Havanese Puppy Book
Oh CONGRATULATIONS ON
THE NEW ADDITION TO YOUR FAMILY!
A new journey is just beginning for you and your new puppy. The trip will be fun most of the time, and sometimes challenging, but wherever the road leads, as your puppy’s breeder, I want to be a part of the adventure.
In this booklet, I’ve tried to give you lots of resources, tips and advice, as well as listing some of my favorite resources for supplies, books, and training facilities. Please take some time to read through it, and let me know if I can help make this new phase of your life a happy and healthy one!
You can always count on me to try to answer any questions, celebrate your victories (whether it’s successful potty training or attaining a blue ribbon!) and sharing your joys and concerns.
Below are supplies your puppy may need or want so it's best to have most supplies ahead of time. You will definitely want a collar, leash, crate or carrier, and water for your trip home. Even if we don't have your dream puppy now, feel free to view our site and gather information.
You will want to get a small collar. Avoid cheap plastic buckles as they crack and don't always lock tight, but worse, they can pop undone.
A harness is good for taking your puppy for a walk or to learn to potty outside. A collar is best for training sessions.
If choosing this harness, a havanese puppy usually fits a small. To determine what size harness you'll need, measure around the chest of the puppy and then look to see what size the manufacturer is suggesting you get. Each manufacturer will have their own measurement chart to use as a guide.
A 4-6 foot lightweight leash should work great.
We do NOT recommend a flexi leash. It can be hard to gain control in an emergency. They can get attacked or hit by cars much easier with the flexi. So please stick with a regular leash.
Don't forget your Doggy Doody (poop bags)
Food and water dishes. Ceramic or stainless steel. They last and don't hold germs. May want a second set to hang in crate if you need them.
For puppies who get wet face, play in water bowl, or dump it, drink too fast, try the water bottle.
Bed to sleep in, and maybe a pad or something for the crate. They also like Pipebeds to lay in :)
We feed Jinx Salmon and brown rice, Stella & Chewy’s Surf & Turf dehydrated patties, and fresh Pet/Vital.
The fresh pet and vital are refrigerated food and must be bought at the pet store or some Walmarts.
Dry food can be free feed, but raw or wet, needs to be fed 2 times daily for young puppies. We recommend feeding same times each day, puppies do best on routines and housebreak faster that way too.
Treats should be natural, quality, and small. We like Bill-Jac’s, Pet Botanics (low calorie- great for training), Zukes Mini’s, or other healthy puppy treats..... you don't want the puppy filled up on treats alone :)
Keep at least one of these products on hand wherever you are with your puppy. If puppy is ever feeling down, not wanting to eat, or seems a bit slower or lethargic. Give a glob in roof of mouth. Especially tiny puppies are more prone to sugar drops and any of these 3 things can bring sugar level back up, bring appetite up, and make puppy feel better. (The Honey packs at KFC, are easy to keep in purse in case needed while your out and about)
Plastic or wire cage to transport and housebreaking. Small crate or one with divider. Do not get a huge crate, puppy will potty in it then. Ask us, we sometimes have some new ones we get on sales available to sell you. An 18x24" wire crate will fit our adults. Add divider till he/she grows.
Airline approved bag if your flying with your puppy.
Puppies love toys. Favorites are small climbing slide, small tunnels, flat unstuffed toys, toys that Crinkle. Big or small, they love them all! Chewy has a wide selection.
Chews we recommend are hooves, bully sticks, natural marrow bones from butcher. NEVER raw hides.
This is a pen to confine puppy to specific area. We use these with the litterbox for ease of training. It keeps your puppy confined to a safe area when your not able to be right there supervising. I like a 24” - 30” Midwest playpen (amazon) or a child's play yard works too. Works wonderful outside in the yard while potty training.
Our puppies are started on litter box with alfalfa pellets - alfalfa is safe, digestible will not clog up baby tummies. Litter box training makes the transition to go outside completely much easier.
Litterbox I use “puppy go here” or “kitty go here” amazon
We recommend keeping dogs on a daily vitamin, Nu-Vet Plus is the best we have found and we use them daily on all our dogs.
We highly recommend a tooth brush and tooth paste to maintain puppies teeth. If you don't brush there teeth you will need to take to vet for once or twice a year for dental cleanings at huge expense. So get in the habit to brush teeth right away, even on the baby teeth. If you don't keep tarter under control, they can developed heart issues and gum diseases.
