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Grooming Tips

A Cocker that is kept clean and groomed is a pleasure to be around and will be an all-around healthier dog.  (You'll also be amazed how proud a newly groomed Cocker will be!)  Regular grooming sessions will help train your dog to be handled and can help you immediately spot parasites, skin/coat problems or other health issues.   The following tips (along with proper exercise and diet) will hopefully help you keep your Cocker in tip-top shape!
  • Groom your Cocker regularly.  (This means a haircut).  Every 2-4 weeks for puppies over 8 weeks of age and every 4-6 weeks for adult dogs. 
    •  Be sure the hair growing between the pads of the feet is trimmed with the clippers during the dog's grooming.  This hair can get matted or might become entangled with twigs, stick-tights or cockleburs.  Any of the above situations are painful for the dog and could lead to the dog chewing or licking sores on its feet.
    • Keeping the coat trimmed shorter does not prevent shedding.  However, keeping the coat short does mean the volume of hair shed is lessened since the hairs that are shed are shorter.
  • Brush your dog daily, weekly or as needed for his coat type and length.
    • Brushing stimulates hair growth, distributes natural oils through the coat and helps keep the skin and coat healthy.
    • Pay particular attention to the "armpits", between the rear legs and the ear fringe.
    • Comb gently but thoroughly between the toes to remove tangles.  Thorns, grass seeds and other yard trash often get tangled in hair between the toes and these items can become imbedded in the skin if left unattended.
    • Regular brushing will minimize shedding as dead hair will be removed as you brush.  This will minimize the amount of hair that ends up on you, the floor and the furniture.
  • Bathe your dog weekly, bi/weekly or as necessary (based on his coat type, weather and any health issues - skin problems, etc.)
    • Use quality shampoos and conditioners
    • Avoid harsh pesticides or other chemicals on the dog
  • Dry your Cocker's coat with a warm blow dryer after his bath or if he gets wet outdoors. 
    • Be sure that between the toes, deep in the armpits and the undersides of the ears are completely dry.  (These areas are prone to hold moisture anyway and the excess moisture from a bath can lead to skin problems.)
    • A wet or damp coat can lead to extra tangles and mats.  Prevent severe matting by drying the dog thoroughly. 
  • Trim the dog's toenails before his bath.
  • Invest in all necessary grooming equipment (and the best quality possible) so that grooming is easy and convenient.  (Not something you put off indefinitely because it's such a pain!)
    • A grooming table is probably the one expense that most people have a hard time convincing themselves is really needed, but which can make grooming SOOO much easier!  A table with a grooming arm helps you control the dog, allows you to work on the dog in any location that is convenient and allows you to have a grooming surface that you don't have to worry about the dog scratching, dog hair or water ruining and that is convenient to use (not too high, too low, too slick, too cluttered, etc., etc.)
  • Clean your Cocker's ears weekly with an appropriate cleaner/drying agent and address any problems immediately. 
  • Keep your dog on appropriate flea and tick preventatives to prevent grooming/skin issues associated with parasite infestation.
  • If your Cocker has skin issues, address these problems immediately.
    • Many (if not most!) skin issues can be solved by feeding a quality food, preventing parasites and keeping the dog clean and groomed.
  • Incorporate regular dental hygiene into your dog's grooming routine.  (Use appropriate canine supplies.)
    • Brush your dog's teeth 3-5 times a week.
    • Provide dental chew toys and/or appropriate bones.
    • Feed dry dog food.
    • Have your dog's teeth cleaned by your veterinarian once a year or as needed.

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Copyright Sandcastle Kennels 2004

Last revised: January 03, 2006