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Best Dog Foods For Cocker Spaniels: Puppies, Adults & Seniors

Last Updated: May 25, 2020 | 14 min read

Best Dog Foods For Cocker Spaniels

Looking for the best dog food for your Cocker Spaniel? The popular Cocker Spaniel is a delightful pup who is described as gentle, smart and happy, but in order for him to be his happy and healthy self, he needs the right nutrition. Finding the best food for your Cocker Spaniel is an important selection to make, no matter what stage of life your pup is in.

We are going to walk you through everything you need to know about the nutritional needs of the Cocker Spaniel at every stage of his life – puppy, adult, and senior. Because the Cocker Spaniel often lives the life of luxury, many of them also find themselves slightly overweight at some point during their lifetime, and so we have also added a weight management section at the end of this guide too.

The Cocker Spaniel is a small to a medium-sized dog who weighs between 20 and 30 pounds at maturity, but despite being a smaller breed he is a spunky little guy who has plenty of energy. We have found the best kibbles available to suit all Cocker Spaniels, as well as their owners’ budget, so everyone’s a winner here!

 At a Glance: Our Favorite Foods for the Cocker Spaniel

Blue Buffalo Puppy
Our Rating

Best For Puppies

Blue Buffalo Puppy

View at Chewy.com
Canidae Pure Adult
Our Rating

Best For Adults

Canidae Pure Adult

VIew at Chewy.com
Merrick Dog Senior Dog Food
Our Rating

Best For Seniors

Merrick Senior Food

View at Chewy.com

Note: Clicking the above links will take you to Chewy.com, where you can get additional product information and customer reviews. If you make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Cocker Spaniel Puppy Nutrient Needs

Cocker Spaniels are usually medium-sized dogs, however, there are some Cockers that, especially if their parents are small, will fall into the small bracket. For this reason, most of our kibbles here are based on the needs of medium sized puppies, however if you are certain that your Cocker will be a smaller sized dog then check out our small puppy nutrition guide for a bit more guidance.

The MSD Veterinary Manual recommends that, as puppies have a lot of growing to do, they need a high protein content of at least 22%. Protein ingredients should be identifiable, and either in the form of whole meat or meat meals. Meat meals are also packed with glucosamine which is great for his bone development and joint support, which is important for the Cocker and his energetic lifestyle.

Cocker Spaniels, despite having a luxurious coat, are known for their sensitive skin. So, omega fatty acids in the form of whole fish, fish oils, and flaxseed, as well as vitamins such as vitamin E, biotin and folic acid will nourish his skin.

In addition to the above, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and arachidonic acid (ARA) all contribute towards healthy cognitive and eye development. Fruits, vegetables and added supplements will support his growing immune system too.

Whatever you decide to feed him, just ensure that it is a high-quality kibble that is specifically designed for puppies as they will provide him everything he needs to develop into a healthy adult.

Adult Cocker Spaniel Nutrient Needs

Around the age of 12 months you will need to slowly transition him to an adult kibble that will take care of his adult nutritional needs. The MSD Manual suggests that adult dogs should eat a kibble that will provide a protein content of 26%.

His energy needs will be dependent on his lifestyle. Some Cocker Spaniels enjoy the life of luxury and love to laze around all day, whereas some Cockers are still used as hunting dogs and as such will need much more energy. The average-sized Cocker adult, who is moderately active, will consume around 720 calories per day, so follow package instructions and adjust it according to your dog’s need. Obesity is a relatively common issue in Cockers, so do not feed him more than he needs!

Again, his coat and skin need a variety of omega fatty acids from the same ingredients described above. Overall, the nutritional needs of a healthy adult dog should focus on a well-balanced diet that will support every aspect of his life.

Senior Cocker Spaniel Nutrient Needs

At around the age of 9 years, you should slowly transition your Cocker Spaniel to a senior kibble, as senior formulas concentrate on the unique needs of his elderly body. Protein is still a key focus with the Cocker, particularly if he is still energetic, but he will certainly need less food and energy.

He will also need a much lower fat content as his digestive system cannot break it down as efficiently, and this will also prevent him from becoming overweight. Vitamins, minerals and antioxidants are also important because they will boost his weakening immune system.