General Coat Care
Plush Puppy: OMG Detangling Spray, small spray bottle with water, Chris Christensen #014 Buttercomb (wide tooth), Chris Christensen #008 Buttercomb face comb (fine / medium tooth), Chris Christensen wood pin brush. *spray mat with OMG let sit for a bit while you work on another area (damp or wet coat combs out better, less breakage) To comb out mat: work to separate using combs.
Isle of Dogs Tearless Puppy Shampoo (Faces), Plush Puppy Natural Conditioning Shampoo (or any PP shampoo is Great!), Chris Christensen After U Bath: full strength and wrap in towel for 10-15 minutes then rinse for deep conditioning. There are many kinds of wonderful shampoo’s and conditioners out there.
(You can wash your puppy weekly, or as needed.)
Good Idea To Have
styptic powder (toe nails), ear powder (grip for pulling ear hair), zymox (ear infections), terramycin (corner of eyes) Little Paws: Whal Peanut Trimmers (between paw pads), nail clippers, blunt end scissors, a Pin Brush. (Make certian there are no balls on the tips), do not use a wire slicker brush - it just breaks the hair and leaves the matt.
Also Allison Foley has great U-Tube videos on grooming, clipping toe nails, etc... all things dog :) she is the top handler in Canada.
Your Puppy’s first few days
THE CAR RIDE HOME
This will be your puppy’s first trip in a car with you. The strange sights, sounds, and smells can be frightening. Take some time to let your new puppy get her bearings before you head for home. Many dogs that develop issues with car rides get nervous or even nauseous before you even start the vehicle. It is important that her first trip not be a bad experience.
Cover your lap and upholstery with a towel or blanket. Even after we’ve taken every precaution, puppies can get carsick so be prepared.
The safest place for your pup is in her crate in the car. This area is relaxing and the vibrations from the road may soothe her.
Keep the car ride quiet and relaxed. If your puppy whines or cries, DO NOT punish her OR be overly affectionate. The latter will only reinforce the negative behavior. Pet her softly and let the situation diffuse itself. *music helps everything
For longer trips, stop for bathroom breaks and stretching. Remember to keep your puppy away from areas frequented by other dogs. Until she’s has had her 2nd set of vaccinations- your puppy is susceptible to numerous diseases
Make sure to keep electrical cords, shoes, and small items where puppy can't get them. Check under and behind furniture for anything hiding the puppy might find. Especially be aware of Christmas decorations and lights. If puppy chews up shoes or kids toys, it is not the puppies fault, then need to be picked up or blocked off from puppies access.
Provide puppy with plenty of toys and chews to play with in his/her areas. This well keep puppy from eating or chewing at furniture or other items he/she shouldn't have. Favorites are hooves, knuckle bones, pig ears, balls, and fluffy toys, both stuffed and flat ones. Keep some with puppy wherever he/she is, crate, x-pen, or loose in house. They need something to do, so provide it or they invent it.
If you choose to feed refrigerated food such as fresh pet:
Set up a feeding schedule that works for you. Do not worry about what it was here, the sooner you put him/her on a schedule, quicker all training goes. Pick your 2-3 times a day that you plan to feed and try to stick to it. Making last meal at least 3 hours before bedtime. Have fresh water out for him at all times.... but do not put water in his crate until he is well trained. As he gets older, he will not need to continue with the mid-day meal, however, this may not happen until he is 4-5 months old.
It is suggested that he be fed in his x-pen as this is his “safe” zone.
Leave your puppy’s food down for a specific period of time, say 20 minutes or so. If he doesn’t eat it all, pick it up, and your puppy must wait to eat again until next meal.
Do not frequently change the food your puppy is eating. Try to feed the same thing. If you do decide to switch food, mix the new and old food, half and half, at each meal for one week to 10 days (or longer is okay). This will help your puppy’s digestive system adjust to the new food.
We feed: Purinia Pro Plan 30/20 Salmon (this is a dry kibble and can be left out all day for free feeding)
Stella & Chewy’s Dehydrated Patty’s: Surf & Turf
**see insert for Fruits & Vegetable Do’s & Don’ts
Keep puppy AWAKE and moving for at least 3 hours before YOUR bedtime. (Puppy bedtime is set same time as last person goes to bed at night). Do not let puppy nap during this time, if your watching Tv or reading, throw toys, or keep puppy active. You can't expect a toddler to take a nap and then go to bed for night, neither will a puppy.
