Cocker grooming: The bare essentials

scissoring pawsIf you want to keep your cocker spaniel healthy then a minimum amount of grooming is necessary. You’ll need to bathe your cocker spaniel as needed to keep the skin and hair clean. How often you bath your cocker will vary depending on environment and activity. You’ll also need to keep your cocker’s hair free from tangles and mats. Mats hold moisture and may cause skin breakdown underneath. Brush using a slicker brush. How often you brush your cocker will also vary with activity, environment, and especially length of hair.

nailThere’s a few places to pay particular attention including the paws, ears, and the mouth. It is important to keep the paw pads and nails trimmed to prevent slipping. This is especially true with older cockers and those with joint problems. Slipping due to excess hair and untrimmed nails can cause further injury in a cocker with a preexisting injury or joint problem. Scissor the pads to remove excess hair. You should clearly see the pads when you’re done. Your vet or groomer can trim the nails. You may also trim the nails after receiving proper instructions from your vet or groomer.

inner ear foldThe ears must also be trimmed to prevent infections. Cocker spaniels are prone to ear infections because their long floppy ears trap moisture. Trimming the hair on the inner surface of the ears as well as around the temples will prevent trapping of excess moisture. Use clippers for the area around the ears. Always run the clippers in the direction the hair lays.

Cockers need their teeth brushed just like humans. The frequency varies from dog to dog. Your goal is to eliminate mouth odor, prevent tartar, and maintain healthy looking gums. You can use a regular tooth brush (without toothpaste) and brush as you would your own teeth. Even a wet wash cloth can do. Wrap a moist wash cloth around your finger and rub the teeth and gums. There are also brushes you can obtain at a pet store.

lip foldSome cocker spaniels have folds in their lower lips that hold moisture and make trimming difficult. Excess hair in these folds may cause infection. Using a wash cloth as needed can keep these areas clean. You can also manipulate the folds with your fingers to clip hidden hair. Use care not to nick the delicate skin of the lips with your clippers.

Another area that may need trimming is the anus. This will vary case by case but realize excess hair may cause hygiene problems. Again, clip in the same direction the hair lays. You may also clean the anus as needed with a wash cloth or disposable baby wipes.

Grooming Summary:

  • Trim the paw pads and nails
  • Trim the inside of the ears and around the ears
  • Brush the teeth
  • Trim and clean the mouth skin folds (if needed)
  • Trim the anus and clean as needed

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