High levels of glucosamine and chondroitin are important as they will assist his aging bones and support him in remaining mobile. These nutrients can be found in meat and fish meals, fish oils as well as added supplements, and they will also nourish his drying skin and coat too.


Best Food for Cocker Spaniel Puppies

Cocker Spaniel Puppy Eating Dog Food
Cocker Spaniel Puppies should eat a puppy formula until 12 months of age.

The Cocker Spaniel is extremely active in their puppy years. Because of this, they need a dry kibble that will meet their nutrient needs early on so that their joint and muscular development can be supported. They should start eating a dry puppy kibble as soon as they can be weaned off their mother’s milk. Once eating a puppy formula, they should stay on that dry kibble for 12-15 months.  Once that timeline is complete, they can start to transition to an adult dog food.

Puppy foods are going to be more nutrient and calorie-dense than regular adult food. They have higher levels of fat, protein and carbs as well. They also add an antioxidant boost in order to start developing your puppy’s immune system at an early age. The additional calorie content will help ensure that your puppy will grow to be big and strong once they reach their adult years.  Below you’ll find our favorite foods for Cocker Spaniel puppies, in no particular order.

 
Purina Pro
Taste of the Wild
Blue Buffalo
Nutro Wholesome
Wellness Complete
Protein
28%
27%
32%
29%
Fats
18%
15%
16%
16%
19%
Fiber
3%
5%
5%
3%
4.25%
Moisture
12%
10%
10%
10%
10%
Kcal/Cup
428
360
427
387
480

Purina Pro Puppy Formula

Purina Pro Plan Dry Puppy Food, Chicken and...
  • 34 pounds Bag Purina Pro Plan FOCUS Chicken & Rice Formula Dry...
  • Made with high quality protein, including real chicken as the...
  • DHA from omega rich fish oil helps to nourish his brain and...
  • Antioxidant rich formula helps support a puppy's developing...

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Purina have designed this recipe with those puppies who are struggling with sensitivities with their skin or digestive tract. For this they list gentle oatmeal, which is an easy to digest grain, and each bite is fortified with guaranteed probiotics to aid a healthy gut flora.

Lamb and fish meal are the main protein sources, which provide puppy growing power for lean muscles and omega fatty acids for his skin and coat health. Eggs and fish oils are listed which provide EPA and DHA, as well as canola oil which is full of nutrients for strong muscles.

We love that this recipe is great for those puppies who are already showing signs of sensitive skin or a sensitive digestive system.


Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream

Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Grain-Free...
  • Taste of the Wild Pacific stream with smoked salmon; real Salmon...
  • Premium ingredients with added vitamins & minerals; fruits and...
  • Ingredients from TRUSTED, SUSTAINABLE sources around the world;...
  • Nutrient rich and HIGHLY digestible with guaranteed species...

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This grain free recipe is made with Salmon and other fish as the protein ingredients, which means this is a great option for those puppies who are allergic to other meat proteins. It’s also a great option when compared to other more expensive brands.

It also has the lowest fat and calorie content on this list, so if your pup seems to be putting on weight quicker than he should be then this might be the better option for him. It lists many probiotic ingredients that all contribute towards a healthy digestive system, and it is highly fibrous and vitamin rich with sweet potatoes and peas.

We love that this recipe uses fish as the only protein source, which means it is packed full of omega fatty acids.


Blue Buffalo Wilderness Puppy

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe...
  • PACKED WITH REAL BEEF: A recipe inspired by the Rocky Mountains,...
  • GRAIN FREE PUPPY FOOD: BLUE Wilderness grain free puppy food is...
  • WITH LIFESOURCE BITS: This formula contains BLUE’s exclusive...
  • NATURAL DOG FOOD: BLUE dry dog food is formulated for the health...

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This recipe is protein rich with Beef, Lamb, Venison and fish meal, so it is great for Cockers Spaniels who are full of energy. Blue Buffalo’s exclusive LifeSource Bits are included, which are cold-formed pieces of kibble full of optimized puppy nutrients.

This grain free formula lists veggies for your pup’s energy and fiber needs, such as peas, potatoes and sweet potatoes, and fruits and vitamin supplements for his developing immune system. It is also full of DHA from eggs and fish oils that will nourish his skin and silky locks.

