How to Care for English Springer Spaniels
The lively English springer spaniel needs room and space to bounce and run. They are known to be friendly and obedient family dogs that live to please their humans.If you have a dog of this breed, you can learn how to give you English springer spaniel the best care possible.
Taking Care of Your English Springer Spaniel
Feed your dog quality food.The English springer spaniel needs a high-quality, well-balanced dog food. To find such a food, look at the dog food ingredient list on the label. Meat and vegetables should be the first three or four ingredients in the dog food as opposed to meat by-products and grains.
- Follow the feeding recommendations on the dog food label to make sure you aren’t over or underfeeding your English springer spaniel. Most spaniels are fed twice a day.
- Avoid feeding your dog avocados, alcohol, chocolate, grapes and raisins, various nuts, onions, garlic and chives, yeast dough, and xylitol, which is found in sugar free foods.
Know what snacks to feed your dog.If you want to feed your English springer spaniel some good snacks, try the following foods in small amounts:
- Rinsed canned beans
- Small slices of cooked sweet potatoes
- Baby carrots
- A few frozen peas or blueberries
Keep your pet well hydrated.The English springer spaniel is a very active dog. Keep yours well hydrated by always having fresh, clean water available.
- Clean the water bowl frequently to reduce the bacteria load in the bowl.
Maintain your dog’s coat.The English springer spaniel sports a beautiful coat with feathering at the legs. Because of this, many people chose to have their English springer spaniel professionally groomed to accentuate the beautiful coat. You can groom your dog at home, however. You can trim the fur around the head, neck, ears, tail, and feet. This can help keep your dog looking neat and keep the hair healthy.
- Some will have their springers shaved during the warmer months.
Brush your dog’s coat.Make sure to brush your dog’s coat one to three times a week to remove loose hairs and tangles from the feathering. This helps avoid matting in the fur.
- A good brushing encourages skin circulation and gives you a chance to check the skin for problems like fleas, ticks, cysts, lumps, and bumps. Treat any fleas or ticks promptly with a topical spot on treatment. It is actually a great idea to treat your dog with it once a month as a preventative.
Clean your dog’s ears.Because the English springer spaniel has such long, floppy ears, you need to check them and clean them. This helps prevent ear infections. Just gently wipe out the part of the ear you can see with a cotton ball. Your vet can recommend a good cleaning solution.
- Don’t stick anything down into your dog’s ear. If your dog’s ears smell bad or are red and tender, or the dog is favoring the ears, take her to the vet to get them checked for infection.
Keep your dog’s nails clipped.You will need to also check your dog's nails once a week to see if they need clipping. Many active larger dogs are able to keep their nails short by wearing them down, but some aren’t able to or as they get older and less active they don’t wear as well.
- Do not to trim the quick. If you aren’t sure how to clip the nails, ask your veterinarian or the vet technician or nurse to show you how to do so on your dog so you are comfortable doing so at home. You can also get the vet to trim them for you.
Brush your dog’s teeth.Brush your dog’s teeth on a daily basis to remove plaque and bacterial build up. Make sure to use dog toothpaste; never use human toothpaste on a dog.
- You can supplement the teeth brushing with dental formulated foods and treats which help to remove bacteria and plaque.
Keeping Your English Springer Spaniel Active
Shower your dog with attention.English Springer Spaniels are very affectionate dogs who make great companions and family dogs. They require a lot of attention and affection to be happy. Make sure to give your spaniel affection daily to keep her happy.
Give the dog lots of exercise.English springer spaniels are extremely hyper dogs and need a lot of exercise. A 30 minute or more walk twice a day is a good starting point for exercise for this active breed. Eventually, two one-mile long walks a day should be good. She may need more exercise if he is particularly boisterous inside the house or acts squirrelly.
- You can also let your dog out into your fenced back yard to run around and play.
- Spaniels also like to swim, so you can take them to a lake or let them swim in your pool.
- Field springer spaniels will need more exercise than show springer spaniels.