Young Puppies can NOT sleep loose in your bed. It is NOT safe and he/she may fall out or walk off. May get rolled over on. Please don't let puppies sleep in your bed. There are a couple different methods for the night - night.... We start all puppies with crate training: our time frame is 10pm night - night, 6am good morning :)
The crate should be placed in an area where the puppy will not feel totally isolated, like in the kitchen, living room or family room. If it is placed down in the basement, out in the garage or in a closed bathroom, your puppy may feel abandoned and may not make the adjustment very well.
The crate should be made just large enough for your puppy to turn around in and lay down in: 19" x 24" Midwest double door is what we use and find it is best. If the crate is too large, he will potty in one end and sleep in the other. You may put an old blanket or towel, something easy to launder, some puppies take longer to mature internally than others - don’t worry. Your puppy may be given a safe toy or chewie when he is put in his crate but do not give him more than one. Favorite toys can be rotated to keep him interested.
Say “kennel” or some other command, in a happy voice and give your puppy a treat when he goes into his crate. Follow with praise.
If your puppy cries/barks while in his crate, you may follow several courses of action;
Cover the crate with a blanket or crate cover - this helps puppy to feel safe and secure
Totally ignore the puppy (no praise) Whining = No Attention
If they keep crying, just try moving crate to other end of house and play a radio or TV to distance any sounds you may make, and help them feel secure.
Try to stay on your predetermined schedule. If your puppy is not crying/barking in his crate but it is time for him to go outside or to eat, follow the schedule anyway. Do not necessarily wait for him to be fussy before you take him out.
Children should not be allowed to play in the crate or to bother your puppy while he is in his crate. You don’t want the puppy to become overprotective of his crate but you do want a place where he can go for peace and quiet.
Place puppy in the x-pen or small room for the night, leaving access to the litterbox and he/she will be fine till morning, if they need to go, they can just use the litterbox.
Do not turn puppy loose in your entire home. That is setting them up for accidents.. There are many methods to training. Depending your ultimate goal will depend on how to train to get there. If you want him/her to potty outside only, then use a crate at night and anytime your not right there with the puppy. If your super consistent first week you can usually have them trianed in a week or two. If you are not careful and have lots of accidents first week, training can take months. Some people will put a bell or door bell at the door for puppy to ring when they need out. Some prefer to leash train right away (after 2nd set of shots) - take them outside after naps, feeding, etc an he/she doesn't go, they go back to the crate and try again in 10-15 min. Stay out long enough to get it done. Exercise pens are very helpful in teaching them to potty outside. If you choose to use litter box (puppy will already be trained to that) method, you can still go outside too. Puppy will learn he has options and you can teach him to go in the right places. Training to go outside does require consistency and a little time. IF puppy has an accident in the house, if you catch them while doing it, do not yell and grab your puppy!! Tell them NO and take them to correct potty area. If they have already walked away from the accident or you find it later, just clean it up and disinfect and watch puppy closer. You can not punish after the effect. They won't understand. We suggest “Doggy Dan Training Videos”
With in first couple days you want to take your puppy to the vet. You will get a wellness check or new puppy exam. They will set you up for your vaccine schedule. Be sure to take your health certificate and shot records with you to the vet. DO NOT allow staff and other people in the clinic to pet your adorable puppy. This subjects your puppy to any germs from sick puppies they may have touched earlier. DO NOT let your puppy touch the floor before 16 weeks old at the vets office. You don't know the germs lurking that the puppy might get on his/her paws and lick later. Either carry puppy or put in crate. You can even take a towel to put on the exam table for extra protection too before setting your puppy there. Do not allow puppy to kiss or lick vet or staff. Do not let them hold puppy against there clothes. This is for your puppies protection and needs to be followed until after 16 weeks old. After 16 weeks, his immune system should be covered by the vaccines and you don't have to be so careful. 6-16 weeks is a very vital age where they can easy get diseases, so please be careful not to expose puppy to unnecessary germs.
