The lovely silky coat of a cocker spaniel doesn’t always stay like that for long. The combination of longish hair and an inquisitive, active nature can lead to a tangled, muddy and matted coat. Unless, that is, you groom him properly.
Brush your dog from head to toe at least …times a week. Use a stiff bristle brush or wire pin brush, which are suitable for longer coats. If you come across a tangle, use a metal comb to carefully remove it.
Bathe him about once every 6 weeks, not more often. Get your shower running lukewarm water, place your dog in the cubicle and wet his fur.
Lather dog shampoo into his fur, avoiding his face and leaving the ears for later. Rinse with the shower attachment being careful that suds do not enter his ears, eyes or mouth. Wipe the fur-covered outer side of his ears with a wet cloth.
Repeat the shampooing process with dog conditioner, let him shake and towel him dry. Comb through his fur to stop tangles developing
Blow dry his coat with a hairdryer set to the coolest, lowest setting. This gets his coat dry faster and makes it look extra fluffy. If he is not comfortable with the sound and feeling of a hairdryer, get him used to it over a period of several weeks, starting by turning it on briefly a good distance from him and gradually bringing it nearer and keeping it on for longer. Reward him with treats and lots of petting so that he associates a hairdryer with a thoroughly enjoyable experience. You might need to take the same approach to bath time -- cocker spaniels often love swimming but are not so certain of showers.
Take him for a haircut every few months. Cocker spaniels don't need as much clipping as, say, a poodle but their coat still needs the occasional trim.
- Take your dog to a professional groomer at least once. He or she can also provide tips on keeping your pet’s coat fluffy but, more importantly, there are some grooming procedures that you must be shown how to do in person, in particular ear cleaning (which is important in cocker spaniels), nail clipping and tooth brushing.
- Alternatively, ask your vet to show you during the initial check-up. Without a demonstration from a professional, you risk injuring your pet.
- Cocker spaniels are small enough that you can bathe them in the tub if you wish. Use a plastic jug for rinsing and, of course, make sure to use lukewarm water.
- If mats have developed in his coat, ask your vet or dog groomer to remove them. You risk hurting him by trying to remove them yourself, and if left unattended they will get worse and more painful.
- Washing your dog too frequently strips the natural oils from his coat, making it look lank and dull. It can also cause skin irritation. If he has a habit of getting muddy, let the mud dry and brush it out rather than bathing him. If he really does need an extra bath, just rinse out or wipe off the dirt – don’t use shampoo.
Judith Willson has been writing since 2009, specializing in environmental and scientific topics. She has written content for school websites and worked for a Glasgow newspaper. Willson has a Master of Arts in English from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland.