whether you get your Westie groomed professionally or performing it at home, knowing the optimal timing and frequency for your Westie’s first haircut is critical.

It’s important to understand why and how to introduce your Westie to haircuts, but the simple answer to ‘When can I get my Westie puppy groomed’ is:

Westies should have their first haircut between 10-16 weeks of age, but they should start getting used to being handled right away.  

Table of Contents

The Westie’s Coat

Let’s take a look at the essential facts about West Highland White Terrier coats that every Westie owner (and would-be owner) should be aware of.

  • West Highland Terriers are double-coated as adults according to the Kennel Club breed standard. The outer coats consist of about 2 ins (5cm) long hair without any curls. The undercoat is short, soft and close, resembling that of fur. Although Westies do not molt, it is necessary to remove the old dead coat. They shed minimally and are mostly hypoallergenic.
  • Normally, the coats of Westie puppies will fill in at 10-14 months of age, but it may take up to two years for the coats to fully establish. 
  • Westie coats can vary greatly due to the variations in breeding. Ideally, the outer coat should be harsh and wiry, with a softer undercoat.
  • Coat texture is going to be different depending whether the Westie is clippered or hand stripped. 

What Do We Mean by Grooming

Grooming a dog involves more than just cleaning and styling; it also entails doing basic health checks and keeping an eye out for any signs of infection or parasitic infestation.

Bathing, clipping, and brushing a dog are all examples of grooming, as are cleaning the ears and trimming the nails. The process of grooming a dog depends on the breed of dog, its age, and the style of cut you’d like to achieve.

Grooming is an essential part of owning a Westie as it helps to keep him clean and healthy. 

Regular grooming has the following benefits:

  • Make your Westie look his best,
  • Remove dead hair and other debris to maintain healthy skin and fur,
  • Avoid becoming tangled and matted,
  • Boost blood circulation,
  • A chance to bond with your Westie,
  • Teach him essential grooming habits,
  • Early detection of parasites and skin disorders.

Professional groomers are recommended for clipping your Westie’s hair, but you can do most of the grooming at home. Hand stripping is the traditional approach to style Westies, which is usually done on show dogs.

Hand Stripping vs Clippering

The traditional way to groom West Highland White Terriers is by hand stripping. A stripped coat is far more durable and does not become dirty as quickly as a clippered coat.

If you intend to show your Westie, this is the recommended way to groom them. Because most professional dog groomers do not have the knowledge or time to hand strip, you will most likely have to learn to do it yourself. In addition, professional groomers would charge nearly twice as much for a hand stripping as they would for a simple trim and tidy.

Should you opt for stripping your Westie by hand, you’ll have to practice it right from the very beginning as clipping alters the coat’s appearance and feel. 

The majority of dog owners choose to have their pets’ hair clipped, using specialized clippers. A clipped coat is softer and less wiry, making it easier to collect dirt.

Most pet salons provide this service, which is significantly faster than hand stripping. Even so, it’s important to check that the salon is competent in grooming Westies.

Using a Professional Groomer

The benefits of using a professional groomer

A professional groomer will ensure that your dog’s coat looks healthy and is kept at a reasonable length, even if you follow a decent at-home grooming and bathing regimen.

You can expect your Westie’s groomer to provide the following extras:

  • Ear cleaning. You should never attempt to insert anything into your dog’s ears unless you’ve been shown how to do so first. While most veterinarians can teach you how to clean your Westie’s ears, it’s better to let a professional groomer do this, in order to avoid inflicting unnecessary discomfort or injury.
  • Teeth cleaning. Brushing your dog’s teeth on a regular basis is essential because most breeds are susceptible to tooth disease. Gum disease, resulting from poor oral hygiene, is one of the most common conditions among Westies. There are a variety of dog toothbrushes available. Because dogs dislike having their teeth cleaned, having a trained professional clean and scale their teeth is always a good idea.
  • Nail trimming. Getting your Westie used to having his or her nails trimmed is one of the more difficult aspects of grooming since most dogs are not keen on having their feet touched. The ‘quick,’ which contains nerves and blood vessels, is located here, and if the nails are cut too short, it could seriously hurt the dog. Professionals, on the other hand, have all the necessary equipment and skill to make the process stress free for your dog.

How to find a professional dog groomer

Referrals are your best bet when it comes to locating a reputable dog groomer. If they are good, there will be a strong demand so try and schedule sessions well ahead of time.

Make sure you know exactly what services they offer and that they have past grooming expertise with Westies before you hire them. Additionally, you may want to ensure the items they use do not contain any harmful and toxic substances.

At the initial consultation, a skilled groomer should ask you about your dog’s background, including temperament, age, health and medical history. You’ll then review the dog’s grooming needs, which could range from a simple bath and tidy up to a full trim or hand strip, including nail clipping, expressing anal glands, and cleaning ears.

Most people stick with the same professional groomer for the rest of their dog’s life after they’ve found the right one. This helps the groomer to get to understand your Westie’s character and styling preferences, as well as familiarize your dog with the surroundings.

How much to groom a Westie

The cost of a professional dog groom will depend on the size of your Westie and the amount and condition of their fur.

