How dog food helped my Cocker Spaniel lose weight

Cocker Spaniel Weight: What’s Best For My Dog?

How much is too much when it comes to Cocker Spaniel weight? Cockers are notorious foodies, always looking to their dog mom or dad for a snack or treat. Some people call Cockers “bottomless pits” because they love to eat and are often food motivated.

Because Cockers love food so much, they can very easily become overweight, which leads to all sorts of health problems. Like people, each dog is different and that goes for Cocker Spaniels. American Cockers tend to be a bit smaller than English Cocker Spaniels, so keep that in mind as you aim for your dog’s ideal weight.

According to the American Kennel Club, the Cocker Spaniel is the smallest of the Sporting breed and stands around 14 to 15 inches. The breed “standard” calls for them to be big enough to be sporty yet compact enough to be portable. So what’s the best weight for your Cocker Spaniel? Here’s everything you need to know and some fun facts and Cocker care tips along the way.

What Is the Ideal Cocker Spaniel Weight?

The weight of a Cocker Spaniels depends on her size. According to long-time Cocker Spaniel breeder-owner-handler, Marlene Ness, “On average, an adult female American Cocker Spaniel should weigh between 18 and 22 pounds, while a male hovers around the 25-pound mark.”

Not all Cockers will fit this weight range, and often as dogs get older, they will either gain or lose weight. If your dog starts gaining or losing weight suddenly, always report this to your veterinarian.

“Most certainly, a purebred Cocker Spaniel should never weigh between 40 and 50 pounds,” Ness told me.

I’ve been a Cocker Spaniel mom for over 30 years. I’ve encountered thousands of Cocker Spaniels. The average Cocker Spaniel housepet ranges anywhere between 18 pounds and 27 pounds for females and 23 to 34 pounds for males.

Some Cockers do not meet the breed standard and might be taller, so they weigh more. Some Cockers are overweight. Others are very obese.

In The Cocker Spaniel Handbook, Caroline Colie, Ph.D., says most fat-looking Cockers are fat because they simply eat more calories than they burn. These dogs need to lose weight. We’ll discuss how to help your Cocker Spaniel lose weight shortly.   

Should I Follow Feeding Instructions On The Dog Food Packaging?

Many times, pet parents believe they are doing right by their dogs in following the feeding instructions on a bag or can of dog food.

I’ve worked in the pet industry for nearly 15 years, and I do not recommend most feeding instructions on dog food packages. Dog food labels generally do not include calorie information, so you will need to calculate them yourself. It may seem tricky, but it’s pretty easy to figure out how much food your average non-working dog needs to eat daily.

Each Cocker Spaniel is different. Some Cockers compete in agility and others live a more couch potato life. All dogs should receive some form of physical and mental stimulation each day.

Your dog’s veterinarian or a pet nutritionist can help determine the specific number of calories your dog needs based on many factors. However, if you want a general formula to determine your Cocker’s average daily caloric intake, here’s how:

The Pet Nutrition Alliance put together a calorie calculator for dogs. You’ll need to know your dog’s current body condition score, which you can determine in the chart below:

Plugin your dog’s weight, if he is spayed or neutered, and a few other fields. You’ll be given an estimated ideal weight, if he is overweight and by what percentage, and how many estimated daily calories he should receive.

Insider Tip: I’ve spoken to many pet food representatives over the years who admit to me their feeding instructions aren’t ideal for many dogs. They are trying to sell pet food, so the more you feed your dog, the more they sell. The food might be awesome, but use caution in feeding amounts.

When Do Cocker Spaniels Stop Growing?

Cocker Spaniels are generally fully grown between nine and 12 months of age. Most Cockers will reach full maturity between 18 and 24 months even though their bodies stop growing.

Like people, Cocker Spaniels develop at different rates. One 8-month-old Cocker puppy weighs 16 pounds while another weighs 21 pounds. Dogs develop at their own pace and there are many factors that contribute to development and weight gain.

Female Cocker Spaniels are smaller than their male counterparts, both English and American.

How Do I Know If My Cocker Spaniel is Underweight?

Most people talk about overweight dogs, but some Cocker Spaniels can be underweight. A dog mom once wrote me in complete distress. Her veterinarian informed her that her female Cocker was underweight.

