Dachshunds are a wonderful breed, but they need the right type of food to stay healthy. Choosing the right food is the best way to ensure their overall health and well-being.


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Dachshunds are a moderately challenging breed to raise because they’re predisposed to obesity. Part of this is genetic, but their personalities also come into play here. Dachshunds prefer to be in the same place you are and doing the same things, so chances are they’ll be lazier if you’re not up and moving around.

That said, they can be energetic if you encourage that lifestyle. People bred dachshunds to hunt badgers independently, so they’re capable of moving on their own and making independent decisions. They also have plenty of stamina when encouraged to move, and doing that can help manage their weight.

Unfortunately, their low, elongated back can present problems in some household environments. Too many stairs are bad for dachshunds, and obesity is particularly bad for them, given their relatively weak spines. As such, food that’s nutritious but not so good they want to overeat is usually the best choice for this breed.

Also, don’t forget to get the right type of food bowls. Dachshunds can be destructive because they’re fundamentally hunting dogs predisposed to fighting prey larger than they are. They may destroy a food bowl if they’re too aggressive with it, so consider getting a durable metal bowl instead of plastic.

Pets have different nutritional needs and personal preferences, so consider trying out a few different foods to determine their unique preferences. Once you know what flavors and smells they prefer, you can look for foods that match.

Important: Pet Food And Fur Coats

Problems with skin and fur are one of the most common reasons that people give pets up, but most of the time, these issues are dietary and can be solved by changing foods. If your pet seems to be having problems like these but is otherwise healthy, try changing the ingredients in their food first.

5 Key Nutritional Needs of a Dachshund Diet

As a breed predisposed to obesity and back problems, dachshunds require special nutritional care for optimal health throughout their life. This isn’t particularly difficult to achieve, but there are a few

  • Water: Water is approximately 65% of your dachshund’s weight, so they need plenty of it in their diet. You should always have fresh water available to them, especially if you live in warmer climates where they can thrive. Giving your dog wet food reduces the amount of water they need, but wet food alone is not enough for their hydration needs.
  • Protein: Dogs need plenty of animal-based proteins to meet all of their dietary requirements. Vegetarian diets are not suitable for dachshunds and can lead to severe health problems unless extremely short-term. That said, about half of their diet can be non-protein without presenting significant difficulties.
  • Fats: Fats are the #1 source of energy for dachshunds, and thus a key element of maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle. Dachshunds have both essential and non-essential fats, though most high-quality foods include both. Fatty acids are important for reducing or eliminating some health issues.
  • Carbohydrates: Opinions are split on how important carbs are to the canine diet, but most foods include a moderate amount of these. Carbs in dog food usually come from vegetable and grain sources.
  • Vitamins: Finally, just like humans, dachshunds require vitamins in their food. Unlike humans, however, they don’t tolerate extra vitamins well. What’s already in your dog food is usually sufficient, so do not give your pup any vitamin supplements unless a veterinarian tells you to.

These are the general nutritional needs of a dachshund’s diet, but actual needs may vary based on factors like activity levels, health issues, and other needs. If you’re not sure whether or not you should change your dachshund’s diet, talk to a vet.

Should I Go Grain-Free? Grain-free diets are popular, but some researchers believe that grain-free diets can cause deficiencies in dogs. If you decide to buy grain-free dog food, consider getting tests to check for issues and use supplements as directed by a vet.

