westie-west-highland-terrierDo you have your Westie groomed several times a year? Have you ever considered how much you pay annually? Over approximately 15 years? You will want to read this!

Good grooming habits are essential for your Westie:

Daily, you should brush or comb your Westie. If you spend 3-5 minutes daily brushing your Westie, you will never have problems with the coat getting matted. Be sure to brush his stomach, chest, and under his front legs.

With every bath comes a teeth brushing. Remember, doggie toothpaste, not yours!

Nail trimming should occur every 2-3 weeks.

Start early with the grooming!

You should start getting your Westie pup accustomed to all the grooming routines from the day your bring him home. With puppies, you need to keep the grooming time down to two to three minutes until he gets accustomed to a grooming session. You need a lot of patience and must give a lot of praise while being firm. He should be combed out daily. There is no need for heavy handling a Westie and never shout when things are going wrong. Being firm and handling your Westie roughly are too different things! Give lots of praise and take your time. You will be amazed at how fast they learn. With lots of praise they will soon start to enjoy the grooming sessions with you. It is best if you make it a habit of grooming your Westie at least once a week to clip out of place hair and check his ears, increasing the time each week. Give him a 2-3 minute brush out daily. Our dogs will all lay down under the grooming table anxiously waiting their turn for grooming. They love it, as well as the attention

Clippering Or Stripping?

For a pet, this is strictly a matter of preference. Stripping is done on show dogs and can be done on pet dogs, but is not necessary. Stripping will make the coat harder and coarser. Clippering will tend to make the coat softer and on many dogs, wavy. Many pet people clip because it is convenient. Unless you strongly prefer the look of a stripped coat, you are likely to clip

It's fun and challenging doing the research on learning "how" to do your own grooming. It won't take you long to learn how. You'll even be grooming your mother-in-law's dog. After all, if you goof up, it will grow out!

If you take your dog to the groomer 6 times a year at an average cost of $32 (usually more) over the average Westie's life of 15 years, that is around $2,880. That does not factor in your time and travel. How much for gas?

My intention is not to try to put groomers out of business, but the number one question we have from Westie owners is related to grooming. Let me tell you what we do and then you decide.

You can spend quite a bit of money buying grooming tools, so you want to be sure you are willing to learn. Don't waste your money if you are not willing to commit. To do it right, you will need the following kinds of tools:

I clippered my babies for years until we discovered the Mars Coat King. You can keep a Westie's coat without extreme cuts by using a Mars Coat King, and thinning shears.

We use the coat king daily. Rake the tool over every part of the body, including the face and beard. The tool is only pulling dead hair and does not hurt your dog. Just be sure to pull the tool in the direction the hair grows naturally. Since we have clippers, we clipper the top third of the ears on the outside and completely clipper the ears on the inside. Then we take scissors and trim the ears, being sure not to cut the leather and hurt the dog. Use hemostats to pull the hair from the ear canal. This does not hurt your dog. Scissors will also be used to trim the hair between the eyes and nose, paw pads, and shape the legs. Thinning shears are used to shape the face and legs. Then scissor the stray hairs to clean up and shape. When blow drying, brush the leg hair upwards and blow dry upwards so that the hair becomes poofy. This makes the legs look fuller when dry. Always use low heat (fan only in summer) to keep from drying the skin. It takes longer to dry, but you will be glad you did. Blow dry the beard outward to accomplish the same effect. It allows the face to look a little poofy and you can then scissor stray hairs and shape.


I use the #12 Mars Coat King. It is the next best thing to hand stripping. It is best to use it several times weekly. To begin, you will want to use it daily, then every other day. You will soon determine how often to use it to maintain the coat. It simply pulls out dead hair and does not hurt the dog. Use the Coat King on all body parts, including face and beard. They enjoy the grooming session. It trims out the undercoat and dead hair while unraveling and de-matting the coat. Directions: Place the Coat King on the coat with light pressure and comb out in the direction of hair growth.


You will use the thinning shears to thin the hair on the face, top of the head, beard, neck, and tail.

Some other grooming tools


I use the clippers to trim the top third of the ear (#10 blade), and the entire inside of the ear down to the ear canal. The #10 blade usually comes with your clippers.


These comb has metal teeth,is easy to hold on to and is easy on your hand.


This brush is good for brushing the leg hair up and blow drying at the same time. To brush up while drying allows the leg to have that full look after drying and combing/brushing out. Never use the heat setting on the dryer. Always dry with cool or "very low" heat to keep from drying out the skin. I personally like the small brush.

Hint: You should brush you Westie daily. It only takes 2-3 minutes and you never have to worry about the coat matting. Shame on you if you let that happen! Grooming your dog daily will teach him to be patient while you brush him out. My dog love to be brushed out. They lay under the grooming table awaiting their turn. You don't even need a grooming table. Put a large towel on the washer or dryer, and get going!


There is nothing like having a place to groom your dog and be first class in the process.

Hint: At least once a week, be sure to clean their ears. Use a good ear cleaner and Q-tips or cotton balls. It is best to use a cleaner with a drying agent that keeps down moisture in the ears. Remember, never poke into the ear canal. Only clean around the ear. You can also use gauze. Squirt some cleaner on it, wrap around your finger, and clean the ear canal. That way, there is no danger of hurting your dog. You can squirt the ear cleaner into the ear canal, and then massage the ear canal on the outside of the ear. When you get finished massaging (most dogs love this), he will shake his head. This is very important. Skin problems can be caused because of ear mites. If your dog scratches, shakes his head, check him out. If in question, take him to the vet. Ear mites turn into infections. Many times, when that happens, ear infections become chronic for years to come. Heed this hint!


The scissor type clippers work well with puppies. You will want to get the guillotine type for your adult dog. Be sure they are sharp and never cut too close and get into the "quick". If you do, the next time you want to trim nails, your dog will run!

NOTE: You do not need all of the items above. But, if you take your dog to the groomer often, why not plunge in and teach yourself to groom your own dog. It will be good for both of you. Rather than spending so much money over the life of your Westie, why not have a lot of fun and groom your own dog. If you purchased every item on this page it would cost about $500. Wow! What fun!


The chart below shows the length of hair and direction of pull if you strip your Westie.


Remember to always pamper your dog, because dogs are fun

Filed under: Pamper My Dog Articles

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