Despite being the smallest dog in the sporting-dog family, Cocker Spaniels make a big impact on dog lovers and owners with their adorable appearance and sweet disposition. When it comes to feeding your Cocker Spaniel, you’ll want a dog food that best supports keeping your dog’s silky coat vibrant and provides balanced nutrients for your dog’s active lifestyle.
We understand the importance of finding the best dog food to help your beloved Cocker Spaniel stay strong, fit, and well. That’s why we specifically selected seven top dog food choices with their unique needs in mind.
We ranked our list of dog foods and provided reviews to help you make the best choice for your dog. We’ve also added quick-reference pros and cons lists and a buyer’s guide for more tips on purchasing high-quality dog food for your Cocker Spaniel.
The Winners Compared (Updated in 2022)
The 7 Best Dog Foods for Cocker Spaniels Reviewed
1. Royal Canin Breed Dog Food – Best Overall
Our top selection for the best overall dog food for your Cocker Spaniel goes to Royal Canin. This dry dog food is specifically and uniquely formulated to meet the nutritional needs of adult Cocker Spaniels over one year old.
While you will pay more for this high-quality dry dog food, Royal Canin addresses specific issues for your Cocker Spaniel, right down to the structure of the kibble. Each piece of kibble has a shape and a texture designed with your Cocker Spaniel’s broad muzzle and square jaw in mind, making it easier to pick up and to chew. We did find that older dogs may be challenged by the hardness of the kibble, however.
Many Cocker Spaniels tend to put on weight, which is why this dog food provides a balanced formula to prevent this issue. Royal Canin includes taurine, as well as EPA and DHA from fish oil, to promote healthy heart function. It also incorporates essential nutrients to support skin and coat health.
2. Taste of The Wild Dry Dog Food – Best Value
We selected Taste of The Wild grain-free dry dog food as the best dog food for Cocker Spaniels for the money. At an affordable price, this dog food provides balanced nutrition best suited for small breeds such as Cocker Spaniels and high-quality ingredients from trusted, sustainable sources.
Taste of the Wild lives up to its name, with real venison as the first ingredient. Not only do most dogs like the flavor, but it also supplies optimal protein and amino acids. Plus, this dry dog food contains essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants provided through super foods, as well as a fatty acid blend for improved skin and coat.
Taste of the Wild also provides for your dog’s digestive tract by including species-specific probiotics. It’s made grain free, with no corn, wheat, fillers, or artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. Be aware, however, that the FDA is investigating a link between canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) and grain-free dog food.
3. ORIJEN Dry Dog Food – Premium Choice
We chose Orijen high-protein dry dog food as our premium choice for its superior ingredients and biologically appropriate formula. Although you will pay a significantly higher price for this dry dog food, your Cocker Spaniel will be treated to fresh, raw, whole animal ingredients that match your dog’s natural nutritional needs.
Ranch-raised beef, wild boar, Boer goat, grass-fed lamb, Yorkshire pork, and wild-caught mackerel are delivered fresh and raw to Orijen’s kitchen in Kentucky, where they are minimally processed to contain meat, organs, cartilage, and bone in the dog food. The result is a protein-rich meal that provides a natural source of nutrients and a taste most dogs love.
While two-thirds of this dog food are animal based, the remaining third comes from vegetables and fruit sourced from Kentucky farms and orchards and delivered fresh and whole. Keep in mind that this dog food is grain free, which may be linked to certain health issues.
4. Castor & Pollux Puppy Dry Food – For Puppies
If you’re looking to feed your Cocker Spaniel puppy a certified organic option offered at an affordable price, then you may to consider Castor & Pollux Organix. This grain-free puppy dry dog food has the essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that your growing puppy craves, without the extra additives and preservatives that your puppy doesn’t need.
Castor & Pollux Organix lists its first ingredient as organic, free-range chicken. The remaining ingredients include a blend of superfoods loaded with important nutrients. Also, this dry dog food is made with DHA to ensure the healthy development of your puppy.
We found that while most puppies seem to like and can easily eat the small, round shapes of this dry dog food, other puppies don’t care for the flavor. Also, this dog food has grain-free alternative ingredients, which may be linked to health issues.
5. Merrick 38380 GF Dog Food
Made with your dog’s whole health in mind, Merrick dog food offers your dog balanced nutrition and high-quality ingredients. With deboned fish, poultry, or meat as its first ingredient, your dog will receive the protein needed to support their active lifestyle.
Formulated with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, Merrick dog food maintains the health of your dog’s skin and coat. It’s made with glucosamine and chondroitin, which helps your dog’s hip and joint function. This dry dog food is also made with whole fruits and vegetables for natural nutrition. Most dogs like the flavor.
Merrick dog food is grain free and does not contain preservatives, fillers, corn, wheat, soy, or gluten. Be aware that there may be a link between grain-free food and certain health issues.
6. Zignature 31020 Dry Dog Food
Formulated with your dog’s natural biological dietary needs in mind, Zignature dry dog food supplies your Cocker Spaniel with a meal high in protein and rich in nutrients. It also contains essential omega fatty acids, powerful antioxidants, and wholesome low glycemic carbohydrates.
With a meat-first philosophy, Zignature always makes its first ingredient a fish or animal source. It offers your Cocker Spaniel a dry dog formula that is hypoallergenic, with no corn, wheat gluten, soy, or dairy. Zignature insists on being 100% chicken free, which includes all types and forms of chicken products.
Interestingly, we found that a large number of dog owners report that their dog’s frequent ear infections are reduced or eliminated by eating this dog food. It also has a flavor most dogs enjoy, though it is rather expensive.
Zignature is a grain-free product. Be aware of the potential health issues linked to grain-free dog food.
