The Best Dog Food for Cocker Spaniels

Updated: October 4, 2023

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The Cocker Spaniel is an endearing dog with a long and illustrious history. Often associated with royalty and noble families of the past, these dogs certainly have a regal aura. Their distinct appearances are nothing short of posh. However, their personalities are laid-back and charming.

They're affectionate canines that quickly adapt to most lifestyles. These dogs are keen on attaching to only one person. However, they are more than capable of spreading love to large families, too.

This breed deserves the very best, and there's no other area where that reigns true the most than their diet.

Well fed Cocker Spaniel

Cocker Spaniels are energetic dogs that need a good supply of fuel to maintain their lifestyle. The quality of food you provide makes all the difference. Not only does it support their overall health and well-being, but a high-quality diet may help your pup avoid common issues that plague this breed.

If you're not sure where to find the best dog foods for Cocker Spaniels, we have you covered. Here are some of our favorites.

7 of the Best Dog Foods for Cocker Spaniels

1. Royal Canin Cocker Spaniel Adult Dry Dog Food

oyal Canin Cocker Spaniel Adult Dry Dog Food

From Royal Canin is this breed-specific formula. Formulated for adult Cocker Spaniels, this dog food has everything they need to maintain good health moving forward.

It has a decent amount of protein and plenty of great ingredients to address common health concerns. The fish oil keeps the skin supple to prevent irritation. There's also EPA and DHA for good heart health.

One unique thing about this product is the shape of the kibble. Each morsel is crescent-shaped, making it easier for your dog's broad muzzle to pick up.

2. American Journey Beef & Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

American Journey Beef & Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

The grain-free dog food from American Journey has what it takes to keep Cocker Spaniels active and healthy. The protein content is an impressive 32 percent, which is well above the AAFCO recommendations.

Most of that protein comes from beef, chicken meal, turkey meal, and fish meal. Accompanying the protein is a slew of complex carbohydrates and healthy plant-based ingredients. 

A collection of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants support your pup's biological functions. Meanwhile, the omega fatty acids ensure that their coat and skin are as healthy as possible.

3. Merrick Grain-Free Real Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe Dry Dog Food

Merrick Grain-Free Real Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe Dry Dog Food

Here's another grain-free product worth checking out. This one's from Merrick, and it's an excellent all-purpose choice for healthy Cocker Spaniel adults.

The ingredients are easy to identify, and each one serves an important purpose in your dog's diet. A healthy combination of protein and fat ensures that the muscles stay strong for years to come.

Merrick also includes some ingredients to prepare for the future. A healthy dose of glucosamine and chondroitin maintains joint cartilage, which can help mitigate the effects of arthritis later on.

4. Instinct Original Grain-Free Real Rabbit Freeze-Dried Raw Coated Dry Dog Food

Instinct Original Grain-Free Recipe with Real Rabbit Freeze-Dried Raw Coated Dry Dog Food

If your dog suffers from allergies, this grain-free recipe from Instinct may be the solution you need. It doesn't use familiar protein sources like chicken.

Instead, Instinct rabbit and fish to provide those all-important muscle-supporting amino acids. The rabbit is a rare ingredient that can help dogs get their dietary fix without potential allergens.

Of course, the good stuff doesn't stop there. Instinct also includes a blend of natural probiotics for digestive health. There are also antioxidants, omega fatty acids, and much more.

5. Nutro Ultra Adult Dry Dog Food

NUTRO Ultra Adult Dry Dog Food

Nutro markets the Ultra dog food formula as a superfood blend. Take one look at the ingredients list, and you'd be keen to agree! It has three lean protein sources, which include salmon, lamb, and chicken.

The blend provides a varied collection of amino acids for ultimate muscle health.

The kibble also contains a slew of antioxidants. They help promote better heart health and a more robust immune system. Combine all of that with Nutro's lack of artificial additives, and you have a well-rounded formula that can benefit your Cocker Spaniel.

- Best Wet Canned Food for Cocker Spaniels

6. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Turkey & Chicken Grill Grain-Free Canned Dog Food

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Turkey & Chicken Grill Grain-Free Canned Dog Food

Whether you use it as a complete meal or a topper to make dry food more enticing, this canned food from Blue Buffalo has a lot to offer. Like the brand's dry offerings, this formula is grain-free and contains nothing but good stuff.

