Feeding your cavapoo: are dogs carnivores or omnivores?
Is wet food or dry kibble better for cavapoo?
One of the most important decisions you will ever make when it comes to you cavapoo health and wellness is which food to feed them. Just like with humans, diet is a major factor that may make or break your cavapoo’s health. It’s very important to make the right choices about your pet’s food.
How do you make those choices? There is so much advertising and marketing pushing dry kibble, wet kibble, organic dog food, natural dog food – it’s easy to get confused. Corporations out there are very well aware that you care a lot about your dog, which makes you a great source of potential revenue for them.
It’s up to you to be well educated and well-informed about what really is and isn’t good for your cavapoo.
This is exactly what this article will attempt to help you with.
Let’s start with the very basics – that is, what are dogs naturally supposed to eat?
Dogs are carnivores in nature. This means, they are supposed to eat meat. There has been a significant amount of debate as to whether dogs are carnivores or omnivores – since, unlike cats, they can and do survive on foods other than meat.
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However, according to the latest research, it is becoming more and more clear that dogs were originally predominantly carnivores. They are not obligate carnivores like cats, who need only meat in their diet. Dogs can survive on other foods, such as grains or vegetables, but the key word here is survive.
That means, your dog won’t necessarily get sick right away if you feed it vegetables or cereal. However, if you want your cavapoo to thrive, it needs meat, like any other carnivore. The more meat in their diet, the healthier your cavapoo will be.
Vegetables, corn and other grains in a dog’s diet may serve as “filler”, which will make for a bigger portion and make your dog poop more (Cause we all love to pick up that poop, right?). But they won’t add to your dog’s health and well-being. Moreover, they may very well be harmful for your dog’s health, as they aren’t your dog’s natural food.
Besides, a lot of dogs are actually allergic to grains and even some vegetables.
What is your dog’s favorite food? Any recommendations on food for other cavapoo owners?
Origin puppy food! High in protein and she absolutely loves it. Otherwise, we recently started giving her a large cold carrot because it keeps hers busy and feels good on her little piranha teeth!
Korin, mom of Charli Louise, the cavapoo puppy from Seattle, Washington
Dry kibble is one of man’s greatest inventions, as it’s so easy to store, transport, and use in the every-day feeding of your puppy. However, you have to pay attention to what’s in your dry kibble. To do that, you may want to start to read labels if you weren’t before. Remember, your cavapoo is a carnivore, and its diet has to be predominantly meat. Now, how do you know if the well-advertised kibble consists of just that – predominantly meat?
What is Sheppard’s favorite food?Boiled chicken! Can smell it from a mile away!Lauren, mom of Sheppard, cavapoo from Melbourne, Australia
You read labels!
If the label on the kibble says “beef”, or ‘turkey”, or “bison” – you are in luck. According to regulations, this food has to consist of at least 70% beef, bison or any other type of meat stated on the label. Now here is the catch, and here is where you have to be careful. If the label on your kibble says “Bison dinner”, “beef platter” or anything vague like that – this means that the food has to have only 10% of the said meat to qualify.
The rest will be filler! If the label says “with bison”, that means there is less than 3% of the said bison meat in the food. Nowhere near enough meat for the needs of your carnivore cavapoo! Remember, marketing is here to sell the product, and marketers use all kinds of sneaky ways to make you think you are buying nutritious food for your dog, when in reality you are buying a much lower quality product.
Obviously, the more meat the kibble contains, the better it is for your dog.
What is Teddy’s favorite food? Any recommendations on food for other cavapoo owners?
He loves a good gravy bone! He had tummy troubles at first so he’s on special gastric food from our vet and is thriving on it!
Jodie, mom of Teddy the cavapoo from South Wales, UK
What’s in the kibble?
When you read the label on the kibble, pay attention to which ingredients are listed besides meat. Are there grains like corn? Are there vegetables? While a little bit of vegetables or fruit may be OK for your cavapoo, some dogs may have allergies to corn or grain. In any case, the smaller the percentage of “filler” in your cavapoo’s food, the better.
Look for “Complete and Balanced” label
Although marketers tend to make many promises to us consumers, “complete and balanced” label on the bag of dog kibble is not an empty promise. It is an actual true statement that companies can only say about their product if it meets the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) guidelines for the balanced dog food containing all the necessary nutrients in the correct amounts. If you see that on the label – it is a good sign.
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Food for small vs large dogs
Some brands mark their product as food for small or large dogs. Cavapoo are small dogs and you should pick the small dog food. Large dogs have different nutrient requirements from small dogs.
Similar guidelines apply for wet food for your cavapoo. Pay attention to the label, the list of ingredients, and whether the food states to be “complete and balanced”. Wet food also has some advantages over dry kibble, in that it usually has more taste, so even picky eaters will probably eat better on wet food. Wet food also often contains fresher ingredients than dry kibble food. This may be why wet food tends to be a little more expensive. Of course, it also needs to be refrigerated, and it does take a bit more effort in handling than dry kibble.
What is Maggie’s favorite food? Any recommendations on food for other cavapoo owners?
It’s a tie between hot dogs and peanut butter. Our puppy in particular loves playing with puzzle toys that dispense kibble. She doesn’t really care for eating out of a bowl. We feed her Royal Canin.
