The Cocker Spaniel diet should well-balanced with healthy, nutritional foods to ensure your pet gets all the nourishment his little body needs. A healthy diet will help to keep your best friend trim and can help him to live a longer, healthier and happier life too!
A Cocker Spaniel diet should be made up of good quality food (human grade if you can afford it) because it will help to boost your pet's immunity and can help to fight off illness, disease, and food allergies, keeping him fit and healthy.
Like most dogs, Cocker Spaniels are always ready to eat - no matter what time of day it is!
Cockers are prone to obesity, particularly as they grow older and become more sedate, but if your pet's food is good quality and highly nutritious he won't need to eat so much, which will help to keep the weight down.
And then there's the tit-bits and treats we feed our pets between meals. They're so easy to overlook, but these can soon add up, calorie wise, and before long your dog our dogs are looking a little pudgy!
It's okay if your pet is 'in training' and you're using treats or morsels of cooked lean meat as a reward, but generally treats need to be strictly limited otherwise you might end up with an overweight dog!
If I feel Max has had more than his fair share of treats anytime, I usually reduce his daily food allowance a little to make up for it, however I don't do this too often as I'd rather he had his (nutritional) food than the empty calories in some dog treats.
The Cocker Spaniel diet should include plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits; carrots, broccoli, spinach, apples and blueberries, but no citrus fruits as they contain citric acids and oils which can cause sickness and diarrhea problems for him.
Even the smallest piece of orange, lemon or lime, could give your dog a nasty tummy ache!
Proteins, in the form of good quality meat and fish, should be included in your dog's diet; for example, salmon, turkey, chicken (without the skin or bones), beef, or lamb, - don't forget to trim off any excess fat.
Now, as we already know, our Cockers are prone to obesity, so we really do need to manage our pet's intake of fats.
Too much fat in your pet's food is not good for his arteries. It can raise cholesterol levels and will almost certainly make him overweight!
But a certain amount of fat is necessary in your Cocker Spaniel's diet to maintain a shining coat, healthy skin, and clear eyes.
Essential oils and fats can be found in meat, (chicken/lamb/beef - animal fats) fish, (cod-liver oil) and vegetables (olive oil, sunflower oil).
Your Cocker's diet should also contain enough carbohydrates to give him the boundless energy he needs to remain active during the day.
Good carbohydrates, those that slowly release energy throughout the day, can be found in fruits and vegetables, and in grains such as rice, barley or oatmeal.
Essential vitamins and minerals
are also very important for your Cocker Spaniel's health and some
manufacturers include additional vitamins and supplements in their dog
Growing puppies have different nutritional needs to those of an adult dog.
their little bodies are still growing and their minds developing, they need different levels of protein, fats, carbohydrates and
vitamins and if you look at the ingredients labels on adult dog food packet and compare them with the label on food prepared for puppies, you'll see the difference for yourself.
So if you're feeding a puppy it will need an entirely different diet.
As our dogs age they become less active which means they no longer burn off as many calories as they need to in order to maintain a healthy weight.
Over time these unburned calories will inevitably show as fat on your pet who will become increasingly overweight if it's not managed.
It's not easy for an older dog to lose weight, especially if he can't exercise as much as he used to, so it's better to take action as soon as you feel it necessary.
You could try gradually reducing the amount of
food an older dog eats to compensate for his increasingly sedate
lifestyle or alternatively you could switch him over to a low-calorie food specially formulated for older dogs - they're usually labelled as 'light' or 'senior'.
The senior Cocker Spaniel would probably also benefit from additional Omega oils 3 and 6 in his diet to help strengthen and ease the movement of his creaky old bones.
There are many reliable dog foods on the market which cater
to the senior Cocker Spaniel diet.
Cooking for your pet can be very enjoyable (and it's always appreciated!) but the best bit is that by making your own home made dog food you know exactly what goes into it - hopefully, nothing but good wholesome fresh food!
Whilst we're on the subject of homemade dog food, did you know that there are many poisons lurking in your kitchen in the form of every-day human foods?
Now I know you're not going to feed your pet chocolate, but did you know that dark chocolate with high levels of cocoa, is very toxic for our dogs?
