Cocker Spaniel Not Eating? [Tips From a Vet Tech]

Zack Keithy, our author, is a certified veterinarian technician (UC Blue Ash) for over 6 years (contact him here). The articles written here are based on his expertise and experience, combined with a review by our expert vet reviewers including Dr M. Tarantino. Learn more about us here.

Has it been difficult for you to get your Cocker spaniel to eat? Or are you concerned about your dog because it won’t eat?

I recall a lady who once brought her dog to our clinic because she was worried that he wasn’t getting enough food and was underweight.

She previously discovered that his favorite food was apples, so she began giving her dog a lot of them.

After some time, her dog won’t be particularly interested in other things, as you could expect.

I’m sure your case would be different, and as you read on, you will find six reasons why your cocker spaniel isn’t eating, along with a few solutions to help you out.

Medical Questions? Talk to a Veterinarian 24/7.
Connect one-on-one with a licensed vet who will answer your questions in minutes.

Ask a Vet Now or Schedule a home visit

*Article may contain affiliate links to retailers like Amazon and Chewy. Learn more on our disclosure page.

6 Reasons Why Your Cocker Spaniel is Not Eating Like Usual

Reasons Why Your Cocker Spaniel is Not Eating Like Usual

First of all, understand that no matter the reason your dog is not eating, you have to make sure that it is well-hydrated.

Dogs can go up to 5 days without eating, but they must have water.

If your Cocker spaniel is not drinking any water, you must send it to the vet right away.

Now, let’s get down to business.

1. You’ve recently changed your Cocker spaniel’s diet

If you have recently switched your dog’s diet, it is possible that your furry friend may not be used to it yet, leading to an upset stomach.

This is particularly true if you have switched to a diet that is more indulgent or has a higher sugar content than what your dog was consuming before.

It may take your dog a few days to acclimate to a new brand of food, so be patient with them during this period!

Although they might not look like they are eating well for a few days, this should subside as they get used to the new food.

2. Your Cocker spaniel could have fallen ill

Similar to us humans, when dogs feel ill, they might lose their appetite.

This could be due to a number of reasons, such as eating something harmful like paint chips.

When you notice your dog isn’t eating, you gotta keep a close eye on its behavior because other symptoms might not be immediately apparent.

Some things you should look out for include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, or weakness.

3. Your Cocker spaniel may have a toothache

Something you should rule out is the possibility of any dental issues if your dog isn’t eating as it should.

A dog with a toothache is likely to experience a significant loss of appetite and may even stop eating altogether.

No surprises here but a dog with a toothache or sore gums will certainly have difficulty chewing its food, possibly vomit more often, or sleep more than usual.

A visual inspection of your dog’s teeth and gums might reveal some clues about its dental health.

If you suspect your pet is experiencing dental issues and requires treatment, make sure to schedule an appointment with a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Want an alternative? Consider talking to an online vet.

Hey there, sorry to interrupt but I wanted to tell you about an online vet service I’ve been using for years.

An in-person visit with one is great, but it’s not always an option.

Now, thanks to technology, you can speak to one without leaving your home.

Remote access
Avoidance of travel
Reduced stress for pets
Immediate access to experts
Quick response time
Schedule appointments easily

Got something to ask a vet?
Talk to one anytime, 24/7.


* Don’t use this service for emergencies.

Alternatively, a vet can come out to you instead (exclusive to our readers: use THEVETS15 for 15% off).


Thank you. The rest of the article continues below.

4. Your Cocker spaniel might have experienced emotional trauma

If your beloved Cocker Spaniel is not eating, one of the big reasons could be down to emotional stress.

Some possible stress-inducing situations for dogs include moving into a new home, having a new baby around, changing routines and environments, or even introducing a new pet into the household.

As Cocker Spaniels are known to be sensitive to changes in their surroundings, they may experience a lack of appetite when feeling stressed.

I remember we had a friend living with us for quite a long period of time, and when she moved out, our dog was visibly sad.

She didn’t want to do much and refused to eat her favorite food for almost 48 hours, so yes, this happens!

5. Your Cocker spaniel’s food may have gone stale

If you feed your dog fresh food, there are some things you need to be mindful of.

For instance, there could be issues with the way you prepare your dog’s meals that could impact their appetite. Always follow the instructions to a T.

Additionally, if you leave cooked meat out at room temperature for an extended period of time, bacteria can develop, making it unsafe for dogs to eat.

In such cases, you need to reheat leftovers before serving them again.

While some dogs may not mind eating “old” food, it’s not necessarily healthy for them.

If you wanna ensure your dog’s well-being, it’s best to present their food to them as soon as it’s prepared and stick to a fixed feeding schedule.

6. Your Cocker spaniel might be getting too many treats

As I mentioned earlier, feeding your dog excessive treats can lead to a loss of appetite for its main meals.

While it may seem harmless to give your furry friend daily treats, it can lead to significant health issues down the line.

Consuming too much sugar can result in obesity and other health problems for your dog!

Not you? Then consider if anyone else in the household is secretly giving your dog too many treats, as this can cause unnecessary confusion and health complications.

How to Get Your Cocker Spaniel to Eat

How to Get Your Cocker Spaniel to Eat

It’s possible that your Cocker spaniel is simply being picky and refusing to eat anything you offer.

This behavior may be a temporary mood swing and will resolve itself within a day or two.

That said, there are several ways you can encourage your dog to start eating again.

