Homemade Food For Cocker Spaniels Guide — Recipes & Tips

homemade food for cocker spaniels

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This is the most comprehensive Cocker Spaniel homemade dog food guide.

As a proud cocker spaniel owner, you want to ensure that your dog gets the best possible food.

While many commercial foods are available for dogs, they can be expensive, and some dogs may not react well to them due to their highly processed nature and ingredients.

Making your own Cocker Spaniel food at home is a great option. This guide will show you how to make a balanced diet for your pup with easy-to-find ingredients and provide you with breed-specific nutritional tips. Let’s dive right in!

Table of Contents 📖

Cocker Spaniel Homemade Dog Food Benefits

See below some benefits of cooking homemade meals for your Cocker Spaniel.

  • Healthy eating habits
  • Quality control
  • More affordable
  • Healthier
  • Portion size control
  • Fresh ingredients
  • Dietary requirements can be met

Board-certified veterinary nutritionists and diplomates of the American College of Veterinary Nutrition, Jennifer A. Larsen, DVM, MS, Ph.D., and Joe Bartges, DVM, Ph.D., also agree that switching to homemade dog food comes with great advantages such as diet management, appeasing picky eaters, bond-building, combatting food intolerance and allergies issues, and avoid concern over food recalls.1

Further benefits include preventing many conditions associated with a poor diet, such as obesity, poor skin, coat condition, pancreatitis, diabetes, and reduced immunity.

Food & Cocker Spaniel Health: Why Feed Homemade?

Cocker Spaniels generally live between 12 to 15 years. Some serious health problems include progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), cataracts, patellar luxation, and glaucoma. Diseases like allergies, elbow dysplasia, gastric torsion, and epilepsy can occasionally affect the breed. Other minor Cocker Spaniel health problems this breed suffers from include cardiomyopathy, ectropion, urinary stones, otitis externa, canine hip dysplasia (CHD), hypothyroidism, seborrhea, phosphofructokinase deficiency, entropion, “cherry eye,” liver disease, and congestive heart failure.2

How Can A Homemade Diet Help Cocker Spaniels Health Issues?

  • Increased lifespan. Research shows that dogs that eat fresh food diets are linked to a 20% longer lifespan than those who don’t. A year-long study of 522 dogs by Lippert and Sapy found that dogs fed high-quality, freshly made, real food had an average life expectancy of 13.1 years versus just 10.4 years for dogs fed commercially processed pet food.3
  • Avoid allergies. Cooking for your dog allows you to pick ingredients that won’t trigger allergies in your Cocker Spaniel. If you are unsure what ingredients may cause sensitivities or allergies in your pet, we advise doing an At-Home Food Dog Allergy test before selecting the ingredients for your dog’s next meal.
  • Obesity & joints. Switching to homemade dog food allows you to easily calibrate the amounts of carbohydrates, proteins, vegetables, vitamins, and minerals your dog needs to maintain a healthy body weight. Obesity in dogs can increase their risk for bone and joint problems (i.e., hip dysplasia) and subsequent osteoarthritis. Studies show that dogs maintaining their ideal body weight live almost 2.5 years longer (with significantly fewer diseases) than their overweight siblings.4
  • Bioavailability. Home-cooked dog food is easier to digest — more digestible food means dogs can absorb nutrients more efficiently and faster. Quicker nutrient absorption means minerals, vitamins, and amino acids act quicker in their body to carry out different functions such as decreasing inflammatory responses that can help prevent allergies or help boost overall health.
  • Highly processed & oxidative stress kibble. When it comes to cancer, homemade dog food removes the highly processed food from the equation, which is often linked to cancer issues in dogs. Food processing has been shown to cause free radicals and carcinogenic chemicals to be released. With homemade, you no longer have to worry about oxidative stress due to processed food.5,6
  • Fresh ingredients with no chemicals. Homemade meals ensure your pup always eats fresh, wholesome, and chemical-free foods without additives, fillers, high-glycemic carbs, or colorants normally found in kibble.
  • Easy digestion. Homemade dog food is easier to digest than those hard-kibble mystery balls. Feeding your pet freshly made food puts less stress on their digestive system and liver, reducing the likelihood of bloating or other digestive issues.
  • Excellent taste and smell. Dogs love the taste, smell and texture of fresh dog food.

