With hundreds of food on offer it’s hard to know which one to go for!
There are high quality options that work well with cocker spaniels, all the way to awful formulas that I wouldn’t wish upon any dog!
From dry dog food, wet dog food, the raw diet, and human-grade pet food, we break everything down in a simple way so you can make the best decision.
What To Look For When Choosing Dog Food
When searching for new food for your cocker spaniel, you no doubt want a high-quality, premium formula that is actually healthy for them. But how do you know?
Thankfully there are a few important things to check for:
➡️ First ingredients:
You always want to opt for a food that gets at least the first 3-5 ingredients right. You want to see whole food as close as possible to its natural unprocessed state. Things like whole meats and fish as well as vegetables. This usually means right off the bat that the food is of premium quality, and prioritizes actual real food that will be digested and absorbed well by your pup.
➡️ Low carbohydrates:
For thousands of years, dogs in the wild would eat diets made up of nearly all protein and fat with very little carbs. This is what their body thrives on and digests the best, so we want a kibble with similar macros (high protein, medium to high fat, and low carbs). Additionally, carbs are extremely cheap and easy to store, so when a manufacturer pumps their food full of carbs, it’s usually a way to save costs, instead of using premium expensive ingredients like whole and fresh meat and fish.
➡️ Omega 3 content:
Foods with a high Omega 3 content are also great for many important reasons. Omega-3, Omega-6 and DHA fatty acids are all crucial to brain function, heart health, eye health, a strong immune system, and especially their skin and coat. If a kibble has a high Omega 3 content from its natural ingredients (Fresh salmon being one), then that’s a sign you’re looking at a high-quality product.
➡️ Where the food is made:
It came out a little while ago that many big named brands didn’t even know where their food was made when asked the question. Literally. They didn’t know where the kitchen/factory was OR what was going into their food. This is a huge problem and screams “we don’t care about your dog we just want your money”. A high-quality brand will have its OWN kitchen and oversee exactly what ingredients are going into the food. They will also be inspected regularly by food health and safety services.
➡️ No artificial rubbish:
It’s a standard thing to look out for, but nevertheless very important. The quickest sign of a low-quality product (and there are many on the market) is a kibble that contains any kind of unnatural preservative, flavor, additives, colors, or more. The high quality dog foods completely avoid these ingredients and makes it very clear that there’s nothing like that in their formula. If you don’t see on the packaging or product page about not containing artificial ingredients, then it probably contains them.
5 Great Dry Food Options
The most common kind of diet that cocker spaniels are fed consists of dry dog food (aka, kibble). While not every spaniel gets on with kibble, the vast majority do. So here are 5 of best options suitable for cockers!
P.S. Thanks to our large cocker spaniel readership who helped us gather important information and first-hand reviews. The last option is for puppies!
1) Orijen Regional Red
🎯 Great for all cocker spaniels
Top on our list is is Orijen Regional Red. It has been voted the most used and liked by our cocker spaniel readership, has an excellent ingredient profile and macronutrient breakdown.
Why we love this kibble:
✅ 85% of the ingredients are organic premium animal ingredients
✅ First 5 ingredients are fresh or raw!
✅ High in Omega-3 for immune function, heart health and skin and coat
✅ Has an ideal macro breakdown for cocker spaniels
✅ Includes a wide variety of ingredients for varied nutrition
✅ Made in their own USA-based kitchens with nothing outsourced
✅ One of the most premium, quality-assured kibbles available
✅ Grain-free, zero artificial flavors, preservatives and other nasty stuff
Orijen is a premium brand and a little pricier than most, but what comes with that is high quality ingredients close to their natural state.
➡️ In fact, 85% of the food is made up from organic animal ingredients, with the first 5 ingredients being fresh or raw. You don’t often come across kibble with such quality. It’s almost like we could eat it.
➡️ This option is the highest in protein they have with medium fat and low-moderate carbs, which is the perfect macronutrient breakdown for a working dog like the cocker spaniel. This is WHY so many spaniels get on well with this one.
While I usually recommend avoiding common allergens (beef, pork, lamb, chicken) this kibble works well for so many spaniel owners that I have to include it.
2) Taste of The Wild: Wetlands
🎯 Great for active cocker spaniels
Next is my favorite and one I’ve been using for years with many breeds, and that’s Taste of The Wild. Specifically their Wetlands variant.
Why this kibble is great for cockers:
✅ Premium protein source of duck and quail
✅ Avoids many common allergens
✅ First 5 ingredients are high-quality with no junk
✅ Has an ideal macronutrient breakdown (protein, fat, carbs)
✅ Premium forms of Zinc (Zinc Proteinate)
✅ High in Omega 3
✅ Contains prebiotic fiber
✅ Made in 6 state-of-the-art USA facilities
✅ Avoids grain, corn, wheat, fillers, artificial flavors or preservatives
Wetlands is by far one of the more popular premium kibbles on the market, and has worked well for most working dogs for a very long time.
I feed this to my dogs, and many of my friends have since transitioned too. It just seems to work.
