What Is The Best Dog Food for a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel?
Small, playful and affectionate, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is considered a Toy breed. It is one of the most popular breeds in both the UK and the United States.
Cavaliers, as they are often called, have a silky smooth coat and their tail is usually left undocked. They come in four colors: Blenheim (chestnut and white), tri-color (black/white/tan), black and tan, and ruby (solid red). Cavaliers are very friendly dogs and they are especially good with children. This makes them excellent family dogs.
Their small size means they are good pets in both the city and in rural areas, though they do require some daily exercise. Cavaliers typically live between 9 and 14 years.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Diet & Nutrition
According to the standard for the breed, the Cavalier typically weighs between 13 and 18 pounds (male and female). They usually stand between 12 and 13 inches tall.
Cavaliers have always been lap dogs. They are very adaptable in terms of exercise. They are content to snuggle next to you or go for long walks. However, Cavaliers often tend to retain strong hunting instincts from their Spaniel ancestors and they will chase things that move. Some owners report that Cavaliers will go on point, even if they are only pointing at a butterfly. They do require more daily exercise than some smaller Toy dogs but their needs are still quite moderate.
Growing puppies and young adults use a lot of energy. They require a diet that features good quality protein. According to the National Research Council of the National Academies, an active adult Cavalier weighing 15 pounds requires an average daily caloric intake of 532 calories. Dogs that have been spayed/neutered, or that are older, may need slightly fewer calories. Some dogs may need more calories depending on their level of activity and their individual metabolism. Growing puppies, for example, consume more calories than adult dogs and so do young adult dogs. A young adult Cavalier puppy weighing 10 pounds needs an estimated 990 calories per day.
Because of the breed’s small size, we recommend feeding a small breed dog food. Small breed dogs burn up more energy per pound than medium and larger dogs. Most small breed dog foods are packed with more calories per ounce than ordinary dog foods. Some All Life Stage dog foods are also suitable if they have the nutrients and calories your Cavalier requires. You should always read the label or other nutritional information before buying a dog food.
Feeding Your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels can usually eat most good quality dog foods. However, they do require good quality nutrition. This is really not a breed that can get by on cheaper dog foods. Since they can be prone to some health issues, you should not cut corners with nutrition.
We suggest that you measure the amount of food you feed and only leave the food sitting out for about half an hour. Then put it away. This should give your dog time to eat. If you free feed and leave the food sitting out all the time dogs usually nibble which puts on pounds. Most adult dogs do well eating two meals per day. Puppies can usually eat three meals per day until they are old enough to start eating on an adult schedule.
Cavalier Health Problems
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are often cited as a breed with some serious health problems. Some breeders recommend feeding an organic diet or food that has fewer additives and chemicals to try to keep the dog’s immune system stronger and healthier. Some breeders recommend a raw diet for similar reasons. They believe that less processed food can help keep dogs healthier.
You can find more information about Cavalier King Charles Spaniel health issues on the breed parent club web site.
There is no sure-fire way to prevent some of these health problems from occurring but many dog lovers try to protect their dogs by feeding a dog food with more natural ingredients to try to keep their dog’s immune system as strong as possible. Many people recommend feeding a food that is free of some of the most common food irritants such as corn, soy, and wheat. These are not the most common dog food allergens – beef, dairy products, and chicken, for example, lead to more food allergies for dogs than corn, soy, and wheat. But many people like to avoid soy and grains in dog foods. There are many good grain free dog foods today if you want to feed one to your dog.
Avoiding artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, and preservatives is also suggested as a way to help keep the immune system stronger.
Ingredients to Look for and Some to Avoid
Protein and fat are the main ingredients in the diet for a Cavalier, as they are for most dogs. However, not all protein and fat are the same. It’s important that the protein and fat in the dog food comes from good sources if you want your dog to be healthy.
Ideally you will select a dog food that features two or three meat proteins in the first several ingredients listed. Both whole meats and meat meals are good sources of protein. Whole meats refer to foods such as whole chicken, beef, fish, and lamb. Some people don’t like meat meals as much as whole meats but they are a concentrated form of the meat in which the moisture has been removed. They contain several times as much protein as a whole meat. Meat meals are usually quite acceptable as one of the first ingredients in a good quality dog food. They are used by many good dog food brands.
