Top 10 Best Dog Food for Havanese

Top 10 Best Dog Food for Havanese

We understand. You love your Havanese, and you want to give him the best of everything, down to the food he eats. Your concern is warranted, considering how crucial good nutrition is for your pup. It may surprise you to learn that dry kibble is the diet of choice for over 96% of new pet owners. Convenience stands out as its main advantage.

However, canned food is still a viable option for more than 35%, whether it’s on its own or mixed with the dry. If you’ve browsed the pet food aisle, you know that there are dozens of choices, which can make it difficult to know what is the best one for your Havanese. Our guide will sift through the good, bad, and the ugly. We’ll give you the information you need to make the right choice for your choice.

We’ve also included a slate of reviews for a number of products, detailing the pros and cons of each one. It will provide a solid foundation for reading pet food labels to understand item’s value for your pup. The decision about the daily diet for your Havanese is a vital one that deserves a lot of attention to pick the best one for your pet. Our guide will help you home in on the right product.

The 10 Best Dog Foods for Havanese

Purina Pro Plan Shredded Blend Small Breed – Best Budget Option

Purina Pro Plan Shredded
First Five Ingredients Chicken, Rice, Poultry by-product Meal, Beef Fat, Corn Gluten Meal
Protein 29%
Fat 17%

Not everyone has tons of money to spend on dog food. Therefore, if you’re on a budget, we particularly liked Purina Pro Plan Shredded Blend Small Breed as the best food for Havanese for the money. This food is much cheaper than most other options out there, but you will be paying for the lower price in some ways.

For instance, the ingredient list is so-so. Chicken is included as the first ingredient, which is better than some other foods on the market. However, corn gluten meal and by-products are included pretty high on the list. This isn’t necessarily a problem since most dogs will digest this stuff just fine. However, it is not as high-quality as some of the other options on the market.

This formula is fortified with probiotics to ensure that your canine’s digestive system is properly supported. Because so much of your dog’s immune system is in their gut, this can go a long way to keeping them healthy.

This formula is also pretty high in protein, though not all of that protein comes from a high-quality source. For instance, much of it comes from ingredients like corn gluten meal.

  • Some low-quality ingredients
  • Chicken is the first ingredient
  • High-protein formula
  • Probiotics included
  • Inexpensive

Ollie Fresh Chicken & Carrots Dog Food – Best Overall


First Five Ingredients Chicken, carrots, peas, rice, chicken liver
Protein 10%
Fat 5%

Dog food from Ollie is the number one dog food for Havanese dogs. We particularly like the Fresh Chicken & Carrot recipe, which is made from human-grade ingredients for dogs of all life stages and sizes. Ollie’s foods are available in fresh and baked recipes, so you can choose what your dog likes the best.

Ollie uses a survey you’ll fill in about your dog to help determine which textures and flavors your dog will like the best. They offer dog food delivery that you can update to meet your dog’s needs, saving you time and trips to the pet store. You can make changes to your recipes and textures at any time as well, ensuring you always have the foods your dog likes on hand.

Ollie offers a starter pack for all new customers, including multiple recipes for your dog to try, a custom feeding guide, a food scoop, and a storage container to keep the fresh food fresh after opening.

The primary downside to Ollie dog food is that it does end up costing more than most pet store dog foods. However, due to the small size of the Havanese breed, this food will stretch further than it would for a larger dog.

  • Premium price
  • Human-grade ingredients are used to create food for all life stages
  • Fresh and baked textures available
  • Multiple flavors and recipes available
  • Ollie customizes feeding recommendations for every dog
  • Starter pack included with new customer orders

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Small Breed – Best for Puppies

Blue Buffalo Life Protection
First Five Ingredients Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Oatmeal, Barley
Protein 26%
Fat 15%

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Small Breed starts with real deboned chicken as the first ingredient, followed by chicken meal, and is our top choice for Havanese puppies. It also includes a variety of helpful grains, such as brown rice and barley. Compared to other options, these carbohydrate sources are considered high-quality.

Furthermore, this formula also includes a variety of different nutrients to help support your dog’s overall wellbeing. For instance, glucosamine is included to support healthy joint mobility long into your dog’s senior years. Omega fatty acids of all kinds are also included to help support your dog’s skin and fur.