Puppy’s First Few Weeks
Our puppies receive a 5 way puppy shot at 8 week vet checkup where they are examed for any issues and given a certificate of health. We recommend not any soon than 3 weeks for next set of shots up until 16 weeks of age. ** Do not give Lepto unless absolutely necessary for your area and not any sooner than 16 weeks of age and not in combination with any other vaccines. **Rabies we prefer at 6 months or as your state law requires and NOT in combination with any other vaccine. Before the one year booster, we recommend titer testing - we do not recommend yearly vaccines for life. See Dr Jean Dodds Vaccine Protocal for lifetime recommended vaccines by an expert on titer testing.
At 12 weeks of age you will start heartworm treatment, the ones we suggest are Interceptor Plus or we use Revolution and it is given monthly for life. (this varies on your area).
Can be a huge issue depending on your area, here we hire a professional exterminator once a month and use Revolution, you might require another type of product - there are many good ones on the market and your vet will help you choose. Just remember to only use what you absolutely need and as safe as possible. These are chemicals and require some thought.
Havanese Club Of America suggests MALES: get neutered after 6 - 9 months of age. FEMALES: get spayed after their first heat cycle apx 15 months of age.
All our puppies come with AKC papers. You will be given a copy of them when you pick your puppy up. Most our puppies are sold on limited registration, which means if you breed him/her, the offspring can't be registered. If your looking to purchase with full papers and breeding rights you will be subject to showing and health testing prior to breeding.
Microchip and registration
Our puppies come already microchipped. If you don't want this done or want the brand your vet sells, we need to know before you pick your puppy up. We use an ISO chip that is worldwide recognized. Our puppies are important to us and getting them home if lost is what we want for them. YOU MUST REGISTER any microchip your puppy has to your name, if you don't, it won't get him/her home.
We highly recommend Puppy Training classes, however NEVER do puppy classes before the 16 weeks shots are done. Also “Doggy Dan Training Videos”
Protective of Food or Toys
If your puppy has a special chew toy, hold it for him while he is chewing. Pet him and softly praise him while he chews. As he gets used to you doing this, continue to hold the toy while he is chewing, pet him near his mouth and continue praising him. This will let him know that just because you place your hand near whatever he is chewing on, doesn’t mean that you are going to take it away.
When your puppy is chewing on a chew toy, get a special treat for him. Before you give it to him say, “GIVE” and take the toy away from him. If necessary, show him the treat to get him to give up the toy. Immediately praise, give him the treat and then give the chew toy back. Follow with lots of praise. Do this several times. This will teach him that he can give something to you and still get it back. It also teaches him that giving something up to you and getting a treat and praise (even if he doesn’t get it back), may be more enjoyable than keeping the toy.
At meal times, put a few morsels of dog food in your puppy’s dish. Before he completely finishes them, pick up his dish, add a few more and return the dish to the floor. Before he completely finishes them, pick it up again and add a few more. Do this several times so that he realizes that it’s OK for you to handle his dish.
Barking is not generally an issue with Havanese but if it is: Teach your puppy right away that barking at you is not acceptable behavior. You will, most likely, not be able to teach him to never bark but you should be able to teach him to stop barking on your command. Whenever he barks, shout, “QUIET”, as this usually startles the puppy into silence long enough to follow with enthusiastic praise, “GOOD QUIET.” Do this every time he barks, It won’t be long before he quickly quiets down on your command. “Doggy Don’t” is an exceptional product that makes a buzzing sound when the button is pressed - this can also help with unwanted barking.
This behavior should be stopped from the beginning. It is a very difficult behavior to change once your puppy gets into the habit. Use a command like “OFF” or “STOP.” Do not use the same command that you will be using when you want him to lie down (you could use “DROP” for this command) or when you want him to get off of the furniture (you could use “DOWN” for this command). Be consistent and remember to follow your correction with praise even if no command or correction is needed.
Your puppy will have a natural urge to chew, especially while going through the teething stage. Have a “toy box” (an ice cream bucket or basket) where he can reach the toys inside. The toys should be of different textures (tennis balls, nylabones, rope toys, hard rubber toys, chew hooves, bell balls, stuffed toys, etc.). If he is able to get a toy, he will be less apt to chew on things he shouldn’t. If he does find something to chew on that he shouldn’t have, take it away, tell him “NO” and offer him something from his toy box.
