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Chocolate Havanese
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok... I know this is a hot topic and everyone has an opinion... but I have relied on a lot of advice from this forum and it’s all been very beneficial for my chocolate Havanese. This is the greatest breed and an awesome forum that has helped us immensely.

We have been feeding Merrick Small Breed (pink) bag for a while now. It’s NOT grain free. That was coincidental. Our vet just advised us not to use grain free until more info is available. I really love the site dogfoodadvisor which I discovered via this forum. Most dog food is grain free. For those of you who prefer to NOT use grain free ... which dog food are you using? Our Hava is growing tired of Merrick Small breeed puppy. Looking at Victor...

What are you using for your Havanese?
 

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I feed my boy Victor Yukon River. It is grain-free. He loves it for 1 year now but he is not a fussy eater and it seems to agree with him. The only thing he doesn't eat is any kind of medication!
I like the Victor foods because they are easy to find, reasonably priced ($13 for 5 lbs.), several breeders I spoke to feed Victor. I order from Chewy sometimes and it is available at a few stores close by. I did try another one by Victor that was not grainfree. He loved it but he was pooping about 8 times a day. I think it was the grain.
 

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I’m pretty sure Fromm has formulations with and without grains because I unintentionally bought one with brown rice or barley.

You could also just add a “topper.” I never really used one that was marketed that way because it was cheaper to buy the freeze dried patties and break them up, but I did buy a bag once to use as treats and our puppy went crazy over the freeze dried fruit in it.

Not contradicting your vet, but I thought something was published recently enough that the vet’s recommendation may have changed since your last visit. I only remember because my husband read about it and was teasing me about our dog food budget. Might be worth asking again the next time you’re there if it would increase your food options. It seems like when we first brought home our puppy I always had to check packages for grain free and now there’s more grain free than not, even with the scare.
 

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Arf! Arf!
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Regarding food, there is no one right answer. I am going to give you two professional opinions:

Ricky's Vet - The protocol for professional Vets is a well balanced kibble diet that probably will include some grain as a filler. Kibble diets are relatively inexpensive, easy to administer, and generally relatively well balanced. He generally recommends a kibble diet to most dog owners who don't want to get involved in the science of canine nutrition. In his professional career, he has seen most dogs of all breeds thrive on this type of diet. He has seen some research on grain free diets but these have not been peer reviewed. He cautions that because you read something on the Internet, it should not be taken literally or out of context. He agrees that too much grain in a diet as a filler is not nutritious, but some grain can be beneficial to a dogs health. He is most concerned about raw diets. These can be very tricky. The dog owner who feeds a raw diet must be very careful to include all the additional vitamins and minerals to make the meal well balanced. In his practice he sees to many people feeding a raw diet that have no idea what they are doing. In general, he recommends against a raw diet for that reason. But for someone who knows what they are doing, a raw diet can be just fine.

A Vet from Kentucky - I happened to be randomly seated at dinner last week next to a gentleman who is a Vet from Kentucky for 40 years. The subjects of canine diets and male neutering came up in our informal conversation. He too recommends a well balanced kibble diet which may or may not include grain. He said SIMPLE is the best strategy for most pet owners. Regarding neutering, he recommends that males be neutered between the age of 6 months to 18 months. However.......recent research seems to indicate that LARGE BREED dogs should not be neutered before 12 months to avoid the potential for certain types of canine cancer. So he has changed his personal protocol for large dogs (Rottweilers, German Shepherds, etc.) to 12 to 18 months. He said the problem is that many of his clients have read about this research on the Internet and presume it applies to ALL breeds. He said that is not what is indicated. He has seen no increased incidence of cancer in small breeds like a Havanese related to neutering at a relatively early age, in his career. So for a Havanese, his protocol is still 6 to 18 months for neutering.

Ricky's diet - I feed Ricky Honest Kitchen 'Preference'. This is a dehydrated, human grade base preparation consisting of fruits, vegetables, seeds, vitamins, and mineral to which I add the prescribed amount of protein (usually fresh boiled shredded chicken breast). I add a topper of a little grain based kibble and a tablet of probiotics and one of salmon oil and a half tablet of Benedryll (for his seasonal allergies). Ricky loves his diet and licks his bowl super clean twice a day. Ricky poops on average 3 times a day. His stool is well formed, glossy (indicating sufficient water in his diet) and firm but not hard. Ricky's Vet says he is strong, muscular, perfect weight, alert, and thriving. He says Ricky's diet meets all of his requirements.

So there you have it, clear as mud, right? There is no one right answer. I would suggest you take input from this forum and then discuss with your Vet. The Vet is an integral part of the team (you being the other) to keep your dog happy, healthy, and long lived.

Good Luck and keep us posted on what you decide.

