Grooming the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a relatively simple task … something that makes the breed ideal for those who not see themselves spending hours trimming and clipping their dog or regularly visiting a professional groomer. Here are some tips I’ve compiled for you that I hope will be helpful!
Before bathing, we recommend you take care of all other grooming tasks first:
Tooth brushing once a day, you can start your Cavalier out by brushing its teeth with a children’s finger brush, and then move to a children’s electric brush. Keeping a Cavalier’s teeth clean is very important to help aid in keeping a healthy heart.
Nail clipping is also important for your Cavaliers health. Nails need to be clipped about once per month. If the dog’s nails are black, it’s impossible to determine where the blood vessel or quick ends, so keep styptic powder on hand to help with clotting should you accidentally cut too close.
To keep from hurting the dog, clip just a little and view the inside of the freshly cut nail. If you do not see what appears to be the start of a blood vessel, you can clip just a little more. If you see the quick, stop, you’re done.
Dogs with ears that drop are prone to ear infections, so keeping the ears cleaned and dry is a must. I never use a ear cleaner that has water as a ingredient. Water and dampness are where most of our ear problems start. A good quality ear cleaner preferably one prescribed by your veterinarian is used weekly to clean the ears. Place a few drops in the ear, massage, and then clean out with the cotton balls. Use eye wipes or solution daily to remove any debris and tears around the eyes if needed.
Before bathing, we recommend you take care of all other grooming tasks first (see below). Take care of any mats before bathing, or you will never get them out of your Cavalier’s wet hair. To protect the ears during the bath, place a small cotton ball in each ear. Be careful not to place the cotton to deep in the ear, that you can’t get it out. I always like the squeeze the ear together gently, when I am rinsing the head and ear area.
The clippers and Number 40 blade can also be used to remove hair between the foot pads or if the dog will not tolerate this, use the shears to carefully remove any hair between the pads that grows longer than the actual pad. If your Cavalier has problems with its ears you can also clip the hair just around the ear opening, so more air can flow to the ear.
The clipper and Number 10 blade is used to shave a small area around the anus, groin and partially down the inside of the back legs. Called a sanitary clip, this keeps the dog cleaner between baths.
Once these tasks have been completed, you can bathe the dog with shampoo and finish with a conditioning rinse, make sure to rinse out all products well. Use a hair dryer and brush to achieve the smoothest finish. Finally, use the slicker brush, and greyhound comb, for the final brush out.
One of the reasons grooming is so easy is that despite the Cavalier’s coat being ‘medium long’, it is not clipped. Although should you decide to have your Cavalier clipped, please remember that they need at least 1″ of hair to keep them insulated from the heat and cold.
The silky coat of the Cavalier is easy to keep clean and shiny using a bristled brush, or pin brush, and greyhound comb at least once a week … or more often if time allows because it will keep tangles away.
The bristled brush, or pin brush is great for the daily brush out as long as there are no mats. If mats are present, use the slicker brush, dematting comb, or greyhound comb, combing gently to de-tangle and separate the mat.
The following is a summary of grooming tasks that can be done at home for anyone interested in grooming their own Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Even though the list above seems like a lot of equipment, it will pay for itself within the first year if you choose not to get your dog groomed professionally.
To be thoroughly complete, the grooming tool box of a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel owner should include a slicker brush, pin brush straight grooming shears, a dematting comb, clipper with a number 40 & 10. 40 blade for the bottom of the foot pad, and 10 blade for sanitary trim, good quality conditioning shampoo and conditioner, cotton balls, ear cleaning solution my favorite Liquid Health – K-9 Ear Solutions, eye wipes or cleaner, nail clippers and some styptic powder for nails if you cut them to short.