Genetic tests came be done on pups even as newborns and for minimal cost. With all the possible health concerns of the cavalier, isn't it nice to know Episodic Falling and Degenerative Myelopathy (along with over 300 more genetic diseases) is not among them?
I'm not sure. With 75 percent of all tested cavaliers either carrying or at risk for DM, perhaps they feel like it is futile to test, or reduces the gene pool too much to eliminate dogs that are at risk. With DM being a late-onset disease, maybe they don't think they need to care about it since the dog would be "older" if it manifested. I believe it is information prospective dog owners have a right to know, and with careful breeding, can be eliminated. I know cavalier owners that have lost dogs afflicted with this terrible disease, and it is heartbreaking to make a decision to put down a 12 year old dog with a perfect heart because their back end doesn't work anymore.
Hearts are tested at 1, 3, 5, and 7 years. (Breaths per minute at rest are tracked every year). Patella Ligaments are tested at 1-2 years, hips are tested at 2 years, and eyes are scanned in the first year and at 2, 4, and 6 years.
Pups are individuals, and each puppy's development, maturity and growth is taken into account when being adopted. Generally, pups start overpowering their mothers around 6-7 weeks and the mother starts limiting nursing and interactions to playing only. Pups are then supplemented with a goat milk formula and begin relying on solid foods at this time. They are also introduced to other members of the pack for socialization and playing. Pups are usually ready for their forever homes sometime between 10-12 weeks or after.
Surprisingly, fall or winter! Routine, routine, routine! Predictable routine and interaction with just a few people in the first few months are important for bonding and your puppy's feelings of safety and potty training. My puppies are using a litter box with almost 100% accuracy by the time they are 8 weeks old. They use the litter box at night so no trips outside at night, and they seem to "tend to business" quickly when brought outside 3-4 times a day! Spring and summer can be nice as well, although planning around vacations can be challenging.
We do accept deposits to reserve a puppy only after puppies are born. These deposits are refundable up to the puppy being 6 weeks old. Flight nannies are possible, but not encouraged. It is best to plan a round trip to MSP airport and I can meet you there with your puppy. No one can care more about your puppy than you and I! Visits to the farm are encouraged!
Health and genetic testing parents is only one piece of the puzzle. There are environmental areas where one can make a difference in longevity: 1. Feeding a living diet (not just kibble/processed dog food), 2. Weight management, 3. Minimizing/eliminating chemical exposure (flea/tick orals and topicals etc. Cavaliers are VERY sensitive to chemicals), 4. Minimizing vaccinations, and maybe most importantly, 5. Getting teeth cleaned/extracted as needed. Oral health and heart health are connected! I am happy to discuss all of these topics further.
High quality food is very important, raw when appropriate, organic when possible. A great place to start is with Dr. Pitcairn's book Dr. Pitcairn's Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats 4th edition. His book has many dog food recipes and is a great resource in making decisions about your dog's health. It is important to give ample opportunity for dogs to chew on raw bones to keep their teeth clean. Carrots are great treats! You might find your dog will love veges!
Dr. Jean Dodds is a great place to start, along with Dr. Pitcairn's book mentioned above. There are options to check immunity with titers rather than just giving annual vaccinations. Rather than spending money on vaccinating over and over, I spend money on quality food, immunity titer checks and dental care if needed!
Please remember that spending less on a puppy encourages breeders to cut corners on adult care and health testing. There are many criticisms of "puppy mill" puppies, and the horrible conditions in which some "rescue dogs" are found. If you are finding a cheaper puppy to purchase, I would bet this is affecting how the adults are kept and cared for, and could be supporting a "puppy mill."