Best Dog Food For Cocker Spaniels — Reviews & Top Picks

best dog food for Cocker Spaniel

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This content was reviewed and fact-checked by veterinarian Dr. Aukse Caraite, DVM.

With their boundless energy, silky coats, and eyes that could melt the coldest of hearts, Cocker Spaniels require a special diet to keep them in tip-top shape. However, finding the best dog food for Cocker Spaniels is difficult, especially with many options. Today, we explore the essentials of Cocker Spaniel nutrition, compare top dog food brands, and help you find a diet that suits the specific breed needs of Cocker Spaniels to a T. Let’s get started!

Best Dog Food For Cocker Spaniels — At A Glance

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What Is The Best Food For Cocker Spaniels?

As a medium-sized and active dog breed, Cocker Spaniels have distinct nutritional needs that require careful consideration. The best food for a Cocker Spaniel is balanced and appropriate for their life stage, health, activity levels (energy needs) and weight (size). This will ensure your Cocker Spaniel is healthy, develops appropriately, and can sustain daily activities and bodily functions.

When deciding the best diet for a Cocker Spaniel, it’s essential also to consider individual preferences such as taste or food type. Some Cocker Spaniels may thrive on high-quality commercial kibble, while others may do better on a human-grade fresh diet or a professionally formulated home-cooked diet.

How to Pick The Best Dog Food For Cocker Spaniels

1. Consider The Cocker Spaniel’s Nutritional Requirements

The optimal Cocker Spaniel diet for nutrition typically includes a combination of the six nutrients they need to thrive: High-quality protein, carbohydrates, healthy fats (fatty acids and omegas), vitamins, minerals, and water.

Protein plays a vital role in your Cocker Spaniel’s diet, providing essential amino acids necessary for bodily processes, including the creation of blood glucose for energy. Protein also helps build and repair muscles and other body tissues. It’s needed to make new skin cells and grow hair, hormones, and enzymes. The proteins in your dog’s diet must have a balanced amino acid profile and be provided in appropriate amounts.

Protein dietary recommendations for Cocker Spaniel food:

  • Adult Cocker Spaniels. 18% dry matter protein (45.0g for every 1,000 kcal ME).
  • Puppies & Pregnant or Lactating Cocker Spaniels. 22.5% dry matter protein (56.3g for every 1,000 kcal ME).

Protein sources for Cocker Spaniel food include:

Fats play a crucial, multifaceted role in a Cocker Spaniel’s diet. Fats come in two forms: saturated and unsaturated. Both are important in a Cocker Spaniel’s diet, but it’s essential to maintain the right balance. Saturated fats, derived from animal sources, enhance the palatability, flavor and texture of your dog’s food and facilitate the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. On the other hand, essential fatty acids, which are unsaturated fats, include Omega-3 (EPA, DHA, and ALA) and Omega-6+9 (LA and AA). These fats are crucial for the body’s cells’ development, structure, and function.

When balanced correctly, they promote healthy skin and coat, support eye health and the nervous system function, regulate hormones, fuel the brain and learning processes, help reduce inflammation, offer insulation and organ protection, support reproductive health, and serve as a reserve for energy storage. Fats are a dense energy source.

Fat dietary recommendations for Cocker Spaniel food:

  • Adult Cocker Spaniel. 5.5% dry matter fat (13.8g for every 1,000 kcal ME).
  • Puppies & Pregnant or Lactating Cocker Spaniel. 8.5% dry matter fat (21.3g for every 1,000 kcal ME).

Fat sources for Cocker Spaniel food include:

  • Meats fats
  • Fish oils
  • Olive
  • Sunflower oil
  • Canola oils

Dogs need energy for daily activities, growth, pregnancy, lactation, and exercise. This energy, measured in calories, comes from carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Omnivorous animals, including dogs, derive some energy from carbohydrates. Carbohydrates supply glucose needed by the brain, nervous system, and other critical organs for normal function in dogs. Carbohydrates should also include 2.5-4.5% fiber. You can use our dog calorie calculator to find the exact caloric needs of your dog based on his weight. Ensure you follow the 10% rule if feeding treats to your dog. Food would equal 90% of the total calories and treats the remaining 10%.

Carbohydrate sources for Cocker Spaniel food include:

  • Oats
  • Brown rice
  • Potatoes
  • Quinoa
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Whole wheat

Minerals in a dog’s diet are indispensable for bone and dental health, nerve function, enzymatic reactions, fluid balance, oxygen transport, and maintaining the body’s pH level, making them essential for overall health and metabolic processes. Proper mineral balance is crucial and should be carefully managed to avoid deficiencies or excesses.

