Dachshunds hold a special place in my heart. Whilst I have never owned one myself I have spent plenty of time looking after them in the veterinary hospital. In fact some of the patients closest to me have been Dachshunds. It is thanks to these adorable patients that I have been able to come up with a list of special requirements for Dachshunds.
With 80% of dogs and cats over the age of 3 having some degree of dental disease, talking about dental health is important for all pets. So why would I bring up dental disease specifically for Dachshunds? Well, it has been my experience that they are more prone to dental disease than other bigger dogs so regular dental care is required. In addition if their dental health is poor it can contribute to other problems including heart disease and kidney disease. Dental care involves a number of different approaches. Gold standard is daily teeth brushing using a soft toothbrush and dog friendly toothpaste, feeding good quality food which helps to mechanically clean the teeth when they chew on it, placing additives into their water, using dog safe “mouth wash”, chewing on dental chews and adding supplements to their food.
It is VITAL that you keep your Dachshunds weight under control. They have long spines and shortened extremities and for these reasons they are prone to spinal problems and arthritis. Carrying excess weight will shorten their lifespan. Excess weight results in increased pressure on their joints, worsening arthritis and increased risk of intervertebral disc disease. Feeding appropriate amounts of good quality food can help to keep their weight under control. Monitoring at home or at the veterinary hospital can also help to keep their weight in check.
Dachshunds are overrepresented when it comes to suffering intervertebral disc disease. Their discs are more prone to degeneration, which results in them prolapsing and compressing the spinal cord. Once the spinal cord has been compressed paralysis and pain is a reality. Whilst you may not be able to completely prevent this from happening there are things you can do to reduce the risk. Keeping their weight under control is a must. Avoiding too much jumping up and down. Regular exercise is a must.
Unfortunately part of their appeal is their stumpy legs and long bodies but this means they are more prone to arthritis. As dogs age they are all prone to developing arthritis, however, there is plenty you can do to help slow the progression and help improve their mobility. As I’ve already mentioned, weight control is a must. Feeding good quality food which contains joint protective supplements can also help. Just as you would take glucosamine and chondroitin for arthritis and joint health these supplements can also benefit your Dachie too!
Dachshunds have great big floppy ears that look adorable but can often hide infection. For all dogs I recommend having a weekly look in their ears but this is even more important for dogs whose ears flop over and obstruct the ear canal. If you see any brown, yellow or green discharge these are alarm bells and it’s time to get your Dachie to the vet! Another great tip is to smell their ears at the same time – ears shouldn’t smell, so if notice a rather pungent aroma coming from their ears again give your local vet a call and make an appointment.
Leaky heart valves are something that I commonly see in Dachshunds and this can progress into congestive heart failure. Regular annual health checks by your vet can help to pick up on any heart disease early. As your Dachshund ages, I recommend health checks every 6 months. Heart disease cannot be cured but can be controlled using medication. Again, keeping their weight under control will help to put less strain on their heart. Being aware of the symptoms of congestive heart failure is vital. Any coughing, exercise intolerance or lethargy means you’ll need to make a trip into your vet for an examination.
Now, I just love Dachshunds. So please reach out to me on social media and send me a picture of your darling Dachshunds!
This post has been sponsored by Royal Canin – for more fun facts about Dachshunds and other pure breed dogs, their unique traits and information about their breed specific food please click on the link. Royal Canin Dachshund Breed Profile Link If you are not sure what food best suits the needs of your pet, contact your local veterinary hospital and they will be able to give you their professional advice.