Tina, mom of Maggie, the Cavapoo from Hoboken, NJ
Raw or all meat diet for your dog
I was advised by a concerned and very helpful Cavapoo breeder that just feeding your cavapoo raw meat from the store can be problematic and can make some of the dogs sick. She pointed out the importance of feeding a balanced diet which is hard to achieve if you don’t know what you are doing. I am researching this question further at the moment, and I’d like to apologise for the advice I am providing below in regards to just feeding raw meat – please do your own research on balanced dog food and / or talk to your vet. I am hoping to provide a better recommendation based on new research as soon as I can.
Some people avoid commercial dog food altogether and cook their dog the food themselves. By doing that, they avoid chemicals and preservatives that are abound in the commercial foods, which is great. However, if you are going to make your own food for your cavapoo, remember – meat has to be the main ingredient. Really, your cavapoo doesn’t need any other ingredients but meat. Too often people think they can feed their dogs vegetables and oatmeal.
The dog will of course eat those things – dogs are generally not picky eaters. But these types of food are never optimal for dogs being predominantly carnivores. So if you can afford the time and money – the all cooked meat diet would be perfect for your cavapoo.
Some people go one step further and give their dogs raw meat. You can buy raw meat at the store / butcher. While this is very healthy for the dog, be careful while handling and storing raw meat, as there is always a chance of bacterial infection for both you and the dog.
Just like with human children, age really matters in trying to establish an optimal diet for your four-legged child. Here is a brief guide.
Best food for cavapoo puppies up to 4 months old
The first important thing here is that normally by the time you pick up your cavapoo from a breeder, they have already been eating a certain food for a while and are very used to it.
The breeder would normally let you know what brand they have been feeding, the amount, how many times a day etc. Follow recommendations of the breeder.
If you don’t agree with the brand they have been feeding the puppy, you can slowly (slowly!) transition them to a different brand.
However, such a transition needs to be very slow and careful, because switching foods tends to easily upset a dog’s stomach, and may cause your cavapoo to have diarrhoea or vomiting if done too fast.
Puppies up to four months old would normally eat 4 times a day. Free feeding (leaving food out for a whole day) is not a good idea at this point. Remember that at this time you are also trying to house train your puppy.
Feeding at strict intervals will help you manage when your cavapoo puppy needs to use the bathroom. Free feeding only works for older dogs. Raw diets are not recommended for puppies due to their fragile digestive system.
You will often see special “puppy food” kibble or wet food out there. Most breeders I know discourage the use of puppy food. It can be too rich in proteins, which can overly speed up your cavapoo development and actually hurt their musculoskeletal system.
What is your dogs’ favorite food? Any recommendations on food for other cavapoo owners?
They love Ivory Coat puppy kibble mixed with Greek yoghurt for breakfast and mixed with Wellness Core Puppy formula wet food at dinner. They love a raw chicken wing or premium beef steak mince ball as a special treat.
Yvette and Mat, pawrents of Thelma and Louise, the two cavapoo puppies from Sydney, Australia
Best food for cavapoo – 4 months and older
As your cavapoo grows and matures, you can start feeding them twice a day. This is also a good time to introduce bones. Be careful with those! Only let your puppy have raw bones. Cooked bones can easily split and harm your dog! Some cavapoo breeders recommend to only use artificial bones – those aren’t as dangerous for your dog while still satisfying your cavapoo’s need to gnaw.
Bones are also very helpful for those times when your puppy is teething.
A cavapoo can be considered “adult” after about 12 months of age. An adult cavapoo should be fed once or twice a day, normally the same brand/ type of food you’ve fed them since puppyhood. Pay attention to how your cavapoo is doing on the food you’ve chosen for them. Is their hair shiny? Are they healthy and happy? Do they have diarrhoea or vomit often, or do they seem to have no issues digesting their food at all? Are they energetic and playful?
All those signs will tell you if you are feeding your cavapoo right. If your cavapoo shows signs of nutritional deficiencies, please consult your vet!
Snacks and treats
We all love our dogs just like we do our kids (some people even more so, apparently!). And of course we want to treat them. Cavapoo is a very smart breed and they also love treats a lot, so they will put a lot of effort into begging treats from you 🙂 You need to put some effort into not giving in. For one, it is best for your dog to be disciplined around food, i.e. be fed strictly at certain times of day.
This is good for the dog’s digestion and will make their behaviour more pleasant (no one likes a dog that’s constantly begging for treats.) If you need to use treats, use them when you train your cavapoo, instead of just giving them treats for no reason (other than your love for them of course!). The other consideration is that a lot of commercially-made treats are not that good for your dog’s health. They are often full of carbohydrates which may negatively affect your dog’s blood sugar levels and can cause obesity.
To round this up, it is important to understand, that, when it comes to your cavapoo nutrition, natural is best. Dogs are carnivores, and do best on meat, although they can tolerate small amounts of other groups of food such as carbohydrates. Whether you choose wet or dry food, choose the brand that has the most content of meat and the least content of filler and artificial flavors and preservatives.
Don’t give your dog too many treats. Give them plenty of fresh air and exercise to maintain their calorie expenditure and help their digestion. You will have a happy and healthy cavapoo.
If you are looking for a cavapoo to adopt, check out our articles on how to find a reputable breeder. You can find such breeders in: Reputable cavapoo breeders UK, Cavapoo breeders in Ontario, Canada, and Cavapoo breeders in Alberta, Canada. You can also adopt a puppy from Cavapoo Rescue. Don’t forget to read about Cavapoo pros and cons.