All the minerals are chelated to improve their absorption. Antioxidants are also added to oxidative stress, which is the cause of many health conditions.

Plus, this formula also doesn’t include any corn, wheat, or soy. If your dog is sensitive to these ingredients, this food is completely safe.

  • Expensive
  • The brand is known for recalls
  • Chicken as the first ingredient
  • Small breed kibble
  • Glucosamine included
  • Chelated minerals

CANIDAE PURE Petite Adult Small Breed

CANIDAE PURE Petite Adult Small Breed Grain-Free
First Five Ingredients Chicken, Chicken Meal, Peas, Lentils, Tapioca
Protein 24%
Fat 12%

Compared to other recipes, CANIDAE PURE Petite Adult Small Breed has very few ingredients. In total, it has about eight ingredients besides the added vitamins and minerals. This shortlist starts with chicken and includes many other whole ingredients, like lentils. However, peas are included as well, which is absolutely something to keep in mind.

This kibble is completely grain-free. However, that doesn’t mean that it includes higher levels of meat. Instead of grains, peas and lentils are added to the food.

This recipe does include added omega fatty acids, which should help support your canine’s coat and skin. Havanese need all the coat support that they can get, so this is an essential feature to consider.

With that said, this formula is quite expensive—much more so than many of the other foods on this list.

  • Expensive
  • Includes peas
  • Only eight ingredients
  • Chicken as the first ingredient
  • Grain-free
  • Omega fatty acids included

Instinct Raw Boost Small Breed

Instinct Raw Boost Small Breed Grain-Free Recipe With Real Chicken
First Five Ingredients Chicken, Chicken Meal, Chickpeas, Tapioca, Chicken Fat
Protein 35%
Fat 20%

Instinct Raw Boost Small Breed is made up of both kibble and raw pieces. Not only does this make the food tastier, but it also increases the amount of protein in the food. After all, the freeze-dried pieces are pure meat. However, there are no known benefits from raw beyond this.

You are going to be paying for the raw bits, though. This brand is quite expensive compared to others, especially this formula with raw pieces. However, if your dog is a picky eater, the extra cost may be worth it.

Chicken is the first ingredient in this dog food, which provides the protein that your dog needs to thrive. Chicken meal is included, too, which is basically a concentrated form of chicken.

As you’d expect, this food includes a variety of added ingredients to support your dog’s health. Antioxidants, omega fatty acids, and glucosamine are all added to provide your dog with as much support as possible.

  • Expensive
  • Chicken as the first ingredient
  • Many added nutrients included
  • Raw bits included
  • Chicken as the first ingredient

Merrick Lil’ Plates Chicken & Sweet Potato

Merrick Lil' Plates Grain-Free Chicken & Sweet Potato Recipe
First Five Ingredients Chicken, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes
Protein 38%
Fat 17%

Based on all the metrics we looked at, Merrick Lil’ Plates Chicken & Sweet Potato is another good dog food for Havanese for a couple of different reasons. Firstly, the ingredient list is quite good. It includes chicken as the first ingredient, followed by various types of meat that help round the food out. It’s also very high in protein because of the high meat content.

We also liked that there were real freeze-dried pieces of food inside this kibble. Some Havanese are picky eaters, and this dog food really helps ensure that they are encouraged to eat. While there are no proven benefits to feeding your dog raw food, it is a nice addition that most dogs will appreciate.

Furthermore, this food also includes omega fatty acids, glucosamine, and chondroitin. These ingredients help support your dog’s joints, as well as their fur and skin. With fur like a Havanese, it is vital that you protect and nourish it.

  • Includes peas
  • High in protein
  • Contains a lot of meat
  • Freeze-dried pieces
  • Omega fatty acids and various other supplements included
  • Made in the USA

Diamond Naturals Small Breed Adult Chicken & Rice Formula

Diamond Naturals Small
First Five Ingredients Chicken, Chicken Meal, Cracked Pearled Barley, Ground White Rice, Grain Sorghum
Protein 27%
Fat 16%

Diamond Naturals Small Breed Adult Chicken & Rice Formula is a pretty good option for most Havanese. This formula is specifically designed for smaller breeds and includes very small kibble, which allows them to eat easier.

