The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a gentle, sweet-natured companion that makes an excellent addition to the family. Unlike some small breeds, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel does well with children, is easy to train, and does not tend to bark a lot. They even have some sporting dog characteristics and will enjoy activities such as agility or other canine sports.
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To put it simply, the Cavalier King Charles is a great breed all around, especially for those looking for wonderful qualities wrapped in a smaller package. To provide your Cavalier King Charles with the best nutrition for their overall health, you want food that suits their needs. While the breed does not have specific dietary requirements, finding the right food for any dog in today’s market can be confusing and overwhelming.
We went ahead and did the research and sifted through the reviews so that you don’t have to. Here’s a look at the top 10 best foods we found for the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.
The 10 Best dog Foods for Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Purina ONE Natural True Instinct Dog Food – Best Value
|Turkey, Chicken Meal, Soy Flour, Beef Fat Preserved with Mixed-tocopherols, Whole Grain Wheat
|4,040 kcal/kg, 365 kcal/cup
Purina ONE Natural Instinct may not fit into the premium quality category as far as dog foods go, but it does provide great value for the money. The Real Turkey and Venison recipe features turkey as the first ingredient and is packed full of protein to support muscles and heart health. Venison is far down the list though; you will see on the ingredient list that chicken meal is the second protein source listed.
There are no poultry by-products, artificial flavors, or preservatives added. While there are added vitamins and minerals in the recipe, there are no chelated minerals listed, which are much more easily absorbed and found in more high-quality foods. We don’t like that Purina adds caramel coloring, as this is a controversial ingredient.
This recipe offers tender, meaty morsels into the mix adding texture and flavor, making it a favorite among picky eaters. Owners love this food for being of good value while maintaining its affordability. It is also well-received by the canine community. It may fall into a more mid-tier category rather than premium as far as quality goes, but you do get the bang for your buck.
Ollie – Best Overall
|Lamb, butternut squash, lamb liver, kale, rice
|1804 kcal ME/kg
What can we say? We absolutely love Ollie and so do many other dog owners that lean toward fresh foods for their pups. Not only is this a brand that comes highly recommended by many, but Ollie also provides premium quality ingredients and tests every batch for safety and nutritional adequacy. So, you can assure your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is truly getting the best of the best.
If you look at the ingredients in this recipe, you will see it’s full of fresh foods, with real lamb being the first ingredient. Ollie doesn’t use any fillers like corn, wheat, or soy and they also keep their recipes free of artificial flavors, preservatives, and by-products. It will require some room in your refrigerator and freezer, but an unopened frozen vacuum-sealed pack can last up to 6 months.
When you look at Ollie’s reviews, you will see no shortage of dog owners complimenting the brand because a lot of pups had a reduction in allergies, more lustrous coats, and were more active and energetic. Ollie is expensive, especially as a long-term food option but this is typical with fresh food varieties. It is a subscription service, which may not be for everyone but it’s hard to beat the convenience of regular deliveries straight to your door.
ORIJEN Amazing Grains Original Dog Food
|Chicken, Turkey, Chicken Liver, Whole Herring, Whole Mackerel
|3920 kcal/kg, 490 kcal/8oz cup
If you are looking for a premium quality kibble for your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, you will want to check out Orijen Amazing Grains Original. This brand always features fresh or raw animal protein as the first five ingredients in their recipes. This recipe has chicken, turkey, chicken liver, whole herring, and whole mackerel.
This blend of poultry and fish is rich in protein for muscle health and energy levels. It contains DHA and EPA for immune support, skin, and coat health. This recipe also has gut-healthy probiotics and prebiotics while being a great source of insoluble fiber.
While Orijen was aimed more at grain-free diets, this recipe does contain a blend of grains, which have been shown to have nutritional benefits in a dog’s diet. This food is expensive as far as kibbles go, so it may not fit into everyone’s budget.
ACANA Wholesome Grains Limited Ingredient Diet – Vet’s Choice
|Deboned Lamb, Lamb Meal, Oat Groats, Whole Sorghum, Lamb Liver
|3370 kcal/kg, 371 kcal/cup
Acana Singles + Whole Grains Limited Ingredient comes veterinarian-recommended and gets our pick as Vet’s Choice for the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. This wholesome food not only hits all the check marks for being nutritionally balanced, but it’s also a great option for those that suffer from any allergies.
Deboned lamb is the first ingredient on the list and the recipe also contains a healthy blend of grains, butternut squash, and pumpkin for ultimate digestive health. Acana also never uses any artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives in any of its recipes. This recipe is also free of legumes, gluten, and potatoes.
Acana can be a bit pricey when you break down the cost-per-pound analysis, but as we’ve mentioned, this is typical with premium quality food choices. According to reviews, this food worked wonders for allergy sufferers by reducing symptoms and clearing up skin issues. There were reports of some dogs turning their nose up to the food and refusing to eat it, so picky eaters may need more encouragement.