Play Biting-Bossy Mouthing-Growling
Your puppy will be very playful and will use his mouth and teeth when playing. He may also begin to display “bossy” behavior by snapping, biting or growling when he doesn’t particularly like what you are expecting him to do. This is normal adolescent behavior that puppies exhibit to determine their place in the “pack.” You should let him know right away that none of this behavior is acceptable. When he does this, grab his cheek and give him one good shake, and say “NO BITE” in a very firm voice. Only when he settles, let go and give lots of praise by saying “GOOD BOY, NO BITE.” If the behavior continues, you may need to do this for a longer period of time, saying “NO BITE” ~ Don’t forget the praise when you let go. You need to let him know that you are the pack leader, and that you are not kidding – you mean business.
You and your puppy should spend a little quiet time together each day. While you are watching television or a movie or just sitting and relaxing, hold your puppy and speak softly while you pet him and tell him he is a good boy. Occasionally turn him on his back and hold him like a baby, on your lap or on the floor, softly stroking his tummy. This is a very important for children to do as well. Sometimes puppies see children only as playmates to roughhouse with and they have a difficult times being calm around them. Arrange for quiet time for your puppy and children so that both are aware that they can enjoy each other’s company without being wild and crazy.
You will need two people to teach your puppy to come. This must be done in a fenced area or with a long line attached to your puppy. With the puppy on the ground and one person holding him, the other person should go halfway across the yard, call the puppy and turn and run away from the puppy. When the puppy starts to struggle to get free, the person holding him should let go. When the puppy reaches the caller, he should be praised enthusiastically and given a treat. Now that person should hold the puppy and the other go halfway across the yard and repeat the exercise. Soon you should be able to omit the treat but always continue the enthusiastic praise. Eventually, the puppy will come when you call him, even if you are not running away from him. If he ever gets out accidentally and isn’t coming when called, just call him and run away and he should come after you because he will remember the “COME” game.
Roll a ball (a bell ball works well) and encourage your puppy to get it and bring it back to you. If he does, give lots of praise. If he doesn’t, use a retractable lead (26 foot works best) to bring him back to you, then give lots of praise. Soon he should be retrieving without the lead. This teaches him that he can give something to you and still get it back and it’s FUN. It also is great exercise for the dog with very little effort on your part.
Learning for puppies begins the morning after they join your household. An eight-week-old puppy can quickly learn to sit for his food or a treat, walk on a leash without pulling, and come when called without formal classes. However, unless the household is full of dogs, kids and other people coming and going at all hours, the puppy will not get his critical socialization at home.
Most clubs and training schools offer a Puppy Kindergarten class that fulfills two goals: helping the owner understand the puppy and exposing the puppy to the world. Puppies should not be subject to regimented lessons in these classes but should learn basic commands, play a bit with other puppies, and learn how to behave in a friendly and stimulating atmosphere.
Havanese should never be manhandled ~ your dog will do well in obedience with lots of praise, practice and positive reinforcements. Trust your instincts, if you feel uncomfortable with a training procedure, don’t do it.
Training a dog relies on the principle of positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement has proven to be the most successful in training because it is so simple, a child can do it, and it doesn’t hurt the dog.
So what is positive reinforcement? In simple terms, positive reinforcement is whenever the dog does the desired behavior you reward the dog with something it likes. For example, if Rover sits, you reward him immediately with praise or a treat. Rover is more likely to repeat the behavior when asked because sitting has caused him a pleasant outcome in the past. Think of all the times you have been positively reinforced in your life--haven’t you wanted to repeat the behavior for which you were reinforced?
The following is a list of obedience centers. It is recommended to visit and observe at least 2 different instructors/classes before making a choice.
You can obtain a list of AKC training clubs from the American Kennel Club web site - They list clubs nation wide.
Please wait till 4 months of age to take your puppy to a groomers. Don't expose them to germs where other dogs are before then. Many times if you can find a photo online of a same breed dog that you like the style of the trim, a groomer maybe able to follow it. (Some times coat quality and lengths differ, so can't always duplicate a photo). You can get a mini groom if your not ready for the length to be clipped off yet. This is where they do sanitary areas, feet, face, and wash and fluff. So he/she can still be fluffy puppy but get some experience at groomers and clean up important areas. How often to go depends on how well you brush, how much hair is too much for you, and type of trim you get. Shorter you clip them, less often you have to go. Most people go every 4-8 weeks.