6 Special Dietary and Nutritional Considerations of Dachshunds

Here are some additional dietary and nutritional considerations for dachshunds:

  • Common Allergies: Dachshunds are a relatively low-allergy breed, so no allergens are truly common. Of those that do occur, wheat, rice, soy, and animal proteins are among the most likely culprits. Dachshunds may also have a difficult time digesting corn, so keep an eye out for that and try to avoid dog foods with too much corn in them.
  • Calorie Needs: Active dachshunds need about 900 calories of food per day. Adult dachshunds that aren’t especially active need about 575 calories. Older members of this species need about 475 calories since they tend to move less. Calories vary between foods, so always check the label to see how much food to give them per day.
  • Dietary Restrictions: Do not feed chocolate, salty foods, anything in the onion family, dairy products, grapes, or other sweets to dachshunds. Dachshunds can enjoy some other fruits and vegetables, but research the specific type (not just the general category) before you consider feeding it to a canine friend.
  • Health Issues: Dachshunds are particularly infamous for their lower back problems, which can be exacerbated by weak spines. Diets that are rich in calcium and other bone-supporting foods and minerals are particularly useful. These cannot prevent all lower back problems, but they can reduce the severity and prevent some issues.
  • Raw Meat: Raw meat is normally a poor choice for dachshunds. While they are hunting dogs, most of them don’t have a strong immune system created by eating raw meat all their life. Raw meat isn’t inherently bad for dachshunds, but you should be careful about how and when you give it to them.
  • Obesity Issues: Dachshunds are predisposed to obesity, so foods that are loaded with empty calories are bad for them. This includes many types of high-fat foods, although, like all dogs, dachshunds need some fat in their diet. Foods that are high in protein and have minimal filler are distinctly better for this breed.

I think it’s worth repeating that many dachshunds are genetically predisposed to certain health issues, particularly those involving the spine. There are no known diets that can stop these issues from happening. If you see anything that you suspect is a chronic health concern, take your dachshund to the vet immediately.

Some health issues are solvable, and a vet can tell you if this is the case. Early intervention can stop a dachshund’s health issue from becoming worse. If it is not treatable, your vet can still give you advice for maximizing your dachshund’s health and comfort.

Dachshund Feeding Schedule

How often and how much should I feed my Dachshund?

Feeding your dachshund the appropriate amount of food is essential to their overall well-being.

Dachshund WeightAmount Of Dry Food Per Day
15 lbs1 cup dry food
20 lbs1 1/3 cups dry food
30 lbs1 3/4 cups dry food

Note: The proper amount of dry food may vary by brand and specific dietary needs. Consult the instructions on your food for more information.

Puppies should eat at least four times throughout the day, preferably in as close to even intervals as you can manage. This ensures their rapidly-growing bodies have a steady supply of nutrition. Do not overfeed puppies; this will teach them to keep asking for more, particularly because dachshunds tend to eat whatever you put in front of them.

Young adults and older can transition to two or three meals per day, again spaced evenly apart. A breakfast-lunch-dinner approach works well with active dachshunds.

Unlike some other breeds, allowing dachshunds to graze and eat when they want is a poor choice. Their tendency towards obesity and eating anything in front of them means eating at-will usually results in health problems. If you notice signs of obesity, try encouraging them to exercise more while slightly cutting down on their food.

Overall Best Dog Food for Dachshunds

Here is our top choice for dachshund dog food.

Wellness Complete Health Adult Deboned Chicken & Oatmeal Recipe Dry Dog Food

Best Overall

Wellness’ Complete Health adult dog dry food is easily one of the best options currently on the market. This mix includes both chicken and whitefish, which are excellent sources of protein and fatty acids, as well as additional elements that support joint health and all-day energy. Active dachshunds have a lot of energy, so both of those are especially useful for this breed.

This mix also includes some vegetables and small amounts of grain, both of which many researchers believe are useful (or even necessary) for optimum canine health. Wellness offers this product in several different flavors if your dog prefers them, but the Chicken and Oatmeal mix is the most popular flavor currently on the market.

10 More Top-Rated Dog Foods for Dachshunds

Our Best Overall pick is a great choice for most dachshunds, but there are plenty of other high-quality dog foods on the market. Here are some alternatives, as well as what you should know about each of them.

