Caring For Your New Havanese Puppy

The Havanese Club of America has provided new owners with a lot information regarding the care of your New Havanese Puppy. Click the Paws to learn more!

Havanese Health Issues – General2024-04-14T17:07:29-04:00

Life with your new Havanese will be full of surprises, most of them pleasant and entertaining. But along the way, there may be a few challenges due to general health issues and/or accidents that any K-9 friend is subject to. There are many web sites related to canine health. Here are some of our favorites that you may find helpful. Note: These references are intended for informational use only. You should consult with your vet for specific diagnosis and treatment of any health or behavioral issue.

What does that medical term mean?

The Merck Veterinary Manual provides a comprehensive electronic reference for animal care information. It includes over 12,000 indexed topics and over 1,200 illustrations. It features a rapid search by topic, species, specialty, disease, and keywords. Visit Merck Vet Manual to learn more about a specific health topic.

Is it OK for my Havanese to eat grass?

Don’t be surprised if your Havanese ‘grazes’ (eats grass) while out playing on your lawn. However, there are a number of various plants that are harmful and may cause illness and lead to death if digested. There are also many chemicals they can be exposed to. As a general rule, you should be very cautious about using chemicals that may be harmful to your pet in their play space. Be sure to keep the play space free of harmful plants also and supervise them as appropriate.

Accidental poisoning of dogs is fairly common due to frequent exposure of a wide variety of chemicals and plants. In fact, when there is a sudden onset of illness in a previously healthy dog, poisoning may be suspected. Please visit the Cornell Poison Control Center to see plant images, pictures of affected animals and presentations concerning the botany, chemistry, toxicology, diagnosis and prevention of poisoning of animals by plants and other natural flora (fungi, etc.).

9-1-1, What is your emergency?

Your pet has been involved in some sort of accident. It’s after your normal vet’s working hours. Who do you call? The first steps you take after an accident may mean life or death for your beloved pet. One of the most important things you can do is ‘be prepared’. Most vets have a recommended after hours facility to contact. If more than one facility is available in your area, you may want to pay them a visit or call to determine which one you would be more comfortable with in an emergency situation. Visiting the facility will also ensure you know where it is located and what to expect regarding staffing, payments, etc. Vet and Emergency Animal Hospital phone numbers should be kept in easy to find places (i.e. refrigerator, wallet, speed dial, etc). Another suggestion is to store the numbers in your cell phone address book so it will be easy to call them if needed while in route or in case the accident occurs while you are away from home. You may need to call the emergency vet to determine whether or not the pet should be brought in or to find out if there is some immediate action you need to take. When calling, it’s a good idea to have basic information available such as:

  • Breed
  • Age (date of birth)
  • Sex (neutered, spayed)
  • Weight
  • Current physiologic condition (i.e., pregnant, lactating, known health disorders, diabetic, etc.)
  • Medications currently being taken (i.e. heartworm preventatives, flea control products, baby aspirin, vitamins, prescriptions, etc.)
  • Type of accident and injuries
  • Observed symptoms (drooling, vomiting, difficulty breathing, etc.)

If poisoning is suspected, the following information will also be helpful:

  • Name of the product and manufacturer or type of plant ingested
  • Active ingredient and concentration listed on the label
  • Formulation of the product (i.e. solid, liquid, aerosol)
  • Amount of product or plant the dog was exposed to
  • Time since exposure
  • Time between exposure and onset of symptoms

A simple first aid kit may be beneficial in emergency situations. Visit the AKC First-Aid Kit Essentials page to learn the recommended basic supplies to have on hand.

More First Aid Info

Do you love to go places with your dog? Does a day in the park or on the trail or at the beach or lake sound like your kind of fun? Most Havanese love the outdoors and are at their best when they are part of the action. If you plan to include your Havanese in activities, you may want to learn how to treat minor injuries your Havanese companion may endure while on adventures. Visit the website to learn more about treating your dog in emergency situations. Your actions can influence the outcome of your precious companion’s injury.

Are You Ready?

