Your Westie is a fierce and fun small terrier with a brilliant white coat that is a hallmark of this breed. In a perfect world, they’d stay this brilliant white color all of the time. Unfortunately, any Westie owner will tell you that Westie beard stains and Westie tear stains are a necessary evil.
We want to help you ensure that your dog looks their best every day, and this is why we’re going to tell you how to help minimize and prevent these stains. This way, you’ll have a bright, white, and feisty dog that is happy and healthy throughout their lives.
What Are The Stains?
The exact cause of stains on your Westie’s coat staining can be difficult to pinpoint, especially because these active dogs tend to get into a lot of things during the day. However, a few causes of the stains on your Westie include but are not limited to:
- Artificial Colors – Many dog foods contain a red dye to make it look for appealing so people will buy it. When this dye mixes with saliva as your dog eats, it can rub off on their fur.
- Pityrosporum – Pityrosporum is a yeast infection that has a reddish hue. This can cause the staining around your dog’s eyes because they’ll tear with this infection, and the tears run down by your dog’s eyes.
- Red Meat – Meat like beef can cause mild staining around your dog’s mouth or beard if they eat the same thing every day. You can see if this is what is behind your dog’s staining by switching to chicken or lamb as the main protein source in your dog’s food.
- Saliva – If you notice stains around your dog’s mouth and around their feet, their saliva may be the cause. They can obsessively lick at their feet and around their mouths to stain the fur because their saliva contains porphyrins that are pink or reddish brown.
Clipping or Stripping Can Attribute to the Severity of the Staining
Did you know that you can get a soft and curly coat or a more coarse and wiry coat just by how you groom and clip it? Most Westie owners like the softer and curlier look, but this coat is also not a good thing for staining because it’s less resistant to them.
The main difference between clipping and stripping the coat is what the groomer leaves behind. If they clip the coat, they clip everything and leave the undercoat full and intact to give your dog a softer and curlier look. It unbalances the ratio of guard hairs to soft undercoat.
Stripping is removing the softer undercoat to the root so a newer and more coarse coat can grow back in. You’ll get a more coarse finish with this coat, and it’s slightly more labor-intensive to keep up. This is why it’s more popular for show dogs, and clipping is more popular for traditional pets.
However, clipping your Westie’s coat leaves it more venerable to stains because it’s prone to matting much more quickly, and it doesn’t have the stiffer guard hairs to repel dirt, grime, and stains effectively. You should decide early on which course you want to take with your Westie because stripping can be uncomfortable until your dog gets used to it, so it’s better to start them young.
Preventing Stains on Your Westie
It may be impossible to completely prevent stains from happening since your feisty Westie is white and seems to have a talent for getting into things that stain their fur. However, there are several preventative steps you can take to minimize the stains.
Bathing your Westie is a great way to get rid of stains around their eyes, mouth, feet, and anywhere else they may develop. You can help get rid of stains by buying a whitening shampoo that is specially formulated for white or light colored coats, and you may even be able to buy bleaching shampoos for use on your dog’s body and legs.
But, how often do you give your dog a bath? If you do it too often, you’ll strip their coats of a lot of the natural oils they have and make their skin dry and flaky. People recommend:
- Three to Four Times a Year: This answer is very popular with people who show Westies, and they believe that giving them baths more frequently will result in a dull coat and skin problems. This schedule works well if you do your own stripping or clipping and need to refresh your dog’s coat between baths.
- Four to Six Weeks: Bathing and grooming your Westie is good every four to six weeks if you want to keep them clipped shorter and get on a normal grooming schedule. If you go longer, your dog could get quite long and matted before you get them back to the groomer.
- Less Than Four Weeks: If your dog likes to roll in smelly things, play in mud, or just generally get dirty, you may find yourself giving them a bath every few weeks. This could cause issues for your dog’s skin and coat, and it’s largely up to personal preference.
You want to brush your dog every single day because this helps remove any loose debris or dirt that get stuck in your Westie’s coat, and it also removes any dead or loose hair from your dog’s double coat. It gives you a chance to check your dog’s skin for any developing issues and start treatment quickly.
If you don’t plan to groom your Westie yourself, you can have them professionally groomed every four to six weeks to help maintain their skin and coat health. Your groomer can help bathe your dog, check their skin health, clip their coat, and brush out any mats. Having a consistent grooming schedule is important though.
It’s not possible to be with your dog each time they go outside, but you can train them to stop by your front door so you can dry them off with a towel. You can also place a towel in his crate and let him clean himself off after he comes in. Most dirt will shed around half of an hour after your dog comes in.
Many Westie beard stains can come from them getting their beard in water and having saliva drip down every time they drink. To avoid this, you can get a water bottle that hangs from the wall and looks a lot like a water bottle for a rabbit, hamster, or mouse. It avoids getting your dog’s beard wet and stained.
Removing Stains on Your Westie
It may not be possible to prevent stains on your Westie, but it’s possible to remove them. You do have to take care with stains around your dog’s eyes and mouth when you remove them because some of the removal options can be more harsh.
Tear stains are extremely common in dogs with lighter colored coats, and the first thing you want to do is have your veterinarian check to make sure that your dog doesn’t have something causing excessive tearing. If not, you can use the following to help remove them:
- You can mix water and three-percent hydrogen peroxide on a paper towel and gently dab at the tear stains. Make sure that you don’t get any in your dog’s eye because it can burn, and rinse it thoroughly.
- You can also wash these areas every few days when you start to notice the stains showing up because this can help get rid of them.
- Visine applied directly to the tear stains around your dog’s eyes can lighten the fur enough to erase the presence of the tear stains.
- Flush your dog’s eyes every day with a saline eye drop and make sure that you perform routine face cleaning every day to keep the stains from forming.
You don’t necessarily want to use bleach on your dog’s muzzle because they may accidentally lick it and get sick if they get enough. Instead, you can use the following tips to help remove muzzle stains. They include:
- Use a ceramic food bowl instead of a plastic bowl because colors from the plastic can leach into your dog’s fur.
- Teach your dog to drink from a water bottle instead of a water bowl so their beard isn’t constantly wet or damp.
- Check your dog’s food or treats for artificial dyes because these dyes can stain your dog’s beard and make it difficult to remove the stains.
- Your home’s tap water can have chemicals and particles that cause a reddish hue on your white dog. Switching to filtered or bottled water can eliminate it.
- Red mulch or a lot of iron in the soil can cause red staining as your dog digs or plays around your yard.
You want to rule out yeast causing your dog’s staining if it’s just on their paws. Once you do, you can start treating any possible non-medical causes of the staining including:
- Trim the fur on your dog’s paws as sort as possible, and remember to get between their toes.
- Remove anything that is stuck or embedded in your dog’s paws and treat it as needed.
- Dip your dog’s paws in a mixture of water and peroxide. Don’t let them lick it, and rinse it thoroughly after a minute before you pat them dry.
- Mix Epsom salt and water to make a saltwater bath to dip your dog’s feet in. You won’t have to rinse it once you take them out of the salt water.
Keeping your Westie looking brilliant and flawlessly white can be challenging, but you can easily handle Westie tear stains and beard stains by keeping up on a normal grooming routine. You’ll end up with a bright, white, and happy dog for their entire lives.