Super Premium: NomNom

Key Features: 

NomNom is one of the leaders in fresh, human-grade foods for dogs. The company makes the food in small batches so it’s never sitting around frozen in a freezer. It’s delivered right to your dog soon after it’s made. NomNom has four different recipes plus a variety pack so you can see which foods your Poodle prefers.

NomNom recipes are made using whole foods the same as you would use in your own kitchen, with some healthy fish oil added to each formula. The company also adds the NomNom Nutrient Mix which has been developed by their own veterinary nutritionist. This mix helps balance the formulas for all life stages. You and your dog can choose from Heartland Beef Mash, Tasty Turkey Fare, Chicken Chow-Wow, and Porkalicious Potluck.

If you have questions about NomNom you can find answers on the FAQ page. For samples of their recipes, order the variety pack.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Easy to personalize your dog’s meals
  • Recipes are made from with real, whole food ingredients
  • Exceed AAFCO standards for all life stages
  • Delivered fresh to your door

Cons:

  • If your dog has any health issues, you do need to contact the company to ask for a nutrient analysis of their foods. Many dogs with health issues have to be cautious about their vitamin and mineral intake. You may need to speak with the veterinary nutritionist at NomNomNow directly, depending on your question.

Key Features: This extraordinarily popular high-protein dog food is a grain-free product designed to avoid fillers and focus on essential nutrients. It also has plenty of fruits and vegetables for natural health, as well as flaxseed and salmon oil to provide fatty acids and other useful nutrients.

American Journey’s Salmon & Sweet Potato recipe is one of the all-time bestselling dry dog foods, and that alone puts it on the map as something worth considering. It also avoids corn, wheat, and soy, which is a good thing for dachshunds with sensitive stomachs, and the fish flavor is a great alternative for dogs who don’t like chicken.

However, there is some scholarly debate on whether or not grain-free recipes are truly ideal for dogs. Researchers haven’t come to a consensus yet, so if you see skin or fur issues, try changing to another food on this list and see if that fixes the issue. This is a popular dry food for a reason, but I want to make sure you know about any potential issues.

Pros:

  • No corn, which is always better for dachshunds
  • 32% crude protein minimum, which is relatively high among dry foods
  • It has glucosamine in it, which actively helps support joint health over time
  • Uses less-common ingredients to help avoid common food allergies
  • Available in several other flavors, including beef and lamb

Cons:

  • Not marketed as a complete food, so you may need to provide supplements
  • Grain-free diets may not be appropriate for all dogs
  • The relatively large kibbles may be harder for smaller dachshunds to eat

Best Value: Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Adult Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food

Key Features: This affordable dry food is available in many different sizes, including some bags small enough to let you test the food without making a major investment. With a mixture of chicken and rice, it offers both protein and carbohydrates to support an active and energetic lifestyle. Dachshunds like working, so this is a great choice for them.

Blue Buffalo’s Blue Life Protection brand is designed to support adult dogs throughout their life, and in this case, that support is literal in the form of calcium, vitamins, and glucosamine (for joint health). Foods that support bones and joint health are especially helpful for dachshunds, and those qualities are why I selected this product over its competitors.

This particular blend avoids corn, wheat, and soy products, and it also avoids chicken and poultry by-product meals. That helps ensure a consistently higher quality for the ingredients it contains. This isn’t a low-cost food, but its slight medical focus and smart choice of ingredients make it a great value for the money.

Pros:

  • Excellent mix of high-quality ingredients
  • Competitive pricing at all bag sizes
  • Actively supports joint health, which is more important for dachshunds than for many other breeds
  • It does not have any corn in it

Cons:

  • Some dogs strongly dislike the nutrient balls included and may spread them across the house
  • The kibbles are relatively small, and may be harder for the largest dachshunds to eat
  • Relatively dry, so dogs may need to drink more water after eating this

Pea Free: American Natural Premium Original Recipe Dry Dog Food

Key Features: This digestion-focused dry dog food includes a variety of proteins and carbohydrates to support long-term energy. A mixture of chicken, pork, fish, and eggs provides nutritional variety, while the added probiotics support healthy digestion and immune systems.