Chicken and chicken meals are included as the first two ingredients, as is common with small breed dog foods. However, this is a great protein as long as your dog isn’t allergic to it, which is more common than you’d think.

Omega fatty acids are included in this formula, which helps support your dog’s coat, joints, and skin. These nutrients are extremely important for just about any Havanese out there.

We also liked that this food includes probiotics, which are surprisingly difficult to find in kibble. Probiotics help support your dog’s gut, which is essential to their wellbeing. Not only does this improve digestion, but it can also support immune health.

The only problem we have with this food is that it includes white rice, which has barely any nutrition. We would have rather seen a whole grain of some sort.

  • White rice included
  • Expensive
  • Chicken as the first ingredient
  • Probiotics included
  • Omega fatty acids included

Wellness Small Breed Complete Health Senior

Wellness Small Breed Complete Health Senior Deboned Turkey & Peas Recipe
First Five Ingredients Deboned Turkey, Chicken Meal, Ground Brown Rice, Peas, Rice
Protein 25%
Fat 12%

As the name suggests, Wellness Small Breed Complete Health Senior is designed specifically for small, older dogs. While there is not an exact age when your dog needs to switch to senior dog food, you may want to consider this food whenever they start showing symptoms of old age.

This food is designed specifically to be easy to eat. Havanese already have a hard time eating because they are so small and dental problems and old age can make the problem even worse. This formula is also packed with quality proteins that can support your dog into their twilight years.

There are many added nutrients in this food that make it a solid choice for just about any canine out there. For example, it includes antioxidants, glucosamine, probiotics, and taurine. All of these ingredients play their part in keeping your pooch healthy.

However, there are some lower-quality ingredients in this formula, such as white rice and peas. These carbohydrates are not the perfect choice for older, smaller dogs.

  • Rice included
  • Peas included
  • Deboned turkey is the first ingredient
  • Antioxidants included
  • Varied joint-supporting nutrients included

Royal Canin Small Digestive Care Dry Dog Food

Royal Canin Small Digestive Care Dry Dog Food
First Five Ingredients Chicken By-product Meal, Corn, Chicken Fat, Brewers Rice, Corn Gluten Meal
Protein 28%
Fat 20%

While Royal Canin Small Digestive Care Dry Dog Food is often considered to be quite high-quality, a quick glance at the ingredient list will prove otherwise. The first ingredient is chicken by-product meal. While by-products aren’t necessarily bad, you simply can’t tell what they are, which brings up some questions.

Furthermore, this is the only sign of meat anywhere on this food’s ingredient list.

The other ingredients aren’t all low-quality. For instance, chicken fat is listed as the third ingredient and is an easy way for companies to add flavor to the food. However, corn gluten meal and regular corn are also included. When you consider both of these ingredients are in the top five, there is a large chance that this food is mostly made up of corn.

With that said, this food is specifically designed for digestive health, which may be useful if your dog has an extremely sensitive stomach. However, you’re going to be paying big bucks for it since this is one of the most expensive foods on the market.

  • Expensive
  • Low-quality ingredients
  • Designed for sensitive stomachs

Hill’s Science Diet Small Bites Dry Dog Food

Hill's Science Diet Adult Small Bites
First Five Ingredients Chicken, Cracked Pearled Barley, Whole Grain Wheat, Whole Grain Corn, Whole Grain
Protein 20%
Fat 5%

Hill’s Science Diet Small Bites Dry Dog Food is one of the most expensive brands on the market. As the name suggests, it is advertised as being backed by science. However, the ingredient list is sub-par, and you’re paying a lot for what you’re getting.

Chicken is the first ingredient, but this is the only mention of meat anywhere on the ingredient list. Protein and fat are both quite low, likely because of the low amount of included meat. Instead, grains are included en masse, though they are whole grains.

With that said, this formula does include a variety of omega fatty acids and vitamin E, which are both essential for nourishing a dog’s coat. Vitamin C is included as well to support a healthy immune system. Plus, this food includes no added colors, flavors, or preservatives. Antioxidants are also included to reduce oxidative damage.

