A Guide to Washing your Cocker Spaniel

June 4, 2022

There are no shortage of ways your Cocker Spaniel can become dirty. From running in the park with twigs leaves and grass getting stuck into their fur, jumping into rivers, or getting all muddy on adventures. The list goes on...

Baths are a brilliant way of keeping your dog happy healthy and most importantly, clean!

This time can also be an opportunity to check your dog over for any potential problems such as cuts, skin problems, or general injuries.

Giving your Cocker a bath is also a opportunity to remove dead hair from shedding. Better taken out while washing your dog than all over your clothes or sofa.

Keep reading to learn all about the how often you should wash your Cocker Spaniel, what you will need, and a complete guide to how to do it.

This really is a complete guide to dog washing.

How Often Should I Bathe my Cocker Spaniel?

You will want to wash your Cocker Spaniel around every two to three months. Try to space this out at the mid point between grooms and your groomer will usually wash your dog before they get started anyway.

Dogs are very unlike humans who shower daily. Washing your dog too much will dry out their skin, cause irritation, and strips much needed essential oils from their coat. Of course, if your dog is dirty you will have no choice but to give them a good wash.

What Do I Need to When Bathing my Cocker Spaniel?

  • Dog shampoo
  • Towel
  • Hair dryer
  • Bath mat
  • Jug / Shower handset
  • Distraction

Dog Shampoos

When washing a dog there are specific shampoos you should use. There are several different types to choose from all for specific needs. Options include hypoallergenic, flea and tick, deshedding, or a special one for puppies. And many more options.

Avoid using a human shampoo. Products made for people can dry out and damage your dogs skin. If you don't have a shampoo to hand consider not washing your dog and just doing it another day instead. You can always just use water.

Want to learn more about choosing the right shampoo for your dog? Why not read our full guide of Cocker Spaniel shampoos.


This one is pretty straight forward. Having a towel ready to dry off your dog is ideal. You'll want one with a high thread count as your dog will have a lot of water in their coat right after a bath.

Hair Dryer

A hair dryer can be a brilliant way to dry out your dog after a bath. Have it set up beforehand as your dog will be wet and cold. Try not to focus the dryer in one spot, it can get hot.

Bath Mat

A dogs nails can scratch the surface of your bath. This can be just cosmetic or deep enough to cause more damage. Either way a bath is an expensive thing to replace.

This is where a bath mat comes in. Place it down before your dog to save your bath. It can also offer a non slip surface for your Cocker.


Some dogs are a little nervous when taking a bath. An easy solution to this can be to add a create a distraction in the bath. One option is a adhesive lick mat that can keep your dog occupied for hours.

Jug / Shower handset

Once you have your dog in the bath a jug will help you pour water over your dog. A shower handset can work here too. I've always just used a jug though.

Just make sure the water your using isn't too hot though.

How to Give a Cocker Spaniel a Bath

There are three steps to washing your Cocker Spaniel. First up you will want to have everything prepared to ensure your dog isn't left waiting or cold at any point. Then, of course, there is washing your dog and finally drying.

Lets run through each step and what it involves.


Great preparation is a key step in any successful dog bath. Have everything you need laid out in advance.

Steps to Get Prepared:

  • Step up the bath area with:
    • A towel
    • Dog shampoo
    • Bath matt
    • Jug
    • Any distractions
    • Run the bath to around four inches of lukewarm water
  • Set up in another room:
    • Hair dryer
    • Second towel (if needed)

Washing your Cocker Spaniel

Now help your Cocker into the bath and stay with your dog throughout the process.

Begin to wet your dog with warm water. Once wet you can begin to lather shampoo into their coat. Avoid the head right now. When washing your dogs head you will want to be careful not to get the shampoo or water into their eyes or ears.

Rinse your dog from top to bottom as water runs downwards.

You can even use a warm washcloth around the head and eyes if you want to play it safe. If any water did get into your dogs ears it would cause an problems such as an ear infection which Cocker Spaniels are prone to.

Remember to use positive reinforcement throughout you want to ensure this is a positive experience.

Drying your Cocker Spaniel

Once your Cocker is clean the next thing you'll want to do is run your hands down their sides and lightly squeeze their paws. This will take a lot of water out of their coats making drying far easier.

Next up wrap your dog in a towel and rub until quite dry. Pay particular attention to a cocker spaniel's ears given the chance of problems.

Then take your dog through to the second area with the hair dryer ready to go. Around five minutes of this will make a massive difference to how dry your dog is.

Don't be offended at this point if despite all of your efforts your dog still chooses to go ahead and dry themselves on your sofa or run. My Cocker Spaniel twists and turns like she is possessed every time.

Can I Give my Cocker Spaniel Puppy a Bath?

You should not give a puppy a bath until at least eight weeks old. And the longer you can leave this the better.

Puppies struggle to regulate their body temperature and if they are too cold they can develop conditions such as hypothermia.

If your pup is extremely dirty and leaves you no choice or you choose to remember their skin is sensitive and buy puppy shampoo. Also ensure the water is lukewarm. Cold water is bad for your puppy.

Make sure the first bath is a positive experience. This can set the tone for future baths.

Once you've bathed your pup remember they cant be cold so make sure they are dried as soon as possible.

Keeping your Cocker Spaniel Clean Between Baths

Cocker Spaniels can get in all sorts of messes and sometimes it be challenging to keep your canine companion clean all the time. The good news is that there are a few ways you can keep your dog clean between washes.

Let's run through your options just now.

Just Give your Cocker Spaniels Paws a Wash

Washing your dog doesn't always have to mean a full bath. If your dog has run through mud in a park and managed to get their paws messy you an just give them a quick wash.

This little wash can cut down the chances of skin irritation across your dog while making the dirtiest part of your dog clean. Unless they are rolling around on the ground its the only part of your dog which is touching the ground really.

You'll be shocked at the colour of the water with this alone.

Not got time to run a bath and wash your dogs paws? You can also consider paw wipes. These are just wet wipes but designed for cleaning dogs paws. A quick and handy solution.

Wash Cocker Spaniel with only Water

If you are looking to wash your dog on a regular basis just using water is a solid option. This method will still wash out all of the dirt and grime and anything caught in your dog's coat.

However it won't irritate the dog's skin or remove natural oils as much.

Wash your Dogs Bedding and Toys

Lastly, cleaning a dogs bedding and toys and go a long way to a clean dog. Your Cocker spends a lot of time lying on their bed and chewing toys by periodically giving these toys a wash you'll further reduce any smelly dog problems in your home.

What if my Cocker Spaniel Doesn't Like Baths?

While Cocker Spaniels do love water some are not a big fan and may protest at the suggestion of a bath.

If this sounds familiar to you you might want to try keep the experience positive and bring distractions in to alleviate some of the anxiety.


Giving a Cocker Spaniel a bath doesn't have to be stressful event for the dog or owner.

With proper planning and preparation this can be a stress-free activity for you and your four legged friend.

Try to find a chance to do this once every 2-3 months for a more thorough clean. You won't want to do it too frequently to avoid dry skin.

Spend time getting prepared for your dogs bath ahead of time. It can be a lifesaver! Also, no giving pups a bath too young they are just not physically ready for it yet.

And remember that there are plenty of great options between baths to help keep your Cocker clean.

Allan  Noble
Hi, my name is Allan! I am the owner of Spaniel Advisor and I've got over seven years experience of owning Spaniels.  
I hope this article was helpful for you! 
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