American Natural Premium’s Original Recipe is a healthy, small-batch product designed to support overall digestive health and active lifestyles. The mix of complex carbohydrates provides long-term energy, but the stand-out feature on this list is the lack of peas. Peas are often a cheap filler ingredient, so avoiding them is the sign of a product that cares about quality.

Pros:

  • Includes probiotics, which is relatively rare among dog foods
  • The wide variety of protein sources offers balanced nutrition
  • Does not contain peas, wheat, corn, or soy
  • Reasonably affordable despite its high quality

Cons:

  • Not the best choice for highly active hunting dachshunds
  • The wide variety of ingredients is more likely to trigger allergies
  • It does not come in a resealable bag, which I believe large pet food bags should always have

Best for Puppies: Nulo Freestyle Salmon & Peas Recipe Grain-Free Puppy Dry Dog Food

Key Features: Plenty of salmon, turkey, and fish make this a protein-focused food ideal for rapidly-growing puppies. This mix includes a minimum of 30% crude protein and 17% crude fat, both of which help provide the energy that active puppies need to run around and play.

Nulo’s puppy chow is a healthy chow that focuses on real meat, ensuring plenty of healthy amino acids. Meanwhile, guaranteed calcium and DHA help promote bone and brain development, both of which are useful for dachshunds given their genetic predispositions.

Pros:

  • Low glycemic index ingredients
  • 80% animal-based proteins
  • Has fatty acids to ensure healthy skin and coat

Cons:

  • Significantly more expensive than most other products, which is alleviated somewhat by the short-term nature of puppy food
  • Has peas in it, which are a cheap filler ingredient that really shouldn’t be present in such an expensive food

Best for Seniors: VICTOR Senior Healthy Weight Dry Dog Food

Key Features: VICTOR’s senior weight-management dry food is particularly useful for addressing the dachshunds’ tendency towards obesity as they age. The nutrient-dense recipe includes glucosamine and chondroitin, both of which are good for supporting their joint health.

Older dogs have changing needs, and few are more important for dachshunds than dealing with obesity and spinal issues. That’s why I particularly recommend this food for older members in their category; it addresses their two most common problems. The L-carnitine even helps convert fat into lean muscle, which is better than simply reducing fat.

Pros:

  • Directly addresses the needs of aging dachshunds
  • A variety of protein sources help ensure a more balanced diet
  • Reasonable pricing for the amount of food you get

Cons:

  • The many protein sources could trigger allergies
  • It has a somewhat lower protein content than most of the other options on this list

Best Wet Food: Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Chicken Dinner with Garden Vegetables & Brown Rice Canned Dog Food, 12.5-oz, case of 12

Key Features: This pate-style wet food supports lean muscle mass and focuses on chicken, fruits, and vegetables as its main ingredients. Blue Buffalo is one of the most well-known pet food manufacturers, and this food is backed by the knowledge and experience of a large company.

Not all dogs like dry food, so for those who prefer wet options, Blue Buffalo’s Chicken Dinner is a great first choice. You can expect to go through about 2-3 cans of these per day, based on your dachshund’s weight, but companies usually sell this at a good price that makes it quite competitive, price-wise, with most dry foods.

Pros:

  • Ideal for promoting lean muscle mass
  • Does not have by-product meals, corn, wheat, or soy
  • Has plenty of moisture for dogs who live in warmer climates

Cons:

  • Has some peas
  • Requires more active management than dry foods
  • May cause smellier stools than dry foods tend to

Digestive Care (Wet): Hill’s Prescription Diet i/d Digestive Care with Turkey Canned Dog Food, 13-oz, case of 12

 

Key Features: This prescription diet food offers plenty of turkey and pork, as well as various vitamins and supplements that help treat upset stomachs. Many factors can trigger digestive issues, so specialized care foods offer an easy-to-digest alternative for ill dogs.

