How to groom your Cocker Spaniel

The Cocker Spaniel’s long, silky coat can take two very different paths: you can either cultivate the long look and groom your Cocker in the style of a show dog, or you can keep the coat clipped shorter for practical reasons. Here are some good tips for grooming your Cocker.

The Cocker coat

The coat of the Cocker Spaniel tends to shed, but this can be minimized with regular grooming, which helps to remove the loose fur all in one go rather than leaving it to fall sporadically around your home over several days. Those who haven’t picked out a Cocker pup yet are in for a treat – the coat comes in a huge variety of colours!

Why is grooming so important?

Grooming holds the following benefits for your Cocker:

  • Keeps the coat free from matts
  • Keeps the coat looking clean and tidy
  • Removes fur which would otherwise litter your home
  • Spreads natural oils throughout the coat which keep it healthy
  • Allows you to check for parasites, skin conditions and unusual lumps
  • Allows you to check for changes in ears, eyes and paws

Because the Cocker Spaniel has a long, silky coat it will need more maintenance than shorter and rougher haired breeds. The coat actually helps to regulate a dog’s temperature, circulating cool air in summer and conserving heat in winter. If matts are allowed to build up in the coat, they can interfere with this important process. What’s more, they can trap moisture and lead to all sorts of nasties such as parasites and skin conditions. So, take the time to keep on top of grooming sessions and if you can’t do this, make sure your Cocker is booked in for regular trimming sessions at the doggy salon. Either that, or learn the art of clipping the coat yourself.

Get your grooming kit together

Here is a handy list of the equipment you’ll need to keep your Cocker clean and tidy:

  • A pin brush
  • A slicker brush
  • A metal comb
  • A flea comb
  • Trimming scissors
  • Dog specific shampoo
  • Towels
  • A non-slip matt
  • Nail clippers
  • Cotton wool for ears

If you’re going to take the plunge and try the long haired look, then you should probably also invest in a proper grooming table.

Grooming your Cocker

If you have been wise enough to teach your Cocker to stay still and be groomed from puppy-hood, you’ll find the process a whole lot easier. Many Cocker owners also like to teach their dogs to lie on their sides for the majority of the grooming session, making it much easier to carry out. Take a few minutes a day to brush the coat thoroughly and you shouldn’t have any issues with the build up of matts. Brush in the direction of hair growth, from nose to tail and pay special attention to those hard-to-reach areas like the armpits. Here are a few tips:

  • If you encounter a matt, brush it from the very outer edges and work inwards towards the skin to avoid too much discomfort
  • Never, ever bathe your Cocker with matts still in the fur. If you do, the matts will turn to felt and will almost certainly need to be cut out of the fur, leaving a big hole and exposing the skin
  • After bathing, never leave the coat to dry naturally – this can also lead to matts. Instead, gentle towel dry your dog and use a hair dryer on a low heat until the coat is dry.

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