If you plan on making your pet's food from scratch why not take a quick look at the information in the previous two links and bring yourself up to speed with what you can and can't feed your pet?
In the meanwhile, you'll find a great selection of home made dog food recipes here for you to try and we'd love to hear from you if you have a favorite recipe of your own that you'd like to share with us!
Do you feed your Cocker wet or dry dog food? There's pro's and con's to both, so in the end it's a personal decision.
Puppies sometimes find it difficult to crunch kibble and refuse to eat it, much preferring the softer, smellier, wet dog food.
If your puppy isn't keen on kibble, simply moisten it with a little warm water 5 or 10 minutes before dinner time. It will soften and make it easier for him to eat. Gradually reduce the amount of water you add to the kibble until you can serve it dry.
Always make sure your puppy has plenty of fresh drinking water because this type of dry food doesn't contain much moisture.
There are many owners that prefer to feed their cocker spaniels on wet dog food.
Personally, I prefer to feed Max kibble - not only because it provides him with the essential nutrients and vitamins he needs (particularly after being neutered), but because it's easy - kibble needs no preparation, it's clean, and it doesn't smell!
Most important of all, Max loves it!
Whatever type of dog food you choose to feed your pet it's probably wise to check the manufacturer's ingredients label to understand what's in it and to be certain that it closely matches the nutritional values recommended by your vet - generally, the more expensive the food, the better quality ingredients it will contain.
If the percentage of protein, carbohydrates, fats, etc, is not listed by the manufacturer, the order of listing on the label will usually indicate the main ingredients.
For example, the food will probably contain a higher percentage of the first listed ingredient, the second on the list the next highest and so on.
The label should also indicate whether or not extra vitamins and supplements have been added - extra vitamins and fatty acids such vitamin E and Omega 3 and 6, are good, especially for puppies and lactating bitches.
If you are in any doubt about the dog food ingredients listed on manufacturers food packaging, why not have a quick word with your vet?
Because dogs and puppies are all different, they don't have the same nutritional needs. It differs depending on their age, weight, and their lifestyle so it's important to follow the advice of your vet or the feeding instructions on the dog food manufacturer's labels.
I especially recommend you take care with portion sizes to make sure you don't overfeed your Cocker. I was so guilty of this!
Max was beginning to look a little pudgy not so long ago so I weighed his daily allowance (according to the manufacturer's recommendations) to make sure I wasn't overfeeding him - which of course I was!
I now use a plastic cup with a line marked on it and pour his kibble up to that line. It saves me from weighing his food each day and I'm very strict about sticking the correct measure. I feed him twice a day, so he get's half a cup in the morning and the other half at night.
I've stopped rewarding him with
food treats every time he's good; I now reward him with praise and a cuddle 3 times out of 5 - the other 2, I reward him with a few pieces of his kibble (taken from his cup).
If you're feeding a puppy, it's necessary to follow a different routine because puppies need to eat little and often and their diet will differ to an adult's.
If you're feeding an adult dog, I recommend you feed him twice each day - morning and late afternoon - simply divide his daily food allocation into two portions.
You might like to consider using an elevated dog food bowl which is a raised feeder designed to improve your pet's posture and aid digestion. This type of feeder is said to relieve stress on your pet's joints by lifting his head above ground level when eating, thus relieving any strain on his neck and joints. It's also said to reduce wind too - now that's got to be good!
While we're on the subject of his food, I'd like to mention a condition called dog food aggression. This is where your Cocker begins to guard his food, quite aggressively, and if it's not addressed quickly, it can easily get out of hand and become very dangerous.
If your pet suddenly develops dog food aggression, I recommend you deal with it immediately.
Feeding our pets well, with good quality, nutritional food not only results in an improved appearance (and behavior), but also produces contented, healthy, happy Spaniels!
By spending a little more on your pet's food you will be helping to make sure he has a healthier life and because your dog is more healthy you won't need so many trips to the vet, which means more money in your
pocket - result!
A nutritious diet is important for our dog's health and this article on healthy dog food
includes many types of dog foods such as organic, natural, and raw food diets, prescription dog foods, and hypo-allergenic dog foods -
they're all part of a healthy cocker spaniel diet.