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Best Dog Food For Cavalier King Charles : Top Puppy, Adult & Senior Recommendations for 2020

Cavalier King Charles spaniels are gorgeous. Their coat is silky, their gait is fluid, and they’ve got great, curious personalities. They’re an affectionate breed with sweet fuzzy faces. They’re also one of the most popular toy breeds of all time.

They may not be too expensive to feed quantity-wise, they do have specific dietary requirements to support their coats along with specific health issues.

If this is your first Cavalier King Charles, you may be curious how to best care for your new addition. We’ve compiled a list of top picks for the best food for a Cavalier King Charles, so you can keep your baby in top health. Plus, we’ve answered a few questions you may have about what your spaniel needs. Let’s take a look.

Fast Facts

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Cavalier King Charles spaniels are a toy breed, often standing just 13 inches tall. They have long, silky hair and short noses. Their coat comes in four distinct varieties. They are highly adaptable dogs, happy to fit into a household with children or a single owner, an athlete or a couch potato.

They have a very high chasing instinct and a natural love of people, so this type will never develop any street-wise tendencies. They’re indoor only dogs and make terrible watchdogs.

This breed weighs on average between 13 to 18 pounds, so great care should be taken when feeding to avoid any weight issues.

They require a lot of grooming to keep the coat manageable. Be sure you’re ready to take on the challenge of keeping the coat healthy before you consider this breed.

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Cavalier King Charles Nutrition Requirements

The biggest consideration is balancing their high energy with the need to maintain proper weight. This spaniel type does need exercise, but especially active dogs may struggle to get adequate nutrition because of the size of their stomachs.

If your dog doesn’t get a nutrient dense food, they may use up all their energy before the day is over, causing them to resort to mischief to make up the difference. They should have high-quality protein and complex carbohydrates for more steady energy throughout the day.

Their coat is a huge consideration as well. A healthy coat starts with a healthy diet. Your spaniel’s food needs proper vitamins and essential fatty acids to prevent the coat from becoming brittle and keep the skin supple.

An active, adult Cavalier King Charles consumes around 530 calories per day to maintain weight and energy levels. Puppies need nearly twice that amount because of the speed at which they grow and their higher energy level.

Toy dogs don’t have the same dangers in growth that larger dogs do. Instead, keeping up with nutrients despite tiny stomachs is a bigger concern, rather than slowing growth.

No dog breed thrives on cheap, ultra-processed food, but the Cavalier King Charles is particularly susceptible to allergies and nutritional deficiencies. Understand what’s required of your feeding habits before you invest in this breed. They may not eat a lot, but their food needs to be the highest quality. No exceptions.

Feeding Requirements

To maintain weight while making sure your Cavalier King Charles has enough energy, it’s recommended to divide the daily serving size into smaller portions. This gives your spaniel the chance to digest food in proper proportion to their stomach size without sacrificing nutrients.

One of the most significant considerations for your Cavalier King Charles is adhering to the calorie requirements. It may be difficult to tell if your spaniel is at the right weight because of its fur, but when you put your fingertips on the ribcage, the outline should be readily apparent. If you have to push and prod to find the ribs, your spaniel is carrying too much weight.

When you divide your meals, give your spaniel a specified amount of time to eat before taking the food back up again. Grazing can contribute to weight issues because it makes it really hard to know how much food your spaniel is actually eating.

Recommended Ingredients

High-quality protein can help fulfill your spaniel’s energy requirements. It helps keep the coat healthy because protein is the basic building block of fur. Your spaniel will have enough energy to run around all day. Plus, protein helps keep muscle tone strong.

Proteins should come from whole meats instead of by-products or meals, preferably. If your dog is allergic to poultry, salmon or bison is a good alternative.

Omega fatty acids are another essential ingredient in food for a Cavalier King Charles. This keeps the skin supple and soft while allowing the coat to grow strong and shiny. Since small dogs live longer than bigger dogs, it also helps keep your dog’s mind active.

Keep the carb percentage in check because their small bodies don’t need as much for energy purposes. Too many carbs can cause a spike in triglycerides, putting them at risk for weight issues.

Above all, go for natural, high-quality ingredients with no artificial additives.

