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Cocker Spaniels are simply adorable with their soft brown eyes and fluffy ears. They are firm favorites as family pets. They have truly sweet personalities and are very keen to please. There are two main types which are the American Cocker Spaniel and the English Cocker Spaniel. The breeds are actually very similar and are both around 20 to 30 pounds in weight.
The distinctive thing about the breed is their long, silky coat which can be in several color combinations. It requires a lot of grooming and diet plays a big part in keeping it healthy. You also need to feed them a diet that will fuel their active lifestyle because they are a basically a sporting dog.
The best dog food for Cocker Spaniels will provide them with all the protein and energy they need together with balanced nutrients to keep their digestive system healthy and their coat shiny. To get you started, here is our guide to the best dog food for Cocker Spaniels.
The Best Dog Food For Cocker Spaniels
Merrick Grain-Free Real Salmon & Sweet Potato
A natural grain-free cocker spaniel food that contains a minimum of 34 percent protein and 14 percent fat. The protein is provided by deboned salmon and salmon meal. It is packed with healthy vegetables including sweet potatoes and peas which also provide fiber.
The Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids keep the immune system healthy and the coat shiny. The glucosamine and chondroitin will help with healthy hips and joints. It is suitable for dogs with poultry sensitivities as there is no poultry content and it contains no wheat, corn or rice.
Taste of the Wild Appalachian Valley Small Breed Food
Formulated especially for small breeds, this recipe is based on the diet of wolves and matches your dog’s food to their wild dog ancestry. It has a minimum of 32 percent crude protein and 18 percent fat. Pasture-raised venison is the primary ingredient which supplies a highly digestible form of protein and is packed with nutrients. Because the protein and fat content are high, it provides the energy that smaller breeds need. The reduced-size kibble also suits their small mouths.
To promote a healthy digestion, the probiotics (e.g. Lactobacillus) are added after heat treatment to make sure that the 80 million live cultures survive. Garbanzo beans provide further protein, fiber, and minerals. The fatty acids promote a healthy coat and antioxidants, minerals and vitamins fight off disease. These are provided by ingredients such as tomatoes, blueberries, and raspberries. Taste of the Wild Appalachian Valley is one of 7 dog food recipes mentioned in our review of Taste of The Wild Dog Food.
A complete Cocker Spaniel food offering 38 percent protein and only 20 percent low-glycemic carbohydrates (lentils, peas, and pinto beans) which are easy to digest. There are no highly processed carbohydrates. The meat content comes from multiple sources and includes deboned goat, deboned beef and deboned wild boar as well as a fish meal. Two-thirds of the meat content is fresh.
The combination of meats, organs, and cartilage provides nutrient-rich content so there is no need for added supplements. The only additives are zinc and dried probiotics such as Lactobacillus acidophilus. ORIJEN Regional Red Grain-Free Dry Dog Food is one of 7 dog food recipes included in our Orijen Dog Food Review.
Instinct Original Grain-Free Recipe with Real Rabbit
This is a high-protein kibble based on totally natural and raw ingredients which are processed as little as possible. A full 71 percent of the food comprises real animal ingredients (including cage-free chicken and US-raised beef) and a further 29 percent are wholesome ingredients such as vegetables and fruits including peas and apples.
The recipe contains probiotics to maintain your dog’s healthy intestines and Omega fatty oils for their skin and coat. It is suitable for dogs with food allergies and sensitivities because there is no grain content and no potato, soy, meat by-product meals or artificial additives.
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Lamb & Brown Rice
With plenty of protein (minimum 22 percent) and fat (minimum 14 percent) to keep your Cocker Spaniel happy, this kibble is perfect for building and maintaining strong muscles. The primary ingredients are deboned lamb, wholemeal rice and nutrient-rich fruit and vegetables such as peas and chicory root.
It is formulated for adult dogs and can support an energetic lifestyle. There are plenty of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals to support the immune system and general health and Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids for a shiny coat. There are no chicken or poultry by-product meals and no corn, wheat or soy that could cause allergies.
