Icon Nutrition Outline Food

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


Last Updated: May 9, 2024 | 13 min read | Leave a Comment

When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Here’s how it works.

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 foods 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

Canidae Pure Adult
Our Rating

Best For Puppies

Blue Buffalo Puppy

The Farmer's Dog Food Products (3 flavors)
Our Rating

Best For Adults

The Farmer’s Dog

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe High Protein, Natural Puppy Dry
Our Rating

Best For Seniors

Blue Buffalo Wilderness

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 products 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 to 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 food 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 recipe that will take care of his adult nutritional needs. The MSD Manual suggests that adult dogs should eat a food that will provide a protein content of 26%.

His energy needs will be dependent on his lifestyle. Some Cocker Spaniels enjoy a 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 food, 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 puppy formula until 12 months of age.

The Cocker Spaniel is extremely active in their puppy years. Because of this, they need a dry food that will meet their nutrient needs early on so that their joint and muscular development can be supported. They should start eating dry puppy food 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 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.

Blue Buffalo
Purina Pro
Taste of the Wild
Nutro Wholesome
Wellness Complete

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe High Protein, Natural Puppy Dry

Purina Pro Plan High Protein Dry
  • A blend of red meat helps build lean muscle mass.
  • Made with DHA and ARA, important fatty acids found in mother’s milk, to help support cognitive development and retinal health.
  • Has antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Contains no chicken (or poultry) by-product meals, corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors, or preservatives.

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.

Purina Pro Plan High Protein Dry

Canidae All Life Stages Premium Dry
  • DHA from omega-rich fish oil nourishes brain and vision development.
  • High quality protein builds lean muscles, with chicken as the first ingredient.
  • Antioxidants support a puppy’s developing immune system.
  • Digestible formula for optimal nutrient delivery.

Purina has designed this recipe for those puppies who are struggling with sensitivities in 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 Puppy

  • Real salmon is the first ingredient.
  • Grain-free recipe.
  • High protein content for muscle growth.
  • Antioxidants for immune system health.
  • Made in the United States.
  • 360 Calories per cup.
  • 27% Protein, 15% Fat, 5% Fiber.

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 to 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.

Nutro Puppy

Nutro Senior Formula Dog Food
  • Non-GMO ingredients.
  • Made with real chicken.
  • No by-products, corn, or soy.
  • No wheat ingredients.
  • DHA for brain development.
  • 390 Calories per cup.
  • 28% Protein, 16% Fat, 3% Fiber.

Chicken and Chicken meal are the first two ingredients that are great sources of protein, energy, and glucosamine for 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

Blue Buffalo Small Breed Puppy.
  • Contains no meat by-products or fillers.
  • First ingredient is real meat (turkey).
  • Supports small breed energy needs.
  • Calcium Supports bone development.
  • Contains blueberries & spinach (antioxidants).
  • Skin & coat support with Omega 3’s.
  • Made in the United States.

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 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 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 food during dinner time. This will ensure that their transition to adult dog food is a little easier as it will be less likely to upset their GI tract.

The Farmer's Dog
Merrick Adult
Blue Buffalo
Canidae Pure
Wellness Complete

The Farmer's Dog

  • Cooked fresh, flash-frozen, and shipped to you.
  • Personalized meal plans.
  • 4 healthy, vet-designed options: beef, chicken, turkey, or pork.
  • Made with human-grade ingredients (no fillers or preservatives).
  • Manufactured in the United States.
  • Calories and nutritional values vary based on recipe.

The Farmer’s Dog offers four grain-free recipes that always offer more fresh-frozen meat than any other ingredient. Depending on the formula, you will get a mix of veggies and meats like sweet potatoes, green beans, or even broccoli among the fresh produce fiber sources. All of these superfoods pack a lot of nutrients, maintaining a robust immune system. Every recipe is AAFCO-certified for all life stages and the meal plan is customized for your unique dog, you can feel confident that your dog’s next meal will meet all of his nutritional needs to keep him healthy and strong.

If you’d prefer to include grains, you can always cook up some rice to mix in. This will not only help your dog’s diet and also spread the food across more meals, saving you money!

