View Full Version : What do you feed your Cavalier?

My Boy Bentley
3rd January 2008, 10:13 PM
I have a 2 year old Cavalier, he has been on dry kibble his whole life, it is holistic, but was looking into getting him on a better food. He is borderline overweight. The vet says he's not quite overweight yet, but he is a little rolly polly to me (About 24 lbs.) I have had him on a diet for about 6 months and regular walking, although hard when it's 10 degrees out. Any suggestions would be great. The woman at the kennel he goes to, feeds her Cavaliers a dehydrated food of some sort. Any thoughts on that?
Thanks a bunch.

Denise G.
3rd January 2008, 11:00 PM
I feed Mia Natures Variety prepared raw food. She had tummy issues when I brought her home at six months and it was the only thing that didn't upset her. She's done so well on it, I couldn't imagine feeding her anything else. I also throw in some frozen green beans and fish or flax oil and a tsp. of yogurt. She loves it and has maintained a healthy weight without much effort. She'll be two yrs old in a few weeks.

You also might try a grain free food. When I took my Golden off of grains for his allergies, he lost about 8 lbs.

Good luck!

4th January 2008, 12:10 AM
The Whole Dog Journal recommends not feeding only one food all the time for years -- generally a single food isn't nutritionally complete over the lifetime of a dog (plus it is boring and gest dogs fixed on eating only one thing and can make it hard to get them to eat anything else -- and generally I think at least some fresh 'real' food is healthier for a dog than only kibble. So if you are feeding a holistic kibble that you like, why not just alternate that with different kibble brands now and then (often people feed something new with each bag), and add extras or alternate with raw or cooked or a good quality tinned food. I rotate around a lot of different things, which is closer to a natural diet and more interesting for the dog than just kibble. In the Caring for your Cavalier section there are lots of suggestions on making cooked meals. Or just add some lightly cooked unseasoned meat, like hamburger, chicken, etc, some veg, a bit of yogurt -- there's a lot you can feed. :)

Good suggestions on food here:


4th January 2008, 12:20 AM
Like Karlin said above there, I switch my dog's food 4-5 times per year. I do stay within brand though. I feed Timberwolf Organics. They have a nice variety of flavors and my dogs do very well on them. I don't have a distributor near me, so I order direct from them online. Shipping is included in the cost of the food, and service is very good.

I mix in a bit of Merrick canned food with each meal (2x p/day). They have wonderful flavor varieties that are a lot like stews that people eat.

Cathy T
4th January 2008, 01:23 AM
My guys get Primal frozen prepared raw...and I rotate through various protein sources. For the same reasons as Denise, Jake has always had tummy problems but with the raw we have no more upset tummies.

You've gotten some good suggestions above.

My Boy Bentley
4th January 2008, 03:57 AM
Thanks everyone for your suggestions. Lots of good ideas. I appreciate it. :p

4th January 2008, 12:31 PM
I feed Madison Royal Cainin dry dog food. She's had it her whole life and loves it. Once a day, I add 1/2 a NuVet tablet - an herbal supplement recommended by our breeder. She is healthy and has no problems with obesity. Royal Cainin can be found at your local pet store.

5th January 2008, 01:18 AM
Right now I feed Amber Nature's Variety Prairie, but I feed my other dogs a raw diet, and intend to switch Amber to that as well. As long as you stay with high quality brands you should be good - If it's just for weight control, though, limiting amounts is the way to go, also try adding green beans to help fill the dog up without adding many calories

5th January 2008, 11:47 AM
I'm still looking for a food mine will enjoy eating. So far I've had him on Royal Canin, Orijen and Eagle Pack Holistic (in that order) but it doesn't seem to suit him cause it's a pain to get him to eat even once a day so next food I'm going to try is James Wellbeloved. Hope that is better for him cause otherwise I'm running out of options and will have to try lower quality foods, which I really don't want to do.

5th January 2008, 04:53 PM
Seraphine - Can you get prepared raw diets where you are? I've had a few dogs that just refused kibble of any type, and do wonderful on raw diets, the prepared raw diets are a great option for people who want raw in a convient to feed form. Personally I like to balance out my dogs' diets myself, but I've done years of research to know how to do this properly.

5th January 2008, 06:18 PM
I am not feeding our pup raw yet. I also order Timber Wolf Organic online and add the salmon oil along with with fresh vegetables and fruits for now. Sometimes a 10 minute omega egg is added if no veggies are added or even a little plain yogurt. Knock on wood so far he has excellent digestion with no diarrhea complications. :)

5th January 2008, 11:01 PM
Seraphine - Can you get prepared raw diets where you are? I've had a few dogs that just refused kibble of any type, and do wonderful on raw diets, the prepared raw diets are a great option for people who want raw in a convient to feed form. Personally I like to balance out my dogs' diets myself, but I've done years of research to know how to do this properly.

