View Full Version : how much variety is good for their diet?

8th September 2011, 01:07 AM
Does anyone know how much food variety I can offer my cavi? I like to keep the kibble consistent but add lightly cooked beef, turkey, chicken, veggies, fruit, etc. as I have them available from my meal. People seem to think consistency is important and transitions should be gradual but I'm also seeing that some (especially with raw diets) vary the fruits, veggies and meat type. Do you change once a week? Once a month? every day? Is variety OK with raw but not recommended for kibble? Is it bad to mix kibble with meat?

Kate H
8th September 2011, 11:25 AM
I think the only questions to ask about adding things to your dog's basic kibble are: Is it healthy? and Will it put on weight? I suppose actually that's the same question - because for Cavaliers weight and health go together. I put all sorts of things on my dogs' biscuits - the liquid from defrosting liver, oddments of gravy, the oil from tinned fish, the gristly bits from the bones of cooked chicken - little bits of 'waste' that make the taste more interesting. I also add things on a regular basis: fresh vegetables every day, a raw egg twice a week (including the scrunched up shell!), a tin of sardines between them once a week, a raw chicken wing as a Sunday treat (carefully supervised). They also have a spoonful of tinned meat in gravy on their supper every night - not as part of their essential food but simply to bury their rather large Omega 3 capsules! Such 'extras' are just that, extras - a good kibble will give your dogs all they need, and that should be the core of their diet; they enjoy having bits of other things added - but weight-watching is a must. Don't give so many extras that they put on weight and the balance of their meals is tilted.

Cavaliers can have quite weird and exotic tastes - my first one loved lettuce with French dressing on it! And Oliver loves liquorice allsorts - he gets a very occasional half, but recently stole half a bag!

Kate, Oliver and Aled

8th September 2011, 11:39 AM
I have never owned a dog, including cavaliers, that need consistency (IMHO read: boredom and poor nutritional variety :lol:) in their food, nor slow changes in introducing foods. While domestication and pedigree breeding means all sorts of changes can take place in dogs internally as well as externally, dogs are not that far away from wild ancestors who would eat a huge variety of foods (or they wouldn't survive!) and I think most dogs not just tolerate but far prefer variety an d it is a healthier option as long as you read up a bit on canine nutrition and risky/lethal foods for dogs. There is info in the Cavalier Library section on feeding and the Rupert's Recipes booklet contains all sorts of things you can do too. :)

It is not even very healthy for a dog to get just a single source of good quality kibble all its life as nutritional needs vary thru life. Sure, we could all live just on fortified breakfast cereal (basically similar to a kibble in many ways!) but few would consider that a particularly healthy or interesting option! Kibble as is loses most of its true food nutrients in processing and they have to be added back in as supplements. So looking for good real food to add gives variety, and also, I would rotate kibble (eg when one bag is done, I'd opt for a different flavour or brand).

In 95% of cases, dogs become finicky and stuck on a tiny number of food sources because we make them that way by not feeding a variety of wholesome foods as a matter of course. There are a small number with digestive problems or which are problem eaters for various reasons but this breed in particular will eat practically anything, in unlimited quantities, given the choice, so introducing variety is pretty easy. :D

I DO however feel strongly that simply making up a diet based on whatever is read here or there on the net or what others say is NOT adequate and can even be a serious risk for some dogs and at least risks poor nutrition for many others. I think a good quality kibble therefore is an excellent basis for a good diet that covers the nutritional bases, or a good quality commercial food (eg commercial raw diet supplemented with other real foods. If going it alone, I recommend using information from someone like Monica Segal (she produces a booklet on cavalier homemade diets and she is a canine nutritionist).

Brian M
8th September 2011, 12:35 PM

Whenever I buy a meat for them I break it down into 1.00 Kilo bags then freeze them in packs that have
the name of the meat and date and open a different bag when each is exhausted .Having four Cavaliers I weigh
and feed each meal 20 gramme per Cavalier per meal twice per day so one bag lasts approx six days then we rotate.
Lately they have been having rabbit but we go from lamb rib ,lamb neck ,beef ,sardines ,coley ,diced chicken ,chicken
wings ,turkey neck ,lambs liver ,lamb and beef heart and mixed bags of rabbit offal .And all the food is sourced from
our local butchers and of course first class human grade and we are oh so careful with bones
and cut the chicken wings into three and if unsure I dont feed any at all and stay with them till they are finished ,careful as
well with hygiene .I also add a half teaspoon of cottage cheese and one teaspoon of goats yogurt as a probiotic to
their evening meal also I throw in a couple of whitebait daily ,also dont forget to add a bit of human grade bonemeal if
you feed raw but dont like adding any bones .

I am totally helpless with food for myself and survived when I lived by myself (pre dawn ) by having a Chinese and Indian
restaurant near together with our local chippie and prepared frozen meals from Sainsbury and Asda but I enjoy the challenge
of preparing a fresh varied diet for the girls and love investigate new food items to try .Nicki posted before about an
item called Carob Flour ? never heard of it so if somebody can explain it and what you do and why you would feed it
that would be most helpful please .

8th September 2011, 03:29 PM
Nalu will really appreciate all of these wonderful ideas. She won't settle for simplicity and so far prefers duck, pheasant, venison, buffalo... She wants me to take up hunting. She's a measly 12 pounds and will starve to get her way! Never a dull day with these doggies.

8th September 2011, 06:10 PM
Nalu will really appreciate all of these wonderful ideas. She won't settle for simplicity and so far prefers duck, pheasant, venison, buffalo... She wants me to take up hunting. She's a measely 12 pounds and will starve to get her way! Never a dull day with these doggies.

Shoot I wish Coco were 12lbs, she's a measely 10! She too will starve to get her way...silly doggy. She really loves Ziwi Peak.