We love that these recipes are cooked fresh based on a personalized meal plan for your best friend. Every ingredient is human-grade, so you can be sure that your dog is getting the very best dog food possible.

Merrick Healthy Grains Adult

Natural Balance Adult
  • Deboned beef is the first ingredient.
  • Poultry free food.
  • No corn, wheat or soy.
  • Grain-free recipe.
  • Made in the United States.
  • 379 Calories per cup.
  • 34% Protein, 15% Fat, 3.5% Fiber.

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 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 Rocky Mountain Recipe Adult

Blue Buffalo Denali Dinner
  • Grain-free adult food.
  • Antioxidant-rich for immune health.
  • Made with red meat.
  • Chicken-free recipe.
  • Peas and sweet potatoes for digestive health.
  • 393 Calories per cup.
  • 30% Protein, 15% Fat, 6% Fiber.

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 All Life Stages

  • Crafted with chicken along with wholesome grains.
  • Made without corn, wheat, or soy.
  • Formulated with antioxidants and probiotics to support a healthy digestive and immune system.
  • Nutritious blend of vitamins and minerals.
  • Premium proteins and regeneratively farmed ingredients.

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 provides 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 Small Breed Adult

Canidae Pure Small Breed Adult Dog Food
  • Smaller Kibble bits for smaller mouths.
  • Omega 3’s and 6’s for skin and coat health.
  • Chondroitin boost.
  • Prebiotics and Probiotics for gut health.
  • Contains no wheat, corn or soy.
  • 420 Calories per cup.
  • 28% Protein, 15% Fat, 4% Fiber.

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 have 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, and 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 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 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

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Senior

Rocky Mountain Senior Blue Buffalo
  • Antioxidant boost for aging dogs.
  • Protein-rich for muscle maintenance.
  • Chicken is the first ingredient.
  • No by-product meals.
  • Free of corn, wheat, or soy.
  • 387 calories per cup.
  • 30% Protein, 12% Fat, 7% Fiber.

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 them 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 Grain-Free PURE Senior Limited Ingredient

  • Made with only 9 real food ingredients.
  • Grain-free and made without corn, wheat, or soy.
  • Contains no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.
  • Fortified with Canidae’s HealthPLUS probiotics, antioxidants and omega-3, and 6 fatty acids.
  • Manufactured in the United States.

This recipe is made with just 9 ingredients, which is great news for his digestive system and metabolism which 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 sensitive stomachs.

Nulo Senior

  • Grain-free recipe.
  • No poultry ingredients.
  • Glucosamine and Chondroitin for joint health.
  • L-carnitine to support metabolism.
  • Calcium for bone health.
  • 396 Calories per cup.
  • 30% Protein, 12% Fat, 5% Fiber.

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 food to prevent him from becoming obese and developing other weight-related health concerns.

Wellness Core Reduced Fat

  • Premium protein expertly balanced with nutrient-rich superfoods for a complete and balanced dog food.
  • Available in grain and grain-free recipes, as well as limited ingredient diets for dogs with food sensitivities.
  • Made with a high concentration of protein from fresh meat ingredients.
  • Guaranteed levels of omega fatty acids from ingredients such as flaxseed and salmon oil.
  • Supported by omega fatty acids, antioxidants, glucosamine, probiotics, and taurine for a healthy heart.
  • Made in the USA using globally-sourced, non GMO ingredients.

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 Small Breed Weight Loss

  • Reduced calorie formula.
  • Three lean animal protein base.
  • No artificial colors, flavors, or sweeteners.
  • Glucosamine and Chondroitin boost.
  • Packed with vitamins, antioxidants and minerals.
  • 288 Calories per cup.
  • 24% Protein, 13% Fat, 4% Fiber.

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 well-being 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.

Border Collie Puppies Eating

Author's Suggestion

Best Dog Foods For Border Collies: Puppies, Adults & Seniors

The information provided through this website should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease; it is not intended to offer any legal opinion or advice or a substitute for professional safety advice or professional care. Please consult your health care provider, attorney, or product manual for professional advice. Products and services reviewed are provided by third parties; we are not responsible in any way for them, nor do we guarantee their functionality, utility, safety, or reliability. Our content is for educational purposes only.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Scroll to Top