Cocker Spaniel Homemade Dog Food Risks

There is some risk that is important to consider when you feed your Cocker Spaniel.

  • Not understanding the nutritional needs of Cocker Spaniel
  • Using inadequate or dangerous recipes
  • Not preparing a balanced meal
  • Using unsafe or harmful ingredients
  • Not understanding the impact of food and dietary changes
  • Neglecting your dog’s health conditions
  • Not understanding your dog’s life stages (puppies, adults & senior) nutritional needs

Research by the University of California Davis, School of Veterinary and two studies published in the journal Preventive Veterinary Medicine and The Journal of Nutritional Science found that most homemade dog food recipes lack key essential nutrients, and other recipes used dangerously high levels of some nutrients.7,8,9

Here are the findings:

  • 48% of homemade dog diets had an imprecise determination of ingredients and quantities
  • 71.3 % of dog owners did know how much food to serve per meal
  • 30.4% of the pet parents admitted to purposely changing the recipe
  • 40% of owners didn’t measure the proportions of the ingredients well enough
  • 28.3% didn’t use any of the recommended vitamins, minerals, or amino acids.
  • 97% of obesity cases in dogs could be traced to how owners fed and played with their pets.

It’s vital to understand that dogs’ nutritional requirements are unique. We recommend consulting a veterinary nutritionist who can address your Cocker Spaniel’s dietary requirements and help you craft nutritionally balanced recipes or recommend a homemade food service for convenience.

Cocker Spaniel Nutritional Guidelines to Follow

According to the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AFFCO), the entity that supervises the nutritional value of commercial dog food, there are six essential nutrients all dog meals must contain to ensure a balanced and healthy diet for dogs. Below is a breakdown of each nutrient and its importance.

NutrientFoodDescription
Protein Chicken, lamb, turkey, beef, fish, yogurt and cooked eggsBuilds and repairs muscles and other body tissues. Needed to make new skin cells, grow hair, hormones, enzymes and more.
Carbohydrates Oats, brown rice, potatoes, and whole wheat Source of energy for dogs and supplies glucose needed by the brain, nervous system and other critical organs for normal function.
Fat From meats and oils such as olive or sunflower oil, fish oil, canola oils among others Responsible for providing quality energy. Necessary for the normal development and function of body cells, nerves, muscles, and body tissues
Minerals Calcium, potassium, sodium, magnesium, iron, zinc, etc. Common functions include the formation of bone and cartilage, nerve and muscle function, fluid balance regulation, the transportation of oxygen in the bloodstream and hormone production.
WaterWaterHydration is critical in dogs. A dog that loses too much water (10% to 15% of the water in his body) can get very sick and even die. Ensure they have water available throughout the day.
VitaminsA, B, C, D, E, and K Keeps skin and coat healthy, strengthens bones and teeth, and gives them the overall energy that they need to function.

A proper homemade diet should also consider your pup’s weight, health conditions, size, and activity level.

You may also want to add a multivitamin like Zesty Paws Chews to ensure your Cocker Spaniel pup gets the recommended balance of vitamins and minerals.

Recommended Supplements For Cocker Spaniels

Here are the top recommended supplements for Cocker Spaniels based on their main health susceptibility issues.

  • Hip & joint: Cocker Spaniels are generally susceptible to patella luxation, a condition in which a dog’s kneecap moves out of place. To prevent or alleviate these problems, it’s wise to supplement their diet with Glucosamine and Chondroitin to help maintain an active lifestyle and support joint tissue. Finn Hip & Joint is an excellent choice.
  • Eye health: Some Cocker Spaniels might also develop progressive retinal atrophy, a genetic disease that causes retinal degeneration and vision loss over time.
  • Digestive health: Giving dog probiotics can help with issues like Inflammatory Bowel Disease and EPI, both common in this breed. It can also help reduce your dog’s inflammatory responses to food allergens.

Always consult your vet before making any changes to your dog’s diet.

If you need more advice on Cocker Spaniel nutrition, an excellent resource is Home-Prepared Dog & Cat Diets: the Healthful Alternative by Donald R. Strombeck, DVM, Ph.D., a long-time expert in veterinary medicine. This book it’s considered by many pet nutritionists to be the Bible of healthy homemade dog nutrition.

