Best Dog Food for Dachshunds

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Best Dog Food for Dachshunds

Dachshunds are scent hound dog breeds.

They are experts in hunting badgers, rabbits, foxes and other tunneling animals.

Their versatility makes them exceptional family dogs, show dogs, and hunters.

The Dachshund is a small breed dog identified for its long body and short legs.

Although they are small dogs, Dachshunds have very high energy requirements which should be fulfilled by an appropriate diet.

In this article, you will learn more about the nutritional requirements for Dachshunds.

What is the Best Food for Dachshunds?

To keep your Dachshund happy and healthy, you need to feed him a nutritionally balanced diet that meets his nutritional requirements.

For your Dachshund’s optimal health, you should feed him a meat based dog food. Generally, meat based offer higher nutritional values than grain based dog foods.

Like all dogs, Dachshunds require a balance of:

  • Protein: it should come from high-quality sources like meat and fresh fish.
  • Fat: dachshunds have very fast metabolisms do they have very high energy requirements. Be careful not to feed your Dachshund too much fat because they are prone to obesity.
  • Carbohydrate: whole grains like brown rice and oats or gluten-free carbohydrates like tapioca and sweet potato are good options.
  • Vitamins and minerals.
  • Clean, fresh water should be available all times.

Dog’s nutritional requirements change through his life. Here are some general tips for feeding:
  • Puppies
  • Adult dogs
  • Senior dogs

Puppies Feeding Guidelines

best dog food for dachshundsIt’s crucial to make sure your puppy eats a premium dog food. Dachshund puppies are pack animal by nature and have had their meals with siblings while they were still in the breeder.

Thus, they don’t like to eat alone. Once he arrives at your home you should hang out with him until he gets used to his new environment and his new owners.

For your puppy’s optimal health, you need to look for dog foods including premium quality ingredients, such as:

  • Meat protein sources
  • Named fat sources
  • DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) which help with brain development in puppies
  • Proper ratio of calcium to phosphorus (1.2:1)

Dietary Supplements

If you are feeding your puppy a good quality food you don’t need to add any supplements to his diet.

Body Condition

The general recommendation for all puppies is that you should be able to feel their ribs but not see them. Puppies should not have excessive weight.

Activity Level

Exercise is advisable. Your puppy needs to spend all of its energy and fortify his muscles and bones. Just use good sense and don’t let him do anything potentially hazardous.

Adult Feeding Guidelines

Dachshunds reach maturity more quickly than large breed dogs. You can change your puppy’s food to a small breed adult dog food formula once your Dachshund reaches about 80% of his adult weight.

Generally, this happens anywhere between the ages of 6 and 12 months, depending on gender and breeding.

Here are some advice to feed your adult Dachshund:
For your Dachshund’s optimal health, you should feed him a meat based dog food. Generally, meat based offer higher nutritional values than grain based dog foods.

  • Fulfil his high energy necessities: due to the higher energy levels and smaller digestive systems, small breed dog food should be higher in protein and fat. This means that your Dachshund’s food must offer a large amount of energy in a small portion.
  • Dental tartar prevention: it’s important to choose a food that helps preserve good oral hygiene. Minimizing tartar reduces the risk of gum disease and helps maintain your dog’s fresh breath.
  • Immune system: small dogs have a longer life span, so immune support is particularly important. Antioxidants are fundamental nutrients to help keep your dog’s immune system healthy.
  • Taste: animal-based fat and protein dog foods tend to be tastier.
  • Look for a reduced-size kibble which will be easy for your dog to eat.
  • Be careful with your dog’s weight, Dachshunds have problems with weight gain. So you should avoid dog food super high in carbohydrates.

If your Dachshund is a fussy eater consider dividing his daily portion into three or four smaller meals rather than two larger meals.

Senior Feeding Guidelines

The average life span of dogs is growing. Nowadays, a Dachshund usually lives to be 13 – 15 years old and many live even longer.

As your Dachshund turns into a senior citizen his nutritional necessities naturally change. For example, as your dog gets older he will be less active and therefore will need less energy from his diet.