On average, however, you can expect to pay around $40-$75 in the United States or around £40 in the UK for a standard grooming service. 

Westie Groomers generally charge extra for additional services such as nail clipping, flea treatments, and ear, and teeth cleaning.

Your Westie Puppy’s First Professional Groom

The first time your Westie gets groomed, he may show signs of curiosity, uncertainty, or maybe even fear. Because they’re in a new environment with other canines, new people, and unusual odors – all of which can be overwhelming for puppies – this is to be anticipated.

The first time some Westies go to the groomer, they’re likely to be terrified. Grooming equipment can frighten little Westie puppies most, according to many experts. Scissors, clippers, nail buffers and a slew of brushes and combs are all common grooming items that your puppy will have to become familiar with and trust.

Westie puppies are frightened by shiny gadgets and sharp tools that move in unexpected ways and produce super loud noises, especially when they’re near their eyes and ears.

As a Westie owner, your task will be to prepare your puppy for his first grooming appointment well in advance.

Tips to prepare your Westie for grooming

Early exposure to touch and loudness from grooming tools will help your Westie puppy overcome his apprehension about them. Keep a supply of your dog’s favorite goodies to hand so that you can reward good behavior while grooming.

It’s important to reward your puppy while grooming to keep their spirits up and prevent them from dreading it when they’re older.

Your puppy’s first grooming experience should be a good one, or it will be a constant battle for the dog’s entire life.

You can help prepare your Westie for their first grooming session by doing the following steps:

  • Lift your West Highland Terrier puppy onto a non-slip bench or table at home to get him used to the grooming table. When he’s older and more accustomed to it, you can attach his lead to an overhead hook to keep him in place.
  • Help your Westie get a feel for having his teeth, tail, eyes, ears and nails looked at by exposing him to this experience as much as possible. The groomer will be less likely to cause him distress or upset by touching him in these areas. It is possible for a Westie that is not used to being handled to growl or even nip at the groomer when they are touched. So, this is a critical step in preparing your Westie puppy for his first grooming appointment.
  • Begin by brushing him through with a medium-soft brush, followed by a comb.
  • Make a couple of trips to the salon prior to your Westie’s first haircut. This will help your Westie get used to the many scents, sounds and sights associated with a grooming appointment.
  • Pack a good amount of healthy treats for your Westie to associate grooming appointments with yummy snacks. Your groomer should lavish your Westie puppy with praise during grooming, and since Westies respond well to attention and reward they learn to associate the grooming process with good things.

What Happens if You Don’t Groom Your Westie

After the age of 6 months, it is critical that your Westie gets groomed on a regular basis. Their coat may mat, otherwise, particularly if they have a softer undercoat.

Inadequate care of a Westie coat can lead to:

  • Knots or deep matting
  • A softer fur 
  • Pain and discomfort when being combed 
  • Injury through impinged eyesight or slipping 
  • Skin irritation developing
  • Mouth, eye and other stains forming, breeding bacteria and odor
  • An overall stinky Westie.

Brush your Westie puppy frequently, about 4-5 times per week, and trim him every three months. Your Westie’s coat will stay healthy, making him more comfortable as well.

What Brush Should You Use on a Westie

On a Westie, the ideal tool to use is a slicker brush or terrier pad.

The slicker brush has a flat surface covered in fine, short wires. About halfway down, the pins are bent at an angle.

Slicker brush for grooming Westies
A slicker brush or terrier pad is great for grooming Westies

One of the main features of this brush is to remove any loose hair, dirt, knots or mats from the coat. It is especially effective at getting in the fur deeply and getting rid of dead skin and malted hair.

Dogs with curly or medium-long hair can benefit from more thorough grooming with this tool. 

For thicker and heavier coats, it is best to use a stiffer brush. These brushes come in a wide variety of sizes and pin stiffness levels.

Choosing the right brush for your Westie’s grooming is critical. Using the incorrect brush can result in the old undercoat not being removed. This might lead to the dog’s skin becoming irritated when the undercoat gets tangled up after becoming wet. This may cause the dog to scratch and even nibble a sore area.

Hertzko Self Cleaning Slicker Brush

Final Thoughts

Your new Westie puppy may have just arrived at home, or you’re conducting some research in preparation for your upcoming purchase of a Westie. 

This breed of white terriers is adorable and loving, but its low-shedding coat requires regular grooming and maintenance. Knowing when to give them their first haircut, where to take them to be groomed, and the frequency of trimming or stripping is essential.

Before bringing a dog into your home, be sure you’re prepared to give them the care they need. All of the potential efforts that come along with dog ownership should also be taken into consideration. Dogs like the Westie, which are hypoallergenic and have a low shedding coat, require specialized knowledge to look after their hair.

The striking double coat of West Highland White Terriers can be maintained with some effort and consistent grooming.

Thanks for reading this article. Keep up to date with Westie Wisdom for more great posts about our wonderful canine companions.

Check out our Resources page where we put together a collection of products and links to organizations for Westie owners. We only recommend products that we believe will enhance your Westie’s quality of life.

Media thanks to Grooming by Rudy