It’s high protein content is perfect to support your spaniel’s growth and recovery, and we all know just how much these balls of energy dash around when out on a walk.
➡️ It’s designed to mimic a wild diet, which will digest well and avoid stomach problems. This is based on having the correct macronutrient breakdown, which this kibble gets right.
➡️ It also contains a healthy amount of Omega 3’s and a premium form of Zinc, which is quite rare to find. Zinc is one of the most essential minerals in the body, and many dogs have a deficiency in it, so this is another noteworthy point.
3) Acana Freshwater Fish Recipe
🎯 Great for sensitive cocker spaniels
For cocker spaniels with more sensitive stomachs, Acana’s Freshwater Fish recipe can be an excellent option as it avoids most common allergens like chicken, beef, lamb, and pork.
Why this kibble is great for cockers:
✅ Alternative source of protein than regular chicken, beef, lamb, pork
✅ Causes fewer upset stomachs
✅ Contain 60% animal products in their unprocessed state
✅ 40% vegies, fruit, botanicals and nutrients
✅ Is high in protein, medium fat, and low in carbs
✅ USA-based kitchens
✅ Zero artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives
✅ Works well with seniors too
Acana has a similar quality level as Orijen, and are two premium competitors constantly upping their game to provide the freshest, purest kibble on the market.
I have not personally tried this one, but I know some spaniel owners using this with success after their cocker refused other well-known brands!
➡️ Freshwater Fish is made up of 60% natural animal ingredients with the other 40% coming in the form of vegetables, fruit, botanicals and other nutrients. There is no junk in this kibble! Hence the bigger price tag.
➡️ The first two ingredients in this kibble are raw trout, and raw catfish which goes on record to digest well and cause few upset stomachs. So if your spaniel has a bit of a sensitive stomach when it comes to beef, chicken, pork, or lamb, this is a fantastic alternative.
4) Merrick Real Salmon & Sweet Potato
🎯 Great for all cocker spaniels
Another high-quality and reliable option to go for is Merricks Real Salmon + Sweet Potato Recipe. This a premium formula that’s considered appropriate for all life stages (although we don’t suggest that for puppies).
Why this kibble is great for cockers:
✅ Fresh deboned salmon as the main ingredient and protein
✅ High in Omega 3’s and essential fatty acids
✅ Easily digestible and avoids many common allergens
✅ All ingredients are premium and nutritious
✅ Apples and blueberries are added for extra vitamins, minerals and nutrients
✅ Includes chondroitin and glucosamine to aid joint health
✅ Includes probiotics for easy digestion
Merricks has an extremely high-quality ingredient profile, with deboned fresh salmon being the first ingredient on the list. This is then followed by salmon meal (still an excellent form), whitefish meal, and deboned whitefish.
➡️ This food tends to work well for cocker spaniels with sensitive stomachs as salmon usually digests better than beef, lamb, pork, and sometimes chicken.
➡️ This is a grain-free formula that relies on sweet potato to make up the carbohydrate content. But still has an overall lowish carbohydrate content which is excellent to see.
This is a great option for all cocker spaniels including seniors, but we don’t recommend giving this a puppy as they need to be on a puppy-specific formula.
What About Cocker Spaniel Puppies
For puppies, we can’t offer them an adult formula, or even an all-life stages formula.
Cocker spaniel pups need a food that’s formulated for growing puppies. This food will contain a higher amount of calories, protein, calcium, fat, and will be rich in nutrients to support their rapid growth.
Here’s one that works well for cocker spaniel puppies:
Purina Pro Plan Puppy: High Protein
🎯 Perfect for cocker spaniel puppies under one year
I tested a few options with my puppy last year and ended up with this one. And to top it off, we asked our cocker spaniel readers what they used for their pups, and this was the most common by far.
Purina Pro Plan Puppy (high protein option) is perfectly formulated to support the growth of your spaniel pup.
➡️ This kibble contains a high level of protein from real lamb and has DHA fatty essential acids from omega-rich fish oil. This is crucial to support the rapid growth of a puppy and keep their immune system, brain function, and heart health in check.
➡️ It ensures adequate levels of calcium, phosphorus, and other essential minerals to promote strong bones and teeth.
In addition to this, this premium formula includes necessary probiotics and a range of vitamins (vitamin A in particular) to support your pup’s immune system.
This is a complete formula dedicated to puppies and is definitely worth trying. My pup loved it and is what I always recommend for medium size working puppies.
Changing Your Spaniel’s Food
If you’re in the process of changing your spaniel’s food then it’s important to do it slowly over the course of a week.
- This avoids upset stomachs, diarrhea, and food refusal. This is sooo crucial because your pup might refuse a better food for them, simply because the transition was too quick.
➡️ Day one: 25% new food 75% old food
➡️ Day two: 50% new food 50% old food
➡️ Day three: 75% new food 25% old food
➡️ Day four: 100% new food
If you want to do it even slower over the course of one week, then that’s even better!
Thanks for reading!
What food is your cocker spaniel currently eating, and how is it working for them?