22 Foods You Need To Stop Feeding Your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (From Bad to Worse)

Written by Dr. Marcelle Landestoy, DVM

When creating your dog’s eating plan, it’s essential to consider their breed and physical needs.

If you have a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, there are various foods that can cause mild discomfort, cause moderate to severe effects, and foods that are toxic. 

Foods you need to stop feeding your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel include packaged chicken, beef, venison, or lamb. You should also avoid fatty meat, raw meat, dairy, salt, and spinach. Foods like chocolate, grapes, and dough with yeast are incredibly toxic and should be avoided at all costs.

In this article, I have broken down the foods to avoid feeding your dog into three categories; green, yellow, and red.

Green: Slight Discomfort

Yellow: Moderate to Intense Discomfort

Red: Poisonous

Read on to discover which foods these are.

Green Foods: Foods Which Cause Mild Discomfort 

green foods cavalier charles spaniel

Some foods may cause your Spaniel mild discomfort for a short period. Some green foods not to feed your Spaniel include packaged or processed:

  • Chicken
  • Beef
  • Venison
  • Lamb

Packaged or Processed Chicken or Beef

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are particularly vulnerable to skin allergies, causing them to continuously scratch and itch their skin.

One of the causes of skin allergies is food intolerance to animal proteins found in chicken and beef. 

These food intolerances can be triggered by packaged chicken or beef because they contain additives and preservatives.

Some of the symptoms of skin allergies include: 

  • Dandruff and crusting skin. You will notice that your dog is shedding more skin than usual. 
  • Chronic itching. 
  • Changes in your dog’s coat color. However, it would be best if you remembered that a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel’s coat might also change color due to age or exposure to sunlight.

If you notice that your dog is beginning to develop symptoms of a skin allergy, it is helpful to assess what the triggers are and try eliminating them one at a time.

If eliminating packaged chicken and beef doesn’t help, you can also consider whether mold, pollen, mites, or dust are causing the allergies.

You can replace packaged chicken and beef with freshly prepared meats instead.

Packaged or Processed Venison or Lamb

It is best to avoid feeding your dog too much venison or lamb during the summer.

cavalier king charles spaniel eating

Venison and lamb are high-heat proteins and can cause a build-up of heat in your dog’s body.

As Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are brachycephalic dogs, a heat build-up can become dangerous. 

Brachycephalic dogs have short muzzles and cannot keep cool as efficiently as dogs with longer muzzles.

This is because they cannot pant enough to cool themselves down.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are at a higher risk of heat stroke and exhaustion during summer. 

Instead of feeding your dog lamb or venison, give them duck, fish, rabbit, or turkey. 

Citrus Fruit

Limiting the amount of citrus fruit you give to your dog is advisable.

Citrus fruit contains a significant amount of citric acid. If your dog has excess citric acid, they may suffer from stomach irritation.

In severe cases, citric acid may also damage the nervous system and lead to a loss of function in several areas.

However, this is relatively uncommon, and your dog would need to eat many pieces of citrus fruit for this to occur. 

Coconuts and Coconut-Based Products

Some dogs enjoy the taste of coconut meat and coconut products.

However, you should limit the amount of coconut you give your dog because too much can cause bloating and gastrointestinal issues like diarrhea and vomiting. 

However, coconut is non-toxic, and if your dog has eaten coconuts, you don’t need to notify your vet.

You only need to take your dog to the vet if the abdominal issues don’t clear up within 24 hours. 

Milk and Dairy Products

Like many animals, puppies rely on milk from their mothers. However, milk from other animals, such as cows or goats, can make dogs sick.

Most dogs are lactose intolerant and can’t process particular enzymes in milk. 

When they have too much milk or other dairy products like cheese, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels may react by vomiting or experiencing diarrhea.

Milk also has a lot of fat and natural sugar, which may cause your dog to put on weight.  

Yellow Foods: Foods With Moderate to Severe Effects 

yellow foods cavalier king charles spaniel

The foods in this category can lead to ongoing poor health for your dog.

