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Health questions from new Cavalier buyer.


New member
Hello everyone,

I will be buying my first Cavaliar but owned dogs in the past. I’m doing my research and want advice on the following, if possible. A lot of the information on this forum is old, the links broken, and advances have been made, etc. So, a few questions

1. Per the FDA, grain free food and/or peas, lentils, chickpeas, and potatoes seem suspect in Canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy https://www.fda.gov/animal-veterina...rtain-diets-and-canine-dilated-cardiomyopathy.

Many people recommend Royal Canin but DogFood Advisor ranks it inferior to many others, https://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/dog-food-reviews/royal-canin-breed-specific-adult/ yet its cost is higher. The breed specific entry is rated “3” out of 5. There are many rated much higher, primarily due to what seems to be the ingredients.

Suggestions on the “best” kibble? I do not desire to feed “raw”. But I have no problem also feeding dogs fresh vegetables like green beans, broccoli, etc.

2. The FDA advises of the problems associated with isoxazoline based flea and tick medicine, a class of drugs found in things like Simparica Trio. https://www.fda.gov/animal-veterina...al-adverse-events-associated-isoxazoline-flea

If its not good to use these commonly used medicines, what do you do for ticks and fleas? The world is much different than years ago and people are just used to taking and giving pills. Flea collars are a thing of the past.

3. Pet Insurance. Sigh. I know its advised but there are MANY bad reviews. Most companies prices rise in cost with the dogs age. Trucompanion seems like it does not, with increases solely based in inflation in the locality, and is heavily pushed in Vets office as they seem to have a parternship of some kind. Yet they have the most expensive initial cost. There are many complaints in all of them of not paying out. Reddit and various review sites are full of complaints many different companies. Suggestions on good companies in the last 5 or 6 years.

Thank you.
Hi Beebalm:

On 1: There doesn't seem to be any definitive answer on this as of yet. I remember the I initial warning and I have seen articles that suggest further research indicates there isn't an issue, but then again, the FDA has not been convinced that there *isn't* a risk, at least the update on their page in late 2022. On the flip side, I've seen nutritionists argue there's no reason to feed grain-free for most dogs anyway. Dog Food Advisor is of course just one of many places that offer a view and their own analysis on dog food. Having had dogs around for most of my life, I honestly think the food doesn't matter all that much as long as it is nutritionally complete and personally, I always choose to have some variation to in crude fruits, veg, and meat whether in a decent quality prepared wet or simply by offering those things as treats or adding to meals (am a big believer in getting a good gut microbiome). I think far greater problems these days are the genetic and conformation issues, though the details of diet will obviously be of great importance for certain dogs and certain conditions (for example cavaliers are prone to pancreatitis and I know people who won't feed raw diets for this reason alone as it's so high in protein).

I sometimes give some commercially-prepared raw alongside a cold-pressed kibble that is German-made (I'm based in Ireland). I tend to opt for something that is in the medium price range on foods rather than premium. But that's me! People feel strongly about their various options and I've cycled through most of them from home cooked to raw to home prepared raw to what I do now -- dry food base and wet food of various types, depending. I like a Northern-Irish produced wet food called Naturo. I do not feed raw chicken wings at all any longer, having had two cavaliers (who were not gulpers!) cough up alarmingly large bone shards many hours later. So no, I have not found the claim that raw bones simply are dissolved by dog's stomach acid to be true and have the evidence to prove it. Both dogs looked very unwell and vomited up the shards just as I was preparing to go to the emergency vet hospital. Others are willing to take that risk.

2: I avoid flea treatments like Bravecto but I do use Frontline and have never had problems. I don't use natural ones but I know others have found they work. I only treat for fleas a few times a year -- despite us having 6 dogs now and 5 cats, we've never had any obvious problems with fleas! So I'd not personally treat all the time unless dogs run the risk of being exposed to ticks. Others may have some suggestions.

3) Not sure what the US insurance deals are. With cavaliers you want a policy that covers genetic conditions. Nearly every cavalier will eventually end up on heart meds, generally in older age, and some may need meds for syringomyelia. I'd insure immediately on getting a puppy in case anything shows up early on. I don't insure my dogs any longer, I have so many that simply putting money into an account (the same amount I'd pay on insurance) gives a fund for care over time for the few that may need it. On the other hand we've needed some costly procedures too but not for the cavaliers. NB by the time cavaliers generally need heart meds, they are often of an age where insurance only covers 50% or similar. Maybe some US based folks can advise on policies there or in EU!

Hope that helps a bit. Over time I hope to clear out the dead links and so on -- it's on the to do list!

Thank you so much Karlin🌻

Items 1 and 2 which you wrote seems pretty consistent to what I am hearing.

For item 3 is there any US based people who want to get their two cents in?