Dachshunds come in two ‘varieties’ – the standard and the miniature. Their body weight can range from under 11 pounds for minis to 16-35 pounds for standards, and this needs to be accounted for when picking the best dog food for Dachshunds. Regardless of their color, weight, or height, they all fall under the same breed standard.
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Dachshunds are relatively long-lived, with their average lifespan at 13 years. Like other small and medium breeds, the best Dachshund dog food will depend mostly on the individual dogs' size, life stage (age), and body weight.
When giving my recommendations as a practicing veterinarian, I take the above and some other factors into consideration, such as common health issues. The most common medical problems of Dachshunds are dental issues, back problems, and arthritis.
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Care and Health of Dachshunds
Dachshunds are at risk of being born with an issue related to how their teeth align; this condition is called malocclusion. The most common is an overbite, also known as a “parrot mouth”. An overbite can cause some Dachshunds significant pain, as their lower teeth can dig into the soft tissues of the hard palate and gum line every time they close their mouth.
This teeth-related condition can cause problems with grasping and chewing food for the dog. If caught early in puppyhood, corrective dentistry can prevent a lifetime of oral pain for your Dachshund. If routine dental hygiene is not done at home (daily brushing), Dachshunds can quickly develop dental calculus and periodontal disease.
Unfortunately, their cute sausage-like shape can cause some issues, too. This is especially true when it comes to back health. Their extra-long spine can be put under strain as they get older or overweight.
Spinal instability in long-backed breeds like Dachshunds predisposes them to a well-known back issue called intervertebral disc disease (IVDD), as well as pinched nerves and muscle spasms. Back issues in Dachshunds can range from occasional pain to serious spinal damage and paralysis.
Those cute little short legs can mean early onset of arthritis for some Dachshund dogs as well. While short legs were preferred for this dog’s original hunting purpose, they can predispose your modern dog to degenerative joint disease.
This is because shortened bones in the limbs cause them to meet at the joints at unusual angles, resulting in poor conformation and more strain on the protective cartilage. Even normal wear and tear can damage the cartilage too soon, causing arthritis. Kneecap issues in this breed, such as medially luxating patellas (floating kneecaps) can also cause discomfort, loss of function, and arthritis in Dachshunds.
Most Dachshund breed dogs won’t turn down extra helpings or tidbits from your plate. Their healthy appetite can be a blessing and a curse. Extra snacks from your plate can easily turn into unwanted weight gain and encourage begging behavior. Sticking to a routine diet is best for your dog's digestion, waistline, and sanity.
If you need help determining how much to feed a Dachshund, talk to your vet. They can determine the dog's body condition score and if he is underweight, at an ideal weight, overweight or obese. Throughout your Dachshund’s life, it is important to feed a life-stage appropriate diet and follow the feeding instructions on the best dog food for the Dachshund brand.
The Best Dog Food for Dachshund Puppies
Before switching your dog to any new diet, always consult with a veterinarian. Remember that no article on the internet, including this one, can replace a consultation with a vet.
Miniature dachshunds are considered small breed dogs and standards are medium breeds. This size difference will affect how much your puppy needs to eat each day.
Small breed puppies need smaller size kibble. This will help them to pick up and chew their food at ease. Dachshund puppies with overbites can also benefit from small-sized kibble and wet food.
Royal Canin Dachshund Breed Health Nutrition Puppy Formula
There are a few brands that I recommend as the best dog food for Dachshunds in the puppy stage of life. The first is Royal Canin Dachshund Breed Health Nutrition Puppy Formula.
Royal Canin is a premium brand with an excellent track record for product safety and quality. They have recently introduced a line of ‘breed specific’ foods tailored to their unique needs.
Dachshunds have a long snout and a “scissors-bite”, which can affect how well they pick up and chew their food. This Royal Canin kibble has a special flat, square-shaped kibble to optimize digestion. It is recommended for puppies up to 10 months of age.
Royal Canin Canned Dog food for Puppies
Another choice that I feel is one of the best dog food for Dachshunds is Royal Canin Canned Dog food for Puppies. If your puppy has dental issues or if you want to feed both premium dry and wet food, look no further than Royal Canin’s canned formula for puppies.
This formula boasts optimal nutrition for the proper growth of your puppy’s bones and immune system. It is also a great option for puppies suffering from intestinal parasites, soft stool, or diarrhea. Its beet pulp content adds beneficial fiber for optimal stool consistency and GI health.
Purina Pro Plan Focus Small Breed Chicken and Rice Puppy Formula
Another safe and healthy option is Purina Pro Plan Focus Small Breed Chicken and Rice Puppy Formula. If premium brands like Royal Canin are out of your price range or difficult to find, don’t worry!
Purina Pro Plan’s Small Breed Chicken and Rice formula is a good value and boasts an impressive range of benefits. The small size and flat, circular shape of the kibble are perfect for Dachshund puppies to pick up and chew. Fish oil in the formula will help promote brain and skin health, while whole grains and brewer’s yeast promote healthy digestion.