Thanks for the suggestion. I have heard the prepared raw diets are available somewhere in my country, but not anywhere near where I live. I'd have to have it ordered, and in the longrun I'm fairly sure that would be too expensive for me. I am still going to try it if he refuses James Wellbeloved kibble though, I'm just not sure how long I'm going to be able to keep it up if he does like it.

5th January 2008, 11:15 PM
Our little guy - 12 weeks is a bit of a fuss pot - but we decided that we would not pander to him. He is on dry kibble twice a day which he isn't too partial to - Science Plan Puppy - but we are following the advice here and the vet's advice to try and establish him on it for a while. He likes chicken, lamb and scrambled eggs too.

Tried on some Science Plan wet food but he doesn't seem to be able to digest it as well.

Had him at Vet for vaccination today and she is very pleased with him.

My mum has a Bichon who is so overweight it is unbelievable so we decided not to go down the route.

6th January 2008, 12:56 AM
Our little guy - 12 weeks is a bit of a fuss pot - but we decided that we would not pander to him. He is on dry kibble twice a day which he isn't too partial to - Science Plan Puppy - but we are following the advice here and the vet's advice to try and establish him on it for a while. He likes chicken, lamb and scrambled eggs too.

Tried on some Science Plan wet food but he doesn't seem to be able to digest it as well.

Had him at Vet for vaccination today and she is very pleased with him.

My mum has a Bichon who is so overweight it is unbelievable so we decided not to go down the route.

OK-- I have to say it. IMO-- There are soooo many better foods than this. Here are the ingredients for Science Diet Puppy:
Ingredients: Ground Whole Grain Corn, Chicken By-Product Meal, Soybean Meal, Animal Fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), Dried Beet Pulp, Chicken Liver Flavor, Dicalcium Phosphate, Brewers Rice, Fish Oil, Flaxseed, Soybean Oil, Iodized Salt, Choline Chloride, Potassium 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), preserved with Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid, Beta-Carotene, Rosemary Extract.

6th January 2008, 01:15 AM
I agree -- Science Diet is very expensive for a mediocre quality food. Vets sell it because Science Plan works closely with them. I think their special diets are fine -- for ill dogs or dogs with particular dietary conditions --but little better than a supermarket food (if any better at all!) with the normal diets. Note on that ingredient list there isn't a SINGLE quality or even medium-quality protein source -- just chicken by-product meal, which is one of the lowest quality sources of meat. You want to see a names meat in the first two ingredients -- not by products, not derivatives. EG lamb, chicken, turkey, beef, fish. I have no idea why some other food makers do not approach vets and get their better quality foods into their practices.

I would recommend Royal Canin or James Wellbeloved instead, two much better quality foods that are widely available from good pet shops. Also generally many breeders do not feed puppies puppy food -- adult foods are very complete and many feel puppy foods accelerate growth in an undesireable way. I totally agree with the vet to focus on a single food.

Seraphine, this is what I would do with a single quality kibble and not keep trying new things -- there are quite a few posts recently on problem eaters and chances are yours is simply holding out -- all those foods are really good quality and there's just no reason a dog should be refusing them. Or try a homecooked approach -- this is far easier than raw, more hygienic to prepare, and easy to balance the diet as well. Or mix half cooked, half kibble (this is what I often do). There are many recipes in the Caring for your Cavalier section which come from animal nutritionists -- I regularly make stews. It is good to have a dog eating something besides just soft food of whatever sort as this can accelerate gum disease and tooth decay. Very, very few puppies or dogs are truly so finicky that they won't eat particular foods. In 99% of cases, this is a behaviour issue and the owner risks ending up with a finicky dog by giving in and seeking new ways to tempt the dog every few meals, while also giving the dog lots of extra attention at mealtime by trying to get him to eat.

One of the most common problems people post about here is 'my dog doesn't like [fill in the name of a food] but will eat [another food] but only for a day or two then won't eat that.' The solution is always the same -- follow the feeding directions here:


In particular:

Whether you decide to feed a high quality kibble or a commercially prepared whole foods diet, the following directions will apply.

Puppies between 8 and 16 weeks of age do quite well on 3 meals a day. They start out with about a large handful of kibble for each meal or about 1/4 cup. At about 4 to 6 months of age you may begin feeding your puppy twice a day, about 1/2 cup or so each time. Somewhere between 10 and 18 months of age you may begin feeding just once a day--with some really good eaters you may need to feed just once a day by 6 or 7 months of age.