Castor & Pollux Organix Puppy Recipe – Best for Puppies
|Organic Chicken, Organic Chicken Meal, Organic Oatmeal, Organic Barley, Organic Brown Rice
|3747 kcal/kg, 408 kcal/cup
If you are needing top-of-the-line food for your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy, Castor & Pollux offers the Organix Grains Organic Puppy recipe that will check off all the nutritional needs for your puppy’s growth and development. To top it off, this food is fully organic and a sustainable food source.
This recipe is full of organic superfoods that are grown without the use of chemical pesticides or synthetic fertilizers to ensure your pup gets all its needed vitamins and nutrients. It is made with healthy grains without the use of corn, soy, wheat, chickpeas, and lentils which have all been under the scope of controversy. You also won’t find any artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives in Castor & Pollux products.
This food comes well-reviewed among dog owners and is recommended by veterinarians. It is a bit on the expensive side as far as dry food goes, but that comes with organic practices and overall quality. There were some issues with picky eaters turning their noses up at the kibble.
Wellness Toy Breed Complete Health Adult Dog Food
|Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Ground Brown Rice, Rice
|3,673 kcal/kg or 462 kcal/cup ME
While finding food that is specific to toy breeds is not necessary for a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, they do fit into the category and there’s nothing wrong with opting for a toy or small breed-specific option. If that’s what you are looking for, Wellness makes this Toy Breed Complete Health Adult recipe and it’s a great choice for any small breed dog.
The smaller kibble size makes it easier for the little ones to eat and it features deboned chicken as the first ingredient. The recipe features a blend of quality protein and grains to fulfill the nutritional balance needed for your dog to thrive.
Since the protein content is high, it’s great for the activity level of the Cavalier King Charles. Some owners do complain that the bites are a bit too small for their preference and some picky eaters refuse to eat the food.
Merrick Classic Healthy Grains Small Breed Dog Food
|Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Barley, Turkey Meal
|3711 kcal/kg, 404 kcal/cup
Merrick Classic Healthy Grains Small Breed is a great recipe that is geared toward the little ones. As mentioned, small breed food isn’t typically necessary for the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel because they typically do well with regular kibble size.
This food is crafted with deboned chicken as the first ingredient and blends a healthy variety of whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, and barley into the mix. It is an excellent source of omega fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and even glucosamine and chondroitin for added joint support.
All of Merrick’s foods are crafted in their hometown of Hereford, Texas. The brand can get a bit expensive when you break down the cost per pound, but they certainly offer up quality. However, for smaller breeds that don’t eat heavy quantities per day, it is not as harsh on the wallet.
Forza10 Nutraceutic Legend Skin Dog Food
|Salmon, Water Sufficient For Processing, Cod Liver, Minerals, Guar Gum
|1148 kcal/kg, 358 kcal/can
If you are looking for wet food for your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, try the Forza Nutraceutic Legend Skin formula. This food is crafted to help dogs with skin issues, which can be somewhat common in the breed. This is a grain-free formula, so if you plan to feed exclusively, you should check with your veterinarian to ensure a grain-free diet is necessary for your dog.
This recipe is crafted with limited ingredients with real salmon as the first ingredient. It is free of possible allergens like soy, corn, and wheat. It is also made without any by-product meals and artificial ingredients.
This wet food is highly palatable and great for picky eaters. If you don’t feed exclusively, it makes a great topper to dry kibble. This is made from salmon, so the food is going to smell fishy, which can be overwhelming in a not-so-good way.
Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Cavalier King Charles
|Brewers Rice, Wheat Gluten, Chicken By-Product Meal, Corn, Chicken Fat
|3609 kcal/kg, 339 kcal/cup
Royal Canin is the only company to offer up a breed-specific formula for the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. This food is made for dogs 10 months of age or older but there is also a puppy recipe for the little ones. This food is made to be easily picked up and chewed by the breed while helping them maintain a healthy weight.
While Royal Canin has a good reputation and comes recommended by a lot of veterinarians, it was placed at the bottom of our list because of the ingredients featuring brewers rice and wheat gluten as the first two on the list. Not to mention, the first animal protein is from chicken by-product meals.
The recipe is made to be heart-healthy with added taurine and L carnitine. It also features EPA and DHA from fish oil for skin and coat health to keep that silky coat lustrous and beautiful. It comes well-reviewed by dog owners, but like us, some do question why the ingredients aren’t of better quality, especially considering the price.
Nulo Frontrunner Ancient Grains Small Breed Dry Dog Food
|Deboned Turkey, Chicken Meal, Oats, Barley, Brown Rice
|3,660 kcal/kg, 432 kcal/cup
Nulo Frontrunner Ancient Grains is certainly not a food you should skip over when considering a great food option for your pup. This small breed formula features 77 percent animal-based protein and provides healthy amino acids to support lean muscle mass and heart health.
