How to Care for a Cocker Spaniels Paws

June 23, 2022

Your Cocker Spaniels paws are one of the most important parts of their body. They are the part which comes into contact with the ground the most so actively caring for your dog's paws can go a long way to keeping your Cocker happy and healthy.

In this article, we are going to establish what good Cocker Spaniel paw care looks like, what can go wrong with a dog's paws, how care changes through the seasons, and offer our top its to keep those paws in great condition.

Sound interesting? Let's get started!

Grooming a Cocker Spaniels Paws

We'll kick off looking at the tasks you should be doing to groom your Cocker Spaniels paws. A thorough paw grooming regime will keep your dog's nails, hair, and paw pads in check and help you identify any problems before they become serious.

Many of these activities will be done on a daily basis while some can just be done as and when required or at an opportune moment, like bath time. But we will get into that in a minute.

Nail Care

You will need to take care of your Cocker Spaniels nails. Nails will require the odd trim now and then. If you don't stay on top of your dog's nails they could become fractured, result in tears, or lead to ingrown toenails.

While all dogs need their nail length managed this problem is more often seen in dogs who spend a lot of time indoors.

As your dog walks on hard surfaces such as streets they naturally wear down. This does not mean dogs on the streets don't need their nails cut. They still do too, it may just be required less frequently.

You can also ensure your Cocker's nails are in good condition by what you feed them. Ensure you are feeding food which are a good Cocker Spaniel diet and those nails will be strong and healthy.

Ingredients like Zinc, Biotin, and Omega 3 help keep those nails healthy.

How do I know if my dog's nails are too long?

An easy way to tell when you should cut your dog's nails is to listen when they walk. If you hear clicking as they walk on the street then it's time to get out the nail clippers.

If you are looking at your Cocker Spaniel see where their nails touch. They should be just touching the ground while they walk. But not making a noise.

Can I cut my dog's nails myself?

Yes, many dog owners choose to clip their dog's nails at home.

All you will need is a set of nail clippers designed for dogs. You might want to watch a few YouTube videos on it before giving it a try.

One main concern people have before giving it a try is cutting the dog's nail too far. This would cause a dog discomfort if you went too deep. That part of the nail is filled with blood vessels and nerves. Ouch!

It's recommended that you aim for 2mm away from the quick at least.

But how do you know where that is?

If your Cocker has dark nails it can be impossible to see. You might prefer to file your dog's nails instead in this case. For dogs with clear or lighter nails, you should be able to see.

Remember to make this a positive experience for your dog. You want a calm and relaxed Cocker Spaniel when nails are being clipped.

Trimming Hair

We all know it's important to groom our Cockers every two to three months to keep those luscious coats in check.

And while your dog groomer will take care of the paws at the same time they do need a little tidying up now and then.

As your dog's paws are on the ground picking up whatever is there the extra hair can make it harder to clean that out if something gets stuck.

This could be ice or snow in winter compacted between your dog's toes after a winter walk or any manner of debris that your dog picked up on an adventure.

Moisturise your Cockers Paws

Over time your Cocker Spaniels paw pads can become dry and cracked.

This will be uncomfortable and could lead to a wound that could become infected.

It could even be a sign of an underlying health condition, so if it doesn't clear up with a bit of moisturiser you may want to consult your vet.

Do not use a human moisturiser. They are not suitable for your canine companion.

Cleaning Between their Toes

You will also need to clean between your Cockers toes. This is more of a daily task that you'll want to do when you come home from a walk.

A lot of things can get stuck in a dog's paws while on a walk. These could be fairly innocent things such as stones, grass seeds, or a little more dangerous objects like thrones or glass.

No matter what is stuck you will not want to leave it there. This is also where excess hair can make the removal more challenging.

A Cocker Spaniel has webbed feet. This means the area between their toes is connected with very thin tissue which can be easily damaged.

Seasonal Considerations for Cocker Spaniel Paw Care

The advice above is relevant all year round, however, there are a few seasonal considerations you should take into account.

Protecting your Dogs Paws in Summer

Who doesn't want to take their Cocker on an adventure on a nice Summer day?

As fun and exciting as that is there are a few things you should take into account when it comes to a dog's paws.

A nice hot day can also make the ground very hot. If you are walking your dog and the ground is roasting it can actually burn your dog's paws!

By a hot day think of anything which is 20°C (68°F) or higher. I know in many countries this wouldn't even be regarded as hot... but I live in Scotland where anything above 8°C sees people at the beach.

There are a few ways to avoid this. Firstly consider walking your dog earlier in the morning or later in the afternoon when the weather begins to cool off a bit.