Ricky's Popi
 

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My vet said dog foods tend to follow what is in vogue with humans. Gluten free is big now with humans so grain free is now popular with dogs. Gravy became popular with humans and then the Gravy Train dog food became popular. He said that domestic dogs and wild canines have always been inclined to eat the rumen sack from a dead ruminant animal. Ruminant animals eat grains and grasses. Therefore, historically, canines have had grains in their natural diets.

Willow gets Honest Kitchen. I give her one that does contain grains and includes the protein, which, in her case, is beef. She loves it and licks the bowl clean twice a day just like Popi said Ricky does. In fact, Popi is the one that turned us on to Honest Kitchen.
 

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Chocolate Havanese
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the thoughtful response. Our vet is a wholistic vet. They are exceptional and don’t push things. In fact, she won’t recommend a food. She just offers research and she is very educated on nutrition etc. For her to suggest avoiding grain free, was a huge flag as they are a very conservative practice. The info you offered above makes a lot of sense. Looking at Annamaet Encore and Victor but will also consider Honest Kitchen. Thanks for the info,
 

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Owned by a Havallon
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I feed homemade raw. I like the peace of mind of knowing exactly what is in my dog’s food, how it was raised, how it was prepared and that it does not contain pesticides, preservatives or any other chemicals. I also do not have to ever worry about a pet food recall.
 

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I feed Patti - Hill's Science Diet Wet Dog Food, Adult, Small Paws For Small Breeds, 3.5 oz twice a day, morning and evening. 90 calories per feeding. Once a day in the morning along with the Hills Wet Dog food, I give her 1/4 C Instinct Raw Boost Grain Free Recipe with Real Natural Dry Dog Food. 125 calories per feeding. Total about 300 calories. Then she gets treats during the day. I read she needed about 400 calories a day. Patti weights 14 lbs is 11.5 inches tall.

The Hills Science Diet Wet for Small Breeds is Chicken or Beef with vegetables. I buy it by the box which contains 12 individual feedings, 6 chicken & 6 beef.

It was a major Brain Teaser trying to figure out what and how much to feed her. Good Luck! everyone does something different.
 

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Mikki,

Silly question, but is wet food messy? Will Smokey need to be washed up every time he eats it? I feed him dry Iams (and other than hot dogs it's his favorite food in the world) but my daughter started her dog on Science Diet and her dog thinks that is the best food in the world. I was considering getting Science Diet kibble but I've been curious about trying some wet food, too.
 

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Mikki,

Silly question, but is wet food messy? Will Smokey need to be washed up every time he eats it? I feed him dry Iams (and other than hot dogs it's his favorite food in the world) but my daughter started her dog on Science Diet and her dog thinks that is the best food in the world. I was considering getting Science Diet kibble but I've been curious about trying some wet food, too.
No questions are silly...I've asked plenty of them. Canned dog food is more nutritious and better than Kibble. People use Kibble because it's cheaper. Canned dog food can get expensive, especially for big dogs. My Vet recommends Science Diet. I don't know if it's the best. There are a lot of good quality dog foods on the market. I've tried many and Patti liked them all.

I settled on Science Diet Small Breed Wet Stew because it's convenient and Patti likes it. Once a day I mix 1/4 C of Kibble with the morning serving. It comes in small 3.05 oz cups...one serving. Open, serve and throw away. It is pieces of meat and vegetables in a thick stew. It isn't watery and messy but some will stick on the edges if you dog has a long beard. I've gone back to a cute short, puffy puppy-mustache because it is easier to keep clean and looking nice. Those wonderful long mustaches and beards are beautiful for about 5 minutes after grooming. Then every time they drink water, play outside in wet grass or root around on the floor it's a mess.

Science Diet has another Small Breed 5.8 oz canned dog food that is wet but NOT a stew. Patti like it, too. I must be extra lazy because for me this was not as convenient. I had to divide the serving and store the remainder in the frig. Then felt like I had to warm up the second serving.

I buy it from Amazon and it cost $16.14 for a carton of 12 or $1.34 each - if you set up an automatic monthly order system. Otherwise, a one time order cost $16.99. When I bought this at Pet Co it was $1.89 - 1.99 each. The biggest negative according to Reviews is the Cost.

HOPE THIS HELPS
 

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Mikki,

Silly question, but is wet food messy? Will Smokey need to be washed up every time he eats it? I feed him dry Iams (and other than hot dogs it's his favorite food in the world) but my daughter started her dog on Science Diet and her dog thinks that is the best food in the world. I was considering getting Science Diet kibble but I've been curious about trying some wet food, too.
We mixed wet with kibble for our puppy until about 6 months old (maybe 4??) as per our breeder's instructions. I did NOT want to do wet food because I'm sensitive to smells, but it was really not bad. He's a pretty neat eater, it was never in his beard or anything, but sometimes I wiped just his mouth. He was little though, so I was still wiping his eyes a couple times a day. He really licked every drop off his mouth, haha. Wet food has a stronger smell than high quality kibble but i actually don't think it's as strong as Iams. I'm sure they have several types, I just remember being in a friend's house recently and thinking the food smelled strong and I thought it was Iams. Our puppy LOVED canned food and we had to taper off slowly because he pulled out all the stops. Eventually I replaced it by adding crumbles of freeze dried food on top of his kibble.

