Avoiding Common Mistakes When Brushing Your American Cocker Spaniel

If you’re a proud owner of an American Cocker Spaniel, you know how important it is to keep their coat clean, healthy, and tangle-free. Proper grooming not only ensures that your furry friend looks good but also promotes their overall well-being. However, brushing your American Cocker Spaniel is a task that requires skill and knowledge to avoid common mistakes that could impact their coat and skin negatively. In this article, we’ll explore the top mistakes to avoid when brushing your American Cocker Spaniel, how to choose the right grooming products, and tips for maintaining their coat. So, let’s dive in and ensure your furry friend looks their best!

Brushing Techniques

Brushing Techniques
One of the most critical tasks that every American Cocker Spaniel owner should regularly perform to keep their pet healthy and happy is brushing. Proper brushing techniques are vital, not just for the appearance of your pet’s coat but also for their skin and overall well-being. In this section, we will highlight the essential techniques you should use when brushing your dog’s coat, as well as the common mistakes to avoid. By following these recommendations, you will be able to keep your furry friend looking and feeling their best. So, let’s get started!

Choosing the Right Brush

Choosing the Right Brush

When it comes to brushing your American Cocker Spaniel, the first step is to choose the right type of brush. With the right brush, you can help avoid painful mats and tangles, and also keep your dog’s coat healthy and shiny. There are a few options to consider when it comes to selecting a brush, which we have outlined in the table below:

Brush TypeBest for…
Slicker brushRemoving tangles and mats from medium and long coats.
Bristle brushRemoving loose fur and dirt from short to medium coats.
Pin brushSmoothing out the fur and removing loose hair from all coat types.

Note: It’s important to select a brush that suits your dog’s coat length and texture. For example, a slicker brush is ideal for medium-to-long-coated American Cocker Spaniels, while a bristle brush is perfect for short-haired varieties. Additionally, different brushes serve unique purposes-– for instance, a pin brush would be more effective for smoothing out fur and removing shed hair, while slicker brushes are best for tangled fur.

By using the right brush, you can be sure that you’re not causing any discomfort to your furry friend while maintaining their coat. You may refer to our article on “Benefits of Brushing Cocker Spaniel Health” for more tips on why choosing the right brush is important in maintaining a healthy coat.

Brushing Against the Hair Growth

Brushing your American Cocker Spaniel’s hair against its natural growth can be tempting, especially if you want to make sure all the hair is brushed. However, brushing against hair growth can be harmful to your dog. It can pull on their fur causing discomfort and even pain. Some dog owners believe that it can help remove mats and tangles, but it can actually make them worse.

To avoid these issues, it’s important to always brush in the direction of the hair growth. This not only removes tangles more efficiently but also helps keep your American Cocker Spaniel’s hair healthy and shiny.

To make sure you’re brushing in the right direction, start at the top of the head and work your way down the body, always following the hair’s natural direction. Keep in mind that some dogs may have hair growing in different directions on different parts of their body. You can use a combination of strokes, including long and short ones, when brushing with the hair growth.

Remember to be gentle when brushing your American Cocker Spaniel’s hair, as it is a sensitive breed with a delicate coat. By brushing in the right direction, you can help keep your dog comfortable and healthy.

If you need more guidance on brushing techniques or want to learn about the best brushes for American Cocker Spaniels, check out our brushing guide.

Forgetting to Comb the Hair

Neglecting to Comb Your American Cocker Spaniel’s hair can lead to matting and tangling over time. Brushing alone won’t do the trick. Even after brushing, there may still be tangles that need attention.

Why is combing important?

Combing can help eliminate any tangles, mats, or debris that were missed by the brush. A comb with wide teeth is also used to detangle and separate the hair. A slicker brush is used to remove loose fur and prevent matting. Comb all over your dog’s body to avoid missing any areas.

How should you go about combing?