Play games with your dog.In addition to long walks, play games with your dog. A game of fetch or Frisbee or even chasing bubbles blown by you can be a fun, healthy way to bond with your English springer spaniel. This helps expend some of the energy the breed has and keeps your dog from being bored.
- Regular exercise keeps your English springer spaniel physically healthy and also keeps her mind active to curb bad behavior stemming from boredom, such as destructive chewing, jumping or barking.
Socialize your dog.Carefully introduce your English springer spaniel to people, other animals and dogs, and situations outside the immediate home environment. Take her for car rides, walks around the neighborhood, and to parks so she can meet new people, new animals, and experience a variety of sights and sounds.
Taking Your English Springer Spaniel to the Vet
Determine if your puppy has been to the vet.After adopting your dog, determine if the dog has been to the vet. The dog should have been taken to the vet at six weeks to check for any abnormalities and to be dewormed for the first time.
- If you adopt a young puppy, around eight to 10 weeks old, you probably need to take her to the vet to get additional deworming treatments and follow-up vaccinations, such as another distemper vaccine, Lyme disease vaccine, and a rabies vaccine.
Get a heartworm preventative.To protect your puppy, get a heartworm preventative from your vet. This can be started at eight weeks of age.
- Heartworms can cause major medical issues, so starting her on treatment early will help prevent her from developing them.
Spay or neuter your dog.If you do not plan on breeding your English springer spaniel, then you should get her spayed (or neutered if a male). This helps prevent unwanted pregnancies and hormone related behavior, such as heats.
- It also decreases the chance of certain tumors and infections.
Recognizing Common Conditions for English Springer Spaniels
Be aware that English springer spaniels may have orthopedic conditions.There are certain diseases or conditions that your dog may be susceptible to. English springer spaniels are susceptible to certain orthopedic conditions, such as hip and elbow dysplasia, luxating patella, and intervertebral disk disease.
- Monitor the way she walks and general body issues in order to look for these conditions.
Watch out for eye diseases.English springer spaniels can get a couple of different eye diseases. The most common is retinal dysplasia. They also can progressive retinal atrophy, cataracts, eyelid abnormalities, corneal dystrophy, and glaucoma.
Monitor her ears for infections.Because English springer spaniels have such long, floppy ears and long hair, they can get chronic ear infections. Because of this you should check your dog's ears daily to make sure they are not dirty, itchy, or smelly.
- If they are, contact your veterinarian to have them checked.
Look out for other skin diseases.English springer spaniels commonly get skin allergies, which lead to itchy skin. They also can get seborrhea. Watch for any signs of this, such as excess itching and skin rashes, and take your pet to the vet if they show signs of skin problems.
- This breed can also get skin growths. These can be cancerous or not. Have a vet check them out to determine if they are serious or not.
Be aware the breed can get Phosphofructokinase Deficiency.This condition is characterized by a deficiency of the enzyme Phosphofructokinase (PFK). This can cause a form of anemia and myopathy.The disease is characterized by exercise intolerance, depression, fever, lethargy, bloody urine, and muscle wasting and cramping.Some English springer spaniels may inherit this disease, which can be found by your vet via a blood sample.
- Microchipping your dog is a great idea if she should ever get lost.
- English springer spaniels do great in agility classes. It gives them great exercise while also giving you a fun event to do with your dog.
- Kong type toys make great dog toys that are virtually indestructible.
- Watch out for weedy spots during your outings. The feathers and long hair on the ears pick up burrs easily which can be hard to remove.
Sources and Citations
- The Merck Veterinary Manual. C.M. Kahn and S. Line (eds.) 2010. John Wiley & Sons.
- The Merck Veterinary Manual. C.M. Kahn and S. Line (eds.) 2010. John Wiley & Sons.
- Small Animal Internal Medicine. 5th Edition. R.W. Nelson and C.G. Couto. Elsevier Health Sciences. 2014
- The 5 Minute Veterinary Consult. L.P Tilley and F.W. K. Smith, Jr. (eds) 2000. Blackwell
- The 5 Minute Veterinary Consult. L.P Tilley and F.W. K. Smith, Jr. (eds) 2000.
Video: English Springer Spaniel Dog Breed Guide
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