View Full Version : What food do you feed your Cavaliers on?

22nd August 2006, 05:01 PM
I know there have been a few threads on here about food, but I am new to this site and am interested to find out what people are using and what they think of different brands.

Our vet gave us a free bag of Science Diet. Our 12 week old pup seems to like it, but I have had a couple of people tell me it is not so good, and just expensive.

Any recommendations would be appreciated. We are very new to owning a Cavalier and I would like to find a good diet for ours. I have thought about steaming some veggies to mix with his dry food when he gets a bit older, or adding some chicken etc. Any thoughts on this would also be welcomed.


Silly Lilee
22nd August 2006, 05:15 PM
Hi Sharon,

I'm also a new Cavalier owner. I've always had cats but this is my first puppy so I'm learning along the way.

I was feeding Lilee Science Diet but I wasn't happy with some of the ingredients. Now I'm feeding her Nutro Ultra which has no by-products. She doesn't really seem to like it that much so I might have to find a new food.

I will be looking forward to reading what everyone else is feeding. Maybe we will find a new and better food.

22nd August 2006, 05:20 PM
I've been feeding Holly Science also. Find it great. Give it to her twice a day with boiled chicken. Eats the chicken first and comes back then to nibble on the nuts.

Cathy Moon
22nd August 2006, 05:21 PM
Hi Sharon,

I feed my dogs Innova EVO kibble, and sometimes the EVO canned 95% beef or turkey & chicken.

Other foods I like to feed them are Natura California Natural Lamb and Rice, and Wellness.

I prefer not to feed mine anything that has corn in it. I also try to stay away from wheat, since that doesn't agree with Geordie.

There are several high quality foods to choose from, so I'm sure you'll learn about many more here! :flwr:

Cathy T
22nd August 2006, 06:13 PM
I feed Ca Natural chicken and rice. Jake had terrible tummy problems as a baby and could not get a firm stool. CA Natural seems to be his magic elixer!

Heritage Cavaliers
22nd August 2006, 06:19 PM
I feed the Natural Balance Sweet Potatoe and Fish to my adults and the Ultra Premium to young dogs. I have been very pleased with their skin and coat while on this diet.

The Fish formula seems to really help with reduced breakage of the coat.

Bruce H
22nd August 2006, 06:23 PM
We used to feed Canidae until it started getting harder to find, so are now feeding Royal Canin. IMHO, Science Diet is not that great of a food. And its not one of the foods listed by the Whole Dog Journal. I've said it before, but sure wish the vets would quit pushing SD.

22nd August 2006, 06:38 PM
I'll echo Bruce in that Science Diet isn't that great. There are many better options out there, check Whole Dog Journal for a great list. We use California Natural Chicken and Rice. I like that it's an all life-stages food, so both Gus (5 months) and Abbey (4 yrs) can be on it.

22nd August 2006, 06:53 PM
I was feeding them Nutro MAX® MINI CHUNK, but recently I got more involved in reading all the ingredients on the label. That was due to this web board and this website: http://www.roycroftcavaliers.com/manualfeeding.htm

I am trying Canidae Chicken & Rice for All Life Stages, but once that bag is gone I am not getting another. The ingredients after further diagnosis are similar to the Nutro Max that they were on before, but they don't seem to digest it or excrete it as well as the Nutro.

I am going to slowly move them over to Chicken Soup for the Dog Lover's Soul when the old food starts getting low. I like the ingredient list much better.

22nd August 2006, 08:35 PM
I use "Innova Evo" with some "Vets Choice Meaty Mix Chicken" sometimes I use the Innova Evo 95% turkey/chicken, King was on Beneful, but I really only gave it him him because it was the only thing I could get him to eat (stupid me didn't think of trying Innova Evo)

22nd August 2006, 11:20 PM
Science Diet is a quite mediocre food in its ingredients and a premium food in its price. They do have a huge programme with vets to push it. I would use their prescription diets if needed, which are special forumlations for dogs with health issues (though Royal Canin, whose food is better quality I think, also is doing some prescription foods and I'd go with them rather than Hill's).

