I’ll be kind to Cobber and pick one of their better formulas for this review – Cobber Active Dog.
But pause right there – I said “better”, I didn’t say decent.
In this Cobber dog food review you’ll find out how a pet food company makes a product look much better than it is, so read on.
Cobber dog food review – Active formula
What the marketing says
Cobber dog food had a recent overhaul to make it look more appealing. This iteration, for the Active formula, comes in a posh black and gold bag donned with a beautiful border collie (a breed close to my heart).
I’ll drop their latest marketing video below, and you’ll note it’s titled “New and Improved Cobber”. We’ll get to that shortly.
Note they don’t mention what’s actually in Cobber dog food (which goes for all the marketing as a whole):
What the ingredients really say
The first ingredient in Cobber dog Athlete is 93 characters long (yes, I counted). That means you need to read through than many letters before you reach the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th ingredients.
Most consumers will only read the first word, which is “meat”.
The reason this matters is the top five listed ingredients are quite likely the same proportion.
Even if you think Meat and Meat By-Products (Chicken, Beef, Lamb and/or Pork) and Fish and Fish By-Products sounds like a good inclusion (which it debatably isn’t), it’s possibly only 20% of the main five ingredients.
The next ingredients are, in no particular order, cereal by-products, wholegrain wheat, wholegrain barley, and legumes.
Let’s consider the following points we can deduce from these top ingredients:
- 3 out of 5 of these ingredients are cereals.
- “Cereal by-products” can be wheat, so that would be twice the amount of wheat to meat.
- If cereals are bad for an animal from the Order Carnivora, with dogs by nature a facultative carnivore, then would you consider cereal by-products any better?
- What legumes? Why doesn’t it say? This could be lentil skins for all we know 🤷
I find wheat, cereal grains, or cereal by-products are often the culprit of itchy skin, itchy paws, obesity, and overall poor health.
Honestly, if I had a dollar for every time I’ve advised a dog owner to switch away from such a food and they’ve come back to me only a couple of weeks later with wondrous results…
For the fat content, Cobber have opted for tallow as one of the cheapest inclusions. It’s a rendered product and likely not very appealing.
That’s pretty much the bulk of Cobber dog food, and don’t forget this is the ingredients of the Active Dog. If you opt for the Cobber Senior Dog formula it’s even less protein, less fat, and more carbohydrates from ingredients not ideal for a senior dog.
Senior dogs need more protein (from animals, not grains) to retain muscle mass and health… not less.
So what else have we got?
Ambiguous antioxidant (ambiguous ingredients in dog food = they don’t want you to know what it really is).
Vitamins and minerals are also undisclosed, likely a premix imported from whichever country sells it the cheapest.
One last ingredient to mention is Diamond V Original XPC®, a postbiotic premix to support health seemingly used in feeds of many farm animals, likely sourced from the Diamond V China region as it looks like that’s the nearest base.
Postbiotics may sound beneficial, but in such a small quantity in Cobber dog food I doubt it counteracts all the grain and ambiguous main ingredients.
One last sign of a poor quality dog food – the use of a typical analysis rather than a guaranteed analysis. That means the figures quoted might be less than you think, and that’s not a good thing.
They can’t even guarantee the nutrient profile!
I get Australian’s like to buy Australian, and I get rural Australian’s are fiercely loyal, but even as an Australian Cobber Dog probably isn’t for you, or your pet carnivore.
Cobber dog food – not recommended 👎
What about Cobber Dog Puppy?
Cobber Dog puppy food, labelled “Complete Puppy”, differs only slightly from the Cobber Dog adult formulas.
You can argue it has more protein (30%), slightly more fat (2% more than the Active formula), but it’s still a mash of ambiguous meats/by-products, ambiguous legumes, wheat, and barley. Probably in equal amounts (so the ambiguous meats could be only a quarter of those main ingredients).
The puppy phase is critical for a dog, and a good diet is essential. if you feed them a poor diet during this phase they may not grow properly, and it could be a precursor to a plethora of issues down the track.
Symptoms may start with a dull coat, itchy skin or paws, or scratching, common in wheat formulas. In early life possibly joint problems, onset arthritis, bad bowels, and a few years later symptoms may start to show which relate to failing organs.
I would recommend feeding a puppy a diet more focused on meat and meat fats (not tallow like we find in Cobber Dog Puppy), and this would likely pay dividends over the life of your dog. I’m not adverse to some grains in a canine diet, but I suspect the grains in Cobber Dog Puppy are more than you would expect, and quite likely the ingredients as a whole not overly high quality.
Like Cobber Dog Active not being recommended, I wouldn’t personally recommend Cobber Dog Puppy either. Fair enough it’s cheaper than alternatives, but is it really if you end up with extortionate vet bills in later years?
Where to buy Cobber dog
Cobber dog food can be found at a number of outlets, but seems more readily available in rural areas.
The ingredients of Cobber dog food:
Meat and Meat By-Products (Chicken, Beef, Lamb and/or Pork) and Fish and Fish By-Products, Legumes, Wholegrain Barley, Wholegrain Wheat, Cereal By-Products, Tallow, Functional Fibres (Beet Pulp, Yucca and Chicory Root), Vitamins and Minerals, Diamond V Original XPC®, Antioxidant.
Note Cobber dog uses a typical analysis, which basically means the percentages aren’t guaranteed and may be less than listed for protein and fat (as well as being higher in carbohyrates).
|Carbohydrates *||Possibly upwards of 45%|
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Cobber dog food appears better than it is if you get sucked in by the marketing. More realistically the grains will outweigh the meat content significantly, not to mention the ambiguous legumes and other ambiguous (potentially nasty) ingredients. Not recommended.
- Cereal grains (probably more wheat)
- Cereal by-products
- More grains (barley)
- Ambiguous legumes
- Ambiguous antioxidants
- Typical analysis rather than guaranteed analysis