A good diet is crucial to ensuring that your Cavalier is healthy, happy, and full of energy! But, with so much information available online, it can be difficult to remember everything you need to know.
In this Cavalier King Charles Spaniel feeding guide, I’ll summarize the most important things you need to know about your pup’s diet. You’ll learn how much food should a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel eat, which foods you should avoid, how to create the ideal feeding schedule, and more.
Let’s dive right in!
Understanding Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Nutritional Needs
A dog’s diet can greatly impact its overall health. Feeding your dog healthy, nutritious foods reduces the risk of numerous health issues – including obesity, pancreatitis, digestive issues, dental problems, etc.
A great diet is especially important for Cavvies since our lovable companions tend to suffer from heart disease, bone and joint problems, and breathing issues.
Furthermore, a nutritious diet also affects the quality of life. Not only will your pup be much happier and have more overall energy, but it will also have healthy skin and a beautiful coat.
Lastly, a healthy diet is proven to increase your dog’s life expectancy, leaving you with a few extra years to spend with your best friend!
A Balanced Diet is Essential
Much like humans, dogs require a combination of macro and micronutrients to ensure all their nutritional needs are met. Let’s check out why these nutrients are important for your Cavalier’s health and what you should incorporate into your pup’s diet!
Protein is a very important part of your dog’s diet. It helps build and repair muscle, ensures healthy skin and coat, provides energy, and assists in numerous body functions. A lack of protein can damage your pup’s health and organs, and it can lead to liver disease, neurological problems, and leaky gut syndrome.
Luckily, there are numerous healthy protein sources you can feed your dog. The best include beef, chicken, and lamb, but also eggs, cheese, and peanut butter.
Keep in mind that some protein sources also come with high-fat content, so make sure to stick with a low-fat variety (for example, 90% ground beef vs. 70% ground beef).
Finally, variety is key when it comes to protein. Protein consists of ~20 amino acids, and not all protein sources contain all the necessary nutrients. Consequently, it’s important to feed your dog different foods to ensure all nutritional needs are being met.
King Charles Spaniels aren’t as active as working dogs like German Shepherds, Huskies, and Golden Retrievers, so they may not need as much protein.
An adult Cavalier’s diet should consist of 18-20% protein, while puppies require slightly more at ~22%.
I’ve just mentioned choosing a low-fat variety for protein sources, but does that mean that fat is bad for your dog?
On the contrary! Much like protein and carbs, fat is a macronutrient and one of the building blocks of a healthy diet (both in dogs and humans).
Dogs especially need fat in their diets because they use it as their main source of energy (unlike humans, who use carbs). Fat also allows your pooch to absorb vitamins, resulting in healthier skin and a shinier coat.
Finally, fat adds flavor to your Cavalier’s food, making it a great solution for any picky pup!
Great sources of fat for dogs include chicken fat, beef fat, fish oil, and flaxseed. Once again, working dogs require more energy than sedentary dogs, so it’s difficult to accurately predict your dog’s nutritional needs.
A good rule of thumb is that a dog’s diet should contain 10-25% fat.
Did you know that dogs don’t actually need carbs in their diets? They do, however, need glucose – which our bodies process through carbohydrate intake.
So, giving your dog healthy carbs will give it a lot of energy, keep its body temperature up, and help it digest better.
Common sources for dogs include barley, oats, brown rice, whole wheat, and sweet potatoes.
However, keep in mind not to overfeed your dog with carbs. Excess glycogen (glucose stored in the body) can convert to fat and cause obesity.
Interestingly, even though dogs don’t have a particular need for it, up to 50% of their diet can consist of carbs.
Vitamins & Minerals
I’ve discussed the three macronutrients; now, let’s see why your Cavvy needs micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) to stay healthy!
Vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K, as well as calcium, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, and magnesium, are all essential vitamins for your dog. They serve numerous purposes, including immune system support, healthy organ function, bone & muscle growth, etc.
