Cobber Dog Food Review

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.

Typical analysis

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).

Crude Fibre4%
Carbohydrates *Possibly upwards of 45%
* May be estimated. Read how to calculate carbohydrates in a pet food.

Calling Aussie pet lovers – join the mailing list!

2 Total Score
Cobber dog

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.

  • Wheat
  • Cereal grains (probably more wheat)
  • Cereal by-products
  • More grains (barley)
  • Ambiguous legumes
  • Ambiguous antioxidants
  • Typical analysis rather than guaranteed analysis

David D'Angelo

David D'Angelo has worked as a scientist since graduating with a BSc (Hons) in 2000. In addition, David holds a CPD accredited Diploma in Pet Nutrition as well as being CPD accredited VSA (Veterinary Support Assistant). However, his experience and involvement in the pet food industry for 15+ years has given true insight into pet food, formulations, science, research, and pet food marketing. Facebook | LinkedIn | Instagram | Pinterest

  1. * oops, forgot to say that our dogs also get apples and carrots as treats, raw meaty bones (lamb or beef), and sometimes peanut butter in celery ‘boats’. My Dad loves to buy them big bags of Shmackos :(((( from the supermarket when we visit, which gives our dogs TERRIBLE flatulence. Offal in general, but especially liver, is not digested well by them and they get very sloppy faeces. I wish a good raw food company would make a Dalmatian-friendly product!

  2. I rotate this product with Cobber Active and other relatively low protein products as breakfast, together with chook necks. I have purebred Dalmatians and they need low protein to reduce the risk of kidney stones. They also benefit from a “challenge” by alternating between different types of feed (which for some animals would just result in diarrhoea).

    Their dinner is vegetables with raw mince and rice. Sometimes the mince is pet-grade chicken, sometimes it’s human-grade beef.

    There aren’t many choices in commercial dog foods where I live (remote NSW). I’d much prefer raw food (expensive) or pet foods from companies that batch-test their feed so that we don’t experience a repeat of the Hills Vitamin D fiasco of 15 years ago or the current situation with Purina in the US/Canada/UK/Ireland (sick and dying animals, no recall of product but Purina paying out vet bills). Maybe the same situation is in Australia, but with a lower population it would take longer to become aware of an apparent trend.

    Not every active or working dog needs a high protein diet. Dalmatians are extremely energetic and athletic (their gait and speed is equivalent to a horse’s). Perhaps Cobber should switch out the dog breed used in their advertising.

  3. My 2 x large dogs love the stuff, poo’s are great easy to maintain, dogs are healthy and prefer Cobber over everything else I’ve put in front of them that’s about the best review there is.

  4. I unfortunately bought a 20kg bag of ‘Cobber Puppy’ before doing any research. But sometimes the best research you can do is finding out the hard way, and that’s exactly what happened with this product.

    Put it this way, I’m dead against waste but I had to throw out the last 12kg of the bag. My 6-month Lab turned into a liquid shitting machine on this ‘food’. I switched out (to a slightly better brand) with significantly better results the very next day.

    I’m going to be harsh here but…… ‘Cobber’ is the worst product I’ve ever put in front of an animal. Shouldn’t be sold with it’s current formula.

    • Our 11 year old has been on this for 4 weeks now. To start with he wouldn’t even touch it. He has never not eaten his food and now he has terrible gut sounds and horrible diarrhoea. I will be throwing it all out and going back to his old food.

  5. Thankyou for this review, I’ve been using cobber for a little while now and while initially I thought it was great as both my dogs coats improved I have since realised it may be the catalyst for their very itchy skin and your review has cemented that for me, so thank you I will be switching to something else

  6. Doesn’t even really show what food the dog is actually eating in the promo. He’s likely got a much better food in there.

    That fat and protein for a working dog are abysmally low.

    Also you made a mistake, which is impressive, one mistake for such a big post.

    That means you need to read through than <- (that) many letters.

    I wonder if it’s a case of them simply thinking it’s still a good diet for dogs as diets in the old era had very similar ingredients and analysis.

    Because there’s someone who works for a certain brand and I’ve always wanted to ask them. Why not change the ingredients to meet a dogs needs in 2022. But I didn’t want to make them feel a certain way or get them angry or anything. Their also a part of a certain group, so obviously I don’t want to be removed haha.

    But I just find it odd that they have all this information nowadays on what constitutes a better canine diet, but continue to make food that’s predominantly grains.

    So I conclude their stuck in the 80’s and 90’s of dog food and don’t realise dogs should get better foods. They deserve better, now that we know better.

  7. I just opened up an 8kg bag of cobber complete puppy dry food to find maggots everywhere. Very disgusting

    • Hi Joshua, there can be a number of reasons for this. Poor packaging, contamination at the manufacturer, conditions of transport and/or at the store where you bought it from. Not pleasant, I agree.

    • That’s been happening a lot, but that also tends to happen when you buy cheap trash can foods using rendered meats and based on some extensive testing as a kid with maggots they loved rotting meat but when I added fresh meat they ignored it completely.

  8. I just could not unsee the 8% fat here, like how do you keep your dogs muscle on him once he looses the fat? It’s got plenty of oily ingredients and 8% is the best they could do? Bleh

  9. Thanks David, I’ve updated the review with the link.

  10. There is absolutely no fish products in cobber of any variety. the rest of this article is also rubbish

    • Reply
      Pet Food Reviews (Australia) May 5, 2016 at 1:20 pm

      Thanks for your feedback Stevo. Any feedback is welcome, but I’d be interested to know why you think the review is rubbish?

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