“I had no idea my dog didn’t weigh enough. Am I a bad person,” she asked.

No, she isn’t a bad person. She had no idea. If your dog is underweight, talk to your veterinarian about any underlying health conditions. She might need more calories. If she’s a high-performing dog, she could be burning more calories than she is taking in.

What is the Average Cocker Spaniel Height?

The American Kennel Club’s official breed standard lists the ideal height for female American Cocker Spaniels at 15 inches. Female English Cockers are around 15 to 16 inches, with English males around 16 to 17 inches.

From a dog show standpoint, males over 15-1/2 inches and females over 14-1/2 inches are disqualified. From a housedog standpoint, Cockers range in height from 14 to 16 inches, although I’ve seen many taller Cockers who are not show dogs.

Cocker Spaniel Puppy Weight Chart

The following chart represents the average weight by month for Cocker Spaniel puppies. If your Cocker is not gaining weight or appears to be gaining weight too fast, seek veterinary attention.

According to Woelwater Spaniels, all Cockers attain their maximum height until they reach 12 months of age, but their body muscles continue to develop until they are two years old. This is their estimation of the average Cocker Spaniel puppy’s weight progress in their first year:

AGE IN MONTHSWEIGHT IN POUNDS
1 MONTH2.13 LBS (1.3 KG)
2 MONTHS6.10 LBS (3.0 KG)
3 MONTHS14.5 LBS (6.5 KG)
4 MONTHS17.10 LBS (8.0 KG)
5 MONTHS22 LBS (10 KG)
6 MONTHS 25.5 LBS (11.5 KG)
7 MONTHS27.8 LBS (12.5 KG)
8 MONTHS29.3 LBS (13.25 KG)
9 MONTHS29.12 LBS (13.5 KG)
10 MONTHS29.15 LBS (13.6 KG)
11 MONTHS30.3 LBS (13.7 KG)

At 6 months of age, the average female Cocker Spaniel puppy weighs between 20 pounds for smaller-statured Cockers and 25 pounds 6 ounces for larger-statured Cockers. When she reaches a year old, most female Cockers are between 26 pounds and 32 pounds for larger statured dogs.

At 6 months of age, the average male Cocker Spaniel puppy weighs between 22 pounds for smaller-statured Cockers and 26 pounds 4 ounces for larger-statured Cockers. When he reaches a year old, most female Cockers are between 28 pounds and 34 pounds for larger statured dogs.

Weight fluctuations are normal depending on the Cocker’s size and gender, American or English, feedings, exercise, and veterinary recommendations.

Do All Adult Cockers Weigh the Same Amount?

No, all adult Cocker Spaniels do not weigh the same amount. In my Club Cocker: Wigglebutts Worldwide, someone recently posed this question:

Is 50 pounds too much for my male Cocker Spaniel?

The answer is yes, that is way too much. This particular dog takes steroids for an immune system disease he battled called IMHA. Steroids do not make a dog overweight; they do, however, make a dog hungry among other things.

The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention reveals that 57.9% of cats and 52.7% of dogs are overweight or obese. That’s astounding. Many veterinarians don’t approach this sensitive topic with their clients because they fear repercussions in the form of losing a client.

Here are a few comments from Cocker parents I interviewed for this piece:

Kim K says, “I’ve always had to watch Poppy’s weight because of her disk disease. At her heaviest, at age three, she was 24 lbs. She’s been at 470 calories a day for many years and has been 21 to 22 pounds.

She has had muscle loss since she’s 13 and I’ve had to lower her phosphorus to protect her kidneys. I’ve had to lower her fat intake too. Protein 42%, fat 23%, and carbs 35% of calories. She has more carbs than a typical raw fed dog to make up for her phosphorus and fat to be reduced.”

Nicole T. says, “Mine are all in a healthy weight. Beryl and Brooke are about 18 pounds, Aurora 20 pounds, Amelia is 21 pounds, and Chadwick is 25.5 pounds. I am a raw feeder, so they eat really well. Nobody is overweight at all. They are on the leaner side. They love their food, nobody is picky at all.”

Carol B (me) says, “Both my female and male American Cocker Spaniels were pretty much on target with weight gain as indicated in the puppy weight chart above. At 3-1/2 months, my female was about 12 pounds and my male was 13.4 pounds.”