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has developed “Prepare Your Pets for Disasters”. It brings together facts on disaster survival techniques, disaster-specific information, and how to prepare for and respond to both natural and man-made disasters. Your pets depend on you for their safety and well-being. They should be included in your household disaster plan. Visit the FEMA site to learn important tips for handling them in emergency and disaster situations.

What other canine health resources are available?

The James A. Baker Institute for Animal Health (Cornell University) is one of the oldest research centers dedicated to the study of veterinary infectious diseases, immunology and genetics. Use the Search tab to look for a specific topic.

The AKC Canine Health Foundation is another good source of health related information. Its mission is to develop significant resources for basic and applied health programs with emphasis on canine genetics to improve the quality of life for dogs and their owners.

You can use any web search engine to find literally tons of information about the health issues we have discussed. Please take the time to investigate the validity of information you find and use common sense and judgment to sort the facts from marketing gimmicks.

Always direct specific health and behavior questions related to your new Havanese to your Vet.

Health Issues Wrap Up

Chances are good that you will not experience health issues with your Havanese if he/she was purchased from a responsible breeder who acknowledges health issues and strives to breed away from them. But there are no guarantees. Just like with us humans, not all canines are perfect. NOEC hopes the information provided on Havanese Health Issues has gotten you off to a good start by educating you about potential Havanese health problems.

Havanese just want to Hav fun. So, here’s to a long, happy, safe and healthy life for you and your Havanese!

First Days2024-04-15T08:27:19-04:00

Hugs and Kisses

Ok, now you have just brought your new puppy home. The world has definitely grown bigger for him and everything is brand new. Hopefully, you have remembered to take a toy to the breeders or a blanket and rubbed that toy on his mom and littermates.

He needs to be introduced to a new living space. This space should be just one room. Hopefully, you have chosen a room without carpeting. Choose a room, which will have easy access to the outside. Pick a room that your family spends a great deal of time in. It is a good idea if your puppy comes paper trained to place the newspapers as close as possible to the door in which later, he or she will be going out to make his or her potty. Remember when puppies are young they do require a lot of sleep. It really is not good to make a habit out of waking a sleeping puppy. You will learn this early on and learn to appreciate every sleeping minute so you can manage to get something done. Do not allow children to wake the puppy to play when they are sleeping. Explain to them that they need their rest.

Your new Havanese puppy is not going to be happy when left alone. He or she will want you every waking minute and expect you to be there. In his mind you are their new companions and he will make that very clear to you. When left alone be prepared to hear him tell you that.

Be prepared for all those loving kisses that are the best part. But also be prepared to give up almost all of your time, which you have spent on other things. This is very important in the beginning. The first weeks in your home is when the bonding between you and your new puppy happen. Talk to your puppy, have long conversations so he can learn the sound of your voice. A Havanese will listen intently, cocking heads and paying strict attention. So talk to them, sing to them.

Playtime is very important. If you take the time to play with your pup, the bonding between you will be greater. When these little guys are awake they are just filled with energy and let’s just say, “Ready to roll”. They are a very high-energy breed and love to play and run and do badness. Remember you are working with a breed that possesses the shredder gene. Tissues, toilet paper, newspapers fill their hearts with glee while they tear them to shreds.

The best advice I can give is to enjoy your puppy to the fullest while they are young. He will reward you with many years of companionship and love.

You are full of excitement and expectations. This new baby will bring you years of companionship. I cannot promise there may not be a few surprises and ups and downs along the way. If you have done your homework and picked a good breeder then they should have done everything in their power to assure that this puppy’s parents have been tested and found free of hereditary problems that we are aware of in this breed. There may be hidden recessive genes that have not surfaced, but to date they should know they are both healthy and genetically sound both physically and temperamentally.

