Caring for your Clumber at home
Clumber Spaniels have a life span of about 11-12 years and are generally a healthy breed. Many are known to have lived well into their teens. Here we focus on some of the things you can do when looking after your Clumber at home.
There are no hard and fast rules about what to feed your dog. Some people prefer to feed raw food while other owners prefer the more convenient dried food. When you collected your puppy you should have been given a diet sheet and a small supply of food. Don’t be tempted to change your dog’s diet to quickly – mix the original food with some new for a while first.
Whatever you feed make sure you get the quantities right. Clumbers love food and will eat as much as you give them. Watch their waistline and ensure your dog doesn’t get too fat or isn’t too thin. Using the Body Condition Score is a reliable way to assess your dog, and will enable you to check if you don’t have any suitable scales. The Royal Canin website has a very good example of how to use this tool.
Anal Gland problems can occur in any breed of dog, sometimes after a bout of diarrhoea. Changing the diet can help as can adding vegetables or wheat bran to the food. If it occurs more regularly then seek advice from your vet.
Clumbers need daily exercise which should be very gradually increased over the first year of life. They can cover a reasonable distance at a steady pace but are not built to go for miles at a fast gallop. They should have the chance to run free as well as doing some road walking which is good for muscle tone and for keeping nails short. Discourage your Clumber from running up and down stairs or jumping on and off furniture, especially in their first year when their bones and joints are still developing.
Grooming which includes brushing, trimming, nail clipping and bathing should be part of your regular routine. Brushing promotes good coat growth as well as removing dead hair. If you find knots under the armpits, behind the ears, in the thick and long main under the chin, and in the skirt they should be removed as soon as possible. Trimming excess hair between the toes can prevent knots developing. Grooming can be very therapeutic for owner and dog, and it also gives the chance to find any early warnings of a potential skin problem or lumps and bumps where they should not be.
As you brush your hands over your dog’s ribs while grooming you can do a quick weight check: if the ribs are covered with a sheet they might be a bit underweight, if they are covered with a duvet they could be a bit overweight, and if they are covered with a sheet then they are probably about right.
If your dog is scratching a lot this may be caused by fleas or ticks so regular checks while grooming enables early treatment of required. If this does not stop the itching then consider changing the diet in case it is caused by an allergy which is not uncommon in dogs.
EYES, EARS and TEETH
Clumber eyes benefit from regular cleaning with a proprietary cleaning product. There may be tear stains but the eyes should not look sore or have a discharge. If your Clumber has persistent eye problems consult your vet but do not be tempted into corrective surgery too soon. Clumbers are not fully grown until they are 2-3 years old so it is important to wait until the head has fully formed.
Spaniel ears can be prone to wax build up, so cleaning once a week will enable you to check that they are clear of any smelly discharge and do not appear sore.
Teeth should also be checked for signs of tartar build up. Some owners brush their dog’s teeth while others rely on giving chews that are designed to help keep dogs teeth clean.
The mental health of a dog is as important as its physical health. They need some activity for their brains as well as their legs. Any type of training can do this from basic training such as the KC Good Citizen Scheme to gundog training. If you have bought your Clumber for working then you will probably be aware of the training you need to do. For pet owners, other options include Scentwork, Rally-obedience, agility, Hoopers and even dancing to music. You can also find websites and books on brain training for dogs. Taking part in specific activities will enhance your dog’s life and build a stronger bond between owner and dog.
VACCINATIONS and INSURANCE
When you first get your puppy you should take it to your vet for a health check. They will advise about having your dog vaccinated against Canine Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvovirus, and Leptospirosis which can all be fatal. There are some reports of adverse reactions but these are rare so always seek advice from your vet. Your vet will also advise about worming and the need for flea and/or tick treatments.
Insuring your dog is expensive but if the worst should happen and your dog should need specialist treatment then you may be glad that you decided to pay out a monthly sum for the reassurance it can give. Further information can be found
If you have any concerns about your dog’s health always seek advice from your vet
(Barbara Western, 2021)