Food Recommendations

Please feed your Cavalier high quality food and feed 2-3 meals a day. While healthy foods may initially cost a little more, you will find them to be cost effective since one of the best ways to keep your Cavalier healthy is to feed nutritious food. Also, higher quality foods have less filler, so you can feed your pups less and get better nutrition. 


Quality Foods Should Contain:

(1) Whole protein or protein meal (chicken, duck, fish, lamb, chicken meal, lamb meal, salmon meal etc.) as the first ingredient, or in some allergy diets, it may be the second. If a whole meat is the first ingredient, then a protein meal is ideally second or third to ensure the dog is getting sufficient protein. Ideally, ingredients are organic.

(2) Whole, unprocessed grains, vegetables, and fruits. 


Quality foods have little to none of the following:

(1) Food fragments - lower-cost by-products of another food in the manufacturing process, such as brewer's rice and wheat bran. Manufacturers usually include at least one fragment to help lower costs. Beware of any food that includes several fragments or where these are high on the list of ingredients.

(2) Corn (corn is a cheap filler ingredient and many dogs are allergic to corn).

(3) Fats or proteins named generically (for example, animal fat/poultry fat instead of beef fat/chicken fat).  Generic animal fat and animal protein/animal meal can come from any animal and translates to cheap, low quality ingredients.

(4) Artificial preservatives BHA, BHT, or ethoxyquin. 

(5) Artificial colors.

(6) Sweeteners (corn syrup, sucrose, ammoniated glycyrrhizin) which is used to improve the taste of unappealing food.

(7) Propylene glycol - a toxic substance when consumed in large amounts which is added to some “chewy" foods to keep them moist.


Our Recommended Food List

Below is our list of some of the foods we recommend and how to find them. The web sites of most companies have a store locator online, which will help you to find a given food locally.

Please also see which is a great resource for viewing ratings and ingredients of dog foods. We love the Dog Food Advisor website, so check out how the food you are feeding your Cavalier measures up. We recommend only feeding foods that are rated 4 stars or higher.

For our list below, we are including foods based upon their ingredients, availability, and reported evaluation results. If your dog does not do well on a particular food, please switch them to another over the course of one to two weeks. No one food is good for all dogs. Also, consider changing your dog’s food a couple of times a year to ensure they receive complete nutrition.


Acana (wonderful quality food with many varieties)



Annamaet Petfoods


has 8 varieties, including 3 grain free


Bench & Field Pet Foods



Breeders Choice (AvoDerm, Pinnacle Holistic & other brands)






Castor & Pollux Pet Works (Organix and Ultramix)









Fromm Gold Foods



Horizon Pet Nutrition

403-279-5874 (Canadian)


Merrick Pet Foods (Backcountry and Grain Free)



Midwestern Pet Foods (Earthborn Holistic, includes grain free)



Mulligan Stew Pet Food



Nature’s Variety (Instinct and Prairie)



Precise Naturals (Precise Holistic Complete)

1-888-477-3247  (no www)


Vet’s Choice (Vet’s Choice Health Extension)



Wellness (Core)



Homemade Food

Just as in people, home cooking is likely healthier and tastier than serving processed foods, but it’s also more time consuming. Additionally, care needs to be taken that a home-cooked diet is nutritionally complete over time. We recommend you consult with a board certified canine nutritionist prior to feeding a home cooked diet on a regular basis. Home cooking for dogs truly does need to be more precise than cooking for people.

If you prefer to keep your dog on a kibble based diet, don’t be shy about adding in healthy people food like veggies, salmon, steak, and fruits. It’s good for them, and they love it. Do avoid unhealthy table scraps, like fat, and take care to rinse off spices when used, e.g. on heavily salted items.

For information on canine nutrition, including recipes for home cooked dog food, see the classic book by Richard H. Pitcairn, DVM, Ph.D, and Susan Hubble Pitcairn (latest version is 2005): Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Secrets to the Natural Health of Dogs and Cats.

For a variety of recipes, including recipes for treats and main meals, see: The Healthy Dog Cookbook, by Jonna Anne, with Mary Straus.

Additionally, you might be interested in Dr. Harvey’s Canine Health

866-362-4123, Dr. Harvey’s is a freeze-dried mix of grains, fruits, and veggies that you cook and to which you add protein (e.g. chicken) and a healthy oil (e.g. olive oil). They have a grain-free mixture too.

The Honest Kitchen also has premixes to which you just add water and is a highly recommended brand. They have both grain and grain free varieties and use free-range, human grade protein sources. 1-866-437-9729,

Raw diets that are homemade or commercially prepared can be very healthy for your pets. Just be sure to transition dogs to this gradually and keep in mind that what may be wonderfully healthy for your pups may not be for humans, so be cautious if your pup eats a raw diet and there are young children or immune-compromised people in your family. 

For more information on great foods to feed your dog, be they kibble, canned, or raw, please see those foods that Dog Food Advisor rates as 5 stars, their highest rating,


Healthy Treats and Pill Giving Made Easy + Toxic Foods

Cavaliers tend to gain weight easily so it is important to watch them closely so they do not get too heavy. If they are heavy, it is important for them to lose weight. It is recommended that they not lose weight quickly; slowly but surely is the way to go. We do not recommend feeding prescription or store bought weight management foods. They are often full of inexpensive fillers and not the best quality. Instead, feed your Cavalier a high quality kibble in smaller amounts, give them ample exercise, and feed low calorie, healthy treats.

There are many foods that are healthy and/or low calorie that can be added to a Cavalier’s diet, given as treats or used to disguise pills. If you add pills to their meals, check the bowl, and around the bowl, to be sure the medication was consumed. Often, it is best to give the dog the pills right before their meal to ensure it was eaten.


Fruits and Vegetables

Canned or cooked green beans without salt are a great addition to a dog’s diet.  Some dogs even like frozen green beans. 

Canned pure pumpkin, sweet potatoes or squash. For any medication that needs to be crushed and turned into a slurry, try mixing with baby food sweet potatoes. 

Mashed banana, frozen or fresh blueberries

Cooked broccoli, cauliflower, peas, raw or blanched carrots, zucchini or bok choy



Nonfat cottage cheese is good because it is "bumpy" and the dogs can't seem to tell the difference between the pill and the curds, so usually nothing gets spit out. Use this sparingly as it can be salty.

Low fat cream cheese; a little goes a long way.

Add a dollop of low fat plain Greek yogurt on top of the dog’s food and then push the medications into the yogurt.  A teaspoon of yogurt 2x a day in your dog’s food is a good idea anyway to act as a probiotic.



Peanut butter is great for hiding pills. Use as little as possible because of the fat and calorie content. Make sure the peanut butter you use does not contain xylitol which is toxic to pets.

If your dogs have a diet that includes cooked meat, cube the meat and stick a pill inside.

Quaker Rice Cakes without salt are good for treats; dogs like the crunch, but it does sometimes stick to their ears!  

Remember not to give raisins, grapes, onions, chocolate (especially the dark, baker’s variety), alcohol, or more than a minuscule amount of garlic to your Cavalier as these can be toxic for dogs.

For more information on foods and other items toxic to dogs, please see

Additional information