How often varies on each puppy. More they walk on concrete less often usually need trimmed, if they live on carpet and grass, the nails will grow faster. If allowed to grow too long can splay the foot and harm the toes. Some need them done every 3 weeks, others every 3 months. So just watch how quick they grow and adjust how often accordingly. Most groomers allow walk in for nail trims and your in and out real quick. Vets offices do them too, but usually either wait for a room or they take them in back and let a tech do them.
The longer you want the hair, the more you will need to brush. Brushing is one of the most bonding things you can do with a puppy. The dogs I show and the rescues I've taken in, seem to really start to bond after that first groom I give them. Teach puppy from day one to allow you to brush him/her. If they bite brush or you, don't stop brushing, then puppy wins and you'll never brush him/her again. Get help from family if needed to hold. Brush a little bit with him/her on a table or in your lap. After few strokes of him/her letting you do it calmly praise and be done for a while. Don't push them where it won't end well. Next session (can be same day) do another leg or part of puppy. Always end with puppy happy and allowing you to brush. Some puppies will test each person to see who they can get away with not cooperating and who they can't. Be firm, friendly, happy, and if they go to bite brush, sound mean, then praise as soon as they calm down. If you can't get puppy to allow brushing, then stop trying until you complete other submissive behavior exercises.
YES you need to brush your puppies teeth. Smaller breeds especially prone to tarter buildup. Start very young so they learn to let you. Daily or at minimum every other day you need to do a quick brush over there teeth. If you don't, you will need dentals at the vets office every 6-12 months. (This is costly and vets require them to be sedated for it) Chews can help some, but usually do not take care of the tarter for you. Tarter buildup on teeth causes decay, loss of teeth and heart disease. So for their health, keep the teeth clean.
YOUR PUPPY’S 1ST WEEK
Puppy’s first week home will get progressively better. Within a few days, you’ll notice her watching you and even getting excited to see you! You may even be surprised by her different reactions.Rest assured that as her personality emerges it’s a positive sign that she is feeling safe and welcomed with her new family! Make sure to establish her new routine immediately and stick to it. During the first week home, learning this routine and her name should be most important!
During the first week she should learn:
• Where she eats
• Where she sleeps
• Where she goes to the bathroom
• Where she plays
Make sure to use specific words for each routine to make your puppy’s 1st week home a success! This will let her begin to recognize your voice and connect specific words to those actions. Remember to ALWAYS praise her when she shows good behavior.
This is not just a vitamin. It’s an immune system builder with a precise balance of vitamins, minerals, omega fatty acids, amino acids and high-potency antioxidants. That’s why it works so well through all three stages of a dog’s life.
For puppies - Fills the immunity gap all puppies experience. Shortly after birth maternal antibody effectiveness is greatly reduced. By 8 weeks your puppy’s immune system is at a vulnerable point. Once in their new home, the immune system is weakened by the stress of adoption and exposure to novel bacteria and viruses in their environment. This is also when the vaccine series is started. Vaccines are most effective if the immune system can respond properly. Starting NuVet Plus now is important to helping your puppy grow into a healthy adult.
For dogs in their prime - Improves the luster of their skin and coat while providing the necessary antioxidants, amino acids, vitamins, mineral and more to sustain their body’s peak performance during the prime of their lives
For older dogs - Helps provide the nutritional requirements to help them live long, happy, and productive lives in their senior years.
NuVet and NuJoint is not available in stores, and is only available to the general public with an order code from an authorized pet professional.
For your convenience, you may order directly from the manufacturer by calling 800- 474-7044 and using Order Code: 22844, or ordering online at www.nuvet.com/22844. You can also save an additional 15% and assure you never run out of NuVet by choosing the “AutoShip” option at check out.
Dilated Cardiomyopathy - DCM
Local dog owners, veterinarians warn about link between dog food, heart problems
Hundreds of dogs are getting sick and some are dying. Veterinarians tell Boston 25 News their dog food may be to blame.
The dogs developed a heart disease that vets have linked to their diet called dilated cardiomyopathy or DCM.
