A furry footed friend’s enemy

SandburThere’s one particular yard I’m careful to walk by because their yard has sandburs. This a type of grass with sharp spiny burs. They are literally a pain to remove from your dog’s fur. Both you and your dog will get painfully poked trying to remove them. I found a slicker brush is the easiest way to get them out. Try to get them out right away as they will get increasingly entangled making them difficult to remove. I pulled this plant out of their yard and will destroy it so no harm comes to Hoshi.


Protecting your cocker spaniel from dog attacks

Pit bullThere is no chance of your cocker spaniel winning a fight against a pit bull. In fact, your cocker spaniel will probably be seriously injured or even die. I’ve read story after story of cocker spaniels being killed by loose pit bulls. Tragically, a woman in Ohio was attacked and lost her beloved cocker spaniel to pit bulls last Friday. Take a few precautions the next time you’re out with your pet.

Bring a cell phone with you in case of emergencies. You can call for help (911) if you’re attacked. Have your veterinarian’s number stored in your phone in case your cocker is injured.

Pepper sprayCarry a stick, umbrella or pepper spray to fend off an attack. I carry pepper spray on a wrist key holder. It’s always there on my wrist and fits naturally in my hand. If you use pepper spray be mindful where you point it and realize you may spray yourself and your pet in the process (see first aid). If the attacking dog is sprayed please contact the owner or authorities so that the dog can receive first aid.

While you’re out with your cocker spaniel always be vigilant for loose dogs. If you see a loose dog walk the other way without drawing attention to yourself–hopefully it hasn’t seen you or your cocker spaniel. If the loose dog approaches yell no! Yelling “No!” may be enough stop him. Make sure your cocker is at your side to protect him. If possible, pick your cocker up and hold him in your arms–the aggressing dog can’t attack your cocker if he can’t reach him. From this position you can kick the attacking dog or pepper spray him if necessary.

Disclaimer: This article is for your information only. Use your own judgment.

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

Is Fido suffering from fleas or bed bugs?

puppy scratching fleasMost likely, if Fido is being bit by bedbugs then so are you. Bedbugs feed off of humans although all mammals and birds can be targets. Transients such as homeless people are the source of bedbugs.

Do bed bugs live on pets? No. They live inside your home where they hide in cracks and crevices. They may also hide under your pet’s bed.

Is Frontline or Advantage effective for treating bedbugs? No. Use only products specifically formulated for bedbug treatment. As far as pet products, a quick search of Foster & Smith and Petedge turned up nothing.

Bed bug bitesCan I test my home for bedbugs? Yes. There are commercially available products (Climbup Insect Interceptor) on Amazon that can test your home for bedbugs.

Signs of infestation:

  • Seeing bedbugs
  • Host (i.e. pet, human) has bites usually along the trunk. Sometimes there is a pattern of 3 bites in a row. Bedbugs have trouble moving through pet hair so look for bites on the belly and groin where hair is sparse.
  • Areas with bedbugs have a sickly sweet smell (i.e. motel room).

For more information on bedbugs and your pets see the AVMA FAQ page.