Turkey is the primary protein source. Additional wholesome ingredients like potato and flaxseed combine with the turkey to create a soft mash.

The canned food is packed with flavor and has a texture that's easy to consume. Great for puppies, adults, and seniors, it provides balanced nutrition in a much softer form.

7. Purina ONE SmartBlend Tender Cuts in Gravy Lamb & Brown Rice Entree Adult Canned Dog Food

Purina ONE SmartBlend Tender Cuts in Gravy Lamb & Brown Rice Entree Adult Canned Dog Food

This dog food from Purina One is a little different than the previous one. Instead of an amalgamation of ingredients transformed into a palatable mash, this recipe includes real pieces of meat and vegetables.

You can see and identify the elements for yourself. Chunks of lamb and liver swim in savory chicken broth gravy. Vegetables like carrots and spinach provide micronutrients. 

Despite its smaller list of ingredients, the recipe is formulated to be 100 percent nutritionally complete.

How Much Food Does a Cocker Spaniel Need?

Cocker Spaniels are a medium-sized dog breed. Thanks to their energetic lifestyles, they do require a healthy supply of food every day.

The general rule of thumb is to provide about 25 to 30 calories per pound of body weight. All dogs are different, and the exact amount will depend on their health, body condition, and way of life.

Healthy adult dogs can need approximately 740 calories a day. That figure is best for a moderately active dog in its prime. Those who are less active may need as few as 600 calories.

Meanwhile, active working dogs typically need up to 1,100 calories a day! If you're unsure about what's best for your pooch, have a conversation with your vet.

Senior dogs need even less. Cocker Spaniels tend to slow down once they get older, decreasing their daily requirements to 600 to 700 calories.

When it comes to feeding schedules, keep things strict and measured. Cocker Spaniels don't do well with free-feeding. They'll eat far more than they should, which could result in unnecessary weight gain.

Separate your dog's dietary requirements into at least two meals a day for the best results.

Choosing a High-Quality Dog Food Formula

When trying to find that perfect formula for your Cocker Spaniel, you'll need to take a good hard look at the ingredients list. Don't assume that everything at your local pet store is a good option to serve as your dog's food. Quality varies dramatically from brand to brand.

So, how do you find the right fit? Pay attention to these factors when choosing the best Cocker Spaniel dog food.

Premium Proteins

As always, protein is an essential macronutrient. Dogs rely on the amino acids in protein to build and maintain their muscles.

Pure animal meat is the best source of protein dogs can get. Look for things like chicken, turkey, fish, beef, and any other identifiable animal.

Meat meals are fine as well. However, you should avoid any mystery meats or byproducts. There's no telling where that stuff comes from! Stick with foods that identify the meat sources directly.

The Association of American Feed Control Officials recommends foods with at least 18 percent protein for healthy adults. That's the bare minimum. An active breed like the Cocker Spaniel can always benefit from more.

Digestible Complex Carbohydrates

There are no official guidelines for how much carbs dog food can or can't have. That said, there is a way to gauge quality.

Cheaper foods tend to use simple carbs as fillers. They don't offer much in terms of nutritional value. To add insult to injury, many dogs struggle to process them.

If they successfully absorb those foods, most dogs burn right through the energy supply, resulting in a midday energy crash.

To avoid all of those issues, stick to digestible complex carbs. Complex carbs are easy on the gut and provide a steady supply of energy your dog will use to stay active.

Good examples include sweet potato, legumes, and more.

Skin-Supporting Fats

Fat is a necessary macronutrient that every dog needs. It provides energy and adds tons of flavor.

High-quality dog food products utilize fats from animal protein. They can also take advantage of healthy fats like Salmon oil and flaxseed oil.

Those oil-based ingredients do double-duty. Not only do they serve as the fat source, but they can also keep the skin supple, thanks to omega fatty acids.

Cocker Spaniels are susceptible to skin issues, so adding those omegas can do a lot to avoid discomfort.

