Are you feeding your dachshund a healthy diet?

This question can be hard to answer, especially if you’re not familiar with the dietary requirements of a dachshund. In order to decide which type of food is best for your canine friend, you will have to learn some new things. Your dog’s diet closely influences his health, thus making it a priority is important.

How to Choose Quality Dog Food for Your Dachshund
Selecting quality dog food can be an even trickier process when bombarded with advertisements claiming that their dog food is the best. One of the most important things all dog owners should know how to do is read dog food labels. Without this knowledge, it is easy for you to be tricked into thinking any dog food is high quality and complete.

Reading Dog Food Labels
In general, a healthy, balanced dog food should contain approximately 50% meat and 50% vegetables. Also, meat meal is typically preferred over meat because it contains a higher percentage of protein. The term “meat meal,” is used to describe meat that has been processed so that water, and other unnecessary substances have been removed. Dog labels with meat meal will read; “(type of meat) meal.” For example; poultry meal, beef meal, lamb meal, etc.

Dog food that is mainly made up of grains (soy, corn, wheat, etc.) is not considered healthy or wholesome. In fact, allergies are becoming a big issue in dogs due to an increase usage of grains in dog food products. This rise is thought to be because dog food companies have discovered that grains can be used as fillers and that they can make more money by using less of the high quality ingredients such as meat and vegetables.

Special Dachshund Dog Foods
Although most small breed dog foods are okay for dachshunds, some brands have come up with a formula created just for the breed. Some people argue that there is no difference between normal dog food and dog food created for certain breeds, but there are, even if small, differences. For example, Royal Canin Dachshund 28 contains glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate to help promote healthy bones and joints.

Types of Dog Food for Your Dachshund
Dry Dog Food

Dry dog foods come in pellet or kibble form and contain only a small percentage of moisture. Most owners prefer this type of dog food because it is economical and can be preserved for a long time without refrigeration.  Another benefit of dry food is that it is crunchy and can help minimize the amount of tartar that accumulates on your dachshund’s teeth.

One thing you should be aware about when it comes to dry food is that it can be either complete or complementary.  Dry dog foods that are complete can be given as meals, whereas complementary dog food is not considered wholesome and should be accompanied with a different type of food, or given solely as a treat.

Canned Dog Food
Canned food (also known as wet food) is every dachshund’s favorite type of food.  Wet food comes in different consistencies including; chunky pieces in gravy, fillet-style chunks in gravy, and meatloaf. Like dry dog food, canned food also has a long shelf life, but requires refrigeration once it is opened.  Some owners feed wet food on a regular basis; however, others try to only feed it as a snack, as this type of dog food can be pricey.  If feeding canned food to your dachshund, it is important to choose one that is labeled as “100 percent complete.”  Otherwise, the contents will include about 75% water and only 25% protein and other nutrients that your dog needs.

Semi-Moist Dog Food
Semi-moist food is considered more of a treat or snack than a dog food because it does not fulfill a dog’s nutritional requirements. Besides not having much nutritional value, semi-moist food also contains additives such as artificial colors and flavors.  This type of food usually comes in different shapes including; jerky, pork chop, bones, hamburger, etc.  It also has a soft and chewy texture, which dachshunds love.

The Raw or BARF Diet
The raw food diet, also known as the BARF diet, is much different from commercial dog food. It includes feeding raw foods such as meat, fruits, vegetables, and bones. Some people argue that the BARF diet is closer to what wild dogs eat and that it is what domestic dogs should eat today. Others believe that this diet is dangerous, as domesticated dogs do not have immunity against bacteria found in raw meat like wild dogs do.

Cooked Homemade Food
Making homemade, cooked food is also another option for your dachshund’s diet. This can be much cheaper, although it does time time and preparation. We recommend mixing with some quality dry food to ensure your dachshund receives the right amount of nutrition.

It is perfectly fine to give your dachshund treats; as long as they are given in moderation. Commercial or “pre-packaged” treats often contain preservatives and other ingredients that are not beneficial for your dog. Healthy snacks however, can be fed more often, as they are typically nutritious and contain fewer (or no) preservatives, calories, fat, etc.  Dachshunds love carrots, bananas, broccoli, green beans, pumpkin, low-fat or non-fat cottage cheese, and watermelon.