Start combing from the top of the head and work your way down to the tail. Sections should be done carefully so no tangles are missed. If your dog has a lot of mats, you may need to cut them out. However, if the mat is close to the skin or if the mat covers a large area, consult with a professional groomer before trying to remove the mat.

When should you comb?

Combing should be done at least once a week. However, a weekly combing may not be enough for all dogs. Dogs with longer hair or thicker coats may require more frequent combing. Be sure to discuss this with your veterinarian.


Combing is an essential part of caring for your American Cocker Spaniel. Neglecting this important part of grooming will lead to matting, tangles, and overall discomfort for your pet. Ensuring that you have the right equipment, and committing to regular grooming, including combing, will keep your pet’s coat healthy and shiny. Follow the internal link to learn more about brushing frequency to keep your dog’s coat in top condition.

Brushing Too Hard

When brushing your American Cocker Spaniel, it’s important to use a gentle touch, especially around areas such as the ears, legs, and belly. Brushing too hard can cause discomfort and even pain for your furry friend. It’s also worth noting that brushing too hard can damage your Cocker Spaniel’s coat, leading to breakage, split ends, and an overall dull appearance.

To make sure you aren’t brushing too hard, use a light grip on the brush and start by slowly brushing in a circular motion. Gradually increase the pressure if necessary but stop if you notice any signs of discomfort from your dog. You can also try using a softer-bristled brush, which will be gentler on your pet’s skin and fur.

Brushing too hard can also cause matting and tangling, especially if your Cocker Spaniel has long hair. Instead of trying to brush out tangles quickly, use a detangling spray or tool to gently work out the knot. Pulling too hard can cause your pet pain and lead to further tangling.

Remember: regular brushing is an essential part of maintaining your American Cocker Spaniel’s coat. Not only does it help prevent tangling and matting, but it also promotes healthy skin, reduces shedding, and creates a strong bond between you and your dog. If you’re unsure about the best way to brush your Cocker Spaniel or want more guidance on grooming, check out our comprehensive Cocker Spaniel brushing guide or our article on the benefits of brushing your Cocker Spaniel for their health. Also, don’t shy away from investing in quality grooming products such as brushes and detangling sprays to make the process easier and more comfortable for both you and your furry friend.

Leaving Tangles

Neglecting to detangle your American Cocker Spaniel’s hair before brushing will lead to tangles that can be painful and even cause matting. It is essential to pay attention to areas like behind the ears, armpits, and the belly, where matting can occur.

Leaving tangles in your Cocker Spaniel’s hair can cause discomfort and even lead to skin irritations or infections. Additionally, it can make the grooming process more challenging and painful for your pet.

To avoid leaving tangles in your American Cocker Spaniel’s coat, always begin by combing the hair to remove any tangles before using a brush. Use a good quality detangling spray to help ease the task. When brushing long hair, take small sections at a time, and work from the bottom of the coat to the top.

Don’t forget that even after a thorough grooming session, tangling can happen in-between grooming sessions. Hence, it is essential to brush your pet’s coat regularly to prevent tangles from forming.

Remember, a well-groomed American Cocker Spaniel not only looks good but is also a healthy dog. Ensure you give your pet the grooming care it deserves. For more tips on brushing your American Cocker Spaniel’s coat, check out our article on Tips for Brushing Your Cocker Spaniel’s Coat.

Grooming Products

Grooming Products
As a conscientious American Cocker Spaniel owner, it’s essential to understand the appropriate grooming products required to keep your furry friend looking their best. However, with so many grooming products available on the market, it can be challenging to choose the right one. To help you avoid common mistakes when brushing your American Cocker Spaniel, we’ve put together a list of grooming products you should avoid or incorporate into your pup’s grooming routine. Let’s dive in!