Suggested Reading2024-04-14T16:44:39-04:00
  • House Breaking & Other Puppy Problems by Kennedy
  • Choosing A Dog For Life by Prisco/Johnson
  • The Complete Dog Buyers Guide by Brutte/Donnelly
  • How To Raise A Puppy You Can Live With by Neil
  • Guide To A Healthy Puppy by Prisco
  • New Owner’s Guide To Dog Training by Pantfoeder
  • Housebreaking And Training Puppies by Pantfoeder
  • Housebreaking And Training Puppies by Gardner
  • How Dogs Learn by Burch and Bailey
  • Responsible Dog Ownership by Davis
  • Dogs And Kids by McLennan
  • Good Showing by Grayson
  • Genetics Of The Dog by Malcolm B Willis
  • Control Of Canine Genetic Diseases by Padge
  • Puppies For Dummies
  • Canine Nutrition by Ackerman
  • Meisen Breeding Manual by Meisenzahl
  • The Nature Of Animal Healing by Martin Goldstein, D.V.M.
  • The Monks of New Skete by The Monks of New Skete
  • Bichon Havanese by Zoila Portuondo Guerra
  • Check out for these books.
  • Care-A-Lot Pets has many of these books
  • To Subscribe to the Havanese Hotline
  • To subscribe to AKC Gazette
  • To subscribe to Family Dog
  • To subscribe to The Whole Dog Journal
  • To subscribe to Dog Watch
  • Here are a few websites to check out.
  • Dr P’s Dog Training
  • How to teach your new puppy to sit!
  • All Natural Animal Care
  • Get Ready For Lots Of Love And Hugs And Kisses
Your Puppy’s Health2024-04-14T16:34:19-04:00

It is very important to remember this. This puppy is your responsibility once you have purchased it. This puppy’s long-term health is in your hands now. The environment your puppy is raised in, the nutrition you provide for your puppy and activities you allow your puppy to engage in as well as the vaccinations you allow your Vet to give play a huge role in the health and longevity of your puppy.

Select Your Veterinarian wisely!!

 You need to select a Veterinarian. The one you choose could mean the difference between life and death for your dog. Your Veterinarian should be willing to work with you and listen to your desires. Should they be dictators and insist on their way or the highway. Pick the Highway. The only vaccination your dog is required to have by law is the Rabies Shot. If you would like to have your Vet give vaccinations of your choosing and not give certain vaccinations at all they should be open to discussion with you about this. You need to pick a Vet as carefully as you would pick a Pediatrician. You should be allowed to have choices and options when it comes to your dog’s health care. The office should be clean. The receptionist should be helpful and not treat you like a number. You can ask for a tour of the facilities but please remember that the Vets are busy and you are not the only client they have. You can ask if they have any other Havanese as clients. You can ask other Havanese owners or pet owners you know in your area what Vet they use. Find out if they handle emergencies. If not, where is the closest emergency vet in your area? Ask what fields they specialize in? You may want a holistic vet. Do not be afraid to be a little aggressive about picking a Vet that is going to be the best one for your dog’s needs.

Vet Check Up and Vaccination2024-04-14T17:10:25-04:00

To keep your puppy healthy you will need to carefully follow a few well-founded directions. The first 6 months of this pup’s life are very important to its overall health. This puppy does not need another vaccination for 3 weeks after the last one was given. Your first Vet appt. is for a healthy puppy check up. It is entirely for your benefit to assure you that your new puppy is healthy. You need to take a fecal sample in with you to determine if your puppy needs to be wormed again for round worms or treated for coccidosis. Be aware that it is not unusual for Havanese of all age to eat their droppings. We are not sure if this is a learned behavior from their mothers cleaning up after them or some carry over from the wild. It seems to be the norm for this breed. Pups that eat their own droppings can get coccidosis. It is treated safely with Albon. In the past it has been said to come from filthy living conditions in the whelping nest. Please be careful and do not assume a poop free kennel in the morning means your pup held its bowels over night. Your pup may have had a bowel movement and ate it. Havanese hate dirty living space.

While at the Vet. you will need to put your puppy on Heartworm preventative. I recommend Interceptor once a month preventative. So far there have been few reported instances of problems with it with this particular breed. You will also be well advised to have the Vet. microchip your puppy while you are there. This will help identify your puppy should it get lost. You can opt to have a tattoo instead but they sometimes fade and are hard to read.

Do not let your puppy down on the floors of the Vets. Office or mingle with other puppies or dogs at the office. The Vets. Office is for sick dogs. They relieve themselves outside in common areas and the Parvovirus that kills as well as other viruses live in the ground and fecal matter of other dogs. It is carried in on the soles of people’s feet and is on the floors of the office. Children in the office sometimes go from animal to animal being friendly. They could be spreading through contact of saliva or nasal discharge other diseases to your new puppy. Be aware and be careful.

