Cocker Spaniel Skin Problems

cocker-spaniel-puppiesThe most common skin problem of cocker spaniel in summer is the red rash, which could continue to spread if you’re just not paying attention. In fact, a lot of cocker spaniels end up with thick tarry patches and hair loss because of their owners’ carelessness. Unfortunately, in most cases this damage can’t be undone if it is diagnosed late. As you see, early detection and treatment can go a long way in your dogs’ skin health. The Cocker may suffer from many skin disorders but the following 6 types are the most common ones.


Many of them suffer from skin allergies, which are usually caused by the contact with irritating substances. So, you’de better choose the hypoallergenic dog breeds in the first place. Unfortunately, cocker is not one of them. When the Cocker lies on the grass, allergic reactions will occur due to the irritation by some weeds and plants. In fact, many plants with seeds could cause allergies in some animals. The symptoms caused by plant include redness and swelling in Cocker’s chest, abdomen, groin, paws and other parts. Dogs usually will keep scratching with paws or rubbing their belly against the grass or the carpet. Since it is hard to pinpoint the root causes of itching, the diagnosis should take a lot of time.

When you find the above-mentioned symptoms on your Cocker, you’d better send it to your vet. This is because local infection can be caused by long-term scratching. Typically anti-allergy injections or anti-allergy pills will be prescribed. But if recurrent allergies are found, a thorough physical examination should be performed to identify allergens. Meanwhile, keep your cocker spaniel away from the allergens.


The warm, humid climate is ideal for the breeding of insects such as fleas, ticks, mange mites, etc. Your Cocker may be also allergic to these parasites and experience skin problems. The itching caused usually occurs in the back and tail. For that reason, dogs will frantically scratch, rub, lick, or bite the site of infection, which finally results in hair loss, thickening, scaly spots, and more. Although the anti-allergy injections can relieve the discomfort, the fundamental solution is to eliminate these parasites. That means you need to kill those living in your dogs, but also those hide in the places for exploring and sleeping.


Human skin can be burned by summer sun. So can the cocker spaniel’s skin. Unfortunately, this common sense is not aware by many of you. In fact, the skin of domesticated dogs or cats, especially exposed pink area covering with no hair, is very likely to get hurt. Intense ultraviolet radiation can damage the skin and make it dry and flaky. The most vulnerable parts include Cocker’s ears, nose, and abdomen. If the UV damage continues year after year, there will be the precursor lesions and eventually skin cancer.

To prevent the hurt from your pets, in summer you shouldn’t walk them or let them expose in the sun over the period from 10:00 to 15:00. To be safe, you can also apply an SPF 15 sunscreen on the vulnerable parts when you go with your dogs and walk around.

Red rash

Red rash should be one of the most common skin problems in cocker spaniels. Seasonal climate change, after all, is an important cause of allergies. Since dogs themselves like sleeping in some dark places, red rash will easily occur if they are wet because of sweating or bathing. Compared to other skin diseases, rash is common and easy to be cured. However, this is a really painful experience to your Cockers since they have to keep scratching to get the temporary relief. Even more dangerously, it could lead to festering if left untreated.


Tinea is also another common skin disease found in Cocker spaniels. What’s truly scary about tinea is that it is tricky to handle. After all, the Cocker has a thick fur coat. If you force to externally apply medicine on them, it is likely to get the opposite effect since they might be poisoned by keeping turning backwards to lick the medicine. So, in order to protect your dog from the attack of tinea, you should bath them more often and let them grow up healthily under your wings.

Seborrheic dermatitis

Seborrheic dermatitis has no underlying causes. But it occurs only in a few specific dog breeds, such as Cocker Spaniel, West Highland White Terrier, German Shepherd, Labrador and Golden Retriever dogs, and the like. It is usually hereditary and attacks in the age of 18-24 months old. And many Cockers have a lifetime prevalence of seborrheic dermatitis.

And the most common underlying causes for secondary seborrhea are endocrine disorders and allergies. Clinical manifestations include dry and dull hair, scabbed seborrhea scales, oily skin, funky odor, and so on. Dermatitis is usually found in toes, perineum, face, underarms, sides of neck and abdomen, belly, skin creases, etc. The itch degree is from mild to severe. And otitis externa are common. In addition, their skin and ears are often suffered from secondary bacterial and Malassezia infection.

In summer skin conditions are the most common diseases found in Cocker Spaniels due to the combination of high temperature, strong, ultraviolet radiation, and a variety of wild flowering seed plants. Besides of the mentioned ones, there are some others haven’t been talked about. If you have questions about the treatment, it is always a good idea to consult with your vet.

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