Using the Wrong Shampoo

Choosing the right shampoo for your American Cocker Spaniel is an important part of their grooming routine. Using the wrong shampoo can cause irritation, dryness, or even hair loss. Here are some factors to consider when selecting a shampoo for your furry friend:

  • Hypoallergenic: American Cocker Spaniels can have sensitive skin, so using a hypoallergenic shampoo is important. This will help prevent any allergic reactions or irritation on their skin.
  • Using a pH-balanced shampoo will help maintain the natural acidity of your Cocker’s skin, preventing any imbalance that could lead to dryness and irritation.
  • Moisturizing: A moisturizing shampoo will help to keep your Cocker’s coat shiny and healthy-looking. Look for shampoos that contain natural ingredients such as oatmeal, aloe vera, or coconut oil.
  • Sulfate-free: Sulfates in shampoos can strip your dog’s hair of its natural oils, leaving it dry and brittle. Look for sulfate-free shampoos to ensure that your dog’s coat stays healthy and hydrated.
  • Medicated: If your Cocker has a specific skin condition, such as allergies or dermatitis, a medicated shampoo may be necessary. These shampoos are formulated with ingredients such as oatmeal and tea tree oil to soothe the skin and relieve any discomfort.

When it comes to shampooing your Cocker, be sure to dilute the shampoo and work it through their coat thoroughly. Rinse them off completely to prevent any residue from building up on their skin. With the right shampoo and proper technique, your American Cocker Spaniel will have a healthy and shiny coat they can be proud of.

Skipping Conditioner

Skipping conditioner when grooming your American Cocker Spaniel can lead to a range of issues, including dry skin, tangles, and breakage. Conditioning your dog’s coat after shampooing it helps to nourish and moisturize their hair and skin, leaving them silky, shiny, and healthy.

Why is conditioner important?

When you shampoo your dog, the harsh chemicals in the shampoo strip away natural oils from their hair and skin. This can leave their coat dry, dull, and prone to tangling. A conditioner helps to restore these oils and protect their skin and coat from further damage.

How to choose the right conditioner?

It is essential to pick the right conditioner that is specially made for dogs. Some of the essential ingredients to look for when selecting a conditioner include:

Ingredients to Look ForBenefits
Natural oils (olive, jojoba, etc.)Moisturize the coat and skin and help prevent tangling
ProteinStrengthen and repair damaged hair and promote healthy growth
Vitamins (A, D, E)Nourish and promote a healthy coat

Avoid using conditioner that contains artificial fragrances and dyes as they can irritate your dog’s skin and cause allergic reactions.

How to apply conditioner?

After shampooing your dog, apply the conditioner all over their coat, paying extra attention to the areas that tend to get dry or tangled. Leave the conditioner on for at least 5-10 minutes before rinsing it thoroughly with lukewarm water. Don’t forget to use a towel to dry your dog off, making sure not to rub too hard to prevent further tangling and breakage.

By including conditioner in your grooming routine, you can help keep your American Cocker Spaniel’s coat soft, healthy, and free from tangles and breakage. Remember to choose the right conditioner and follow the correct application method to ensure your dog gets the most benefit from this important grooming step.

Not Using Moisturizer

As important as using the right shampoo and conditioner, moisturizing your American Cocker Spaniel’s coat is key to maintaining its health and shine. However, many dog owners make the mistake of not using a moisturizer after bathing their pets. Here are some reasons why not using a moisturizer for your American Cocker Spaniel can be a major mistake:

  • Dry Skin: Without proper moisture, your pet’s skin can become dry and flaky, causing discomfort and even skin infections. A dog’s skin has a natural oil barrier that can be stripped away by harsh shampoos, leaving them vulnerable to dryness.
  • Unruly Coat: A lack of moisture can also lead to unruly and tangled fur. Dry fur tends to be brittle and more prone to matting and tangling.
  • Dull Coat: Moisturizing your American Cocker Spaniel’s coat can also help to maintain its natural shine. A lack of moisture can dull the coat, making it look lackluster and unhealthy.
  • Itching and Scratching: Dogs with dry skin tend to suffer from constant itching and scratching, leading to red and irritated skin. This can cause further discomfort and even lead to skin infections.

