Dachshunds are an unusual-looking small dog breed with a feisty personality.
They make great pets for most households but they aren’t the ideal choice for families with very young children as they aren’t big fans of sharing.
Dachshunds love attention and being in the spotlight. They are also quite curious and have an amazing sense of smell, thanks to their hunter ancestors.
Owning a Dachshund means you’ll never be bored. So, if you want to bring one of these energetic little dogs into your life, we’re glad to hear it.
However, before you bring a Dachshund home, there are a few things you need to know.
We’ve put together a comprehensive guide to looking after a Dachshund, from feeding advice to potty training tips. Read on for more information.
Contents & Quick Navigation
- Dachshund Feeding Guide
- Dachshund Grooming Advice
- Exercise Requirements of a Dachshund
- Training a Dachshund
- Dachshund Health Concerns
- Bottom Line
Dachshund Feeding Guide
Dachshunds need to be fed a diet that contains 30 – 40% protein, such as chicken, lamb, eggs, beef, and fish.
Fats are also an important source of energy for these little dogs as they keep a Dachshund’s coat healthy and shiny. Fish oils and Omega-3 fatty acids are the healthiest choices.
Keep your dog away from any toxic foods such as chocolate, caffeine, grapes, raisins, onions, and fruit pips.
If you’re feeding your Dachshund commercial dog food, be very careful to check the ingredients and quality. Good quality dog food will always list meat as its top three ingredients and not have many filler ingredients like corn.
Dachshunds will find wet food tastier and more hydrating. However, dry kibble is more convenient for everyday use.
Dry kibble promotes healthy stool movement and is good for your dog’s teeth. Both wet and dry food would create the ideal balanced diet.
Dachshund Grooming Advice
If you have a smooth-coat Dachshund, it will require very little maintenance. Long-haired and wire-haired Dachshunds, however, need a little more grooming.
1. Bath Time
One bath per month is all a smooth-coated Dachshund needs. However, if your dog is getting dirtier than usual, you should wash it more often.
Long and wire-haired Dachshunds need more baths though, at least once every two to three weeks.
During bathtime, make sure the bath floor isn’t too slippery for your pup. Keep everything you need to bathe your dog close by, and only bring your Dachshund to the bathroom when everything is ready.
And remember, you should always use a specially created canine shampoo and conditioner – never human ones!
2. Hair Brushing
If you have a smooth-coat Dachshund, it won’t need to be brushed more than once a week. Just make sure that you use a brush with soft bristles.
However, long and wire-haired Dachshunds should be brushed every day. Their wiry hair will be best managed with a brush that has hard bristles. But for a long-haired Dachshund, a slicker brush, as well as a comb, produces the best results.
3. Dental Care
Your Dachshund needs daily teeth brushing. By brushing your dog’s teeth every day, they will have clean teeth and fresh breath.
Always use a special doggy toothpaste and brush. In the first few days, use your fingers to run the paste along your Dachshund’s teeth to get them used to the taste. Then gradually move onto a toothbrush.
4. Paw Care
Trim your Dachshund’s nails every week and inspect its paws regularly for splinters, blisters, dirt, etc.
Every time your Dachshund comes inside the house, try to wipe its paws with a cloth dipped in water. Not only will this keep your house clean, but it will also stop the accumulation of dirt under your Dachshund’s paws.
As for nail trimming, identify the quick of the nail and avoid cutting too close to it. Trim your Dachshund’s nails carefully in short bursts.
If you aren’t careful and you cut a vein, your dog may associate the activity with a negative experience. Try to make nail trimming a scheduled and highly-praised activity.
5. Facial Care
Wipe your dog’s face with baby wipes to keep it clean. Never get shampoo, conditioner or water in the eyes or ears.
Place cotton balls in your dog’s ears during baths to avoid any contact with water. Also regularly clean your dog’s ears and check for wax build up. Never use Q tips as this will only bury the wax deeper into the ear.
Exercise Requirements of a Dachshund
Dachshunds are an active breed that needs to be physically and mentally stimulated. If they don’t get enough exercise, Dachshunds tend to act out. This is because they need an outlet for their pent-up energy.
Ideally, from when your Dachshund turns one year old, it should be getting 45 to 60 minute walks every day. This time can be divided into two or more slots throughout the day.
You should also play fetch games and chasing games with your Dachshund using frisbees and balls. Dachshunds are great at agility courses as it makes them think and overcome obstacles.
Since Dachshunds have such a great sense of smell, you could also hide treats all over the backyard and make it hunt them out.
Training a Dachshund
Dachshunds are not the easiest breed to train. They are stubborn and can be disobedient.
However, they do like to please people and they’re quite intelligent. So Dachshunds get the hang of routine activities very quickly.
Positive reinforcement using treats and praises are the best way to teach your Dachshund to do what you want.
Start by teaching them simple commands such as ‘sit’, ‘come, and ‘heel’. Make sure that your dog knows these three simple commands before moving onto something more complex.
If your Dachshund is acting out or barking too much, you should say ‘no’ in a firm voice and stop whatever activity you were doing with him. Ignoring your dog is the best way to tell a dog you don’t like what they’re doing.
