Specific Considerations for your Dachshund

dachshund

The dachshund is one of the most recognized dog breeds in the world. This handsome short-legged canine’s origins can be traced back to working and hunting dogs that would go after smallish mammals such as badgers, rabbits and other burrow-dwelling animals. It may surprise you to know that there are actually six different types of dachshund. These are: Long Haired, Short Haired and Wire Haired and all three of these varieties come in Standard size and Miniature size.

A fully grown standard dachshund usually weighs between 16lb and 32lb.

A fully grown miniature dachshund usually weighs less than 12lbs.

Although very small in stature, Dachshunds are extremely intelligent, alert and brave which makes them excellent watch dogs. They are also great companions as they have a wonderful temperament, are playful and affectionate, and most get along very well with children that play nicely with them. Their personalities are quite similar across all varieties, although long-haired dachshunds tend to me more relaxed than their wire-haired cousins.

These adaptable canine companions may have been bred for the country, but are still just as happy with city life provided they are given plenty of opportunity for walks and runs in the park. They are very sociable and get along well with most other animals, although they will need to be taught to go against their natural prey drive which may compel them to chase smaller household pets such as rabbits, guinea pigs and cats. They also dislike being left alone for long periods of time, so are best suited to busy homes where there are lots of people around for him to play with.

Dachshunds make wonderful pets, but as with any dog, there are some breed specific considerations that you should make before you make one a part of your family.

Weight

Dachshunds are often referred to as a ‘sausage dog’ because they have long spines and shortened extremities. Their body shape puts them at increased risk of arthritis and spinal problems. Weight control should be a significant priority for any responsible dachshund owner as excessive weight gain can place increased pressure on their joints. This can worsen arthritic symptoms and heighten their risk of intervertebral disc disease. Dachshunds who are overweight are also at risk of a number of associated weight-related conditions and an overall shorter lifespan.

By conferring with your veterinarian, you can establish how much your dog should be eating, and together you can tailor an eating and exercising plan that will help him to control his weight and stay healthy.

Heart Disease

Unfortunately, dachshunds are commonly found to have leaky heart valves which can progress into them developing early congestive heart failure. Although the condition is incurable, it can be managed with medication and guidance from your veterinarian. Regular check-ups can help to identify the early onset of heart disease, so make sure you keep any scheduled appointments.

Arthritis

As explained above, dachshunds are pre-disposed to developing arthritis. As well as keeping his weight under control, you can also consider giving him supplements that help to protect the joints such as glucosamine, collagen and chondroitin. As your dachshund ages, his joints will naturally become stiffer due to a decrease in collagen production. When this happens it will be important to help protect his joints further by discouraging jumping and high-impact activity. Speak to your veterinarian for further advice.

Spine Health

We have also said that their body shape means that Dachshunds are at risk of developing spinal problems such as intervertebral disc disease. This can result in the spine collapsing and pressing on the spinal cord, causing pain, limited movement and in some cases, total paralysis. Regular exercise and weight management is crucial to maintain the long term health of his spine.

Dental Care

Although around 80% of dogs are prone to dental problems such as gingivitis, decay and infection, many veterinarians believe that dachshunds are particularly prone to dental disease compared to other breeds. Ensure that your dog has a robust oral care routine using a specially-approved doggy toothbrush and toothpaste. You should also make sure he attends regular dental check-ups with your veterinarian as this can help to spot dental conditions which, left untreated, could lead to other more serious health problems including kidney and heart disease.
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Ears

Their ears are often considered to be one of the cutest things about this breed of dog. Huge, floppy and extremely soft they are lovely to stroke, but they can also hide a multitude of health problems and infections are quite common. Take the time to make a weekly check of his ears. If anything looks – or smells! – off, then book an appointment with your veterinarian to get it checked out.



If you are thinking of welcome a dachshund into your home then we highly recommend that you make an appointment with Flamingo Pet Clinic for a preliminary examination to act as a base-point for his future health, and to get some expert insight into the very best ways of looking after him.