Dogs also need good sources of fat. You should look for named fat sources such as chicken fat. Other named fats also provide needed nutrients such as fish oil which can provide omega-3 fatty acid to help keep the skin and coat healthy. Puppies can benefit from DHA which is Docosahexaenoic acid. This is a specific form of omega-3 fatty acid that helps with brain and eye development. Older dogs seem to benefit from medium chain triglycerides which feature medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs). These have been found to help older dogs feel and act younger. They are often made from a combination of coconut oil and other oils.
If you want to avoid corn, soy, and wheat in your dog food, your Cavalier may still be able to eat rice, barley, oats, or some other grain or cereal. Or you can feed a grain free dog food that uses an alternate source of carbs such as sweet potatoes. You don’t have to feed a dog food with an excessively high percentage of protein but it’s a good idea to keep the carb percentage low to moderate.
Recommended Dog Food For An Adult Cavalier
Every dog is an individual. Even dogs in the same breed can have different food needs. Some dogs need more calories than others. Some dogs will do better with more protein or fat than other dogs.
We are recommending a variety of foods for Cavaliers. Some have grains and some don’t. We have selected foods without corn, wheat, and soy unless otherwise noted. Some of the foods are specifically made for small breeds. You may have to try a couple of foods to find which one is best for your Cavalier. You should also keep in mind that your dog’s diet needs can change as he grows and ages so you may have to change foods to accommodate him.
Best Dog Foods for Cavalier King Charles Spaniels Adults
Because of their small size, we recommend a good small breed dog food for Cavaliers like Fromm Small Breed Adult Gold. Fromm is a family business that has been making dog food for generations in Wisconsin. The first three ingredients in this food are duck, chicken meal, and chicken. It has some grains such as oatmeal, pearled barley, and rice, but we think these are good fibers and good for digestion. The food is also enhanced with probiotics to aid digestion and salmon oil for the Cavalier’s lovely coat. This is a food for growth and maintenance with 416 calories per cup. We hear great things about Fromm from everyone who feeds it. We really like the ingredients in this food.
If you prefer a grain free food for your Cavalier, then Wellness CORE Grain Free Small Breed Formula always gets good reviews. The first three ingredients are deboned turkey, turkey meal, and chicken meal. The food features a smaller kibble size to make eating easier; omega fatty acids from salmon oil for good skin and coat; glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health; probiotics, botanicals, and antioxidants. It is naturally gluten-free. This grain free food also has a minimum of 36 percent crude protein for people who like a higher protein content. There’s a lot to like here if you’re looking for a good grain free dog food for your Cavalier.
We love Merrick. The first three ingredients in this food are deboned chicken, chicken meal, and turkey meal. The recipe is 50 percent meat and desirable fats, 25 percent vegetables, vitamins, and minerals, and 25 percent whole grains like brown rice, barley, and oats. This is all-natural pet food made from high quality ingredients. No by-products, no artificial preservatives. They also use local growers from Texas, where the food is made. Yes, we know that Purina recently purchased Merrick which makes some people nervous. But until we see any sign that the food has changed, we still think this is a great food for your dog.
If you are seeking an organic dog food for your Cavalier then you have probably discovered there are not many truly all-organic foods. Some dog foods may have a few organic ingredients, but it’s hard to find one that is entirely organic. Castor & Pollux Organix Small Breed Grain Free Adult Dog Food is made in the U.S. The first ingredient is organic, free-range chicken. Nearly all of the ingredients are organic. It is also grain free with organic peas, organic flaxseed, and other organic ingredients grown without chemical pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, artificial preservatives, added growth hormones, or antibiotics. They use no corn or wheat. This is one of the most natural dog foods you can find. If you are looking for a dog food without added chemicals for your Cavalier, this food may be perfect for you.
