Tips for Grooming Your Havanese
Keeping your Havanese dogs well groomed helps them look nice and supports their overall health and wellness. Whether you are entering your dog in competitions or just want to keep your Havanese in tip top shape, here are a few tips for grooming your dog.
Bathing Your Dog
Although dogs generally love to swim, not many of them are fond of taking a baths. However, regular baths are important to your dog’s health and appearance, particularly if he or she is a show dog. Bathing your dog once per week is usually adequate, though you can usually get away with a biweekly bath if your Havanese is not active or primarily an indoor pet. For show dogs, bathing them twice a week before a competition will make their coats nice and shiny.
Havaneses tend to have dry hair, so you will want to use shampoos and conditioners with moisturizing properties. Prior to bathing your dog, brush out his or her coat to prevent matting. Make sure that you shampoo out all of the soap because any residue will irritate the skin and make the dog scratch. If you have highly mineralized water, mix about 1 tablespoon of condition in distilled water and use that to rinse your dog. Sink sprayers are a very convenient bath aid but be careful not to spray water in the dog’s face. If you don’t have a sink spray, pouring water over the dog using a pitcher or large plastic bottle will work just as well.
Drying Your Dog
There are two types of dryers you can use to dry your dog after a bath: a standing dryer or a hand dryer. A standing dryer is much more convenient to use because it allows you to keep your hands free to control the dog. Make sure you place the dryer on a stable surface that allows a lot of room for the dog. You can also use a hand dryer, but you need to be somewhat adept at handling the dryer and the dog at the same time. The main benefit to using hand dryers is that they can be ported anywhere.
No matter which type of dryer you prefer, make sure to only use low or medium heat to avoid burning the dog’s sensitive skin and ruining the coat. Always make sure the dog dries fully to prevent mats and other hair or skin problems. To maintain moisture and reduce wisps, use a finishing lotion on the coat.
Brushing Your Dog’s Coat
Although you only need to bathe your dog once a week (or less), it is important to brush your Havanese every day. Daily brushing stimulates circulation and prevents the dog’s coat from becoming matted. Before you start brushing, lightly moisturize the fur using a solution made from a combination of water and 1 teaspoon of conditioner. Since mats can form near the skin, you should use the line brushing technique to get to the roots.
To line brush your dog properly, your dog must be trained to lie still on his or her side. Start with short sessions and gradually build up the amount of time the dog lays down for this type of brushing. Be sure to reward your pet with praise and treats for the effort. It shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes to completely line brush a dog that has been well-trained.
Have your dog lay on his or her side. Separate the fur by making a horizontal part from head to tail. Gently brush and detangle the hair a little bit at a time using a pin brush. The brush should be held flat; holding it at an angle may pull on the hair and scratch your dog’s sensitive skin. When one side is done, turn your dog over and repeat the procedure. When you get to the legs, brush the underside of the legs closest to the surface of the table. Line brushing is very relaxing, so your dog may fall asleep.
Dealing with Tear Stains and Eye Care
Excessive tearing can discolor your dog’s fur. Although many dog owners consider it a cosmetic nuisance, tearing is often a sign of an eye problem. Poor diet, disease, physical malfunction, and genetics are the most common reasons your Havanese’s tear too much. Have your dog checked out by a veterinarian if notice eye staining.
There are a couple of things you can do to eliminate tear stains from your dog’s fur. One way is to apply whitening toothpaste on the stains the night before the dog’s bath. Avoid getting any in the dog’s eyes and thoroughly wash the area when you bath your pet. Another option is to clean under your dog’s eyes daily using Bausch and Lomb eyewash or a toothbrush dipped in water. Be certain to get in the corners of the eyes where the majority of staining often occurs.
It is recommended that Havanese dogs be checked for cataracts on a regular basis. This should be done by a board certified ophthalmologist. You can find one in your area by visiting the Canine Eye Registration Foundation website. The clinics recommended by this site is usually staffed by volunteers that have a lot of experience with dogs and testing at these facilities are usually less expensive than an appointment at a private doctor’s office.
Taking Care of the Teeth
Like humans, plaque can build up on dogs’ teeth leading to bad breath, gum disease, and tooth decay. Their teeth require daily maintenance or they will lose them. Use dog-friendly toothpaste to brush your dog’s teeth every day. You can use an old toothbrush, a toothbrush specially designed for dogs, or a fingertip appliance to accomplish this. Take care of infections and tooth problems as soon as you notice them to help your Havanese keep his or her teeth as long as possible.
Cleaning the Ears
Your dog’s ears need to be cleaned regularly to get rid of bacteria, excess hair, and wax buildup. To clean your dog’s ears, put a few drops of cleaning fluid in the ear to break up the wax and then use Q-tips or cotton balls to remove it. If your dog fidgets when you try to clean his or her ears, have the dog lay down.
Dogs do grow hair inside their ears and it is usually not a problem for them unless there is an excessive amount or it leads to disease developing in the ear. To get rid of excess hair, simply pull it out. This is not painful for the dog, but you can also trim it carefully using scissors if you are concerned about your dog’s comfort.
Trimming the Toenails
Nail clipping is the most challenging part of grooming a dog for a couple of reasons. It is too easy to hurt the dog during the process especially if you have very little experience clipping dog nails. Another reason is many dogs don’t like people messing with their paws, so they may fidget or struggle during the procedure.
The key to trimming your dog’s nails is to use the right tools. There are several different kinds available, but the ones that beginners find most comfortable to use are clippers. When cutting your dog’s nails with clippers, trim the nail a little bit at a time. You want to avoid hitting the nail’s nerve or quick, which is very painful for the dog. If you do hit the quick and it starts to bleed, use styptic powder or cinnamon to staunch the bleeding.
Once you gain experience clipping your dog’s nails, you can use a Dremel tool to grind the nail down. Before using this tool, be certain to push the hair out of the way; otherwise it can get caught in the sanding tool and rip out. Towels can be very helpful with this task. Wrap your Havanese in a beach towel to limit the dog’s movements and pull out one paw at a time to trim. An old dish cloth can be repurposed at a toe separator that exposes the nails by holding the hair back. Whatever tool you use for nail trimming, take your time and be gentle.
Trimming the hair around your dog’s feet neatens their appearance and reduces the amount of mud and other dirt they may track around your house. If your Havanese has a calm disposition, you can stand him or her up on a flat stable surface and cut the hair around the toes and feet. The other option is to lay the dog on his or her side for the procedure. Be certain to brush the hair first and trim away the strands that extend beyond the foot.
Regular Vet Checks
A dog’s health is the most beautiful thing about him or her. Scheduling annual vet checks is an important component to helping your dog stay in tip top shape. Take time to find a good vet that you and your dog are comfortable working with. Ask fellow pet owners for recommendations. The Internet is another great resource to turn to for finding a good veterinarian.