How to Groom a Cairn Terrier

Are you a new pet owner? Do you have a Cairn Terrier? Here's how to groom one!


  1. Image titled Groom a Cairn Terrier Step 1
    First get a leash on your dog. They may want to run away. This step is completely optional but very recommended
  2. Image titled Groom a Cairn Terrier Step 2
    Get out your dog brush
    • Brush your dog's back first
    • Then brush the sides and stomach
    • Then legs and chest
    • Then brush the tail. Your dog may not like this so you may want to have a friend hold him/her while you brush.
    • Then face and neck area. My dog doesn't like this so i do it last. Be careful with the face and avoid the eyes.
  3. Image titled Groom a Cairn Terrier Step 3
    Clean ears (time for your ear cleaning solution or wipes)
    • For solution: Put some solution on a cotton ball
    • Swab out the dirt that you can easily see
    • Squirt about 2-3 drops of the ear cleanser gently into the ear
    • Gently massage the base of the ear for a few seconds (the dirtier the ear, the longer)
    • Use a clean,dry cotton ball to wipe out the ear of any left over solution
    • For wipes: Wipe out the area of the ear that you can easily see
    • Gently use your finger and the wipe to clean the ear canals, going just as far as you can go
  4. Image titled Groom a Cairn Terrier Step 4
    Clean their eyes (use a cleanser or wipes)
    • Gently wipe off any tears or debris around the eyes
  5. Image titled Groom a Cairn Terrier Step 5
    Brush their pearly whites (use a toothbrush and dog-safe toothpaste)
    • Ask a friend to hold them or put a leash if your dog doesn't agree with this
    • Put toothpaste on toothbrush I like to wet the brush so it isn't as stiff but that is purely optional
    • Gently lift up your dogs lips to reveal his teeth
    • Brush as you would brush your own teeth
  6. Image titled Groom a Cairn Terrier Step 6
    Clipping the nails (use a dog nail cutter)
    • Hold your dogs paws I prefer to have my dog lie in the play dead position so I have access for all four paws and they are more comfortable
    • Clip a little bit of nail. It's better clip less than more, but if you do clip the quick, cover the nail in flour or corn starch and wait 10-15 minutes and remove flour/starch (use warm water to rinse)
  7. Image titled Groom a Cairn Terrier Step 7
    Bathe the dog (dog shampoo, towel, gloves)
    • Secure your dog in the bathtub/shower (if indoor) or near the hose (if outdoors)
    • Thoroughly soak your dog in warm water, avoiding eyes and ears. It helps to cover the eyes with one and and put cotton balls in the ears.
    • Apply shampoo. A dollop on the shoulders and at the base of the tail, apply a squirt or two in the cup of your hands to do the rest.
    • Lather and scrub everywhere. Use your hands or a bathing brush. Don't be shy about cleaning certain parts of your dog.
    • Leave on for about 5 minutes, depending on your shampoo
    • Thoroughly rinse with warm water. Make you you rinse all the shampoo out, and make sure all water that comes off your dog is sud-free. Shampoo residue can cause dry itchy skin, which won't lead to a happy pup.
  8. Image titled Groom a Cairn Terrier Step 8
    Dry your dog (towel, blow dryer)
    • If your dog has very short fur or you prefer to let them air-dry, you can skip this step.
    • Dry him/her with a blow dryer on low-medium heat or rub them with a dry towel until they're dry
  9. Image titled Groom a Cairn Terrier Step 9
    Apply any deodorizers or perfumes and brush one last time
  10. Image titled Groom a Cairn Terrier Step 10
    Enjoy your clean and happy cairn terrier :)


  • use the right brush for you dog:
    • Short, smooth: Bristle brush
    • Short, wiry: Slicker brush
    • Medium-Long,flowing: Wire-pin brush or bristle brush
    • Delicate: Wire-pin
  • do face last
  • if your dog struggles or doesn't like grooming, ask a friend or someone to help you hold them
  • put dog on leash
  • give them a treat afterwards


  • When clipping nails, don't cut the quick (the quick is the pinkish area of the nail that bleeds when cut)
  • When cleaning ears with wipes, be very careful and only clean the area you can comfortably fit it
  • Avoid the eyes, only clean around the eyes

Things You'll Need

  • Brush (see tips)
  • Ear cleaning solution or wipe
  • Eye cleanser or wipe
  • Dog-safe toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Towel or blow dryer
  • Dog-safe shampoo/conditioer
  • Nail clippers
  • Gloves
  • Leash

Article Info

Categories: Pages Needing Attention | Dog Grooming