The high protein content (minimum 25 percent) and fat content (minimum of 16 percent) are derived from totally natural ingredients. Formulated for adult dogs, the meat protein in this Cocker Spaniel dog food is derived from the chicken, chicken meal and chicken broth.
There are plenty of calories to sustain an active dog and easy to digest carbohydrates such as carrots and sweet potatoes. There is added salmon oil and flaxseed for Omega oils to maintain a shiny coat. It contains no corn, wheat or soy.
For a full list of our favorite options, see our round-up of Fromm Dog Food.
Plenty of protein (25 per cent) and fat (16 per cent)
Meat protein from chicken and chicken meal
Salmon oil and flaxseed provide Omega oils
No corn, wheat or soy
Weight: 4 pounds
Buy On AMAZON
NutriSource Large Breed Chicken/Rice Dog Food
Formulated for large breed dogs, this is a dog food for spaniels that are protein-rich thanks to the real chicken content which builds muscle mass in active dogs. The kibbles are large and tasty and every Cocker Spaniel will love them.
The recipe also contains rice and other premium ingredients such as beet pulp which is easy to digest and will satisfy the biggest appetite. The formulation is further fortified with vitamins and minerals and there is no wheat or soy to trigger allergies.
If you have a dog that is sensitive to certain ingredients but who needs a protein-rich diet, this kibble would be the best dog food for cocker spaniel puppies. It is available in several different formulations for dogs of different ages and is available in different flavors.
The chicken recipe for puppies contains 30 percent protein which is provided by chicken and menhaden fish meal and is the best puppy food for cocker spaniels. There is also 12 percent fat. Healthy carbohydrates include lentils, peas, and potatoes. There are Vitamin E and Omega 3 oils to maintain a healthy coat and a range of minerals and antioxidants. The probiotics (e.g. Lactobacillus) are added to support digestion. Because it is made from a simple recipe with limited ingredients, it is suitable for dogs with allergies.
Zignature Limited Ingredient Formula Trout & Salmon
The protein in this Cocker Spaniel dog food is provided by trout and salmon meal and it provides a complete diet for adult dogs. It is also very useful when starting an elimination diet because there is no meat content and it is suitable for dogs with sensitivities.
It has plenty of Omega 3 fatty acids and the low glycemic carbohydrate content is very easy to digest. The healthy vegetables and fruits contain antioxidants. There is no corn, wheat, soy or eggs. Zignature Limited Ingredient Formula Trout & Salmon is one of 5 dog food recipes mentioned in our Zignature Dog Food Review.
Natural Balance L.I.D. Salmon & Sweet Potato Formula
A recipe based on limited ingredients so it is suitable for Cocker Spaniels with food sensitivities. The main ingredients are sweet potatoes, salmon, menhaden fish meal and potato. There is a minimum of 21 percent protein and 10 percent fat. As the primary source of carbohydrates, sweet potatoes are easily digestible and rich in potassium.
It is formulated to support a healthy digestion and the Omega oils promote a healthy coat. There are no artificial additives and it is suitable for dogs of all ages. Natural Balance L.I.D. Salmon & Sweet Potato is one of 5 dog food recipes included in our review of Natural Balance Dog Food.
21 per cent minimum protein content
10 per cent minimum fat content
Limited ingredients for dogs with food sensitivities
Ingredients to Look for in Best Food for Cocker Spaniels
There are plenty of options for feeding a Cocker Spaniel but you will want to get the very best food that you can afford for your much-loved pooch. To keep your Cocker Spaniel in the best health and to keep their coat looking at its best, here are some ingredients to look out for.
Ask your vet. If you have not had a Cocker Spaniel before, you should always seek Cocker Spaniel dog food recommendations from your vet.
Protein content: Cocker Spaniels need a high protein food, it needs to be at least more than 20 percent. Protein is essential for forming lean muscle mass in an active breed.
Protein source: An animal protein source from a high-quality source is preferable. Look for something like free-range chicken or free-roaming lamb. Fish protein is an excellent alternative.
