Some dogs - mainly smaller ones - are known in certain circles as 'designer dogs'. These are dogs that are 'planned hybrids' bred for specific traits and looks and that are the features of two different dog breeds. One of the oldest of these designer dog breeds is the little, quirky cockapoo.
The cockapoo is a combination, as their name suggests of the regal cocker spaniel and the lively poodle. They are not always tiny dogs, as not all poodles are small and some cocker spaniels can be larger in stature than others, but they are usually always curly coated, sharp, intelligent and a lot of fun to have around.
Given that the cockapoo is a 'designer mix' of two rather different breeds it can be hard for pet parents to determine just what dog food would best suit their needs. As they only 'date back' to the 1960s they don't have much of an ancestral history of their own the lineage of their parent pups is actually rather different too. Couple this with the fact that there are so many different dog food choices out there and making the right decision can seem to be a rather daunting task.
With that in mind we took a look at some of the best-selling and best reviewed dog foods for cockapoos to hopefully make those choices a little easier for you.
Here's a look at what we found.
First Five Ingredients: Chicken, Turkey Meal, Chicken Meal, Peas, Chickpeas.
The idea of adding a raw element to a dog's diet is one that is gaining in popularity. However, a totally raw diet is not easy for many dogs, including a small breed dog like a cockapoo, to follow or for their pet parent to maintain. Not only can a raw diet be very expensive but it carries the risk of leading dogs to miss out on some very important elements of nutrition and can even put them at the risk of food poisoning if the meats are improperly prepared. Instinct by Nature's Variety Raw Boost Grain-Free Recipe with Real Chicken offers itself as a compromise between high quality prepared dry dog food and the raw food diet. It does this by adding bite sizes pieces of freeze dried chicken to the basic kibble to provide a 'best of both worlds' solution that many pet parents find very appealing for their Cockapoo furkids.
The basic kibble itself is comprised of highly nutritious ingredients including chicken meal, salmon meal, eggs, carrots, apples, cranberries, blueberries and even kelp (did you know that kelp, aka seaweed was a great source of vitamins A, B1, B2, C, D and E, as well as minerals including zinc,iron, potassium, copper and calcium. Or that it actually contains more digestible calcium than milk?)
The freeze dried raw chicken is primarily made from cage free organic chicken meat that includes organ meat like liver and heart. Organ meat is especially nutrient dense and the fact that the chicken is freeze dried means that it is safer for consumption by your pup than raw meat alone. Those who choose this food for their Cockapoo do so for a number of reasons but some of the most commonly cited are the fact that even 'picky eater' dogs seem to thoroughly enjoy the taste and texture both of the kibble and the freeze dried bites and that it seems to be gentler on the stomach than some other similar products.
First Five Ingredients: Deboned Turkey, Turkey Meal, Chicken Meal, Peas, Potatoes.
Wellness Core is another popular brand that takes sourcing and providing the best quality lean meats for their formulation seriously. The primary proteins in this offering are turkey and chicken, both great natural sources of high quality protein that are also lower in fat. This is supplemented with salmon meal - a great source of essential Omega 3 fatty acids and a variety of antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables including apples, blueberries, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale and broccoli. For those who prefer to feed their Cockapoo a grain free diet it's worth knowing that Wellness Core Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food Original Turkey & Chicken is actually grain and gluten free, making it, as many reviewers note, a great choice for dogs with food allergies or sensitivities. The formula is also supplemented with additional vitamins and minerals including zinc, iron and folic acid. Fans of this brand praise it for its easy digestibility, its apparent great taste and many feel that it is a great choice for helping to keep a Cockapoo's curly coat bright and shiny as well.
First Five Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Broth, Chicken Liver, Carrots, Peas.
Most Cockapoos enjoy - and most vets recommend - a diet that features both wet food and dry food. This Blue Buffalo Homestyle Chicken Dinner Recipe with Garden Vegetables & Brown Rice is a simple ingredient option that is one of the most popular on the market today among small dog pet parents, including those who count a cockapoo as a member of their family. The primary ingredients are organ chicken meat (kidneys, livers), chicken broth and vegetables including carrots and peas. The formula also includes Blue Buffalo's famous Lifebits - a specially formulated combination of additional vitamins and minerals in 'tender kibble' form.
Those who praise this food do so for a number of reasons but primarily because it is easy for their pup to digest, contains no artificial colors and is free of corn, wheat or soy, making it a good choice for pups with food allergies or sensitivities.
First Five Ingredients: Beef Meal, Sweet Potato, Chicken Meal, Peas, Chicken Fat (preserved with mixed Tocopherols).
