The dachshund, or “wiener dog,” is a very popular choice for pet dogs. They are affectionate and active, and are very curious dogs. This lively dog loves to be around people, and does well even without a large yard to run around in. Here’s how to care for a dachshund:
- Food. The dachshund breed is prone to obesity, particularly if their food intake is not watched. Do not offer large quantities of food or leave a bowl out all day long. Dachshunds need a diet that is high in Vitamin A, high in fat and low in protein. The diet usually given to puppies is usually appropriate for dachshunds throughout their lifespan. Choose a high quality dog food; one with meat as the first ingredient rather than grain is a good sign.
- Potential health issues. The dachshund breed is susceptible to several health issues, including obesity, heart disease, and spinal conditions. Routine vet visits for a checkup and updated shots, even if your pet seems healthy, are always a good idea. Of course, always take your dachshund to the vet when sick or injured. If your dachshund has a poor appetite or looks uncomfortable turning his head, these may be signs of a spinal problem.
- Exercise and play. The dachshund breed is very active, but they need appropriate play that will not stress their spinal cord. Make sure that your pet gets walks at least once per day, but discourage jumping or running down stairs. Don’t just let your dachshund run around in your backyard, because many of them are obsessive diggers. Plus, they love to be around people, and their play time is an excellent time to bond with them. Some dachshunds tire easily, so don’t take your dachshund on a very long walk or try to play with them for hours on end.
- Grooming. The grooming requirements depend on the type of coat. Long-haired dachshunds should be brushed every couple of days, while short-haired dachshunds need to be groomed less frequently. Wire coat dachshunds should be trimmed every few months. Check their ears regularly for signs of mites, fungus, or bacteria. A bath should only be given when necessary; otherwise, dachshunds are good at grooming themselves. You will need to trim your dachshund's nails every couple of weeks.
- Training. Besides any behavioral training you want to do, it is important to train your dachshund not to stress their spine, since dachshunds are at risk for certain spinal disc problems. Teach your dog not to jump, especially from high areas, or run up and down stairs. Excessively rough play places too much stress on the spine, which is supported by a short rib cage and short legs at either end. They are stubborn dogs, so it can take some work to train a dachshund. If you have small children, part of your dog’s training needs to be socialization with these kids. Dachshunds have been known to nip at small children.
The dachshund is a fun dog to own. They are very loyal to their owners, and don’t require a lot of specialized care, although there are a couple of health issues you need to watch out for.