Vaccinations for a Havanese need to be done with care as well. Many breeders do not guarantee pups that have been vaccinated with Leptospira Bacterin. BE WARNED it has killed Havanese and those who have survived it have had some major problems. It is suggested that at 3- week intervals that vaccinations be given. They contain Canine Distemper, Adenovirus Type 2, Parainfluenza, and Parvo MLV. This is all your Havanese needs to remain healthy and safe. Vaccinations provide immunity towards these diseases. It does not keep them from getting them. Bordetella is to shield them against kennel cough. If you plan on boarding your Havanese you can give bordetella one week prior to the visit. If you’re Vet. insists that there is a huge outbreak of Corona or Lepto in your area you may need to consider the vaccinations. Lepto should never be given until the pup is 16 weeks old in the case of an outbreak. There is still no promise that your Havanese will not have a severe reaction to it. If your puppy is not 100% up to snuff when it is time for its vaccinations do not have any vaccinations given until it is. Rabies is to be given at the latest date possible. It is the only vaccination that is required by law. If at anytime, within a 2- hour period of a vaccination you start to notice a reaction get your puppy back to the Vet as fast as humanly possible.

Between 6-8 months of age you will need to have your pup spayed or neutered. Isoflurane is the best anesthesia to use on your Hav.

When To Have The Eyes Examined

At a year of age you should take your puppy to a Board Certified Ophthalmologist and have its eyes examined for abnormalities.

Flea and Tick Prevention2024-04-13T16:35:52-04:00

Follow your vet’s recommendations about flea meds.

Be sure to ask your veterinarian to be sure it will be safe for your dog before you use any flea and tick products in combination, such as using two of more of the following together–Frontline, Advantage, a flea collar, flea shampoo, flea powder in dog beds, flea spraying the yard, flea shampooing the carpets, and flea bombing the house.


Feeding your Havanese until it is 6 months old on the food the breeder was using is very important. Do not give the puppy anything else but fresh water. This will keep your puppy from having serious problems. Anything else, treats, food from the table, greenies, can cause the pup to have soft bowels. Their digestive system is very fragile. They can chew on hooves and big white American made rawhides to teeth but they should not consume more than a tiny amount of them.

You can buy Old Mother Hubbard biscuits. They come in tiny sizes. Get the ones that are biscuit color. You can give one when you put the pup in the kennel at night to sleep, and break another one in half and offer ½ at time with 2 successful potty outings a day. The pup is only getting 2 a day. If this makes the pups bowels soft you will not be able to do this.

You will leave food down for your puppy at all times for the first three days after coming home with it. You can add a little warm water to it if you would like. Just remember moist food equals softer bowels. You can measure a lot about your pup’s health by watching that its bowels are consistent. The food and water are to be kept in the same place so the pup knows where it is. Day four you will feed it 3 x a day. Food is placed down for 15-20 minutes and picked up. At 6 months old, 2x a day. I feed 2x a day for life from that point on.

Grooming and Soaping2024-04-17T08:02:32-04:00

Grooming should be done daily. It can be as casual as gently running a comb or soft brush over its body while you are watching TV at night. You can take a piece of gauze and wipe its teeth and the insides of the earflaps. When the puppy smells stinky you will need to give it a bath. When you give your puppy a bath you will be able to see its bone structure. When the puppy is around the age of 9 months to a year pay particular attention to the formation of your puppy’s front legs when it has soapy shampoo on it. The shampoo makes the hair stick close to the body so you can really see how the puppy’s front legs have developed. If they look like they are bowed or irregularly shaped you need to refer to the health issues topics such as chondroysplasia.

Potty Training2024-04-14T16:16:27-04:00

The puppy cannot be expected to hold its bowels or bladder well until about 12 weeks of age. You will need to get a book on potty training and adhere to its teachings. You will have to get up off your bottom and be consistent and put forth effort to have a well house broken puppy. It has been my experience that all puppies can be house broken. It is usually the new owners who have not done their job well when they are not. Expect your Havanese to be somewhat consistent at 4 months old. By nine months if you are still having accidents there has been a problem in the training.

