How Much Should a Cocker Spaniel Eat?

July 31, 2022

Cocker Spaniels love food.

Like really, your Cocker will do anything at all if there is a possibility of getting something to eat. This breed is very motivated by its stomach.

Knowing this can make things like dog training far easier and you will always see yourself looking down at those cute eyes whenever you are preparing a meal.

But this does raise the question, how much should a Cocker Spaniel eat?

In this article, we will talk about how much you should feed your Cocker Spaniel at each stage of their life along with helpful tips on maintaining a healthy weight, and answers to some of the most common questions pets parents have on feeding their dogs.

Let's get started!

How Much Food Does a Cocker Spaniel Need a Day?

The average adult Cocker Spaniel will need 1.5 to 2.5 cups of food a day if you are feeding your dog kibble.

This is a good guideline for how much should feed your dog. Where your Cocker sits on this will depend on a few factors including age and weight. You should consult the packaging of your dog food for more accurate information on how many cups of food they need.

What About Wet Food or a Raw Diet?

The above guideline for the amount of food your dog needs is purely for dry kibble. That is one of the most commonly seen diets for Cocker Spaniels due to its ease and being balanced nutritionally.

You could also choose to feed your dog wet food or a raw diet, or even a combination of any or all of these.

For the wet food, it's best to consult the packaging to see how much you should feed your dog. It will vary case by case.

If you want to give your Cocker Spaniel a raw food diet you will need to break it down into 80% meat, 10% bone, and 10% organs. There are many ways you can put together a good raw food diet for your dog though.

Remember to Count Treats

While the above guidelines give you a great idea of how much you should feed your Cocker Spaniel you can't forget to account for treats.

Treats can come in many forms. A few examples include actual dog treats, scraps from the table or while cooking, or even extra healthy snacks like an apple or banana.

It can be very tempting to feed your Cocker Spaniel one of these but it's worth noting that your dog gets everything needs nutritionally from their dog food. Providing you they have high-quality food, of course.

In fact, this also extends to dental sticks. These tend to have around 78 calories in each stick which is around 10% of what an adult Cocker Spaniel needs a day.

This isn't to say that you can't give your Cocker a treat, just remember to do it in moderation. If you have a Cocker Spaniel puppy this is particularly important as a few treats will make up a larger percentage of their food intake.

If you want to learn more about what a good Cocker Spaniel diet looks like we have a great resource on that too.

Image Credit:
Image Credit: First Vet

Avoid Underfeeding or Overfeeding your Cocker Spaniel

Many dog owners miss the mark when it comes to feeding their dogs. This could be giving your dog too much food daily which will lead to them becoming overweight or just not feeding your Cocker enough which can be as bad for their health as being an overweight Cocker Spaniel.

What Can Cause Over or Underfeeding?

There are a few reasons this could happen. It can be quite an innocent mistake for first-time dog owners. Here are the main causes.

Poor Portion Control

Dog owners are just estimating how much food to give their Cocker Spaniel. This could be just taking the bowl and using it to scoop the food from a larger bag or pouring it in randomly. By not knowing how much you are giving your dog it's very difficult to say your dog is eating the right amount.

Too Many Treats

Another reason for a chubby dog is too many treats. Resist that urge to give your dog a bit of what you are eating. They don't need it. And in excess, it can even harm their health.

Second Dog Stealing Food

For pup parents who have two dogs, it could be the case that one is stealing food from the other bowl. If you suspect this monitor mealtimes more closely and take action if needed. If left unchecked this could even lead to food aggression between the two dogs.

Activity Levels

Lastly, your dog's level of activity can play a role here. If your Cocker Spaniel is a particularly active dog it will need more food to keep up with its active lifestyle.

If you notice some of the signs that your Cocker is underweight or has ribs showing and it's an active dog just increase the amount of dog food they get. They are burning it off.

Age or Health

On the other side of the coin if your Cocker Spaniel is less active due to age, health conditions or for any other reason you may need to switch to a food that is appropriate for them.

For example, there is specialist senior Cocker Spaniel food which has fewer carbs since older dogs generally move less.

How do I Know if my Cocker Spaniel is the Right Weight?

There are a few ways you can tell if your dog is at the correct weight. You can use that image above from First Vet as a way to tell at a glance if your dog is in good shape.

Another method is to run your hand down your dog's side. You are looking to feel their ribs with a small layer of skin/fat on top. If you can feel your Cocker Spaniels ribs very clearly then they are underweight and if you can't feel your dog's ribs they are overweight.