These 12 minerals are known to be essential nutrients for dogs:

  • Calcium
  • Potassium
  • Sodium
  • Magnesium
  • Iodine
  • Chlorine
  • Iron
  • Copper
  • Selenium
  • Manganese
  • Zinc
  • Phosphorus

Mineral sources for Cocker Spaniel food include:

  • Sweet potatoes and pumpkin (Magnesium)
  • Fish (Iodine)
  • Beef, eggs, and liver (Zinc)
  • Poultry, nuts, and legumes (Copper)
  • Bananas and carrots (Potassium)
  • Chicken and duck (Iron)

Vitamins in a dog’s diet are integral for maintaining overall health and bodily functions. They support vision and immune health, aid in energy metabolism and nervous system function, provide antioxidant benefits, reduce inflammation, prevent diseases and ailments, and more. Dogs require vitamins, but only in small amounts, and excessive doses of specific vitamins, like vitamin D, can harm them.

These 12 vitamins are known to be essential nutrients for dogs:

  • Vitamins A, B1, B6, B12, D, E & K
  • Riboflavin
  • Niacin
  • Folic Acid
  • Pantothenic Acid
  • Choline

Vitamin sources for Cocker Spaniel food include:

  • Sweet potatoes and spinach (Vitamin A)
  • Eggs, chicken, and beef (Vitamin B)
  • Broccoli (Vitamin C)
  • Kale and parsley (Vitamin K)
  • Vegetables (Vitamin E)
  • Meats and fish (Vitamin D)

Water is vital in a dog’s diet to maintain hydration, support body functions such as digestion, nutrient absorption, and waste excretion, lubricate joints, regulate body temperature, ensure proper organ function, and facilitate metabolic processes. Continuous access to clean water is as crucial as providing nutritious food for overall health and well-being. Generally, Cocker Spaniels should drink 2 to 3 times the amount of their dry food intake daily. However, if water is readily available from various sources, Cocker Spaniels can naturally regulate water consumption daily.

2. Consider Your Cocker Spaniel’s Health Conditions

Nutrition is crucial in managing and preventing common health issues in Cocker Spaniels. Talk to a veterinarian if your Cocker Spaniel is dealing with a health condition. They can recommend the most suitable diet for them. Below are some general dietary tips to help you choose the best dog food or supplement for addressing the most common Cocker Spaniel health problems.

Food allergies

Certain ingredients in their food can cause allergies in Cocker Spaniels. This occurs when a dog’s immune system identifies a specific protein, carbohydrate, or other ingredients in their diet as foreign and reacts to it as if it were a harmful substance. Food allergies in Cocker Spaniels may present as dry, itchy skin, ears, or paws. It’s important to note that food intolerances can also occur. However, intolerances do not involve the immune system but can lead to vomiting or diarrhea.

To manage or prevent food allergies in Cocker Spaniels, consider these diet tips:

  • Avoid common allergens such as corn, wheat, chicken, and beef.
  • Conducting a dog food allergy test or at-home dog food allergy tests like the 5Strands kit (test for up to 255 ingredients) may help determine food allergies or intolerance in your dog. Use the results to avoid food formulas that contain potential allergens.

Sensitive stomach

Cocker Spaniels can have sensitive digestive systems, a condition where a dog has difficulty digesting certain foods or experiences frequent digestive upset. This can manifest in various symptoms and may be caused by various factors.

To manage or prevent sensitive stomachs in Cocker Spaniels, consider these diet tips:

Cancer

Cocker Spaniels are susceptible to various types of cancer, including melanoma, basal cell tumors, and fibrosarcomas.

To manage or prevent cancer in Cocker Spaniels, consider these diet tips:

Hip dysplasia

This is a common condition in Cocker Spaniels, which occurs when the joints don’t develop properly and the hip ball does not fit squarely within the socket, resulting in the rubbing of bone against bone, causing pain and lameness.

To manage or prevent hip dysplasia in Cocker Spaniels, consider these diet tips:

  • Glucosamine
  • Chondroitin
  • Omega-3 fatty
  • Calcium
  • Phosphorus
  • Maintain a healthy weight

Chronic active hepatitis (CAH)

Middle-aged Cocker Spaniels are prone to this liver disease, which causes the liver to swell and damages its cells.

To manage or prevent heart problems in Cocker Spaniels, consider these diet tips:

  • Low-copper diet
  • Vitamin E
  • S-Adenosylmethionine (SAMe)
  • Organic diet
  • Low-fat diet
  • Hydration

Progressive retinal atrophy

This is a condition in which the cells in the pup’s retina develop abnormally, leading to gradual degeneration of the retina’s cells. While it’s not painful, it can eventually lead to permanent blindness.