Organic Food
When searching for dry dog food, you will probably come across foods labeled as “organic.”  What does this mean?  Organic dog foods are similar to other types, except the products used are certified “organic.” This means that pesticides, fertilizers, hormones, antibiotics and other chemicals are not used in any of the ingredients included in the food.  Some people that lead an organic lifestyle also choose to place their pets on an organic diet, which is totally acceptable.

What are your dachshund’s dietary requirements?
What should your dachshund’s diet include? Six essential nutrients every dog needs include; water, protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals.

Everyone knows that water is a vital nutrient, but did you know that it makes up for approximately 65% of your dog’s body weight? Although both dry and moist dog foods contain a percentage of moisture, it is not sufficient to meet your dog’s water requirements. Water should always be available for your dachshund, as you never know when he may be thirsty. Dogs that do not consume enough water become dehydrated and develop serious health issues. A 10% dehydration can lead to various health problems, while a 15% dehydration is considered life-threatening.

All dogs need protein in order to survive. Proteins aid in the production of cells, tissue, hormones, and are also necessary for growth. They can be obtained from both animal and plant sources; however, only animal proteins (chicken, beef, lamb, fish, etc.) contain all the amino acids required. Some protein sources can be derived from plants (vegetable, soy, nuts, etc.), but will not include every amino acid.

Amino acids make up proteins, and are an essential part of your dachshund’s life. There are two main types of amino acids;

Essential – A dog’s body cannot produce these amino acids on its’ own, that is why they need to be included in a dachshund’s diet. The ten essential amino acids include; lysine, valine, tryptophan, leucine, threonine, isoleucine, phenylalanine, histidine, methionine, and arginine.

Non-essential – A canine’s body is capable of synthesizing these amino acids and are not required in their diet.

Out of all the nutrients, fats provide your dachshund with the most energy. Fat aids in the production and function of certain cells and hormones. It is also necessary for the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and to keep your dog’s coat/skin healthy. A fat deficiency in dachshunds can lead to growth problems and skin issues. Like with proteins, there are essential and non-essential fats;

Essential – Dogs must obtain these fatty acids through their diets. Essential fatty acids in dogs include; alpha-linolenic (omega-3 fatty acid) and linoleic (omega-6 fatty acid). These fats are found in pumpkin seed, soybean oil, sunflower oil, corn oil, and safflower oil.

Non-essential – Eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic are omega-3, non-essential fatty acids in dogs. Omega-6 fatty acids include; arachidonic, aamma-linolenic, and dihomo-gamma-linolenic.

Fatty acids are important for your dachshund’s diet, as they can prevent or improve various health conditions including; inflammatory bowel disease, arthritis, dry skin/hair, increased cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and a weak immune system.

Although it is widely debated whether or not carbohydrates are essential in a dog’s diet, they are found in most dog foods. Carbohydrates are a source of energy for your dachshund and include; starches, sugars, and fibers. Cereals, legumes, corn, wheat, rice, barley, oats, and millet are some of the carbohydrate-containing foods used in commercial dog food. In addition to providing energy, some experts also believe that carbohydrates promote a healthy intestine and reproductive system.

Vitamins play an important role in a dachshund’s metabolism and overall health. The majority of vitamins cannot be produced by the body and need to be provided in your dog’s diet. Most of the time, high quality dog food or well-balanced homemade meals are sufficient to provide dogs with the vitamins they need. Vitamin poisoning can occur if dogs are given vitamins they are not deficient in. For this reason, vitamins are typically only recommended if your veterinarian diagnoses your dog with a deficiency.

Minerals promote healthy bones, teeth, metabolism, and fluid balance. They cannot be synthesized by a dog’s body and should be obtained through the diet. Like with vitamins, toxicity can occur if mineral supplements are given without knowing if the dog has a deficiency.

Toxic Dog Foods
Even healthy foods such as fruit and vegetables, can be toxic to dogs, so it is extremely important that you do your research whenever there is a doubt as to whether a food is dangerous for your dachshund or not. Some of the foods that are toxic to dogs and that you should avoid feeding include; grapes/raisins, avocado, onions, chocolate, xylitol (ingredient commonly found in gum and sweets), macadamia nuts, bread dough/yeast, garlic, mushrooms, chocolate, coffee (and other products with caffeine), salt, raw eggs, hops, moldy foods, and walnuts.