It’s important to know that some tactics, such as force-feeding or spitting food into your dog’s mouth, are ineffective, potentially harmful, and must be avoided!

Instead, encourage them by offering a variety of healthy and enticing food options, such as small amounts of lean meat or cooked vegetables.

You can also try hand-feeding your dog or adding a small amount of low-sodium chicken broth to their food to make it more appealing.

Don’t force your dog to eat

If your doggo seems distressed or unhappy about eating, then don’t try to force it to do so.

Forcing him to eat might cause digestive issues and even physical pain.

It’s okay to leave the food out for a short time and let your pet eat when he feels like it (if it takes more than 15 minutes, you can cover the food and reopen it when your dog starts sniffing around).

In the meantime, just make sure it gets lots of fresh water, and keep a close eye on its condition until the discomfort subsides.

Feeding your cocker spaniel the right food

Not all of us instinctively know what to feed our dogs, that’s a fact.

If you find that your dog has abruptly stopped eating, your first step would be to ensure that you’re providing him with the appropriate type of dog food.

If you’re unsure about which foods are best for your pet, your best bet is to consult with a veterinarian or another qualified animal specialist.

Remember this too: if you have recently switched to a new food, there’s a good chance that he won’t eat it because he not used to it yet.

I personally choose Ollie fresh food for both my dogs as they have the right balance of nutrition and taste.

Stop feeding it treats

Have you been overindulging your dog with a ton of yummy treats?

If the main course doesn’t spark your dog’s appetite, you might be to blame if you overfed it on its favorite nibbles, including table scraps!

Additionally, it promotes finicky eating and poor table manners.

If your dog is consuming an excessive amount of goodies, it may be time to reduce them.

Too much can upset its stomach and make it harder for him to eat normal meals.

Mix different foods together

Dogs are naturally curious and love to play with their food.

By combining several different kinds of food together, you can keep your dog interested in its meal and even stop finicky eating habits from taking hold.

You might also try blending some of his favorite goodies with canned dog food or concealing some of them inside kibble.

This always seem to do the trick!

Let your Cocker spaniel get plenty of exercise

Dogs that get plenty of exercise are generally healthier and happier.

Exercise can also help reduce your dog’s boredom, which is a common cause of fussy eating habits.

If you have an indoor dog, consider taking him outside for walks or playtime in a large yard at least twice per day.

Dogs who get regular exercise may be less likely to overeat and develop destructive eating habits.

Do not change its food often

Changes in what your dog eats on a regular basis can upset its stomach and cause intestinal problems.

The likelihood that your dog may develop an eating disorder increases as you modify its diet more frequently.

If you wish to switch dog food brands, do it gradually by blending a little of the new brand with the old over a few days.

dog essentials banner in content

Signs That Your Cocker Spaniel is a Picky Eater

Generally, if your dog does not eat its food within 20 minutes, it can be considered a picky eater.

Here are some other common scenarios that might indicate you have a finicky one.

Take note though, it is not its fault every time.

  • If your dog turns his head away when you present his normal food and he eats only treats
  • Not willing to eat its own food but happy to accept table scraps
  • It eats only at a particular spot
  • Too much playtime before meals will cause it not to want food (especially in some small breeds such as Yorkies and Dachshunds who craves attention)
  • Bad experience due to poor food or getting punished

When Should You Worry About Your Cocker Spaniel Not Eating?

If your dog stops eating for a few days, then starts again, there may be nothing to worry about.

On the other hand, if your Cocker Spaniel has suddenly stopped eating, especially if it lasts for more than a day or two, you need to pay extra attention to it then.

If the problem persists and you see any symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and not drinking water, it’s time to consult a doctor.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is it normal for a cocker spaniel to lose their appetite?

No, it is not normal for a cocker spaniel to lose its appetite. While dogs may occasionally skip a meal, a prolonged loss of appetite can indicate an underlying health issue or other problem. You need to monitor your dog’s eating habits and consult with a veterinarian if there are any concerns.

How long can a cocker spaniel go without eating?

A cocker spaniel, just like most other dogs, can go up to 5 days without eating. During this time, it must be given access to fresh water, otherwise, it might become dehydrated and suffer from its effects such as loss of moisture in its skin and gums, dry nose, and thick saliva.

Can stress cause a cocker spaniel to stop eating?

Yes, stress can cause a Cocker Spaniel to stop eating. Anxiety, changes in routine, and environmental factors can all contribute to stress, leading to a loss of appetite in dogs. If stress is the suspected cause, you need to identify and address the underlying issue to restore your dog’s appetite.

In Conclusion: Cocker Spaniel Not Eating

A Cocker spaniel not eating can be a sign of underlying health issues, and it’s not something to take lightly.

With the tips I have shared above, I believe you now know what you can do if you face a similar situation.

Wanna learn more about dog care? Check out these articles too:

You’ve made it to the end, but I hope it’s not the end of our journey. We want to hear your voice! Share your thoughts, problems, suggestions, or anything related to your dog in the comments section. And don’t forget to join our newsletter today too.

Share this post!
Zack Keithy
Zack Keithy

Hey, I'm Zack, the Chief Editor here. I was formerly a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT) for a good 6 years before moving on to greener pastures. Right now, I am still heavily involved in dog parenting duties, and it is my desire to share all our knowledge with fellow dog owners out there! Connect with me on LinkedIn, or read more about Daily Dog Drama!

no more bad dog breaths banner