Your senior dog will take longer to get up, longer to climb stairs…. Some of these changes are perfectly normal, but it is vital not to overlook alterations that may be symptoms of a medical condition.

Tips to feed your Senior Dog:

  • Provide your senior Dachshund the best food you can pay for
  • Consider preparing home-made diet specially adjusted to your senior’s specific needs. Ask for advice to a veterinary nutritionist.
  • Provide three or four small meals daily
  • Clean and fresh water should always be available
  • Don’t overfeed. Obesity creates health problems and shortens life.
  • Consider dietary supplements such as glucosamine/chondroitin for arthritis.
  • Dental health in seniors is very important.

Regarding your dog’s dental health you can brush his teeth daily. Moreover, your dog’s teeth should be cleaned professionally every time your vet recommends. There are some supplements in the market specially formulated for dental tartar prevention.

Visit your vet every 6 months to check your dog’s overall health, including his body condition. Older dogs tend to lose body mass and weight.

Calorie Requirements for Dachshunds

Dog’s energy needs to preserve a healthy weight for their life stage is variable. The following daily calorie estimations are based on an average weight for this breed (9 Kg/20 lbs) and on calculations based on Basic Calorie Calculator from Ohio State University, Veterinary Medical Center.

Adult Dogs (neutered) Puppy (4 month old) Sport Dogs
582 calories/day 728 calories/day 1,092 calories/day

These calculations can only give a rough level of your dog’s Calorie needs (and so how much to feed), which can modify with time and circumstances. Every dog is unique.

Our Top Dog Food Choices for Dachshunds

Dog Food Formula Stars
Primal Canine Turkey and Sardine Raw Frozen Formula Review 5.00
Orijen Adult Dog Review 4.90
Wellness Complete Health Dry Dog Small Breed Adult Review 4.55
Blue Buffalo Dry Dog Food, Fish, and Sweet Potato Recipe Review 4.50
Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets® Potato & Duck Dry Dog Formula Review 4.00

How Much to Feed Your Dachshund?

In the wild, dogs consumed all the food they could because they never knew when the next meal would come. So, by instinct dogs will probably eat as much food they can. This means that you have to control the food intake of your domestic dog.

The precise quantity of food to give your dog each day is determined by your own Dachshund. The best guide know if you are overfeeding or underfeeding your dog is to observe his:

  • Rib cage
  • Waist line

Ideally, when you look down on your Dachshund from above you should:
  • See a definite narrowing of the waist line below the rib cage
  • Feel individual ribs along their side

However, ribs should not be extremely noticeable when looking at them from the side.

After this quick and simple evaluation there to possible scenarios:

  • If you aren’t able to observe your Dachshund’s waistline or you can’t feel the individual ribs, then you’re overfeeding him. You need to reduce the daily amount of food you are offering your dog.
  • If your Dachshund’s waistline is extremely evident and you can plainly see the rib cage, then you’re underfeeding your dog and you’ll need to increase his food intake or find a better quality dog food.

In either case, my advice is you should consult your veterinary. Obese dogs may need a veterinary consult to establish an adequate and balanced dietary plan or to diagnose a possible medical condition (hypothyroidism). Skinny dogs may suffer from a disease, such as gastrointestinal parasites, endocrine conditions, tumors, etc.

Figure 1 – Dennis, the Dachshund, sheds 44 pounds (source: Facebook)

Dachshund Diet Chart

Age Weight Amount per day Meals per day Quantity per meal
Puppy 2 months 1 Kg (2 lb) 80 gr (2.8 oz) 4-6 14-20 gr (0.5-0.7 oz)
Puppy 5 months 5 Kg (11 lb) 120 gr (4.2 oz) 4-5 20-30 gr (0.7-1.1 oz)
Adult 10 Kg (22 lb) 160 gr (5.6 oz) 3 50 gr (1.8 oz)
Senior 10 Kg (22 lb) 180 gr (6.3 oz) 3-4 45-60 gr (1.6-2.1 oz)

This feeding chart is only a very rough guide, it was based on the daily portions preconized by the brands recommended above.