We love that this recipe has the highest protein content, which is great for those larger or more energetic Cocker Spaniels, or those who will join their master on hunting trips when they are old enough.


Nutro Wholesome Puppy Formula

Nutro Wholesome Essentials Natural Dog Food,...
  • Contains one (1) 5 lb. bag of NUTRO WHOLESOME ESSENTIALS Natural...
  • Farm-Raised Chicken Is The #1 Ingredient To Deliver Great Taste...
  • Nutro Senior Dog Food Is Designed To Maintain Cognitive Health...
  • Tailored Nutrition For Your Small Breed'S Unique Needs

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Chicken and Chicken meal are the first two ingredients which are great sources of protein, energy and glucosamine for his muscle maintenance and joint support. Chicken fat and fish oils also ensure that his eye and cognitive function are supported, and his skin and coat are well cared for too.

This recipe is grain inclusive, but brown rice and oatmeal are gentle on his digestive system, and vitamin and mineral supplements support his immune system too.

We love that this recipe has one of the lowest fiber contents which some pups find much easier to digest, but it still offers plenty of digestive support. 


Wellness Complete Small Breed Puppy

Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Small...
  • ENJOY A LIFETIME OF WELLBEING: High quality proteins and...
  • OPTIMAL ENERGY AND HEALTHY IMMUNE SYSTEMS: Antioxidant rich...
  • WHOLE BODY HEALTH: Supported by omega fatty acids, antioxidants,...
  • FIND THE RIGHT FOOD: Wellness offers a full range of foods to...

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Wellness Complete does exactly what it says on the tin, or package in this case, and takes care of his complete health. Gentle prebiotic fibers are listed, as are probiotic ingredients, which alongside gentle grains contribute to a regular digestive system.

Deboned Turkey, Chicken meal and Salmon meal are the main protein sources, which are fantastic sources of amino acids, energy, glucosamine and DHA.

We love that this recipe is designed for small breed puppies, which makes this a great option for those soon-to-be smaller than average Cocker Spaniels.


Best Food for Adult Cocker Spaniels

Cocker Spaniel Adult Eating Food
Adult Cocker Spaniels should start on an adult formula food at 1 year old.

Once your Cocker Spaniel has reached about 12 months of age, it’s time to start moving them over to an an adult dog formula. Typically the adult Cocker Spaniel can live until they are 10 years old, so this food could very easily last them until they are at least 7 years old, when you’ll transition them to a Senior formula dog food, or perhaps a recipe that includes a boost of Glucosamine and Chondroitin.  

We recommend that you make the transition to a new food very slowly.  Below, we’ve only selected foods that are a good fit for medium-sized dogs. If your dog already has vegetables like Sweet Potato or Zucchini added into their diet at a young age, it can help keep them consistent with a new adult dog food if you keep the same vegetables included with their new kibble during dinner time. This will ensure that their transition to an adult dog food is a little easier as it will be less likely to upset their GI tract.

 
Purina Pro
Merrick Adult
Blue Buffalo
Canidae Pure
Wellness Complete
Protein
26%
26%
30%
32%
28%
Fats
16%
16%
15%
18%
15%
Fiber
4%
3.5%
6%
4%
4%
Moisture
12%
11%
10%
10%
11%
Kcal/Cup
498
393
393
496
420

Purina Pro Plan Adult Formula

Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Stomach Dry Dog...
  • One (1) 41 lb. Bag - Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Stomach Dry Dog...
  • Real salmon is the #1 ingredient
  • Oatmeal is an easily digestible source of carbohydrates
  • Contains no corn, wheat or soy.Calorie Content (fed):3725...

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Lamb, fish meal and dried egg product are the main protein sources, all of which are easy to digest and full of the energy he needs for muscle maintenance and repair for his energetic schedule.

Oatmeal and barley provide the fibers and grains needed for easy digestion, and there are a variety of vitamin supplements to support his immunity too. It has the highest calorie content so energetic dogs will thrive on this recipe. The pro formula is a great food for adult dogs and a more expensive option than the regular Purina one food line.

