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.
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.
A Quick Glance at the Winners in 2023
|Best Overall||Ollie Fresh Dog Food Subscription||
||Click to Save 50%|
|Best Value||Purina ONE Natural True Instinct||
|ORIJEN Amazing Grains Original||
|Best for Puppies||Castor & Pollux Organix Puppy Recipe||
|Vet’s Choice||ACANA Wholesome Grains Limited Ingredient Diet||
The 10 Best Dog Foods for Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
1. Ollie Fresh Dog Food Subscription – Best Overall
|Main ingredients:||Lamb, Butternut Squash, Lamb Liver, Kale, Rice|
|Protein content:||11% min|
|Fat content:||9% min|
|Calories:||1,804 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.
2. Purina ONE Natural True Instinct Dog Food – Best Value
|Main ingredients:||Turkey, Chicken Meal, Soy Flour, Beef Fat Preserved with Mixed-tocopherols, Whole Grain Wheat|
|Protein content:||30.0% min|
|Fat content:||17.0% min|
|Calories:||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.
3. ORIJEN Amazing Grains Original Dog Food
|Main ingredients:||Chicken, Turkey, Chicken Liver, Whole Herring, Whole Mackerel|
|Protein content:||38% min|
|Fat content:||18% min|
|Calories:||3920 kcal/kg, 490 kcal/8 oz 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.
4. Castor & Pollux Organix Puppy Recipe Food – Best for Puppies
|Main ingredients:||Organic Chicken, Organic Chicken Meal, Organic Oatmeal, Organic Barley, Organic Brown Rice|
|Protein content:||26.0% min|
|Fat content:||16.0% min|
|Calories:||3,747 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.
5. ACANA Wholesome Grains Limited Ingredient Diet Dog Food – Vet’s Choice
|Main ingredients:||Deboned Lamb, Lamb Meal, Oat Groats, Whole Sorghum, Lamb Liver|
|Protein content:||27% min|
|Fat content:||17% min|
|Calories:||3,370 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.
6. Wellness Toy Breed Complete Health Adult Dog Food
|Main ingredients:||Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Ground Brown Rice, Rice|
|Protein content:||30.0% min|
|Fat content:||17.0% min|
|Calories:||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.
7. Forza10 Nutraceutic Legend Skin Dog Food
|Main ingredients:||Salmon, Water Sufficient for Processing, Cod Liver, Minerals, Guar Gum|
|Protein content:||7.8% min|
|Fat content:||10% min|
|Calories:||1,148 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.
8. Merrick Classic Healthy Grains Small Breed Dog Food
|Main ingredients:||Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Barley, Turkey Meal|
|Protein content:||27.0% min|
|Fat content:||16.0% min|
|Calories:||3,711 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.
9. Nulo Frontrunner Ancient Grains Small Breed Dry Dog Food
|Main ingredients:||Deboned Turkey, Chicken Meal, Oats, Barley, Brown Rice|
|Protein content:||27.0% min|
|Fat content:||16.0% min|
|Calories:||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.
10. Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Cavalier King Charles
|Main ingredients:||Brewers Rice, Wheat Gluten, Chicken By-Product Meal, Corn, Chicken Fat|
|Protein content:||25.0% min|
|Fat content:||12.0% min|
|Calories:||3,609 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.
Buyer’s Guide: Choosing The Best Food for Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Even when you narrow your choices down, making a final decision can still be difficult. Take a look at the following considerations to help you become more informed on pet food overall and how to make the best decision for you and your precious Cavalier King Charles Spaniel:
Read the Label
If you can read and understand a pet food label, it will tell you what you need to know about the product. You will be able to look at the list of ingredients and the guaranteed analysis, check the sell-by date, compare cost per pound or cost per ounce, and look at the feeding instructions. All this information is important to determine whether the food fits your criteria. If you ever have any questions about food labels or how you should shop for your dog, check with your veterinarian.
Check for Nutritional Adequacy Statement
While the nutritional adequacy statement is technically part of the label, we want to touch base more specifically on this subject. It’s a good idea to check to see if the food you are considering conforms to AAFCO nutrient guidelines. While AAFCO does not approve, certify, or test any foods, they do establish standards for complete and balanced nutrition based on life stage and it’s up to the pet food company to have their food tested according to these standards.
Consider What Type of Food You Want
Do you have a particular preference when it comes to dog food type? There’s dry kibble, fresh food, canned food, and even freeze-dried food varieties on the market. While each food type has its own pros and cons, you will want to narrow down what type of food you plan to feed your dog. You don’t have to stick to one type though, a lot of owners choose to add either canned or fresh foods as a topper to dry kibble to add variety or entice picky eaters.
Talk to Your Veterinarian
Before you make any changes to your dog’s current diet, it’s a good idea to have a chat with your veterinarian. While the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel doesn’t typically have any special diet recommendations as a breed, your veterinarian will be able to advise you on your dog’s specific dietary needs, if there are any. Having a professional opinion is the best way to ensure your dog’s nutritional needs are met.
Consider the Cost
Cost plays a role in every purchase decision, so you need to find a dog food that fits your budget. Keep in mind that dog food will be a regular purchase for many years to come. Make sure not to skimp on quality for a low-cost option. There is a lot of low-priced food that is full of ingredients you’d rather avoid like unnecessary fillers and artificial dyes and preservatives to name a few. Low-quality food equals a low-quality diet, which could cost you significantly in health care costs over time. There are plenty of cost-friendly options that offer good quality, that’s where reading the label comes in.
•You might also like: How to Crate Train a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel in 5 Easy Steps
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.
Featured Image Credit: Andrew Linscott, Shutterstock