Should I have my dog clipped?
(Q) I have a four-year-old Westie X Cairn, called Tess, who is groomed daily. Towards the end of last summer she started to lose both her undercoat and topcoat excessively and scratched a lot. I visited our vet who is excellent and he put her on Piriton. She has now improved a little (probably due to the colder weather) but where her topcoat used to part down the middle of her back and be quite wavy, it now seems quite coarse. Her undercoat is still not as thick as it used to be. Should I have had her clipped? I did when she was very young and she came out looking like a rat with no eyebrows or whiskers and that put me off. Is there something else I should be doing? She is perfectly healthy otherwise and full of energy.
(A) Groomer Diana North says: My advice would be to look for a groomer who will listen sympathetically to your dog’s story and plan a trim accordingly. There is no need to clip the back coat at all. Many innovative tools are available to groomers; for instance there is an attachment comb that can be fitted to the clipper blade so that it does not clip close to the skin.
The use of thinning scissors is another option; with these the amount of coat taken off can be monitored according to your preference.
If the coat is not too soft it should be possible to create the lovely, round Westie-Cairn head shape. If the coat is soft, a sympathetic groomer could create a suitable head style to enhance your dog’s features. Perhaps your problem lies with finding a groomer to suit you and your dog’s needs. Groomers advertise in various ways, locally and on the internet. It may help your research for a sympathetic and qualified groomer if you look at the British Dog Groomers’ Association website; this comes under the umbrella of the Pet Industry Federation.
As far as your dog’s itchiness is concerned, it may be advisable to go back and discuss it further with your vet if it persists.