Each time you feed your puppy, put the food down for approximately 15 minutes. If the puppy hasn't finished it after 15 minutes, pick it up and put it away until the next feeding time. Do NOT try to feed in between. Refrigerate if you are feeding a commercially prepared whole foods diet. Do not worry if your puppy appears thin. Puppies are just like humans. Some are very thin while growing up and some are not. It is highly unlikely your puppy will starve itself unless it is already ill. A puppy that grows slowly is best--there is no first prize for gaining full size as early as possible! Puppies who grow slowly are more likely to be able to develop muscle and tissue at the correct rate to keep up the the bone development. Of course some puppies are gluttons! Be careful not to overfeed a glutton.

As adults some Cavaliers may only eat 1/2 cup of food per day, others may eat as much as 1 full cup of food per day. I do not suggest feeding an adult Cavalier twice a day even though it is best for the dog. Cavaliers do not eat much! Half of very little is almost nothing! Nearly every owner I've known who tried to feed an adult twice a day ended up with an overweight Cavalier. When they try to divide 1/2 or 2/3 cup of kibble into two servings the amount barely covers the bottom of the pan--so they add just a little bit more so they don't feel as though they are starving their Cavalier. A little bit more every meal eventually ends up being a lot more! And their Cavalier becomes overweight. With one meal a day the amount looks to our eyes as though it is a half way decent amount and we are much less likely to add just a little bit more each day.

6th January 2008, 02:13 AM
I agree with Karlin - Having gone through vet tech school, I can personally tell you that Science Diet pays ALOT of money to have their products continually shoved at the vets and vet techs so they think it is the best food, but like other said - Do your research and compair ingredients, and you'll quickly see why very few knowledgable owners or breeders will recommend it. Ingredient wise, you'd be just as well off feeding Pedigree or Puppy Chow and saving alot of money! Price can be an indicator of quality, but read the ingredients - The most expensive isn't always the best!

6th January 2008, 07:54 AM
Karlin, I did try not to make a fuss of him when he doesn't eat but I do tend to give into him now and play his game since whenever I've tried just putting food down 10-15 mins a time twice a day, he has always went over 5 days without taking more than maybe a couple of bites and that is with no treats, no one sneaking any other food to him and increased exercise. I've tried that several times, with all of the foods I've had so far. I've tried leaving food down all the time, no change. He's just so different compared to when he was a little pup at the breeder's, he was always the first one to the food bowl and ate the most of all. And then he stopped eating willingly when he was almost 3 months, so this has been going on quite a while now.

He's been on the foods I've tried for quite some time too. The breeder had him on Royal Canin so he stayed on that to 3 months, then I switched to Orijen cause I wanted something better than RC for him. Was very clear he did not like Orijen but still tried that for well over a month, back to RC until he was 6 months and since then he's been on Eagle Pack Holistic (he's 10 months now). So it's not like I keep changing foods all the time and that's making him picky. But I'll see what James Wellbeloved does for him, he's crazy about their treats that we use for training so maybe he'll like their dry food as well. I sure hope so.

7th January 2008, 04:00 PM
I usually cook for my dog. Her favourite is mince meat, peas, carrots and bulgur (boiled all together). She just loves it. She also get cod, tuna, salmon or lamb (instead of the mince meat) and couscous, pasta, quinoa or rice (instead of the bulgur). It doesn't take long to prepare and it probably costs me as much as tinned food. Give it a go, your dog will go mad!

7th January 2008, 04:26 PM
Right now Ginger and Charley are on Innova dog food and I alternate it every 6 months with Solid Golds Hund nflocken.

8th January 2008, 04:05 PM
It's been interesting reading this thread. I'm thinking of cooking some meals for Sally to put a little with her kibble and freeze the rest. She feeds well now but each time I feed her james wellbeloved and naturediet I think it must be boring everyday. Half of me thinks she's eating good quality food and is enjoying it so leave alone but half of me thinks make it more exciting! I'll have a look at the recipes on this site.

Daisy's Mom
9th January 2008, 02:25 AM
It is interesting to see what everyone is feeding their dogs. I have tried Innova EVO, Nature's Variety Prairie and Freeze-Dried Raw, Solid Gold, Merrick, BilJack, plus maybe a few others I've forgotten. The only one of these that she ate at all was BilJack. (I know I gave in too soon and she probably would have eaten them if I'd have forced the issue, but I guess I was a mush -- I gave all of them to my neighbor who has 2 small dogs and she was thrilled. Apparently her two little girls will eat anything. But she did report that they liked the Merrick (I think it was turducken or stew) the best.)

The only brand Daisy will eat reliably is the one she came home with from the breeder -- Purina Pro Plan Natural Selects Turkey and Barley. It's not the grocery store variety of Purina. It's only available in pet stores.

The vet said Daisy needs to lose 5 pounds (:eek:), so I found the above post about feeding foods with no grains to be interesting. The Pro Plan Natural Selects is very good given all the standard ingredient evaluation criteria, but of course it does have barley, so maybe I will try a switcheroo again. But I know it will take lots of determination because she does not take well to any food other than her normal. I'm sure she will go on a hunger strike for a few days.