Hill’s Prescription Diet is one of the most expensive brands on the market, but with that price tag comes a focus on specialized veterinary care. This wet food is ideal for dogs with digestive issues, as well as some who are recovering from gastrointestinal upsets or routine surgeries.

Pros:

  • The special formula is easier to digest than most foods
  • Some dogs strongly prefer wet food and will accept this over dry alternatives
  • Nutritionists and vets support this mix

Cons:

  • More expensive than most other foods
  • Has some whole grain corn in it, which isn’t ideal for dachshunds

Digestive Care (Dry): Purina Pro Plan Focus Adult Sensitive Skin & Stomach Salmon & Rice Formula Dry Dog Food

Key Features: For dogs who need digestive care but don’t like wet food, Purina Pro Plan’s Sensitive Skin & Stomach recipe offers plenty of healthy vitamins and minerals with a reasonable protein and fat mixture.

Dogs with upset stomachs have special needs, and this easy-to-digest dry formula helps meet them with its focus on fish and soft grains. Unlike the more-popular poultry, beef, and pork flavors, dachshunds aren’t likely to have allergic reactions to anything in this digestion-aiding option. It’s also more affordable than most wet digestive care options.

Pros:

  • Fish-based protein suits dachshunds well
  • No peas, corn, wheat, or soy
  • Includes oat meal, which is particularly easy to digest

Cons:

  • Moderately expensive compared to other foods
  • The kibbles are a little large, which may make them hard for smaller dachshunds to chew

Best Raw Supplements: Instinct by Nature’s Variety Freeze Dried Raw Boost Mixers Grain-Free Gut Health Recipe Dog Food Topper, 5.5-oz bag

Key Features: While not a complete food on their own, these raw supplements have only the smallest amount of processing needed to package and sell them. This makes them a great way to add flavor and variety to any existing diet, especially when dogs are reluctant to eat normal food without some sort of topper to go with it.

This particular blend by instinct includes chicken, pumpkin, chicory root, apple cider vinegar, and sweet potato for a distinctly Autumn flavor. It also has numerous probiotics to support overall digestive health, which is useful when your dachshund ages and needs to get as many nutrients to support their spine as possible.

Pros:

  • Minimally-processed nutrient supplements are a good middle ground if you want a more natural diet for your dog
  • These supplements include probiotics, which are rare in dog foods
  • Has no grain, peas, corn, wheat, regular potato, artificial flavors, or preservatives that could change its consistency
  • Freeze-dried to preserve the nutrients

Cons:

  • This is not a true food, but rather something to mix into other food
  • Relatively expensive for the amount you get

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Grain-Free Dog Food Good For Dachshunds?

As we mentioned earlier in this article, experts are split on that. However, if you’re concerned about this, avoid grain-free foods in favor of foods with some grain.

Do Dachshunds Have Allergies?

Allergies are relatively rare in dachshunds, but they can occur. If your dog seems especially itchy, or like they have skin or fur problems, they’re probably allergic to something in their food. Try food with different main ingredients, and see your vet if the problem persists or worsens.

When Should I Switch From Puppy To Adult Food?

Experts recommend switching from puppy to adult dog food when they’re 18 to 24 months old. Dachshunds are a small breed, so switching in the earlier side of this range is fine. If you have large breeds, switch them later in life instead.

Conclusion

Dog foods aren’t created equally, and the nutrition your dachshund gets from their food is an essential part of having a longer, healthier, and more active life. Make sure whatever food you choose offers a good blend of essential nutrients, including fats and carbohydrates, and avoid pure vitamin or mineral supplements unless instructed otherwise by your vet.

Dogs have personal preferences the same way humans do, so consider getting a variety pack of different flavors to see what your dachshund likes most. The earlier you know what they like, the easier it will be to find high-quality food that matches their preference. All of the options listed above are top-rated choices for keeping dachshunds healthy and happy, so check them first.

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