Low carbohydrates: Cocker Spaniels do not need a high carbohydrate content. The carbs that are in the food need to be nutritious and easy to digest. Peas and sweet potatoes are excellent examples.
Allergies can cause skin and digestive issues in Cocker Spaniels. Look out for foods that have excluded common allergens such as wheat, soy, and corn. Artificial additives are also best avoided.
Probiotics: Friendly bacteria are needed by your dog’s gut to help them digest their food and to get the maximum nutritional benefit from their diet. Probiotics are cultures of friendly bacteria. Look out for names such as Lactobacillus on the ingredients list.
Fatty acids: Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids are essential to keep that gorgeous Cocker Spaniel coat in fantastic condition.
The correct diet can play an important role in keeping your dog healthy. Here are a few things that you should know about the Cocker Spaniel diet and nutrition.
Cocker Spaniel Puppy Nutrition
To choose the best food for Cocker Spaniel pups, you should always consult a vet or experienced breeder about what to feed your pup. In general, a Cocker Spaniel pup between 2 and 6 months of age will need 150 – 250g a day of food, split into several regular meals. This can be gradually reduced to 130 – 190g per day over a few months and at 12 months a dog is considered an adult.
Free-feeding a Cocker Spaniel pup is not recommended because they will gorge themselves and grow too rapidly. This is bad for their bones and can cause joint problems in the future. The balance of minerals (including calcium) is very important so it is vital that you get a special Cocker Spaniel puppy food.
Cocker Spaniel Adult Nutrition
The feeding regime for an adult dog will depend on their activity levels and size. In general, an adult will need 175 – 260g each day. Some vets recommend that it is split into two meals a day.
Avoiding Obesity in Cocker Spaniels
This is a major dietary concern in this breed. It is essential that you balance your dog’s calorie intake with their exercise. Diets that are high in protein but lower in carbohydrates suit them best. Also, foods that have plenty of fiber will make them feel full but will not give them too many calories.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids and Cocker Spaniel Coat
Cocker Spaniels are known for having a gorgeous shiny coat and you will want to do all you can to keep it that way. You can look for added Omega 3 and Omega 6 on the ingredients list.
Alternatively, they may be in the food because they naturally occur in ingredients. Foods that are naturally rich in fatty acids include oily fish (salmon) and fish oils and flaxseed.
Cocker Spaniel Allergic Triggers
All dogs can suffer from food allergies and sensitivities and Cocker Spaniels are no exception. The best dog food for cocker spaniel with allergies is one that has limited ingredients, especially when you are starting an elimination diet. Typical foods to avoid include all grains (including wheat and corn), soy, eggs, and dairy products. Some dogs need to avoid chicken or at least chicken by-products. Others need to avoid meat altogether and need food where the protein is provided by fish.
Food to Avoid Feeding Your Cocker Spaniels
There are some foods that you may want to avoid feeding your Cocker Spaniel.
Meat by-products: Many dog owners prefer to avoid foods that have meat by-products. This includes the cheaper parts of the carcass and it is difficult to know exactly what is in them. Instead, opt for high-quality meat or fish sources of protein.
Corn, wheat, and soy: Some Cocker Spaniels suffer from food allergies and sensitivities. Get used to reading ingredients lists because what is NOT included is as important as what is on the list. Formulations that have no corn, wheat or soy are best for dogs with allergies.
Excess carbohydrates: Cocker Spaniels need food with a small amount of easy-to-digest carbohydrates. Foods that are packed with low-quality carbohydrates (that are usually provided by grains) can trigger allergies and digestive problems and can make your dog put on weight.
Cheap fillers have little nutritional value and are there just to pad out cheaper brands. Premium dog foods do not contain them.
Artificial additives: The more natural a dog food is, the better. It will be based on the type of food that dogs eat in the wild and will work in harmony with your dog’s body. Artificial ingredients are more likely to trigger allergies and reactions.