How Do I Know If My Cocker Spaniel is Overweight?

First, feel around your Cocker’s ribs and spine; you should be able to locate both, with only a thin layer of fat separating the skin from bones.

If you are unable to find the ribcage, your dog is likely overweight. Viewing your Cocker Spaniel from above, you should be able to see a moderate narrowing at the waist just past his ribcage.

A large and drooping abdomen is another sign that your pooch is overweight. A bulging line from the ribcage to the hips may indicate an overweight dog. Ask your veterinarian to evaluate your dog’s size at every visit.

Once your canine has reached maturity, ask for his optimal weight. Here’s a chart you can use to help:

how to tell if dog is overweight

How Can I Help My Cocker Spaniel Lose Weight?

I helped my Cocker Spaniel lose weight. It’s a longer process for a dog to lose weight because they have to take it off slower than a person.

Reduce the amount of food and treats you feed gradually rather than making drastic changes all at once. If you cut back on the amount of food too dramatically, it will abruptly change your dog’s metabolism.

This makes it more difficult to lose weight and easier to gain it back. Keep in mind that slow and steady weight loss is more likely to result in long-term results and success.

According to the experts at Whole Dog Journal, weigh your dog frequently, especially when first starting a weight-loss program. Aim for weight loss of 3 to 5 percent of body weight per month or one percent per week. A 50-pound dog should lose about half a pound per week or 2 pounds per month.

When I talked to Dexter’s vet about weight loss, she told me I could simply cut how much I feed him with each meal by 20 percent. I also changed his food formula but stayed in the Dr. Harvey’s family of dog foods.

Weigh your dog. You can stand on the scale for your weight, hold your Cocker and then subtract your weight. It is best to do this in the morning before your dog eats or drinks but after she pees and poops.

Determine if your dog is overweight and how many pounds he or she needs to lose. Record the data in our DogMinder Canine Health and Wellness Journal.

Here’s how I helped my Cocker Spaniel lose weight.

Cocker Spaniel eating food to help maintain his healthy weight

Are Cocker Spaniels Prone To Weight Gain?

I agree with Dr. Coile who says two of your Cocker’s favorite things are eating and exercising. Yes, Cockers are foodies and because of this, they may gain weight. If your dog gets too much food or treats, it will likely show up on the scale.

Some health disorders, such as heart disease, Cushing’s disease, early-stage diabetes, and hypothyroidism can all make a dog appear to be overweight. A dog with a large abdomen should always be a warning, as this could indicate a health crisis. Dogs or puppies with a bloated belly may be affected by worms.

How To Maintain A Senior Cocker’s Weight

As a Cocker Spaniel ages, he may lose muscle mass. If your senior Cocker is overweight, it may be harder to lose those extra pounds. A few things most experts recommend to help a senior Cocker Spaniel drop extra pounds include:

  1. Increase her protein intake
  2. Replace carbs with fats safely
  3. Switch to lower calorie or less frequent treats
  4. Try a treat ball that you can fill with treats
  5. Slower, shorter, more frequent walks
  6. Exercise safely indoors. Here are 101 things you can do with your dog indoors. Many of them apply to senior dogs.
  7. Consider adding fiber to your dog’s diet.

Kidney disease is common in aging dogs and may lead to weight loss. Always work in tandem with your veterinarian to determine why your dog is gaining or losing weight at any stage of her life.

What is the right amount for a Cocker Spaniel to weigh

How Can I Keep My Cocker Spaniel Healthy?

If you want your Cocker Spaniel to live the average breed lifespan of 12 to 15 years or more, there are several key factors involved.

Select elements that affect a Cocker’s weight include:

  • Genetics
  • Lifestyle
  • Diet
  • Health conditions
  • Environmental stressors

Overweight dogs are more prone to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, arthritis and osteoarthritis, joint injuries, high blood pressure, pancreatitis, and even some forms of cancer. Here are a few articles from our library to help your Cocker Spaniel live a long, happy, healthy life:

Cocker Spaniel Ear Infection Prevention and Treatment

Nine Ways to Help a Cocker Spaniel with Food Allergies

Tips for Grooming a Cocker Spaniel at Home

What is the best Cocker Spaniel weight?

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