Best Dog Foods for Cavalier Puppies
Small breed puppies like Cavaliers grow quickly from a young age. They typically reach adult size rather early. This means that they usually do best on a small breed puppy food that contains more calories than ordinary puppy foods. However, it’s still important that the calcium to phosphorus ratio be correct for small breeds. The recommended ratio should be about 1.2 parts calcium to 1 part phosphorus, though there is some slight room for variation such as 1.5:1. Most puppy foods should have a calcium to phosphorus ratio in this neighborhood. It’s also important that dog and puppy foods do not have an excess (or deficiency) of calcium since this can affect bone growth.
Here are some of the puppy foods we like for Cavalier puppies. Note that an All Life Stage food can also be fed, as long as the nutrients are appropriate for your puppy.
We like Wellness Small Breed Complete Health Puppy Turkey Oatmeal & Salmon recipe for small, growing puppies like Cavaliers. The first five ingredients feature deboned turkey, chicken meal, and salmon meal, along with oatmeal and ground barley which are easy to digest. The formula contains DHA for healthy brain development, antioxidants, microbes to support digestion, and a mix of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for healthy skin and coat. The food has 28 percent crude protein and 18 percent crude fat with 480 kcal per cup meaning the food has a lot of energy per ounce for your little Cav puppy. Your Cavalier puppy burns a lot of energy growing and play. With his smaller digestive tract and stomach, he may not be able to consume a lot of food at each meal but you can be sure he will get enough nutrition with this kind of food.
VeRUS Puppy Advantage is an excellent holistic food for small breed puppies. The first ingredient is chicken meal followed by easy-to-digest ground oats and ground brown rice. The formula contains DHA for proper brain development, omega-3 fatty acid from fish oils, non-Chinese sourced vitamins and chelated minerals. The food also includes a freeze-dried live probiotic that is unique among dog food manufacturers. The chicken used in their food is cage-free, U.S.-grown and guaranteed to be antiobiotic-free. VeRUS has none of the undesirable ingredients that are sometimes found in pet foods. We really like this puppy food for Cavaliers. Any dog lover who may be concerned about chemicals or additives in pet foods should check into VeRUS. Note: VeRUS says that their chicken is hormone-free. ALL poultry raised in the United States is hormone-free. It has been illegal to add hormones to poultry in the United States since the 1950s.
Annamaet Ultra is an All Life Stage formula that is suitable for puppies and small breeds as well as performance dogs. It has 32 percent crude protein and 20 percent crude fat. The calcium to phosphorus ratio makes it a good fit for growing puppies. It comes in at 480 kcal/cup. The first ingredient is chicken meal, followed by brown rice, and chicken fat preserved with mixed tocopherols in the form of Vitamin E. Annamaet uses algae as a source of omega-3 fatty acid for good skin and coat, and healthy heart development. The food also contains DHA for good brain development. It also features chelated minerals so they are more easily digested. The chicken is raised free of antibiotics. This food is ultra dense in energy which makes it a good choice for growing small breed puppies like Cavaliers. Since this is an All Life Stage food, you can go on feeding it as your puppy gets older and becomes an adult. People who feed this food seem to love it. Whole Dog Journal and other sources give it high marks.
Best Dog Foods for the Senior Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Despite having quite a few health problems in the breed, many Cavaliers live into their teen years. As your Cavalier gets older, it’s a good idea to plan an annual senior check-up with your vet. Many older dogs begin to put on pounds as they become less active. For this reason, most senior dog foods have fewer calories and they can skimp on protein. You should watch your older Cavalier’s weight as he gets older to make sure he doesn’t become overweight. In some cases you can simply cut back on the portions of his regular dog food to help him stay fit or increase his exercise.
If you decide that your older Cavalier needs a senior dog food, here’s a food we like.
Older dogs can have difficulty metabolizing nutrients, especially protein. Orijen Senior provides plenty of excellent quality protein for your older Cavalier. This food features free-run chicken and turkey, wild-caught fish, and nest-laid eggs. It helps keep older dogs in good muscle even as they become less active. Made of 80 percent meats and fish, the food is low-glycemic and has low carbs to help keep your older dog’s blood sugar steady. The food also contains natural sources of glucosamine and chondroitin to keep your Cavalier’s joints healthy. The food is 38 percent crude protein and 15 percent crude fat. It checks in at 445 kcal per 250ml/120g cup. We think this is a very good food for senior dogs who often need extra protein as they get older.
