The diet could either make or break your Cavapoo’s health. That is why it is important to learn how to pick the right food for your dog.
The thing is that dog’s food market is overwhelmed with different types of dry and wet food. Professional marketers make sure that all that food looks equally attractive to you at first sight. But not all types of dog food have the same quality and nutritional values.
If you prefer to buy dry or wet food for your Cavapoo, make sure you pick the food with high meat content (70% or even more). Read the label carefully – if the food consists of some vegetables and fruits in small quantities that is quite ok but avoid the food that has corn and grains in it. Some dogs might be allergic to some sort of grains.
If you are not a fan of commercial food and decide to prepare the food for your dog on your own, that is perfect. Make sure he consumes freshly cooked meat. If you serve bones to your Cavapoo, let it be raw, as cooked bones can easily break and hurt your dog.
Is My Cavapoo Carnivore or Omnivore ?
This is a tricky question! For a long time, dogs have been considered as Omnivores. Then in the last decades, some researches have been made and their results showed that dogs are actually Carnivores.
So where is the truth? Somewhere in the middle. Dogs need meat in their diet. As a matter of fact, meat should be the main ingredient on a dog’s menu. Although they can survive eating other food, if they don’t consume meat, they will get sick in a certain moment.
So the bottom line is that they are not obligatory or strict carnivores such as cats, ferrets, etc. I have found a perfect term for dogs on some website – Opportunivores – this means the dogs will eat whatever you give them!
What is the difference between strict Carnivores and dogs?
Strict Carnivores have high nutritional requirements for certain acids such as Taurine ( an amino acid ), arachidonic acid (fatty acid) and some vitamins ( Vitamin A among others ) that they can get from animal proteins and fat sources.
On the other hand, dogs don’t have such high requirements for those elements especially for Taurine and Vitamin A (the dogs can even make their own vitamin A from betacarotene found in plants). The interesting thing is that they can make their own arachidonic acid from vegetable oils.
Which Commercial Food Is Better For My Cavapoo – Dry or Wet?
If you prefer commercial food for your dog, the choice is really wide. You can buy either dry food ( kibble) or wet canned food.
Dry food has its own advantages, it is easy to store it, to transport it. If it remains in the food bowl for a couple of hours will not go bad as wet food.
On the other hand, wet food is fresher and tastier. Wet or canned food usually have higher meat content, doesn’t contain synthetic preservatives ( they are not necessary because of the way this kind of food is packed ) nor colorings and artificial flavors.
Wet food has disadvantages as well. It is less convenient ( after you open it you must store it in the refrigerator ) and it can be slightly more expensive than dry food.
How To Read A Dog’s Food Label Properly?
How to pick the right brand/type of food? Reading carefully a label is a key. As I have written in the introductory part, marketing specialists and large pet food companies will make sure every pack looks very attractive to you, will make you think that you buy the best possible food for your dog.
First focus on the meat content on the label. The food can be based on beef, turkey, lamb, bison, salmon. If the label says ”beef” or ”lamb” or mentions any other type of meat, according to the regulations this food should contain at least 70% of that meat.
Meat content should the first ingredient listed on the label which means that this is the ingredient of higher predominance in the product. This food is perfect for your dog.
But, be super careful if you notice ”dinner rule” on the label. This applies to both dry and wet food and means that there is at least 25% of the meat content in that food.
You will recognize that kind of food product if you see ”beef dinner”, ”lamb platter” or ”turkey nuggets”. Also ‘‘entree” or ”formula’‘ are the terms that can show up on the label. So these terms can indicate you that there is a low percentage of meat content.
Another rule is the ”with” rule. If you notice that label says ‘‘with beef” that means the food you opt to buy contains only 3% of beef meat content.
Always read labels carefully and don’t confuse ”Dog food with beef” and ”Beef Dog Food ” as the first one has meat ( beef ) in traces and the second one is a high-quality meal for your Cavapoo.
Not to forget to mention the” flavor” rule. A specific percentage is not required but the food product must contain an amount sufficient to be able to be detected.
For example, Beef Flavor Dog Food should contain beef meat in some very small percentage but it is more often that food is flavored with some beef by-product and not a lump of real beef meat.
Watch out for other ingredients besides meat. All ingredients should be listed in order of a predominance by weight. The good quality dog food will contain some vegetables and fruits content but shouldn’t contain corn, soy and grains in general, dairy products and chicken and chicken by-products.
The bottom line is the more meat content dog’s food has, the better it is for your Cavapoo.
Also if you see the label ” complete and balanced” you can be sure that you are buying the right product. This label is not another marketing trick and stands for a product that meets the strict guidelines of AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials ) for the high-quality dog food that contains all necessary nutrients in proper quantities.
If you see that certain food is designed for large dogs, skip it, no matter how you liked the label content. Your Cavapoo is considered as a small dog and the nutritional needs of small dogs are quite different from the ones the large dogs have. Stick to those products that are designed for small dogs.
