A well-groomed Cocker Spaniel is perfect show material. No doggie-parade is ever without a couple of competing pooches showing off their Cocker Spaniel haircut styles. One can’t help but admire these canine celebrities when out at an extravaganza.
Believe you me, it takes a fair share of professional dolling up to get those wagging tails and tassels so beautifully styled!
However, Cocker Spaniels aren’t just handsomely gift-wrapped. To keep them neat and looking good, every spaniel needs some occasional priming. That is why grooming a Cocker Spaniel on a regular basis is so important. So, let’s see what it takes to keep that coat healthy and styled accordingly.
Table of Contents
A Basic Cocker Spaniel Grooming Routine
If you are going to adopt a Cocker Spaniel, then grooming will come as part of the package.
You could take your pet to a professional groomer, or you could delight in the warmth and care of giving your Cocker the tender loving grooming he needs at home. Their basic grooming can be learned and it can be done with minimal equipment.
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A Cocker Spaniel Grooming Video
I have lots of tips in this article related to DIY grooming of your Cocker Spaniel at home. However, just in case you want to cut to the chase and get stuck into clipping your pooch right now, then you might like to jump right into this demo video first. It provides some excellent tips and visual guidance.
Cocker Spaniel Coat Care
Brushing the Spaniel Coat
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Cocker Spaniel Grooming Brushes & Combs (affiliate links)
- Start by using the slicker brush to thoroughly brush tangles and mats from your Spaniel’s back and sides. Remove all tangles and mats. Small mats of hair are a piece of cake for the Slicker. You can get them to come loose by gently slotting the wires into the matting and jiggling the brush from side to side.
- Next, use the pin brush on your Spaniel’s fluffy parts such as legs, tummy, chest and tail.
- After brushing, use a grooming comb for dogs to straighten the coat and to remove left-behind loose hairs.
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Matted Cocker Spaniel Ears
4 Cocker Spaniel Haircut Styles
Let’s look at some easy DIY Cocker Spaniel cut styles. Learning how to do one or two will prove to be a great money saver in the long run. A stylishly clipped Cocker Spaniel can be a delight to see.
Easy DIY Spaniel Haircuts
1. The Cocker Spaniel Puppy Cut
2. The Cocker Cut
3. The Pet Cut for Cocker Spaniels
Pet trims are pretty easy to do and can be finished off with fairly good results.
4. The Traditional Cocker Spaniel Show Cut
A Clipping Routine
Steps When Preparing to Clip Your Cocker Spaniel
Using a Pet Clipper for Cocker Spaniels
A Collection of Cocker Spaniel Grooming Tools
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More Grooming Tasks for a Cocker Spaniel
How To Bath A Cocker Spaniel
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Hygiene for Cocker Spaniel Ears
Your Spaniel might have always been in the pink and never had as much as a jelly bean in his ear, but you need to check and clean under his ear-flops at least once a week. Cleaning them more often won’t be going over the top at all. Those furry flops house a very sensitive and moist place where dirt and grime quickly piles up. It also is important to keep your Spaniel’s ears clean to prevent infection. Germs and other mentionable nasties can easily settle there.
What To Use And What Not To Use (affiliate links)
- Q-Tips? We’ve been taught that it is not safe to put anything smaller than our elbows into our ears. The same counts for your Spaniel. Cotton tipped earbuds can be used, but you can clean with them only as far into your dog’s ear as your finger-tip is allowed. Don’t be as brave as to lunge anything down your dog’s ear canal! You can easily puncture your dog’s ear drums. You need to check with your vet or groomer here.
- A safe ear cleaning solution can be recommended over the counter by your veterinarian, but there are a couple of natural cleaning products for dog ears, products that can just as safely and effectively be used to clean and sooth:
Natural Ear Cleaners
[Disclaimer: before using any natural products, please check with your vet and/or groomer.]
- Witch Hazel
Witch hazel comes from the bark and leaves and of the witch hazel shrub. It makes small skin fissures heal quicker, and it is anti-inflammatory.
- Olive Oil or Cod Liver Oil
Olive Oil or Cod Liver Oil are both good as nutritional supplements and safe for cleaning dirt or ear wax. Just a tidbit dripped on the outer ear can keep ear mites away.
