We understand. You love your Havanese, and you want to give him the best of everything, down to the food he eats. Your concern is warranted, considering how crucial good nutrition is for your pup. It may surprise you to learn that dry kibble is the diet of choice for over 96% of new pet owners.1 Convenience stands out as its main advantage.
However, canned food is still a viable option for more than 35%, whether it’s on its own or mixed with the dry. If you’ve browsed the pet food aisle, you know that there are dozens of choices, which can make it difficult to know what is the best one for your Havanese. Our guide will sift through the good, bad, and the ugly. We’ll give you the information you need to make the right choice for your choice.
We’ve also included a slate of reviews for a number of products, detailing the pros and cons of each one. It will provide a solid foundation for reading pet food labels to understand item’s value for your pup. The decision about the daily diet for your Havanese is a vital one that deserves a lot of attention to pick the best one for your pet. Our guide will help you home in on the right product.
A Quick Comparison (updated in 2022)
The 8 Best Dog Foods for Havanese
1. Royal Canin Small Adult Formula Dry Dog Food – Best Overall
Royal Canin Size Health Nutrition Small Adult Formula Dry Dog Food is an excellent product on several scores. It is over the recommended protein percentage at 25%. It’s a figure that isn’t over the top, which we saw in some products. The fat content is a bit higher at 14%. Chicken, fish, and plants provide the protein sources.
We liked the fact that the food doesn’t contain any filler ingredients. The nutritional profile sells the product. The calorie count at 359 calories per cup is in line with what we’d expect from an adult food. The mix of fat and protein creates a highly palatable food that many pets will enjoy. It’s another of the fine examples from the manufacturer of tailored nutrition. Overall, this is our top pick for the best dog food for Havanese.
2. Purina ONE SmartBlend Formula Dry Dog Food – Best Value
After doing the research, we determined that Purina ONE SmartBlend Formula Dry Dog Food is the best dog food for Havanese for the money. It has a chicken and beef protein-fat base with added flavors to create a tasty food for even finicky pups. It scores lots of hits on the nutrition front with glucosamine for joint health support and omega-6 for healthy skin.
There are plenty of whole grains and rice that provide adequate fiber. The protein content is excellent at 26%. The fat is a bit high at 16%. The other downside is the inclusion of peas, as we’ll discuss later. However, it is produced in the United States so that the manufacturer can respond quickly to make changes in the diet if necessary. We think that
3. Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Healthy Development Small Bites Dry Dog Food – Best for Puppies
Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Healthy Development Small Bites Dry Dog Food is an excellent example of a product that keeps its customers in mind. The kibble is the right size for your Havanese. It is formulated for small breeds on several fronts, including its nutritional profile and calorie content. Chicken, pork, and fish provide the protein sources. Chicken is the main fat.
While the food contains some filler ingredients, they provide fiber, including carrots and broccoli. Unfortunately, peas are also on the list. The protein content is decent at 25% (with 15% fat). Both are well within the recommended amounts for each of these macronutrients. The calorie count per cup is also good, making it a great food for puppies.
4. Hill’s Science Diet Adult Small Bites Chicken & Barley Dry Dog Food
Hill’s Science Diet Adult Small Bites Chicken & Barley Recipe Dry Dog Food is another quality product from a company that puts proper nutrition as their primary goal. One of the main results of giving your pet this food is a noticeable improvement in his skin condition. It succeeds on this score. The protein and fat content exceed the recommended nutritional profiles.
We also liked the fact that the kibble size was small. Foods that are larger in size are a barrier for small breeds like the Havanese because it makes it harder for them to chew. It has several fiber sources, including corn and sorghum. It includes some filler ingredients, but their amounts are small and don’t offer a lot of nutritional value.
5. Iams ProActive Health Adult MiniChunks Dry Dog Food
Iams ProActive Health Adult MiniChunks Dry Dog Food has a lot going for it. The small size tops the list for a pup like the Havanese. Chicken and eggs are the main protein sources. It is highly digestible that contributes to the 25% protein content. The fiber percentage is decent to provide enough bulk to prevent GI distress.
