Grooming for Cairn Terriers  - A healthy coat is easy to keep and maintain and shedding is minimal if your Cairn Terrier is thoroughly brushed and combed weekly.  Infrequently bathing is VERY IMPORTANT for maintaining their weatherproof coat and healthy skin.  A "modified bath" will help to keep your Cairn Terrier tidy as needed but it is not recommended to saturate the coat and skin frequently, if at all.

Stripping the dead coat is recommended, rather than cutting the hair, to maintain the coarse texture of the weatherproof coat.  This can be accomplished by hand or with a variety of stripping knives and stones that are available.  I prefer to use a piece of pumice to aid in the stripping of the dead coat.  It is very inexpensive and effective.  Stripping the longer hairs (fringe) from the tops of the ears also gives your Cairn Terrier a clean, well groomed appearance.  You will know that it is time to strip the dead coat when it "parts" down the middle of the dog's back.  

It is important to keep your Cairn Terrier free of fleas, as many Cairn Terriers are allergic to flea bites.  This can be accomplished by treating your dog with "K9 Advantix" which can be purchased at your vet's office or on-line.  Also, trying to keep the environment in which your dog lives flea-free is very helpful as well.   

Trimming your Cairn Terrier's nails weekly is very important to prevent malfunction of the foot.  Not cutting the nails can force the dog to walk on his pastern (wrist) instead of his toes, inhibiting his movement.  Take care not to cut the nails too short or you will cut the "quick" and the nail will bleed quite a lot.  Styptic powder is very useful to have on hand to stop any bleeding that may occur.  I prefer to trim a very small amount off of the nail first with sharp nail cutters and then I use a nail file (like the kind used on acrylic nails, purchased from a beauty supply store) to shorten the nail just until the dog starts to let you know that you are getting close to the quick.  If you continue to file the dogs nails weekly, eventually the quick will recede, allowing you to keep the dog's nails short. 

Brushing your Cairn Terrier's teeth is also an important task to do once a week.  Schedule an hour once a week to brush and comb the coat, trim the nails, and brush the teeth.  This will be very rewarding as your Cairn Terrier will remain tidy and well groomed.

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Updated 02/062023