The Cairn Terrier is a cute little dog and although small, they are full of energy and always ready to be out and about chasing things. Needless to say, with their wiry coats they are pretty easy maintenance in the grooming department. However, to keep on top of any skin allergies as well as irritations that might be flaring up, it's a good idea to give them a brush over once a day and then a thorough groom at least once a week.
As with most things, setting up a grooming routine and one you can stick to, makes life a lot easier all round. Another benefit of having a routine is that your dog will get to know when it's time for a brush and look forward to it, but only if the experience has always been a good one from the word go when they were still puppies.
It's really important to start grooming a Cairn Terrier when they are puppies and although it's more to go through the motions than anything else, it's a great way to introduce them to all the brushes, combs, nail clippers and other tools typically used to groom dogs. You'll find that your puppy is more interested in playing with a brush than letting you run it through their coats, but you need to persevere making the experience a good one in every way.
This sets things up nicely for when your dog is older and needs to be given a more serious and thorough grooming session whether it's done by you or at a dog grooming parlour. Brushing a puppy needs to be a short session that lasts around five minute or so and you need to concentrate on difficult areas like ears, paws and nails.
It's always a good idea to give a Cairn Terrier a quick once over every day because like this you get to strengthen your bond with them. All dogs love some one-to-one time with the people they love and a grooming session offers the opportunity to do just that. You also get to see if your dog has got any injuries or if a skin allergy is flaring up, something Cairn Terriers are prone to suffer from.
It's also a good idea to check your dog's teeth and if you have taught them to have their teeth brushed, this needs to be every day or so. If however, you've adopted an older dog, you may find they won't let you brush their teeth. It's best not to insist but to offer them lots of dental sticks to chew on and to regularly take them along to the vet to have their teeth checked and excess tartar expertly removed.
It's also a good idea to give a Cairn Terrier a thorough grooming session once a week which means brushing through their coats from their heads to the tips of their tails using a bristle brush to take out any loose and shedding hair. A weekly groom also allows you to check ears, nails and paw pads.
These little dogs can often suffer with sore and cracked pads which if left untreated can turn nasty, quickly becoming infected which makes it harder to treat the wounds. Nails can sometimes wear down unevenly which means you may have to trim a couple of them down. However, if you don't feel comfortable about trimming your dogs nails, you should leave the task up to the experts, whether it's a vet or a professional dog groomer.
It's also a good idea to use a spray coat conditioner on a Cairn Terrier's coat at least once a week, making certain you only use a dog specific product or you might end up triggering a skin allergy. You should brush the conditioner into their coats using a pin brush going against the lay of the hair before finally brushing the coat in the way the hair naturally lays. Hair on your Cairn Terrier's head needs to be brushed forward to give your dog that unique look the breed is so well known for.
It's also a good idea to strip out any long hairs you find in a Cairn Terrier's coat twice a month or so. You would need to use a good quality stripping knife which is the best tool when it comes to thinning out hair on their coats, necks and paws. At the same time you should trim away any long hair found between their pads and toes which could end up balling up with mud or snow making it hard for your dog to walk because it can be so painful.
Cairn Terriers are lovely little characters and being terriers, there's nothing they like more than chasing around after things. The result is they often come in from the garden a little grubbier than when they went out. There's a lot of benefits to setting up a grooming routine that you can keep to. Not only do you get to really bond with your dog during a grooming session, but it also allows you to keep an eye on the condition of their skin and to catch any allergies early which usually makes them easier to treat.