How often do I need to feed my puppy?
We always recommend that you feed your puppy as much as it wants to eat since puppies are always growing. We do not encourage measuring of a puppy's food! Please allow your puppy to eat until it is truly full, and do not limit his or her food since your puppy is growing.
We recommend that you place the food bowl down and let puppy eat until it is full. This may take 10 minutes or so. When puppy is full, has wandered away from its bowl, and is no longer interested in eating, then take away the food bowl.
ALWAYS have fresh water available for your puppy. Do not take away the water bowl from your puppy except for two hours before bedtime. (We also suggest that you do not give any more food after this time as well.)
You can feed your puppy two to three times a day. When your puppy leaves our home it will be eating three meals a day . However, we often find that puppies are ready to soon transition to two meals a day. You will find that your puppy sometimes is not even hungry at lunch. If this is the case you can simply feed your puppy twice a day.
At breakfast time, place the food bowl down, let puppy eat as much as it wants, and then when puppy is done, perhaps ten minutes later, take the food bowl away. Then at dinner time do the same thing.
We have no way, as humans, of knowing what day puppy decides to grow a bunch! We do not know what days he or she needs to gobble some extra kibble because he or she is growing, growing, growing. As your Havanese grows older it is fine to decrease the amount of food if it is obviously becoming overweight. We are simply saying that we do not recommend trying to guess and measure how much food you think your puppy needs each day. Simply put the food bowl down, let puppy eat as much as it wants and then take the remaining food away.
Remember, do NOT remove or limit your puppy's water. They always need to have fresh water available to keep them healthy!
What do you recommend for heartworm and flea treatment?
For heartworm I recommend any ivermectin based product. Heartguard Plus is the most common, but Iverhart Plus is the generic and just as good as well.
As for fleas, I really don't do the monthly topical treatments unless they are needed, because my dogs don't really go to dog parks, and rarely ever get fleas. When they have had fleas, I have used Frontline drops, etc. But my preferred choice is Bravecto because it works really great and lasts one to three months depending on the version you buy (it's a pill). Some dogs can possibly get an upset stomach from it, so I only use it if necessary. In a perfect world, I wouldn't use any chemicals on my dogs, but of course we do have fleas out there so I do use these as necessary. Really, all I can say is that my philosophy is to only treat when necessary. I do not put flea drops on my dogs every month because I know they contain permethrin in the drops and so only if necessary seems to work best for me with the Frontline drops or Bravecto. I do however, always give my dogs their monthly heartworm pills.
What about puppy socialization?
So many people are concerned about their puppies being socialized, and they think their puppy must begin this process immediately by meeting new dogs and people. Socialization is great, but I believe it must only be done at the proper time. I believe the health of my puppies is always the most important factor. Your puppy will not complete its vaccination schedule until about 16 weeks old. We would think it was crazy for a person to take a human baby that was only a few months old to the mall and try to get multiple strangers to greet and hold the baby. Common sense tells us that would be a terrible thing to do with a young human baby because it could get sick. Yet, I feel people often do this exact thing with their young puppies - all in the name of socialization.
This is why we never recommend taking your new puppy to the pet store, the park, or any other place that is frequently visited by other dogs in those beginning weeks. If you need to go to the pet store in those beginning weeks with your puppy - please carry it into the store. Do not let it sniff noses with other dogs, and do not let your puppy walk on the floor at a pet store. Your puppy has not built up the immunity needed to protect itself from disease until it has completed its first round of booster shots at about 16 weeks old.
"Yes, but what about the socialization?" you ask. Please understand that your puppy was with its mother until it was 8 weeks old. This means that your puppy was given the most wonderful socialization class of all the first crucial 8 weeks of its life. No one can teach socialization better than a puppy's mother. She and the other dogs here in our pack are constantly teaching the babies what's polite and what's not polite in the dog world. I see this happening all day long, every day, with our puppies. Also remember, that as soon as you take puppy home, you and your family become its new dog pack. By continuing to set limits and boundaries with your puppy you are showing it, that it is still living according to the same doggy hierarchy that its mother set up from day one. You are the new parent, replacing puppy's mother. You are the new one it looks to for permission, and it should stay that way.
Puppy will have plenty of time to meet other dogs, and meet new people after 16 weeks of age. Please know that I am not against puppy meeting dogs that you personally know. What I mean by this is, for example, your mom has a dog, and you know it is up to date on its shots, then that's great. Puppy can meet dogs when you know the owner, and trust the dog is up to date on vaccines and healthy. However, puppy does not need to be meeting random dogs at the pet store or dog park until the first shots have been completed around 16 weeks.
It is great to take your puppy everywhere with you, but just remember until puppy has completed its shots around 16 weeks old - keep puppy up and off the floor, in your arms, in a doggy stroller, or doggy carrier or backpack. This is great because puppy can be with you, and at the same time it will expose puppy to all kinds of new sights, smells and sounds, but it will keep it safe from any possible diseases that might be lurking around. After shots are completed feel free to let your puppy explore with you!