Best Dog Food for Cavalier King Charles (9 Top Picks)

Edited by: Mike Powell
Reviewed by: Abby Texas

Last Update:

The Rundown

Best Overall: Blue Buffalo Wilderness Small Breed Dry Dog Food
“Looking for a dog food that’s packed with premium quality ingredients, much needed superfoods, and helpful supplements to keep your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel in perfect health? The Blue Buffalo Wilderness Dog food for small breeds is perfect for your pooch.”

Best Budget Option: Diamond Naturals Small Breed Dog Food
“Spoil your little one with delicious, nutrient-packed dog food like the Diamond Naturals Small Breed Dog Food. It’s loaded with premium quality ingredients all packed into a super affordable dog food.”

Best Flavor Range: Merrick Lil Plates Small Breed Dry Dog Food
“Keep your beloved Cavalier King Charles Spaniel excited every meal with lots of flavor options. The Merrick Lil Plates Small Breed Dry Dog Food has a wide range of flavors that’s perfect for fussy eater dogs. It’s tasty, healthy, and affordable.”

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The Cavalier King Charles is prone to health problems and has an expected lifespan of less than 10 years. In order to give your little fuzz ball the best, longest, and healthiest life possible, they need the best dog food for Cavalier King Charles dogs to nourish them properly. 

We’ve reviewed 9 excellent options that cover Cavaliers  of all life stages, sizes, and dispositions. Compare them to find the one that’s right for your Cavalier! 

Our ranking
Ranked #1
Ranked #2
Ranked #3
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Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free Natural Adult Dry Dog Food, Salmon 24-lb
Diamond Naturals Dry Food for Adult Dogs, Small Breed Chicken and Rice Formula, 18 Pound Bag
Merrick Lil Plates Grain Free Small Breed Recipe, 4-Pound, Salmon
Our grade
Our Rating 92/100
Our Rating 91/100
Our Rating 89/100
Feature 1
Loaded with antioxidant, vitamin, and mineral bits
Contains L-carnitine for metabolic regulation
High levels of Omega fatty acids
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High in protein and fat
Premium quality ingredient list
Four different flavors
Best Overall
Our ranking
Ranked #1
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Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free Natural Adult Dry Dog Food, Salmon 24-lb
Our grade
Our Rating 92/100
Feature 1
Loaded with antioxidant, vitamin, and mineral bits
Feature 2
High in protein and fat
Buy Now Button
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Best Budget Option
Our ranking
Ranked #2
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Diamond Naturals Dry Food for Adult Dogs, Small Breed Chicken and Rice Formula, 18 Pound Bag
Our grade
Our Rating 91/100
Feature 1
Contains L-carnitine for metabolic regulation
Feature 2
Premium quality ingredient list
Buy Now Button
Custom Button
Best Flavor Range
Our ranking
Ranked #3
Thumbnail
Merrick Lil Plates Grain Free Small Breed Recipe, 4-Pound, Salmon
Our grade
Our Rating 89/100
Feature 1
High levels of Omega fatty acids
Feature 2
Four different flavors
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Sources researched
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Products tested
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Products tested

Best Dog Food for Cavalier King Charles

Here are the best dog food for Cavalier King Charles Spaniels:

1. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Small Breed Dry Dog Food

Best Overall: Immune-boosting and containing ideal nutrients for Cavaliers

Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free Natural Adult Dry Dog Food, Salmon 24-lb
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Key Features

  • High in protein and fat 
  • Contain glucosamine 
  • Variety of flavors 
  • Loaded with antioxidant, vitamin, and mineral bits

We’ve selected Blue Buffalo Wilderness as our best dog food for Cavalier King Charles Spaniels because of its nutrient-dense, supplement-rich, immune-boosting formula. 

This dog food has real meat, vegetables and fruits, and a few superfoods that make it easy on your pup’s taste buds. Naturally-occurring probiotics help with quick digestion. Omegas and joint supplements are also added to this well-rounded kibble.

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Created to Promote Health & Strength 

The high-quality ingredients in this dog food are packed with vitamins and minerals. It also has added LifeSource Bits that give your dog’s system a carefully-designed cocktail of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that’s made to improve the immune and digestive system.

Healthy levels of Omegas will keep your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel’s coat shiny and soft. It also helps alleviate itchy skin that may be caused by allergies. 

There’s also a decent level of glucosamine to keep your dog’s joints strong. This is ideal for energetic dogs. But even if your dog is on the less active side, it’s great to have this supplement to prevent joint dysplasia.

