Every dog breed smells, let’s just get that out of the way, but some smell worse than others. Fortunately for you, Havanese dogs are known for being one of the non-smelling varieties. Just a cursory glance into the reputation of Havanese dogs will show you that they’re known for not shedding their hair, not causing allergic reactions in most people, and not being smelly if anything they’re known as being very easy to keep clean.

With all of that in mind, every dog can smell. With generally non-smelling dogs, however, this will be down to either poor grooming or medical issues that are causing the dog to smell in certain areas. Here we’ll go through everything you can do to keep your Havanese smelling fresh, for the sake of both your dog’s health and your nose.

Havanese Dog Grooming

As far as dogs go, the Havanese breed is pretty easy to keep fresh and healthy where grooming is concerned. Their silky hair doesn’t produce any bad odors and, if it does, that’s because the hair isn’t being brushed clean anywhere as often as it should be.

Hair Brushing

Try brushing its hair every day, or as regular as your schedule allows. It only takes five minutes, so it’s a habit that every responsible dog owner should fit into their evenings. It’s also a matter of health, since hair clumping on your Havanese dog can cause skin problems and distress and may need to get cut out if the case is bad enough.

Your brushing technique should be gentle. Their hair is pretty thin, so you won’t need to apply much pressure to pull the dead hairs away, along with any other detritus built up in the coat. Using a mist spray is also a good practice to keep the dog’s hair soft and under control when you’re brushing. It should go without saying that an especially gentle hand is required for Havanese puppies. You should never be wrestling with clumps and knots in your Havanese dog’s hair. If you are then that means you’ve neglected to brush them for too long a period, and they’ll need a full bath wash to try and get rid of clumpy dirt, or maybe even a visit to the vet.

Frequent grooming is the key to stopping any dog from stinking over time. Grooming is especially important if your Havanese is free to wander outdoors, coming into contact with nature and the dirt that’s on the ground. Their hair will get dirty fast, especially given the hyperactive and playful demeanor of the Havanese, so groom them as soon as possible if they’ve gotten dirty during their outdoor adventures. 

Your dog won’t have too much concern for table manners when eating, so don’t be surprised when the hairs on their little faces

get crumbs and other debris stuck there. Brush these areas extremely gently and, if an unwanted piece of food or dirt is large enough to see, remove it with your fingers instead of attempting to brush it away.

Dog Bathing

You should always brush your dog’s hair before throwing them in the bath. You also shouldn’t literally throw them in the bath, especially since most dogs won’t like what comes next and you want to be on best terms with yours.

The occasional bath is a must for any dog, let alone longer-haired dogs that will gather more dirt in their coats. You should impose a very rigid bathing schedule, let’s say once a week, so that they can get used to it and experience less anxiety and stress over being taken to the scary ceramic casket. 

Bathing your dog weekly is a great sweet spot between actually having something to clean, being frequent enough that your dog remembers this schedule, and infrequent enough that your dog’s skin doesn’t get damaged by the products you’re using. Speaking of, feel free to test different shampoos and conditioners to find the ones with results both you and your Havanese are happy with.

If applying any product to your dog’s coat with a sprayer, avoid spraying at their face. Short of being annoying (and remember, your dog is probably already annoyed at having to bathe in the first place) it can also irritate their eyes and nose.

Hair Cutting

If managing the hair is a pain, there is the option of cutting it shorter. The dog will be fine with this, it won’t cause any harm at all, and it even reduces shedding and makes problems like dirty hair smelling or matting a non-issue. That said, you should lotion your dog’s hair when cutting it so that they don’t develop split ends and the hair that they do have remains soft and pleasant to the touch. The lotion will also take what is a relatively inoffensive smelling dog and make them smell nice, too, which is a plus.

Mouth Maintenance

Havanese dogs don’t even drool a lot, so their breath isn’t as bad either, certainly not the dog breath smell that you’ve come to expect with other dogs. This means you won’t have to look into any special foods or treatments that make dog mouths less offensive to the nose.

It won’t exactly smell pleasant though, but you can help that by brushing your dog’s teeth. A lot of owners disregard this advice, but regular tooth brushing is a great way to freshen up its smile. There are less superficial reasons for brushing your dog’s teeth, like keeping infections away from their gums. It’s best to prevent these since they’ll obviously make your dog’s breath smell even worse.

Dog Bedding

Even if you’ve cleaned your Havanese to perfection, it’ll all be nothing if they’re bouncing onto a dirty dog bed right after. If your dog’s bed smells, you’ll want to wash it because that smell will be transferred to your dog’s hairy coat. If your dog is used to the dirty bed smell, they might even purposely roll around on their bed to get that familiar scent back. To avoid this, just stick your dog’s bedding in the wash on the same day you’re bathing them, so they’ll have to cope with their newfound cleanliness. We’re sure they’ll manage, don’t worry.

Possible Medical Causes

If your Havanese does smell and you’ve ruled out poor grooming as a cause, then you’ll want to know that there are a few medical causes that can cause bad odors to come from your dogs. Check out the information below and, if you think your poor pup is suffering from any of them, seek some treatment immediately.

Ear Infections

With all their long and beautiful hair, there has to be a downside. Havanese dogs are prone to ear infections, much more so than other dog breeds, in fact. Because of this, you should be vigilant of any bad smells coming from the dog’s head, particularly the ears. Ear infections are painful for your dogs, so it’s in everybody’s best interest that you treat them. Make a habit of checking the ears, looking for either foreign debris or a wax build-up. Either of these can lead to a nasty ear infection and a costly vet bill.

We recommend checking during the weekly bathing sessions and, if you detect any bad smells coming from that area, you should go straight to your veterinarian. They’ll likely use special medication to clear the infection in a timely manner. When you are bathing them, it’s a good idea to gently insert a cotton ball into each ear, ensuring they’re lying just at the top of the ear and you can pull them out easily afterward.

Trimming the inner ear hair is an option if you’re paranoid about ear infections but is by no means necessary if you’re periodically checking your dog’s ears. Otherwise, you should gently wipe the outer parts of their ears down with a dog ear rinse on a wet cotton ball. Loose hair jamming into the ear canal is often a cause of infection, so if your dog has some built up, we’d recommend taking them to a qualified groomer who can safely remove it. Under no circumstances should you insert Q-tips into the dog’s ears. If we tell each other not to do that to our own ears, why would we do that to our dogs?

Anal Gland Problems

Smaller dogs can often have problems with their anal glands. These sacs can have trouble expressing themselves, which can lead to impacted glands that produce a nasty smell. The glands naturally express themselves and release the liquids causing the smell when they poop but, if impacted or infected, this doesn’t happen. We’re sure you can imagine how uncomfortable that can get.

If your dog is sliding its bottom along the floor a lot, then that itchiness could be down to the infected glands. Near-constant licking of the area can be suspect, too. Vets or dog groomers can help with this problem, and once you think your dog is affected by this problem you should get them help immediately. Failure to treat dog gland problems can develop into abscesses or even ruptures.

If this is a problem often enough, you’ll want to have your veterinarian teach you how to manually express your dog’s anal glands yourself. It’s not the most pleasant job, but someone has to do it and it’s much more convenient, not to mention cheaper, for you to do it yourself.

Dietary changes and the presence of allergens can affect your dog’s anal glands and can also cause flatulence. If your dog is having any of those problems, then you should definitely look at the diet your dog is on.