1. Crate Training
Buy a crate that is just the right size for your Dachshund. It shouldn’t be too big or too small. Your dog needs to be able to move about freely inside, but also not have too much space that it uses it as a potty.
The crate should have comfortable, soft bedding that can be washed. You should also place a few toys inside so your Dachshund feels more at home.
Lure your dog in with a treat and let it sniff around the crate. Don’t close the gate on the first few explorations. Once your dog is accustomed to the crate, close the gate for five to 10 minutes.
Never leave the room during this time, and no matter how much your Dachshund cries, do not to open the gate. Speak in a soothing voice and distract it with treats and toys.
Repeat this process and gradually increase the time your dog spends in the crate. This will help them to deal with separation anxiety and potty training, as well as make your life a lot easier.
2. Potty Training
Potty-training a Dachshund involves a lot of patience. But if you’re crate training your dog, this process should be easier.
Dogs never relieve themselves in the same place they sleep – so, use this behavior as your advantage during crate training.
First of all, decide on a specific potty place for your dog, either outside or indoors on a litter tray. Observe your Dachshund’s bathroom schedule and watch for telltale signs of them needing to relieve themselves.
Set alarms according to this schedule and take your dog to its designated potty spot. This should typically be after meals, before naptime, and after playtime or exercise.
The Potty Training Process
Puppies will need a lot more bathroom breaks than adult Dachshunds. It may be best not to feed adult Dachshunds any food or treats at least three hours before they go to sleep at night, to avoid waking up for the bathroom.
For puppies, however, you should set an alarm around 2 am or 3 am. After two or three months, let your dog follow the routine on its own.
You could install a doggy door and give reminders to your dog to go potty. Whenever it relieves itself in the right place, give your dog a treat or a praise.
Be prepared for accidents to happen. Don’t scold your dog; simply clean up the mess thoroughly. If your dog loses track of the routine, go back to taking it to the designated potty place yourself.
3. Leash Training
Leash training your Dachshund is very important so that you can take it outside. However, this is not an easy job.
Dachshunds are independent breeds that have a mind of their own. They’re also very curious creatures and can get easily distracted.
Make sure to buy a collar that is not too tight and a leash that is not too flexible. Shorter leashes are easier for you to control.
Always make your Dachshund walk on your side. Do this by holding out treats to the side and saying ‘come’ to your dog while holding onto the leash.
Do this at intervals throughout the walk so that your dog learns to listen to you.
If your dog wants to go in a different direction and starts pulling at the leash, you should stop abruptly or change direction. This will let your Dachshund know that you are in control.
4. Teaching Social Skills
Dachshunds are social creatures, but they need to be taught how to interact with others at an early age. Adult dogs are a little more difficult, but with enough exposure, they too can be quite friendly.
Socializing helps to prevent anxiety in your Dachshund and improves their behavior. Taking your dog out on regular walks, play dates and visits to the dog park should be good enough.
These things expose your Dachshund to new sounds and people as well as other dogs.
Always keep your dog’s favorite toy on your so that you can distract them if need be. Only start socializing your Dachshund after it has got all of its vaccinations.
Dachshund Health Concerns
Dachshunds have a lifespan of 12 – 16 years. However, because of their body structure, and their behavior, they are predisposed to having some health issues.
The most common health concerns that Dachshunds may face include:
Dachshunds are prone to overeating and can become rather obese. This leads to a number of health problems, such as heart disease and diabetes. It also puts a strain on their backs and makes joint-related problems worse.
It’s quite easy to identify whether your Dachshund is obese. If you can see their ribs, your Dachshund is underweight but if you can’t see or feel the ribs at all, then your dog is definitely overweight.
In an ideal situation, you won’t be able to see your Dachshund’s ribs, but you should be able to feel it. Obesity can be avoided with regular exercise and a balanced, nutritious diet.
2. Urinary Tract Infections
Unfortunately, painful urinary tract infections are also common amongst this breed.
Keep an eye on your Dachshund’s bathroom behavior. If your dog is having a hard time urinating or it is going too often or too little,
it’ may be time to visit the vet.
There’s medication to treat UTIs but to prevent it, you must make sure your dog has plenty of water throughout the day.
3. Intervertebral Disc Disease
Since Dachshunds have an elongated body with short legs, they are genetically prone to this disease. IDD is when the vertebrae become weak and stick into the spinal canal.
This can be treated with surgery and pain medication. However, you should always try to prevent this from happening in the first place.
Keep your Dachshund on a balanced, healthy diet and keep its weight in check. Always hold your Dachshund properly, keeping his spine horizontal. Never let kids carry him around as they might drop him.
You should also never let your Dachshund jump from high places like sofas or tables, or even let them go up and down the stairs.
If you’ve managed to reach the end of this article, congratulations! You now know just about everything you need to know about taking care of a Dachshund.
Before bringing this unique creature into your life, you should be aware of all of the responsibilities required to help the dog flourish.
So put your newfound knowledge to good use and give your Dachshund the loving and caring home it deserves!
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