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Havanese Health Care & Feeding

By Michele Welton, Dog Trainer, Breed Selection Consultant, Author of 15 Dog Books


Start your Havanese off on the right foot by feeding the right food, giving the right vaccinations, finding the right vet, and if you're going to spay or neuter, don't do it too early.

Jump down to this list of
Havanese Health Problems

Or check out my advice for raising a healthy Havanese puppy or adult dog:

Obedience instructor and author Michele Welton Dog Health Care – The Sensible Way
Read my advice on daily health care so your Havanese lives a long, healthy life and seldom needs to see the vet... [read more]

numeral 33 Best Ways To Feed Your Dog Healthy Food
You can dramatically increase your dog's chances of living a long, healthy life by feeding the right food. Cutting right to the chase, the best foods for your Havanese are... [read more]

Real homemade dog food A Quick Way To Make Homemade Dog Food
Your Havanese will love real chicken, turkey, beef, fish, eggs, yogurt, broccoli.... this is not just "people food" and I'll tell you why... [read more]

Dry kibble and canned dog food 5 Best Kibble and Canned Dog Foods
Some are better than others, but I must be honest – I'm not a huge fan of dry or canned dog food. Here are my concerns... [read more]

Information on booster shots for your German Shepherd. Vaccinations and Booster Shots: Needed or Not?
How many vaccinations does your Havanese puppy really need? Does your adult dog need yearly booster shots? The vaccination guidelines have changed! Find out what some vets aren't telling you... [read more]

Information on spaying Spaying Your Female Dog: Pros and Cons
Should your female Havanese be spayed? Current research says, "The AGE at which you spay can be vitally important to your dog's future health." So what's the best age? [read more]

Information on neutering your male dog. Neutering Your Male Dog: Pros and Cons
Have you been told that you must neuter your male Havanese? Current research shows that the issue is not so simple. Pet owners are not being told about some risks associated with neutering male dogs, especially neutering too early... [read more]

Information on choosing the best vet Make Sure Your Vet is the Best!
Is your current veterinarian really the best choice for your dog? Here's how to tell... [read more]

Assisi Loop Assisi Loop Review
Does your Havanese suffer from arthritis, hip dysplasia, disk disease, colitis? My honest review of a veterinary device you can use at home to reduce inflammation and pain. [read more]


Complete list of Havanese health problems

Skin and coat problems in Havanese

The most common health problem in the Havanese is chronic allergies that cause itchy skin and often lead to skin infections (hot spots).

A more serious skin disease, sebaceous adenitis, has been reported in Havanese.

Ear infections are common due to profuse hair in the ear canals that provide a hiding place for mites, fungi, and bacteria.

Orthopedic problems in Havanese

For such a small dog, the Havanese has a surprisingly high incidence of joint problems: hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, luxating patella (loose knees), and worst of all, Legg-Calve-Perthes disease. All of these cause pain and lameness and often expensive surgery.

The Orthopedic Foundation of America evaluated the hip X-rays of 4200 Havanese and found over 9% dysplastic. That's too high for such a small dog. Of 2300 elbow X-rays, 6% were dysplastic.

Many Havanese inherit a deformed structure called chondrodysplasia, which produces excessively short (and crooked or bowed) legs and an excessively long back. These individuals are more prone to joint problems and intervertebral disk disease.

Eye diseases in Havanese

Cataracts can appear in Havanese puppies or later in life; either way, they can progress to blindness.

Other serious eye diseases are progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) and retinal dysplasia. Havanese are also vulnerable to tear duct disorders.

Thyroid disease in Havanese

Havanese have a high rate of thyroid disease, which can require lifelong supplementation.

The Michigan State University Thyroid Database says up to 26% of Havanese are affected. The OFA Thyroid Database says 20% affected.

Either way, that's 1 in every 4 or 5 Havanese.


Heart valve disease, liver shunt, and dental disease are all serious concerns in Havanese.

Oh, and a significant number of Havanese are born partially or totally deaf.

Preventing health problems

Some health problems are inherited. For example, if your dog inherits from his parents the genes for an eye disease called PRA, he will go blind and there's nothing anyone can do about it.

Dog feeding and health book by Michele Welton But most health problems can be prevented by the ways you raise your dog.

My best-selling book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy shows you how to raise your Havanese in all the right ways that help prevent health problems. Become your dog's health care champion!

Michele Welton with BuffyAbout the author: Michele Welton has over 40 years of experience as a Dog Trainer, Dog Breed Consultant, and founder of three Dog Training Centers. An expert researcher and author of 15 books about dogs, she loves helping people choose, train, and care for their dogs.

To help you train and care for your dog

dog training videos Dog training videos. Sometimes it's easier to train your puppy (or adult dog) when you can see the correct training techniques in action.

The problem is that most dog training videos on the internet are worthless, because they use the wrong training method. I recommend these dog training videos that are based on respect and leadership.

book coverRespect Training For Puppies: 30 seconds to a calm, polite, well-behaved puppy. For puppies 2 to 18 months old. Your puppy will learn the 21 skills that all family dogs need to know.
If your dog is over 18 months, you'll want book coverRespect Training For Adult Dogs: 30 seconds to a calm, polite, well-behaved dog. Again your dog will learn the 21 skills that all family dogs need to know.
book coverTeach Your Dog 100 English Words is a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your adult dog to listen to you and do what you say.
book cover11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy helps your dog live a longer, healthier life.
book coverDog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams will help you find a good-tempered, healthy family companion.