Cocker Spaniel With Skin Problems

Consult with a vet to determine the cause of a dog’s tarry skin patches.


Q. I have an American Cocker Spaniel. We love her very much, but she is very stinky. She has thick tarry patches on her skin, mostly her underside, and she constantly licks herself. We have taken her to the vet and he said it might be allergies. Any suggestions as to how we can help her skin condition?

A. Cocker Spaniels are wonderful and lovable dogs, but they do have their share of skin problems. If she has thick tarry patches on her skin, she probably has had this problem for a long enough time to change her skin texture, causing thickening and hair loss. Sometimes mange mites cause such a condition but I would assume your vet took a skin scraping to check for such microscopic parasites.

Cockers are often prone to seborrhea and dermatitis, two conditions which can cause a funky odor and result skin that is itchy, oily, flaky, or all three. It’s important to work with your veterinarian to determine the underlying cause of skin problems.

In addition to consulting with your vet, there is something you can do to help treat your dog’s skin problem. Try a medicated shampoo. You – or your groomer – should use one containing anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-microbial ingredients. In the salon, we use and sell one called MicroTek. We leave the lather on for a full 15 minutes to let it soak in and we recommend the pet owner use it weekly between grooming visits. It controls odor and can be diluted but we use it full-strength.

Another thing I have learned about treating what groomers commonly refer to as “Cocker crud” is not to vigorously scrub or brush skin that is already irritated. The skin is the largest organ of your dog’s body and when it is injured, it must be handled with care. If your dog’s coat is matted, let the groomer clip the hair down so you can better treat the skin without inflaming it further. It’s far better to remove that flaky debris with the volume of warm water sprayed on it than to abrade it by scrubbing or brushing. After the pet has soaked in the tub, rinse, rinse, then rinse some more.

Don’t expect the situation to be remedied overnight by these changes. By consulting with your vet, and carefully treating your dog’s skin, you can treat her current condition and hopefully prevent it from happening in the future.


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Maria   Chula Vista, California

4/18/2016 1:36:49 PM

My daughter have a cocker spaniel , the poor dog scratched herself all the
It has been going on for years. She tried different dog foots, nothing
The dog stayed with me last week for a few days. I gave her a larger portion of dry dog food and it was hard to see how the dog scratched herself. That is when I realized that the dog is allergic to the preservative in the dog food. I had roast beef at home that is what I gave the dog the next feeding time. Since than my daughter cooks her beef with vegetable, she is better every day and stopped scratching.

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Lynnea   Crossville, Tennessee

3/12/2016 2:38:16 PM

I am just learning about all of the skin problems that cockers are susceptible to after four years of going to the vet every 3 weeks with my 2 and shelling out 40.00 for them both to have anal glands drained due to "allergies".. pollen, food, etc.. not ONCE in all that time did he even suggest the possibility of yeast and fungal issues! They were relentless, chewing paws licking vulva and anal area.. that was due to their anal glands being full he said! I tried all kinds of grain free diets which BTW are not necessarily good for any pet.. dog or cat I only now know this since 2 days ago when I got tired of watching my honeys so miserable and everything I had done and all of the rounds of steroids (not frequent or prolonged) but still, and he even told me it was OK to try human allergy medicine on them! I know they don't have worms.. I am totally convinced this is a yeast issue which because of the prolonged period it has been going on is now a fungal problem and possible bacterial with my male! Monday I am finding a new vet to take a skin scrape on them both and meanwhile I have taken all kibble away! Read about kibble!! I was appalled and here I thought I was doing a good thing!! I am making their food and checking into raw diet and just got Nature's Specialities Neem shampoo to bathe and will do Paw soaks with H20, H2O2 & apple cider vinegar... Anyone else experienced anything like this?

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One4k9s   Perthshire,

9/16/2013 1:44:39 AM

Hey there if you are still around Janice, we were wondering if the coconut oil has worked. We have only just found out about it and started yesterday.

Hope to hear from u

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Lauren   Houston, Texas

8/17/2013 6:49:19 AM

My cocker, Murray, had soars or bumps that covered his entire body and the vet gave him several medicines that we used religiously but they really didn't do much for him. We started putting Dinovite and fish oil in his food everyday. It completely healed his skin. We continue to use it every day and he has no odor and scratches much less. I would suggest looking at the Dinovite website and seeing what they say about the product. It really worked for my cocker. It may be worth a try!

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