Potential Health Issues

Weight is a massive issue with spaniels. At just 14 or so pounds, an increase in just a pound or two can have a significant impact on the well-being of your spaniel. You should take care to feed your spaniel enough to keep the energy up, but never so much that you can’t feel the rib cage.

Obesity leads to a host of chronic health issues including pain in the joints (especially the hips), heart issues, and difficulty breathing.

These spaniels are also prone to food allergies. It’s helpful to avoid foods heavy in common food allergens such as soy, corn, gluten, and poultry. There are excellent grain free foods on the market as well as those avoiding the other allergens.

If your spaniel can’t seem to get food allergies under control, it can manifest in itchy skin and a dry, brittle coat. You may have to get creative with your foods or find one that contains no common allergy ingredients. It’s not ideal, but those foods are out there. We don’t recommend switching to a raw diet unless you’re absolutely familiar with your dog’s nutritional requirements and are willing to keep it up forever.

Another helpful food consideration is to avoid potatoes. Controlling your dog’s sugar can help maintain a healthy weight.

A Note About Life Stages

Calorie recommendations can vary dramatically with this breed. It’s crucial that you double check your portion sizes so that your dog has plenty of energy. It’s helpful to stick with a life stage-specific formula to help.

They don’t eat a lot, but their food is going to be more of an investment than some other dog breeds out there. They just aren’t able to tolerate generic, processed foods the way some other breeds can. You have to be willing to seek out the best kinds of foods for this particular breed so that you don’t have health problems later on.

The Best Dog Food For A Cavalier King Charles

Here are our top picks for high-quality foods for your spaniel. Some are situation specific (such as puppy stage food), so there’s something for every circumstance. Let’s take a look.

Wellness CORE RawRev Grain-Free Small Breed Original Recipe with Freeze Dried Turkey Dry Dog Food

Wellness CORE RawRev Grain-Free Small Breed Original Recipe with Freeze Dried Turkey Dry Dog FoodWellness CORE’s RawRev line includes freeze-dried raw meat for nutrition that’s closer to what your spaniel’s ancestors would have eaten. It uses high quality, lean proteins from turkey and chicken, plus freeze dried turkey for an extra protein boost.

It’s a grain free food, so you should avoid some of the most common food allergens here. It’s also a safer way to introduce raw foods to your spaniel’s sensitive stomach (or an easier way without all the food prep).

It has 38% protein and 15% crude fat, so it’s dense. It includes Omega fatty acids for healthy coat and skin, plus glucosamine for joint support. It’s also 5% fiber to help maintain weight.


  • contains freeze-dried raw turkey for better higher quality protein
  • Omega fatty acids for skin and coat health
  • good fat level to maintain energy


  • it’s a little on the expensive side
  • it contains potatoes so be aware of the glycemic index

Nutro Ultra Toy Breed Dry Dog Food

Nutro Ultra Toy Breed Dry Dog FoodNutro’s holistic dog food uses premium ingredients. Farm raised chicken and pasture fed lamb provide quality, lean proteins support your spaniel’s energy while precisely measured fats help keep energy steady throughout the day.

Whole grains support your dog’s digestive system by providing fiber and steadier energy. It’s specially formulated to help with coat and skin. Other vitamins and minerals support joints, eyesight, heart health, and mental abilities.

Nutro uses no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives, so your spaniel’s delicate digestive system shouldn’t have any issues. Crude protein levels are only about 27%, which might be low for active adults, but ingredient quality makes it easier for your spaniel to process the food.

Nutro’s mission is to create the highest quality dog foods, so if your dog has tummy issues or itchy skin, this one may be an excellent alternative to other foods.


  • natural ingredients with no artificial ingredients
  • specially formulated to support the skin and coat
  • whole grains help your dog’s digestive system


  • somewhat expensive
  • lower protein levels than what your active adult spaniel may need

Canidae Pure Foundations Limited Ingredient Puppy Food

Best Puppy Food for Cavalier King Charles

Canidae Pure Foundations Limited Ingredient Puppy FoodCanidae’s Pure Foundations line is excellent for the sensitive digestion of your spaniel puppy. It contains just nine pure ingredients, including deboned chicken for high quality, lean protein.

It supports digestion, which should make it easier for your puppy to receive critical nutrients without overeating. Vitamins and minerals support growth. It doesn’t contain any soy, gluten, wheat, soy, or antibiotics.

