Best Dog Food for a Cockapoo

There are many foods that use cheaper, less nutritious ingredients, fillers, and even ingredients that sound good but which don’t really provide much nutrition for your dog. Even the most expensive dog foods aren’t guaranteed to be the best food for your Cockapoo. You need to know which ingredients are beneficial and which foods your dog needs.

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The Cockapoo may have been the first of the designer or hybrid dog breeds. These dogs are very popular today but at one time most dogs were either bred for a purpose or job (hunting, farm work, ratting, herding, guarding, etc.) or they were simply mutts. Cockapoos – a cross between a Cocker Spaniel and a Poodle – are bred specifically to be pets. These crosses first became popular in the 1950s at a time when the Cocker Spaniel was the most popular breed in the United States. You need to feed the best Cockapoo food possible to provide the nutrition your dog needs.

Cockapoos are usually friendly, affectionate, intelligent little dogs. They can combine some of the best qualities of both of their parent breeds. Some Cockapoos can also have low dander and shed little, like their Poodle parent, which makes them a good choice for people who are allergic to other dogs. Cockapoos are a crossbreed but there are some clubs which are trying to develop them into a breed. Learn what foods to feed a Cockapoo below.

Cockapoo Diet & Nutrition

All dogs need nutrients such as protein, fat, and carbohydrates, along with fiber, vitamins, and minerals. There are many good quality dog foods today that use good ingredients.

Cockapoos can be bred from either American Cocker Spaniels or English Cocker Spaniels; and from one of the different sizes of Poodles (Toy, Miniature, or Standard). In most cases Cockapoos are bred from American Cocker Spaniels and a Toy or Miniature Poodle so they are small-medium dogs at maturity. Like many small-medium dogs, especially Poodles, Cockapoos can live very long lives – sometimes up to 18 years. Feeding your dog a good diet can help your Cockapoo stay healthy into his senior years.

Both purebred Cocker Spaniels and Poodles can have some problems with luxating patellas, though this is not a major problem in the breeds. It’s important to watch your Cockapoo’s weight. Being overweight or obese can increase the likelihood of a small dog having joint problems.

Poodles can also be susceptible to allergies so some Cockapoos may inherit a tendency toward allergies including food allergies. Cocker Spaniels can be particularly prone to ear infections, even more than most long-eared dogs. Cockapoos can inherit this ear trouble. If your Cockapoo has ear problems you should obviously keep his ears clean and dry. You may also need to consider whether he has a food intolerance since this could be part of the problem. You may need to see your veterinarian if the problem won’t clear up with simple cleaning and a good diet.

If your Cockapoo does have food allergies or food intolerances, we suggest that you talk to your veterinarian. Your vet may recommend an elimination diet and a food trial to identify the ingredients that trigger a reaction in your dog. If you believe you know your dog’s triggers you can try to avoid those ingredients – but that’s not always easy to do. Dog foods don’t always list every ingredient. For example, a company has a certain length of time to change their packaging after making changes to their formula. This means that the ingredients listed on the label may not reflect what’s actually in the food until the company changes the packaging. Likewise, while commercial dog food manufacturers have to follow regulations when they make pet foods, there can be cross-contamination of ingredients. If your dog is allergic to wheat, for example, you may be feeding a dog food that doesn’t list any wheat in the ingredients. For most dogs, the food would not contain any wheat. But the company might make lots of different formulas, some of which contain wheat. If they make dog food that contains wheat right before they make your dog’s formula, it’s possible some tiny amount of wheat could end up in your dog’s food – enough that a dog with a wheat allergy would have a reaction. You can see why it can sometimes be difficult to avoid allergens when feeding regular dog foods even if you read the list of ingredients carefully.

If your dog does have a serious food allergy or food intolerance and you have problems finding a food that your dog can safely eat, consider a limited ingredient diet (LID) or a hypoallergenic dog food. You may also want to talk to your veterinarian about a prescription diet.

How Much Should You Feed Your Cockapoo?

How much you feed your Cockapoo depends on several factors:

  • How active is your Cockapoo?
  • How much does your dog weigh?
  • How old is your dog?
  • Is your dog spayed/neutered?
  • What food are you feeding
  • What is your dog’s overall health like?

