10 Best Dog Foods for Cocker Spaniels

By Kevin Myers | 2020 Update

With hundreds of dog food brands out there, the competition is pretty tough.

With so many good options, it’s hard to know which one you should choose.

Luckily for you, I’ve put my research skills to use. From ingredients to caloric content, I’ve looked into every detail that matters. After going through a long list of dog foods, I was able to choose 17 that are perfect for Cocker Spaniels.

Not only will these foods make your Cocker’s coat shine, but they also offer significant health benefits as well. I’ve included seven options for sensitive, allergy-prone dogs. Read till the end to find out all about these dog foods and other important information!

The Best Dog Foods for Cocker Spaniels – My Top 10 Picks

Let’s start with my top 10 best cocker spaniel dog foods. These will be good options for all Cocker Spaniels. However, some of the options may not be right for those dogs that have a sensitive stomach or allergies. Other than that, these foods are well-balanced and full of nutrients!

1. American Journey Chicken & Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Protein (min.) 34%, Fat (min.) 15%, Fiber (max.) 5%, Moisture (max.) 10%

No pet parent ever wants anything less than the best for their furry friend. The first step to choosing the perfect dog food is making sure it is free of wheat, corn, and soy. Cocker Spaniels have a hard time digesting these ingredients. Also, there should be a healthy blend of meats with fruits and vegetables. Carbohydrates and fiber are equally as important.

This gluten-free and grain-free recipe ensures that your dog stays energized. Say goodbye to lethargy with all the antioxidants, phytonutrients, and fiber. DHA and Omega-3 fatty acids are also a significant part of this formula. Additionally, chickpeas and sweet potatoes mixed in with blueberries, carrots, and dried kelp enhance the taste of the deboned chicken. This American Journey dog food is one of the best dog foods for Cocker Spaniels, and I highly recommend it!


2. Merrick Grain-Free Texas Beef & Sweet Potato Recipe Dry Dog Food

Protein (min.) 38%, Fat (min.) 15%, Fiber (max.) 3.5%, Moisture (max.) 11%

Are you looking for a chicken alternative that is equally delicious and full of proteins? Well, here it is. Deboned beef paired with lamb meal and salmon meal not only boosts the taste of this kibble, but it also provides plenty of proteins. Once again, it is a gluten-free and grain-free recipe to avoid any issues with digestion.

Cocker Spaniels need a lot of skin-enhancing ingredients to keep their coat shiny and healthy. Omega-3 & 5 Fatty Acids do this job effectively. It contains no poultry, artificial colors, and other additives that may prove harmful in the long run. Most importantly, the manufacturer is reputable, known for following the mandatory quality standards to produce healthy dog food.


3. Taste of the Wild Sierra Mountain Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Protein (min.) 25%, Fat (min.) 15%, Fiber (max.) 5%, Moisture (max.) 10%

Do you know what’s better than lamb? Roasted lamb. This recipe is irresistible and is an excellent choice if you own a picky eater. Real lamb is perfect for dogs who need to build some muscles. The additional K9 strain probiotic blend supports your dog’s digestive system.

It is grain-free but does contain egg products. Although this isn’t harmful, it can be a cause of allergies in some dogs. If your pet doesn’t have this issue, then this formula is a safe option. Free of artificial additives, this recipe is made of high-quality ingredients only. The Siera mountain Taste of the Wild dog food is among the best dog foods for Cocker Spaniels. I highly recommend it!


4. Royal Canin Cocker Spaniel Adult Dry Dog Food

Protein (min.) 23%, Fat (min.) 12%, Fiber (max.) 3.3%, Moisture (max.) 10%

Royal Canin is known for producing dog food for specific breeds, and this is their formula for Cocker Spaniels. Since it has been designed specifically for this breed, it hits all the right notes. You can start feeding this dog food to your canine after it reaches 12 months of age. The caloric content is ideal for maintaining the perfect body weight for adult Cocker Spaniels. Chances of obesity are very minimal with this diet. The ingredient list is free of anything that could trigger an allergy.


5. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Beef & Chicken Grill Grain-Free Canned Dog Food

Protein (min.) 10%, Fat (min.) 9%, Fiber (max.) 1.5%, Moisture (max.) 78%

Dog foods with more than one meat are usually a pet favorite. The reason is mainly the flavor. However, a more valuable benefit is that it offers plenty of protein. This particular recipe is pea-free, grain-free, and is easily digestible. Since there is no corn, wheat, or soy in the recipe, Cocker Spaniels are at less risk of digestive problems. Being wet food, it is also easier to digest provides better hydration for your dog. It also contains the vitamins and minerals that are mandatory for a healthy immune system. It is a well-balanced diet that leaves no need for additional supplements.


6. Zignature Turkey Limited Ingredient Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Protein (min.) 31%, Fat (min.) 18%, Fiber (max.) 6%, Moisture (max.) 10%

You can never go wrong with a limited ingredient diet. One protein source, along with a few other necessities, ensures that the formula is free of harmful ingredients. Some LIDs can fall short on nutrition, but with this option, you don’t have to worry about that either. Despite having minimal ingredients, it offers a balanced diet. You can feed this product to puppies as well as adults. Therefore, it is an excellent option to use for transitioning between dog foods during the shift of life stage.

This recipe is rich in fiber but low in harmful carbohydrates. Similarly, it is full of phosphorus, which promotes bone health. The amount of saturated fat is very low in this recipe. Selenium and riboflavin are also included. Not to mention, it is free of common allergens such as dairy, wheat, chicken, etc.


7. CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE Real Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe Dry Dog Food

Protein (min.) 32%, Fat (min.) 18%, Fiber (max.) 4%, Moisture (max.) 10%

Fish-based dog foods are usually a Cocker Spaniels’ favorite. Even in the form of kibbles, fish enhances the flavor immensely. A taste-conscious dog is not a rare sight, which is why I’ve included a lot of irresistible flavors in this list. As for this one, it doubles as a source of protein as well as omega fatty acids, and it’s topped off with a unique blend of flavors. This recipe is unbeatable. The additional fiber further confirms easy digestion. You can expect a shinier coat, stronger immune system, and a more energized dog with this dog food.


8. Rachael Ray Nutrish PEAK Grain-Free Adventure Variety Pack Wet Dog Food

Protein (min.) 8%, Fat (min.) 5%, Fiber (max.) 3.5%, Moisture (max.) 82%

Real meat is the most crucial ingredient in dog food for Cocker Spaniels. This product has two sources of real meat, so it’s double the goodness! When you want to treat your dog with delicious wet food, this is a great option. It is high in protein, easy to digest, gluten-free, and full of nutritional value.

The only thing that may keep your dog from enjoying this dog food is the addition of dairy products. Some Cocker Spaniels are allergic to dairy. In that case, do not think twice and skip this option. But for the rest of the dogs, this dog food is a treat and a healthy one!


9. Rachael Ray Nutrish Zero Grain Natural Turkey & Potato Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Protein (min.) 26%, Fat (min.) 14%, Fiber (max.) 4%, Moisture (max.) 11%

No grains, no fillers, and no poultry by-products, this product is already a winner. Together with farm-raised turkey and highly digestible fruits and vegetables, it is safe to say that this dog food is one of the best for your adult Cocker Spaniel.

Beet pulp provides health fiber. The potatoes, peas, and tapioca fulfill the carbohydrate requirement, and the turkey contains the proteins.


10. Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Great Plains Red Recipe with Beef, Lamb & Rabbit Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Protein (min.) 38%, Fat (min.) 17%, Fiber (max.) 3.5%, Moisture (max.) 11%

Freeze-dried food is all nutrients without excess moisture so your dog can maximum benefit out of the diet. This recipe includes freeze-dried red-meat, which has a mouth-watering texture and flavor. The additional real vegetables and fruit boost the flavor even more.

It is gluten-free and without artificial ingredients. Moreover, the Omega Fatty Acids from the salmon meal ensure healthier skin. There is enough of glucosamine and chondroitin in this formula to boost the condition of your dog’s joints and bones, which minimizes the risk of bone disorders in older age.