2. Diamond Naturals Small Breed

Best Budget Option: Packed with superfoods and wallet-friendly

Diamond Naturals Dry Food for Adult Dogs, Small Breed Chicken and Rice Formula, 18 Pound Bag
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Key Features

  • Premium quality ingredient list 
  • Contains L-carnitine for metabolic regulation 
  • Added vitamins and minerals 
  • Probiotics for easy digestion

Keeping your Cavalier King Charles healthy doesn’t have to cost a fortune. We recommend Diamond Naturals kibble if you want to give your dog all the nutrients they need but still stick to a budget. 

This recipe is specifically formulated to cater for small breeds’ energy needs.The presence of  L-carnitine, which is usually present only in dog foods at a higher price range, will help your dog’s metabolism. It helps your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel’s body to make the most effective use of the energy it gets from food.

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High Value Dog Food for Affordable Price 

You’ll find premium quality ingredients in this affordable chicken-flavored food. Superfoods like kale, chia seed, kelp, and quinoa give your dog high-quality nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to improve or maintain their health. The Omega level in this dog food is perfectly adequate to nourish your pup’s skin and coat.  

Diamond’s proprietary K9 Strain probiotic blend helps promote good digestion. You won’t find any suspect ingredients like corn, wheat, or soy in this dog food! It’s absolutely top class even with its wallet-friendly price.

3. Merrick Lil Plates Small Breed Dry Dog Food

Best Flavor Range: Even picky eaters will find a flavor they like

Merrick Lil Plates Grain Free Small Breed Recipe, 4-Pound, Salmon
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Key Features

  • Four different flavors 
  • Contains DHA 
  • High levels of Omega fatty acids 
  • Joint supplements added

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels can be picky eaters! This dog food range from Merrick is ideal because it has four different flavors your pup will surely enjoy: beef, chicken, lamb, and salmon. 

It’s important to choose a recipe range with a variety of flavors as it offers you the option to  switch flavors easily and avoid problem proteins without having to shop for a whole new dog food. Even Cavaliers who aren’t fussy eaters could develop allergies.

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Well-Rounded Small Breed Dog Food 

The nutrient counts differ slightly in each flavor, but they all contain enough protein to keep your Cavalier’s muscles strong and enough fat to supply them energy for their day. 

Like other nutrients, the Omegas vary throughout the recipes, but they’re some of the highest content we’ve found in dog foods in this price range. That makes it an excellent option if you want your cavalier King Charles to have a beautiful shiny coat. 

Each recipe also contains glucosamine. Although each recipe’s nutrition is slightly different, they’re similar enough that you can switch between them with confidence, knowing that your pup is on a high-quality, nutrient-dense diet.

4. Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Food Toppers

Best for Skin and Coat: Designed to be added to kibble, high in natural Omegas

Stella & Chewy's Stella's Solutions Skin & Coat Boost Grass-Fed Lamb & Wild-Caught Salmon Dinner Morsels Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Food, 13 oz
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Key Features

  • Unusually high in fat 
  • Single source protein 
  • Added taurine for heart health 
  • Freeze-dried raw food

This is a kibble-topper, intended to be added on top of your dog’s regular dog food. Make sure that you’re reducing the amount of dry dog food you’re feeding them if you add this. If you add it to their normal amount, they’ll be eating too many calories and may gain weight easily. 

It’s specifically geared towards improving skin and coat health. You should see a difference in your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel’s fur in a few short weeks.

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Very High in Protein and Fat 

Active dogs will thrive on this freeze-dried raw kibble topper, as it contains a whopping 32% fat. Although you’ll only be feeding them ¼ cup at a time, this is still a significant addition to the fat in their dry dog food. And with 32% protein, your dog will also be able to maintain muscle mass nicely. 

The stand-out feature of these lamb chunks is their Omega content, which is unusually high. This will give your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel’s coat an excellent boost, as well as reduce itching that may be caused by allergies.

5. Merrick Lil Plates Small Breed Senior

Best for Cavalier King Charles Seniors: Low fat, high protein, ideal for less active senior Cavaliers

Merrick Lil' Plates Grain Free Small Breed Dry Dog Food Senior Real Chicken + Sweet Potato Recipe - 4 lb Bag
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Key Features

  • Made with high-quality, whole food ingredients 
  • Contains L-carnitine 
  • DHA added for eye health 
  • Lower in fat for senior activity levels

By the time your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is 8 or 9 years old, they’re considered to be a senior dog. Aging dogs require specific nutrition, and this senior-specific kibble from Merrick contains everything they need

The protein count remains high, which is essential for older dogs to keep their muscle strong. A lowered fat count facilitates a reduced energy level.

