View Full Version : New Cavalier owner--I have several questions!

21st September 2009, 08:04 PM
Although I am new to owning a cavalier, I did a lot of research prior to picking up Leo.

So, here are the questions (Sorry this is so long!). I have been feeding Leo Authority puppy chow, which is a pretty decent food. However, having seen what Karlin has said on this site, I think it might be best to switch to Canidae All Life Stages because I don't want to contribute to hip dysplasia in a breed that's known for it. The only reason I haven't switched yet is because Leo looks very skinny to me. When I take him back home to play with his brothers and sisters, they are much pudgier and baby-like, whereas Leo (at over 9 weeks old) already has an hour glass figure and weighs about 3 lbs. All of his brothers except for the runt are bigger than he is, but they ARE free-feeders, which I've also read is a no-no.

Leo DOES eat--however, I am following the advice of Dr. Ian Dunbar religiously, so we have been using his food to train him. He is a very happy little puppy, and he loves nothing more than showing us he can sit, beg, lie down, (almost) roll over, and he knows "off" and "take it." With that said, however, I'm concerned as to whether it will be harder to get him to eat at mealtimes. He already won't eat out of his food bowl because of an unfortunate accident he had when we first got him where he overturned the food bowl onto himself.

Sorry this is so long. I have more questions, but I think I'll wait and make another post later because this is already pretty unwieldy.

22nd September 2009, 03:27 PM
Hi and Welcome,

I dont have too much advice Im afraid but Im sure some one here will. There have been posts before about people worrying about their Dogs being underweight.

I dont have that problem with my Leo....just the opposite Im afraid:D He's bigger than he should be at 11kg, he's 3 yearls old next month.

I hope you get some answers soon. Its terrible his Mother is also his sister:eek: But unfortunately its happening.

good luck anyway


22nd September 2009, 07:58 PM
Thank you! I hope someone else posts, too. I'd like to know what the experienced Cavalier owners think! I had been checking out this site for a while before I joined because it was so informative.

22nd September 2009, 10:43 PM
Hi and welcome to the board. icon_welcome

You are right that your friend shouldn't be breeding without being sure both parents comply with the MVD protocol and ideally are MRId and have had other relevant health clearances -- and are breed examples worth breeding for both health and appearance reasons. Registrations really mean little (though the 'official' ones are a basic and important starting point) -- it is like a driving license not being proof that someone is a good driver, but you still want the drivers license! Many people think because their dog looks healthy and has a vet's all-clear that this also means it is fine to breed -- but purebred dogs have extremely narrow gene pools and many breed-specific heath issues that may be recessive -- eg the parent may show no outward sign but may carry the genes so that puppies inherit the full blown version of the disease. Also both of the main, serious health issues in cavaliers, MVD and SM, are progressive diseases and often can only be picked up through specialist testing or only become apparent when the dog is far older than when a person starts breeding the animal. That is one reason MVD is now extremely widespread and will affect pretty much 100% of cavaliers by age 10, and half by age 5.

The ticking is actually just a cosmetic issue -- it wouldn't have anything to do with whether an individual is suitable for breeding. Such a dog might not be a good choice to show if she has heavy ticking but other than that wouldn't really be an issue. :) It is really the construction of the dog and most important, its health profile and the health background of the lines.

On feeding -- the issue is hotly debated whether to feed puppy food for many reasons but I don't think puppy food is too likely to introduce hip dysplasia. Most people only feed it til age 6 months or so. I just never bothered as many breeders feel it is too nutrient dense and may cause a puppy to grow faster than is necessary. Also mostly I think it is just a gimmick. I've never heard of the foods you are feeding so can;t comment -- don't have those in Ireland. I really think any well made food is going to be fine --personally I wouldn't spend for the most expensive as I don;t think they are any better than a good mid-range food. I avoid supermarket and cheap foods as they are pretty mediocre quality and generally have colours, additives, fillers etc added in. I wouldnt feed only kibble anyway -- very boring for the dog and to my mind like giving Wheaties every day for every meal.

Your puppy will probably do fine with a bowl. Unles the accident was absolutely horrifically painful (and even then!) most dogs will not hang on to such a memory or problem. Try a saucer then go back to a bowl -- you will be dealing with mess on the floor and in their ears otherwise. If the problem was a metal bowl just use ceramic or plastic. Just put food down, leave 10-15 min, and clear away. If your pup doesn't eat do not feed snacks and do not make a fuss -- just wait til the next scheduled feed and repeat. In 99% of cases a puppy/dog will eat normally within a couple of meals. Unless a puppy or dog is really think and weak, missing a few meals will make no difference at all. Dogs have a stomach designed for gorging and fasting.

If you think he is thin, you need to talk to your vet. That is a pretty small puppy all right and there are medical reasons that can cause a pup to be underweight, as well as common issues such as worms -- pretty much all puppies are born with worms and will need to be wormed twice in succession in consultation with your vet (use proper vet approved wormers not pet ship bought stuff). Your vet can advise on that.

Don;t worry too much though, try to just enjoy him.

23rd September 2009, 02:12 AM
I feed Canidae ALS and my dogs are doing really well on it. I have 3 Cavaliers and one who was veeerrrryyy picky and would literally not eat (I show her, so she needed to keep weight on. I know the "put the food down for 15 mins then take it up rule, etc, but since we show I didn't want her to lose weight, in fact, she needed to put some on). I tried the Canidae and she wolfs it down. I have been feeding it for several months and it is the only food that has kept her interest. I think it's a really good food, and I have done plenty of research. I also don't think puppy food is necessary!

Good luck with your new pup.