Related:

  1. Wet Dog Food Buyer’s Guide
  2. Guide to best small breed dog foods
  3. List of the top-rated dry dog foods

Dog Food for Cocker Spaniels FAQs

The more you familiarize yourself with your dog’s breed, the better care you can provide. Simply being educated about your dog’s nature can help you improve the meals by a whole lot. You can also catch onto unusual habits that could be indicators of health issues.

For all these reasons and many more, I’ve answered some commonly asked questions about Cocker Spaniels. I hope that these will answer most of the questions you have.

Do Cocker Spaniels have a lot of health problems?

This breed is no different than any other dog breed. The common dog-related issues are equally likely in a Cocker Spaniel as in another dog. However, there are certain health risks to which this breed is more vulnerable. These include bone dislocation, urinary stones, heart failure, and eye problems. As long as you keep an eye out for the symptoms and offer the right environment along with a balanced diet, you shouldn’t be worried about these health problems.

How long do Cocker Spaniels usually live?

An average healthy Cocker Spaniel can live for 12 to 15 years. Of course, this is affected by a lot of factors, including diet, health, and other environmental conditions. But if you provide a guaranteed healthy lifestyle, expect your dog’s companionship for over a decade!

Do Cocker Spaniels sleep a lot?

No, they don’t sleep more than an average dog. Around 12 to 15 hours of sleep is mandatory but other than that, your dog should remain active for the most part. If this isn’t the case, observe your dog carefully, as lethargy can be a sign of a more severe problem. Also, these dogs tend to snuggle and cuddle with their owner a lot.

Are Cocker Spaniels good family pets?

It depends on what you consider a good family dog. As for Cocker Spaniels, they are among the top 15 registered breeds because they are loved. Their loving nature and calm temperament make them excellent companions. On top of that, they are good with children. If these are the qualities you are looking for, then they are an option for you.

Are Cocker Spaniels intelligent?

Yes, this breed is one of the smartest in the category of small and medium-sized dogs. Originally bred as hunters, they possess the quality of outsmarting whoever or whatever they consider the game. However, they are easy to train even for novice pet owners.

Are male or female Cocker Spaniels better?

The personality traits of this breed vary according to their gender. Females are more sensitive, whereas the males are on the independent side of the scales. Females also get more attached to their owners. On the other hand, a male can do better if left alone. Therefore, which one is better for you depends on your requirements. Whichever one you opt for, do consider spaying or neutering since that improves the dog’s disposition.

Buyer’s Guide

I can never choose anything less than the best for my little furballs. I’m sure you share this feeling. But this isn’t an easy task. There is a lot of research and time that goes into making the ‘right’ decision. We all know that a dozen qualities have to be checked to ensure that what we put in our dog’s bowl at the end of the day is of the highest quality.

So without further ado, let’s dive into all that you need to consider while purchasing dog food for your Cocker Spaniel. Bear in mind that not all of these may apply to your scenario. Your dog may have different preferences, and so, you’ll have to make a decision accordingly.

Breed Profile

The English Cocker Spaniel is a gun dog breed. They were bred to retrieve game. Although they may still retain some of those qualities, Cocker Spaniels are mostly house pets now. American Cocker Spaniels developed from English Cocker Spaniels. The American breed is generally shorter, but other than that, Cocker Spaniels share pretty much the same traits.

Its shiny coat and long ears are hallmarks of the breed. When you think of a Cocker Spaniel, usually a golden-orange color comes to mind, but in reality, these dogs also come in many other colors, including black, blue roan, tri-color, and others. As for their physical appearance, they are medium-sized. Similarly, males weigh a couple of kilograms more than a female of the same age. An average Cocker Spaniel’s weight is between 12kg and 16kg.

You’ll hardly ever find a dog of this breed in an unfriendly mood. Although cockers are known to attach to only one person, they are very loving and affectionate. Expect your buddy to be very active and energized at all times. Their calm nature makes them ideal pets for people who own more than one pet. Moreover, they are also very good with kids and the elderly.

Feeding Chart

I always emphasize on feeding charts for one sole reason:

Feeding right can change your dog’s entire life. The correct amount of calories, balanced nutrients, and varying requirements with age all need to be kept in mind. Overfeeding and underfeeding both can result in serious consequences that no loving pet parent wants to go through.

