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Dachshund Health Care & Feeding

Standard and Miniature Dachshund; Longhaired, Wirehaired, and Smooth Dachshund, by Michele Welton, Dog Trainer, Breed Selection Consultant, Author of 15 Dog Books

Last Updated: October, 2019

Dachshund

Start your Dachshund off on the right foot by feeding the right food, giving the right vaccinations, finding the right vet, and if you're going to spay or neuter, don't do it too early.


Jump down to this list of
Dachshund Health Problems


Or check out my advice for raising a healthy Dachshund puppy or adult dog:

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Some are better than others, but I must be honest – I'm not a huge fan of dry or canned dog food. Here are my concerns... [read more]

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Information on booster shots for your German Shepherd. Vaccinations and Booster Shots: Needed or Not?
How many vaccinations does your Dachshund puppy really need? Does your adult dog need yearly booster shots? The vaccination guidelines have changed! Find out what some vets aren't telling you... [read more]

Information on spaying Spaying Your Female Dog: Pros and Cons
Should your female Dachshund be spayed? Current research says, "The AGE at which you spay can be vitally important to your dog's future health." So what's the best age? [read more]

Information on neutering your male dog. Neutering Your Male Dog: Pros and Cons
Have you been told that you must neuter your male Dachshund? Current research shows that the issue is not so simple. Pet owners are not being told about some risks associated with neutering male dogs, especially neutering too early... [read more]

Information on choosing the best vet Make Sure Your Vet is the Best!
Is your current veterinarian really the best choice for your dog? Here's how to tell... [read more]

Assisi Loop Assisi Loop Review
Does your Dachshund suffer from arthritis, hip dysplasia, disk disease, colitis? My honest review of a veterinary device you can use at home to reduce inflammation and pain. [read more]

Dachshund

Complete list of Dachshund health problems

Dachshunds have been deliberately bred to have a severe deformity called chondrodysplasia (dwarfed legs, long back). Thus, orthopedic problems are inevitable.

Of all breeds, Dachshunds are at the highest risk for intervertebral disk disease, which causes pain and lameness.... or total hindquarter paralysis.

Sometimes movement can be restored with immediate intervention via complicated, expensive surgery. But often the paralysis is permanent.

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, which means fat Dachshunds are all too common. Obesity puts additional strain on the backbone and increases the risk of disk disease.
  • Don't let your Dachshund sit up and beg (bad for his back), or jump off high furniture (bad for his back), or jump over any hurdle higher than his shoulder.
  • 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 knee joints) which causes pain and lameness and can require surgery.

Dachshunds are also susceptible to hip dysplasia. The Orthopedic Foundation of America evaluated the hip X-rays of over 100 Dachshunds and found 8% dysplastic.

Two more orthopedic diseases: elbow dysplasia and Legg-Calve-Perthes.

Epilepsy occurs regularly in Dachshunds.

Urinary problems, especially urinary stones and a disease called cystinuria, are common in Dachshunds.

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 Dachshunds, inherited deafness.

Preventing health problems

Some health problems are inherited. For example, if your dog inherits from his parents the genes for an eye disease called PRA, he will go blind and there's nothing anyone can do about it.

Dog feeding and health book by Michele Welton But most health problems can be prevented by the ways you raise your dog.

My best-selling book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy shows you how to raise your Dachshund in all the right ways that help prevent health problems. Become your dog's health care champion!

Michele Welton with BuffyAbout the author: Michele Welton has over 40 years of experience as a Dog Trainer, Dog Breed Consultant, and founder of three Dog Training Centers. An expert researcher and author of 15 books about dogs, she loves helping people choose, train, and care for their dogs.

To help you train and care for your dog

dog training videos Dog training videos. Sometimes it's easier to train your puppy (or adult dog) when you can see the correct training techniques in action.

The problem is that most dog training videos on the internet are worthless, because they use the wrong training method. I recommend these dog training videos that are based on respect and leadership.

book coverRespect Training For Puppies: 30 seconds to a calm, polite, well-behaved puppy. For puppies 2 to 18 months old. Your puppy will learn the 21 skills that all family dogs need to know.
If your dog is over 18 months, you'll want book coverRespect Training For Adult Dogs: 30 seconds to a calm, polite, well-behaved dog. Again your dog will learn the 21 skills that all family dogs need to know.
book coverTeach Your Dog 100 English Words is a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your adult dog to listen to you and do what you say.
book cover11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy helps your dog live a longer, healthier life.
book coverDog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams will help you find a good-tempered, healthy family companion.