You’ve finally decided to have a cute little Cavalier puppy to fill your home and hearts with joy and love. But you have heard that Cavaliers can have a multitude of health problems, which would be not only heartbreaking but also costly. So how do you find a healthy puppy?
Buying a puppy from a Kennel Club Assured Breeder is the most effective way of ensuring your puppy will be healthy. Assured Breeders must comply with breed-specific health screening.
Purchasing a puppy from an Assured Breeder would be the best option, as they will breed their puppies from the healthiest parents, but this can be costly. So we looked into how to find the healthiest puppies without expert knowledge.
The number one thing that most people need to do is research, and yet it sometimes fails to be a priority. Some folk see puppies for sale and immediately fall in love with their adorable little faces. Still, we must be strong and look at the whole picture before making an impulse purchase.
Ask friends and family if they know of any reputable breeders. If you cannot find the required information, contact your local veterinarian. You could even call the American Kennel Club, or Kennel Club, depending on where you are from, for advice. They will be more than happy to help.
Once you have found a reputable breeder, call them or drop around to speak to them about the breeding protocols they follow. Try to get as much information as you can regarding the health of your future pup.
A genuine breeder will have no problems with you doing this and would be more than happy to discuss things with you. You may need to book an appointment, as they will be busy caring for the dogs.
Here are some of the hereditary diseases that you will need to ask about:
- Mitral Valve Disease (MVD)
- Syringomyelia (SM)
- Hip Dysplasia
- Patellar Luxation
- Genetic Eye Disorders
- Episodic Falling Syndrome (EFS)
- Curly Coat
- Degenerative Myelopathy (DM)
All breeders should follow the breeding protocol to eradicate these diseases in future Cavaliers. For tips on what to ask the breeder, visit my post on Cavalier King Charles Spaniels: Are We Healthy?
Puppy Farmers and Unethical Breeders
So what’s all the fuss with puppy farmers? Farmers look after their livestock, don’t they?
Like regular farmers, puppy farmers are not licensed, so they don’t adhere to any of the breeding protocols. They also keep the mother in dirty, cramped conditions and are used as a breeding machine, not letting her take a break between litters of puppies.
The puppies are also separated from their mother at a very early age, which causes distress. As a result, the puppies don’t receive their mother’s life skills in behaving.
Remember not to purchase a puppy from a suspected puppy farmer, even if you want to rescue the puppies from any horrible conditions you may have seen or imagined.
Giving the puppy farmer money will only fund them to make more puppies and put others through pain and anguish.
The best course of action would be to report them to a local animal welfare charity, such as;
- ASPCA – American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
- Website: https://www.aspca.org/
- Call: (212) 876-7700
- RSPCA – Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (UK)
- Website: https://www.rspca.org.uk/
- Call: 0300 1234 999
- SSPCA – Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Scotland)
- Website: https://www.scottishspca.org/
- Call: 03000 999 999
- SPCA – Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Worldwide)
- Website: https://www.spcai.org/
- Call: Toll-Free 24hr voicemail 888-690-SPCA (7722)
- Call: Monday – Friday 9am-5pm EST 212-244-SPCA (7722)
Animal welfare charities have the power to inform the local authorities. They will legally shut them down, seize all dogs and puppies, and rehome them into caring and loving families.
The ultimate aim is to purchase a healthy Cavalier that has been bred ethically and has had a joyous upbringing with its mother and siblings. Most breeders will, of course, care dearly for their dogs, and so this will be normal for them.
However, not all breeders have the dogs’ welfare at heart and will almost certainly do anything for money, including mistreating the mother and puppies.
Here are some red flags you should look out for when purchasing a Cavalier puppy that should make you think twice about the purchase. They could be a link in the puppy farming chain:
- The breeder will let you walk away with a puppy on the first visit.
- You will never see the puppy with its mother.
- The breeder wants to meet you in a car park/gas station or strange place.
- The breeder asks you no questions about where you live or the type of lifestyle you lead.
- The puppy, mother, or both looks sad or fearful of the breeder.
- If the person you are buying from has very little knowledge of the breed.
- If you have been informed that they can get you any breed, color, or sex of dog.
Contact your local animal welfare establishment if you suspect anything is untoward.
You have been rigorous in your research and picked one of the top breeders who follows all the breeding protocols, but your puppy still gets sick. Unfortunately, this is just a part of life. We all get sick from time to time and need medical help.
Having a sick dog or puppy can be costly, so it is vitally important to get the correct insurance for the family’s latest member.
Most insurance companies will only pay out when the health issue isn’t a pre-existing condition, so it is crucial to get health insurance as soon as possible.
Also, remember that not all policies are equal and that cheap doesn’t mean better. For example, Lady, my Cavalier, has recently been diagnosed with diabetes. For those in the know, this can quickly rack up massive bills.
When Lady was a puppy, we opted for a policy that wasn’t too cheap and not too expensive, and boy, are we glad.
Each month costs us around £90 in insulin, needles, and a sharps disposal box, which isn’t too bad. Still, emergency admissions and treatments cost the most, the first visit cost close to £3000.
Our insurance policy covers £7000 annually, which renews yearly. Some of the cheapest policies in the UK would only cover this amount for their entire life, which makes you think twice.
If you want to know more about Lady’s diabetic journey, you can read it here.
For more in-depth knowledge of purchasing Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppies and possible health problems, please refer to the sources of my information.