I've read the RC ingredients many times in the store, and there is always at least one thing in the ingredient list that makes me put it back down. I don't remember right now what it is (I think it was a significant grain content, but I'm not sure). I'll have to look at it again. From what I've read on this board, it has that kind of oily coating that Daisy's current food has, so maybe she would accept it. Although this isn't an issue with Cavaliers, I talked to a Maltese owner and she said her breeder told her not to feed any food with beet pulp to her dog because it causes the red/dark staining you see on many white dogs' mouths/chins. I know RC has that, and it's listed pretty high.

9th January 2008, 02:36 AM
Beet pulp is a human food waste put in dog food as a fiber. It is a sugar beet and here is a pic-
http://www.food-info.net/images/sugarbeet.jpg I agree that it isn't an ingredient I want in my dogs food-- but it isn't the most likely cause of staining unless the dog is drooling and growing a yeast (?) around the mouth and the pulp is the extra sugar causing it.

15th January 2008, 08:09 AM
We feed a mixture of NatureDiet and James Wellbeloved (although I wanted her to lose a few pounds so cut out the dry for a few weeks). We're lucky, Lucy would eat pretty much anything (it would have to be pretty rank to discourage her), but she loves the NatureDiet. I started it after recommendations from folks on here and we're delighted with it. :)

19th January 2008, 08:59 PM
I know what goes into my dogs meals, as I make them all.

Raw meaty bones, veggies, omega 3's & 6's, vitamins, eggs, cheese.

Not a hastle at all. Most of us take time to prepare food for ourselves, and try to avoid fast foods as we do not know what they contain - same goes for my dogs.

Prior to the raw stuff we fed them pedigree, and sometimes would have to encourage them with liver and stuff. Best thing for a picky dog is an empty belly. Even a day of hunger for a pup would not harm, but an adult could go longer. Then here's your food - you no want - right I take up!!

I know their cute faces makes you want to spoil them, but offering them another food because they didn't eat what you first prepared will only make things worse.

19th January 2008, 10:50 PM
Ashton is a really fussy eater because we always pandered to his sad eyes when he wanted our food!:rolleyes:

This has made us wise, Rio is on the same food that he came from the breeder with (burgess puppy) and he eats like he has been starved!:eek::D

We are going to move them on to the same dried food at some point with extras thrown in. Touch wood we have been very lucky as Ashton has always been a slender cavalier (hmm wish I could say the same!;)) he is on science plan natures best and to be honest I don't think its a great food but once the bag is finished we will be changing it. Our breeder feeds Bakers, Pedigree or masters and to be honest her dogs look great. :)

I would love to feed entirely raw but I don't have the knowledge to do so whilst ensuring they get all the stuff they need to be healthy.

20th January 2008, 12:04 PM
Cavvygirl - please can I sway you from Bakers - my boys used to be on this and the amount of poop that comes out is double what it is now. It is also full of artificial colours (which can make dogs hyper) and I am led to believe that to keep it it is coated in some kind of oil ( I'm not going to say what type of oil in case its classed as slander or whatever)

I now feed mine on a mix of Burns Venison and Brown rice with Healthy options Salmon and white rice (50/50) - these have protein levels of 18.5 and 19 respectively with a teaspoon of either sardine/tuna/cheese/butchers pouches/some green beans/carrots/broccoli/cauliflower on top depending on what I have in the cupboards.

Burns and the Healthy Options have the same nutrient contents as each other and I get nice firm poops - so no trips to the vets for anal gland expression :)

Burns is available in most pet shops or you can usually order in. Heathly options is made in Colne in Lancashire so there are fewer stockists.

20th January 2008, 06:45 PM
Thanks for the advice, we wouldn't have put either on Bakers as we are aware that it isn't a great food.;)

Its so hard to choose isn't it, there is so much on the market!

We have been recommended Arden Grange?

We are considering getting our boys neutured so we would also need to find a food that would be good for preventing weight gain.:)

20th January 2008, 06:55 PM
Why not try Burns? It is more expensive that supermarket brands but it soo nice to have a firm poo from a small dog ( I know I sound sad but I hate picking up softees)

20th January 2008, 06:56 PM
Forgot to add - there are many varieties so its easy to change to a new flavour without the fear of squits and so on.

20th January 2008, 08:01 PM
Thanks. :)

I had to laugh at your comment on poo but I completely agree!:eek::D

21st January 2008, 04:43 PM
I've been feeding my oldest Cavalier raw food for the past six years. He developed terrible allergies around his first birthday. He was put on steroids and all kinds of horrible medications. After doing some research, I discovered his allergies were probably being caused by his dog food. I switched him over and haven't had any problems since. My four year old has never ate anything other than raw, since he was 12 weeks old. I use Sojourner Farms as the base.