  • Expensive
  • Includes high amounts of grains
  • Antioxidants included
  • Chicken as the first ingredient
  • Whole grains

Wellness CORE Grain-Free Small Breed Dry Dog Food

Wellness Core Grain Free Small Breed Dry Dog food
First Five Ingredients Deboned Turkey, Turkey Meal, Chicken Meal, Lentils, Peas
Protein 36%
Fat 16%

Wellness CORE Grain-Free Small Breed Dry Dog Food is often considered one of the top dog foods on the market—and it is priced accordingly. While it isn’t a poor dog food by any means, we just don’t think that the value is there for it to be considered one of the top foods. You’re paying a lot extra without actually receiving much extra in return.

This food does include a lot of meat, including turkey and chicken. However, it also includes high amounts of lentils and peas, which have been associated with heart conditions. It may be grain-free, but it includes these inexpensive veggies instead.

On the bright side, this formula does include salmon oil, which is high in DHA and omega fatty acids. Both of these additives are helpful to dogs, though for different reasons. Plus, this food also includes a variety of other additives, including taurine, chondroitin, glucosamine, and probiotics.

  • Peas and lentils included
  • Expensive
  • High in meat
  • Glucosamine added
  • Grain-free

Buyer’s Guide – Choosing the Best Dog Food for a Havanese

Nutrition and calories form the backbone of making a wise choice for a food for your Havanese. They ensure that he has the best start in life and will help keep his weight at an ideal range.  This pup has a moderate tendency for obesity. That’s a concern, considering the health issues associated with the breed that involve joint problems like hip and elbow dysplasia. Excess weight aggravates these conditions.

It’s worth noting that the Havanese Final Health Survey found the average weight of pups over 4 years old exceeded the breed standard of  ]a maximum of 13 pounds. That’s what makes understanding the breed of your dog so critical to choosing the right food. For this one, skin issues, poor dental health, and bad breath figure prominently.

The nutrient profiles of the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) are an excellent starting point for choosing one food over another. They set minimum and maximum values for certain amino acids, vitamins, and minerals that are necessary for good health. Manufacturers that meet these requirements will display this fact on their product descriptions.

If they leave it out, throw it out of consideration.

The things that you should consider include

  • Life stage and breed size
  • Macronutrient content and other nutrients
  • Calorie count per serving
  • Ingredients

Let’s delve into what each one tells you about the quality of the dog food.

Life Stage and Breed Size

  • Puppies and adult dogs differ in their calorie and nutrient needs. Hence, the varying types of food. The takeaway message is that it makes a significant difference in the health of your pup. It is even more important with small breeds, like the Havanese. Even though they are little, they mature quicker than large dogs like a Great Dane.
  • Ounce per ounce, small breed dog foods are more energy- and calorie-dense to support these various growth rates. Therefore, the first criterion in choosing the best diet for a Havanese is that it’s appropriate for his life stage and breed size. Some products are all-inclusive. However, we prefer those that make this vital distinction.

Macronutrient Content and Other Nutrients

  • The nutritional value of the dog food is the crucial element of choice. The AAFCO provides minimums and sometimes ranges for the content, depending on the nutrient. They have values for both puppies and adults. They include the macronutrients, like protein and fats, as well as the required amounts for vitamins and minerals.
  • Pet food products must state a guaranteed analysis of what nutrients are in the bag or can. They also have to provide a nutritional adequacy statement. Dog foods that meet the requirements of the AAFCO will include wording to that effect. The gold standard is a diet that is complete in the nutrients it contains that is balanced in the optimal portions.
  • The minimum protein percentages for puppies and adults are 22 and 18%, respectively. For fat, it is 8 and 5%. Other vitamins and minerals have recommended ranges. There is not a carbohydrate requirement, per se, as dogs are essentially carnivores. Nevertheless, grains are vital to your pet’s health, as we’ll discuss later in detail.

