Health & Nutrition
Here at Darksprite we do all we can in the breeding and rearing of our puppies, from the choice of parents and breed specific health testing to quality feeding to ensure that all pups go to their new homes fit and healthy with a long and happy life ahead of them. Our view is that the healthier puppies are from the beginning, with the maintenance of a good diet, exercise, love and care, the more likely they are to remain fit and well into old age, without the need for constant intervention with medication on a regular basis via wormers, boosters, flea treatments etc..
Mother and pups will have been wormed in the weeks leading up to a puppy going to its new home and full advice on this regime is given in the new owners' Puppy Packs. However, on an on-going basis, you may want to consider whether your dog actually requires the rigid monthly/tri-monthly wormers automatically or whether you wish to test your dog beforehand to find out whether worming is neccessary. The choice is yours but testing faecal samples can provide a way of avoiding un-necessary medication of dogs and can be done quite easily. For more information see this website: Wormcount
Depending on the age at which a puppy leaves us to go to their new home, they may or may not have started their initial vaccination schedule. The most recent veterinary guidance from the World Small Animal Veterinary Group (WSAVA) supports the view that vaccination should be kept a safe minimum and repeated,only if needed after a titre test to measure antibody levels in the blood. Maternally derived anti-bodies to infection from which the suckling pups benefit in their first weeks of life can remain effective for up to 12 weeks and sometimes longer and these can counteract any vaccination if present at significant levels meaning that no benefit is then obtained from the vaccine. The later the vaccination is given, the more likely it is to be effective. Vaccine manufacturers such as Nobivac themselves acknowledge that their vaccines against Distemper, Hepatitis, and Parvovirus (DHP)are effective in providing protection for at least 3 years so there is no need to annually booster and a titer test, after 3 years, should give a guide as to whether further boosters are needed even then.The full WSAVA guidelines are available on their website - a copy will be included in every Puppy Pack.
All our dogs are raw fed and have been for many years. The puppies we breed are weaned on a raw meat/bone weaning paste and they have all thrived on it. We believe that raw feeding is the most appropriate way to raise a healthy dog and that the dog's digestive system, quite different to our own, is best designed for absorbing nutrients from raw meat with the addition of a selection of prepared raw vegetables and fruit. At one time raw feeding required some time and preparation of meat and vegetables from scratch and many people, unsure of how best to prepare completely nutritious meals from the basics, found it easier to choose commercially prepared highly processed diets for their dogs. Some of these due to high grain content, poor quality meat derivatives and other additives led to a variety of digestive problems and allergies in many dogs. Nowadays, a greater understanding of the need for a high meat/vegetable diet for dogs, combined with a range of new 'ready prepared' raw foods for dogs, has made it easier to choose better quality food for your dog. There is comprehensive guidance on the ingredients and likely quality of a large range of commercially prepared dog foods on the All About Dog Food site.
Of course, if you are keen to make up your own meals for your canine family then you can do so following any of the guides to raw feeding via many BARF internet links.
Our dogs are fed on Wolf Tucker - a quality raw food using human grade meat from ethically sourced British companies - and fresh vegetables with added oils and herbs to enhance the nutritional benefits. You can read in full about the food and the company, by clicking Wolf Tucker