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Havanese dogs are small pooches, but their personality surely makes up for it. Originated in Cuba, the breed is beloved by many, but caring for a toy breed is not as easy as it seems. Many breeds are predisposed to weight gains or losses under certain circumstances.
If you own a Havanese dog, or you’re planning to adopt one, here’s is everything you should know about its weight and how to keep it healthy.
Ideal Havanese Weight by Age and Gender
The Havanese breed standard states that the dog should weight between 7 and 13 pounds at maturity and reach a height of 8.5 to 11.5 inches. As expected, females are smaller than males.
Your pup’s actual size will also depend on its parents. If its parents are both on the smaller size, it’s not unlikely that your puppy will also remain fairly lighter – such as up to 8 lbs at maturity. However, if one or both of the parents are on the heavier and taller side, your puppy will also weigh more and be taller.
Below is an overview of roughly how much a Havanese dog should weight by age.
|Age||Weight in lbs|
|3 Months||3 – 4|
|4 Months||4 – 5.5|
|5 Months||5.5 – 6.5|
|6 Months||6.5 – 7|
|7 Months||7 – 13|
|8 Months||7 – 13|
|9 Months||7 – 13|
|10 – 12 Months||7 – 13|
Why Is It Important for Your Havanese Not to Be Overweight or Underweight?
Research shows that nearly 60% of all dogs and cats are overweight. Consequently, it’s safe to state that many pet owners do not how to feed their pets properly.
Overfeeding your Havanese dog will make them put on weight. Obesity in dogs leads to many health problems, including orthopedic diseases, diabetes, cardiorespiratory diseases, neoplasia (cancers), and more.
Underfeeding your dog can be as bad as overfeeding them. In both cases, their lifespan may be shortened significantly, and your puppy has a reduced quality of life. Some complications include:
- Weakened immune system
- More prone to infections
- Skin and coat issues (including hair loss)
- Shortened life expectancy
- Bone density is reduced (leading to broken bones)
In general, you need to plan your Havanese’s diet very carefully. It’s not uncommon to ask the opinion of a vet when devising nutritional needs. While all dog food packages contain guidelines for feeding the pet, in reality, nutritional needs are a lot more complex. Hence, you may think you feed your dog the right amount of food, but they may gain or lose weight instead.
If this is the case, the sections below explore some of the most common reasons and solutions.
Overall, the meal plan for your Havanese should be crafted after considering multiple factors, including their life stage (puppy, adult, senior dog), current weight and activity levels, medical conditions (including spaying or neutering), and others.
Overweight Havanese: Reasons and Solutions
This is one of the most common issues for most dog owners – an overweight pet. Not to mention, small breeds are more prone to putting on weight as they are small and less active than other larger breeds. Also, owners who offer too many treats or overfeed their dogs are not unheard of either.
Unfortunately, an overweight Havanese may be in pain, more irritable, uncomfortable, have decreased stamina, and have an early death.
1. Inappropriate Diet
The most obvious reason for an overweight pup is the inappropriate diet. In other words, your dog eats more calories than it consumes, hence it stores the additional nutrients as fat. There are many situations in which pets eat too much food, even without their owners knowing.
For instance, if you live with other family members, they may offer extra treats to the dog, or you leave food for your dog available all the time (hence it’s overeating), or the food you give to your dog is not appropriate for them (too high in calories).
It can be quite difficult to see where you go wrong with your dog’s diet. The best approach is to schedule an appointment with your vet, who can help you figure out the dog’s caloric needs, then devise a diet plan that meets those needs. As for other family members, you can keep a calendar or a list where every member adds the treat when offered (so other members know the dog has already received a treat).
2. Your Dog Has a Health Issue
The reason for putting on weight may be of medical nature. There are many diseases that can lead to weight gain, including hypothyroidism, Cushing’s disease, hip dysplasia, and others. If your dog is overweight, it’s recommended to go to the vet first to eliminate this possibility.
As your Havanese dog grows older, it loses muscle mass and the metabolism slows down. You need to make sure that the diet is appropriate to your dog’s age (i.e., leaner for senior dogs).
While foods high in carbs are often marketed for overweight dogs, this can actually have the opposite effect: carbohydrates stimulate insulin production, so your dog will have a higher appetite. It’s better to opt for food high in protein and fat (based on the vet’s recommendation).
4. Neutering or Spaying
This intervention can also lead to weight issues. Neutering and spaying impact the behavior of sex hormones, which in turn affect the appetite and metabolism of your pet. Your dog may also change its eating patterns after this intervention. In this case, the vet can help you determine the new dietary needs of your pet.
Underweight Havanese: Reasons and Solutions
At the other end of the spectrum, some owners may struggle with an underweight Havanese. This can be as damaging as being overweight. Below, we’ll discuss some of the main reasons and solutions for an underweight pup.
1. Medical Problems
If your dog suddenly lost weight, it’s very likely that it is caused by a medical problem. There may be many reasons for it, including parasites, and kidney disease. In this case, it’s best to check your pet’s health as soon as possible.
2. Picky Eater
If your dog is healthy but still underweight, there may be a simpler reason for it: your dog may be a picky eater. While good eating habits are formed in puppyhood, some dogs may suddenly stop eating their food because of texture or flavor.
In this case, you could try switching the food (i.e., provide wet food for a while, then switch back to kibbles). However, it’s recommended to avoid switching the diet unless absolutely necessary, because diet changes can upset the dog’s stomach.
If your pup is a picky eater, you could try providing them with food that is more nutritious (so they eat less while taking in all the nutrients required). Food rich in protein and fat is desirable to carb-high food as the weight gain should encourage muscle growth, not fat.
3. Teeth Problems
If your dog has started to lose its appetite recently, it may have a dental problem. If it has mouth pain, eating can be painful, hence they eat less, leading to weight loss. If this is the case, the best solution is to take your pup to a vet to get treated.
4. Your Dog Is Stressed
Stress is a common reason why dogs lose weight. The source of the stress can be extremely varied:
- Your newly adopted puppy is stressed as it tries to adapt to the new environment
- You have recently changed homes
- You have new family members (such as a baby)
- You have recently adopted a new pet
- The pet’s owner is not around much anymore, for reasons such as a new job (but is taken care of by another family member)
All in all, a Havanese should weigh between 7 and 13 lbs, depending on many factors, such as gender, life stage, and genetics. If you are in doubt, it’s always a good idea to take your pup to a vet, who can tell you if your Havanese has a normal weight or not, and rule out any potential medical reasons.