How much water should a dog cocker spaniel drink? Why my puppy drinks so much water? Can drinking water cause problems? When dogs need more water? Diet & nutrition tips and advice for English cocker spaniels dogs by pet nutrition coach / canine nutritionist / Perfect cocker spaniel dog blog, puppy tips, diet, health, grooming (C) Natalia Ashton

How much water should a spaniel drink?

Do you ever wonder if your cocker spaniel drinks too much water? Or, perhaps, not enough? This is especially curious when you have a little puppy  because they seem to drink a lot, often turning each “session” into a splash and a dip, too.

We don’t tend to think about it, but water is the most important nutrient for dogs. They can survive without food to the point of losing half of body fat and over 50% of body’s protein storage. Yet loosing 10% of water will be fatal.

Water fills every cell of the body and makes up 80% of lean body mass. It is in the blood, in the cells, in every tissue and organ supporting biological function from transport of the nutrients, toxins removal, temperature control and homeostasis to giving shape to the body.

Dogs will naturally lose water through urine, faeces, breathing, panting and sweating (through the paws). Water will also be used to support body chemistry.

How much water does a dog need a day?

There are a few formulas to establish this amount. The basic one is dog’s body weight, kg x 50 (or 60) ml. However the resulting number should only be used as a general reference.

Why some dogs need more water?

The actual need for water will depend on many factors. Puppies and junior dogs usually need more than adults. Pregnant and lactating bitches would drink more, too. Hot weather, changes in body temperature, body composition, stress, vomiting, diarrhoea, illness, certain medications, amount of exercise and type of food will also have an effect on daily water requirements.

Why do puppies drink so much water?

The need for water depends on the amount of lean mass, volume of food needed per kilo of body weight, and what is known as surface area per unit of body weight because the latter determines the speed of evaporation. Puppies eat more yet their surface area per kilo of body weight is larger compared to adult dogs. They are also going through a growing stage when the body need extra fluids. Plus, puppies often have slightly higher body temperature than adults, which also means that the body may need more water to maintain homeostasis  or the balance between chemical and physical states.

Can a dog drink too much?

Yes. This can happen to some avid swimmers who tend to fetch balls and sticks in the water, and dogs who like to play with water hose or sprinkles. If they swallow too much water, it can affect electrolyte levels (the balance of sodium and potassium in the body when sodium levels become low) and cause hyponatremia or water intoxication. The condition can affect several organs and body system, cause brain swelling and be fatal if left untreated. If the dog is affected, he becomes lethargic, looks weak, confused and out of balance, develops gazed look, has vomiting and diarrhoea, and suffers from seizures leading to coma.

How to make sure the dog drinks enough?

Keep an eye on his water bowl. Make sure that your spaniel has an access to fresh cool water at all times. Change it daily and top up if necessary. And always carry supply of water if you go for a walk on a hot day.

How to prevent ear problems in English cocker spaniels / Grooming, diet, lifestyle tips / Perfect cocker spaniel breed & puppy guide, dog blog / (C) Natalia Ashton

I am all ears! | Preventing ear problems in English cocker spaniels

If a cocker spaniel puppy came with a User’s manual, the book would definitely contain a warning about ear infections.  It is true that English cockers are predisposed to issues in this area. It does not, however, mean that your dog is destined to suffer from one.

There are a few things that can cause your cocker experience an ear ache and irritation. They can be connected to genetics and anatomy, health problems elsewhere in the body, parasites such as ear mites (one of the most common triggers), environmental allergies and food sensitivities, yeast and fungi, overall health status, side-effects of some medications, lifestyle, foreign bodies such as grass seeds and, of course, grooming routine.

The most important rule here is to take the dog to a vet if you suspect anything however minor and insignificant. Guesswork, internet searches, over the counter medicines, natural remedies and ear problems do not belong together.

I love my boys’ ears. I love to look at them, photograph them, groom them, touch and stroke the silky hair and I even love the way they smell… So I make sure they stay this way – beautiful and problem-free.

That’s why today I am not going to talk about illnesses. Instead we will focus on prevention because it’s so straight forward yet so effective for keeping any problems at bay for the entire life of your dog.

So here is a list of things that I do and use myself and recommend to anyone who comes to me for advice.

Check your dog’s ears daily and be particularly vigilant if your cocker is an adventurer or avid swimmer. It helps to know what a healthy ear looks like, notice any changes in texture, skin colour, temperature and scent, and spot any odd-looking discharge or grass seeds before they get into the ear canal.

Clean your spaniel’s ears once a week and keep it simple. Simplicity is the key when it comes to ear routine. By nature the canine ear is self-cleaning, so you don’t want or need to fiddle with it too much. Do not insert anything inside the ear canal. Do not pour any solutions into the cavity either. The latter may have to be done if the dog already has problems and based on your vet’s recommendations. However, if your dog has healthy beautiful ears, all you need to do is to get two cotton pads, moisten them with an ear cleanser based on salicylic acid (the simpler the formula the better) and gently and carefully wipe the visible outer surface inside each ear. That’s all.

