How Often Should I Bathe My Westie?

By John Martin - May 12, 2021

Westie during bath time

As a dog parent, the one thing you might struggle with is grooming your dog, especially his bathing patterns. While some of you might have become experts with experience, there are still questions that need direct answers.

Westies are blessed with a white, plush coat. This coat consists of a double coat- a soft cottony undercoat and a hard, white-haired outer coat. This makes up for the mesmerizing looks of your Westie. And you have to keep this in mind while bathing it. The answers to a lot of questions lie ahead, so let’s get to the point.

How Often Should You Give Your Westie a Bath?

The pristine white fur of your Westie can be a trouble as much as it is a boon. Your little dog loves digging up holes in the backyard or running after smaller animals. All in all, they are quite jumpy and love the outdoors. You know what this means- dirt. A lot of dirt.

To add to this, Westies have sensitive skin, and hence frequent baths can deprive them of the natural oils. This can lead to itching and can be rather uncomfortable for your Westie. A general rule is to bathe them three-four times a year. But again, this is different for every dog.

There are exceptions to this rule, of course, depending on the specific skin and fur type of your Westie. The other two possible situations are:

  • Every 4-6 weeks: If you are someone who likes to take their dog to a professional grooming service, then this option might suit you the best. You wouldn’t want to wait too long for your dog’s haircut and get a bath included in the grooming session.
  • Less than four weeks: This is highly unlikely to happen. Bathing your Westie so often is never recommended by the vet unless there are circumstances like:

The Dreaded Doggy Smell

If there is something irregular about your Westie’s natural smell, then you might have to get it checked from a vet for yeast infection.

Another situation where the baths will be more frequent than usual is when the dog’s skin produces more oil than usual.

Medical Condition

Your dog might be allergic to something, and the allergens resting on its body would cause irritation. In such situations also, it may need more frequent baths than other dogs. You will also require a medicated, pH balanced shampoo for this purpose.

Other than this, if your cute, jumpy Westie indulges in some good old fashioned digging or enjoys a good roll in a dirty puddle, then you have no other option than to give it bad news- extra bathing time.

Related: 13 Common Skin and Health Issues to Watch for in Westies

Tips and Products to Help Bathe Your Westie

Bathing a dog is a task in itself. Dog parents would know how you need to take time out of your schedule to do this task. And dogs can be a complete mess when it comes to bathing, because well, it’s definitely not their favorite thing to do.

Their favorite thing to do is to roll around in puddles, leaves, and chase other animals. Well, that’s their job. Your job is to make sure it is clean and healthy.

Rinse, Rinse and Rinse Again

We cannot stress enough how important rinsing is for your Westie to maintain that white fur. Whatever you do and however you do it, remember that properly rinse the Westie’s fur to get the shampoo out of it. If the shampoo stays in the fur and dries out, it can cause intense itching and irritation to your dog.

Do Not Use Human Shampoos

This one is pretty obvious, but we are still putting it across. Absolutely do not use human shampoos since they disrupt the dog’s pH balance. They can harm your baby in more ways than one. Always use shampoos specially designed for dogs. In case your dog needs extra care regarding its skin, then make sure to ask your vet and search for shampoo for sensitive skin.

Don’t Overdo It

Read the instructions on the shampoo and the conditioners properly. It is important that you let the products do their work, but do not leave them on for too long. It can cause irritation and itching. This can also lead to flaky skin. A Westie’s skin produces its own oils, and you don’t want to get in the way of that. So, don’t ‘underdo’ and don’t ‘overdo’ it.

Make Your Westie Comfy!

Before you start bathing your Westie, make him comfortable enough so that it does not start running away and makes a mess in the whole house. You can even look for bath time dog toys to keep him distracted while making him feel safe. This can be a little tricky for new dog parents, but don’t worry! With time, you’ll master this trick.

What to Do Between Baths?

Now that it is established that you shouldn’t bathe your Westies often, then what about the periods in between those baths? Their white fur is their prized possession, and any small amount of dirt is instantly visible. So in between their scheduled baths, you can try some of these techniques:

Train Them

Westies are very easy to train for good habits thanks to their intelligence and adaptability. As a dog parent, you can train them to wait on the mat at the entrance of the house when they come all muddy from outside. Then you can use a soft towel to pat them clean. With time, you can also teach them to limit their digging to some extent.

A Handy Crate

All you have to do is spread a towel in a crate and put your Westie in it. It will automatically roll around in it and clean itself in almost an hour and a half. Westies anyway have the habit of shedding the dirt once it is dry.

Brush Out the Dirt

Another way to clean your Westie without actually bathing it to wait for the dirt to dry and gently brush it out using a brush that works well for Westies. Ask your vet about the type of brush that will be suitable for the dog based on the fur type.

Wash the Paws

Not bathing them does not mean you can’t wash off the dirt from their dirty paws. You might want to indulge the Westie in a little treat before you start washing it. They are too jumpy, but yes, they can be trained over the years.

Dry Cleaner

Just like a dry shampoo for fellow humans, there are dry cleaners available for dogs in the market. Consult the vet about this and use a dry cleaner that suits your Westie’s fur. This will save you time and get your dog ready in no time.

Final Thoughts

So now that you have an idea as to what are the bathing patterns you should follow and how often you should bathe your Westie, you can prepare yourself for the task. With time, you will understand your Westie’s skin type and needs and if you should pay any special attention to it.

Other than baths and cleaning, make sure you are keeping up with the nutritional needs of your Westie. ‘You are what you eat’ implies to dogs as well. When the diet is balanced, then the natural oils are balanced, which in turn keeps the fur healthy.

Make sure your lovely pet is always shinning and clean. Follow some of these basic bathing habits and watch how your lovely Westie gets used to the process.