How to Properly Groom a Cairn Terrier

Grooming your Cairn terrier keeps it healthy, handsome and happy.
Grooming your Cairn terrier keeps it healthy, handsome and happy. (Image: Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

The Cairn terrier shot to fame in the United States when moviegoers fell in love with Toto from the "Wizard of Oz." These small dogs weigh 10 to 14 pounds on average, and have wiry coats that are usually cream or grey to black in color. Cairn terriers should be groomed regularly to help them look their best and stay in good health. Regular grooming can help you prevent infection or illness in your Cairn terrier.

Things You'll Need

  • Metal dog combs
  • Cotton swabs
  • Dog nail clippers
  • Dog toothbrush
  • Dog toothpaste

Avoid bathing your cairn terrier unless it is so dirty that a brush can’t remove the gunk from its fur. Shampoo can damage your cairn’s bristly fur and should only be used when absolutely necessary. Cairn terriers aren’t a naturally smelly breed, so regular bathing will do more harm than good.

Comb your cairn terrier’s fur at least once a week. Use both a wide-tooth and a fine-tooth metal comb to undo tangles, prevent matting and remove loose fur.

Remove dirt or wax from your Cairn terrier’s ears with a cotton swab and mineral oil. This can prevent ear infections and keep your terrier’s ears from becoming itchy or irritated by dirt. Use a soft cloth to remove discharge from around your Cairn terrier’s eyes as well. This will prevent infection and staining. Keep the fur around your terrier’s eyes and ears trimmed.

Trim your Cairn terrier’s nails when they are long enough to touch the floor. Overly long nails can make it difficult or even painful for your Cairn terrier to walk. Avoid cutting the quick, which will hurt and bleed when clipped. Trim a little at a time off of the end of your Cairn’s toenails until you see a circle in the center of the clippings. This is an indication that you are nearing the quick, and you can stop trimming.

Brush your Cairn terrier’s teeth with a dog toothbrush and dog formula toothpaste. Avoid human toothpaste, which can be toxic to dogs. Brushing your Cairn terrier’s teeth regularly will prevent plaque buildup. Plaque can cause bacteria to build up in your terrier’s system and make it sick.

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