How to Keep a Westie's Coat White

By Nora Zavalczki

The Westie, officially known as the West Highland white terrier, is well-known for its snow-white coat. However, the coat is prone to staining and discoloration. As a Westie owner, you need to understand the risks the coat is exposed to and the factors that contribute to staining so that you are able to prevent discoloration and preserve your pet's bright white coat.

Groom your dog daily with a brush to keep the outer coat clean and make the coat shiny. The skin secretes oils, and if these are spread on the hair, they will keep the coat healthy and shiny.

Dry clean your Westie with white-powdered chalk or cornstarch. Distribute the chalk over the dog's coat with your fingers and gently massage it deep into the fur. Allow the powder to work for 10 to 15 minutes. Both cornstarch and white chalk absorb grease and dust and dirt gathered in the Westie's coat. Brush out the cornstarch or white chalk with a pin brush.

Bathe your Westie only when necessary. The bathing frequency depends on your dog's habits and environment, its skin health and your personal preferences. Certain owners bathe their dogs only three times per year to prevent drying the skin, while others bathe their Westie once a month. Use shampoo that is formulated for dogs with white coats.

Clean the area around the eyes. Remove tear stains, which are brown-red and form because Westies experience ocular discharges and the area is continually moist. Use a commercial tear-stain remover or opt for home remedies, such as milk of magnesia.

Wipe your dog after it drinks water. If the hair under the jaw stays wet, it is prone to bacteria and yeast growth, resulting in discoloration.

Provide your Westie with purified water and change it daily. Certain minerals in unfiltered water may cause staining. Use purified water even when you bathe your dog.

Change your dog's food and water bowls if they are made of metal. Opt for ceramic bowls. Metal may accumulate rust, which can stain the dog's jaw area.

Wash your dog's feet in soapy water after walking in the snow to remove road salt. Salt may stain your pet's paws.

Visit your veterinarian for routine health checks. Your Westie's coat is a reflection of its overall health. If your dog is affected by skin infections or other medical conditions, its coat may suffer changes.