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Natural Ingredients and Supplements Keep Seniors Strong 

This offers a high protein count without being too calorie-dense. Meat meal can sometimes be harder to digest, but the added probiotics give the digestive system a boost so it shouldn’t be an issue. 

Every part of your aging Cavalier’s system will get a boost from this food. DHA strengthens the eyes and also keeps brain cells firing optimally. The glucosamine and chondroitin addition helps maintain joint strength and mobility. 

It contains L-carnitine which is a great supplement for senior dogs as it helps the body use energy most efficiently. 

6. ORIJEN Puppy Food

Best for Cavalier King Charles Puppies: Everything a Cavalier puppy needs to grow up healthy

ORIJEN Puppy Dog Food, Grain Free, High Protein, Fresh & Raw Animal Ingredients, 13lb
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Key Features

  • Multiple protein sources 
  • High protein for muscle, high fat for energy 
  • Contains DHA and EPA for eye development 
  • Joint supplements keep your pup strong

All puppies need specific nutrition and nothing is better suited than a puppy formula kibble. Orijen Puppy caters for puppies of all sizes and breeds, and is packed with excellent puppy-specific nutrients and supplements

It’s loaded with a variety of different proteins and includes organ meat and cartilage too. These offer amino acids that you can’t just find in muscle meat, which will help your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy grow up strong and healthy.

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Designed for Healthy Growth and Development 

A high fat level caters for the energetic nature of a puppy. To complement this, an elevated protein level helps your little Cavalier King Charles build muscle quickly and safely. 

The Omega count in this puppy formula is good enough to nourish your little one’s coat and skin from the start. DHA and EPA are important additions that help puppies’ eyes and brain cells to develop in the right way. 

You’ll also find glucosamine and chondroitin to keep those little joints protected from a young age. The added probiotics help the digestive system get off to the best start.

7. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Healthy Weight

Best for Weight Management: Helps dogs shed pounds while boosting the immune system

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Natural Adult Healthy Weight Dry Dog Food, Chicken and Brown Rice 30-lb
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Key Features

  • L-carnitine helps regulate metabolism 
  • Lower in fat and protein 
  • Antioxidant-rich ingredients 
  • LifeSource Bits boost the immune system

Cavaliers are prone to obesity. We recommend this dog food for Cavalier King Charles Spaniels who need to lose weight. It’s formulated to be a temporary measure until your Cavalier hits his goal weight. It has a very decent calorie count for such a nutrient-dense dog food. 

In addition to helping your Cavalier shed pounds, it boosts the immune system and helps them slim down in a healthy way.

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Best Dog Food for Cavalier King Charles To Shed Pounds 

This low-fat formula helps overweight Cavalier King Charles Spaniels to drop weight as they use more of their own body fat to meet their energy needs. The protein count is on the lower side, but it won’t be a problem for a short time when your dog gets to his ideal weight. 

Important supplements for overweight dogs include glucosamine and L-carnitine. Joint supplements help your dog stay pain-free and mobile even with some extra strain on their joints. L-carnitine helps to regulate their energy usage.

8. Acana Singles Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food

Best for Allergies: Range of single-source protein recipes for all life stages

ACANA Singles Lamb and Apple Recipe, 13lb, Limited Ingredient Diet Dry Dog Food
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Key Features

  • Single source protein makes it easy to avoid problem ingredients  
  • DHA and EPA make it suitable for all life stages 
  • Glucosamine to strengthen joints 
  • Contains taurine for heart health

The best dog food for Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dogs who suffer from allergies is a limited ingredient diet. Try this recipe range to limit your dog’s exposure to allergens but still offer them some flavor choice. 

With five flavor choices, each containing a single protein source and a variety of wholesome fruits and vegetables, your sensitive Cavalier will never be bored with their food.

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Limited in Ingredients, High in Nutrition 

Although only one protein source appears in each recipe, it comes in the form of muscle meat, organ meat, and cartilage. This offers an extremely well-rounded amino acid profile, which is very nourishing and increases the levels of Omegas in the food. These help relieve skin conditions associated with allergies. 

Wholesome veggies and fruits offer an array of vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals. Probiotics are a welcome addition, and taurine is a super supplement to improve heart health

This dog food also contains DHA and EPA, which means it can be suitable for Cavalier King Charles Spaniels of all life stages.