Some good examples of high-quality commercial dog food are :
- Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food – Barley & Brown Rice Recipe
- CRAVE High Protein Adult Dry Dog Food, Lamb & Venison
- Cesar Gourmet Wet Dog Food
- Dr. Harvey’s Canine Health Human-Grade Dog Food
What Is The Best Homemade Food For My Cavapoo?
If you are more into homemade food, that is just fine but never give your Cavapoo raw meat. Raw meat is never safe enough no matter how you trust your butcher. Preparing a meal with raw meat carries a high risk of bacterial contamination. Skip it.
You can cook a tasty meal based on quality meat and vegetables. Be careful when you add salt. Dogs do need salt in small quantities to keep their nervous system healthy.
But if your Cavapoo eats very salty food, he can get very sick. In some severe cases, dogs can experience seizures and coma as a result of very salty food intake.
When you serve bones to your Cavapoo, make sure they are raw. Unlike meat, never give a cooked bone to your dog as he can break it and hurt himself.
A small, sharp piece of bone can cause cuts in a dog’s digestive system. Some people even go further and treat their dogs with plastic bones. Dogs are ok with that, it is important just to have something to gnaw!
When you prepare meat for cooking, make sure you move all visible fat and skin from the meat, as well as bones.
If you don’t know how to cook for your Cavapoo and look for the recipes on the web, that could be quite tricky. You never know what you will run into.
Some recipes may cause a lack of some important nutrients in your Cavapoo’s diet while some others may lead to a surplus of certain nutrients. The well-balanced food is the key to a high-quality diet for your dog.
That is why it is better to check with professionals. There is a great web site called Balance IT – Autobalancer EZ for Healthy Adult Pets that is run by certified vet nutritionists, you can consult them in regard to your dog’s diet.
Human Food That Can Be Toxic To Your Cavapoo
Also if you prepare the food for your dog by yourself make sure you know all the food that is toxic to your little friend so you can avoid it :
- chocolate and cocoa
- onions and garlic
- grapes and raisins
- macadamia nuts.
- coffee or tea ( or any other product that contains caffeine)
- dairy products including ice creams. Cheese could be safe but better not take chances.
- Raw eggs
- Peach and Plum ( these fruits are especially dangerous due to their pits which could seriously damage your dog’s health
- sugary food and drinks ( too much sugar can lead to teeth problem, obesity and diabetes)
- yeast dough ( may cause a lot of pain in dog’s stomach )
- human’s medicines ( not good at all for your dog but also never give any medicines to your dog unless your vet prescripted )
- keep away your Cavapoo for kitchen storage – baking soda or baking powder, nutmeg and other spices are very toxic if taken in large amounts.
Human Food That Is Safe For Your Cavapoo
- Lean meats
- Fruits like watermelon, banana, orange, apple ( be careful to remove any seed or stem as they can cause serious health problems)
- Vegetables like carrots, green beans, zucchini or cucumber slices. Baked potato is also fine but avoid giving your dog raw potato
- Cooked rice and pasta
Grain-Free Diet – Yes or No ?
There is a big discussion out there between the professionals should dogs have grain-free diet or not.
The point is that dogs can eat grains (basic energy food). Although many people consider dogs as carnivores, there is proof that they can perfectly eat other things besides meat. One of those things is grain.
Dogs should eat whole grains such as rice, rye or spelt. This food is very healthy but dogs should eat whole grains in moderation.
So, where is the problem? The problem is that many types of dog food nowadays contain a high level of highly processed grains such as wheat. To make things even worse, sometimes these processed grains are used as the main source of protein instead of real meat.
After many studies and researches, scientists have come to the conclusion that dogs that suffer from skin diseases, allergies, constipation or diarrhea, bowel disease, lack of energy will benefit from a grain-free diet.
Similar to humans who discovered high intolerance to gluten and who decided to cut the gluten out of their diet. Based on this fact, people thought that dogs will do better without gluten in their diet.
Gluten is a protein found in some grains such as wheat or barley and if you find gluten-free dog food, it doesn’t mean that food doesn’t contain grains. But if the label says grain-free food, then you can be sure it is a gluten-free meal.
On the other hand, it seems that a grain-free diet is not the best possible option after all. The great majority of dog foods which labels say ”grain-free” contains peas, lentils, potato and other grain legumes.
Veterinary cardiologists have noticed an increase in the number of dogs that suffer from DCM ( Dilated Cardiomyopathy ) This is a very serious condition that decreases the heart’s ability to pump the blood.
FDA findings on this topic are quite interesting. They received 515 reports of DCM for 5 years ( 2014-2019). 90% of dogs were on a grain-free diet and 93% were on a lentils or peas diet.
Although the link between DCM condition and grain-free diet is not being proven yet, a big number of reports of dogs with DCM show significant improvement after they have been taken off a grain-free diet.
A proper diet is very important for your Cavapoo’s health. Even though your dog is not a strict carnivore, make sure lean and quality meat is the main ingredient in his diet. Besides meat, you can treat your dog with some tasty snacks, safe types of fruit and vegetables.
When selecting a food for your Cavapoo the best thing you can do is to ask your vet. Vets receive training in animal nutrition on regular basis ( in school or at educational conferences).