While it’s not necessarily a dig, it’s curious to us that there are several sized bags on the higher size for a smaller dog food. We liked the higher omega-6 fatty acid content that improves skin health. However, the fat content is a bit high at 14%. The concern exists that it may end up being too rich for some pups.
6. Purina Pro Plan Savor Adult Shredded Blend Small Breed Chicken & Rice Formula Dry Dog Food
Purina Pro Plan Savor Adult Shredded Blend Small Breed Chicken & Rice Formula goes out of its way to be palatable and easily digestible for dogs of this size. Chicken, egg, and fish provide the protein backbone. Beef tallow is the fat source. It’s good from a sustainable perspective for nose-to-tail thinking. However, it can take this food off the table with pups with an allergy.
On the other hand, the food contains excellent fiber sources, like rice, corn, and bran. To say that the food is rich is an understatement with 29% protein and 17% fat. You’ll have to have a pet with a cast-iron stomach to handle this one. However, there is a decent amount of omega-6 fatty acids to support good skin health, which is desirable in a breed with a propensity for these issues.
7. Taste of the Wild Appalachian Valley Small Breed Dry Dog Food
Taste of the Wild Appalachian Valley Small Breed Grain-Free Dry Dog Food tries to make a strong case for its food with natural sources of protein. Unfortunately, the link between ones like venison and duck is so far removed from today’s pets that it is a moot issue. Not surprisingly, there are a lot of filler ingredients like raspberries and blueberries that don’t contribute significantly to the nutritional value of the food.
The product also contains several of the problematic ingredients that the FDA is investigating, which definitely puts it on a watch list instead of a must-have one. The protein and fat percentages are bordering on too high at 32 and 18%, respectively. It will likely be too rich for many pups.
8. Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient Diet Dry Dog Food
The most glaring issue about Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Small Breed Salmon & Potato Formula Dry Dog Food is that it’s expensive. Its name is a good clue. It has a high protein content at 29%, but the fat is also up there at 14%. That makes this food harder for some pets to digest because it’s so rich. We also have to look at the absence of grains, which can put it off the table for many pet owners.
This food is an anomaly. It tries to appeal to the natural food segment, yet it contains problematic ingredients that may be harmful to dogs. It also includes several things that don’t offer a lot of nutritional value, like spearmint and green tea extracts. It’s a classic case of marketing without probable cause.
Buyer’s Guide – Choosing the Best Dog Food for a Havanese
Nutrition and calories form the backbone of making a wise choice for a food for your Havanese. They ensure that he has the best start in life and will help keep his weight at an ideal range. This pup has a moderate tendency for obesity. That’s a concern, considering the health issues associated with the breed that involve joint problems like hip and elbow dysplasia. Excess weight aggravates these conditions.
It’s worth noting that the Havanese Final Health Survey found the average weight of pups over 4 years old exceeded the breed standard of ]a maximum of 13 pounds. That’s what makes understanding the breed of your dog so critical to choosing the right food. For this one, skin issues, poor dental health, and bad breath figure prominently.
The nutrient profiles of the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) are an excellent starting point for choosing one food over another. They set minimum and maximum values for certain amino acids, vitamins, and minerals that are necessary for good health. Manufacturers that meet these requirements will display this fact on their product descriptions.
If they leave it out, throw it out of consideration.
The things that you should consider include:
Let’s delve into what each one tells you about the quality of the dog food.
Life Stage and Breed Size
Puppies and adult dogs differ in their calorie and nutrient needs. Hence, the varying types of food. The takeaway message is that it makes a significant difference in the health of your pup. It is even more important with small breeds, like the Havanese. Even though they are little, they mature quicker than large dogs like a Great Dane.
Ounce per ounce, small breed dog foods are more energy- and calorie-dense to support these various growth rates. Therefore, the first criterion in choosing the best diet for a Havanese is that it’s appropriate for his life stage and breed size. Some products are all-inclusive. However, we prefer those that make this vital distinction.
Macronutrient Content and Other Nutrients
The nutritional value of the dog food is the crucial element of choice. The AAFCO provides minimums and sometimes ranges for the content, depending on the nutrient. They have values for both puppies and adults. They include the macronutrients, like protein and fats, as well as the required amounts for vitamins and minerals.
