How to Groom a Springer Spanielby Katherine Barrington
Like most spaniels, springer spaniels are known for being eager to please their masters. These friendly dogs make great family pets, but they require regular grooming to keep their coats clean and healthy. Springer spaniels have a soft undercoat and a medium-length flat or wavy overcoat. To prevent mats, brush your springer spaniel at least once a week, and give him a full grooming every two months or so. Not only will regular grooming keep your dog's coat healthy, but it will also help to reduce shedding.
Combing and Brushing
Go over your dog's coat with a medium slicker brush to remove mats and tangles. Brush in the direction of hair growth, moving from the head to the shoulders, then down the back and legs. When combing through mats, hold the hair to prevent pulling the skin and causing pain.
Use a small slicker brush on your spaniel's feet and face. Use caution when brushing your dog's face, and take care to avoid scratching his eyes or nose with the brush bristles.
Brush your springer spaniel with a wire-pin brush. These brushes are designed for dogs with medium to long flowing coats. Move the brush with the direction of hair growth, starting at the head and working along the neck, shoulders and back.
Rub your dog's body using a soft cloth or hand towel to remove dead hair loosened by the brushing. If you do not remove this hair before bathing your dog, it could form mats when it gets wet.
Place your springer spaniel in the bathtub and fill it with several inches of lukewarm water. If your dog is nervous about getting into the tub, try encouraging him with a favorite toy or a dog treat.
Wet your dog's coat, using a pet sprayer or handheld shower head. To work the water into your dog's undercoat, lift the overcoat gently with your hand and spray the shorter fur underneath.
Drizzle a small amount of dog shampoo down your springer spaniel's back and work it into a lather with your hands. If you do not have dog shampoo, diluted baby shampoo will be mild enough for your dog's skin. Fill a squirt bottle with one-third baby shampoo and two-thirds warm water.
Use a damp washcloth to clean your dog's face. Do not use the sprayer near your dog's head because you could get water in his eyes or ears.
Rinse your dog thoroughly with the sprayer. Make certain you remove all traces of shampoo. Any soap residue left behind could irritate or dry your dog's skin.
Drain the tub, and blot your springer spaniel's coat dry with a large bath towel. You may finish drying his coat using a hair dryer on the lowest heat setting if you wish.
Use a pair of thinning shears to carefully trim the hair on the inside and outside of your spaniel's ears. Hold the shears so the tips are angled slightly away from your dog's body, and cut through the fur to the desired length. When finished, use a fine-toothed comb to remove all loose hair.
Trim the long, feathered hair on your dog's chest and belly with straight shears. Try combing out the hair first to remove tangles and to make it easier to cut. Trim the hair to uniform length in the desired shape.
Use the straight shears to trim the fur on your dog's feet. Cut the fur between the toes so it is even with the pads, and shape the fur on the outside of your dog's feet to give them a clean look.
Trim the hair on your spaniel's hocks close to the body using the thinning shears. The hock is the portion of your dog's back legs between the foot and the knee joint.
Other Grooming Tasks
Check your springer spaniel's ears regularly to be sure they are clean and free of infection. If your dog's ears have a discharge or a foul odor, consult your veterinarian.
Clean your dog's ears once a week, using a dog ear cleansing solution. Squeeze a few drops of the solution into the dog's ear canal, and massage the ear to distribute it. Use dry cotton balls to wipe away dirt and excess cleansing solution.
Brush your springer spaniel's teeth once a week, using dog toothpaste and a dog toothbrush. This is especially important if you feed your dog moist foods. Most dry foods contain ingredients that help keep your dog's teeth naturally clean.
Items You Will Need
- Medium slicker brush
- Small slicker brush
- Wire-pin brush
- Soft cloth or hand towel
- Toy or dog treats
- Pet sprayer or handheld shower head
- Dog shampoo or baby shampoo
- Squirt bottle (optional)
- Damp washcloth
- Large bath towel
- Hair dryer (optional)
- Thinning shears
- Straight shears
- Dog ear cleansing solution
- Cotton balls
- Dog toothpaste
- Dog toothbrush
- Brush your springer spaniel at least once a week. More frequent brushing will help to keep shedding under control, especially if you use an undercoat rake to remove loose and dead hairs before it can be shed.
- Bathe your springer spaniel once every four to six weeks. Because these spaniels are active dogs, they often get muddy, but it is not necessary to bathe your dog every time he goes outside. Simply keep your dog somewhere he can dry off, then brush the dry mud out of his coat.
- Avoid getting your dog's ears and eyes wet. Wet ears are more likely to harbor bacteria, which could lead to ear infections.
- Never try to trim your dog's nails on your own unless you have been shown how to do so by a professional. A dog's nails contain a quick that, if severed, can bleed profusely and cause pain.
- english springer spaniel image by Jeff Dalton from Fotolia.com