To avoid the mistakes mentioned above, make sure to use a high-quality moisturizing product specifically designed for dogs. Apply the moisturizer generously to your American Cocker Spaniel’s coat after bathing, paying extra attention to areas prone to dryness such as the ears, paws, and underbelly. With regular use, you will notice softer, shinier, and healthier fur, and your four-legged friend will thank you for the extra TLC.

Using Cheap Brushes

One of the most common mistakes pet owners make when grooming their American Cocker Spaniel is using cheap brushes. While it may seem like a cost-effective solution, it can end up doing more harm than good. Cheap brushes can have sharp bristles that can scratch and irritate your pet’s skin. This can lead to discomfort and even skin infections.

Here are some reasons why using cheap brushes can be harmful to your pet:

  • Detangling: Cheap brushes often have poorly made bristles that won’t be effective in detangling your pet’s fur. As a result, matting can occur when you try to brush your pet’s tangled fur with cheap brushes.
  • Painful Brushing: Cheap brushes can hurt your pet due to the sharp and low-quality bristles. It can cause discomfort and pain while brushing, which can lead to a negative association with grooming.
  • Reduced Lifespan: Cheap brushes usually do not last as long as high-quality brushes do. The bristles wear down quickly, and the brush head may come off which can be hazardous to your pet. You may end up spending more money replacing these cheap brushes more often than if you invested in a quality brush from the start.
  • Health Issues: Cheap brushes are more likely to cause skin irritation and infections because their bristles often trap bacteria, dirt, and allergens. Over time, this can lead to various skin problems for your American Cocker Spaniel, including hotspots and yeast infections.

It is crucial to invest in high-quality brushes that are specifically designed for the American Cocker Spaniel breed. Good brushes use soft bristles that won’t hurt your pet’s skin and can help detangle their fur. They are also durable and can last you for years to come. Make sure to avoid the mistake of using cheap brushes and instead opt for good quality brushes to keep your pet’s coats healthy and shiny.

Preparation & Maintenance

When it comes to the grooming routine of your American Cocker Spaniel, preparation and maintenance are crucial aspects that should never be overlooked. These tasks not only help keep your pet looking and smelling great but also promote their overall health and wellbeing. To ensure that their coat stays in top-notch condition, there are certain practices that every pet parent should follow. In this section, we will discuss some of the most common mistakes to avoid in your preparation and maintenance routine. Let’s dive in!

Not Detangling Before Bathing

Before giving your American Cocker Spaniel a bath, it is crucial to ensure that any tangles or mats in their coat are detangled. Otherwise, the tangles can worsen and become nearly impossible to remove once they are exposed to water and shampoo.

Why is detangling important?

Tangles and mats can cause discomfort, pain, and even lead to skin irritation and infection. Neglecting to detangle your American Cocker Spaniel’s coat can also result in significant hair loss or even bald spots.

How to detangle

Detangling your American Cocker Spaniel’s hair can be a time-consuming process, but it is worth the effort. The following table provides some essential tips for detangling your pet’s coat before bathing:

Use the Right ToolUse a slicker brush, a wide-toothed comb or a detangling spray to loosen the mats.
Work MethodicallyStart detangling from the bottom of the mat and work your way up toward the skin. Be gentle and never pull.
Trim Matted HairIf your pet has extreme knots or matting, do not hesitate to cut them. Matting can cut off circulation and require a vet trip.
Be PatientDetangling can be challenging and requires patience. Don’t expect to remove all the knots in one sitting.

Remember, detangling your American Cocker Spaniel’s coat before bathing is crucial. With a little patience and the right tools, you can prevent discomfort and maintain healthy, shining fur.