Best Dog Foods for Cavaliers with Skin Problems/Allergies
If your Cavalier has skin problems or food allergies, here is a food we think might help.
Any dog suffering from skin problems or food allergies may benefit from Wild Calling!’s Xotic Essentials recipes. Formulas like their rabbit meal recipe use exotic meats that are rare in today’s pet food market so your dog hasn’t eaten them before – less chance of having an allergic reaction. The foods are also highly digestible. Wild Calling! also uses what they call LITe (limited ingredient technology). They don’t use any of the ingredients commonly found in most dog foods such as chicken, grain, gluten, egg, yeast, corn, wheat or soy. If your Cavalier has a food allergy, he can really benefit from Wild Calling! The foods are formulated for rotational feeding and they offer several Xotic Essentials recipes, such as kangaroo and bison, so your dog doesn’t get over-exposed to one kind of meat protein. This is an All Life Stage food. We think that dogs with skin problems and food allergies can definitely benefit from these recipes.
Best Dog Foods for Cavaliers with Sensitive Stomachs
Many breeds of dog are susceptible to food sensitivities that affect their digestion and excretion. The Cavalier is no exception.
If your dog does have a sensitive stomach it can be an indication of a food sensitivity, which is different form a food allergy. A dog with a food sensitivity will have gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting or diarrhea. Or it could be something more serious.
A dog with a sensitive stomach can often be helped by feeding the right dog food. Sticking to a limited ingredient diet food with as few ingredients as possible can reduce the chance of your dog having a bad reaction to something in the food.
If your Cavalier can eat potatoes, we recommend Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Potato & Duck Small Breed Bites Dry Dog Formula. This food is grain free with limited ingredients. It has good quality, alternative ingredients that are easily digestible for a dog with a sensitive stomach. And it contains no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.
However, we understand that some dogs have issues with potatoes so we also recommend AvoDerm Grain Free LID Revolving Menu Small Breed Beef Recipe. AvoDerm’s LID formulas are grain free, gluten-free, with one single animal protein source to minimize the chance of a reaction. The carbs in the food are garbanzo beans and peas. You can feed one formula or feed the AvoDerm LID foods in rotation – whichever works best for your Cavalier. Don’t worry about the avocados in these foods. They will not harm your dog. They are a good source of fiber, vitamins A, C, and E, as well as fatty acids and other nutrients.
Best Dog Foods for Overweight Cavaliers
If your Cavalier becomes overweight, it may be due to overfeeding and not enough exercise. You can help your Cav lose weight by cutting back on his portions and encouraging him to get more exercise.
If your Cavalier needs to lose more than one or two pounds, however, you may need to consider a weight control dog food.
We do not recommend a weight control dog food for a puppy or a very old dog. These foods generally have fewer calories and may have some other differences in nutrients that make them inappropriate for growing puppies or older dogs who need special nutrition.
If you have a Cavalier who needs to lose weight, we recommend Wellness Small Breed Complete Health Healthy Weight Turkey & Brown Rice Recipe. This food is relatively high in protein (28 percent) and low in fat (9 percent). It is very similar to Wellness Small Breed Complete Health Adult Turkey & Oatmeal Recipe except that it has 26% less fat and 10% fewer calories. The food contains deboned turkey, chicken meal, salmon meal. The food also includes antioxidants, omega fatty acids, glucosamine, chondroitin, and probiotics. It also contains L-Carnitine to help convert fat into lean muscle. It has no corn, wheat, or soy. GMO-free. We think it’s a good food for small dogs that need to lose weight without giving up lots of protein.
If your dog needs to lose weight, you should proceed slowly. No crash dieting. You should aim for your dog to lose no more than 3 to 5 percent of his body weight per month or about one percent each week.
Whether you are getting a new Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy or bringing home an older dog, Cavaliers are wonderful, gentle companions. We hope we have provided you with the information you need to feed your friend the best food possible.