Is your Cocker Spaniel healthy? If the answer's yes, great!
However, there's no guarantee he'll always be feeling fit and healthy.
There are many dog health problems that could affect your pet at some point in his life such as skin allergies, eye and ear infection(s), hereditary conditions and common dog diseases.
Many problems could be avoided by making sure your Cocker has a healthy, nutritious diet, plenty of exercise, weekly grooming, and of course, regular visits to his vet.
health is very important to us (and to our dogs too!), and if we
are to nip problems in the bud, we need to keep a watchful eye on
our Cockers for any early signs of illness.
Every canine breed has some hereditary health concerns and as responsible owners we ought to be aware of those that may affect our pets.
Cocker Spaniel health problems which may affect your dogs health are:
Fortunately, responsible breeders will test their dogs for some of the above conditions before they breed, and will require the mate to have had the same tests, with good results, to ensure that their puppies are strong and healthy.
Cocker Spaniel ears are beautiful - there's no disputing that fact!
However, their pendulous design means that they're prone to many problems.
They always end up in food and water bowls, and when they're out and about, you'll see them bottoms up, nose to the ground, ears being dragged through all sorts; a dead and decomposing rabbit, dog poop and pee - all of which harbor dangerous bacteria.
Their design also hampers air circulation around the entrance to the ear making their ears ideal breeding ground for bacteria.
So I think it's safe to say that (owing to their design) Cocker Spaniels are prone to ear infection, which isn't much fun for your dog as infections can cause them much pain and discomfort.
In serious cases, and especially if the condition isn't treated, an ear infection could result in eventual deafness, so it's essential that cleaning your dog's ears is given high priority to help fight infection and excess bacteria.
Learn how to spot the symptoms of ear infection and keep your dog's ears in tip-top condition.
Glaucoma, distichiasis and conjunctivitis, these are just some of the eye problems that could befall your Cocker Spaniel during his lifetime.
Clean and check your pet's eyes often - it doesn't take long and it's easy to do - and make sure he has regular eye checks when you visit his vet who will pick up on potential health problems
long before you do.
I usually give Max's eyes a quick once-over when I'm petting him or giving him a cuddle, but I give them a thorough check and clean them as part of his regular grooming sessions.
Although hereditary conditions may not be preventable, there are many other dog health problems that you can help to prevent, or at the very least, minimize.
Regular checks and making sure your dog's eyes are scrupulously clean will help you do this.
Follow the link to learn more about dog eye problems and how to spot and avoid potential problems with your Cocker's eyes.
Anal glands are two small marble-like glands and you'll find them slightly below and to either side of the anal opening.
Problems with anal glands are fairly common in dogs, particularly where their diet is poor or where they've suffered long bouts of diarrhea.
If the glands aren't working properly, or your Cocker's diet isn't nutritious enough, the glands may become impacted and/or infected, and will need to be cleared.
If you ask nicely, I'm sure your vet or your groomer will show you how to clean and express your dog's anal glands so that when you feel confident enough, you can do it yourself.
One of the most common signs of dog health problems is Halitosis, or dog breath as it's commonly known!
If your dog has bad breath it could be as a result of coprophagia (where your dog eats his own or other dog's poop) or a sign of poor dental hygiene which has resulted in gingivitis, or periodontal disease.
Poor dental hygiene can cause many problems, so it's important to brush your Cocker's teeth.
I recommend brushing your puppy's teeth from an early age so that he becomes perfectly happy with the feel of a toothbrush in his mouth.
If your dog's dental hygiene is good, but his breath is very bad, there may be something much more serious lurking.
If this was the case, it would probably be a good idea to book an appointment with the vet, just to be certain that there's no underlying illness causing your dog's bad breath.
I decided to mention parasites here as well as the grooming section because fleas and ticks can harbor diseases and cause ill-health.
Dog fleas (and ticks) are horrid little parasites!
Fleas are very small, but you can see them with the naked eye, especially when they jump, but you won't be able to see them in any great detail.
If you're already a dog owner you're probably familiar with fleas, however, if you're a new puppy owner, you may not
have seen them yet so this is for you - this is what a dog flea looks like close up. Careful, it's not a pretty sight!
Where fleas are concerned, I recommend prevention rather than cure, so use a treatment each month to keep parasites at bay, but make sure you apply the flea medication in the right way otherwise it may not work as well as it should.
If you prefer not to use chemicals on your pet, you might like to consider a natural flea control which you can either make yourself or pick up at any good pet store.