Trim the hair around the ear canal monthly to allow air circulation. Be cautious if using clippers – it can cause irritation. Plucking must be avoided because it can leave the skin open to infections.

Groom your dog every day, so the ears are never left wet. Leaving them to dry naturally softens the skin of the ear canal and around the edge, creates damp and warm environment, and allows infections, bacteria and yeast to thrive. Keep an eye on paws, too, because anything that affects the paws can be easily transmitted into the ears.

Brush the ears daily to avoid mats. Also don’t use clippers on your dogs ears – it will thicken the hair, make it prone to matting and trapping moisture. Use scissors or Coat King instead.

Avoid frequent bathing because it also softens the skin and increases the risk of getting the water into the ear canal. If you do bathe your dog, always protect the ears with cotton balls.

Use vet-prescribed flea and worming treatments. Besides keeping obvious parasites at bay, correctly chosen products will also prevent an ear mite infestation.

If your dog had to be on a course of antibiotics, remember to restore his gut bacteria with a course of vet-recommended probiotics and by adding some plain natural yoghurt or kefir into your cocker’s diet.

Feed your dog a complete balanced diet because it will strengthen his natural defences. It does not need to be home-made or unique. A good quality commercial age-appropriate dog food is a reliable and safe option. If unsure, consult a vet or nutritionist.

When feeding your dog, use special spaniel bowls, snoods and scrunchies to protect your cocker’s ears from getting dirty, otherwise you may end up with a dog who suddenly develops very smelly ears caused by yeast and bacteria.

You can find more information about English cockers, their health, grooming, nutrition and puppy tips in my book Perfect cocker spaniel.

Photo credit: Cooper & Fred photographed by me

Can household chemicals be harming your dog's health / link and risk between pesticides, herbicides, phthalates, common toxic substances in cleaners, cosmetics, make-up and risk of cancer, dermatitis, skin problems, behavioural issues, aggression, obesity, allergies in dogs / Perfect cocker spaniel pet blog / puppy tips, advice, grooming, health, diet, training tip / (C) Natalia Ashton

Is your home making your dog sick?

Dogs can help us discover the link between common household chemicals and several types of human cancers, but they can get sick, too. According to the latest study published in the Journal of Environmental Science & Technology, dogs that share their living space with humans, are essentially inhaling, absorbing and retaining the same chemicals as their family.

The scientists collected the data from exposure to pesticides, OPEs (organophosphate esters), phthalates, BFRs (flame retardants), and PCBs (polychlorinated bisphenyls). These are usually found in garden products, disinfectants, pest poisons, cosmetics, plastic and vinyl toys, vinyl and certain wood flooring, plastic food wraps, detergents, baby products, mattresses and foam furniture, just to name a few. Many substances have already been linked to disease in humans, but the problem has often been about the length between the exposure to chemicals and the onset of symptoms. With their smaller bodies, the dogs do not only absorb the potentially carcinogenic agents, but can develop the disease at a much faster rate.

Whilst it is certainly a welcomed discovery in terms of our health, the research, in my view, is a very valid factor and reminder for every dog parent to be incredibly vigilant when choosing their household products, cosmetics, food items, containers, dog toys and bowls.

I have talked about this link in my book through so many pages, you could have easily mistaken me for a mad woman obsessed with “clean living”. In reality, my ideas have always been based on my nutrition background, experience and all the evidence-based scientific research that has been conducted over the years (and something I had to be aware of due to my job and simply because I love science).

There hasn’t been many studies that focused specifically on canine healths, but the ones I would like to mention here are the link between herbicides and increased risk of bladder cancer in dogs (some of them have also been shown to increase the risk of hormonal problems, liver disease and breast cancer in people, and I do believe they may have the same effect on dogs), dog’s exposure to pesticides in garden products and risk of canine malignant lymphomaBPA lining in cans of many pet foods and potential endocrine issues in dogs (in women BPA is associated with increased risk of endometriosis), increased infertility and reduced sperm quality in both dogs and humans after exposure to phthalates, increased occurrences of dermatitis and allergic reactions in dogs living in urban environment, and potential link between air fresheners and respiratory disease in dogs. And since the exposure to daily household chemicals has also been found to lead to obesity, behavioural and learning issues in humans, I would not be surprised if the dogs turned out to be at risk, too. On the other hand (and to put your mind at rest) the common flea treatments have not shown to be linked to cancers in dogs even though they do contain pesticides.

Fortunately, this part of our lives can be altered relatively easy because we now have such a fantastic choice of cleaner and more natural products to suit every need, from cleaning our homes to prettifying faces. Not only it will be good for us and the planet, but it will keep our dogs safe and healthy. It’s a win-win for everyone.


Photo credit: Angelo Rosa from Pixabay