Health Dietary Changes In Cocker Spaniel

Cocker Spaniels experiencing any of the issues below might benefit from the dietary adjustments outlined in this table.

ConditionDietary Needs & Adjustments

Coat Color Changes


Increase amino acids which can be found in protein (>75 grams per 1000 calories)
Concurrent GI Signs

Avoid foods with tryptamine and histamine such as dairy or fermented vegetables and meats (yes, this includes bacon); try a simple ingredient food trial

Chronic Itching and Dermatitis

Fortify the diet with Vitamin E, B Vitamins, Zinc, omega-6 and the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil; add a dog probiotic; try a simple ingredient food trial
Dull Coat and Scaling

Adjust EPA and DHA levels in the diet (added fish oil being the most common way); try a food that has added zinc

Dandruff and Crustiness

Add Zinc and Vitamin A levels

If your Cocker Spaniel suffers skin allergies or joint pain, adding dog fish oil may help bring relief. The AKC states that fish oil promotes healthier coats by reducing itchiness and flakiness in the skin due to its omega-3 fatty acid content. Other significant effects include promoting improved immunity (especially against cancer) while strengthening heart health in dogs.

Cocker Spaniel Calorie Requirements

The caloric needs of dogs are based on their weight.

An adult Cocker Spaniel usually weighs between 20 and 30 pounds, meaning most Cocker Spaniel needs between 587 and 793 calories daily.

Ensure you follow the 10% rule when feeding treats to your dog. Food would equal 90% of the total calories and treat the remaining 10%.

For instance, if a Cocker Spaniel weighs 25 pounds, he would need 690 calories daily. For those eating treats, that’s 621 calories in food (90%) and 69 in treats (10%). Usually, most full-grown dogs eat two meals per day. So, you need to split 621 into two meals of 310 calories each. You can use this calculator to find the exact caloric needs of your dog based on his weight.

Pregnant or lactating Cocker Spaniel may need up to 2 to 4 times the amount of food they normally need as the mother’s energy requirements increase after delivery and during lactation. Be sure to talk to your vet.

Homemade Dog Food For Cocker Spaniel Puppies

A Cocker Spaniel puppy diet is different from an adult’s Cocker Spaniel.

Compared to adult dogs, puppies need higher protein, fat, calcium, and phosphorus levels. Too few (or too many) of these nutrients can cause deficiencies, stunted growth, or lifelong complications.

According to the American College of Veterinary Nutrition (ACVN), puppies need about twice as many calories per pound of body weight as an adult dog of the same breed.

Most people worry that their puppy requires more food and calorie intake daily because they are rapidly growing. This isn’t necessarily the truth. Dr. Justin Shmalberg, DVM, a veterinary nutritionist at Nom Nom, advises that to promote normal growth, most puppies need about the same number of calories and the same type of food from 4 months to 12 months of age.

Cocker Spaniel puppies should eat 3 to 4 times a day. When your puppy is a bit older (6 – 12 months), you can switch to 2 to 3 meals daily at scheduled intervals.

For proper growth and development, it is not advised to skip meals while your puppy is growing and developing. As our nutritional guidelines previously outlined, a puppy’s diet must include a balance of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, minerals, water, and vitamins.

Homemade Dog Food Delivery Service

When you do not have the time to cook for your dog or are not an expert in the kitchen, a homemade dog food delivery service like Nom Nom can come in handy.

Nom Nom is one of our favorite options. They deliver fresh, prepared homemade dog food tailored to your pup’s dietary needs straight to your door. Everything is made from real, human-grade ingredients (meats, veggies, grains, etc.).

Their food is developed with the input of a veterinary nutritionist and following the AAFCO nutritional guidelines. They do all the cooking for you, so you never have to worry about using the wrong ingredients, proper nutrition guidelines, portion sizes, and more.

All their meals are customizable to your dog’s unique dietary needs, age, nutritional goals, weight, and other key factors. For instance, if your Cocker has food-related health issues like allergies or an illness, they will create a recipe that caters to this.

A dog food delivery service can significantly cut your time-saving efforts (no need to worry about planning, shopping, or cooking), so you can devote more time to more important tasks like walking and training your dog.

Our readers have access to save 50% off your first order of Nom Nom. Just use this link to get your Cocker Spaniel’s first homemade meal.