Skipping Regular Baths

Regular baths are essential for maintaining the health and hygiene of your American Cocker Spaniel. Skipping regular baths can lead to a build-up of dirt, oil, and bacteria on your dog’s skin and coat, which can cause various skin issues like infection, itching, and even hair loss. Here are some consequences of skipping regular baths:

  • Foul odors: As your dog’s coat and skin accumulate dirt and bacteria, they eventually develop an unpleasant odor.
  • Skin irritation: Skipping baths can lead to irritation and inflammation of your dog’s skin due to buildup of dirt and bacteria, causing discomfort and pain.
  • Infections: Build-up of bacteria can cause hot spots, sores, and other skin infections, which can require costly veterinary treatments.

It’s crucial to establish a regular bathing routine for your furry friend. In general, American Cocker Spaniels should be bathed every 4-6 weeks, depending on their activity level and environment. Use a quality dog shampoo that’s designed for your dog’s specific coat type, and be sure to rinse all the shampoo off well to avoid skin irritation. Regular baths can keep your dog’s coat shiny and healthy and keep your home smelling fresh and clean.

Forgetting to Check for Debris

As a responsible American Cocker Spaniel owner, it is essential to regularly check for debris in your pet’s fur. Failing to do so can lead to various health issues, including skin infections and allergies. Here are some crucial points to keep in mind when checking for debris:

  • Be thorough: Make sure to check every part of your pet’s body, including their paws, ears, and underbelly. Debris can quickly accumulate in these areas, making them more susceptible to infections.
  • Look for foreign objects: Debris can come in many forms, including burrs, dirt, grass, and even insects. Check your pet’s fur for any foreign objects that may have gotten stuck.
  • Check for parasites: Fleas, ticks, and mites can all leave debris on your pet’s fur. Use a flea comb to check for any signs of infestation.
  • Remove debris carefully: When removing debris, use a gentle touch and the right tools. Use a slicker brush or dematting comb to remove tangles and debris from your pet’s fur gently.
  • Prevent debris accumulation: To prevent debris accumulation, bathe your pet regularly using a pet-friendly shampoo and conditioner. Make sure to dry them thoroughly and keep them away from dirty or dusty places.

Remember, checking for debris regularly is a crucial part of maintaining your pet’s overall health and hygiene. It can help you catch any potential health issues early on, ensuring that they receive prompt medical attention.

Not Trimming Their Hair Regularly

Keeping your American Cocker Spaniel’s hair at a proper length is crucial for their overall health and comfort. Neglecting to trim their hair regularly can result in mats, tangles, and discomfort for your furry friend. Here are some important things to keep in mind when it comes to trimming your American Cocker Spaniel’s hair:

  • Frequency: It’s recommended to trim your American Cocker Spaniel’s hair every 6 to 8 weeks to prevent tangles, mats, and dirt buildup. Neglecting to trim their hair can result in a matted and unruly coat, which can become painful for your pet.
  • Tools: When trimming your pet’s hair, it’s important to use proper tools such as a pair of sharp scissors and electric clippers. Don’t try to trim their hair with blunt scissors or improper clippers as this can cause pain and discomfort. Investing in good quality grooming tools can make the process easier and more effective.
  • Technique: When trimming your American Cocker Spaniel’s hair, it’s important to start at the top of their head and work your way down to their tail. Be gentle and patient and make sure to use a comb to ensure even trimming. It’s recommended to trim their hair a little at a time, making small cuts until you reach the desired length. Take breaks if you need to, to prevent your pet from becoming restless and agitated.
  • Consult a professional: If you are unsure or uncomfortable with trimming your American Cocker Spaniel’s hair, it’s always best to seek the advice of a professional groomer. They can provide guidance on the proper technique, tools to use, and also offer additional services such as nail trimming or ear cleaning.
  • By taking the time to regularly trim your American Cocker Spaniel’s hair, you can help prevent discomfort and keep their coat healthy and shiny. Remember to always be gentle and patient and don’t hesitate to seek professional help if needed.


