Westies love the daily brushing, if you do this care correctly and with a positive attitude. A Westie who is used to this loving treatment will find it easier to tolerate if you have to hold him once to remove a spike from a paw or if he gets his vaccination at the vet. At the same time, proper care of your Westie is an excellent health precaution. With the regular care, you will notice the slightest changes to skin and hair right from the start and can remedy the problem early.
How often do you brush?
To prevent the dog from matting, he must be brushed regularly with a terrier brush and combed out well once a week. Brush the back, sides and legs first against the grain and then with the grain. This way you remove all excess undercoat, which like the top coat practically does not fall out by itself.
You should at least examine the paws of your Westie after every walk. Always make sure that there are no long hairs around the paws or between the pads. Remove knotted hairs with a pair of scissors rounded at the front to avoid injury. Check the pads and especially the spaces between the pads for small stones and sand. You should also check for other dirt such as chewing gum. The spaces between the bales and between the toes must not be red! Should your Westie lick his paws for a longer time, you should definitely investigate the causes. In winter you should avoid scattered sidewalks. Salt and other de-icing agents attack the pads. As a precaution, wash his paws with handwarm water after a walk and dry them thoroughly.
The claws of most Westies usually wear down sufficiently when the dogs are moving on different floors. Westies should always stand well on the pads and not on the claws. Especially if you do not pay attention to the length of the claws in young dogs and puppies, it can lead to misalignment of the legs and thus to bad movement and pain. Therefore you should check the claws regularly. You can check the length of the claws by placing your Westie on a flat surface and then determining whether it is standing on one or more claws. If this is the case, these claws must be shortened. On dark claws, which the Westie preferably has, this should only be done by someone with experience, as it is not possible to tell how far the blood vessels extend. The thumb claws on the front legs or (very rarely) wolf claws on the hind legs have to be shortened regularly in any case, because they do not wear out. It is best to have the claws shortened when trimming or the next visit to the vet.
You should check your Westie's teeth regularly. At puppy age and during teething, you can immediately check that the teeth are developing properly and that there are no malocclusions. Milk teeth should fall out and never remain in the dentition while the permanent teeth grow. Such persistent milk teeth must be removed by the vet to prevent damage to the permanent teeth.
Caries is not common in Westies, but periodontosis is more common. Dental care includes the daily administration of a dental care chewing product, such as hard dog biscuits, buffalo skin chewing bones and similar materials. It is very important that you get your Westie used to having his teeth checked and cleaned from day one. If you have had no or little dental care over a longer period of time, the only thing you can do is to visit the vet, who will scrape off the tartar or, in serious cases, remove it under anaesthetic with ultrasound. Caution is always advised if you notice bad breath in your Westie.