This also applies to your Cockers spine.

You should also be able to see their stomach being a little higher than their ribs. Depending on which of the Cocker Spaniel grooming styles you have opted for you may not be able to see it clearly. But you will be able to feel it.

How Many Times a Day Should I Feed My Cocker Spaniel?

Adult and senior Cocker Spaniels should eat twice a day and 12 hours apart. A good idea for this is feeding at breakfast and dinner time. We feed our Cocker Spaniel at 8 am and 8 pm.

It's good to keep to a schedule, but even if it did slip your mind if your dog is anything like my Cocker you will be reminded. They seem to have a very accurate internal clock for this. Most days my dog will begin acting differently as it approaches 8 o'clock.

While vets do recommend following this feeding schedule there can be reasons to deviate from it. Medical problems, dietary issues, or even feeding your Cocker later in the day if you are doing a lot of training to keep their focus on the task and getting small treats.

Their many ways you can do this. For new owners and most pup parents, I'd suggest just sticking to the twice a day.

What About Puppies?

Cocker Spaniel puppies need to be fed more frequently than adult dogs. These guys grow quickly and it's important to ensure they are getting the nutrition they need to be healthy and strong.

Adult dogs are only maintaining their bodies while puppies are still developing organs and building bones and muscles. It's a lot of work!

If you have a Cocker Spaniel puppy you will need to feed them three times a day. When my Cocker was a puppy I spread these meals out as breakfast, lunch and dinner just adding an extra meal early in the afternoon. This phase of your dog's life will fly past!

When to go from Puppy Food to Adult Dog Food?

A Cocker Spaniel puppy will transition to adult dog food at one year old.

Changing dog food should not be done quickly as it can upset the dog's stomach, It's recommended that you gradually change it over around two weeks.

The way this works is by gradually introducing the new food into their bowl mixed with the old food. Start with a like 10% new food for a few days, then progressively increase the amount of the new dog food brand for the next week or so, and by around day 14 the old food should be phased out.

Why is my Cocker Spaniel Always Hungry?

A big part of this comes down to Cocker Spaniels being very motivated by food. If an edible reward is a possibility you can guarantee my Cocker Spaniel will be there.

While your dog being always interested in food is pretty normal for this breed and should not on its own be alarming, it can be a sign of a health problem. This could be related to their metabolism, anxiety or stress, or even something more serious such as cancer.

If you do have any concerns about how your dog is behaving book an appointment with your vet to make sure everything is okay.

It is still worth remembering how much Cocker Spaniels love food. Especially if they know by playing up we will cave and give them something from our plates or while we cook. It becomes a learned behaviour at this point.

Can the Brand of Dog Food Play a Role?

Yes, the brand of dog food you chose can play a role in how many cups of food you need to give your dog and also the level of nutrition your Cocker Spaniel will receive from it.

As mentioned above, you should consult the packaging of your dog food for more accurate insights into what you should feed your dog based on their weight.

We would always recommend choosing a premium dog food that is 'complete' or 'balanced' to ensure your dog is getting everything they need from their meals.


Aim to feed your Cocker Spaniel between 1.5 and 2.5 cups of food a day. This will be split between the two meals for an adult Cocker Spaniel or senior dog. And always consult the dog food packaging as it can change slightly from one dog food to another.

Keep an eye on how much you feed your dog and use a cup to measure out the exact amount they need. It can be very easy to overshoot this and over or underfeed your Cocker Spaniel. This is one of the main reasons for weight problems in this breed.

There are many ways you can tell if you need to make a change to your Cocker Spaniels diet. Checking the ribs, spine, and stomach level against the ribs is a quick and easy way to get a good idea of how healthy your dog's weight is.

Even though there are weight guidelines for the breed these are not quite as helpful or reliable as physically checking your dog. You can get really small adult Cocker Spaniels or dogs who are healthy but over the large end of the scale.

Apart from that just remember Cocker Spaniels eat everything they can and it's best to cut down on the treats to keep your dog happy and healthy with a balanced diet of high-quality pet food.

And if you have any concerns at all remember to consult your vet. No online source is a substitute for a vet.

Allan  Noble
Hi, my name is Allan! I am the owner of Spaniel Advisor and I've got over seven years experience of owning Spaniels.  
I hope this article was helpful for you! 
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