The Cocker Spaniel’s flowing and beautiful coat is part of what makes the breed such a popular pet among households in the US. The silky, flat coat is slightly wavy and comes in a variety of colors, including black and a range of shades from light cream to deep red. However, as the owner of a Cocker Spaniel, you must be aware of and take to follow grooming guidelines in order to keep the coat healthy and attractive. If you are new to Cocker Spaniel grooming tips or just need a refresher, keep reading to learn easy care tips.
How to Groom a Cocker Spaniel
Grooming a Cocker Spaniel is a multi-step and extensive process. As a breed, a Cocker Spaniel’s temperament is often uncooperative or nervous on the grooming table so owners should take care to help their dogs become accustomed to being groomed from a young age by making it a positive experience for their pet. Grooming your Spaniel will include regular brushing, bathing, and hair clipping.
Brushing your Cocker Spaniel requires time and regular devotion. Routine brushing will keep your pet’s hair clean and tangle-free. Brushing will also help to keep his skin healthy by stimulating blood flow, removing dead hair, and distributing natural oils.
For silky coated breeds like the Cocker Spaniel, It is best practice to brush the coat several times per week, if not daily. Cocker Spaniels specifically have a combination of a long, silky coat and a short, smooth coat making them especially susceptible to mats and tangles, as well as seasonal shedding. Here’s how to brush your Cocker Spaniel:
- Use a slicker or pin brush to remove tangles
- You may use a liquid detangler or baby oil for stubborn tangles or mats
- Then use a bristle brush or combination comb to smooth the coat
When groomed properly, the coat should be like a natural body jacket and lay tight to the body without tangles. The coat on the top of the head should lay smoothly.
The general rule of thumb for dog bathing is once every three months. However, it is typically better to bathe dogs with silky coats more often. The coat should end up fresh smelling, light and shiny, with no loose or shedding hair. Before bathing, you will want to brush your pet to remove any dead hair or matting. Then place a rubber mat in the tub to provide secure footing and fill the tub with three to four inches of lukewarm water. Follow these steps to bathe:
- Use a spray hose, pitcher or unbreakable cup to wet your dog, taking caution to avoid getting water in the eyes, ears, and nose
- Massage in pet shampoo, saving the head for last
- Immediately rinse thoroughly, starting with the head to prevent soap from dripping into the eyes
- Towel dry
Your Cocker Spaniel will probably not enjoy his first bath, but be sure to provide positive reinforcement throughout the process to encourage him. Over time, he will begin to relax during his baths and may even enjoy them!
Clipping your Cocker Spaniel’s coat lessens the chances of matting, tangles and the infestation of fleas and other pests, thus reducing the risk of canine skin rashes and infections. There is no set timetable but dogs with silky coats generally require routine hair clipping.
Prior to beginning your trim, it is a good idea to take your dog for a short walk to calm him down. As with bathing, thoroughly brush the coat to remove tangles and mats before trimming. Then follow these steps:
- Using clippers, choose the appropriate clip attachment to achieve the desired length and trim excess fur off your dog’s body. Start with the shoulders and progress towards the tail. Always leave at least a half-inch of fur to protect the dog from environmental elements.
- Then use a trimmer or scissors to even out areas around the tail, paws, sanitary areas and chest, as needed.
- Groom the head and face last, being watchful for sudden movement. Clip with the flow of the fur, away from the eyes and nose.
Because the breed standard is a long, natural coat, the hair can become unmanageable if left unattended. Hand-scissoring between clips will help the coat stay at a reasonable length.
As you can see, the Cocker Spaniel coat requires devotion and attention to stay at optimal health. In the beginning, you will need to patiently work with your dog until he becomes more comfortable with the grooming process. However, after some time and with the right grooming schedule, you can easily maintain the attractiveness of your pet’s gorgeous, long coat.