- Apple Cider Vinegar
This little tonic has been celebrated for decades in folk medicine. It effectively kills germs and urges natural healing. Be sure to thin this out with equal share of sterilized water in case of deep cleaning.
- Tea Tree Oil
Tea Tree Oil is a potent germicide. It also helps soothe the sore itch and swelling that often comes with an upsetting inner ear infection.
Tea Tree Oil comes in different intensities, so it might be wise to ask your vet what brand comes recommended and how to apply it safely.
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How To Clean Cocker Spaniel Ears In 3 Steps
- Carefully Trim the stray and excess hair blocking the ear canal.
Remove the loose hairs with the help of a pair of tweezers.
- Use a cotton ball or swab to remove wax from the outer rim of the ear canal.
Wipe the outskirts of the ear with a cotton ball dipped in a natural remedy or solution. Use fresh cotton balls for each step and for each ear.
- Clean the outer part of the canal with the same solution and a fresh cotton ball.
Deep Cleaning Your Spaniel’s Ears In 4 Steps
The kinds of cleaners that come vet-recommended are usually suitable for deep cleaning. Whatever you are going to use, make sure your vet approves. And if you are unsure about your method, it might be a good idea to have your vet demonstrate the right way to clean the inner parts of your dog’s ears. Your Spaniel’s inner ear is very touchy, so with this and any other method or remedy, you might want to ask your vet to demonstrate the right way to go about cleaning your pet’s ears. It is always better to see how it needs to be done before trying it yourself.
- Use an applicator bottle (safest) to fill the ear with a safe solution that has been recommended and approved by your veterinarian.
- Gently rub the base of the ear. You might hear a squishing sound inside, but that is okay. Do this for 1-2 minutes.
- Let your pet shake it’s head – It won’t be able to help wanting to.
- Finally wipe the ear out with a soft tissue, cotton round or a paper towel.
Take care to notice any eerie odors while cleaning out your pooch’s ear – it could possibly be an indication of bacterial or yeast infection that you will need to see your vet for.
Caring For Your Cocker Spaniel’s Teary Eyes
What would a Cocker Spaniel be without those drooping eyelids? Cleaning under your cocker’s eyes daily can help to stop the ‘tears’ (affiliate link) that they so often shed from hardening and settling on that adorable furry face.
Items you will need
• Two clean, soft washcloths
- Wet one of the (clean) washcloths with lukewarm tap water. Make sure to squeeze it till it’s just damp and not dripping with water. You don’t want water to drip into your pet’s eyes.
- With the clean corner(s) of the dampened washcloth, wipe off the seepage under the eyes. If the stuff underneath the eyes are a little hardened, soften it by gently pressing the damp washcloth over it for about 10 seconds or so.
Using a fresh washcloth for each eye prevents bacteria possibly spreading from one eye to the other.
Cocker Spaniel Nail Care
You should take special care when cutting your Spaniel’s nails. How often you will need to cut those nails will depend on how you keep him. If he’s mainly a house dog that occasional gets taken for a walk about, then he will need his nails clipped more often than a pet that plays outside and at his own discretion.
You will need to check that your nail clippers are kept sharp so as to avoid tugging or pulling on the nail itself.
Be careful not to cut into the quick. The quick is the most sensitive part of the nail (around the center). There are fine blood vessels and nerve endings that come together in the toenail here. It is easier to see where the quick ends in white nails than in black nails. But, when in doubt, cut the smallest bit of nail down to a comfortable length. The quick tends to stick out further if the nails are allowed to grow out. Luckily it will also shrink back into the nails if they are clipped short regularly. It is better to avoid the trouble by giving your Spaniel a regular pedicure.
How To Cut Your Spaniel’s Nails
As with all these grooming hobbies, you should get your Spaniel used to having his paws handled and shaved while still a puppy. Start out by going slowly, patiently and steadily. Slowly familiarize him with your grooming tools and grooming occasions. If you snip his nails, show him the clippers or the nail-file and reward him with a treat if he sniffs to welcome it, then touch his paws with it and give him another treat. Pretty soon, you and your Spaniel and your grooming tools will become best friends.
Tools (affiliate links) you will need:
- Dog nail clippers
Your own nail clippers or scissors are far from ideal for your Spaniel. There are nail clippers especially designed for dogs. This is the only advisable option. There are the “guillotine” type clippers and the type that look a lot like scissors.
- A nail file for dogs
In the case of a suitable file, you can use both a normal file or one that is made especially for dogs.
- Styptic powder for dogs
Always have this handy in case you accidentally cut your dog’s nails the wrong way. Styptic powder is there to immediately stop the bleeding of a nail cut into the quick.
Make sure you have a firm but trusting hold on your dog’s paws. And inspect each nail to recognize where the quick ends. If you are confident enough – you should cut more or less 2mm short of the quick. If you cut the quick by accident, the nail will bleed and your Cocker will be in a lot of pain. You can stem the bleeding with styptic powder, but if there is no end to the bleeding, you might want to get your pet to the vet.
Don’t be too put off by the warning. Cutting a dog’s nails is not as hard as it sounds.
Once your pooch is comfortable and quiet, and you can firmly hold his paw in one hand, cut with certainty. The nail should snip off without any extra elbow-grease or effort. The nail should not tear or split if your clipping tool is kept steady and in place.]
If the edge of the trimmed nail is dry and powdery, you might still be able to cut a little shorter. But if the dark grey/black verge of the quick begins to show, you can move along to the next nail.
When all the nails are pruned, you can use the file to smooth the nails and round the sharp edges.
Make sure the fun and rewards keep flowing throughout your pedicure session. Give a treat or two in between clipping and sweet-talking your pooch as you pamper him during a pedicure. When the nails are all round and dusted – you can give him another treat and go play razzle!
Care of Your Spaniel’s Teeth
As hunting dogs, nature used to take care of their teeth, but now it’s up to their parents to take the oral hygiene of Spaniels in their own hands.
Many spaniel parents don’t take the oral hygiene of their dogs too seriously.
But Cocker spaniels are susceptible to anything from gum disease, tooth decay, fractured teeth, and periodontal disease which may affect their heart, liver, or kidney. An annual dental health check can do no harm.
Include dry dog food in your Spaniel’s daily diet. The crunchiness of dry dog food helps clean their teeth and fights plaque which changes into harmful tartar when it gets mixed with their saliva.
If you want a kissable Spaniel, his teeth should be brushed at least three times a week – even better, daily.
Items (affiliate links) you will need:
Dog Tootpaste – Your own toothpaste, or any person’s toothpaste is no good! Doggy toothpaste tends to come in all sorts of tasty doggy food flavors – and it won’t disagree with his stomach in case he swallows it. The fluoride in toothpaste can cause problems.
Toothbrush for dogs – There is a special doggie toothbrush waiting at your local petstore with your pet’s name on it. Again, a ‘human’ toothbrush is not suitable. Ideally, a toothbrush with a leaning head and soft bristles is what you should shop for.
Your finger might come in useful, and there are thingies called finger toothbrushes that are worthwhile using before your dog can become comfortable with getting his teeth tampered with. A finger toothbrush is nothing more than a rubber finger-cap with a knobby outside.
To get your pet into the habit of brushing teeth, you can begin by simply rubbing your finger (or finger toothbrush) over his teeth and gums. Dip your finger in something meaty. Once he is used to having his teeth monkeyed with, you can give him the taste of tooth paste. He should get comfortable in no time. Introduce your pet to Mr. Toothbrush and take the liberty to clean his teeth from front to back and upper and lower teeth in the same circular pattern you would brush your own.
Clean all the teeth and don’t miss the gums. The gums are strengthened by rubbing them gently to begin with.
Remember to keep up your reward system and repay him every time he lets you brush his teeth as well. This could become one of the many grooming activities that you can both look forward to and turn into some of the best quality times and labors of love that you can spend on your pet.
Practice Makes Perfect When Grooming a Spaniel
If you are a professional groomer, we would love to hear of any other tips you can provide on Cocker Spaniel grooming.
On the other hand, if you are a Cocker Spaniel parent and want to take care of all of his grooming needs yourself, be assured that there are lots of tools and guides like this one to help you. With a little practice, you are sure to get bitten by the grooming bug – and you will be well on your way to becoming a talented groomer!
Which of the Cocker Spaniel grooming styles do you prefer?