Cocker Spaniel Grooming

Cocker Spaniels have an abundant hair coat, which requires frequent grooming. In addition to regular baths and brushing, grooming this breed involves checking his/her ears, eyes, claws and teeth. The AKC recommends Cocker Spaniel grooming to be done  weekly to keep his/her coat clean, shining and manageable and, more importantly, to maintain good health. A regular Cocker Spaniel grooming schedule allows us to detect any skin abnormality, fleas and ticks, ear infections among other health problems.

It is important to start your Cocker Spaniel grooming  at an early age, this breed tends to be very nervous and some dogs do not enjoy grooming, so they should get used to these procedures as early as possible. Grooming is also an excellent opportunity to bond with your Cocker and to reinforce your leader position.

Bathing and brushing

Bathing frequency depends on your Cocker’s lifestyle. Very active dogs or dogs that spend too much time outside need more frequent baths. I recommend bathing active or outside dogs every two weeks because too frequent baths can cause skin problems in this breed. Inactive or indoor dogs can be bathed every three or four weeks. Cockers are susceptible to allergies and other skin problems so you might need a medicated shampoo. You may also need a flea and tick shampoo. Ask your veterinarian about the best shampoo for your dog. If your dog has healthy skin, I recommended using a conditioning shampoo. Since this breed has abundant hair you can dilute your shampoo before application and this will help you achieve an even application. Always dry your dog’s hair coat thoroughly, paying special attention to the ears because humidity can lead to ear infections. I suggest brushing your dog before and after bathing.

Cocker Spaniel Grooming

Nail clipping

Nails are an important aspect of Cocker Spaniel grooming and should be trimmed regularly to avoid overgrowth and cracking. Frequency of nail clipping also depends on your dog’s lifestyle. This procedure should be done in a very careful manner. First examine your pet’s nails carefully to help identify the blood vessels inside; you should cut at least 2 mm away from the blood vessel. Once you have a firm grip on your dog’s paw use a nail-clipping tool to cut each nail on a single and firm movement. The end of the dog nail should have no tearing or splitting.  If you’re not too confident about where to cut, or his nails are very dark, you can clip a small part (about 2-3 mm) of the tip f the nail.

Ear cleaning

Cocker Spaniel’s ears need frequent inspection and cleaning. You should inspect you dog’s ears al least once a week and look for accumulation of debris and the presence of bad odors; these could indicate ear infection, so if you notice them you should visit your veterinarian immediately. To clean your dog’s ear you can use any commercially available ear cleaning solution or baby oil. Lift your dog’s ear and clean the visible part with a cotton ball and solution or oil. You should never introduce cotton swabs on the ear canal.

Dental hygiene

Dental hygiene is an essential part of your Cocker Spaniel grooming. Gradual build-up of plaque and tartar could lead to gum disease, which can also lead to infection and subsequent serious health problems. Periodontal disease is common in dogs and it can be prevented with regular brushing. In addition to brushing your Cocker’s teeth, feeding dry dog food, rawhide bones, and dental sticks, can aid in the prevention of gun disease. You should use toothpaste designed for dogs and a gentle brush. Start by lifting his/her upper lip and begin brushing gently in a circular motion from side to side and making sure that you also brush the guns. Do this for approximately 30 seconds. Repeat this procedure to clean lower teeth.