When you’re buying dog food, make sure you’re getting a healthy dose of vitamins and minerals. Whole foods (such as carrots, spinach, liver, and fruits) also contain a lot of micronutrients.
Yet, even with a perfect diet, your dog may need to receive supplements, so make sure you check in with your vet before starting a new meal plan.
Unsurprisingly, keeping your dog hydrated is crucial for long-term health, especially after exercise or during hot days. Generally speaking, a dog should drink an ounce of water per pound of body weight.
Keep this in mind because if your pup is drinking significantly more or less than that, it could be a cause for concern.
The benefits your pet receives from drinking water are innumerable. Some of them include aiding digestion, helping absorb nutrients, lubricating joints (thus improving movement), and maintaining body temperature, among many others.
We all know how important it is for humans to drink water, and now you know how important it is for your dog, too!
What to Feed Your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel?
A lot of people feed their pets dry kibble – after all, it’s quick, convenient, easy, clean, and cheap!
However, dry kibble isn’t really good for our furry friends. Depending on the source, dry dog food can be full of carbs, processed meats (even from diseased animals and inedible by-products), and harmful bacteria.
Still, even though most dry food doesn’t have all the necessary nutrients for a healthy diet, the best quality option on the market can be a part of your canine’s nutrition.
But if you want your Cavalier to be as healthy as possible, you need to supplement that with wet food or, even better, homemade meals.
Unlike kibble, wet food provides an added source of hydration for your King Charles Spaniel. Hence, it’s a great option if you want to increase your pup’s water intake.
This type of dog food tends to be much tastier than dry kibble, making it an ideal choice for picky eaters.
On top of that, wet dog food tends to be less processed than kibble, making it a healthier option at a similarly low cost. A lot of owners like to mix wet and dry, which provides all the benefits of both.
If you’re looking to try this out, I personally recommend Cesar’s Home Delights, which has been a game-changer for my Mayo. Not only it has various flavors, but it’s also packed with nutrients.
You can try mixing wet food with high-quality dry dog food or offering one or the other at different times during the day.
If you’re mixing, make sure to read the nutritional labels, so you don’t over/underfeed your pooch!
Finally, there’s always the option to feed your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel home-prepared raw food.
The drawbacks of this option are obvious – making every meal from scratch requires investing a lot of time and energy. Depending on the quality of the ingredients, it may not even be cost-effective!
That being said, feeding your dog a homemade diet is one of the best ways to ensure your dog is as healthy as possible. You know that the food your dog eats isn’t over-processed and is high quality.
Homemade meals are especially important if your King Charles Spaniel requires a special diet due to medical issues.
I know that the preparation of homemade food can be time-consuming, but if you have plenty of spare time, you should do it because it offers numerous health benefits for your best friend.
What Not to Feed Your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
There are quite a few treats that we humans enjoy that our furry friends shouldn’t eat them. These include:
- Xylitol (a type of sweetener)
- Different types of nuts
In general, it’s always better to do your research before incorporating a new food into your dog’s diet (especially since some dogs can have particular food sensitivities). Also, make sure never to leave medicine, cleaning supplies, or leftovers lying around where your pet can reach them.
If you suspect your dog has been poisoned, contact a vet immediately!
Other than that, avoid feeding your dog any food that doesn’t offer the necessary nutrition. These often include over-processed foods and foods high in fat, sodium, or carbs.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Feeding Guide
Now that we’re finished with the actual food you should feed your King Charles Spaniel let’s see what a healthy feeding schedule should look like. Keep in mind that there’s no definitive guide for meal frequency since all dogs are different (and have different nutritional needs).
In formulating a feeding plan, it is important to take into account your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel’s life stage, such as age and weight, as well as factors like gender and activity level.
That being said, some universal advice could be applied to ensure your pup is as healthy as possible. To say it again, talk to a vet first if your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy or adult has health problems that need a special diet.