Puppies

Let’s start with Cocker Spaniel puppies. As soon as they are weaned, they should be gradually introduced to dog food. Now, like most puppies, this breed requires a hefty amount of proteins too. Proteins are broken down by the digestive system into amino acids which are the building blocks of muscles.

Puppies grow rapidly, and so, it is vital to keep the protein content high. Only then will your dog be able to develop strong muscles. Your puppy will be growing in every aspect.

Always feed your pup in small amounts. During the first four months, there should be four meals per day. Time these meals evenly. From four to six months, feed three meals per day. After your puppy is six months old, two meals a day are enough. As for the exact amount of food, you should consult a vet. A professional will guide you according to your dog’s age, weight, and activity level. Since every puppy is different, there is no average amount I can suggest.

Adults

As your dog hits the one year mark, it’s time for you to switch to a different kind of food. It’s at this stage where many health risks can potentially kick in. At the same time, your dog will be the most active in this stage of life. The caloric requirement for Cocker Spaniels is generally lesser than other dog breeds. An active dog needs 740 calories per day. In case your dog is less active and doesn’t move around as much, 600 calories should suffice. On the contrary, if your dog is extremely active for whatever reason, up to 1100 calories a day are fine.

An adult dog should be given two meals a day: once in the morning and the other in the evening. Keep the meal size moderate. Overeating may lead to digestive issues. Adults need more calcium and a little less protein with an uptick in the amount of fats and carbohydrates.

Seniors

Just like us, senior dogs aren’t as active as they were in their youth. The majority of the day is spent lounging or napping. At this stage of life, your cocker won’t need as much food as they did. The growing process has also stopped. All that needs to be done is to offer enough food to keep them healthy without putting on extra pounds that can be detrimental.

Seniors should do fine on no more than 600 to 700 calories per day. However, these calories should contain prebiotics, vitamins, and antioxidants. More than proteins and carbohydrates, your dog will need ingredients that strengthen the immune system. Also, at this stage, your dog will have a harder time digesting food, so it is best to keep the meal sizes small. Offer no more than two meals per day.

Must-have Ingredients

There is no such thing as a must-have ingredient. It’s all about the nutritional value that these ingredients offer. So, I won’t be talking about the exact ingredients you should be looking for. Instead, I’ll mention the qualities, and you can then choose a suitable option yourself.

  • Animal-based protein: The first ingredient in your dog’s food should always be whole meat. It can be chicken, turkey, salmon, or anything else that your dog likes.
  • Antioxidants: Usually, fruits are a great source of antioxidants. It is mandatory to include these in your dog’s diet to boost the immune system. Go for whichever fruits your dog finds tasty.
  • Calcium: Cocker Spaniel’s are at risk of many bone problems. Calcium is mandatory to prevent bone dislocation and other joint issues. Since most dogs are allergic to dairy, I wouldn’t recommend that. But, there are plenty of other calcium sources.
  • Omega fatty acids: I think the catchiest thing about Cocker Spaniels is their shiny coat. To maintain that, Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids are vital. Usually, fish or oils are an excellent source of these.

Ingredients to Avoid

Here’s what an average Cocker Spaniel is allergic to:

  • Dairy
  • Chicken by-products
  • Eggs
  • Grains (including corn, wheat, and soy)

It is obvious that if your dog is allergic, avoid these ingredients. Moreover, any other ingredient that has previously triggered a health issue should be eliminated from your dog’s diet. But that’s not all. There are a few more ingredients that seem to be harmless, but in the longer run, they are not suitable for Cocker Spaniels.

  • Additives: Artificial colors, preservatives, flavors, and anything of the sort is a definite no. Avoid as many additives and artificial ingredients as possible. Some of these additives are included to make your dog’s stool less stinky, but you’d rather bear the stink than a serious health risk later on.
  • Excess carbohydrates: Carbs are a part of a balanced meal; don’t get me wrong. Nevertheless, excess carbs can increase the risk of allergies in Cocker Spaniels.
  • Fillers: Sadly, a lot of brands use fillers in their recipes. It is less common is more prestigious and reputed brands. These fillers have little nutritional value and are useless. Things like corn starch, straw, rice hulls, cereal by-products, etc. are all filler ingredients.