Dogs have different metabolic rates depending on their size. In general, the smaller the dog, the faster their metabolism. So, giant dogs like the Great Dane need about 40 calories per pound of body weight per day. At the other extreme, tiny dogs like the Chihuahua need about 20 calories per pound of body weight per day. The Cockapoo can vary in size depending on the size of its parents (Toy or Miniature Poodle; American or English Cocker Spaniel), but adult Cockapoos are between about 12 and 30 pounds. This makes them a small-medium sized dog.

Once you think about your dog’s health and weight you need to think about the food you’re feeding. If you’re feeding a premium quality dog food you can usually feed less food than with a lower quality dog food. This is important to remember. Premium quality foods often have more calories per ounce than other foods. If you change foods and continue to give your Cockapoo the same amount of food as usual, you could end up giving your dog twice as many calories as he’s used to eating. This can quickly lead to a weight problem for your dog!

Premium quality dog foods usually have better quality ingredients, too. The nutrients in these foods are often more bioavailable to your dog. This means that the nutrients are more easily absorbed and digested by your dog’s body.

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How Many Calories Does My Cockapoo Need?

Based on recommendations from the National Research Council of the National Academies, the group that researches and makes nutritional recommendations for dogs and cats, if your Cockapoo weighs 25 pounds you would need to feed him about 780 calories per day. If your dog is spayed/neutered or a real couch potato, you would need to feed fewer calories so he won’t gain too much weight. But, if he’s very active – say you do agility together or take long walks every day – he would probably need a few more calories per day.

Keep in mind that these calories are only suggested amounts. It’s always important to watch your dog and notice if he’s putting on weight or losing weight with the food you are feeding him. Then adjust his portions as necessary. Lots of people like to feel their dog to see if he’s in good condition. For most breeds and individual dogs, you should be able to feel a dog’s ribs without seeing them.

Dog food companies are now supposed to include calorie information on their labels. If you have any trouble finding this information you can check the company’s web site. Calorie information is usually found with the feeding recommendations.

What To Look For In A Good Cockapoo Food

When choosing a good dog food for your Cockapoo, look for the following:

Good Sources of Protein – You may be surprised to learn that there is some debate over whether dogs are omnivores or carnivores.  Vets are usually taught that dogs are omnivores. For years the pet food industry also took this view and pet foods had liberal amounts of carbohydrates from grains such as corn and wheat. Research does show that dogs have adapted to digest starches, just as humans have.

Yet many people today will point out that wolves are carnivores and dogs may be healthier if they are fed more like their wolf ancestors. You can make arguments for dogs as both omnivores and carnivores but when you’re looking for a good dog food, it does pay to look for good sources of animal protein. While dogs can digest plant protein, it’s easier for them to digest animal protein such as meat, fish, poultry, and eggs. Animal proteins provide more of the amino acids that your dog needs. They keep your dog’s skin and coat healthy; repair cells; and build lean muscle.

We recommend that you look for two or three sources of animal protein in the best dog foods. Not all dog foods have this much meat protein in the first few ingredients but it’s good if they do. Sometimes foods will have a whole meat such as whole chicken or whole turkey, followed by a named meat meal like chicken meal or turkey meal. This is perfectly acceptable. Whole meats are good but they are mostly moisture. If the moisture is removed – as it is during the cooking process – the protein in this ingredient would be placed lower in the ingredient list. On the other hand, chicken meal or turkey meal and similar ingredients have already had most of their moisture removed before cooking so they contain lots of protein.

Lots of dog foods today, including some expensive grain free foods, use a lot of plant protein such as peas and lentils (chick peas, garbanzo beans, etc.). Plant protein is relatively high in protein compared to corn and wheat – which it is replacing – but some dogs have trouble digesting it. It usually contains a lot of fiber. And it boosts the protein percentages in these dog foods. Many grain free dog foods appear to have very high protein percentages but when you look at the percentages you have to consider the fact that a lot of the protein is plant protein and not animal protein – and the plant protein is not as easy for your dog to digest. You don’t have to avoid grain free dog foods that use plant protein but you should look for foods that use plant proteins in moderation. Most of the protein in the food should come from animal sources.

Good Sources of Fat – Cockapoos and other dogs also need good sources of fat in their diet. Fat provides essential fatty acids (EFA) and helps distribute the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. Your dog absorbs fat from animal sources like fish oil and chicken fat better than from most plant oils.