Some Nevers and Some Dos2024-04-14T16:17:12-04:00

A Few Nevers

Never use the pups kennel for punishment and never scold a puppy if you have called it and it has come to you. Get up and go to the puppy and scold it.

A Lot of Do’s

Do love and cherish and spend a lot of time with your puppy. Havanese are companion dogs and do not thrive well being caged up all day. As soon as your pup is house broken leave the kennel door open so it can use it as a den or for traveling and safety reasons it can have the door closed and feel comfortable. Once the puppy is house broken it should be able to be a free functioning member of your home.


I cannot stress how important socialization of a puppy is in the weeks between 8 weeks and 12 weeks. You have a month to introduce as many new experiences as you can to your puppy. You have to supervise and be aware of possible threats to the puppy. Do not suffocate the puppy by being overly protective. Just be careful. Let the puppy warm up to every new situation and praise it when it does. Do not keep repeating to a frightened puppy “IT’S OK. You are teaching the puppy the fear that it is exhibiting is Ok. If the puppy is terrified you need to quietly and calmly remove the source of its terror. Please use common sense. Your puppy should walk on all kind of surfaces, meet all ages of people, greet friendly pets of people you know and be exposed to all kinds of different sounds. A well-socialized puppy will turn into a great adult dog.

Puppy Kindergarten2024-04-14T16:22:27-04:00

The fundamental goal of Kindergarten Puppy Training (KPT) is to get your dog off to the best possible start in life. The first six months of a puppy’s life are the most important months of his life. They are critical to his social development and future well-being. This is the age when the most rapid learning takes place. Everything your pup experiences makes a greater impression on him now than ever will again. You want to capitalize on this critically important time and set the right patterns. At five weeks a puppy’s brain is fully developed and he is ready to process what you want him to learn.

What Will Your Pup Learn?

In Kindergarten Puppy Training your pup will learn that learning is FUN. You will establish an unbreakable, life-long bond with your puppy. You will learn how to prevent many of the common training errors that most people make, and how to prevent unintentional (and sometimes undesirable) learning on the part of your puppy. You will lay a solid foundation in manners, management and obedience. Your puppy will be eager to learn and you will enjoy living with him.

Choose your Kindergarten Puppy training class carefully. Ideally, the teacher is experienced in positive, no force; rewards based training methods that use treats, praise and toys as rewards. Some teachers are accredited and are members of the American Association of Pet Dog Trainers (AAPDT). Many training programs have a course outline that your teacher should be able to discuss with you. An 8-week course outline may include the following:

  • Bite Inhibition Worked on gradually week after
  • Taking Treats gently
  • Handing Exercises (to familiarize your dog with being touched everywhere)
  • “Sit”
  • Release
  • How to “settle”
  • “Come”
  • Loose leash walking
  • “Leave-it”
  • Home issues: housetraining, socialization, table manners, grooming and health care, adolescence, continuing education

Typical classes include exercises in game format, and plenty of time for supervised socialization where energy levels of pups are matched up for periods of free-play.

Advantages of Early Training

Your pup comes to you a blank slate, eager to learn and please. This cooperative attitude makes him easier to teach. Your pup has no established behavior patterns that must be broken. This is the most wonderful time to teach routines and establish a foundation for further training. At 6-8 months your dog will enter a period of development known as the “teens.” This has been described as one of the most independent, self-centered, challenging phases of a dog’s life. You can see why it is not an ideal time to begin to train. Take advantage of your young pup’s agreeable nature and train, train, train! Early socialization helps familiarize your dog with many people and dogs of different size, age, and sex. This develops confidence and will nurture a dog that is comfortable in a variety of social settings.

Beware the “cuteness factor.” Though your pup is simply adorable in your eyes and in the eyes of everyone with whom he comes into contact, there is nothing more difficult to live with than a poorly behaved dog. Many owners make the mistake of forgiving small dogs behaviors they would not tolerate in a large dog. Establishing good routines early will help you in your daily life with your dog and together you will enjoy the close partnership brought about by early training.