We love that this recipe follows on from the sensitive skin and stomach puppy formula, which would make this a great option if it soothed your Cocker Spaniel’s skin and stomach sensitivities.


Merrick Healthy Grains Adult Recipe

Merrick Grain Free Dry Dog Food
  • #1 ingredient: deboned meat, Fish or poultry: Merrick Grain free...
  • Healthy skin and coat, hips and joints: these grain free dog food...
  • Real WHOLE foods for optimal natural nutrition: Merrick Grain...
  • A variety for every breed and need: Merrick Grain free dog food...

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This recipe is made with a unique blend of brown rice, barley, oatmeal, quinoa, and chia seeds, which are not only easy to digest but they also provide him with omega fatty acids, alongside flaxseed which is great for his curly locks. Probiotics such as lactobacillus acidophilus promote a healthy gut flora from within.

Deboned Chicken, Chicken meal and Turkey meal provide the protein source for his muscles and ensure that it is super tasty too. Carrots, apples and blueberries provide antioxidants for a healthy oxidative state.

We love that this recipe is grain inclusive, which is a great option if his digestive system functions better on such a diet.


Blue Buffalo Wilderness Adult

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe...
  • PACKED WITH REAL BEEF: A recipe inspired by the Rocky Mountains,...
  • GRAIN FREE DOG FOOD: BLUE Wilderness grain free adult dog food is...
  • WITH LIFESOURCE BITS: This formula contains BLUE’s exclusive...
  • NATURAL DOG FOOD: BLUE dry dog food is formulated for the health...

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Following on from the puppy formula, this grain free recipe has the second-highest protein content on this list thanks to deboned Beef, fish meal, deboned Lamb and Venison, so not only is his muscle mass taken care off, but so are his taste buds!

This recipe includes their LifeSource Bits, which are nutrient-dense and full of optimized nutrients for his adult body. In addition to this, blueberries, cranberries and added vitamin supplements ensure that his immune system is strengthened. This is a high fiber diet, which is great for those Cocker Spaniels who need lots of fiber to remain regular, and it is full of probiotics with every bite.

We love that this recipe is Chicken and poultry free which makes it a great option for those Cocker Spaniels who are allergic to these common protein sources.


Canidae Pure Adult Salmon Recipe

CANIDAE All Life Stages, Premium Dry Dog...
  • OPTIMAL PROTEIN FOR ALL DOGS: All Life Stages is crafted from...
  • CREATED WITHOUT ANY WHEAT, CORN, or SOY: There’s nothing...
  • HEALTHPLUS SOLUTIONS IN EVERY BITE: Probiotics added to every...
  • FLAVORS & TYPES: With 5 different varieties there’s a Canidae...

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This limited ingredient recipe is made with just 8 ingredients, which is ideal for those with a sensitive stomach. It is made with Salmon and fish as the only protein sources, so you can be sure it is packed full of omega fatty acids for his skin, coat and joint health, as well as his overall wellness. CANIDAE’s PURE food line is popular with many dog owners.

Sweet potatoes and peas provide healthy carbohydrates, and alfalfa, along with extra added vitamins and minerals provide calcium for strong bones and joints. Fortified after cooking with a probiotic solution ensures healthy and easier digestion too.

We love that this recipe has the highest protein content which is important for those seriously active Cocker Spaniels, or those who are used to a protein-rich diet.


Wellness Complete Small Breed Adult

Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Small...
  • ENJOY A LIFETIME OF WELLBEING: High quality proteins and...
  • OPTIMAL ENERGY AND HEALTHY IMMUNE SYSTEMS: Antioxidant rich...
  • WHOLE BODY HEALTH: Supported by omega fatty acids, antioxidants,...
  • FIND THE RIGHT FOOD: Wellness offers a full range of foods to...

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This recipe is made for small breeds, so if he is much smaller than the average Cocker then the kibble pieces will be much easier for him to munch, as well as having the optimized nutrients that smaller breeds need.

Protein is still the main focus here, thanks to deboned Turkey, Chicken meal and Salmon meal, which are lean, full of energy and nutrients needed for cellular repair. Skin and coat health are also cared for thanks to Salmon oils, flaxseed and added vitamins.

