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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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Diary

Bath day was yesterday

Blogging this helps remind me when Frontline is due. Hoshi feels so soft and fluffy after his bath. I did trim his face and gave him a butch topknot which didn’t turn out well. I tried to dry his hair thoroughly but he smells musty the next day. Maybe it’s his undercoat. It was still damp. I can’t get to it as well. Our Oster A5 came with a free cordless trimmer. Very nice and light but Hoshi hates it, “What the heck is that!?” It made easy work of his lips and chin.

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Diary

Hoshi’s bath and haircut

I gave Hoshi a bath yesterday. He had been scratching (fleas I suspect) so I wanted to bath him before his Frontline treatment. I shaved him down again except for his ears. It’s been so hot lately so I figured he wouldn’t mind. I found a flea on him. I think we have rampant fleas in my area because we have so many rodents (squirrels, bunnies, ect.). Hoshi is just like Gabby and doesn’t like his front paws done. He growled every time I came near him with the scissors. He even begged–tried to get on me and lick me begging me to skip the paws. I let him have his way last trim but not this time. He slept like a baby afterwards. Those fleas must have worn him out.

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Pictures of Hoshi shaved

We had a nice day today. It was a windy and a little cool. Great day for pictures. Here’s Hoshi in his new haircut. He does have some clipper marks. I’ll try to be more careful next time.