I did have to remember to wash his bowl right after he ate because if I waited until right before the next meal there was sometimes a residue from the food.
 

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We mixed wet with kibble for our puppy until about 6 months old (maybe 4??) as per our breeder's instructions. I did NOT want to do wet food because I'm sensitive to smells, but it was really not bad. He's a pretty neat eater, it was never in his beard or anything, but sometimes I wiped just his mouth. He was little though, so I was still wiping his eyes a couple times a day. He really licked every drop off his mouth, haha. Wet food has a stronger smell than high quality kibble but i actually don't think it's as strong as Iams. I'm sure they have several types, I just remember being in a friend's house recently and thinking the food smelled strong and I thought it was Iams. Our puppy LOVED canned food and we had to taper off slowly because he pulled out all the stops. Eventually I replaced it by adding crumbles of freeze dried food on top of his kibble.

I did have to remember to wash his bowl right after he ate because if I waited until right before the next meal there was sometimes a residue from the food.
I bet you're a great cook. My un-researched and personal opinion is ALL good cooks are sensitive smellers, along with having a son who is ultra-sensitive to smells and is a fabulous cook. He can taste every ingredient in a food dish.

Although, I'm pretty sensitive to odors and I have not noticed any distinctive smell from Science Diet Small Breed Wet Stew meals.
 

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I'm very sensitive to food smells. I can't stand the smell of any canned food with the exception of tomatoes-- including other vegetables. I make everything fresh because of it. I'm absolutely certain I couldn't take the smell of canned dog food. LOL
 

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Mikki,

Silly question, but is wet food messy? Will Smokey need to be washed up every time he eats it? I feed him dry Iams (and other than hot dogs it's his favorite food in the world) but my daughter started her dog on Science Diet and her dog thinks that is the best food in the world. I was considering getting Science Diet kibble but I've been curious about trying some wet food, too.
Willow eats Honest Kitchen which is dehydrated and becomes wet once you add the water. Sometimes her face does get messy and I just wipe it with a wet washcloth. Other times it doesn't. I guess it just depends, but I would say it gets a little messy more times than not. It's not a huge mess. Just sometimes a little gets in her beard.
 

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I'm very sensitive to food smells. I can't stand the smell of any canned food with the exception of tomatoes-- including other vegetables. I make everything fresh because of it. I'm absolutely certain I couldn't take the smell of canned dog food. LOL
I'm the same way, I've hated canned vegetables since I was a kid. I think the metallic smell of the open can reminds me of sitting at the table because I had to eat my vegetables! My mom started doing side salads with meals at some point, and I still prefer that. My husband prepares frozen vegetables sometimes. I'm weird about food smells but I deal with it, it's just different with something that comes up every day, like dog food.

The good quality canned dog food is more like opening a can of chili. You wouldn't want to inhale the aroma (you might even hold your breath a little, haha), and you'd much rather make it fresh, but it's not offensive like the canned dog food I was familiar with. The brand we used did have whole vegetables, etc. By the time the dish soap is sudsing up the bowl, the smell is gone. I was still glad when we tapered off.

I remember being surprised that the frozen raw we tried had the mildest smell of any food I tried. If I could remember to take it out of the freezer, figure out whether to transport or replace it for daycare and outings, etc. frozen would have been my preference. However, I do think it would be more than I want to spend on food once we get second Havanese so I think it worked out.

I don't remember our vet even addressing grain free I just know things can change and there were some postings here on it so it's worth checking in on these things if you're in the office and thinking of making a food change.

I do think a lot of it is lifestyle - how much time can be committed to planning meals, etc. We do our best, but doing our best also means when we have to make compromises, we choose them carefully and then don't spend a lot of time second guessing. Re-evaluate when something changes.
 

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My mom makes her 2 chihuahuas’ food, all in a pressure cooker. She says it’s pretty easy and the dogs are 17 and 18 yrs old and still quite healthy, so I guess it works. Now I’m doing high quality kibble for small breed puppies (science diet, in continuing w the breeder’s diet for him). I’m not sure what my plans are long term, other than maybe supplementing that with home cooked. We’re still adjusting to potty training and he’s doing so well, and is so predictable that I don’t want to rock the boat yet, if that makes sense. I’ve seen the raw dehydrated stuff and that might be a good addition.
 

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Oh and the above study was released in December 2018 and talks about taurine deficiency and congestive heart failure correlation with grain free and high legume diets
 
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