A healthy, well-balanced Cocker Spaniel diet will help your best friend avoid obesity; a nutritional diet will help him to live a longer, healthier and happier life!
A good diet will also help your Cocker fight off illness, disease, and dog food allergies.
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.
That's why it's very important to ensure that the Cocker Spaniel diet you feed your pet is nutritious and that tit-bits and treats are strictly limited - overweight dogs are unhealthy dogs!
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 diarrhoea 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, could 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 have different nutritional needs, so if you're feeding a puppy it will require a totally 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 and puppy food, you'll notice that they're very different.
As our dogs age, they become less active, which means they no longer burn off as many calories.
Over time, these unburned calories will inevitably result in increased weight, so it's advisable (slowly) to 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 - don't forget to check the ingredients label.
Important Note Regarding The Cocker Spaniel Diet: All dogs have different nutritional requirements depending on their breed, age, lifestyle, and health, so it's really important to speak to your vet for advice on the correct Cocker Spaniel diet to suit your dog.
You may prefer to make your own home made dog food so that you can be certain of exactly what you're feeding your pet - although you ought to be aware 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, is a very toxic food for dogs?
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 this happens, simply moisten the kibble with a little warm water 5 or 10 minutes before dinner time to make it easier to eat. Gradually reduce the amount of water you add to the kibble, until you can serve it dry.
Always ensure your puppy has access to plenty of fresh drinking water as dry dog food contains very little moisture.
There are many owners that prefer to feed their cocker spaniels on wet dog food - it's simply a matter of personal choice.
Personally, we 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, tailored as it is to meet his new dietary requirement post-neutering.
As all dogs are different, and have differing dietary needs, we recommend you speak to your vet who will give you advice on nutrition and the most suitable Cocker Spaniel diet for your pet.
Whatever dog food you choose to feed your pet, we recommend you read the ingredients label.
This will help to ensure 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 dog food ingredients, speak to your vet.
As mentioned earlier, all dogs and puppies have differing nutritional requirements, depending on age, weight, and breed, so it's important to follow the advice of your vet or the feeding instructions on the dog food manufacturer's labels.
Take care with portion sizes to ensure you don't overfeed your Cocker.
Additionally, don't always reward him only with food treats; you can also reward your Cocker Spaniel with enthusiastic praise and a cuddle.
If you're feeding a puppy, it's recommended that you follow a different routine, as puppies need to eat little and often and their diet will differ to an adult's.
If you're feeding an adult dog, we 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 dog food, we should perhaps mention a condition called dog food aggression. This is where your dog begins to guard his food, quite aggressively and, if not addressed quickly, that situation can easily get out of hand and become very dangerous.
If your pet suddenly develops dog food aggression, we recommend you deal with it immediately.
It's important to get the Cocker Spaniel diet right - do this and you'll have a healthy, happy, contented dog.
By spending a little more on your puppy's or dog's food, not only will you 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 as a result of fewer visits to the veterinary!
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.
Photo Credits - In order of viewing:
1. Ryan Johnson at a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/kmonojo/384544629/
2. Mike6219 at http://www.flickr.com/photos/mike6219/
3. Ozgur Ulker at http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-image-brown-cocker-spaniel-eating-food-image13299676
4. Tikmindaugas at http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photos-tin-canned-white-background-image15992053
5. Willeecole at http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-image-puppy-chasing-piece-dog-food-image7324311