Feeding Schedule
Puppies and Lactating Dachshunds
Puppies should be fed at least three times daily, as they are growing and require more nutrients than adult dogs. Feeding a puppy only once or twice a day can cause hypoglycemia (low glucose levels), which is a serious health condition especially found in small dog breeds such as dachshunds. Be sure to increase the amount of food you are feeding your puppy as he grows; otherwise, he’ll be underfed and become malnourished. If in doubt as to how much you should be feeding your puppy, ask your breeder or veterinarian for a feeding regimen.

Puppy food is also recommended for lactating doxies because it contains a higher percentage of nutrients. Feeding your dog the right food is necessary for her and her puppies’ overall health. Lack of nutrients can cause hypoglycemia, eclampsia, and other health conditions in lactating dogs. Eclampsia is defined as a calcium deficiency in canines;  it can affect any breed, but it is more common in smaller dogs.

There are three main factors to consider when developing a feeding schedule for your dachshund; activity level, age, and eating habit. Like with humans, the amount of calories and other nutrients necessary for dachshunds is calculated by how much energy is required. For example, a dog that is not very active will require fewer calories than a dog that competes in field trials or other sports. So, if your dog is a couch potato he does not need as many calories or fat!

Age is also an important factor used to determine the nutritional requirements in a doxy. Older dogs do not need as much protein or calories in their diets because they are not as active as they use to be. Their metabolism is also slower and can have a harder time digesting some foods. Lastly, analyze your doxy’s eating habit. Although rare, there are some dachshunds that do just fine on a free fed diet.  If your dog overeats, it is best to measure the amount of food you are to provide each day. The meal can then be divided into smaller portions and fed throughout the day.  This will help your dog feel full and satisfied, while preventing him from gaining extra weight.

Every dachshund is unique, so it is important that you evaluate your dog’s nutritional needs and develop a diet plan accordingly. In general, miniature dachshunds eat ½ cup to ¾ cup daily, and the standard size consumes about 2 ½ cups per day. (This is a general guide only)

How to Switch Dog Food
Although most dogs do well with switching dog foods, you never know how your dog is going to respond to the change. To be on the safe side, changing dog foods should always be done gradually. Most veterinarians recommend that the new food is introduced in a 2 week time frame. This is a general guide you can go by; however, each dachshund is different and the rate at which his food is switched over needs to be adjusted accordingly.

Food Change Guide
Whether your dog is a puppy or an adult, switching their food too fast can cause health issues to arise. Some of the most common problems associated with changing a dog’s food include; vomiting, diarrhea, loose stools, loss of appetite, stomach cramps, and acid reflux. Changing your dog’s food as recommended by your veterinarian can prevent these problems from occurring. If your dog presents any of the previously mentioned symptoms, consult your veterinarian, as this can also be an indication of a food allergy or other health issues.

Dental Health and Nutrition
Dental health is affected by the type of food that you give your dachshund. Dry dog food tends to be the best choice, as chewing helps reduce the amount of bacteria that forms on the teeth. Brushing your dog’s teeth is recommended regardless of what food you feed, but it is even more important that you do this if a wet or canned food is being used. Dental chews/treats, water additives, and rinses can also be used for dental hygiene.

When selecting dental chews be sure to get a size-appropriate treat so that the risk of your dachshund choking is reduced. Water additives on the other hand, are a safer alternative and make the best choice for people without much experience with handling a dog. Lastly, you can use a rinse, which needs to be applied directly to your dog’s teeth and gums once daily.

Obesity and Nutrition
Obesity is one of the health issues dachshunds are predisposed to; however, poor nutrition and lack of exercise can increase the risk of your dog becoming obese.  Not only can this condition limit your dachsie’s mobility, it can also cause a series of health issues such as; diabetes, arthritis, pancreatitis, respiratory problems, and heart disease. Back and leg problems are also common in obese dachshunds because of the extra weight their body has to bear.

Providing your dachshund with a well-balanced diet is an important part of maintaining his overall health.

Nutrition information from