7. Natural Balance Diets Dry Dog Food
The limited ingredients in Natural Balance dry food help dogs with sensitivities avoid unpleasant reactions. Made with high-quality protein to support strong muscles, Natural Balance also includes natural fiber to promote healthy digestion, as well as essential vitamins and minerals.
With its limited ingredient list that only includes the finest protein and carbohydrate sources, Natural Balance has no fillers, no poultry by-products, and no artificial flavors or colors. However, it does contain preservatives.
Despite being higher in price, this dog food does not contain certain helpful ingredients found in other dog foods, such as fatty acids, glucosamine, chondroitin, and DHA. Also, this dog food’s first ingredient is sweet potatoes rather than a source of protein. It is grain free, which is possibly linked to certain health issues.
Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Best Dog Foods for Cocker Spaniels
After reading through our reviews, you may still have questions about which dog food is best for your Cocker Spaniel. In this buyer’s guide, we’ll go over important health issues related specifically to Cocker Spaniels and their diets. Hopefully, we can help you find the best dog food to keep your Cocker Spaniel healthy, active, and well.
Nourish Your Cocker Spaniel
Every Cocker Spaniel’s diet needs a nutritional balance of protein, carbohydrates, fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Your dog food should supply an optimum amount of ingredients from each of these categories in order for your dog to gain a variety of benefits.
Protein for Strength
Protein builds muscle, keeps bones strong, and promotes a fit body weight. Sources of protein should only include high-quality fish and meats and never any by-products.
Important Fats and Fatty Acids
Fats (including omega fatty acids), in the proper proportion, supply what your Cocker Spaniel needs for a shiny coat, as well as healthy skin and clear eyes. They protect against arthritis and keep hips and joints in top condition. The fatty acid DHA also supports brain development in puppies.
Carbohydrates for Energy
Good carbohydrates from fruits and vegetables — as well as certain grains, including rice, barley, or oatmeal — give your active Cocker Spaniel what they need to maintain their energy levels. Carbs also provide your dog with fiber, which aids digestion. However, for obvious reasons, avoid certain carbohydrates that produce gas.
Vitamins and Minerals for Optimal Health
Finally, essential vitamins and minerals, along with additional supplements, can boost your Cocker Spaniel’s immunity and support their overall health. Glucosamine and chondroitin help restore mobility in joints.
Health Issues and Diet
From puppies through advanced adulthood, your Cocker Spaniel’s dietary needs will grow and change. It’s important to be aware of the common health concerns that may occur with this dog breed. A diet tailored for your Cocker Spaniel’s health issues can make a big impact on their overall health.
Puppies require food specifically formulated for their growing bodies. As mentioned, look for DHA in your puppy chow to ensure improved brain development.
Keep Your Cocker Spaniel Fit
Cocker Spaniels tend to put on excessive weight as they age, so you’ll need to give your Cocker Spaniel smaller portions. To make the most of the reduced amount of food, make sure you provide good quality dog food that’s highly nutritious.
Avoiding Ear Infections
Cocker spaniels also suffer from frequent ear infections. While not always the case, a food allergy could be to blame. Allergies vary from dog to dog, but some dog foods are specially formulated to reduce allergic reactions.
Finally, as your Cocker Spaniel ages, they may develop hip and joint issues. Look for dog foods that contain glucosamine. Chondroitin is another helpful ingredient for easing joint pain and improving lessened mobility.
The Grain Free Warning: What You Need to Know
Cocker Spaniels have a predisposition to develop dilated cardiomyopathy, abbreviated as DCM. This canine heart disease weakens the heart muscle.
In a July 2019 special report, the FDA issued an report that potentially links grain-free dog food to the development of DCM. It’s important to note that the FDA has no direct evidence.
The FDA is continuing to research this potential health risk to dogs in close coordination with veterinary cardiologists and nutritionists. Recent research suggests that the link may be partially due to the unusual ingredients used to replace the grains in dog foods.
Our best advice is to consult your veterinarian for the most recent findings and how to adapt your Cocker Spaniel’s diet to their specific needs.
Our recommendation for the best overall dog food in quality and in price goes to Royal Canin 418130 Breed Health Adult Dry Dog Food. This dog food is the only one on our list that’s specifically formulated for Cocker Spaniels. It even has a specially designed kibble shape developed for the Cocker Spaniel’s unique snout. It also offers multiple benefits, such as balanced nutrition to prevent weight gain, in addition to taurine, EPA, and DHA to promote heart health and essential nutrients for skin and coat health.
The Taste of The Wild Grain Free Dry Dog Food earned our second-place pick for being the best value. For a great price, you won’t compromise on quality with balanced nutrition and top-notch ingredients. Taste of the Wild provides a natural source of protein and amino acids and has a flavor most dogs enjoy. It contains essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fatty acids, as well as probiotics for better digestion. It’s made with no corn, wheat, filler, or artificial additives.
We selected ORIJEN High-Protein Dry Dog Food as our premium choice due to its biologically appropriate formula and superior quality ingredients. With this exceptionally high-quality dog food, your Cocker Spaniel will be treated to fresh, raw, whole animal ingredients for a protein-rich meal. Fresh, whole, and locally sourced fruits and vegetables naturally supply additional nutrients. Also, most dogs like the taste.
Your Cocker Spaniel has specific needs when it comes to their choice of food. We hope that our thorough reviews of the best dog foods for Cocker Spaniels, quick-reference pros and cons lists, and informative buyer’s guide have helped you find the best dog food for your Cocker Spaniel. With the right diet, your Cocker Spaniel can lead a healthy and fit life for many years.
Featured Image Credit: Switlana Sonyashna, Shutterstock