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How Much Does a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Eat in a Day? Our Vet Explains

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on June 12, 2024 by Dogster Team

cavalier king charles spaniel eating bone treat

How Much Does a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Eat in a Day? Our Vet Explains


Dr. Luqman Javed Photo


Dr. Luqman Javed

Veterinarian, DVM

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a toy dog breed that’s among the most popular dog breeds kept as pets today. Ranking at #14 according to the American Kennel Club’s (AKC) popularity ranking for 2023, it’s evident that these charming pups have solidified their place in the hearts of many owners.

An important aspect of pet care is knowing just how much you need to feed your pet. This ensures you’re not overfeeding or underfeeding, as both can lead to unwanted health issues.

Many factors determine the number of Calories (kcal) a Cavalier King Charles dog requires on a daily basis. Broadly speaking, a neutered, healthy adult Cavalier King Charles dog requires around 430–530 Calories per day.

The guideline above doesn’t apply to all Cavalier King Charles dogs, though. As such, consulting your veterinarian for a more accurate feeding regimen or plan is warranted. Read on as we look at the factors that can change your dog’s nutritional requirements.

dogster face divider About the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a companion dog. This means that it was developed and bred to be a companion and not to be a working dog. However, it was bred from other Spaniels that were used as working dogs, and the modern breed still retains some of the properties of these dogs.

Spaniels are especially renowned for their ability to flush birds out for hunters to kill and their ability to retrieve dead birds from the field or bodies of water. Your Cavalier will likely enjoy wading around in puddles, as well as attempting to flush birds out of bushes and trees.

It will also enjoy spending time curled up on your lap when you get home from walks, and its friendly nature means that you will probably meet a lot of new people and dogs while out on your walk.

Image By: Bru-nO, Pixabay

How Much to Feed

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a small breed and should be given an appropriate-sized diet. For dry food, this means feeding between 1–1.5 cups of food per day. The exact amount will depend on whether your pup is small or large for the breed, and if you are trying to help your dog lose some weight, you should feed slightly under the recommended daily intake.

If you feed treats or you use food or tasty treats as a training tool, you will need to take this into account when calculating daily feeding requirements. This is especially important with small breeds because it only takes a small amount of food to make up a significant portion of the dog’s daily calorie intake.

Age also matters. Senior dogs need less food because they will be less active and therefore burn off fewer calories. Once your Cavalier starts to slow down as a result of its age, ensure that you stick to 1 cup of food per day, potentially even dropping to ¾ of a cup.

Dry vs Wet Food

Dry and wet food both have their pros and cons.
  • Dry food is less expensive than wet food and it keeps longer, both in the cupboard and in the bowl. It tends to cause less mess and may result in less odorous stools. However, some dogs are unenthused by the look and smell of dry food, which means some owners prefer to feed wet food.
  • Wet food is more palatable and tends to be more appealing to dogs. It also contains moisture, which can help maintain healthy hydration levels. But you will need to lift any leftover food off the floor after a couple of hours. Once wet food is open, it needs to be kept in the fridge until it is used.

You can combine wet and dry food, either at mealtimes or over the day. For example, you can give half the recommended daily dry food and half the recommended daily wet food. Leave kibble down during the day and give wet food at mealtimes. You will both get the best of both worlds, providing some excitement and variety in the food that you give.

dry and wet pet food on white background
Image By: Jiri Hera, Shutterstock

How Much Exercise Does a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Need?

As well as ensuring that you give the right amount of food each day, you should also ensure that your Cavalier gets an adequate amount of exercise.

Although the Cavalier is a companion dog, it is still an energetic and lively dog that will need approximately 1 hour of exercise a day. This can include structured dog walks as well as agility and other canine sports classes.

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The 5 Foods You Shouldn’t Feed a King Charles Spaniel

You should only feed appropriate foods to your dog. Check the ingredients of any commercial food you buy and, if you prepare a raw food diet, make sure you are feeding species-appropriate food and that you give a balanced diet that meets all the nutritional and dietary requirements of dogs.

You should also avoid feeding certain foods, including some human foods, and if your dog eats any of the following, including off your plate, you should look for signs and symptoms of toxicity or illness and consult a vet if in any doubt.

1. Chocolate

Chocolate contains methylxanthines, which are a stimulant and can prevent your dog from properly metabolizing food. It can cause gastrointestinal problems including vomiting and diarrhea, even in small quantities. Large amounts of chocolate can lead to heart complaints and may even prove fatal.

brown and white chocolate bars
Image by: Jessica Loaiza, Unsplash

2. Onions and Garlic

Onions and garlic belong to the allium family and are popular with people. However, they should not be given to dogs. They kill red blood cells and lead to anemia. Even small amounts can cause your dog to get very ill.

3. Grapes and Raisins

Grapes can cause kidney failure in dogs, even in very small amounts. And, because raisins are just dried grapes, they can cause the same fatal reaction. Avoid giving either of these ingredients to your dog.

4. Dairy Products

Dogs can react badly to milk and other dairy products because they do not have the digestive enzymes to properly break down the fats and other ingredients. Dairy products include cheese, and this is why some dogs have bad wind after eating cheese and cheesy products.

brie cheese
Image Credit: Volodymyr Stakhiv, Shutterstock

5. Salty Food

Salt dehydrates the body in small quantities, while in large amounts it can lead to sodium poisoning. Trace amounts of salt are safe and naturally found in a lot of foods, but large amounts can cause serious problems for your dog’s health.


The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a loving, loyal dog that is energetic and lively. Expect to feed between 1–1.5 cups of dry kibble per day, and, if you feed wet food rather than dry, weigh your dog to ensure that you give an appropriate amount of food. Don’t forget to count the calories you give in treats and reduce the amount of food you give, especially if you use treats for training.

Featured Image Credit: Bussakorn Ewesakul, Shutterstock

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