    After investing time and effort in keeping your American Cocker Spaniel well-groomed, it can be a rewarding experience to see your pup looking and feeling their best. However, if you want to avoid the common mistakes in brushing and grooming that many pet owners make, remember to follow a consistent routine and invest in quality products.

    Be gentle and patient when brushing your Cocker Spaniel. Make sure to choose the right brush for their coat and brush against the direction of hair growth. Avoid brushing too hard, as it can be painful and damaging to your pup’s skin and coat.

    Use quality grooming products. Use the right shampoo for your pup’s coat and don’t skip conditioner or moisturizer, especially if your pooch has chronic skin dryness or irritation. Investing in quality brushes and grooming tools can help achieve the best results and prevent damage to your pet’s coat.

    Prepare and maintain your pup’s coat properly. Before bathing, make sure to detangle their hair, and check for debris – such as mats, burrs or ticks – after regular walks or playtime in the park. You may also want to consider trimming their hair regularly, especially around their eyes, ears, and feet.

    By following these tips for brushing and grooming your American Cocker Spaniel, you can help keep your furry friend healthy, happy, and looking fabulous. Remember: the best way to prevent common mistakes is to stick to a routine and prioritize your pet’s comfort and well-being.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What is the best brush for an American Cocker Spaniel?

    The best brush for an American Cocker Spaniel is a slicker brush. It helps to remove loose hair and tangles, while also stimulating the skin to promote healthy coat growth.

    How often should I brush my American Cocker Spaniel?

    You should brush your American Cocker Spaniel at least once a week to prevent matting and tangles. If your dog has a long coat, daily brushing is recommended.

    Can I use human shampoo on my American Cocker Spaniel?

    No, you should never use human shampoo on your American Cocker Spaniel. It can strip their skin and coat of essential oils and cause irritation. Use a high-quality, dog-specific shampoo instead.

    What is the right way to trim an American Cocker Spaniel’s hair?

    The right way to trim an American Cocker Spaniel’s hair is to use scissors or clippers to trim the hair around the ears, feet, and tail. It’s best to have a professional groomer do this to avoid any accidental cuts or injuries.

    How often should I bathe my American Cocker Spaniel?

    You should bathe your American Cocker Spaniel every 6-8 weeks, or as needed if they become overly dirty or smelly. Over-bathing can cause skin irritation and dryness.

    What type of moisturizer is best for an American Cocker Spaniel?

    A high-quality, dog-specific moisturizer is best for an American Cocker Spaniel. Look for products with natural ingredients like shea butter, coconut oil, and vitamin E to nourish and protect their skin and coat.

    Can I use a human hairbrush on my American Cocker Spaniel?

    No, you should not use a human hairbrush on your American Cocker Spaniel. They have a different hair texture than humans, and the wrong brush can cause pain and discomfort. Always use a brush specifically designed for dogs.

    Why is regular grooming important for an American Cocker Spaniel?

    Regular grooming is important for an American Cocker Spaniel because it helps to prevent matting, tangles, and other skin and coat issues. It also promotes healthy skin and coat growth, and can help detect any potential health problems early on.

    How can I prevent tangles and matting on my American Cocker Spaniel’s coat?

    You can prevent tangles and matting on your American Cocker Spaniel’s coat by regularly brushing and detangling their hair, using a high-quality shampoo and conditioner, and keeping their hair trimmed and maintained. It’s also important to check their coat regularly for any debris or foreign objects.

    Can I train my American Cocker Spaniel to tolerate grooming?

    Yes, you can train your American Cocker Spaniel to tolerate grooming by starting with short brushing sessions and gradually increasing the length of time. Offer treats and praise to make grooming a positive experience, and always stop if your dog seems uncomfortable or stressed.


    Britta Thygesen

    Britta Thygesen

    A passionate dog owner and a full-time certified dog trainer. Aspires to make DogCareHacks a go-to place for all the doggo info. Shares personal experience and professional knowledge.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

      Leave a reply

      Dog Care Hacks