To manage or prevent progressive retinal atrophy in Cocker Spaniels, consider these diet tips:

  • Lutein
  • Zeaxanthin
  • Beta-carotene
  • Vitamin A, C & E
  • Omega-3 fatty acids

Cherry eye

This condition results from inflammation and irritation of the nictating membrane or the third eyelid. It’s easy to spot as it forms a red mass in the corner of the Cocker Spaniel’s eye.

To manage or prevent cherry eye in Cocker Spaniels, consider these diet tips:

  • Lutein
  • Zeaxanthin
  • Beta-carotene
  • Vitamin A, C & E
  • Omega-3 fatty acids

Dry eye

This optical condition is characterized by inflammation of the cornea, leading to inadequate production of tears. It can irritate the eyes and contribute to ocular infections.

To manage or prevent dry eye in Cocker Spaniels, consider these diet tips:

  • Lutein
  • Zeaxanthin
  • Beta-carotene
  • Vitamin A, C & E
  • Omega-3 fatty acids

Ear infections

Due to the breed’s long ears, they can easily trap moisture and dirt, making them a breeding ground for harmful bacteria. While infections cannot be managed or prevented through diet alone, a healthy diet supports the immune system and reduces inflammation, which can help minimize the occurrence of infections.

To manage or prevent ear infections in Cocker Spaniels, consider these diet tips:

  • Vitamin D
  • Probiotics
  • Avoid allergens

Dental problems

If plaque is not removed from the dog’s teeth, it can lead to gingivitis, infections, kidney, liver, heart, and joint damage.

To manage or prevent dental problems in Cocker Spaniels, consider these diet tips:

  • Dental chews
  • Hard kibbles
  • Limit sugary foods and treats
  • Use a dental kit

3. Consider Your Cocker Spaniel’s Activity Level

Provide a diet that suits your Cocker Spaniel’s activity level. This is crucial in maintaining overall health, energy levels, and quality of life.

Inactive

Inactive Cocker Spaniels may be older, have mobility issues, or have a naturally low energy level. They require a diet lower in fat & calories to avoid weight gain. Excess weight can lead to health issues such as diabetes, joint problems, and more.

Moderate Activity

These Cocker Spaniels enjoy daily walks, regular playtime and occasional vigorous activities. They need a balanced proportion of calories, proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Recipes for “adult maintenance” are usually appropriate.

High Activity

These are working dogs (herding), sports dogs (competition), or those with high energy engaging in strenuous daily activities. They require higher calories and a diet higher in proteins, fats & carbs for muscle recovery & sustained energy.

4. Consider Your Cocker Spaniel’s Life Stage

Cocker Spaniels have specific nutritional needs at different stages of their life. Provide a diet that meets their life stage.

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Best Dog Food For Cocker Spaniels

Best Overall Dog Food For Cocker Spaniels

4.9

The Farmer’s Dog

Who It’s For: Ideal for those who want the most optimal nutrition and potential health benefits.

Recipes: Turkey, chicken, beef & pork

Nutrition: AAFCO

Life Stage: All ages

Manufactured: USA

Ingredients: Human-grade

Why we picked and recommended it: The Farmer’s Dog fresh dog food recipes win the spot for the best dog food for Cocker Spaniels. This brand uses human-grade ingredients to craft pre-portion recipes delivered directly to your doorstep. Feeding your dog The Farmer’s Dog comes with numerous scientifically-supported health benefits of fresh dog food, including longer lifespans, better digestibility, higher energy levels, and more. Fresh recipes are also ideal for dogs with food allergies, sensitive stomachs, or other dietary concerns because they avoid cheap fillers, additives, and harmful chemicals. Unlike traditional kibble, The Farmer’s Dog is gently cooked from scratch, ensuring all nutritional integrity is retained — this means that your Cocker Spaniel will receive the healthiest and most nutritious meal with every serving.

What sets it apart from competitors: The Farmer’s Dog stands out from other dog food brands by taking a personalized approach to nutrition. Many dog food brands offer one-size-fits-all recipes, but The Farmer’s Dog takes the time to create a custom formula for each dog, considering factors like age, health, weight, and activity level to ensure your dog gets the perfect balance of nutrients for their unique needs.

Key Features

  • Caters to health-specific. Recipes are formulated to address your dog’s health concerns, such as food allergies, tear stains, bad breath, joint issues and more.
  • Vet-designed. Formulated by board-certified veterinary nutritionists that comply with AAFCO standards.
  • Excellent sourcing. Ingredients are sourced from reputable food suppliers, local farms, and other human food purveyors that meet USDA standards.