Health Risks and Allergies

The following are the health issues that are affected by the diet that can be avoided or treated with a specialized diet.

Obesity

There’s hardly a dog breed that does not overeat. The more food you put in front of your dog, the more it will eat. There is no rocket science in this. The real concern here is the risk of obesity. Obesity leads to liver and kidney diseases. Moreover, there is a higher chance of bone dislocation in overweight dogs.

What can you do to prevent this? Do not overfeed your dog. Keep the calories in check and increase the fiber content in the diet. No matter how much you love your dog, you may shorten its life by providing more food than it needs.

Ear Infections

Ear disorders are common in Cocker Spaniels. Keep an eye out for the symptoms to be able to treat it in the early stages. In the case of ear infections, you should minimize the carbohydrates in your dog’s food. Other than that, visit a vet for professional help.

Primary Seborrhea

Primary Seborrhea is a skin infection that leads to smelly and itchy skin. Although it is an autoimmune allergy, you can treat it. Make sure to groom your dog frequently. Keep the diet balanced with a higher amount of omega fatty acids. Your vet may also suggest a shampoo to treat this issue.

Patellar Luxation and Hip Dysplasia

Cockers are susceptible to loose knees and dislocated hips and have the 3rd highest rate of patellar luxation. Weak bones and obesity are contributing factors. Calcium and vitamin D in your dog’s meals can prevent such issues. If you don’t think the dog food alone is doing enough, you can add in supplements after consulting your vet.

Wet or Dry?

One of the most common questions I always get from dog owners is about the pros and cons of wet vs. dry food. Let me break it down for you in detail today.

The only difference between wet and dry food is moisture content. While dry food has no more than 12% moisture, wet food contains up to 85% water.

As there is more water content in wet food, its shelf life is shorter than dry food. So, once you have bought canned food, you’ll have to use it within a short period. Now, the presence of water also affects the amount of food your dog will consume. The caloric content is not very different. But, the additional water fills up your dog’s stomach quicker. There is a higher chance of a dog overeating kibble than wet food.

Wet food is also not as healthy for your dog’s teeth, and it doesn’t provide any cleaning action. It is harder to brush off, but it tastes better—dogs like the texture of wet food over kibbles. The aroma is another way of encouraging the dog to eat. With the high water content, the dog needs to drink less to stay hydrated. Since the majority of the wet food is water, dogs can eat it in larger quantities without exceeding the caloric limit.

Dry food does have the ability to clean the teeth while also strengthening them. On top of that, dry food is cheaper, generally more environmentally friendly, and odorless.

The Final Word

As you can see, each one has its advantages and disadvantages. What matters is your dog’s preference and needs. If your pet is likely to overfeed, wet food will be a safer option. However, if your dog’s teeth aren’t in the best shape, kibble is better.

The choice also depends on the life stage. Puppies can eat more kibbles, but seniors need more wet food. The moisture aids digestion. Canned food is also quick to prepare, hence more suitable for busy pet parents. Some people also mix up dry and wet food to maintain a balance.

Other Factors to Look for in Dog Food

A clean ingredient list, balanced nutritional value, and the correct caloric content still don’t guarantee high-quality dog food. Yes, I know you’re surprised. What else is left to look for? Well, here’s the list:

  • Manufacturer: As I previously stated, a lot of brands add fillers to their recipes. But the more reputable brands steer clear of such things. You need to be wary of the manufacturer and brand. Yes, be brand conscious and only opt for those manufacturers who have good reviews.
  • Low-quality meat: It’s great to have found a dog food with a lot of animal-based protein. But is that meat of good quality? Low-quality meat comes from sick animals, roadkill, etc.
  • Quality control standard: Most products manufactured in the USA follow quality control standards. Make sure you double-check that the country where the dog food was produced follows these guidelines to guarantee that every batch of the product is the same and adheres to the label.

7 More Options for Sensitive Cocker Spaniels

It’s pretty normal to own a sensitive dog, no matter which breed it is. Most dogs have some sort of allergy triggers. However, those who are sensitive to food are can be harder to feed.

