Your Purebred Puppy, Honest Advice About Dogs and Dog Breeds

Sensible advice for raising your Dachshund puppy so he lives a long healthy life and seldom needs to visit the vet. Learn about the most common health problems and issues in Dachshunds, the best dog food diet for feeding Dachshund puppies and adult dogs, the truth about vaccinations, spaying and neutering, and natural health care.

11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, my best-selling dog health book

Dachshund dog breed, photo copyright

Dachshund Health Problems and Raising a Dachshund Puppy to be Healthy

By Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2016

How To Raise a Healthy Dog
Feeding the Best Dog Food
Feeding the 2nd Best Dog Food
Vaccinations: Needed or Not?
Are You Sure Your Vet Is Good?

The most common health problems in Dachshunds:

Dachshunds are a deformed chondrodysplastic breed, so orthopedic problems are inevitable. By far the most serious orthopedic concern is intervertebral disk disease, where the vertebrae along the back are genetically weak, become loose, and protrude into the spinal canal. This can result in severe pain and lameness, or it can result in total hindquarter paralysis.

Of all breeds, Dachshunds are at the highest risk for disk disease. One in every four Dachshunds develops a disk problem in their lifetime, most commonly at 3-7 years old. Disk disease is mostly dependent upon genetics and the inherent unhealthy structure of the breed, but you can help reduce its likelihood:

  • Keep your Dachshund fit and trim. Dachshunds love to eat, so fat Dachshunds are all too common, and obesity puts additional strain on their backbone and increases the risk of disk disease.
  • Don't let your Dachshund sit up and beg, or jump off high furniture, or jump over hurdles.
  • Support your Dachshund's back when holding him. Keep his back horizontal by holding him like a football, with his rear quarters tucked under your arm, and your hands supporting his chest.

The next most common orthopedic health problem in Dachshunds is luxating patella (loose knees). Dachshunds have the 8th worst rate of luxating patella of 57 breeds.

Dachshunds are also susceptible to hip dysplasia. The Orthopedic Foundation of America evaluated the hip X-rays of 59 Dachshunds and found 5% dysplastic. Elbow dysplasia and Legg-Calve-Perthes disease also occur in the breed.

Epilepsy occurs regularly in Dachshunds.

Urinary problems are common, especially urinary stones and cystinuria.

The most serious eye disease is progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), which is especially common in miniature Dachshunds. Cataracts can appear around a year old. A particularly severe form of corneal dystrophy occurs in Dachshunds. Also glaucoma, dry eye, and persistent pupillary membranes.

Hormonal/endocrine system diseases (hypothyroidism, Cushing's disease, and diabetes) can appear in middle-aged and older Dachshunds.

Heart disease (mitral valve disease) and blood-clotting disease (von Willebrand's) are concerns in Dachshunds.

Skin diseases include allergies, bacterial skin infections (pyoderma), demodectic mange in Dachshund puppies, and non-tumorous growths. In certain Dachshund colors, follicular dysplasia and color dilution alopecia can occur.

Some Dachshunds have a harmless skin condition called pattern baldness, which is a gradual thinning or complete loss of hair around their temples and ears, underneath their neck and abdomen, and on the backs of their thighs. Some Dachshunds have it ONLY on their ears. It's not itchy and the skin and coat are otherwise normal. Since it's a cosmetic condition, there's no treatment necessary other than adding supplements that are good for the skin and coat, such as fatty acids (The Missing Link).

Another skin condition in Dachshunds (fortunately not common) is acanthosis nigricans, where the skin becomes dark, thick, and hairless, usually starting in the armpit at 3-12 months old and progressing to the stomach and groin. It's a lifelong condition, but it doesn't affect health unless seborrhea or pyoderma (bacterial infection) develop, which do cause itching and make the skin worse.

Tumors and cancers in Dachshunds include sebaceous gland tumors, breast tumors, and benign histiocytoma.

Other health problems occasionally reported in Dachshunds include autoimmune hemolytic anemia, lysosomal storage disease, polyneuropathy, narcolepsy, liver shunt, bloat, and in some dappled Dachshund puppies, inherited deafness.

You probably want to know if you can prevent those health issues from happening to YOUR Dachshund.

Yes, often you can.

  1. Some health problems are genetic, which means inherited from parents. Genetic health issues are common in Dachshunds today because of unwise breeding practices. My book, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, shows you how to find a Dachshund puppy who is genetically healthy.
  2. Other health problems are environmental, which means they're caused by the way you raise your dog. My best-selling dog health book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy shows you how to prevent environmental health problems by raising your Dachshund puppy (or adult dog) in all the right ways.

Here are my dog health tips for raising a healthy Dachshund puppy or adult dog:

Obedience instructor and author Michele Welton Dog Health Care – The Sensible Way
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Natural dog foods for your Dachshund. The Second-Best Dog Food For Your Dachshund
If you can't feed homemade dog food, here are your next-best choices.

Information on booster shots for your Dachshund. Vaccinations and Booster Shots: Needed or Not?
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Information on choosing the best vet for your Dachshund. The Type of Veterinarian I Recommend
Is your veterinarian really the best choice for your dog? Learn about the differences between vets who practice conventional, holistic, and alternative veterinary medicine.

Information on spaying your Dachshund. Spaying Your Female Dog: Pros and Cons
Advantages and disadvantages of spaying your female Dachshund.

Information on neutering your male dog. Neutering Your Male Dog: Pros and Cons
Advantages and disadvantages of neutering your male dog.

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