Ingredients in Hill's original Adult food:

Chicken, Ground Whole Grain Corn, Ground Whole Grain Sorghum, Ground Whole Grain Wheat, Chicken By-Product Meal, Soybean Meal, Animal Fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), Corn Gluten Meal, Brewers Rice, Chicken Liver Flavor, Soybean Oil, Dried Egg Product, Flaxseed, Potassium Chloride, Iodized Salt, Calcium Carbonate, Choline Chloride, Vitamin E Supplement, vitamins (L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement), minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), DL-Methionine, preserved with Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid, Beta-Carotene, Rosemary Extract.

A lot of this is filler and there's a lot of mixed grains that are known to cause allergy problems in dogs (and are NOT a natural food for dogs at all): corn meal, brewers rice, Ground Whole Grain Corn, Ground Whole Grain Sorghum, Ground Whole Grain Wheat and soybean meal!! In one food!

So: two types of wheat, two sources of corn, soybeans and rice (brewers rice is a low quality of rice as well).

The Roycroft page (that's breeder Laura Lang's site) goes into why these things matter in some more detail.

In Ireland the four foods I recommend are:

James Wellbeloved
Royal Canin

I generally recommend James Wellbeloved when homing a rescue dog.

I currently feed James Wellbeloved and will probably rotate back to Royal Canin the next bag of food. I like those two foods in particular.

However I mostly feed my dogs a homecooked diet as I enjoy making up fresh foods. I supplement with kibble rather than primarily feeding kibble.

23rd August 2006, 07:44 AM
At the moment both myself and Nicki (UK) are trying a new product from the "Natural dog food Company"


100% natural including all added vitamins/minerals...we found J/W to be artificial...

It's a certified holistic product, no wheat/gluten etc, prime meats and herbage. It is compatable with natural feeding and BARF feeding. Deliverd to the door, all size bags available, samples sent on request through the post.

Worth a look at their site.

As for the Science diet :yuk: sorry people!

Alison, Wilts, U.K.

23rd August 2006, 07:53 AM
Yes really pleased with this one, the boys are doing well on it. We've almost finished the first 15kg bag.

I had problems with James Wellbeloved with my neutered boys, they put weight on with it - even with low amounts and they were very hungry.

I fed Burns for years which I think is a very good food, no weight problems there except it didn't put enough weight on my entire dog...and then he started getting colitis with it :( Also they charge delivery to me unless I order 30 kg :yikes which is a lot for 3 small dogs!! The nearest pet shop that stocks Burns is about 40 miles...so only ok if I'm heading that way anyway!

This company deliver free...even to us!! We're in quite a remote area...

Good firm poops - sorry hope you're not eating! - and they are not hungry on it.

I have been told they are hoping to introduce some biscuits/treats..will keep you posted!!

100% natural including all added vitamins/minerals...we found J/W to be artificial...

and Burns use some chemical/artificial vitamins/minerals too... :(

I feed about 80% kibble and 20% home prepared, lightly cooked meat/fish/eggs and pureed veg and fruit...would like to do more but not possible at the moment, this food is about the next best thing I've found in terms of kibble in the UK.

This lady has Cavaliers and is an excellent source of info on home prepared foods


In the uk her book is availabe from


23rd August 2006, 07:55 AM
Oh and if you really want to know what goes into dog food....and have a strong stomach, then read Ann Martin's book, Food Pets Die for: Shocking Facts about Pet Food


I know it's mostly US based, but a lot of it is still relevant...

23rd August 2006, 10:22 AM
We have been feeding James Wellbeloved for the last couple of months and the dogs love it. Even Daisy Boo likes it and she is really fussy. They have a good range of flavours in the Petstop in Blanchardstown. Currenly we are feeding Ocean White fish and rice and they gobble it up. We have also tried duck and rice and lamb and rice.


23rd August 2006, 10:23 AM
hi sharon.
i'll tell you what zack's opinion is. He has made it clear that in his opinion, Innova Evo is much better than any of the other kibbles he has tried. I gather from his behavior that this opinion is based on flavor experience. as his mom, i will give it good ratings for nutritional quality also. The company makes the claim that the Evo has some of the good features of raw feeding, high protein, and high quality ingredients.

i don't know how most dogs feel about this, but this is one dog's opinion.

23rd August 2006, 02:11 PM
Has anyone tried home cooking for their Cavs? I am home all day with the children, so I have the time to do it. I have looked up some good recipes on the internet and want to try cooking him a balanced diet including meats/fish/poultry, rice, pasta veggies etc and perhaps put some fish oil in every few days to help his coat. At least this way I would know he is being fed fresh food.