We love that this recipe follows on from the small breed puppy recipe, and it is a great option if your Cocker Spaniel is smaller than most.


Best Food for Senior Cocker Spaniels

Senior Cocker Spaniel Eating
Cocker Spaniels should start on a senior dog food at age 7 years.

Senior Cocker Spaniels will typically move to a senior dog food around their 7th birthday. Senior formulas are known to have a lower calorie count, as well as a boost of antioxidants.  Senior formulas often integrate different types of veggies and greens in order to keep up your pup’s health. It’s not uncommon to see certain to also include Seafood and other ingredients that boost Omega 3 Fatty Acids, and Omega 6’s as well.

Cocker Spaniels aren’t likely to have too many health issues as they age. But they can run into eye issues, which include glaucoma, cherry eye, and cataracts.  They can also run into hip and elbow dysplasia, although hip issues are less common in this breed because of it’s size. Making sure your pup is on a healthy diet can help prevent some of the more common issues. In no particular order, let’s take a look at our favorite foods for older Cocker Spaniels.

 
Nutro Ultra
Merrick Senior
Blue Buffalo
Canidae Pure
Nulo Senior
Protein
26%
32%
28%
28%
30%
Fats
11%
12%
12%
10%
12%
Fiber
4%
3.5%
7%
5%
5%
Moisture
10%
11%
10%
10%
10%
Kcal/Cup
316
372
383
409
396

Nutro Ultra Senior Recipe

NUTRO WHOLESOME ESSENTIALS Senior Natural Dry...
  • Contains one (1) 30 lb. bag of NUTRO WHOLESOME ESSENTIALS Natural...
  • Farm-Raised Chicken Is The #1 Ingredient To Deliver Great Taste...
  • Nutro Senior Dog Food Is Designed To Maintain Cognitive Health...
  • Omega 3 & 6 Fatty Acids To Promote Healthy Skin And A Soft, Shiny...

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This recipe offers a trio of proteins, with Chicken, Lamb and Salmon being listed in both whole meat and meal forms, which is great for his protein needs and overall wellness. Lean meats also mean that he gets plenty of energy, without too much fat.

This grain inclusive recipe lists brown rice, gentle oatmeal and chia seeds for his energy needs, and it is also full of exotic antioxidants such as kale, dried coconut, pumpkin, and blueberries, as well as a list of added supplements. Nutro is often compared to other brands but wins out here in the Senior category.

We love that this recipe lists an abundance of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which helps to strengthen his weakening immune system.


Merrick Senior Recipe

This grain free recipe has the highest protein content on this list, thanks to deboned Chicken, Chicken meal and Salmon meal listed as the first three ingredients. This is great for his aging taste buds, as well as his tired joints.

Omega fatty acids are listed thanks to plenty of fish oils and Chicken fat, and healthy carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes, carrots and peas are included. Vitamin supplements and apples provide his body with antioxidants, and probiotic ingredients aid a healthy digestive system.

We love that this recipe has the highest levels of glucosamine and chondroitin to support his aging bones and joints.

 


Blue Buffalo Wilderness Senior 

Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain...
  • PACKED WITH REAL CHICKEN: Made to feed your feline’s wild side,...
  • GRAIN FREE CAT FOOD: BLUE Wilderness grain free adult cat food is...
  • WITH LIFESOURCE BITS: This formula contains BLUE’s exclusive...
  • NATURAL CAT FOOD: BLUE dry cat food is formulated for the health...

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This recipe completes the Wilderness set that we have chosen for the Cocker Spaniel, and it is still Chicken and poultry free. Flaxseed, fish oils and dried egg products provide his joints with glucosamine and skin and coat with omega fatty acids so he will continue to look young and healthy well into his senior years.

Carrots, blueberries and cranberries provide him with many antioxidants for his overall health, and in conjunction with the LifeSource Bits full of optimized senior nutrients, his immunity will maintain its strength.

We love that this recipe has the highest fiber content on this list to keep him feeling fuller for longer, especially if he is a forever hungry senior.