Examples of yellow foods include the following: 

  • Fatty meat
  • Too many carbohydrates 
  • Kibble, raw meat 
  • Dental sticks 
  • Salt 
  • Spinach 
  • Cherries
  • Onions

Fatty Meat 

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are prone to obesity, so it’s essential to ensure that you give your dog lean meat to reduce the chances that they will gain weight excessively. 

Fatty meat can cause your dog to put on weight and strain the heart. 

Feeding your dog human-grade meat is advisable as it contains lower fat levels.

In addition, before feeding your dog meat, remove any visible fat or skin. 

Too Many Carbohydrates

Most dog breeds do well on a low-carbohydrate diet, but this is especially true for Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.

Too many carbohydrates in your dog’s diet can cause excessive weight gain and increase the likelihood of eye problems.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are susceptible to hereditary cataracts, multifocal retinal dysplasia, and other eye conditions. 

King charles spaniel

Too many carbohydrates in your dog’s diet can also cause runny or crusty eyes, which can negatively affect your dog’s overall eye health, leading to more serious eye issues later on. 


Recent reviews of Kibble, or dry dog food, have found that kibble contains a large number of carbohydrates.

Too many carbohydrates increase your dog’s risk of putting on weight.

Because Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are naturally inclined towards obesity, it is crucial that you avoid giving them kibble.

Kibble may also contain a range of toxins, including aflatoxins, polybrominated diphenyl ethers, and acrylamides.

These toxins can build up in your dog’s body, leading to long-term health repercussions, such as a lower life expectancy and kidney problems.

Raw Meat/Bones

Organizations like the RSPCA suggest that you should avoid feeding your dogs raw meat and bones.

cavalier king charles spaniel on a bed

This is because raw meat and bones contain bacteria that may impact your dog’s digestive system. 

Bones can sometimes damage your dog’s teeth, while smaller ones can splinter and cut your dog as they travel through the digestive tract, potentially causing long-term issues. 

If your dog enjoys bones, you should stick to feeding them human-grade raw meat or bones, as these are less likely to contain bacteria that can affect their health.

Rice or Potato-Based Chew Sticks

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are more vulnerable to dental disease than many other dogs, and it’s vital to ensure that the foods you give them do not contribute to dental decay.

While dogs love chew sticks, try to avoid giving them rice or potato-based chew sticks.

Rice and potatoes have high levels of carbohydrates, which can stick to your dog’s teeth, leading to plaque build-up.

In addition, they also break down into sugar which can lead to cavities. 


You shouldn’t add salt to your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel’s meals.

In addition, you should also ensure that the packaged foods you’re giving your dog don’t have a high sodium content. 

Too much salt can cause a range of issues, including: 

  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea
  • Depression and listlessness
  • Tremors and seizures 
  • Fever 
  • Dehydration 

Over time, the sodium levels may build up in your dog’s body, creating more severe health issues. 


It is best to moderate the amount of spinach you give your dog.

Dog Sleeping

Spinach has high amounts of oxalic acid, which can ultimately cause kidney damage.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are vulnerable to developing kidney stones.

Excess oxalic acid in the blood may eventually lead to kidney damage. 


While the flesh of the cherry is safe for dogs to eat, all other parts of the cherry are toxic.

Cherry pits and stems contain cyanide, which can be fatal when consumed in large amounts.

It is best to avoid giving your dog cherries altogether to reduce the risk of cyanide poisoning. 


Never feeding your dog onions, whether raw or cooked, is advisable. Onions contain components that can make red blood vessels rupture.

Over time, your dog may become anemic or suffer from other symptoms of onion toxicity, including vomiting or diarrhea.

If your dog has eaten a little onion, monitor them carefully for 48 hours for any signs of discomfort.

If you notice any concerning symptoms, bring them to the vet immediately. 


Like onions, garlic can damage your dog’s blood cells. Garlic contains thiosulfate, which causes oxidative stress to blood vessels.

Over time, this can lead to anemia, resulting in many problems, including weakness, lethargy, and jaundice.

Other problems associated with garlic include abdominal pain, depression, dehydration, and a loss of appetite.

Red Foods: Foods That Are Extremely Toxic or Fatal

red foods cavalier king charles spaniel

Red foods are highly toxic and may immediately cause organ failure and even death if your dog eats them.