9. Taste of the Wild Dry Dog Food for Small Breeds

Best Without Glucosamine: Suitable for Cavaliers taking a separate joint supplement

Taste of the Wild Grain Free High Protein Real Meat Recipe Appalachian Valley Premium Dry Dog Food (418037), 14-Pound
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Key Features

  • Added vitamins and minerals 
  • K9 strain probiotics for easy digestion 
  • Small-size kibble 
  • Good Omegas for skin & coat health

If you’re feeding your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dog a glucosamine supplement, then they could do quite well on a dog food without added glucosamine like this Taste of the Wild small breed recipe

It makes up for its lack of glucosamine by focusing more on other nutrients that your little one needs. Not only will your Cavalier be getting a tasty meal made from a variety of high-quality proteins, but they’ll also get skin, coat, digestive, and heart support in every mouthful. 

There’s no chicken in this grain-free, small breed recipe. That makes it suitable for a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dog with a poultry allergy.

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Whole-Body Support for Cavaliers on Joint Supplements 

The all-natural ingredients in Taste of the Wild dog food give your Cavalier plenty of high-quality nourishment. They’re packed with antioxidants which will give your dog’s immune system a boost. High fat and protein counts make it suitable for active pups. 

The Omega levels are pretty good, which will give your dog a silky coat and smooth skin. Species-specific K9 Strain probiotics help your dog’s digestive system to function optimally, while taurine keeps the heart strong. 


Cavalier King Charles Nutrition Requirements 

Protein 

Protein is an essential nutrient for building and maintaining Cavalier King Charles’ muscles. AAFCO guidelines state that a minimum of 22% is adequate for adult dogs, but the amount that your Cavalier needs will depend on his age, activity level, and health. 

Generally, the more active the dog, the more protein they need. Your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel should do well with more than 30% protein as long as it’s from high-quality sources and your dog is pretty energetic. 

Dogs with kidney disease or urinary problems may benefit from a lower-protein diet, but neither of those are common in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. 

Fat 

Also seen as “crude fat” on a dog food label, this is an important nutrient! Fat is what your dog uses for energy. Small breeds like Cavalier King Charles Spaniels need a high fat count; between 15% and 20% is ideal. 

Dogs who are less active, whether it’s due to age, illness, injury, or just their personality, would benefit from a lower-fat dog food to prevent gaining weight. Dogs who are already overweight can lose excess pounds by eating a low-fat diet. 

Make sure the food you choose contains healthy fats, preferably animal fats. 

Carbohydrates 

Although fat is your dog’s primary source of energy, they need carbohydrates to meet their nutritional needs. Carbs are an important source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. 

A Cavalier King Charles Spaniel with a sensitive stomach would benefit from a grain-free food. Not all dogs will react badly to grains, though, so monitor your own pup’s reaction and choose accordingly. 

Make sure it contains no grains with gluten. Avoid corn, soy, and wheat and your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel should be happy. 

Ultimately, the best carbohydrate sources to meet your dog’s nutritional needs are fruits and vegetables. They’re healthy and packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. 

Omega Fatty Acids 

These dogs have beautiful fur! Dog foods for Cavalier King Charles Spaniels should be high in Omegas to cultivate a healthy coat and skin. They’re made up of Omega 3 fatty acids and Omega 6 fatty acids. 

Omega counts on dog food vary. But for a healthy skin and healthy coat, look for a dog food with at least 2.4% Omega 6. 

Note that the crude fat is not the same as Omega fatty acids! You may find them named linoleic acid (Omega 6) and alpha-linoleic acid (Omega 3). DHA and EPA also count as Omegas, although they’re mentioned separately as they have a very specific function. 

Glucosamine 

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel can be prone to hip dysplasia. You should aim to feed your dog a high-quality dog food that contains supplements to improve and maintain joint health.  

Glucosamine is a helpful supplement that fortifies the joints and keeps them mobile. It’s sometimes paired with chondroitin for extra effect. 

Small breeds who are overweight can also suffer from poor joint health as their joints take strain with the extra weight. 


Common Health Issues 

Obesity 

Adult Cavalier King Charles dogs can become obese easily if their food intake isn’t closely monitored. Find out how many calories your Cavalier King Charles should be eating and make sure he doesn’t exceed that on a daily basis, including treats and kibble toppers. 

Obesity can negatively affect the joints, the heart, the lungs, and the immune system of adult dogs. It’s less common in puppies but you should feed your dog the right amount from an early age to form good habits. 

The best dog foods for Cavalier King Charles dogs who are overweight is a low-fat weight management dog food. 

Allergies and Skin Problems 

Unfortunately the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is also susceptible to food allergies. A food allergy can negatively affect your dog’s skin, coat, and digestive system. Symptoms include: 

  • Itchy skin and excessive scratching 
  • Dry, flaky patches 
  • Dull, lifeless fur 
  • Nibbling on the paws 
  • Excessive licking 
  • Unusual shedding 

To make sure your sensitive Cavalier has a healthy skin and healthy coat, a limited ingredient dog food is ideal. Reducing the amount of ingredients your dog is exposed to can also lower the chances of health problems. 