This recipe is formulated to meet AAFCO’s nutrient profile for maintenance and includes deboned turkey as the first ingredient. It is rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for healthy skin and coat, and it also has added probiotics for immune and digestive support.
Nulo is affordable and highly reviewed among many small breed owners. The only complaint we could find was that some pickier dogs turned up their nose to the food and would not eat it.
Buyer’s Guide – Choosing the Best Dog Food for Your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
There is a lot that goes into choosing the best food for your pup. You have to consider the ingredient list, the macronutrient content, and added vitamins and minerals. For the average pet owner, this can be a lot to consider.
To help you make the best purchasing decision, we wrote this complete buyer’s guide. It contains all the information you need to know about choosing the best dog food.
Grain-Free vs. Grain-Inclusive
- There is a lot of propaganda nowadays persuading pet parents that grain-free food is the best option for all dogs. However, this isn’t true. Dogs have evolved next to humans to eat grain. Because of this, almost all dogs can eat it perfectly fine.
- Whole grains contain a lot of nutrition, making them the right choice for most canines. You may want to choose grains over some veggies, like peas, simply because they’re healthier.
- However, refined grains are a different story. They have had most of their nutrition removed, which means you should preferably avoid feeding them to your dog.
- The only dogs that should avoid eating grain are those that are allergic to gluten. This is somewhat rare – so that odds are that your dog can eat grain just fine. However, if your dog gets itchy after eating a grain-inclusive food, they might have a food sensitivity. This is the only circumstance where a grain-free food is needed.
Peas, Lentils, and Potatoes
- While peas and lentils are very healthy for us, this might not necessarily be the case for our dogs.
- The F.D.A. is currently investigating a link between canine dilated cardiomyopathy (D.C.M.) and diets containing peas. The investigation is still ongoing, so we don’t have any concrete answers yet. However, preliminary findings have found that the rise in D.C.M. cases is likely diet-related. Furthermore, the dogs who have D.C.M. seem to eat diets that are high in peas. However, lentils and potatoes have been mentioned, as well.
- All the dogs seem to be eating grain-free diets as well, which may be one reason to avoid grain-free diets for now.
- With all that said, it isn’t easy to find a dog food that is free of peas on the market today. Because of that, you may want to instead switch your dog’s food often. D.C.M. is likely to be caused by a nutritional deficiency or too much of a particular nutrient or chemical, which seems to have something to do with peas. By switching your dog’s food often, you avoid a deficiency or buildup of a potentially harmful ingredient.
Meat Meals and By-Products
- Everyone knows that whole meat is a good option for your pup, but meat meals and by-products are more complicated.
- Generally, meat meals are an acceptable option for all dogs. You do want to ensure that the source of the meal is named. For instance, you want to choose “chicken meal” over “meat meal” or “poultry meal.” This is because the last two options are vague. You don’t really know what the meat is. Unless you want to feed your dog mystery meat, you should avoid vaguely-described ingredients.
- Meal is just meat that has been boiled down to remove most of the moisture content. It is like making a broth – only you keep cooking until it turns into a powder. It is more nutritious than whole meat because whole meat contains a lot of moisture.
- By-products are a slightly different story. However, they’re okay for most dogs as well. By-products are cuts of meat that humans usually don’t eat – like the snouts and ears. But our dogs would naturally eat these things in the wild. Furthermore, some of these parts are very nutritious and packed full of nutrients like collagen.
Fat and Protein
- Dogs evolved to live off of fat and protein. Studies have shown that, when allowed to choose their diet, dogs eat a diet low in carbohydrates but high in fat and protein. Typically, animals consume a diet that is best aligned with their needs, so this is a good indicator of their natural diet.
- Therefore, we should aim to feed our dogs as much protein and fat as possible. This is why we paid particular attention to the fat and protein content of all the foods we reviewed. You want to feed your dog a diet that is as high in fat and protein as possible.
- Many diets on the market today contain many carbohydrates, precisely what you don’t want to feed your dog.
- Now that you’ve had a glimpse of the top picks and know what the reviews have to say, hopefully, your decision-making will be much simpler. Let’s recap our favorites:
- Ollie is a wonderful fresh food choice that will offer premium nutrition that your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is sure to love
- Purina ONE Natural True Instinct is an affordable option that may not be of superior quality but does offer good quality for the price.
- Orijen Amazing Grains Original features pure animal protein as the first five ingredients, making it a top contender and our premium pick.
- Castor & Pollux Organix Healthy Grains Organic Puppy Recipe will fit all the nutritional needs for the growth and development of little ones and is the only fully organic option on the list.
- ACANA Singles + Wholesome Grains Limited Ingredient is our vet’s choice, and for good reason. This limited ingredient diet is great for those with sensitivity and offers a complete and balanced diet.