Bone and Joint Support

Unfortunately, Cocker Spaniels aren't immune to bone and joint problems. Those conditions can be debilitating, and they're rather complex.

While diet alone can't fix those issues, it can go a long way to mitigate them and manage pain.

Many vets recommend calcium-rich diets for dogs of all ages.

For breeds like the Cocker Spaniel, it's good to invest in food that also has supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin. They help manage joint pain and work to keep cartilage in good condition.

Contrary to popular belief, you don't have to wait until your dog starts suffering the effects of arthritis to utilize joint and bone-saving foods.

Start providing them early on to decrease the risks as your dog ages.

Vitamins and Minerals

As always, vitamins and minerals are a must. It's not just meaty protein your dog needs. A healthy mix of plant-based ingredients will support nearly all biological functions in the body.

Look for a healthy mix of greens and fruits. They can provide everything from Vitamin D to beta-carotene. Antioxidants are good, too.

Blueberries, kale, and more can prevent cell oxidation, support cardiovascular health, and promote better overall health.

Common Cocker Spaniel Health Issues

Cocker Spaniels have an increased risk for many health conditions. Here are some of the most common. We've also included some ways you can use your dog's diet to help treat and manage symptoms.


Food allergies don't affect all Cocker Spaniels, but they are widespread with this breed. Essentially, certain seemingly harmless ingredients become allergens. Your dog's immune system will see it as a threat and attack it, leading to some severe reactions.

Cocker Spaniel puppies or adults can experience allergic reactions to common protein sources and fillers. The exact offending ingredient will vary from dog to dog, so it's a good idea to consult with your vet for guidance.

Fortunately, the dog food market is vast enough to avoid whatever allergen affects your dog. Limited ingredient formulas are available as well for those who are allergic to multiple things.

Skin Conditions

Dry, flaky, and itchy skin can make things unbearable for your dog. Diet plays a big part in skin conditions.

Cocker Spaniels are prone to a disease known as primary seborrhea, which causes greasy and flaky skin.

The best way to avoid flareups is to provide the best dog food for Cocker Spaniels you can find  that has omega fatty acids. Balanced nutrition that meets your dog's needs is critical, too.

Ear Infections

Thanks to their floppy ears, Cocker Spaniels are prone to ear infections. These conditions are typically a product of overactive yeast and fungi.

Diets rich in simple carbs often cause yeast problems. They can also lead to diabetes, opening the floodgates for ear infections and other health complications.

Treat ear infections as soon as symptoms occur. Most vets will also recommend scaling back the carbs as your dog recovers.


When dogs suffer from hypothyroidism, they cannot produce sufficient amounts of the hormones that control their metabolism. The health ramifications are significant.

Not only does hypothyroidism often lead to weight gain, but it can have a snowball effect that impacts energy levels, skin conditions, and more.

Hypothyroidism requires medication to treat, so we recommend going to your vet for some professional guidance.

In addition to providing some much-needed prescriptions to manage this condition, your vet will likely recommend a change in diet to prevent weight gain from Hypothyroidism

Musculoskeletal Disorders

Unfortunately, Cocker Spaniels have a very high rate of musculoskeletal issues. They have one of the highest rates of joint dislocations. Patellar luxation is widespread.

The same goes for hip dysplasia, which can result in deformities and abnormal joint function.

Any musculoskeletal disorder can cause debilitating levels of pain. It's a serious issue that requires constant care to manage.

Supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin can help reduce pain and improve the health of joint cartilage.

Meanwhile, a calcium-rich diet with plenty of Vitamin D might help prevent these conditions from getting worse.

As always, speak with your vet to see what measures you can take to help your dog.

Final Thoughts

There's no shortage of great dog foods out there that can serve your Cocker Spaniel well for years to come. Pay attention to the ingredients list and continue to monitor your dog's lifestyle.

Managing a dog's diet is a lifelong process. As long as you continue to shape their balanced diet to meet their ever-changing needs, your pup should have no problem living a long and happy life.

Category: best dog food by breed

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About the author 


Steve is a writer with over 10 years of experience in dog training and nutritiion.

His goal is to educate dog owners about the ins and outs of canine behavior as well as keeping up with the latest scientific research in the field.