Common Cocker Spaniel Health Problems
Cocker Spaniels are usually healthy dogs who grow to a maximum of around 17 inches tall. The female adults weigh around 26 to 32 pounds and the males weigh around 28 to 34 pounds. They are moderately active and live for 12 to 14 years. As with all breeds, there are some health conditions that you should look out for. If you suspect that your Cocker Spaniel has any of these conditions, it is important that you see your vet right away.
Cocker Spaniels can suffer from primary hypothyroidism where the thyroid gland does not make enough thyroid hormone to keep a dog healthy. Dogs with hypothyroidism often have coats that are dry and brittle. They also put on weight and can have joint issues.
If your dog is diagnosed with hypothyroidism by your vet, they will be able to advise you on the best diet. You may need to look out for a food that has Omega oils and specific vitamins to support a healthy coat. Diet can also help with weight control.
Cocker Spaniels are one of the breeds that can suffer from hip dysplasia. It is a developmental orthopedic condition where the hip ball and socket joint does not form correctly and arthritis sets in. It is a genetic disease so always check that your pup’s parents have been tested. It causes lameness and eventually, the affected pooch has problems getting up. It is vital that you don’t overfeed a growing Cocker Spaniel pup because one of the risk factors for the disease is rapid growth and too much calcium in the diet. You need a specially formulated best dog food for Cocker Spaniel puppies.
Deafness is a common issue in Cocker Spaniels. They have floppy ears and long hair which provides a perfect, moist environment for pathogens to grow.
You will need to be vigilant and check their ears regularly. If you notice any problems (redness, pain, smell, swelling), alert your vet right away. A balanced diet will provide all the nutrients your dog needs to boost their immune system and fight infections.
Unfortunately, Cocker Spaniels can inherit or develop several eye problems:
Cataracts: These are more common in older dogs. The eye lens becomes cloudy and the dog loses their vision.
Eyelid abnormalities: This is also sometimes called a cherry eye. It is most often seen in younger dogs and is a swelling in the corner of the eye.
Dry eye: This is also called keratoconjunctivitis sicca or KCS. The tear glands do not produce enough moisture and the eye becomes sore, itchy and prone to infection.
Retinal Dysplasia: This is when there are deformations of the retina. In dogs, it is usually a genetic disease.
Your Cocker Spaniel will need an annual eye examination and you should get in touch with your vet immediately if you have any concerns.
Cocker Spaniels can suffer from obesity as they love to beg for food and many owners give in! Obesity can cause metabolic and digestive disorders, back pain, heart disease, and joint disorders.
A healthy diet with plenty of fiber can help. It will make your pooch feel full up without delivering too many calories. A healthy, active lifestyle is also important.
Wet Food vs. Dry Food for Cocker Spaniels
Cocker Spaniels require a high-quality diet that meets all their nutritional needs and that will not trigger allergies and sensitivities. Both wet and dry foods are capable of supplying this and the choice comes down to personal preference. It has to be a joint decision made by you, as the owner, whilst taking your dog’s tastes into account.
Kibble is not as messy as wet dog food. It won’t get stuck in your Cocker Spaniel’s lovely coat and is easier to clear away if they spill it.
When you open a bag, you can simply reseal it and it will keep for weeks.
The rough texture scrapes plaque off teeth and is better for dental health.
It isn’t as smelly.
Not all dogs like kibble and puppies, in particular, can struggle to chew them. It is important to always provide plenty of water with the dried food.
Our Top Pick
Merrick Grain Free Dry Dog Food – this will provide all the protein that your Cocker Spaniel will need thanks to the deboned salmon and salmon meal which are the primary ingredients. It is totally grain-free but full of healthy vegetables including sweet potatoes. The vegetables provide plenty of fiber to help prevent obesity.
The Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids look after your dog’s coat and glucosamine and chondroitin will help with healthy joints. It is suitable for dogs on an elimination diet.
Sharon is a Ph.D. scientist and experienced pet content writer. As a life-long animal lover, she now shares her family home with three rabbits, a Syrian hamster, and a Cockapoo puppy. She has a passion for researching accurate and credible information about pets and turning it into easy-to-understand articles that offer practical tips. When it comes to our furry friends, she knows that there is always something new to learn!