Dachshund Health Care & Feeding
Standard and Miniature Dachshunds. Smooth, Longhaired, and Wirehaired. By Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2018
Quick list of Dachshund health problems
Dachshunds have been deliberately bred with a deformity called chondrodysplasia (dwarfed legs, long back), so orthopedic problems are inevitable.
By far the most serious one is intervertebral disk disease. Weak vertebrae in the way-too-long back can protrude into the spinal canal. The result is severe pain and lameness or even, without immediate and expensive surgery, total hindquarter paralysis. One in every four Dachshunds falls victim to disk disease.
Then there is luxating patella (loose knee joints) which can also require expensive surgery. Chronic urinary stones.... possible surgery yet again.
Eye diseases that can cause blindness (especially in Miniature Dachshunds). Epilepsy. Heart disease. Thyroid disease. Diabetes. Skin diseases and tumors.
(See more health problems below.)
Preventing health problems
Some health problems are inherited. For example, if both parents of your Dachshund have certificates proving they were tested and cleared of hereditary eye diseases and luxating patella, your Dachshund has less risk of developing those conditions.
Other health problems can be prevented, or partially prevented, by the ways you raise your dog. If you're serious about doing everything you can for your Dachshund, my best-selling book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, shows you how to raise your Dachshund puppy (or adult dog) in all the right ways. It will help you be your dog's health care champion!
Here are my dog health tips for raising a healthy Dachshund puppy or adult dog:
Dog Health Care – The Sensible Way
Read my advice on daily health care so your Dachshund lives a long, healthy life and seldom needs to see the vet.
The Best Dog Food For Feeding Your Dachshund
Food is the #1 foundation for good health. The best diet for feeding your dog is real food. Real chicken, turkey, beef, fish....these are not just "people foods" and I'll tell you why.
Kibble or Canned Dog Food – Almost As Good As Homemade?
Are you looking for the best dry kibble or canned dog food?
Feed Homemade Dog Food Without Needing To Make It
Would you like to feed your dog homemade, but think you don't have the time or skill to make it? I have the solution for you....
Should You Buy Pet Insurance? An Honest Review
My advice on the pros and cons of pet insurance, and the best pet insurance company I've found.
Vaccinations and Booster Shots: Needed or Not?
How many vaccinations does your Dachshund puppy really need? Does your adult Dachshund need yearly booster shots? The vaccination guidelines have changed! Find out what some vets aren't telling you.
Spaying Your Female Dog: Pros and Cons
Advantages and disadvantages of spaying your female dog.
Neutering Your Male Dog: Pros and Cons
Advantages and disadvantages of neutering your male dog.
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.
Assisi Loop Review: How I Helped Treat Inflammation and Pain
Does your dog suffer from arthritis, hip dysplasia, disk disease, colitis, a skin wound? My honest review of a veterinary device you can use at home to help reduce inflammation and pain.
Complete list of Dachshund health problems
Of all breeds, Dachshunds are at the highest risk for intervertebral disk disease, which causes pain and lameness, or even total hindquarter paralysis. 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 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. 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.
To help you train and care for your dog
To learn more about training your dog to be calm and well-behaved, my dog training book is Teach Your Dog 100 English Words. It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your dog to listen to you and do whatever you ask.
My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a good-tempered, healthy dog.
My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, shows you how to help your dog live a longer life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.