The quantity you need to feed your dog will vary according to your dog’s characteristics and the type of food you are feeding him.

Dog Food Categories

There are lots of commercial dog food in the market. If you are looking for a dog food you will certainly find different categories: BARF, natural, dry, canned, homemade recipes…


Just like for humans, nutrition is very important to keep your dog healthy. You need to be cautious and not make an impulsive choice for your dog’s diet.

Here is a brief description of the different categories of dog foods:

BARF (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food)

Some claim that Dachshunds are hunting dogs and the best dog food for them is raw meat and vegetable matter that the dog find in the insides of hunted animals – BARF.

This concept is based on a natural whole raw food diet, raw meaty bones, chicken, beef and pig and vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, peas, etc.

Nevertheless, some believe that this diet is dangerous, as domesticated dogs do not have immunity against bacteria found in raw meat like wild dogs do.

So if you are interested in this kind of dog food my advice is that you should do a little investigation about it and ask for advice to your vet.

Dry Dog Food

Dry dog foods come in kibble and contain only a small percentage of moisture. Most owners prefer this type of dog food because:

  • It is economical.
  • Can be conserved for a long time without refrigeration.
  • Can help minimize the amount of tartar that accumulates on your dog’s teeth.

Since some chemicals can possibly cause cancer you should avoid them. You should ensure that your dog’s food contains top quality ingredients and is free from artificial additives (preservatives or colorings). Here are some examples of ingredients you should avoid:
  • Yellow 6
  • Blue 1, 2
  • Green 3
  • Butylated hydroxyanisole ( BHA )
  • Butylated hydroxytoluene ( BHT )
  • Citrus Red 2
  • Red 3
  • Red 40
  • Ethoxyquin

Actually, there are natural food colorings and preservatives that do not cause problems.

Natural Colorings Natural Preservatives
Saffron, paprika, turmeric, beet extract, beta carotene, annatto, carmine Vitamin C and E, Plant extracts like rosemary

Natural Dog Food

By definition, natural foods should be free from artificial colors and flavors, sugars or chemical preservatives. So you should careful analyze the ingredient list of a dog food labeled as natural.

Additionally, these foods do not contain grains such as corn, wheat, gluten, and soy can sometimes be used as a source of protein instead of meat. Be careful, because soy can induce food allergies in dogs.

An example of representative ingredients used to produce natural dog food are:

  • Human grade quality ingredients
  • Apples, cranberries, blueberries.
  • Chicken, venison, turkey, lamb and beef
  • Flaxseed oil, fish oil
  • Salmon meal
  • Eggs
  • Rice, lentils
  • Sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, peas, pumpkin

Canned Dog Food

Canned food (wet food) comes in different consistencies including:

  • Chunky pieces in gravy
  • Fillet-style chunks in gravy
  • Meatloaf

Generally, dogs love canned food. Regarding the ingredients, canned food is similar to dry dog food but its moisture content is higher.

Canned food also has a long shelf life, but requires refrigeration once it is opened.

You can only feed it to your dog as a treat, as this type of dog food can be costly.

Cooked Homemade Food

Making homemade food is also another option for your Dachshund’s nutrition.

This can be much cheaper, although it does take time and preparation. But if you have the time, why not?

I recommend that you consult a veterinarian nutritionist to ensure your Dachshund receives the right amount of all important nutrients every day.

Feeding Schedule


Puppies should be fed at least four times a day, as they are growing and require more nutrients than adult dogs. Especially in small breeds, there is a risk of hypoglycemia after long periods of fasting.

Lactating Dachshunds

Puppy food is recommended for lactating dogs because it contains a higher percentage of nutrients. Mommies should be fed three to four times a day and have fresh, clean water available all the time.

Adults and Older dogs

The feeding schedule for your adult Dachshund should be based on his activity level and age.

Remember to evaluate your dog’s eating routine. There are some Dachshunds that do just fine on a free fed diet. If your dog eats too much, it is best to control the amount of food you are to offer each day.

Generally, two meals a day are appropriate to an adult dog.

Older dogs are just like puppies, you should offer them three to four meals a day.