The Best Dog Food for Adult Dachshunds
When your Dachshund is 10-12 months of age, it is important to transition them onto an “adult” diet. Adult diets have lower calories than puppy diets and can help to maintain proper body weight.
At your puppy’s 1 year checkup, talk to your vet about his body condition. His current body condition (underweight, ideal, overweight, or obese) will help you determine the best dog food for Dachshunds that he should be eating.
Normal Body Condition Dachshunds
A great place to start for an active, normal body weight/condition Dachshund is Royal Canin Dachshund Breed Health Nutrition Adult Formula. Royal Canin again tops my list due to its commitment and track record for safety, quality, and premium ingredients.
This adult formula is for adults dachshunds over 10 months of age. This kibble is shaped in the same manner as the Royal Canin Dachshund puppy formula, promoting proper chewing and digestion.
Royal Canin provides the right balance of nutrients to optimize a lean body condition over a lifetime. The feeding instructions are a bit unique in the industry, making recommendations for daily intake based on your dachshund’s activity level, from “medium activity” to “high activity.” This range can help Dachshund parents regulate their pup’s intake a little more accurately.
Another of my top recommendations for the best dog food for Dachshunds is Eukanuba Dachshund Nutrition Dog Food. If you are interested in feeding a high-quality diet but can’t find or can’t afford Royal Canin, look no further than Eukanuba.
Eukanuba has a good reputation for quality, tasty products at an affordable price. The kibble is in an optimum shape for picking up and chewing – flat, small, and rectangular.
If your Dachshund has dental disease or has been recently treated for dental issues, this food may help prevent future issues. It boasts Eukanuba’s 3D DENTADEFENSE system, which has been shown to reduce tartar buildup in 28 days.
Overweight and Obese Dachshunds
Many Dachshunds out there easily become overweight or obese. An overweight Dachshund can be prone to a myriad of health problems, so it is best to address the issue before the others even begin. Extra weight can put unnecessary strain on your wiener dog’s long back and joints, predisposing him to arthritis or disc disease.
Sometimes you can simply reduce the amount of food that your dog eats in order to start weight loss. Other times this can be difficult, as the dog feels hungry and starts unwanted begging behavior. This is when you need to reach for the best dog food for Dachshunds which is a weight control or low-calorie formula.
My top pick is Natural Balance Fat Dogs Low-Calorie Formula. Despite its funny name, this food does a great job of keeping your dog feeling fuller for longer. Satiety is often key in preventing begging behavior and achieving weight loss. Fat Dogs formula contains a variety of “bulking” ingredients like garbanzo beans and barley to help your dog feel fuller and longer.
The use of pearled barley in this food will help your dog to maintain steady blood glucose levels after a meal. There is a common relationship between poor glucose metabolism and obesity in pets. Corn, barley, and sorghum are the ingredients most associated with keeping blood glucose levels consistent and may help to reduce or prevent obesity.
Sometimes Dachshund owners need a little extra help with their dog’s weight loss plan. Generally, I reach for Hill’s Prescription Diet Metabolic and Mobility when Dachshunds become a bit too chunky and low-calorie formulas haven’t worked.
This diet is by prescription only, but it works beautifully in most dogs that can’t seem to shed pounds using over-the-counter foods. It also contains joint-support ingredients like omega-3 fatty acids, glucosamine, and chondroitin sulfate, to help get your pet moving.
The Best Dog Food for Senior Dachshunds
Dachshunds are considered “senior” or “geriatric” around 8-10 years of age. As they age, their nutritional requirements change as well. The mental function can start to decline, the dental disease develops and their back can start to ache. It is best to choose the best dog food for Dachshunds that will help to support them and their medical challenges through their golden years.
Natural Balance Synergy
My top pick in this category is Natural Balance Synergy. Natural Balance is another high-quality dog food manufacturer with a great track record for quality products. Their Synergy formula provides balanced nutrition for senior dogs and boasts an ingredients list that will help to promote all body systems.
This food stands out due to its high level of fiber from flaxseed, oat fiber, beet pulp, and psyllium. Many senior Dachshunds start to have trouble with bowel movements as they age, sometimes secondary to chronic IVDD or back pain. High fiber in this diet helps feces pass more easily and makes backyard clean-up easier for you.
Royal Canin Dachshund Canned Diet
Another great choice for the best dog food for Dachshunds in their senior years is Royal Canin Dachshund Canned Diet. If your senior suffers from dental disease or has become a picky eater over the years, give Royal Canin’s Dachshund canned food a try.
Its soft ‘pate’-like consistency in sauce is easy to chew and tasty too. It can be served alone or as a complement to another adult or senior diet. Royal Canin also provides specific feeding instructions for this diet based on your senior’s activity level – low, medium, or high activity.