Now:

You will have to eliminate the ingredients to which your dog is sensitive. But, in the process of figuring this out, you can try out one of the following seven options. They are all free of by-products, grains, and dairy. Since these are the main culprits, there is a high chance that they will suit your dog. Moreover, most of the options offer chicken alternatives, so if your furry friend reacts to chicken, you have several suitable options.

11. American Journey Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Turkey & Sweet Potato Recipe Dry Dog Food

This limited ingredient diet is a fool-proof dog food option. It is almost risk-free to try out this formula due to its clean and high-quality recipe. It is free of all ingredients that are likely to cause an allergy, including wheat, corn, soy, and other grains.

This formula is easy on the stomach. Since turkey is the primary source of protein, it is also an excellent option for dogs who dislike or are allergic to chicken. Other than that, this product promotes healthier skin, as well. The carbohydrate content is moderate with easily digestible ingredients such as peas and sweet potatoes.


12. Rachael Ray Nutrish Zero Grain Natural Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Salmon is an ideal protein source for Cocker Spaniels. It encourages a shinier coat, prevents skin infections, and is also easily digestible. Salmon is a highly recommend protein source for sensitive dogs. It is high in Omega Fatty Acids, so there wouldn’t be a sign of itchiness or redness on the skin.

On top of that, this recipe is grain-free and gluten-free. There are no fillers, by-products, or artificial colors. The additional vitamins and minerals further enhance the easy digestion while also keeping the dog energized. Lastly, it is manufactured under the safety and quality standards of the USA.


13. Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Formula Duck & Potato Recipe Adult Dry Dog Food

Here’s another alternative for chicken. Deboned duck is a delicious and fulfilling protein source. This recipe is a fantastic option for dogs who need support to grow. From lean muscles to healthy bones, this formula boosts all kinds of growth in your dog. Glucosamine, calcium, and phosphorus work together to strengthen the bones, joints, and teeth.

It is an antioxidant-rich recipe providing for a robust immune system. The omega fatty acids also play an essential role in maintaining the skin and coat. There is one downside, though. If your dog has ear infections, this carbohydrate-rich formula may not be suitable.


14. Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Sweet Potato & Fish Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

If you want something with low carbohydrates, this is it. It is an ideal recipe where all the other nutrients are balanced, but the carbs are reduced to suit sensitive dogs. The formula allows for easy digestion using sweet potatoes to provide proper amounts of fiber.

Flaxseeds and salmon are both a source of Omega Fatty Acids. This way, you can tackle skin infections with this food too. Moreover, since there is only one meat, there is a minimal chance of a digestive issue. However, this does not compromise the amount of protein content at all.


15. Nature’s Recipe Grain-Free Salmon, Sweet Potato & Pumpkin Recipe Dry Dog Food

A good recipe is one that has enough of everything. Ultimately, something that keeps your dog energized and away from health problems is the best, and this dog food meets those requirements. The animal-based protein comes from salmon. The small amounts of pumpkin and sweet potatoes offer carbohydrates and fiber without risking an allergic reaction.

It is also grain-free. Antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables ensure a healthy immune system too. There are enough Omega Fatty Acids to keep the skin in good condition. All in all, this recipe is pretty well-balanced and safe for sensitive dogs.


16. Nutro Ultra Adult Dry Dog Food

Underweight dogs need more protein. But, it can be hard to fulfill this need if the dog is also food sensitive. The chicken, lamb, and salmon in this recipe provide enough protein for building lean muscles. At the same time, it is grain-free and pea-free to aid digestion.

The addition of sunflower oil provides linoleic acid, which boosts the appearance and health of the skin and coat. Moreover, antioxidants keep the immune system in good shape. This recipe is made without artificial additives.


17. VICTOR Hero Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Let’s say your dog needs more protein, is sensitive to allergies, and also cannot eat chicken. Beef, fish, and pork meal make up 79% of the protein in this recipe. This formula is ideal for active adult dogs.

Glucosamine and chondroitin prevent bone-related issues in the later stages of the life of the dog. Your pet will also get enough vitamins and minerals. Since it is grain-free, there is no risk of digestive problems.

With all this in mind, may you choose what’s best for your dog!

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