Any thoughts on this would be appreciated.


23rd August 2006, 02:58 PM

mine all get this as well, somedays mixed with a little kibble some not. Use good lean meat, fish, rice veg etc, they love it. :flwr:

Alison, Wilts, U.K.

27th August 2006, 05:24 PM
Hello!! I'm new to the forum and looking forward to posting on here!

I've had very good luck with Eagle Pack Holistic Select chicken meal and rice formula. Before that I had some problems with soft stools with a few of the other brands.

27th August 2006, 05:41 PM
Sharon, I mostly homecook (I tried raw for a long while too but it it was too tiresome to make homemade raw -- no premades are available over here -- and I always wanted the dogs to eat a variety anyway as not everyone will handle raw when I need to board the dogs) . There are some recipes and links in the Library section under the 'Caring' part.

I am a big fan of as much fresh food as possible. Kibble no matter how good the quality is still extruded dry food that is processed and has to have nutrients added back in, and is basically a convenience food for dogs (like human breakfast cereals -- lots of nutrition in an unlikely format because it's a good vehicle for fortifying with vitamins etc). That suits many people just as a 100% raw diet suits many people. For my onw part, I like something fresh without the risks (and I do consider there to be risks) of raw. Feeding is always a hot topic and there are so many choices these days that people can make. I think it is good and helpful for anyone to consider the range of opinions and options out there and then pick an informed approach which fits a family and its dogs. :)

My own approach: I tend to add some kibble on and off. I sometimes feed some raw chicken necks as well. None of my three dogs are fussy. They also enjoy fresh fruit and vegetable treats -- there's lots of advice on those possibilities too I think in the library article on obesity.

I find that something a dog might not care for now, it will like later on, especially if there are other dogs around that like that particular something. Competition sure helps with food fussiness! If the dogs are hanging around whle I am preparing food I usually give them some veggie or fruit snacks. Often they start by not being too interested in some item and after a couple of times of getting it, it becomes a favourite (banana and broccoli stems are two such things around here... :lol: ).

27th August 2006, 07:46 PM
I'm feeding my boys on Royal Canin at the moment but I have mostly given them Solid Gold, it's wonderful food. But I have changed over to Royal Canin maybe twice, three times each year and given it to them for maybe two months or something so they don't get bored to always eating the same food. ;)

28th August 2006, 03:57 AM
I have switched Wrigley to Royal Canin this week, but also given him some home cooked meals (stuck to the same chicken, rice and carrots for 4 lunches in a row). After getting the good stuff, he was a little reluctant at first to go back to the dry food, but he seems to be learning that I am not giving in. I did give him some scrambled egg with his dry food for lunch today, and so far, he seems to be doing well on his new diet. Poop was a little loose for the first day, but just as firm now as when he was on Science Diet. I think I am going to continue giving him dry food for brekkie and dinner and home cooked food for lunch.

As my kids are such picky eaters, it is nice to cook a meal for someone!

6th September 2006, 01:02 AM
I feed Bailey Eukanuba Puppy small breed. I feed him this in the morning and a small amount again at lunch and a chicken wing for dinner.

6th September 2006, 11:54 AM
I have been trying a new food that my two absolutely love.
I found it at the Wag & Bone show in July and ahve been using it since.

It is called Joe Jack's - and I buy it on line at www.petskitchen.co.uk.

Slightly early to tell but I also think that Robble's skin has started to clear up at last!

9th September 2006, 06:43 AM
Hello, I am a very new Cav person so I relied on the suggestions of the breeder. She only feeds her Cavs organic and natural foods. So my 8 month old puppy is on Solid Gold, which is imported to the US from Germany, I think.

As a pet owner for many years, I've had both cats and dogs, I am well aware of the horrible effects of anything with corn. Science Diet is really not a healthy food. I had a cat who had severe allergies, and through trial and error, I finally found Innova. The change was astounding!
His skin, which had been a mass of scabs, cleared within 2 weeks.

I've moved to the mountains, and apparently folks here think nothing of dumping their unwanted cats here, especially pregnant ones, so I now have, including ferrals, about 11 cats. Only 3 of them are really my cats, but I have to feed all of them, so Innova is no longer in my budget. Fortunately, none of these cats are allergic to corn, so I can feed 9 lives or Purina.