Pros

  • The level of customization is unmatched
  • Packaged as daily portions for easy serving
  • Never use feed-grade ingredients
  • Cooked in human-grade kitchens

Cons

  • It’s on the expensive side

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Best Dry Dog Food For Cocker Spaniels

4.8

Spot & Tango

Who It’s For: For those who want to provide the benefit of fresh dog diet with the convenience of kibble.

Recipes: Beef, chicken & salmon

Nutrition: AAFCO

Life Stage: Adult

Manufactured: USA

Ingredients: Premium

Why we picked and recommended it: Spot & Tango Unkibble dog formula is our top pick for the best dry dog food for Cocker Spaniels. Unlike traditional dry dog food, Unkibble is less processed and has half the cost of fresh dog food. Think of Unkibble as freshly homemade dog food with the convince of kibble without the nasty preservatives, additives, and cheap fillers. It’s perfect for Cocker Spaniels because it’s been formulated to surpass the specific nutritional requirements of most dry dog foods.

What sets it apart from competitors: UnKibble recipes are gently dried using our unique process, which gently dries out whole foods to preserve nutrients and flavor and maximize nutritional integrity. Some recipes use organ meats, one of the most nutrient-dense foods you can give your dog. In fact, entrails contain as many (or more) vitamins, minerals, and other valuable nutrients as lean muscle meat.

Key Features

  • Limited ingredients. Use radically simple ingredients ideal for a picky eater or dog with food allergies.
  • Superherbs. Boosted with super herbs for join, immunity, digestive support and more.

Pros

  • Exceeds industry standards
  • Cheaper than fresh dog food
  • Crunchy texture
  • GMO and hormone-free
  • Custom plans and scoops

Cons

  • It’s a bit more expensive than traditional kibble. NUTRO Ultra dry dog food is another great alternative if you want a more traditional dry dog food that’s less expensive.

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Best Food For Cocker Spaniel Puppy

4.7

Open Farm

Who It’s For: Made specifically for Cocker Spaniel puppies. It has all the nutrients for proper puppy development.

Recipes: Blend of chicken, pork & salmon

Nutrition: AAFCO

Life Stage: Puppies

Manufactured: USA

Ingredients: Human-grade

Why we picked and recommended it: The Gently Cooked Open Farm puppy recipe is the best dog food for Cocker Spaniels. This puppy-specific formula provides the necessary nutrients for the optimal growth and development of Cocker Spaniel puppies, including prebiotic fiber like pumpkin and chicory root, supports healthy digestion and calcium iodate as a source of energy production, and also promotes muscular and cognitive development in puppies.

What sets it apart from competitors: This formula is designed specifically for Cocker Spaniel puppies and has a purposeful blend of three proteins to help prevent allergies. It also has added collagen for healthy joint development.

Key Features

  • Human-grade meats. High-quality meats are raised without antibiotics or added hormones.
  • Superfoods. Boosted with chia seeds, kale, flaxseed and other wholesome ingredients.

Pros

  • Made with non-GMO fruits and veggies
  • No potatoes, rendered poultry or meals
  • Serve as a topper or complete meal

Cons

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Cheapest Dog Food For Cocker Spaniels

4.8

Royal Canin

Who It’s For: Great if you are looking for the most affordable dog food for Cocker Spaniels.

Recipes: Chicken

Nutrition: AAFCO

Life Stage: Adult

Manufactured: USA

Ingredients: Natural

Why we picked and recommended it: Royal Canin Cocker Spaniel has a slightly lower price than other brands. It’s formulated to provide your Cocker Spaniel with sustained healthy energy from high-quality animal-based proteins. This dog food helps build strong, lean muscles and maintain optimal body conditions. It is made with wholesome ingredients that are easily digestible and provide a balanced diet for adult dogs.

What sets it apart from competitors: Designed to meet the nutritional needs of purebred Cocker Spaniels 10 months and older. The kibble is designed with a specific shape, size, and texture for the Cocker Spaniel’s facial and jaw structures and biting patterns to aid with chewing and digestion.

Key Features

  • Omega 3. Packed with vitamin A, as well as EPA and DHA (omega-3 fatty acids) from fish oil, to provide skin support and nourish healthy skin and a silky coat.
  • Cardiac support. Promotes heart health with taurine and L-carnitine for healthy cardiac function.
  • Bone and joint health. It also contains Glucosamine and chondroitin for strong bones and joint development. 