Cavalier Puppy Feeding Guide
2-3 month puppy
After the first 2 to 3 months of life, your Cavalier should be weaned off milk. Puppies at this stage require between 117 and 190 calories per day or between 0.25 and 0.66 cups of food amount per day. Ideally, 22% of that would be protein, and 8% would be fat.
Puppies younger than 2 months old still need their mom’s milk (or a milk replacement). You can start combining a milk replacement with softened puppy kibble once the Cavvy is at least 4 weeks old to wean off milk gradually.
Cavalier King Charles puppies that are between 3 and 6 months old need between 176 and 244 calories per day, with 22% protein and 8% fat.
Once your Cavalier is starting to become a teenager, its daily food intake should increase to about 208-375 calories (again, 22% of which should come from protein sources, while 8% should be fat).
Adult Cavalier Feeding Guide
Now that your tiny puppy is all grown up and has become an adult, it requires a bit more food to maintain a healthy weight. So, how much food should an adult Cavalier King Charles have?
Adult Cavalier King Charles Spaniels need between 340 and 475 calories to meet their daily nutrition requirements. Since adults tend to have lower energy levels than puppies, they also need less protein and fat in their diets, at 18% and 5%, respectively.
Senior Cavaliers (7 years and older) need only between 180 and 250 calories per day to meet their dietary needs (30% protein and 5% fat).
When they get older, their metabolisms slow down, and they need fewer nutrients. Obesity is common in senior dogs since a lot of people keep feeding their dogs the same as when they were in their prime.
If you want to calculate your Cavvy’s needs, take a look at this handy dog calorie calculator, which will show you exactly how many calories your pup needs every day.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Feeding Schedule
The next question of how often you should feed a Cavalier King Charles also depends primarily on your dog’s age.
- Young Cavalier pups (younger than 4 months) should be fed up to 4 times per day (4 hours apart), while slightly older dogs (<1 year old) need to eat 3 times per day (5-6 hours apart).
- Adult Cavalier King Charles Spaniels should, ideally, eat twice per day: once in the morning and once in the evening (12 hours apart).
- Seniors could receive all the nutrition they need in one meal, which you can give either in the morning or the evening.
This schedule does not include dog treats, which should not be more than 10% of a pet’s diet.
Free Feeding vs. Scheduled Feeding – Which is Better?
Finally, a lot of dog owners free-feed their pets, i.e., they keep the food bowl filled at all times so the dog can eat how much it wants, whenever it wants. Even though free feeding is easy and convenient, especially for dog owners who are busy, it may not be the best choice for King Charles Spaniels.
As was already said, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels tend to be overweight, and free feeding makes it more likely that they will overeat or binge eat.
What’s more, puppies who always have access to food will be less food-motivated, making training more difficult. Hence, if you want your pup to be as healthy as possible, free feeding makes it difficult to track calories and nutrients.
With all that in mind, scheduled feeding is the way to go if you want your furry friend to be healthy, happy, and full of energy. Luckily, you can now always come back and check this Cavalier King Charles Spaniel feeding guide to help you achieve that goal!
Why is My Cavalier King Charles Always Hungry?
There’s not a clear-cut answer to why your Cavalier is always hungry. Apart from the fact that dogs are opportunistic eaters, it could stem from a nutritional imbalance, boredom or stress, parasites, or other health problems. If you are concerned about your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel’s constant hunger, it is best to consult with a veterinarian.
How Do I Transition My Cavalier King Charles Spaniel to a New Food?
When transitioning your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel to a new food, it’s important to do so gradually to avoid upsetting its digestive system. Begin by introducing 20% of a new diet to your dog’s regular diet. Continue adding 20% every other day until your dog’s diet is completely changed.
What Should I Do if My Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a Picky Eater?
If your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a picky eater, try feeding it at the same time every day for no more than 20 minutes. If your dog refuses to eat, remove the food, wait until tomorrow, and repeat the process.