Some medications will continue to be effective throughout the entire flea's life cycle, others will simply kill the fleas - leaving the eggs, larva, and pupae to continue to grow.
Another unpleasant side effect of fleas are flea bites - whether they bite us our our dogs, they're no laughing matter. If you or your Cocker has been bitten by a
flea, apart from leaving a sore and/or itchy red spot, they can also pass on disease and
For puppies less than 6 months old, please check with your vet before using any dog flea or tick products.
Depending on how long your Cocker's been 'hosting' these wee beasties, they're likely to be in your carpets so you'll need to vacuum regularly to make sure you suck up all those little jumping bodies as they hatch!
And it doesn't end there!
If your spaniel is usually walked through
fields and woods, which are ideal breeding grounds for dog ticks, you'll have to learn how to manage these little blighters too!
If we took care to lock away everything that could be toxic to our dogs, accidental dog poisoning could become a thing of the past!
Unfortunately, many dogs are still accidentally poisoned in and around our homes every day and in many different ways.
In the home, there are many household cleaners that are potentially poisons to our pets; bleach, kitchen and bathroom sprays, oven cleaners.
The garage also holds hazardous substances, such as rat poison, antifreeze (this is particularly dangerous as it smells and tastes good to dogs!), paint thinners, turpentine, and oil or petrol in cans - all just sitting around waiting for a bored Cocker Spaniel looking for trouble!
Even your garden, or the woods or parkland where you walk your dog can hold many hidden dangers such as poisonous plants that could make your Cocker Spaniel very sick if he ate them. You can't always keep a close eye on what they pick up when they're off the lead, running in woods or fields, can you?
Dogs have accidentally eaten poisonous mushrooms, with serious consequences, and if you're not aware of which plants can be toxic to dogs, well, that's another accident waiting to happen!
Even the food we eat can turn out to be a fatal poison for your pet - foods such as grapes, raisins, macadamia nuts, and chocolate! And while we're on the subject of chocolate, this is a particularly toxic food for dogs, especially if it's quality chocolate containing high levels of cocoa.
The only chocolate that's safe for your Cocker is the specially produced chocolate drops for dogs which are available in most supermarkets and pet stores.
Don't wait until it's too late - lock away anything that may accidentally harm your pet and keep your Cocker Spaniel safe!
Most vets will recommend we have our dogs neutered as they maintain that castrating a dog (or spaying a bitch) can prolong their life and can help to reduce your dog's health problems.
This article explores the benefits and pitfalls of neutering dogs as well as some of the myths surrounding castration and spaying.
For the record my Cocker Spaniel, Max, is neutered.
Whilst there are many dog illnesses that can befall your Cocker Spaniel, one which we often overlook when we think of Cocker's health is obesity.
Although dog obesity itself is an illness, overweight dogs tend to be more prone to more health problems so it's important to keep an eye on your Cocker Spaniel's weight, especially as he moves into his older years.
Keep your Cocker Spaniel healthy!
I thought I'd mention pet insurance.
Let's face it, with consultation, medication, treatments, x-rays, and surgery costs, (to name a few) vet bills can soon mount up and become very expensive - particularly if you don't yet have insurance!
If you've recently bought a Cocker puppy, your breeder will have already insured the pup, usually for around 6 weeks, so don't let it lapse, act now to ensure you have continuing pet health insurance.
There are several things you should know when you're thinking about renewing or taking out insurance for your Cocker Spaniel, so it's very important that you understand exactly what your pet insurance quote covers - and don't forget to check the small print!
Our dog's health is very important to us and is high up on our agenda, but it's really important that when we believe our pet is unwell we don't try to diagnose our dog's symptoms ourselves.
Yes, we need to be aware of Cocker Spaniel health concerns, symptoms, and their remedies, but we must always consult a qualified veterinary if we're at all concerned about our pet's health.
Grooming Cocker Spaniels - regular grooming sessions with your dog will help you spot signs of ill health before they become serious. Now that's got to be good for your pet's health!
What Exactly Is Dog Bloat? - Learn about dog bloat, what causes it and what you can do to avoid it happening to your Cocker Spaniel.
Dog Food Allergies - they can make your pet's life so miserable. Discover what you can do to help your pet live with allergies.
Is Your Puppy Eating Poop? - although we might think this is a disgusting habit, it is fairly common amongst puppies and dogs. Learn how to stop your dog eating his own poop.
Why dogs eat poop - learn why your dog (or your puppy) would want to eat his own poop.
Cocker Spaniel Rage Syndrome - Don't worry, this condition is much rarer that people think - it is recommended reading though!
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