The FDA began looking into the connection between grain-free diets and DCM last summer. The FDA has not asked manufacturers to make any changes as they investigate, but they are asking vets and pet owners to report any cases of DCM that may be connected to diet.
MSPCA Angell Medical Center cardiologist Dr. Julia Lindholm says researchers still don't know why it's happening, But she says the leading theory is the dogs' food is preventing them from producing taurine. Taurine is an amino acid that is vital for heart health in dogs. Taurine deficiency can cause DCM.
The food in question is sold by different brands, but has at least two of these factors in common: It was produced by a small manufacturer. It used exotic meats, including everything from rabbit to kangaroo. It was grain-free, using peas, lentils or potatoes as the main ingredient.
Grain-free sort of came about as a fad in human food," Dr. Lindholm said. "It’s easy to sell a diet that’s grain-free and 'we only put those 7 ingredients in there,' it sounds really good but unfortunately there’s just no science behind doing it.
Lynne Emerson of Billerica admits she fell for the marketing. “I chose this food that I thought was great, I actually paid more for it. I actually say I paid a higher price for what ultimately cost me the ultimate price.”
Her service dog, Matilda, was raised on a grain-free diet and was diagnosed with DCM last summer. Her case has been linked to her diet because once it was changed, she started getting better.
Charlie's family is just trying to enjoy his last days. “It’s been devastating," Brenner said with tears in her eyes. "I take comfort in that I am doing everything I can to help other people because if we can save just one more dog or help one more person it will be worth everything we have gone through."
Boston 25 News reached out to the Pet Food Institute to comment on the FDA investigation. Its members make up 98% of pet food products. They issued this statement:
"PFI members take seriously their commitment to providing safe pet food that contains complete and balanced nutrition. Our members support the exchange of information with FDA and member company scientists, veterinarians and nutritionists are working closely with the agency to further advance the understanding of this issue."
Lindholm recommends consulting with your vet before trying a grain-free diet.
The following is a list of Havanese breed specific books that may be interest.
HAVANESE: A COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE TO OWING AND CARING FOR YOUR DOG
HAVANESE: A COMPLETE AND RELIABLE HANDBOOK – by Diane Klumb and Joanne Baldwin DVM
THE JOYOUS HAVANESE – by Kathryn Braund
The following is a list of puppy/dog training books.
POSITIVE PUPPY TRAINING WORKS – by Joel Walton
PUPPY CARE & TRAINING: AN OWNER’S GUIDE TO A HAPPY HEALTHY PET – by Bardi McLennan
PUPPY TRAINING FOR KIDS – by Sarah Whitehead, Jane Burton
THE PERFECT PUPPY: HOW TO RAISE A WELL-BEHAVED DOG – by Gwen Bailey
KIDS TRAINING PUPPIES IN 5 MINUTES – by JoAnn Dahan
THE ART OF RAISING A PUPPY – by New Skete Monks
BEFORE & AFTER GETTING YOUR PUPPY: THE POSITIVE APPROACH TO RAISING A HAPPY, HEALTHY & WELL-BEHAVED DOG – by Dr. Ian Dunbar
HOW TO RAISE A PUPPY YOU CAN LIVE WITH – by Clarice Rutherford, David H. Neil
A DOG IN HAND: TEACHING YOUR PUPPY TO THINK – by George Gates
GOOD OWNERS, GREAT DOGS – by Brian Kilcommons
THE POWER OF POSITIVE DOG TRAINING – by Pat Miller, Jean Donaldson
TAO OF PUPPIES: HOW TO RASE A GOOD DOG WITHOUT REALLY TRYING – by Krista Cantrell
SURVIVING PUPPYHOOD: TEACHING YOUR PUPPY THE RIGHT WAY TO LIVE (THE COMMON SENSE APPROACH) – by Kay Guetzloff
PUPPY PARENTING – by Gail I Clark
THE AMERICAN KENNEL CLUB DOG CARE AND TRAINING (AMERICAN KENNEL CLUB) – by American Kennel Club)
THERE’S A PUPPY IN THE HOUSE; SURVIVING THE FIRST FIVE MONTHS – by Mike Wombacher
THE TRICK IS IN THE TRAINING: 25 FUN TRICKS TO TEACH YOUR DOG – by Stephanie J. Taunton
A Havanese is...
A Happy Dancer - Looking into your eyes and seeing into your soul...