Named Ingredients – Avoid generic ingredients. Look for named ingredients in your dog’s food instead. With generic ingredients you don’t really know what you’re feeding your dog. The ingredient could be something undesirable. The more specific the ingredient is, the better. For example, chicken meal is better than “meat meal.” Chicken fat is better than “animal fat.”

Low to Moderate Carbohydrates – Many dog foods today have more carbohydrates than you would imagine. This is true even with some good quality dog foods. Even many grain free foods use ingredients that are high in carbs like potatoes, sweet potatoes, and tapioca to take the place of grains. Individually these can be healthy ingredients but when they are added together the dog food can be high in carbs.

We are not anti-carbohydrate. There are some good carbohydrates in dog foods. Probiotics and prebiotics like beet pulp and chicory are carbohydrates. Some good dietary fibers are carbohydrates. There are also some low grain dog foods today that use oats, barley, and other less common grains. Some of these grains are good sources of dietary fiber and provide other health benefits. Some of these dog foods can be a good choice for many dogs.

Like most people concerned about the health of dogs, we think you should avoid feeding your dog too many carbs. Look for dog foods that are low to moderate in carbs. Dog food companies are not required to provide information about carbohydrates so you may have to figure out this information yourself, contact the company, or check a dog review site like

Avoid Lower Quality Ingredients – Try to avoid dog foods that use lower quality ingredients. These ingredients can include things like corn and wheat gluten; meat digest or animal digest; and unnamed meat by-products.

Avoid Artificial Preservatives, Colors, and Sweeteners – Artificial preservatives and colors/dyes have been linked to various health problems in humans and animals. You should avoid these ingredients in dog foods. Your dog doesn’t need any kind of artificial sweetener.

AAFCO – AAFCO is the Association of American Feed Control Officials. AAFCO sets voluntary standards for pet food labeling. Look for foods that have met AAFCO’s minimum standards. These foods will have this kind of nutritional adequacy statements on the label: “X Recipe is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles for maintenance.” Foods can also meet AAFCO standards by food trials. Other statements may say that the food is for “All Life Stages;” or for “Growth and Reproduction.”

Most dog food experts recommend that dogs should eat a diet that is relatively high in protein and moderate in fat. A healthy adult Cockapoo should be able to eat this kind of diet but remember that every dog is an individual. You should feed your dog the kind of diet that suits him best.

Top 3 Best Foods To Feed An Adult Cockapoo

Merrick Grain Free Real Chicken and Sweet Potato Recipe

First 5 Ingredients : Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes

Merrick Grain Free Real Chicken and Sweet Potato Recipe

Because of their size and typical activity level, you can choose from many good quality dog foods for most Cockapoos. Merrick Grain Free kibbles are a good choice for many dogs. This chicken and sweet potato formula has 70 percent meat protein which helps build lean muscles and helps supports healthy skin and coat. It’s grain free and it has not corn, wheat, soy, or gluten. And it has not ingredients from China. Merrick’s foods are made in Texas and the company tries to use locally-sourced ingredients. The first fine ingredients in the food are: deboned chicken, chicken meal, turkey meal, sweet potatoes, and potatoes. It has 38 percent crude protein and 17 percent crude fat, with 460 kcal per cup. It also has glucosamine and chondroitin for joint support, along with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, and natural antioxidants. This is an all life stage formula. Merrick has several other grain free formulas in this same product line such as beef and duck.

Wellness CORE Grain Free Original Formula

First 5 Ingredients : Deboned Turkey, Turkey Meal, Chicken Meal, Peas, Potatoes

Wellness CORE Grain Free Original Formula

Wellness CORE Grain Free Original Formula is a good choice for many small-medium-sized dogs such as Cockapoos. It’s grain free with lots of protein and it has moderate fat: 34 percent crude protein, 16 percent crude fat, 421 kcal/cup. The first five ingredients in the food are deboned turkey, turkey meal, chicken meal, peas, and potatoes. It has no artificial flavors, preservatives, meat by-products, or fillers. Wellness CORE also has several other formulas if your Cockapoo would like the ocean recipe or wild game formula.