Keep on Training! Once your pup graduates from Kindergarten Puppy Training Classes keep up the training. Keep it fun; remember to reward your dog for positive behaviors. (After all, you wouldn’t keep going to work if you did not get a “pay check.”) Continue to socialize your dog around a variety of dogs and people. Consider continuing training your dog in agility, novice obedience, or therapy dog work.


Playtime should never be confused with potty time. You must take your puppy out to play after it has been out to potty. If you let the puppy just play outside all of the time it is only learning it can just freely potty when it feels the need too. It does not understand the difference between outside and inside. So playtime is a scheduled event when it is going outside to play. Do not overly exhaust your puppy during play. Make sure it has fresh water to drink. Do not play tug of war with your puppy. This game teaches it to become aggressive and pull at your clothes. Remember pups are learning through play. Buy appropriate size toys made specifically for dogs.

Puppy Gear2024-04-14T16:26:12-04:00

Here is a checklist of suggested items you might want to have for your new puppy.

  • General Cage Folding Crate Model # 202 For Home Use
  • Vinyl Coated Floor Grids For Model #202
  • Vari Kennel Carriers For the car and travel Model # 200 Floor Grill For Model #200
  • Cuddler Dog Bed
  • Stainless Steel Bowls
  • Poop Scoop Set
  • Natures Miracle Shampoo made for dogs
  • Small Grooming Table
  • Superduck 1600
  • Dryer
  • Small Scissors for trimming Around the feet
  • WAHL Pocket Pro Trimmer
  • Greyhound Style Combs
  • Super Soft Slicker
  • Safari Pin Brush
  • Dental Care Kit made for dogs
  • Ear Cleaner
  • Choo Hooves
  • Puppies For Dummies Book
  • Show Lead (if you plan on showing your dog in conformation)
  • Collar Matching Lead
  • Resco Nail Trimmer
  • Kwick Stop
  • Bath Towels
  • Q-Tips Dog
  • Food
  • Paper Towels

Mail Order Catalogs are the way to go. Here is a list of Catalogs you can request and shop from.

Call the different companies and request their catalog’s or click on the links and shop on line. Happy Shopping!!

  • PetEdge 1-800-738-3343
  • Foster & Smith 1-800-826-7206
  • JEMAR 1-800-458-6598
  • Great Companions 1-800-829-2138
  • Pet Warehouse 1-800-513-1913
  • The Dog’s Outfitter 1-800-367-3647
  • Care-A-Lot 1-800-343-7680
  • REVIVAL 1-800-786-4751
  • KV Vet Supply 1-800-423-8211
  • Puttin’ On The Dog 1-800-720-8005
  • In The Company Of Dogs 1-800-544-4595

There is a huge selection of toys. Ones that can be washed in the washer with a little bleach are nice. Beds and toys can be chewed so keep your eyes on them.

You need to find out from your breeder what food the puppy is on and where to buy it. Do not change the food your puppy is on quickly. You have to change it slowly by mixing a tiny amount of the new food you choose to use to the food the puppy was eating at the breeders. Gradually add the new food and add less of the original food. At the end of at least 15 days your puppy will be switched over to the food you have chosen.

Do not be too anxious to give a lot of treats to your new puppy. They can upset their digestive system. To avoid causing allergies or upset stomachs until the puppy is 6 months of age try not to give it anything by mouth other than the puppy’s food.

Once puppies are weaned from their mothers they no longer tolerate dairy products very well and it is best not to give them to your dog anymore. No milk or eggnog. Cream Cheese, and cheese products are hard to digest and can cause pancreatic problems. Hot dogs and lunchmeat are loaded in nitrites and salt. One of the biggest No-No’s a great number of people do is feed their dog’s inappropriate foods thinking they are good for them. Fatty, salty, chemically enhanced dog treats are not good for your dogs. Please do not feed them to them.

Only use doggy toothpastes made for dogs and do not use human dandruff products on your dog. Use products that are made for dogs. Any products you buy read the instructions and follow them before using the product on your dog.

2024-04-24T20:10:51-04:00New Owners Education|

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