Pros

  • Formulated for small breed, with the specific nutrients to help them thrive

Cons

  • It may not be suitable for dogs with severe food allergies or sensitivities, as it is not specifically designed for these conditions
  • The inclusion of brewer rice and chicken meal and fat may be higher in carbohydrates than some dogs need, which could be a concern for overweight or diabetic dogs

Best Food For Senior Cocker Spaniels

4.6

Orijen

Who It’s For: Great senior Cocker Spaniel who need the appropriate nutrients to support them through their older years.

Recipes: Chicken, turkey & fish

Nutrition: AAFCO

Life Stage: Senior

Manufactured: USA

Ingredients: Fresh

Why we picked and recommended it: Most veterinarians consider a dog a senior once it reaches seven years old. If your Cocker Spaniel is in that stage of his life, it might be time to switch to a high-quality senior dog food diet. If you’re concerned about keeping your Cocker Spaniel healthy during his older years, Orijin Senior dog food will support long-life vitality. It’s crafted specifically for your senior Cocker Spaniel to help them stay healthy by supporting lean muscle mass and weight maintenance.

What sets it apart from competitors: With rich inclusions of a whole prey diet, ORIJEN dog food is made with the most nutrient-dense, succulent parts of the prey to deliver the nutrition dogs need.

Key Features

  • Wholeprey diet inclusions. It uses fresh and raw animal ingredients, including meat, organs, cartilage, and bone, nourishing dogs according to their natural and biological needs. Note“ “r”w” in this context means that the ingredients are super-fresh when they arrive at the factory/kitchen. The kibble is cooked by the time it is in the bag. This is high-quality cooked pet food, not raw food.
  • Bones and joint support. Enhanced with Glucosamine to aid with cartilage wear and tear as your pet ages.

Pros

  • Protein, including poultry, fish and organs
  • Freeze-dried coated for a burst of raw flavor
  • 85% quality animal ingredients
  • Great feedback from senior dog parent 

Cons

  • A bit expensive

Raw Food For Cocker Spaniels

4.8

Instinct

Who It’s For: Good for those seeking to provide a more biologically appropriate, natural diet for dogs that offers several health benefits.

Recipes: Chicken, lamb & beef

Nutrition: AAFCO

Life Stage: All ages

Manufactured: USA

Ingredients: Raw

Why we picked and recommended it: As more dog parents opt to raw feed their dogs, it’s essential to understand the ins and outs of a raw diet for dogs. If you are in the market for raw dog food for Cocker Spaniels, Instinct Frozen Raw Bites Real Beef Recipe formula is one of our top picks for the best raw dog food delivery brands. This formula is protein-packed with 85% meat and organs and 15% wholesome non-GMO fruits, vegetables, vitamins, and minerals to give your Cocker Spaniel a complete BARF diet. It’s minimally processed, never cooked, pure, natural nutrition to keep your best friend strong. 

What sets it apart from competitors: Raw dog food may benefit your dog with a shinier coat and skin, cleaner teeth, more energy, smaller stools and more. Instinct Raw states that raw dog nutrition can promote strong, lean muscles and energize your pup.

Pros

  • Helps with allergies and weight management
  • Ingredients are frozen to maintain the highest nutritional profile
  • Cold-pressure processing to keep the nutrients and taste intact

Cons

  • Needs to be kept frozen until it’s your pet’s mealtime
  • Not as convenient as feeding dry dog food. Open Farm freeze-dried raw dog food is an excellent alternative for a more convenient way to feed raw
  • It’s slightly more expensive than traditional kibble, but you can buy raw food budget

Best Food For Cocker Spaniels With Sensitive Stomachs

4.7

Hill’s

Who It’s For: If you are looking for the best food for Cocker Spaniels with sensitive stomachs.

Recipes: Chicken & Barley

Nutrition: AAFCO

Life Stage: Adult

Manufactured: USA

Ingredients: Natural

Why we picked and recommended it: Hill’s Science Diet For Sensitive Stomach & Skin is formulated to protect Cocker Spaniels with sensitive tummies and skin. It’s made with easily digestible ingredients, including barley, beet pulp, and brown rice and contains no soy, wheat, or artificial that can cause upsets or skin flare-ups on your Cocker Spaniel.

What sets it apart from competitors: Specialized formula fortified with prebiotics fiber for healthy digestion, sensitive stomachs and immune health. Prebiotic fiber nourishes healthy intestinal bacteria.

Key Features

  • Omega-6. Excellent source of omega-6 fatty acids to nourish your dog’s skin and help maintain a healthy, shiny coat. 
  • Highly digestible. The food is gentle on the stomach.

Pros

  • Supports a balanced gut microbiome in your grown dog
  • No artificially colored, flavored, or preserved

Cons

  • Not recommended for puppies and pregnant or nursing dogs