A very regal dog indeed, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (CKCS) was developed in the United Kingdom. These dogs were a favorite of King Charles II. These intelligent and energetic dogs require the best dog food for Cavalier King Charles Spaniels to stay in optimum health.
This adorable little spaniel shot to stardom in America about 15 years ago, thanks to a character on Sex and the City – Charlotte’s dog, little Elizabeth Taylor. Their popularity is growing fast, and for good reason! These dogs are smart, sweet and compact bundles of energy. The CKCS makes a great companion for virtually anyone.
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a small breed that weighs between 13 and 18 pounds. They have medium to long silky, almost human-like hair. CKCS’s come in 4 distinct colors – the most notable and recognizable being the “Blenheim”, a chestnut and white coat pattern. CKCS’s live about 9-13 years.
As with most purebred dogs, there are some common health concerns with the Cavalier King Charles. Some of these can be addressed through nutrition. As a licensed veterinarian, I see a lot of these dogs.
There are a few dog food brands that I recommend to owners of CKCS. Some of these address certain health concerns, but most of them are formulated for dogs in certain life stages. I'll explain more about each food in a moment, but here's a quick look at the brands I recommend:
|Dog Food Brands||Price||Value||Rating|
|Royal Canin Mini Puppy Formula||$$$||$3.11/lb||4.7/5|
|Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Puppy Formula||$$$||$2.50/lb||4.6/5|
|Hill’s Science Diet Adult Advanced Fitness||$$||$1.63/lb||4.7/5|
|Natural Balance Reduced Calorie||$$||$1.80/lb||4.5/5|
|Hill’s Prescription Diet Heart Care h/d||$$$$||$4.84/lb||1.0/5|
|Hill’s Prescription Diet Heart Care h/d canned||$$$$||$.45/oz|
|Hill’s Prescription Diet j/d||$$$$||$4.89||3.9/5|
|Eukanuba Small Breed Senior Dog Food||$$$||$2.27||4.6/5|
* Click on the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dog food for more information and prices or scroll down below for details.
Common health concerns of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Many Cavaliers are quite healthy, but owners and prospective owners need to be aware of some hereditary issues. In some cases, a special diet can help you manage the condition. It's best to discuss dietary options for health concerns with your veterinarian or a canine nutritionist.
CKCS’s can suffer from an inherited form of dry eye, or congenital keratoconjunctivitis sicca. Most of the puppies affected also have other signs, such as an abnormal curly or rough coat, scaly skin and cracked foot pads.
Treatment of this condition includes essential fatty acid supplementation, tear replacement and stimulation medication and measures to control itchy skin. Research is underway to identify the genes that cause this issue and maybe a test can be used in the future to identify breeding animals with the gene.
CKCS’s have been affected by genetic heart disease for a long time, despite responsible breeding practices. Specifically, they can be affected by myxomatous mitral valve disease. This is a condition where the mitral valve does not function properly, causing a murmur and negative effects on heart function.
Chiari-like Malformation and Syringomyelia
Chiari-like malformation (CM) is a malformation of the base of the skull in many dome-headed breeds like Chihuahuas and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. This malformation can create pressure on the spinal cord and even part of the cerebellum, causing neurologic symptoms, pain, difficulty walking and scratching at the ears or the back of the head.
One study in 2009 reported that as many as 95% of CKCS’s have some degree of chiari-like malformation. Many do not ever show symptoms of this issue, which means that possible causative genes persist in breeding stock gene pools.
As I said, some health issues can be helped by feeding the best dog food for Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. Just remember to work with a canine nutritionist specialist before making any changes to your dog's diet, especially if you suspect that he has a health condition.
Best Dog Food for Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
8 vet recommended brands
How to Feed a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Before switching your dog to any new diet, always consult with a veterinarian. Remember that no article on the internet, including this one, can replace a consultation with a vet.
Puppy Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppies are nothing short of adorable. These little tiny teddy bears will steal your heart and the food right off your own plate if you let them!
Some CKCS’s can be picky eaters and want to have what you are having instead of the best dog food for Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, but it is best to keep them strictly on a puppy food diet. Puppies should not have people food, until they are at least 12 months of age.
My top pick for the best dog food for Cavalier King Charles Spaniels under 12 months of age is Royal Canin Mini Puppy Formula. This premium food has been formulated just for tiny mouths of small breed puppies.
It has a flavor profile that is hard to beat. Not many puppies will turn away Royal Canin’s tasty kibble, which is also specially designed to help prevent dental tartar buildup in the first year of life. It is also an incredibly energy-dense food, necessary since small breed dogs need more energy for their short, intense growth period early in life.
Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Puppy Formula is another great option for the best dog food for Cavalier King Charles Spaniels in the puppy stage. If your CKCS puppy is already showing signs of a congenital problem, it is best to give him the best support possible for his condition.