For my little Cavalier, I would never feed anything that contains corn or preservatives, or artificial color. I am happy with the Solid Gold. And the cost is not prohibative. Here it costs 22.99 for a 15lb bag, which will last for a couple of months.

Of course, it is supplemented with some boiled chicken. Should I be adding some veggies? I hadn't thought of that. My boy has a birth defect ( a small underbite) so he will never breed, does that make a difference in what I feed him?

Also, has there been any linc between nutrition and SM or MVD? I never knew about those problems until I came here, and now I am scared. Is it more prevelent in Europe? What should I ask my breeder about any screenings, etc of the Sire and Dam?

9th September 2006, 04:23 PM
I feed my guy Bravo (http://www.bravorawdiet.com/) and Far More (http://www.farmoredogfood.com/) premade raw foods. FarMore is AAFCO approved and both have the bones ground very small so they cannot harm the GI tract. I had done extensive research before deciding to switch to raw (even taking classes at University with a DVM that specializes in nutrition) before switching. Raw is the only thing that has given Misha a firm poo and thus no more anal gland probs.

I also supplement with kibble (NEVER in the same feeding as raw) and have moved between Innova (http://www.naturapet.com/display.php?d=inn-home), Chicken Soup Senior (http://www.chickensoupforthepetloverssoul.com/), and Nature's Logic (http://natureslogic.com/). The nice thing about Nature's Logic is that their are no synthetic vitamins and minerals in it. They are also currently doing feeding trials to become AAFCO approved. My sister's sensitive dog was abruptly switched over to Nature's Logic and had no problems.

I also give homemade treats and healthy people foods (and very rarely unhealthy people foods!)

9th September 2006, 04:35 PM
Incidentally, I've heard bad things about Solid Gold. The owner of the company was sentenced to six months in jail for fraudulant claims made about animal drugs. You can find the information about this on the FDA's website by clicking here (http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/ANSWERS/ANS00064.html). I believe a vet told me their meat is imported from Mexico, but you'd have to contact the company directly to find out. All it says on their website is that their food is made in the US but not where the meat comes from.

9th September 2006, 07:08 PM
Thanks for the info on Solid Gold. I did some research and sure enough, it is made in the US. I'm not too concerned about the herbal drug thing back in 1988, and the ingredients look top notch to me. Problem is, puppy only wants to eat the chicken bits I put in and not the kibble.

I checked out the Bravo and the other raw foods one you mentioned, they really look good. But not a retailer of Bravo within 100 miles. I'd sure give it a try. But I have also read that raw diet isn't that healthy either. What's a loving Mom to do? With just a single small doggie, cost isn't a factor, he can have anything he wants.

The Innova Evo looks really good too. What does everyone think of the innova evo dry, mixed with evo canned? Would that make a balanced diet?

9th September 2006, 08:46 PM
...not a retailer of Bravo within 100 miles. I'd sure give it a try. But I have also read that raw diet isn't that healthy either. What's a loving Mom to do?...

maybe it's like with people, some people do well on some foods and some do well on other foods. It seems a lot of people end up experimenting with a few different things.

The Innova Evo looks really good too. What does everyone think of the innova evo dry, mixed with evo canned? Would that make a balanced diet?

If i mixed the canned with the dry, Zack would just lick off the canned and leave the dry. I was trying to find a healthy well made kibble that Zack would love, without success, he would just eat it but obviously not be enjoying it. Then i tried Evo kibble and he actually loved it. For the first time, when i'd put the bowl down, he'd quickly make the food disappear, and look for more. It was the first (and only so far) food that ever gave him gas. I was thinking of switching back to one of the others, but then tried digestive enzymes sprinkled on it, and the gas stopped. Recently, yesterday actually, for the first time, i forgot to put the enzymes on, and soon smelled a strong one. So i guess it works. I wasn't sure if maybe his body had adjusted and the enzymes weren't making any difference, but they were.

Zack gets canned sometimes but i learned not to mix it with his kibble because he will not eat the kibble when i do that. but lots of dogs do eat it mixed. It seems like a good idea in theory. You can try it on your individual dog and adjust accordingly.

please share experiences.. :)