How to look after your Dachshund – vet style

Dachshunds can be highly energetic dogs, with a propensity to dig, bark above their weight, and sometimes be a little emotional – but you already knew that.

Their courage makes them an admirable watchdog (not attack dog), and does require that we recognise their unique physique and provide them with a caring home that acknowledges their physical limitations, so that they can thrive and live happy and injury-free lives.

A Dachshund’s single biggest obstacle to everything, but especially finding a spot on your couch or bed, is its long back and short legs. You don’t have to be Charles Darwin to recognise the physical limitations of their breeding, and as such we owe it to them to know what’s best for them, even when most of the time they don’t know it themselves.

Baby’s got too much back.

Living with such long a frame means that a large amount of strain is placed on their back, leading to a multitude of orthopedic issues, the major one being Intervertebral Disc Disease, or (IVDD).

IVDD can be defined as an issue with one or more of your dog’s intervertebral discs caused by repeated, degenerative trauma, eventually causing the material inside the disc to seep into the spinal column. IVDD can be incredibly painful for your dog and in some cases cause complete paralysis.

Dogs suffering from IVDD may show signs of limping or a reluctance to be active. More serious signs would include painful yelping when being picked up or touched. In all cases, IVDD can be treated with anti-inflammatory drugs, with more serious conditions requiring surgery.

Managing the risk of your dog developing IVDD is entirely achievable and largely common sense.

No parkour, please.

Dachshunds should not be permitted to leap off high surfaces. ‘High’ is a relative term, in which case a couch is ‘high’ for a Dachshund. Be mindful too if you have a flight of stairs in your house, that this can be very challenging for your Dachshund. You could use a box or mobile step as a halfway point between couch and floor that your Dachshund can scramble down.

Don’t let them turn into Dachwursts

Being overweight is the single biggest predictor for a future full of musculoskeletal conditions for a Dachshund. Unnecessary weight adds additional strain to the vertebrae as well as the hips and knees.

If you’re unsure as to whether your dog is overweight, consult your vet of choice. An appropriate baseline weight for your dog is their recorded weight at about 10-months-old, although you may not have that figure written down.

You can also run your fingers along the side of your dog. If you cannot feel their ribs, there is a good chance that your dog might be overweight.

Some breed-specific conditions can be explained by genetics (up to 50%) and Dachshunds can be predisposed to these hereditary conditions. As South Africa’s Pet Insurance of choice for breeds like Dachshunds, DogSure offers unlimited benefits for all breeds and does not discriminate or exclude any hereditary any conditions from policy benefits. If you’d like to find out how a DogSure policy works, here is a great 60 second video.

Give the little fursnakes regular exercise

Just because your friend is small, that does not mean that running around your house all day is adequate exercise. Regular walking at appropriate distances will promote strong muscle growth to support their back and make for a much fitter and healthier dog in general.

Other conditions you never signed up for when you adopted your dogslinky 

IVDD is just one condition that your Dachshund may suffer from, but being a dog with such a unique hereditary frame, Dachshunds will be more predisposed to various other conditions, including a Luxating Patella, which is essentially a knee cap that consistently pops out of its groove, or Hip Dysplasia, which is caused by the deformity of the hip joint and is generally more prevalent in larger breeds of dogs.

Conclusion

Keep your Dachshund’s from leaping from high altitudes, either through training or by providing them with a box or step they can run down. In all circumstances, maintaining a healthy weight through proper nutrition and regular exercise are the easiest and most effective things you can do for their long-term health and happiness.

Want to learn how a DogSure Pet Insurance policy works? We’ve put this 60 second informative video together to prove just how simple it all is.

1 Comment

  1. […] A Dachshund’s single biggest obstacle to everything, but especially finding a spot on your couch or bed, is its long back and short legs.  read more here […]

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