Havanese dogs health problems

Havanese dogs health problems old women with Havanese dogs

It’s impossible NOT to fall in love with a Havanese dog when you first cross paths.

Especially when they gaze adoringly at you with their big expressive eyes!

These playful and energetic pups are good with children, easy to train and quickly become part of the family.

The Havanese breed has been winning over hearts for centuries, since it was developed from the now-extinct Bichon Tenerife dog in the 1500s.

In fact, if you were to travel back in time to 18th century Cuba, you’d be hard-pressed to find an aristocrat who wasn’t accompanied by a purebred Havanese dog with a silky coat.

Fast forward to the present, and it’s little surprise their numbers have thrived around the world.

Havanese life expectancy is around 12 to 15 years, and they’re generally healthy.

However, you should be aware of havanese dogs health problems, so you’re empowered to give your furry pal the best possible care.

We discuss some of the most widespread concerns below.

Havanese dogs health problems

Skin conditions such as sebaceous adenitis

The popularity of Havanese dogs has led to a large number of puppies being bred by inexperienced breeders. This may have contributed to the prevalence of inflammatory skin problems such as sebaceous adenitis, which occurs when the glands stop producing moisturising sebum.

This condition is characterised by dry skin that’s scaly, with patches of hair loss. Not very comfortable for poor Fluffy! If you notice your dog’s coat is thinning or he seems uncomfortable when you scratch his back with your fingernails, it could be a sign of this immune-mediated disorder. Other symptoms include a musty aroma, matted hair and silver or white scales on the skin.

Book an appointment with your vet if you notice any potential red flags. Although there’s no cure for sebaceous adenitis, it can be successfully managed with topical therapy and targeted supplements. It’s important to seek veterinary advice as soon as possible, to give your pal the best quality of life.

Havanese dogs health problems - Havanese life expectancy

Anxiety and nervousness

Havanese make loyal companions, but there’s a downside to their attentiveness. They can experience anxiety when their humans leave the house, there are loud noises or they don’t get enough exercise.

Signs of anxiety include pacing, whining, shaking, destructiveness, howling and losing control of their bodily fluids.

When leaving home for a short duration, set up a cosy crate with familiar toys – to create a feeling of safety. On top of this, aim for at least one hour of gentle daily exercise, which encourages calmness.

You can find other useful tips here and here.

Note: if you don’t already have a Havanese dog, but you’re considering bringing one home, choose another breed if there’s nobody in the house for most of the day.

Heart disease

Heart failure is one of the biggest killers of older Havanese dogs, and this usually occurs when the valve weakens over time – to the point that it can no longer shut properly. This causes a leak to the blood flow, which puts too much pressure on the heart.

Heart failure is the extreme end of the scale, but even young dogs can develop cardiovascular conditions that require medical attention.

In one study, six per cent of Havanese dogs had heart problems (predominantly a heart murmur).

The best way to make sure your dog isn’t affected by a murmur is to have his heart thoroughly checked—generally by an echocardiogram—at least once before he reaches 10 years old.

Medical treatments can’t reverse heart disease, but it’s possible for your dog to live a normal life with the right veterinary care and targeted lifestyle changes (such as implementing a low-sodium diet).

Havanese dogs health problems and dog with red ball


Under havanese dogs health problems it is common for them to experience low blood sugar, due to their small digestive systems. Hypoglycaemia symptoms include weakness, pale gums, lack of coordination, trembling, convulsions, blindness, irregular heart rate and changes to appetite.

In these situations, pet owners are often required to act quickly by giving their pup a dose of something sweet, like honey, which helps to raise blood sugar levels (the sweet food can be rubbed on the gums after seizures have stopped).

However, the exact treatment depends on what caused the hypoglycaemia in the first place, and this can only be determined by a vet.

Canine Hip Dysplasia

Another havanese dogs health problem is that they are prone to dysplasia. This hereditary condition occurs when the hip joint develops abnormally, creating a misaligned hip ball and socket. Hip dysplasia often causes pain and discomfort in the rear limbs (one or both), and can even lead to chronic arthritis and immobility over time.

If you notice your dog limping, favouring one leg while running or struggling to get up, please take her to the vet as soon as you can. X-rays are commonly used to diagnose the condition and anti-inflammatory drugs may be prescribed to lower pain. Targeted supplements and physical therapy can also help, and you may need to introduce a diet and exercise plan to keep weight at a manageable level.

Sometimes these interventions aren’t enough and surgery is required to treat hip dysplasia.

Your surgical options will depend on the state of your dog’s health and the extent of their dysplasia. Common procedures include a triple pelvic osteotomy, femoral head ostectomy and total hip replacement.


Cataracts occur when a thin film covers your dog’s eye, blocking their vision. Havanese dogs have a high risk of developing cataracts, but there’s not much you can do to prevent this largely genetic condition from occurring. Unfortunately, cataracts can’t be reversed naturally but can be removed and replaced by an artificial lens, while your dog is under general anesthesia. This can be rather expensive, usually between $2,700 and $6,000!

Havanese dogs health problems - dog with girl

Potiki dog insurance for Havanese dog health problems

Your Havanese pup is a cherished member of your family, so naturally you want to provide the best medical care to prevent and treat health problems.

Unfortunately, vet fees can be shockingly high in Australia, and there’s no government subsidy.

No “pawrent” should have to choose between paying for vital treatment and other important expenses.

If you have reliable pet insurance, you don’t have to worry about budgeting to pay for veterinary care. Your policy would cover most of the costs, as long as it’s not a pre-existing condition. 

Potiki’s affordable pet insurance is your safety net…but what if you never need to lodge a claim? Is that a waste of money?

No, you still get good value:

We send you free Potiki Perks to help you take care of your beloved pal’s general wellbeing.

All customers get up to $400 worth of tailored essential pet supplies like tick medication, as well as 24/7 access to an online chat service with experienced vets.

This is on top of reliable Potiki pet cover (via petinsurance.com.au) that pays for 80 per cent of your eligible vet bills for unexpected illness and injury.

  1. Get a quick Potiki quote to find out what your premium will cost for one year.
  2. Submit payment if you’re satisfied with that amount (email us on [email protected] with any questions).
  3. Log into your personal portal to select items for your Potiki Perks package, which will be swiftly delivered to you.
  4. Lodge a claim if you need help paying vet bills for unexpected sickness or injury.