Grooming My Sprocker
Lelah - My Lovely Sprocker Spaniel
My Sprocker (Lelah) has started biting and licking around her paws. Could this be something to do with the fact she has a lot of hair around and in between her toes, and it's irritating her?
If so, can I clip the hair around her paws?
Reply from Pauline (Web Owner)
You don't give too much information, and because I can't take a look at your Cocker, it's difficult to know where to start, but generally, I would always recommend keeping the area between your dog's toes clear from tangles. If you don't stay on top of this, they can easily become very matted and trap things like seeds or thorns, which can so very easily work their way into her skin and cause terrible infection.
Max has had sharp thorns work their way into the skin between his toes before. I hadn't noticed (very remiss of me!), and the thorn had pierced the skin and caused an infection which then caused puss to weep from his skin. A visit to the vet and antibiotics were needed.
I now check his paws each time we return from the fields. If we've just been walking around the streets, I don't usually bother, but I do check his paws once each week anyway.
Max's groomer usually gives him a 'Cocker Spaniel Cut', which, depending on your preference, may or may not include trimming between the toes. Either way, your groomer will clear out any mats for you, but it's best not to allow them to develop in the first place (I know, it's easier said than done! :-)
Don't forget the hair in between the pads of your Cocker Spaniel's feet too. This fur can also become very matted and can cause your dog considerable pain when walking if not removed.
If you include these two checks when brushing your dog, you won't go far wrong!
I'd also check very carefully that it's not dog fleas that is causing her to bite at her paws as fleas can cause such irritation.
Also, depending on the time of year and where she's walked, she could have picked up corn mites.
Max often picks these up around July or August. These are so tiny that you probably won't be able to see anything, but if you examine your dog's paws and see what looks like tiny orange dots or colouring on her skin - it's probably corn mites.
This is easily remedied by keeping her out of corn fields for a while and a treatment for parasites.
I usually spray the skin on Max's paws with a little Frontline (not too much - we don't want to overdose) because I find that the spray is much more effective (in this case) than the pipettes - you can spray it exactly where you want it to go.
Anyway, Jacqueline, I hope this has helped you a little, but if you're still worried, why not take Lelah to see her vet?