Natural Balance Potato and Duck Puppy formula stands out from the rest, as it contains unusual ingredients that are less likely to cause a food allergy. It also sports a high level of omega-3 essential fatty acids from salmon oil to promote a healthy heart and neural (brain) development. Digestion starts in the mouth, and this kibble is also designed to be easily picked up and chewed by tiny mouths.
Best Dog Food for Adult Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
At 9-12 months of age, CKCS's are considered adults. It is important to take a few things into consideration when selecting the best dog food for Cavalier King Charles Spaniels in their adult years. Talk to your veterinarian about your CKCS’s body condition and weight, as well as any new or ongoing medical concerns.
When making the switch from puppy food to the best dog food for Cavalier King Charles Spaniels in adulthood, it is okay to change brands. Take care to mix the old food and the new food together for 4-5 days before solely feeding the new adult food by day 7.
Normal Body Condition Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
Most Cavaliers are super high energy dogs. Ones with normal body weight can be best fueled with Hill’s Science Diet Adult Advanced Fitness. Hill’s trusted, clinically proven nutrition is a great way to fuel your dog busy dog.
Their Advanced Fitness formula has higher calories per cup than average foods, making it perfect for active dogs. Hill’s also boasts that your dog will have a better coat in 30 days, thanks to ingredients like flaxseed, cranberries and Vitamin E. All Hill’s products are created in the USA with materials sourced from the US, Europe and New Zealand.
Overweight/Obese Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
It can be easy for Cavalier King Charles Spaniels to become overweight, especially if their lifestyle becomes more sedentary or if they suffer from a medical problem that makes mobility difficult. If you find that it is difficult for your CKCS to lose the extra pounds, talk to your veterinarian and consider Natural Balance Reduced Calorie.
This reduced calorie best dog food for Cavalier King Charles Spaniels contains a high level of protein and high fiber from salmon, lamb, chicken, oats, vegetables and pearled barley. Higher fiber means your dog feels fuller for longer. Ingredients like kelp, cranberries and tomato pomace provide an antioxidant punch. The tomato is an interesting and tasty addition, providing soluble fiber, Vitamin A and lycopene.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels with Heart Disease
A high number of Cavaliers suffer from heart disease. Most are diagnosed while they are young adults, and some require a change in diet to help manage their condition. If your dog has recently been diagnosed with a heart murmur or other abnormality, talk to your veterinarian about Hill’s Prescription Diet Heart Care h/d.
This heart-specific, low-sodium diet is specifically formulated to help your dog maintain a healthy blood pressure, reduce fluid retention, and boost electrolytes that may be lost due to diuretic therapy. It’s clinically-proven antioxidants, taurine and L-carnitine help to protect the heart and may help to improve your dog’s quality of life.
If your Cavalier has a hard time chewing larger size kibble, consider feeding the sister product to this dog food, Hill’s Prescription Diet Heart Care h/d canned. It offers the same benefits in a soft format.
CKCS with Chiari-like Malformation and Syringomyelia
Some Cavalier King Charles Spaniels don’t require surgery for Chiari-like malformation, but the condition can be managed medically. If your CKCS suffers from pain from Chiari-like malformation or arthritis, talk to your veterinarian about dietary therapy with Hill’s Prescription Diet j/d.
Joint Care j/d has one of the highest levels of chondroitin, glucosamine and omega-3's out there in a commercial dry food. It helps preserve cartilage and decrease inflammation naturally with essential fatty acids and antioxidants. It can also help your dog’s mobility in as little as 21 days. If your dog is taking medications for pain, sometimes the addition of j/d can help them need less medication.
Senior Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
At around 8 years of age, your Cavalier may need another change in diet. Senior diets are formulated for the specific needs of older dogs. Many older Cavaliers may suffer from dental issues, joint pain and poor digestion.
My recommendation for the best dog food for Cavalier King Charles Spaniels in their senior years is Eukanuba Small Breed Senior Dog Food. As mentioned before, many seniors begin to have dental issues.
While nothing can replace a thorough veterinary oral assessment and dental treatment, Eukanuba has a special kibble ‘technology’ that helps to reduce tartar in as little as 28 days. Their trusted nutritional profile also includes high fiber ingredients for healthy digestion, such as natural beet pulp and prebiotics.
Food – It’s Not Just Fuel
While many Cavalier King Charles Spaniels have medical challenges to overcome, there are an equal number that do not. Food is not just fuel – it can help prevent and treat disease.
Always consult with your veterinarian if you are concerned about your dog’s health or nutrition. It is likely that they will recommend a switch to the best dog food for Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, but it's best to check with them about your dog's specific nutritional needs before making a change on your own.