The Dachshund, a small, muscular, and tenacious breed, was originally bred to chase and dig small animals out from their burrows. The Dachshund is somewhat notoriously known as a very stubborn breed. Like other dogs of their peculiar elongated shape, such as Corgies, the Dachshund is prone to spinal problems as well as conditions of the kneecap. These dogs may be prone to diabetes as well. Nonetheless, the Dachshund has a long lifespan of 12 to 14 years.
Primary Health Conditions of the Dachshund
The shape of the Dachshund, long and low, predisposes this bred to spinal troubles both inherited and environmental. About one fifth to one quarter of Dachshunds will develop intervertebral disk disease, in which the disks between the vertebrae become worn and herniated. Uncareful breeding can predispose the Dachshund to the problem, which then becomes worse as the dog negotiates their environment, climbing stairs, jumping, and overexerting themselves. Limiting intense activity and controlling obesity are common treatments. Eye problems such as cataracts and glaucoma are also common hereditary diseases in the Dachshund, which are sometimes treated with surgery.
Secondary Health Conditions of the Dachshund
As with a variety of small dogs, the Dachshund can be prone to obesity, which can result in diabetes in this breed. Dachshunds should not be given human food, which can accelerate these conditions. Owners of diabetic dogs may be required to administer insulin to their dogs. The Dachshund can suffer from patellar luxation as well, a common ailment among many dog breeds in which slippage occurs at the knee joint. Again, weight control helps with the condition and surgery is sometimes used. Dappled Dachshunds can be genetically susceptible to deafness without careful breeding practices.
Dachshund Exercise and Walking Needs
The Dachshund requires daily exercise for health and weight control, but the dog’s susceptibility to spinal injury requires that this exercise be low impact. Slow walks around the neighborhood are thus ideal for the Dachshund. Also, because the dog was bred to chase small animals, the Dachshund will enjoy short games of fetch on level grassy areas, which can help the breed stay fit. Helping to avoid the Dachshund climb or jump during exercise will benefit the dog’s long term health.
Dachshund Nutritional Needs
The Dachshund is a long living dog, especially when they are fed a high quality food in sufficient moderation. Because the Dachshund is prone to obesity and diabetes, they should never be fed food for humans or “table scraps.” As the Dachshund ages, they may begin to have spinal difficulties that will limit their activity, and food portions should be adjusted accordingly. Foods high in calcium and Omega-3 and -6 will help the Dachshund thrive.
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