For the first year of their lives Cockapoos benefit from the extra nutrition and calories that a specially formulated puppy food can offer them and this one is one of the most popular of them all. The primary ingredients used in the Victor Dog Puppy Beef Meal and Sweet Potato Recipe are beef, chicken, pork and fish, a rounded protein profile that provides the extra protein and antioxidants puppies need in abundance to support their growth as well as additional fruits and vegetables including sweet potato, carrots, tomatoes and kelp. It is also fortified with additional vitamins and minerals as well as folic acid, an amino acid that is essential for proper brain development. In addition to praising the easy digestibility and apparently great taste of this formula pet parents point out that the kibble is well sized for even small breed puppies which makes it easier and more appealing for them to eat while also reducing the potential choking hazard that some large kibbles can pose for small puppies.
The lively Cockapoo takes the best traits from its parents and is usually a bright, healthy dog free from many of the genetic disease predispositions that many purebred dogs are prone to.
There are still a few common health concerns surrounding them though that include the following:
As is the case for humans cataracts can form later in life and are essentially cause the lens of the eye to become cloudy and opaque disrupting the pup's regular vision. These can however be treated via corrective surgery and the proper nutrition - a diet that includes eye healthy DHA (an Omega 3 fatty acid) and Vitamins A, C and D can help preserve eye health and keep cataracts at bay.
Common in many breeds of dog, canine hip dysplasia describes a hip joint that is malformed, either at birth or one that develops that way later in life. Basically the hip's ball and socket joint does not fit and move together as it should. This sometimes produces no symptoms at all until later in life or can present as lameness or slowed motion. A number of treatment option are available, including lifestyle and diet changes as well as, in some cases, surgery.
Most Cockapoos are bright and energetic and love to eat. However, in some cases certain foods just don't love them back and can lead to stomach upsets and so the pup’s diet will need to be changed to remove the offending ingredients. Some Cockapoos also develop contact allergies to things like dust and pollen. Those can however be treated in much the same way as they would in a human, with medication and allergen removal.
The way you feed your furkid can be as important as the food itself if you want to make sure that they get the most out of the food you are feeding them. Here are a few basic FAQ's and guidelines to keep in mind:
The standard rule of thumb is that dogs should ideally be given their 'food ration' for the day in two halves, half in the morning and half at night. However, smaller, lively dogs like the Cockapoo who can often not quite handle two big meals a day may benefit by having that broken up into three, or even four, smaller meals a day instead.
The reason that puppy food formulas exist at all is that rapidly growing puppies of any 'kind' need more calories and more nutrients than adult dogs because they are making use of more of them to fuel their rapid growth. Even small Cockapoos grow fast and they are certainly usually highly energetic as puppies and so they really will benefit from all of the 'extras' that a specially formulated puppy food has to offer to them. This should be transitioned right after their first birthday however and they should then be fed a high quality adult formulation instead.
Dogs, like humans, do have different tastes in food, and Cockapoos can be notoriously 'picky eaters'. They can also, as we previously mentioned, be more prone to food allergies than some other small breed dogs.
This does mean that you may have no choice but to try different dog foods before you find the one that is best for your unique pup but these changes should be made gradually to avoid causing too much stomach upset. Introduce a new food over the course of several days, gradually replacing the old food with the new until there is none of the 'old stuff' left in the mix. Doing this will also allow you to gauge early on whether the new food is any more palatable or suited to your Cockapoo than the previous choice.
Cockapoos are a 'new' breed they themselves don't really have any ancestral diet history that can be followed to make sure that they are getting the nutrition their breed specifically needs. You can however look to the ancestral diets of their parents for clues as both poodles and cocker spaniels are older and more established breeds.
Although many people think of them as show dogs poodles were actually originally bred as water retrievers and their job was to retrieve waterfowl from considerable depths for their masters and it was a job they were exceptionally good at. Cocker spaniels on the other hand have been bird hunters since long before the invention of the rifles, with medieval hunters using them in conjunction with nets to bring in a good haul.
This means that fowl of all kinds would have made up a large part of the diets of both the poodle and the cocker spaniel. They would have been given the parts of chickens, turkey, ducks and other waterfowl that their humans did not wish to eat as well as berries and root vegetables that were found in abundance in the areas of Europe where both breed were developed. This means if you want to feed your Cockapoo close to an ancestral diet these are the ingredients you should be looking for.
The concept of the raw diet is both popular and controversial right now. While there is little scientific evidence to support the assertion, some people feel that raw feeding is better for dogs as it is closer to their ancestral diet.
This can be a problem for a pup like the Cockapoo that has an ancestral diet that features primarily fowl. Chicken is notoriously salmonella prone if not prepared properly and chicken bones should not be given to any pup as they are brittle and shatter easily. The vast majority of experts say that a high quality dog food is more than adequate nutrition for any dog and it poses less risk to their health as well.