Spaniel puppies can be especially sensitive. This can affect the quality of the skin and coat, as well as weight. With this dog food, your puppy should avoid some of the major food allergens and their health impacts.

Canidae is a family owned company that uses high-quality whole ingredients sourced from the United States, never imported from abroad. You know the food is safe for your growing puppy’s needs.


  • limited ingredients cut down on food allergens
  • formulated to support even sensitive tummies
  • high-quality protein helps your puppy’s growth


  • somewhat expensive
  • not specifically formulated for small breeds

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Small Breed Senior Food

Best Senior Dog Food for Cavalier King Charles

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Small Breed Senior FoodBlue Buffalo uses something called LifeSource bits in their food. This is a combination of vitamins and minerals plus antioxidants. It offers more complete nutrition for your senior dog than just average food.

It starts with deboned chicken for a high quality, lean protein source, plus brown rice for better quality carbohydrates. Calcium supports aging bones while specially sized kibble helps with dental health in your spaniel’s advanced years.

Glucosamine and Chondroitin support joint health, and there’s a combination of vitamins aimed at boosting the immune system. It’s nutrient dense but just 23% protein and 13% fat. It should help you control your spaniel’s weight even though it may not be as active as it was during the younger years.

Blue Buffalo works to keep your dog’s food free of processed filler ingredients. It doesn’t include artificial flavors so it should be fine for some tummy sensitivities.


  • special kibble helps with aging teeth
  • calcium supports bone health
  • combination of vitamins and minerals boosts the immune system


  • expensive
  • only smaller bag sizes available

Extra: Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe Red Meat Dinner Senior Grain-Free Canned Dog Food

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe Red Meat Dinner Senior Grain-Free Canned Dog FoodSenior dogs can get picky in their old age. If you’re having trouble getting your dog to eat, it might be helpful to add canned food. You won’t get the dental benefits of dried food (so we don’t recommend switching completely), but you might entice your older dog to eat again without too much fuss.

Blue Buffalo’s canned food makes an excellent addition to your senior dog’s diet. Mix the two together after carefully considering the calorie needs of your senior, or alternate between dry and canned food if your dog will continue to eat the dry food sometimes.

The red meat recipe can help your dog gain critical protein in its later years while avoiding poultry allergies if your spaniel suffers from those. It can also provide fiber and moisture, helping with digestive issues.

Wild Calling Xotic Essentials Rabbit Meal Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Wild Calling Xotic Essentials Rabbit Meal Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog FoodYou’ve tried everything, and your spaniel is still having digestion issues. It’s time for the nuclear option. Wild Calling’s Xotic formula uses rabbit, a type of meat known to be highly digestible. It’s a high-quality protein that should satisfy your spaniel’s energy requirements.

Wild Calling uses limited ingredients and cuts out most known food allergens for dogs. There are no generic ingredients or fillers, including soy, wheat, gluten, egg, yeast, or corn. It doesn’t contain chicken or grain of any kind.

It’s suitable for all life stages so it can follow your dog throughout its life. It’s ideal for rotational feeding, so you can introduce other raw foods or whole proteins. It has a complete amino acid profile and contains omega fatty acids for hair and skin.

It is wildly expensive, but if you’ve tried just about everything to get your spaniel’s sensitive digestion under control, this is going to save you a lot of vet bills and headache. It’s intended to be a last resort for spaniels who can’t get any digestion relief. Be warned.

Final Thoughts

Spaniels that develop allergies or weight issues often have chronic problems that plague them for the rest of their lives. Investing in quality food now will help reduce the amount of time your spaniel spends at the vet. Despite health issues, spaniels are a long living breed. You don’t want your furry best friend in and out of the vet’s office for years. That’s no way to live.

Diets that involve high-quality proteins and fats help keep weight in check because your dog won’t consume as many calories. The coat and skin will be soft and supple, helping with grooming issues and long-term allergy maintenance. Pound for pound, you’re going to spend more. As far as vet trips? Hopefully, just check-ups with the right diet.

That sweet face is an excellent family dog with adaptable energy. As you follow your friend through all the stages of life, your Cavalier King Charles should provide you with years of wonderful companionship.

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