Also if you are keen to head out with your dog place your hand on the ground and hold it there for five seconds. If you can't hold your hand there it is too hot for your dog.

There are better and worse places for your dog to walk on a hot day. Hot pavement is of course a bad call, sand can be the same.

Head to the park and walk on the grass. It won't be quite as hot.

Protecting your Dogs Paws in Winter

Winter also poses its own challenges for your dog's paws.

To deal with the lack of friction on the ground we put grit, rock salt, or de-icers to make it safe to walk.

Unfortunately, these are all harmful to your dog's paws. The de-icers have chemicals too which are toxic to dogs and will make your Cocker very unwell if they lick their paws. That one will be an emergency trip to the vets! And if your dog eats grit it can lead to vomiting.

If paws are exposed to this over time it will lead to cracking, cuts, infections, and discomfort on your dog's paws.

While it's nearly impossible to completely avoid these compounds it is very easily dealt with.

Just give your Cocker's paws every time you come back inside. You've got a few ways you can do this:

  • Dog paw wipes
  • Paw washing cup
  • Put the dog in the bath and wash them

Personally, I opt for the paw cup or wipes depending on where I am.

Another Winter problem is snow and ice getting stuck between the toes. If you've trimmed the hair it should be fairly easy to get it out.

Common Problems Cocker Spaniels Paws Get

Cocker Spaniel's paws can have a few problems.

This can include dry or cracked paw pads, cuts, infections, cracked nails, burns or allergic reactions.

A lot of these conditions can be avoided by actively taking care of their paws.

You can usually tell if there is a problem quite easily. Look out for licking their paws, bleeding, limping, bad smells, redness or inflammation, or discharge.

Many of these issues can be extremely painful for your dog's feet.

If you notice any of these conditions see your vet.

How to Protect your Cocker's Paws

Here are our top tips on how to keep those dog paws healthy and upkeep easier.

Start Care Early

Cocker Spaniel puppies learn quickly how things work. Set the standard from day one and make sure your Cocker is comfortable with you handling their paws.

Dog Boots

Dog boots are a great way to keep a paw pad from being damaged. These are ideal for reducing strain and offering a little protection from a sharp object on the ground.

They are also commonly seen on working Cocker Spaniels given their active lifestyles as hunting dogs.

Keep your Eyes on the Ground

A great way to avoid accidental damage to a Cocker Spaniels paws is to prevent them from walking in dangerous places.

As someone who lived in a city with a Cocker Spaniel for a few years, I can tell you that you have never had your head pointed to the ground as much as you do if you have a dog.

You need to be pretty vigilant.

There could be food on the ground, perhaps even poisonous to your Cocker Spaniel, or even more dangerous things for paws like broken glass.

Wash Those Paws

Giving your Cocker Spaniels a quick was only takes five minutes when you come home. Especially if you have a paw cup designed for the task. You don't need to give your Cocker Spaniel a bath.

Taking the time to do this can also make sure you don't have any foreign objects lodged in your dog's paws ready to cause mayhem later on.

Apply a Protective Layer to Paw Pads

A dog's paw pads are very durable but can be damaged. You can add a protective layer that can protect your dog's paw from damage.

This is actually what mushing dog's paw pads have applied. Essentially it's a wax that creates a protective barrier between the dog's paw pad and the ground.

Check out Mushers Secret if you are interested.

Paw First Aid

No matter how careful you are things can go wrong in a split second. Like the reference to food just above we've all seen how quickly a dog can dart for food.

It could be that your Cocker Spaniel is pulling on the lead and there is glass around the corner on the ground.

Or even you misjudged the temperature and your dog's paw pads have been burned a little.

As long as the injury is somewhat light you should be able to treat it at home.

You should clean the wound, apply a dressing lightly and put on a dog boot to keep it in place. Change this daily too.

If it does appear to be more serious or if you feel unsure it is getting better be sure to contact your vet for expert advice.

It is never worth the risk of leaving it to chance.


A Cocker Spaniels paws are the main part of its body that touches the ground. It's really important to ensure they stay in top condition to ensure you Cocker can have a happy and healthy life.

Caring for your Cockers paws takes consistent work. But I'm sure all Cocker Spaniel owners are up for the task!

There are many activities that play a role here from just checking their paws after a long walk in the forest to keeping their nails and hair trimmed neatly.

Also, please remember that if the weather is too hot or very cold you will need to adjust when and where you take your Cocker Spaniel on adventures.

Of course, the same advice applies no matter if you have an English Cocker Spaniel or an American Cocker Spaniel.

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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