Calorie Count Per Serving

  • The amount of calories is a balancing act. There should be enough to meet your pup’s energy needs without tipping the scale toward weight gain. That’s a vital consideration with a Havanese since they have a moderately high propensity to gain weight. Obesity is just as serious for pets as it is for people. It increases your dog’s risk of a host of chronic health conditions, including diabetes and heart disease.
  • The dog food will have feeding instructions and a calorie count per serving. You can use this information to develop a nutrient plan for your Havanese. The weight range for these dogs is 7–13. You can gauge his body condition by looking at him from above. He should have a distinct waistline, although it may be hard to see with all his hair. You should be able to feel his ribs, nonetheless.
  • A calorie calculator can help you determine the right amount to feed your pup based on the content of the food you give him. It’ll also give you a treat allowance. As with many chronic health conditions, obesity is easier to prevent than cure. We recommend taking the proactive approach and monitoring his weight closely.


As we mentioned, dogs are carnivores, which explains the relatively high amount of protein that the AAFCO recommends. This macronutrient consists of building blocks called amino acids. Of the 20 known to exist, 10 are essential for canines. That means the food you give your Havanese must supply all of them. Your pup’s body can synthesize the other 10.

As you likely notice, dog foods often contain a mix of protein sources. Nutritionists rate the different types based on what it provides, how easy it is for a pup to digest, and how well his body can metabolize them. Eggs top the list as what some may call the ideal protein. Organ meats also rank high, which is why you will see them on the ingredient list.

There is nothing inferior about their existence in your pet’s food.

The items you see on the label are listed from the most by weight to the least. You typically won’t find actual amounts since manufacturers guard their proprietary formulas. Here is where the waters get a bit murky. Dog food companies know that pet owners read what’s on the package. Therefore, you may find things that appeal to you, such as blueberries, sweet potatoes, or other enticing ingredients.

However, it’s not necessarily an indication that one product is better than another. For example, many dog foods contain these types of ingredients but in such small amounts that they don’t provide any real nutritional value. It’s merely marketing to sell the brand. The critical takeaway message is that they offer a complete and balanced diet that meets your dog’s nutritional needs.

Human-Grade and Grain-Free Products

  • In another instance of marketing-speak, you’ll see dog foods labeled as human-grade. This designation is not legally defined with a purpose only to try and sell you on the product. Likewise, you’ll also find many brands that boast of formulas that are grain-free. A rise in the number of cases of a potentially life-threatening disease has occurred with the rise in popularity of these dog foods.
  • Canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is a form of heart disease whereby the organ’s ability to pump deteriorates.  Some breeds like the Great Dane have a higher propensity for this condition. However, emerging evidence suggests a dietary component may be at work, too. The association is compelling enough to prompt the FDA to investigate these grain-free and designer types of dog food.
  • Some evidence suggests that some ingredients that are replacing grains, such as pea, lentil, and other legumes, may also be part of the cause of DCM. The FDA did not identify a significant amount of cases in the Havanese. However, there are cases in related breeds, such as the Maltese. Until researchers can determine the precise cause of DCM, our advice is to discuss your pet’s risk with your vet.

Final Thoughts

Choosing a dog food for your Havanese may seem complicated, but with our guide, it doesn’t have to be. Any of the amazing foods in our reviews would be a great choice for a Havanese (though some of them are arguably better than others).

Out of all the foods we reviewed, we did prefer Ollie’s Fresh Chicken & Carrot Dog Food. This high-quality fresh food is full of quality ingredients, including chicken. It is also gently cooked and full of tasty whole ingredients, which can help encourage picky eaters to finish their bowls.

However, we also liked Purina Pro Plan Shredded Blend Small Breed as a budget option. While it includes some lower-quality ingredients, it is a high-protein formula and includes probiotics.

We hope that our reviews and buyer’s guide helped you decide on the best dog food for your Havanese puppy.

Edward Hollon is an avid dog lover and writer, knowing all there is to know about our furry friends. Edward has been writing for petdii for three years now, wanting to use her knowledge for good and share everything she can with new dog owners. Edward has two dogs herself - a German shepherd called Banjo and a chocolate labrador called Buttons. Edward knows more than anyone how adjusting to new life with a puppy can turn your life upside down, and she wants to ease some of the burdens through her articles.