Cocker Spaniels regularly need groomed because they are not a breed that fully sheds their coat. You will certainly see a decline in your dogs’ appearance without regular grooming.
So how often should you brush a Cocker Spaniel? A Cocker Spaniel should be brushed twice a week minimum. This should be enough to keep him matt and tangle-free as well as taking care of any excess fur that he will naturally shed.
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Brushing Your Cocker Spaniel
Cocker Spaniels, like many other breeds of dogs, do not fully shed their fur. As a result, regular grooming is required to keep their appearance up to scratch.
As already mentioned, tangling and matting will easily occur without regular grooming and by regular, I mean at least twice per week and not just whenever you feel like you have the time.
Another reason you need to keep on top of your Cocker Spaniels grooming, is they have two different layers of coat.
The top layer is longer with a more silk-like feel and appearance while the undercoat is shorter and softer to touch.
When you first start brushing your Cocker Spaniel, try and aim for at least twice a week like I said although if your dog is out and about, playing in fields, water and generally messing about, you may need to increase the brushing to every other day.
A friend of a friend I know has a gorgeous English Golden Cocker Spaniel that he shows regularly in competitions so his girl has a longer coat.
He also happens to live out in the English countryside so his Cocker gets up to all sorts of mischief, chasing wildlife, jumping in streams, etc.
As a result, he has to groom his Spaniel each and every day to avoid any matting and tangling.
I said earlier that because Cocker Spaniels don’t fully shed, they also need to be brushed to remove any dead or loose fur. If you are finding a lot of loose fur on the brush when you groom twice per week, then I would suggest you increase the frequency of grooming.
There’s more of a chance of matting and tangling issues if there’s a lot of loose hair every time you groom your dog.
What Is Matting And Tangling
Let’s start with matting. Matting is when a dog’s fur becomes clumped together in a sort of solid one-piece lump. It’s kind of hard to explain but if you have any sort of dog and it gets matted fur, you know exactly what I’m trying to describe here.
When your dogs’ undercoat becomes loose, if the hair isn’t brushed out, only some of it will fall out naturally. The rest will become stuck in the dogs’ coat and eventually become matted.
Tangling or tangles is pretty much the same as what humans get especially with longer hair.
The hair becomes tangled and it’s hard to run a brush or your fingers through without getting stuck and pulling at the hair.
With a Cocker Spaniel, the tangles usually occur on their longer silk-like outer coat.
What Else Causes Matting?
There’s numerous things that cause matting and things that can make matting worse.
Aside from a lack of brushing, one of the biggest causes of matting is by the dog wearing a harness and / or a coat.
The rubbing on the dogs’ coat by either of these can easily cause matting. Be sure to do regular checks if your dog wears either of these items.
How To Remove Matting
Matting is part and parcel of A Cocker Spaniel’s life. Let’s be honest, they are game hunters by nature so they are going to get themselves in a mess and tangles up with all sorts of mud and plant life.
Despite your regular grooming, you will come across some matting so let’s take a look at how you will deal with it.
First things first. When you are grooming your dog and you notice some fresh looking matting, be sure to deal with it straight away.
If the matting is left, it will continue to grow by pulling in other loose furs. Bacteria and yeast will follow resulting in irritation, infections, sores and general discomfort for your dog…..we don’t want that do we!!
Hopefully, you never have to deal with a dog that is heavily matted. If you do ever come across this, be prepared to be very patient.
Do not try and comb out all the tangles in one go. Do one area, then maybe another and see how your dog is reacting. Does he seem comfortable? Is he getting restless or anxious?
Give him a break if he seems like he’s getting a little worked up. The last thing you want to do is stress your Cocker Spaniel out some.
Before trying to brush or comb out any mats, try pulling the fur apart. Despite a mat almost feeling like one solid lump, it’s really just a lot of dog hair stuck together.
Sometimes matted hair can be easily pulled apart from each other. If you find this is the case with your dog, gently separate the hair the best you can or so that it doesn’t seem like one solid lump, then, use a metal comb to gently comb it out.
A slicker brush like these ones can also be used to help brush out mats. In fact, a slicker brush is pretty much the go-to grooming brush for Spaniel owners. I have one myself self and I highly recommend you get one.
When using a slicker brush or metal comb, just be sure not to brush too hard or you will pull at your dog’s hair which in turn will pull at his skin.
Not very pleasant for him.
Some matting can be very stubborn and this is where you will need scissors. Depending on how tolerable your dog is to groom, it’s advisable to have someone help you when using scissors.
The way to use the scissors is to cut directly int the matted area, making sure not to cut into the skin.
Once you have cut into the stubborn matting, try pulling it apart like described earlier then try combing it all out.
If the mat has gone unnoticed for some time and is too tough to brush out even after using the scissors, the only option left is to fully cut out the matted area.
This involves cutting very very close to your dog’s skin. Personally I wouldn’t recommend you try this.
Over the years, we have had this happen a couple of times to the dogs we have had and both times, I booked an appointment with a qualified dog groomer so they could remove the mat properly.
I would never have forgiven myself if I had cut one of my dogs with a pair of scissors.
Another word of warning is never bathe your dog before trying to remove any mats. The water just makes the mat and tangles more likely to become even tighter as the dog hair dries.
Brushing Mats From A Cocker Spaniels Ears
Ah Cocker Spaniel’s big floppy ears, don’t you love them. My boy Guinness and the English Show Springer Spaniel we had, have naturally curly hair on their ears as soon as they had a bit of length to their fur.
We preferred their ears to look like this but it also made them very prone to matting. There are two main reasons for a Cocker spaniel’s ears becoming matted and tangled.
They drag their ears along the ground which picks up dirt. This can’t be helped but another big culprit of matted ears is food and water becoming encrusted.
The easiest way to solve this is by buying proper feeding bowls made especially for Spaniels.
I have a full post on how to keep your Cocker Spaniels ears clean. Go read it here.
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