You may need to experiment to find out which ingredients your Cavalier King Charles is allergic to, but once you find them, choose dog foods that avoid the problem ingredient.  

Hip Dysplasia 

Hip, knee, and elbow dysplasia is a painful condition that can affect small breeds just as much as large breeds. The joint dislocates, and may pop back into place but usually causes pain and discomfort. Symptoms of this condition include: 

  • A limited range of motion 
  • Less activity than usual 
  • Difficulty jumping or running 
  • “Bunny hopping” 
  • Limping 

Choosing dog food for Cavalier Spaniels that includes glucosamine is a good way to protect your dog’s joints from this condition. Keep in mind that if it does happen, you should take your dog to the vet to get it fixed. 

Syringomyelia 

Syringomyelia is a progressive condition that the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is also prone to. It occurs when the flow of spinal fluid to the skull is obstructed, which leads to small bubbles of fluid forming in the spinal cord. 

The main symptom is pain in the back of the neck, but your dog can’t tell you when he has pain! Symptoms you may notice are: 

  • Sensitivity to touch, especially in the neck and back area 
  • Holding the head at an unnatural angle 
  • Weakness in the limbs 
  • Sleeping with the head up 
  • Reduction in activity 
  • Irritability and depression 
  • Paralysis 

If you notice any of these symptoms, get your dog to a vet. Surgery may be a corrective measure, but it’s often treated with medication. 

Heart Disease 

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is also susceptible to heart disease. In fact, mitral valve disease is the number one cause of death in these dogs. This condition is terminal and develops in almost half of Cavaliers by the age of 5. 

One of the ways to reduce the chances of your dog suffering from this disease is by feeding them a low-sodium dog food that has taurine added to it. Both of these factors keep the cardiovascular system strong. 


Questions & Answers

What vegetables are good in a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel food? 

Whether or not your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is eating a grain-free recipe, the food you choose should contain healthy vegetables. They contain vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that help your dog meet his nutritional needs. 

Sweet potatoes are a fantastic choice, as they’re tasty and offer a good amount of vitamins and fiber. Other options are potatoes (for dogs without sensitive stomachs) pumpkin, other squashes, and greens. 

Do Cavalier King Charles Spaniels need grain-free dog food? 

Dog foods for Cavalier King Charles Spaniel pups don’t have to be grain-free. We recommend grain-free recipes for an adult dog who has a sensitive stomach.

If you do choose a recipe with grains, make sure they’re gluten-free. Choose grains like:

  • Brown rice 
  • White rice 
  • Oatmeal 
  • Barley 
  • Sorghum 
  • Millet 
  • Quinoa 

Above all, avoid corn, wheat, and soy. These are low-quality fillers that don’t meet your dog’s nutritional needs. 

Are Cavalier King Charles Spaniels fussy eaters? 

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel has a reputation of being a picky eater! Choosing food for Cavalier King Charles can be quite a task as they can change their minds on a whim or develop sudden food allergies. 

The best dog food for Cavalier King Charles dogs should have a variety of flavors in its range. That makes it easy to switch between them when your dog gets bored, without changing the nutrient levels, taste, or texture too much. 

Do Cavaliers have sensitive stomachs? 

Unfortunately one of the most common health problems in the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is food intolerances and allergies. These can develop over time, so you need to keep an eye on your pooch and see if you notice signs of his tastes changing. You may find that your dog: 

  • Is reluctant to eat his usual food  
  • Scratches or licks excessively 
  • Develops dry, dull fur 
  • Stops eating his full bowl of food 

Allergies can’t be cured. But you can eliminate virtually all symptoms by choosing dog foods for Cavalier Spaniels with allergies that are a limited ingredient and avoid the particular ingredient your dog is allergic to. 

Why is my Cavalier King Charles not eating? 

Your Cavalier may have developed an allergy to an ingredient in his kibble. If he’s refusing to eat a kibble that he used to eat, switch to something different and see if it fixes the problem. If so, allergies may be to blame. 

There’s always a chance that your Cavalier is simply fussy and doesn’t feel like that food on the day! They’re known for being fussy eaters, but some attention and hand-feeding might do the trick (although this shouldn’t become a regular thing). 

If your dog hasn’t eaten for days or displays any worrying symptoms along with a loss of appetite, we recommend a visit to the vet to rule out other health issues.