With a thicker coat than many other breeds, as well as a tendency to be drawn towards mud and water, knowing how to bathe a Cocker Spaniel is so important.
Of course, if you take your Cocker Spaniel to dog shows, the bathing process is quite complex, requiring a number of different products to showcase the coat's flawless finish.
However, for everyday pets, bathing a Cocker spaniel is actually quite simple.
Start by Brushing
Before bathing, your Cocker spaniel will need to be completely brushed, to ensure that there are no mats in the coat. If these become wet, they will only thicken and will end up needing to be cut out instead of brushed out. This can be quite painful for your dog, so it is best avoided as much as possible.
Find a suitable place to Bathe
Since cocker spaniels are not too large, this gives you the option of bathing them in a bathtub or a shower cubicle.
The method you choose does not make too much difference to the bathing process, but it needs to be the method that is easiest for you so that you can get the job done as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Use a good Dog Shampoo
Once you have your dog in the tub, you need to wet their coat completely. Make sure that the water is warm enough to keep your cocker spaniel comfortable, but not too hot.
Place some dog shampoo in your hand before rubbing this onto the coat, massaging it in until it forms a lather. Try not to scrub the coat, as this will only lead to extra tangles.
Rinse & Dry
After your cocker spaniel has been lathered up, it is time to rinse. Keep rinsing until the water runs clear, paying extra attention to the legs and any joints where shampoo residue may be hiding. It is important to thoroughly rinse out any shampoo, as remnants can cause skin irritations.
When it comes to drying your Cocker Spaniel, you can either use a blow dryer or simply towel dry the coat.
Use a soft towel and do this gently, so as not to tangle the coat. It may be tempting to give your cocker spaniel a brush while the coat is still damp, but this can often lead to pulling on hairs, which will only end up aggravating your dog.
Either wait until the coat is dry before brushing, or use a de-tangling or conditioning spray before brushing a wet coat.
Problems when Bathing Cocker Spaniels
One problem that many have when it comes to bathing their cocker spaniel is the fact that their adult spaniels do not enjoy it, therefore making keeping them in the bath quite the task.
The key here is to begin bathing them while they are a puppy, introducing the process with plenty of treats and praise to make it fun.
If you are too late for this, another trick is to smear some peanut butter on the walls of your shower or bath, leaving your dog to lick away while you quickly bathe them. Just be sure that the peanut butter you use does not contain any xylitol, as this common sweetener is toxic to dogs (Source).
Importance of Regular Bathing
Bathing a Cocker Spaniel can often be a challenging task for many owners, but this is something that needs to be done in order to maintain your spaniel's coat.
If this is your first time bathing your dog, start off with a short and fun session, and then slowly build on this over time, until you have developed a bathing process that you both enjoy.