Choosing Between Different Brands

Like every dog, Dachshunds require good quality protein in their diet. Not all protein and fat are the same. It’s important that these nutrients come from good quality ingredients. If you decide to change your dog’s food you should look for a food with the following characteristics:

  • Meat proteins as the first ingredient.
  • The first ingredient should not be grain or some other carbohydrate.
  • Less desirable ingredients are meat “digests” or “by-products.”
  • Named fat sources such as chicken fat.
  • Avoid artificial preservatives, flavors, sweeteners, and colorings.

Changing Between Brands

The best way to switch from a brand to another is by providing a gradual transition over a course of 7-10 days, which will significantly reduce the occurrence of gastrointestinal symptoms or stomach upset caused by a sudden new food introduction.

Transition Schedule

Day % Old Dog Food (per day) % New Dog Food (per day)
1 80 20
2 70 30
3 60 40
4 50 50
5 40 60
6 25 75
7 0 100

Common Dachshund Health Problems & Diet

Like all dog breeds, Dachshunds are particularly prone to some health problems.

The following feeding practices can help to prevent and minimize the symptoms of some Dachshunds common diseases.


Dachshunds have a very deep chest and are prone to bloat (life-threatening situation – accumulation of gas in the stomach). What can you do to prevent it?

  • Feed your Dachshund several small meals per day
  • Do not let your Dachshund engage in lots of exercises just before or after eating
  • Provide dog foods “easy to digest” or made for sensitive digestion

Back Problems

Dachshunds have a super-long spine and they are prone to back problems such as intervertebral disk disease. In order to prevent back problems, it’s imperative that you don’t let your Dachshund become overweight.

Feeding tips to avoid obesity:

  • Measure the portions you feed your dog.
  • Remove the food dish after 15-20 minutes.
  • If you have more than one dog, keep an eye on your dogs while they eat to make sure no one is stealing food.
  • Provide regular exercise.


Some Dachshunds can present thyroid disease, which can lead to weight gain. If you notice your dog is gaining weight rapidly and presents hair loss and lethargy, you should ask your vet to test your dog’s thyroid levels.

Dental Health

Dental health is affected by the type of food that you give your dachshund.

Tips to prevent dental tartar:

  • Dry dog food tends to be the best choice.
  • Brush your dog’s teeth daily, since he’s a little puppy.
  • Offer dental chews/treats (choose a size- appropriate treat to reduce the risk of your dachshund choke)

Treats for Dachshunds

Treats and snacks should only make up 10% of a dog’s daily calories. You can give your dog treats but remember just offer them “one at a time”.

There are many commercially high-quality dog treats that make excellent rewards and snacks. Always check the ingredient list of the treat before you buy it.

There are also preserved meat products in rolls that can be cut into small bites for treats.

You can avoid the store-bought snacks and offer your dog some vegetables. Offer a baby carrot, a green bean or a broccoli for example.

Banana slices, watermelon, cranberries, and pear slices (pealed and with no seeds) are excellent treats too.


Avoid grapes, raisins, garlic, onions, chocolate and everything with caffeine. These foods can be toxic to dogs.

If you are looking for healthy low calorie treats you can try air-popped popcorn free from salt or butter, and plain rice cakes cracked into little portions.


About the Author:

Hi! I'm Dora Mancha, DVM. I am graduated for the Veterinary Medicine Faculty of Lisbon (2009). My degree is recognized by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). I completed my degree in Veterinary Medicine in July, 2009. Over the first years as a veterinarian my work was closely related to the animal health field. I have gained some average experience having worked in Barcelona University (UAB) Equine Hospital and by working with veterinarians in Portugal. In addition, in 2009 - 2010 I was in Madrid at the University Alfonso X el Sábio doing an internship in the equine service. I am also very interested in small animal medicine and surgery. In fact I worked in several small animals clinics in Portugal improving my knowledge about small animal behavior and health. Dogs always have been present in my life, since I was a child. At the present moment I have four dogs a Labrador, a Epagnheul Breton, a Whippet and a mixed breed dog.

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