Zignature Turkey Limited Ingredient Formula

First 5 Ingredients : Turkey, Turkey Meal, Chickpeas, Peas, Pea Protein

Zignature Turkey Limited Ingredient Formula

Zignature has an excellent reputation when it comes to making foods for dogs with allergies and food sensitivities. This turkey limited ingredient formula is just one of their portfolio of dry dog foods with a single animal protein. This is a hypoallergenic meat-first recipe. It contains no corn, wheat, soy, dairy, chicken, chicken eggs, or chicken by-products. The turkey is farm-raised from the American midwest. The food has no potatoes, no grain, no gluten, and no tapioca. The first five ingredients in this food are: turkey, turkey meal, chickpeas, peas, and pea protein. The food has 31 percent crude protein and 18 percent crude fat with 457 kcal/cup. If your Cockapoo has any food allergy or food intolerance problems, this food or one of Zignature’s other recipes could be a good choice.

Fan Favorite

Taste of the Wild Appalachian Valley Small Breed Canine Formula with Venison & Garbanzo Beans

First 5 Ingredients : Venison, Lamb Meal, Garbanzo Beans, Peas, Lentils

Taste of the Wild Appalachian Valley Small Breed Canine Formula

Taste of the Wild has recently added new formulas, including a small breed formula. Appalachian Valley Small Breed Canine Formula with Venison & Garbanzo Beans is grain free with 32 percent crude protein and 18 percent crude fat. It has 370 kcal/cup so it should provide good energy for small breeds. The first five ingredients are: venison, lamb meal, garbanzo beans, peas, and lentils. And the kibble pieces are small so they’re easy for small dogs to eat. This is a maintenance formula so it’s not suitable for growing puppies, but it’s already very popular. TOTW has lots of other great formulas in both dry and canned recipes if your dog likes something different. We think that adult Cockapoos could do well with this food.

Top 3 Best Foods To Feed A Cockapoo Puppy

Wellness CORE Grain Free Puppy

First 5 Ingredients : Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Potatoes, Peas

Wellness CORE Grain Free Puppy

Wellness CORE Grain Free Puppy food is completely grain free. It has DHA to support brain and eye development. And it has antioxidants, probiotics, vitamins, and minerals for good immune system  health. The calcium level is also correct for growing puppies. This formula has no grain, corn, soy, wheat gluten, artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors. And it has no meat by-products or fillers. The first five ingredients are: deboned chicken, chicken meal, turkey meal, potatoes, and peas. It has 36 percent crude protein and 17.5 percent crude fat with 417 kcal per cup.

Canidae Grain Free Pure Foundations Puppy Formula

First 5 Ingredients : Chicken, Menhaden Fish Meal, Lentils, Peas, Potatoes

Canidae Grain Free Pure Foundations Puppy Formula

Canidae Grain Free Pure Foundations Puppy Formula is recommended for many puppies, not just small. This is a limited ingredient puppy food that’s formulatd for puppies who may have sensitive digestion when they are just beginning to eat solid food. It’s also a good food for anyone who wants to be careful about what they are feeding their puppy. This food is grain free with probiotics, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids (EFA) omega-3 and omega-6. The first five ingredients are: chicken, menhaden fish meal, lentils, peas, and potatoes. It has 30 percent crude protein, 12 percent crude fat, and 520 kcal/cup.

Precise Naturals Small & Medium Breed Puppy Formula Dry Dog Food

First 5 Ingredients : Chicken Meal, Ground Brown Rice, Chicken Fat (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols and Ascorbyl Palmitate), Oatmeal, Beet Pulp

Precise Naturals Small & Medium Breed Puppy Formula Dry Dog Food

Puppies need extra nutrition while they’re growing. This high protein formula is made with good ingredients that can help your Cockapoo puppy grow. The first five ingredients are: chicken meal, ground brown rice, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and ascorbyl palmitate), oatmeal, and beet pulp. It has 29 percent crude protein and 19 percent crude fat with 441.9 kcal/cup. Precise also makes a Holistic Complete formula for small & medium breed puppies that is slightly higher in protein and fat.

We hope this information helps you choose the best food for your Cockapoo. These foods are only suggestions. Every dog is an individual. There are lots of good dog foods that your dog might be able to eat. Use these recommendations as a starting point and if you need more ideas check out our dog food reviews here on Pawster.

Carlotta Cooper

Carlotta is a long-time contributing editor for the weekly dog show magazine Dog News. She's also the author of The Dog Adoption Bible, the Dog Writers Association of America Award winner for 2013. In addition, she's written Canine Cuisine: 101 Natural Dog Food & Treat Recipes to Make Your Dog Healthy and Happy.

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