The Cocker Spaniel Diet

The Cocker Spaniel diet should be made up of healthy, nutritional foods and be well-balanced to ensure your pet gets all the nourishment his little body needs. A healthy diet can also help your best friend avoid obesity and can help him to live a longer, healthier and happier life too!

A good diet will help keep your Cocker fit and healthy, but it can also help to fight off illness, disease, and dog food allergies.

Golden cocker spaniel with funny look on his face

Like most dogs, Cockers are always ready to eat - no matter what time of day it is!

Unfortunately, Cocker Spaniels are prone to obesity, particularly as they grow older and become more sedate so it's important to ensure that the Cocker Spaniel diet you feed your pet is nutritious.

And don't about the tit-bits and treats - these should be strictly limited because overweight dogs are unhealthy dogs!

If I give treats to Max I usually reduce his food allowance a little to make up for it. I don't do this too often as I'd rather he had his (nutritional) food than treats.

What Should A Cocker Spaniel Diet Consist Of?

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.

As mentioned earlier, Cocker Spaniels are prone to obesity, so it's particularly important to manage their intake of fats.

Too much fat in your Cocker Spaniel's food is not good for his arteries, can raise cholesterol levels and will almost certainly make him overweight!

Whilst overweight dogs are unhealthy, a certain amount of fat is necessary in the Cocker Spaniel 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).

The Cocker Spaniel diet should also contain enough carbohydrates to give your Cocker 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 food.

Growing Puppies And The Cocker Spaniel Diet

Growing puppies have different nutritional needs, so if you've a puppy to feed, it will need an entirely different diet to an adult dog.

Because their little bodies are still growing, and their minds developing, they will need different levels of protein, fats, carbohydrates, and vitamins to those of an adult.

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 notice that they're very different.

Aging Dogs And The Cocker Spaniel Diet

As our dogs age, they become less active which means they no longer burn off as many calories as they need to.

Sleepyhead cocker spaniel lying on cushion

Over time, these unburned calories will inevitably result in increased weight, so it's advisable to (slowly) reduce the amount of food an older dog eats to compensate for his increasingly sedate lifestyle.

Many dog food manufacturers offer a specially formulated, low-calorie food for older dogs to help combat this.

The senior Cocker Spaniel may 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.

Important Note Regarding The Cocker Spaniel Diet:

All dogs have different nutritional needs depending on their age, lifestyle, and health, so it's really important to speak to your vet for advice on the correct diet for your pet.

Cocker Spaniel Diet - Home Made Dog Food

Cooking for your pet can be very enjoyable (and it's always appreciated!) and by making your own home made dog food you can be certain of exactly what goes into it - hopefully, nothing but good wholesome fresh food.

Whilst we're on the subject of homemade food, did you know that there are many dog poisons lurking in your kitchen in the form of every-day human foods?

For example, did you know that chocolate, particularly dark chocolate and those with high levels of cocoa, is very toxic for our dogs?

If you plan on making your pet's food from scratch, I recommend you take a quick glance 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, but we'd love to hear from you if you have a favorite recipe of your own that you'd like to share with us!

The Cocker Spaniel Diet - Wet Or Dry Dog Food?

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.

Dry Dog Food (Kibble)

  • Kibble, (dry dog food) is a complete meal in the form of a small, bite-sized, biscuit.
Red cocker spaniel eating kibble from a stainless steel bowl
  • Available flavors are usually lamb, salmon, rabbit or chicken and it will probably contain rice or oatmeal, essential oils, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Kibble doesn't smell, it's easy to use and it's clean.
  • An open bag of kibble won't 'go off' in a hurry.
  • Kibble is better for your Cocker Spaniel's teeth as the rough, crunchy texture can help to remove plaque before it has a chance to build up and harden.
  • A dry food diet may seem more expensive than other dog food, but because it's a complete meal and there's no waste, it can be quite good value for money.

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 access to plenty of fresh drinking water because kibble  contains very little moisture.

Tinned Dog Food (Wet)

There are many owners that prefer to feed their cocker spaniels on wet dog food.

Canned dog food can still offer a healty diet for your cocker spaniel
  • Tinned dog food is not always as nutritious as you may think. I recommend you check the label to confirm the food you're feeding your pet contains the correct levels of nutrition.
  • Certain tinned dog foods are meant to be mixed with biscuits to add extra nutrition to bring the food up to a 'complete' meal.
  • Tinned dog food can be messy, can sometimes smell, (although it may smell delicious to your dog!) and needs to be refrigerated after opening.
  • If your dog doesn't eat all of his meal, whatever is left in the food bowl will quickly dry out and become inedible - it can also attract flies.

Personally, I prefer to feed Max kibble - not only because it provides him with the essential nutrients and vitamins he needs, but because kibble needs no preparation, it's clean, and doesn't smell!

We even use a small handful as training treats or as a reward for his good behaviour!

And, most important of all, Max loves it, and it's good for him, and it's tailored to meet his new dietary requirement post-neutering.

The Cocker Spaniel Diet - Check The Ingredients Labels

Whatever type of dog food you choose to feed your pet, I recommend you read the ingredients label.

This will help to confirm that your choice 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 ingredients label will 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, I recommend you have a quick word with your vet.

How Much Should I Feed My Cocker Spaniel?

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.

Your cocker spaniel's diet is very important if he's to stay healthy.

I especially recommend you take care with portion sizes to make sure you don't overfeed your Cocker. 

Max was beginning to look a little pudgy not so long ago, so I weighed the recommended daily allowance (according to the manufacturer's instructions) - just to make sure I wasn't  overfeeding him.

Which of course I was!

I was amazed at just how much I had been overfeeding him until I actually weighed out his kibble. I now use a plastic cup with a line marked on it to measure out his daily allowance so I can be certain I'm giving him the right amount of food.

I have stopped rewarding him with food treats every time he's good; I now reward him with enthusiastic praise and a cuddle 3 times out of 5!

If you're feeding a puppy, it's recommended that you 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 elevated dog food bowls - raised feeders which are 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 its head above ground level when eating, thus relieving any strain on the dog's neck and joints, and can also help to reduce wind - 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.

Cocker Spaniel Diet - Summary

It's important to get your Cocker Spaniel's diet right - do this and you'll have a healthy, happy, contented dog.

By spending a little more on your pet's food, not only will you be helping to ensure he has a healthy life and lives longer but, as an added bonus, because your dog is more healthy, it may mean more money in your pocket because you won't need as many trips to the vet!

A nutritious diet is important for Cocker Spaniel health and our article on healthy dog food covers different types of dog food such as organic, natural, and raw dog food diets, prescription dog foods, and hypo-allergenic dog foods - to mention just a few.

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