There are over 30 different breeds of terrier! Do you have a tiny terrier of your own? If so, you know how charismatic and rambunctious they can be!
Their strong-spirited nature can make grooming a challenge from time to time. How do you keep your little terrier dog looking fantastic?
We’re here to help. We’ve compiled a few helpful tips that will keep your dog’s fur, nails, and skin looking and feeling great. Read on to learn more.
First: Understand Your Terrier's Coat
Not all terriers are alike! If you plan on grooming your own terrier dog, you need to understand what type of coat you’re working with. Different breeds have different types of fur.
For example, you may have a Yorkshire terrier with medium-length silky and straight fur. You could also have a Boston terrier with a short and smooth coat that doesn’t require as much brushing or a Wheaten terrier with soft and fluffy fur.
If you have a terrier mix, your little canine companion may have completely unique fur. It could benefit you to visit a groomer for a first-time dog grooming session to get an idea of what your unique terrier needs! Don’t worry, we’ll discuss finding a groomer later on.
Once you understand your terrier’s fur, you’re ready to move forward.
Get the Right Tools and Supplies for Terrier Grooming
The right tools and supplies for grooming your terrier will depend on its coat and how you want it to look at the end of the grooming session.
If you’re interested in a professional-looking trim with shaping, you’ll need extra supplies. However, for the most part, you can get by with a few simple things.
You should have grooming scissors for trimming small areas (such as hair around the face) as well as an electric grooming clipper set with several attachments for different fur lengths.
You should also have shampoo, conditioner, and a gentle cloth for your dog’s face. You may need a hairdryer, but you can use the one you already have at home. You will want to have a microfiber towel for quick and easy drying.
It’s helpful to wash your terrier in a bathtub or shower with a detachable showerhead, or, if it’s small enough, you could use your kitchen sink.
Get a dog-friendly toothbrush, toothpaste, and a pair of nail clippers to finish the job! You’re ready to get grooming.
Establish a Grooming Routine
Establishing a good routine is crucial. Not only will this keep your terrier looking great, but it will also keep them more comfortable with the grooming process. When you establish a routine, your terrier knows what to expect.
How often you should groom and bathe your terrier will depend on their breed. Long-haired terriers require frequent brushing, for example, while short-haired terriers can go for longer without a brush.
Generally speaking, bathing should happen about once every three to four weeks. If your dog has sensitive skin that dries out easily, even with gentle products, you may want to extend that time.
Try to do the same things in the same order for every grooming session. You want your dog to feel comfortable and you don’t want any surprises.
Make Grooming Enjoyable
Let’s face it: many dogs really don’t enjoy getting groomed. That’s okay! You can do your part to make it more enjoyable for your pup (or, at the very least, tolerable).
Make sure the water is at the right temperature. It should be warm, but not hot. Some dogs prefer cold water, but many terriers love the feeling of a warm bath.
It can also be helpful to fill up the bath while the terrier is already in it.
You could put a tasty treat, like peanut butter (make sure it’s safe) on the wall of the tub or sink to keep your dog occupied during the bath. Try to be quick so your dog doesn’t get too impatient.
Use the Right Brushes
Make sure you purchase the right brushes for your terrier’s fur. It can be helpful to have several different types of combs and brushes to use for different occasions.
For example, you may have a soft brush for casual brushing between grooming days and a long comb or de-shedding brush to get rid of mats.
Be Gentle With Mats and Tangles
Speaking of mats, make sure you’re gentle with any mats or tangles that may pop up in your pup’s fur.
When you find a mat or tangle, don’t try to brush through it with force. Instead, try gently picking it apart with a comb or your fingers. You could also try a de-matting brush.
If that doesn’t work, and the mat is too intense, it may be best to see a groomer so they can help you remove it. You can do it on your own, but make sure the mat isn’t too close to your dog’s skin. You could accidentally cut your dog while trying to remove the mat.
Keep Fur Trimmed
If your terrier is one that has long fur, it’s a good idea to keep it trimmed. You don’t have to maintain a special cut (though, of course, you can if you prefer it), but try to keep the dog comfortable.
If there’s fur that falls in front of your dog’s eyes, it’s a good idea to keep it short so the fur doesn’t impede their vision.
You should also take a look at their toes. Some long-haired breeds get fur in between their toes which can be irritating and make it hard for them to get traction on hard surfaces, like tile or hardwood. You can carefully trim that fur if it’s bothering your terrier.
Trim Nails Often
Trimming your dog’s nails is part of the grooming process. Without occasional trimming, your dog’s nails can become overgrown and even painful.
You should try to trim your dog’s nails every three to four weeks. You could trim their nails on the same day as your dog’s bath as the nails may be softer from the warm water, but if your little dog is easily stressed, you may want to wait a day or so.
Don't Skip the Ears
When was the last time you cleaned your dog’s ears? If it’s been a while, you may want to take a look in there and see what you find. There could be a lot of bacteria and grime built up!
You can clean your dog’s ears once per month or so. You don’t want to over-clean them because some natural bacteria are necessary. Cleaning after a bath is a great idea as you can do it while your dog is bundled up all nice and cozy in a towel.
You can use diluted vinegar (one part vinegar to three parts water) or an ear-cleaning solution. Put it on a cotton ball and clean only the visible part of the ear. Don’t get anything into the ear canal.
Here’s a quick guide to make it easier.
Get Rid of Tear Stains and Eye Gunk
If your dog has light-colored fur, you’ve likely spotted some eye gunk and tear stains. Don’t worry. With a bit of grooming, your pup’s eyes will be clear in no time.
Make sure there are no medical or environmental factors contributing to your dog’s tear stains. It can be helpful to take your dog to a vet first. If there are contributing factors, your dog may need special eye drops.
If not, you can use about one teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide in a glass of water. Use a cotton ball to carefully dab the eye stains, avoiding the actual eyes.
When the solution dries, rinse your dog’s face with warm water.
If your dog is prone to eye gunk and stains, wash their face at least once per week with a damp washcloth.
Consider a Professional Groomer
Sometimes using a professional groomer is best, especially if you’ve never groomed a dog before. Taking your dog to the groomer for their first grooming session gives you the opportunity to watch how it should be done (if the groomer allows it).
The groomer will also give you a great starting point and they may be able to offer suggestions for at-home grooming.
It's Time to Groom Your Terrier
Now that you’ve been given a thorough rundown on how to groom your terrier for the first time, it’s time to gather supplies and get to work!
Get a warm bath running, grab your furry friend, and make them look their very best!
Are you looking for the best products to keep your canine companion happy, healthy, and clean? Don’t forget to check out our shop!