When more than half of all U.S. dogs are overweight, it’s likely that at least one of your dachshunds fall into this category, or has in the past. It’s especially easy for sausage dogs to become overweight or obese, because they not only love food, they just won’t stop eating unless you limit the amount and type of food that they have access to. Likewise, even if you’re not feeding your doxie too much, feeding them the wrong things can cause larger health issues.
So, how do you make sure you’re following correct dietary practices for your doxie?
First, determine how much your dachshund should be eating based on their weight. A normal adult doxie weighs between 11 and 30 pounds, from the miniature to the standard size. Usually, your vet or even your food’s packaging will tell you the suggested quantity to feed your dachshund. But if you do not have a dog that’s currently a healthy weight, you’ll have to adjust your feeding habits; this could be as simple as changing the amount you feed your doxie, the kind of food you feed them or their general attitude toward food.
For any dietary transitions, make the change gradually, not suddenly, to reduce the likelihood of illness caused by the sudden change (these illnesses can be more expected, like an upset stomach, or can manifest themselves differently, such as with changes to the skin or fur).
Then, treat treats as, well, treats. They can often be mere empty calories and you shouldn’t be overdoing them. If you want an option that’s more healthful and that can be provided to your dog more often, consider going with a dog-friendly raw vegetable, like carrot sticks or baby carrots, or a dog-friendly raw fruit like watermelon slices. As a sausage dog parent, you should also stock some dental chews in your treat cabinet, as these can help the breed – which is prone to dental issues – maintain healthy teeth and gums.
Choose your food carefully. Healthy foods are generally half meat meal and half vegetables. Food made up of grains is often not a healthy option and can cause later health implications (though they are cheaper). You can find a few dachshund-specific brands of dog food out there, too.
Each type of dog food beyond this comes with its own pros and cons. Dry dog food is convenient, more affordable and can actually help with your dog’s oral health (the crunching helps remove tartar build up). Canned dog food is a favorite with the dogs, of course, but is more expensive, must be refrigerated after opening and might not be very nutrient-rich. Semi-moist does not have much nutritional value and is often filled with artificial colors and flavors, but is a favorite for many dogs.
Other dachshund owners choose to feed their dogs a diet of raw “people” foods, while others cook homemade dog food for their doxies. Always check with your vet when you do this, to ensure that you don’t inadvertently cause an illness.
Lastly, one major thing to keep in mind with your dachshund, is that food does not equal affection. Don’t use treats in place of tender loving care. Spend time playing with your doxie, or cuddling, to show your love, rather than feeding them scraps under the table. You'll both be glad you did!