Pet food products must state a guaranteed analysis of what nutrients are in the bag or can. They also have to provide a nutritional adequacy statement. Dog foods that meet the requirements of the AAFCO will include wording to that effect. The gold standard is a diet that is complete in the nutrients it contains that is balanced in the optimal portions.
The minimum protein percentages for puppies and adults are 22 and 18%, respectively. For fat, it is 8 and 5%. Other vitamins and minerals have recommended ranges. There is not a carbohydrate requirement, per se, as dogs are essentially carnivores. Nevertheless, grains are vital to your pet’s health, as we’ll discuss later in detail.
Calorie Count Per Serving
The amount of calories is a balancing act. There should be enough to meet your pup’s energy needs without tipping the scale toward weight gain. That’s a vital consideration with a Havanese since they have a moderately high propensity to gain weight. Obesity is just as serious for pets as it is for people. It increases your dog’s risk of a host of chronic health conditions, including diabetes and heart disease.
The dog food will have feeding instructions and a calorie count per serving. You can use this information to develop a nutrient plan for your Havanese. The weight range for these dogs is 7–13. You can gauge his body condition by looking at him from above. He should have a distinct waistline, although it may be hard to see with all his hair. You should be able to feel his ribs, nonetheless.
A calorie calculator can help you determine the right amount to feed your pup based on the content of the food you give him. It’ll also give you a treat allowance. As with many chronic health conditions, obesity is easier to prevent than cure. We recommend taking the proactive approach and monitoring his weight closely.
As we mentioned, dogs are carnivores, which explains the relatively high amount of protein that the AAFCO recommends. This macronutrient consists of building blocks called amino acids. Of the 20 known to exist, 10 are essential for canines. That means the food you give your Havanese must supply all of them. Your pup’s body can synthesize the other 10.
As you likely notice, dog foods often contain a mix of protein sources. Nutritionists rate the different types based on what it provides, how easy it is for a pup to digest, and how well his body can metabolize them. Eggs top the list as what some may call the ideal protein. Organ meats also rank high, which is why you will see them on the ingredient list.
There is nothing inferior about their existence in your pet’s food.
The items you see on the label are listed from the most by weight to the least. You typically won’t find actual amounts since manufacturers guard their proprietary formulas. Here is where the waters get a bit murky. Dog food companies know that pet owners read what’s on the package. Therefore, you may find things that appeal to you, such as blueberries, sweet potatoes, or other enticing ingredients.
However, it’s not necessarily an indication that one product is better than another. For example, many dog foods contain these types of ingredients but in such small amounts that they don’t provide any real nutritional value. It’s merely marketing to sell the brand. The critical takeaway message is that they offer a complete and balanced diet that meets your dog’s nutritional needs.
Human-Grade and Grain-Free Products
In another instance of marketing-speak, you’ll see dog foods labeled as human-grade. This designation is not legally defined with a purpose only to try and sell you on the product. Likewise, you’ll also find many brands that boast of formulas that are grain-free. A rise in the number of cases of a potentially life-threatening disease has occurred with the rise in popularity of these dog foods.
Canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is a form of heart disease whereby the organ’s ability to pump deteriorates. Some breeds like the Great Dane have a higher propensity for this condition. However, emerging evidence suggests a dietary component may be at work, too. The association is compelling enough to prompt the FDA to investigate these grain-free and designer types of dog food.
Some evidence suggests that some ingredients that are replacing grains, such as pea, lentil, and other legumes, may also be part of the cause of DCM. The FDA did not identify a significant amount of cases in the Havanese. However, there are cases in related breeds, such as the Maltese. Until researchers can determine the precise cause of DCM, our advice is to discuss your pet’s risk with your vet.
Royal Canin Size Health Nutrition Small Adult Formula Dry Dog Food took top honors in reviews for the best dog food for Havanese. It is a diet geared toward pets of this size. The nutritional profile and calorie are spot-on with what a pup of this size needs. That is the most important thing when considering which is the best one for your pet.
We found a winner for the product offering the best value with Purina ONE SmartBlend Formula Dry Dog Food. The price, of course, is a convincing consideration if you’re economizing. But, it’s not the only one. That’s why you need to balance it with what your Havanese will get from your decision. Your pet will benefit from choosing either one of these dog foods.