Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Grooming
- Keep in mind that all dogs are unique. What Bentley likes in terms of grooming may be different than what your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel prefers. And they change as they get older. Bentley hated to be groomed as a puppy. Now he loves it! So be patient and be flexible with your Cav.
- Start grooming Cavalier Spaniel puppies early so they become accustomed to it, but don't get frustrated if they won't sit still for too long. In the beginning their coats are fairly short anyway. Just work at getting them used to the concept. (And rewarding them with a treat after grooming sessions will help the process along.!)
Basic grooming tools include a straight comb, a soft brush, a pin brush, a shedding tool and nail clippers. Again, not all of these may be necessary. Bentley will only tolerate a comb and a "Furr-minator" shedding tool. Experiment with your pet over time to see what works best.
Cavaliers generally don't need bathing very often - perhaps every 6 weeks or so. But be sure to groom your Cavalier well before bathing, because tangles and mats are almost impossible to remove once wet. Read more on how to give your Cavalier a bath here.
I personally never have had Bentley's coat professionally clipped - never ever! I know some owners of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels do clip their dogs, particularly in the summertime. There's nothing wrong with that if you have a companion pet, rather than a show dog. But I believe that once clipped, your dog's coat is more likely to grow back in thick and coarse. I've seen too many clipped Cavaliers with thick, bushy coats, rather than the soft, silky coats they were born to have. I've never trimmed Bentley's coat and I personally think that's the reason he's still so gorgeous! (Obviously, this is just one Cav-lover's opinion. To each his own.)
Nail clipping - Again, get your puppy accustomed to having his nails clipped early in life. Lift one paw, and "pretend" to clip his nails. In the first few months, you're only trying to teach your Cavalier puppy to allow you to hold his paw quietly. Later, when his nails actually do need clipping, you can buy nail clippers at your local pet store that do a good job. If your pet's jumpy, then ask a friend to help hold him while you clip his nails. Clip only the white part; don't get too close to "the quick" where you might knick a blood vessel. And don't forget his dew claws!
Ear Cleaning - Cavaliers have long, floppy ears and tend to get more dirt and debris in their ears than other short-ear breeds. It's a good idea to make ear cleaning part of your grooming ritual. Use a gentle ear cleaning solution ( I use this Ear Care Formula) with a cotton ball to gently clean away dirt. Never use a q-tip or force anything too deep in your pet's ears.
- Dental Hygiene - Consult your Vet as your dog gets older about professional dental cleanings. But there’s a lot you can do at home too.
- First, good quality chews are helpful. I give him Life's Abundance Gourmet Dental Treats and Porkhide Bones. Porkhide products are more digestible than rawhide chews, which upset Bentley's stomach.
- You can also teach your dog to allow you to brush his teeth. Begin with teaching your puppy just to open his mouth. Say the command “OPEN” and gently open his mouth for a second. Over time, teach him to let you open his mouth for longer periods of time. Next, rub your index finger around his teeth to get him used to the idea of having his teeth brushed. You can put a little peanut butter on your finger so he’ll like the idea even better! Finally, buy a pet toothbrush and flavored toothpaste from your Vet or at your local pet store. Ideally brush his teeth every other day.