Canidae Pure Limited Ingredient Senior

CANIDAE PURE Real Salmon, Limited Ingredient,...
  • 10 KEY INGREDIENTS or LESS: Limited ingredients crafted from 7-10...
  • GRAIN FREE FOR DOGS WITH SENSITIVE STOMACHS: There’s nothing...
  • HEALTHPLUS IN EVERY BITE: Probiotics added to every kibble after...
  • FLAVORS & TYPES: With 6 different proteins (Salmon, Lamb, Duck,...

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This recipe is made with just 9 ingredients, which is great news for his digestive system and metabolism that is beginning to slow down. This grain free recipe relies on sweet potato, beans and peas for energy, which is plenty for his senior requirements, and it has the lowest fat content.

Chicken, Chicken meal and Turkey meal are the first three ingredients which are all lean and packed with glucosamine and chondroitin for his aging joints, as well as protein for his muscle maintenance. Added vitamins such as taurine care for his cardiac system, and his overall immunity and aging body.

We love that this recipe is made with limited ingredients, so it is great for those Cocker Spaniels who have a sensitive stomach.


Nulo Senior Recipe

Nulo Senior Grain Free Dog Food With...
  • Included Components: Senior Grain-Free Dry Dog Food Trout &...

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This grain free recipe has the second highest protein content on this list, which is great for energetic seniors, and low glycemic ingredients ensure that he gets enough energy, but not enough to start piling on the pounds. The protein sources, Trout, Turkey meal and Salmon meal, provide plenty of omega fatty acids and glucosamine for his aging joints too.

It is an easy to digest recipe thanks to prebiotic fibers such as sweet potatoes and chickpeas, and a probiotic solution is added to assist his aging and slowing gut.

We love that this recipe is full of omega fatty acids for his skin, coat and joint health, as well as being super tasty!


Food for Overweight Cocker Spaniels

Overweight Cocker Spaniel
If your Cocker Spaniel gains weight, you’ll want to put them on a weight loss dog food.

Unfortunately, it is quite common for Cocker Spaniels to find themselves overweight, and a big part of this is because they are now commonly found lazing around for most of the day, and eating far too much. If this sounds like your Cocker, then switch him to a weight loss kibble to prevent him from becoming obese and developing other weight related health concerns.


Wellness Core Reduced Fat Formula

Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Dog...
  • ADVANCED NATURAL NUTRITION TO FUEL YOUR DOG'S BEST LIFE: Premium...
  • SAVORY FOOD DOGS LOVE: Wellness CORE is available in grain and...
  • LEANER BODY MASS AND MUSCLE TONE: Wellness CORE dog food is made...
  • SUPPORTS HEALTHY SKIN AND COAT with guaranteed levels of omega...

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Despite being a reduced fat grain free recipe, this formula still offers a very high protein content, which is important if your Cocker is still energetic. The protein content is 33%, fat is 10% and the calorie count is 360 per cup. The fiber content is 12%, which means that he will feel fuller for longer. 

We love the Wellness Core recipe being grain free. Overweight Cocker Spaniels can have stomach issues, so having a grain free food may help mitigate that.


Nutro Ultra Weight Management

NUTRO ULTRA Adult Weight Management High...
  • Contains One (1) 30 Lb. Bag Of Nutro Ultra Adult Weight...
  • Features Trio Of Protein From Chicken, Lamb, And Salmon—Chicken...
  • Our Premium Dog Food Kibble Is Made With High-Quality Ingredients...
  • Nutro Ultra Dry Dog Food Is Made With High-Quality Protein And...

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This recipe is grain inclusive, and grains such as brown rice and oatmeal will provide him with the energy and fiber that he needs, but the fiber content is much lower at 4% which is important for some. The protein content is 23%, the fat content is 10% and the calorie count is 335. This superfood recipe is also full of antioxidants for his overall health.

We love the Nutro weight management formula due to the low calorie count and natural ingredients. We recommend this food for weight management across many breeds.


Final Thoughts

So what’s the best dog food for a Cocker Spaniel? We hope that this article has given you the guidance you need, for any stage of your dog’s life. Cocker Spaniels aren’t generally picky eaters, but the recipes here should satisfy any pup’s appetite that normally turns up their nose at certain food.

Finding the right nutrition is important for the wellbeing and health of your Cocker Spaniel, and by sticking to our recommendations above you can be sure that he will be happy and healthy for many years to come.

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