You must never feed your dog these foods and take steps to ensure that they don’t accidentally ingest them. 


Regardless of the quantity eaten, Grapes are toxic for all dog breeds.

Dogs cannot metabolize many components of grapes, including flavonoids, monosaccharides, and tannins.

Eating grapes may cause immediate kidney damage or organ failure in a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

If your dog eats some grapes, you should immediately take them to the vet.

Your vet will likely induce vomiting and may want to observe your dog for 24 hours. 


No dogs, including Spaniels, should be given chocolate. Chocolate contains methylxanthines which can reduce your dog’s metabolic functions.


When small amounts of chocolate are consumed, your dog may suffer from internal problems that cause vomiting and diarrhea. 

Chocolate also contains theobromine and caffeine, which can slowly build up in your dog’s system and result in long-term health repercussions.

If your dog eats chocolate in large quantities, they may suffer from seizures or cardiac arrest, so it’s vital to bring them to the vet immediately. 

Yeast Dough 

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels should never eat bread dough.

The yeast in the bread dough can cause your dog’s stomach to swell up, resulting in extreme pain and digestive imbalances. 

The yeast may also begin to ferment in your dog’s stomach and lead to the production of alcohol, which can cause alcohol poisoning and become fatal. 

Remember that your dog can be exposed to yeast dough outside the kitchen.

Yeast dough is often used to make homemade playdough or can be used in craft projects.

Make sure that any playdough or projects in progress are stored out of your dog’s reach. 

Some signs that your dog may have eaten dough include:

  • Pale gums 
  • Coughing 
  • Weakness or lethargy 
  • Poor coordination 

The dough also contains a large amount of sodium, which can lead to bloating and dehydration.

Macadamia Nuts

Macadamia nuts are toxic to all breeds of dogs. Even in small quantities, macadamia nuts can cause various adverse side effects, including vomiting, fits, and a high fever.

Contact your vet immediately if you suspect your dog has eaten even a tiny portion of macadamia nuts.

Be careful to check the labels on all biscuits and treats you are giving your dog to ensure that there are no macadamias.

sleeping cavalier king charles spaniel


You can find xylitol in various sugar-free products such as sugar-free gum, candies, vitamins, toothpaste, and mouthwash.

While you may not consciously feed your Spaniel sugar-free products, they may snatch a piece of gum or candy off the table if you’re not careful.

Xylitol is highly toxic to dogs as it can cause a significant drop in their blood sugar, leading to seizures and a loss of coordination that may be fatal.

It may also cause long-term liver damage.

Final Thoughts 

When creating an eating plan for your dog, you should make sure that you consider all the foods they can’t eat.

While some foods can cause mild sensitivities and allergies, others are highly toxic.

Avoid feeding your dog chocolate, grapes, yeast dough, and macadamia nuts. 

You should also not feed them too much fatty meat, carbohydrates, and dairy.

Doing so reduces the risk of your dog developing conditions such as obesity, heart disease, and dental problems. 

foods to avoid cavalier king charles spaniel3


  • Preventative Vets:Dough & Dogs: Why It’s Bad and What You Can Do
  • ASPCA: People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets
  • AKC: Fruits and Vegetables that Dogs Can and Can’t Eat
  • Cavalier Health: Diets for Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
  • Dog Time: Why Summer Heat Can Be Deadly For Brachycephalic (Short-Muzzled) Dogs
  • Darwins Pet Products: Eye Conditions
  • Dogs Naturally Magazine:Kibble 
  • Hills Pet:Is Chocolate Bad for My Dog? (& What to Do If They Eat It)
  • RSPCA: What Should I Feed my Dog
  • The Cavalier Club: Puppy Pack
  • North Elm Animal Hospital:Cavalier Canines 
  • Nom Nom: Cavalier King Charles with Skin Allergies 
  • webMD: Why Dogs Can’t Eat Grapes

Click here to read my post on the 6 most common health problems that affect Cavalier King Charles Spaniels

Veterinary Hospital Director at UCE
Dr. Marcelle is a general veterinarian with a Small Animal Medicine Specialty | Director of the UCE School of Veterinary Medicine | Certified by the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society

Leave a Reply