Check out Canine Bible’s Maltipoo trying out Nom Nom homemade dog food. She recommends it!

Cocker Spaniel Homemade Food Tips

Below keep these tips that can help better handle your home-cooking for your Cocker Spaniel.

  1. Set a consistent feeding schedule.
  2. Feed your Cocker Spaniel twice a day (puppies under 12 months, 3 to 4 times a day, check with your veterinarian).
  3. Meal prep weekly or monthly.
  4. Measure and control portion sizes depending on your dog’s calorie needs.
  5. Keep meals frozen for 2 to 3 months or refrigerated for about 5 days.
  6. Make a new batch when the food supply is getting low.
  7. To feed different recipes, you can make multiple batches and color code by ingredients, rotating out the different meals.
  8. Prepare the food in bulk and portion it into containers (one container per meal makes it extra easy).
  9. Increase portions appropriately as your puppy grows.
  10. Monitor weight to make sure you are feeding the proper amount of calories.

How to Cook Homemade Food For Cocker Spaniel ( Video)

Check out this step-by-step video on how to cook your first meal with your dog.

Best Cocker Spaniel Homemade Dog Food Recipes

Browse our favorite recipes for a Cocker Spaniel that will make your pup begging for more.

We’ve also added a special treat recipe for your Cocker Spaniel that is tasty and packed with remarkable health benefits.

Note: Please consult your pet’s veterinarian and use personal judgment when applying this information to your dog’s diet. The recipes below do not include serving size because portions will vary depending on breed, weight, activity level, age, and dog’s health. A common recommendation is to feed your dog a comparable amount of ounces/cups to what you would usually feed in kibble BUT check with your vet to be certain.


CBD-Infused Dog Treats

This recipe has our favorite secret ingredient, dog CBD oil. CBD oil can help with seizures, anxiety, arthritis, inflammation, pain, wellness, preventive care, and many other health problems.

Treat your Cocker Spaniel with these nutritious, therapeutic, and delicious homemade CBD dog treats. They are made with Pumpkin, a great source of essential vitamins and minerals (like vitamin A, potassium, vitamin C, and iron). Pumpkin also aids with digestion and hydration. Coconut is added for skin and coat, digestion and helps reduce allergic reactions.

Just be sure to check with your vet before to ensure CBD is safe for your pup and you are giving the correct dosage.

You can also purchase already made CBD dog treats so your pup can experience all the benefits of CBD without the cooking/

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups gluten-free flour
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 Tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 apple, cored and grated
  • 1/2 cup carrots, peeled and grated
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/3 cup olive or coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • dash of sea salt
  • 120 mg CBD oil

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease a dog cookie baking tray with coconut oil.
  2. Core and grate the apples, then peel and grate the carrots.
  3. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the gluten-free flour, oats, and coconut sugar. In another medium-sized bowl, beat the egg. Then, add coconut oil, water, and grated apples and carrots.
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients bowl; mix completely. Finally, add CBD oil and mix once more.
  5. Using a Tbsp measuring spoon, portion the dog biscuits and press them into the dog treat baking pan. Bake for 32-37 minutes or until the biscuits are firm and golden-brown on the outside.
  6. Store in an air-tight container.

Recipe from: Truth Theory


Crockpot Dog Food

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 pounds of ground beef
  • 1 1/2 cups brown rice
  • 1 (15-ounce) can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped butternut squash
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped carrots
  • 1/2 cup peas, frozen or canned.

Directions

  1. Stir in ground beef, brown rice, kidney beans, butternut squash, carrots, peas and 4 cups water into a 6-qt slow cooker.
  2. Cover and cook on low heat for 5-6 hours or high heat for 2-3 hours, stirring as needed.
  3. Let cool completely.

Recipe from: Damn Delicious


Marvelous Mutt Loaf

Ingredients

  • 2 and 1/4 Pound 85% Lean Ground Beef
  • 4 Eggs, white or brown
  • Kidney Beans
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Cinnamon
  • Sprig Rosemary – 1 Teaspoon
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 2 Carrots Shredded
  • 3 Medium Size Potatoes Shredded (skins on)

Directions

  1. Using your hands, fold the mixture until well combined
  2. Using a Muffin Tin, make a ball and pack the muffin hole. Don’t overfill as they can leak out over your pan.
  3. Pop into preheated 350F (180c Oven). After 50-55 minutes, the Meatloaf will be ready.
  4. You can use larger loaf pans in lieu of muffin tin. However, the muffin tin allows you to make individual portion sizes. If you do use a larger tin, It will also take longer to cook, usually around 1 hour 10 minutes
  5. Allow the Meatloaf to cool down before feeding them to your pup.

Recipe from: The Whoot


Turkey, Rice And Veggie Mix

Ingredients

  • 6 cups of water
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 2 cups brown rice
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/2 (16 ounces) package frozen broccoli, carrots and cauliflower combination

Directions

  1. Place the water, ground turkey, rice, and rosemary into a large Dutch oven.
  2. Stir until the ground turkey is broken up and evenly distributed throughout the mixture
  3. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Add the frozen vegetables and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and cool. Refrigerate until use.

Recipe from: Allrecipes

If you are interested in more homemade dog food recipes and cooking options for your Cocker Spaniel, cookbooks can come in handy for various dog food recipes. Our top pick is Home Cooking for Your Dog: 75 Holistic Recipes for a Healthier Dog.


What Foods Should Your Cocker Spaniel Never Eat?

Dogs should be careful with certain toxic ingredients. Below is a list of the most common ingredients to avoid.

  • Chocolate
  • Xylitol
  • Onions and garlic
  • Avocados
  • Coffee, tea, and other caffeine
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Raw bread dough
  • Alcohol

Check out this handy list for a comprehensive list of all foods to avoid. Please print it out and put it on your refrigerator as a reminder.

Cocker Spaniel Raw Diet (BARF)

Raw dog food is meant to mimic dogs’ diet in the wild millions of years ago. Raw dog foods, organs, muscles, whole or ground bones, fresh fruits, vegetables, and dairy products are usually included. Several raw dog foods are available, including homemade raw dog food and store-bought (frozen, freeze-dried, and dehydrated).

As the risk of contamination and nutritional imbalance is higher when handling raw foods, preparing a BARF diet for your Cocker Spaniel requires a lot of extra care and planning.

Raw dog diets are gaining popularity because of their fantastic health benefits for teeth, coat, digestion, and allergies. Read our raw dog food diet article if you are interested in learning more about the benefits and risks, and get the best commercial raw food diet for your Cocker Spaniel.

Best Dog Cooking Practices

With these tips, you can ensure that your Cocker Spaniel’s meals are safe and nutritious. 

  • Never use unsafe or toxic ingredients for dogs
  • Use only boneless meats (no cooked bones)
  • Cook all animal products thoroughly to kill harmful bacteria
  • Cook all grains, beans, and starchy vegetables to make them easier to digest
  • Research every ingredient before using it for safety
  • Follow recipes as instructed
  • Add supplements to their diet if needed
  • Run any questions by a vet nutritionist

Monitor Weight And Health

A dog’s weight is an essential indicator of its health, and you need to track it when switching to a new diet (i.e., homemade). Maintaining a healthy weight is easier when your Cocker Spaniel is fed the right dog food. If your dog’s weight increases or decreases rapidly, it might be due to food-related health issues.

Skin or coat issues, excessive tiredness, allergies, weight loss, malnutrition, and obesity can be caused by unbalanced and insufficient meal plans. If you detect any of these symptoms while feeding your dog meals, stop doing it immediately and seek expert advice.

Should You Feed Homemade Food to Cocker Spaniels?

Are Cocker Spaniels allowed to eat homemade food?

The answer is a resounding yes! Just remember to include all the important nutrients they need in their diet, get it approved by your vet and you should be good to go. Just be sure to make food choices for your Cocker Spaniel based on their individual needs and that the meals are adequately balanced if they have a sensitive stomach or allergies, it’s essential to know what ingredients will be best for them!

You should read up on vegan dog food if your Cocker Spaniel is prone to food allergies. Diets based on plants are also becoming increasingly popular for dogs with food sensitivities and other health problems.

Remember that every dog is different – always consult your veterinarian before making dietary changes.


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[1] AKC, [2] PetMD, [3] Lippert & Sapy [4] AVMA [5] Lyka, [6] Hardvard [7] NCBI, [8] PubMed, [9] UC Davis


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