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Dachshunds are one of the most beloved dog breeds in the world, and their history is a fascinating one. Originating in Germany centuries ago, these small and spunky canines have been captivating humans for generations. The breed has quite an interesting past that includes being used as badger hunters, long-distance travelers, and even companions to royalty .
Dachshunds are an energetic breed, which means they require plenty of exercise to stay healthy and happy. However, there is a lot of variation in the energy levels of different dachshunds; while some may be content with only a short daily walk, others may need more exercise to stay content. Therefore, their nutritional requirements will depend on how much energy they expend on a daily basis.
My research tells that Standard Dachshunds and Miniature Dachshunds have similar nutritional needs, with Standard Dachshunds needing slightly more than Miniature Dachshunds. This is why Merrick Lil’ Plates Small Breed Wet Dog Food (Grain-Free) is the best option for both types of Dachshunds.
Merrick Lil’ Plates Small Breed Wet Dog Food (Grain-Free) comes in a variety of flavours, with some variance in their nutritional values because of the different ingredients used in different flavours. Therefore, owners with Standard Dachshunds can choose the flavours with higher nutritional values, while those with Miniature Dachshunds can opt for those with lower nutritional values.
As mentioned before, each Dachshund is unique, and the needs will differ depending on their circumstances. That’s why I have selected a list of the best dog food for Dachshunds to keep you informed of the possible varieties your Dachshund may benefit from.
- Best dog food for Dachshunds overall: Merrick Lil’ Plates Small Breed Wet Dog Food (Grain-Free)
- Best dog food for Dachshund puppies: NUTRO PUPPY Natural Wet Dog Food Bites (Grain-Free)
- Best dog food for Dachshund seniors: Hill’s Science Diet Wet Dog Food for Small Breed Senior Dogs
- Best dry dog food for Dachshunds: Solid Gold Dry Dog Food (Holistique Blendz)
- Best dog food for Dachshunds to manage weight: Wellness CORE Natural Wet Weight Management Dog Food (Grain-Free)
- Best vegetarian dog food for Dachshunds: Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Adult Dry Dog Food (Vegetarian Recipe)
1. Merrick Lil’ Plates Small Breed Wet Dog Food (Grain-Free)
- Key feature: Grain-free wet dog food with a good protein-to-fat ratio, coupled with multiple flavors or your dog to choose from
- First 5 ingredients: Varies depending on flavour (Duck | Beef | Lamb | Chicken | Steak | Turkey | Salmon)
- Caloric content: 895 – 1,137 kcal/lkg
- Guaranteed analysis: Min 8-8.5% protein, Min 3-3.5% fats, Max 1.4% fiber
- Best for: Adult Dachshunds
Merrick Lil’ Plates Wet Dog Food for small breeds offers a variety of flavours, all grain-free, for your dog to choose from. They are formulated with prebiotics and probiotic fiber to support nutrient absorption and digestion.
Depending on the flavor, the food will provide 8-8.5% protein and 3-3.5% fats, providing just the right amount of nutrients in terms of ratio for adult Dachshunds.
Owners were happy with the convenient packaging and even more delighted when their picky eaters chose to consume these flavours. Dogs with sensitive stomachs were also observed to thrive on this food..
However, there were times when shipments that have gone bad and past their expiry date when shipped to the owner’s house. Therefore, if you order this food, always ensure that the food arrives sealed, and check the expiry date and freshness before serving it to your Dachshunds.
2. NUTRO PUPPY Natural Wet Dog Food Bites (Grain-Free)
- Key feature: Non-GMO grain-free recipe with ingredients sourced from trusted farmers to produce premium quality wet food suitable for growing puppies
- First 5 ingredients: Varies depending on flavor (Beef | Chicken)
- Caloric content: 870 – 911 kcal/kg
- Guaranteed analysis: Min 8% protein, Min 3.5-4% fats, Max 1.5% fiber
- Best for: Dachshund puppies
Nutro wet dog food for puppies is a grain-free dog food that is rich in nutrients and full of flavor, suitable for puppies of all breeds. They are made with non-GMO ingredients, and their ingredients are sourced from trusted farmers to ensure their quality.
Each food pack contains a minimum of 8% crude protein and 3.5-4% crude fats, depending on the flavor, just right for Dachshund puppies. It also provides lower caloric content (<1000 kcal/kg) to prevent the puppies from growing obese at this crucial stage, which may affect future development and health issues.
Owners who purchased this food for their pups highly recommend it because of the quality ingredients and the tender cuts packed in nutritious gravy. It smells nice to humans and puppies, and the taste is puppy-approved.
As with all other wet food deliveries, owners have reported cases of moldy food and leakages during shipment. Therefore, check the wet food quality upon opening the package before feeding it to your puppy.
3. Hill’s Science Diet Wet Dog Food for Small Breed Senior Dogs
- Key feature: Made using easily digestible ingredients for better digestion and high-quality proteins to maintain muscle health in small breeds senior dogs
- First 5 ingredients: Water, Chicken, Cracked pearled barley, Pork liver, and Whole grained corn
- Caloric content: 1005 kcal/kg
- Guaranteed analysis: Min 3.5% protein, Min 2.20% fats, Max 2% fiber
- Best for: Senior Dachshunds
Hills Science Diet wet dog food for small-breed senior dogs is specially formulated to provide small-breed senior dogs with sufficient quality nutrients to maintain a lean muscle mass. Hence, this food suits smaller breeds, such as Dachshunds.
The wet food has a lower protein (3.5%) and fat (2.20%) content than most other wet food, which is in line with Dachshund nutrition, which does not require as much nutritional content as most other breeds.
Some owners who have tried out this food stated that their small-breed dogs with stomach issues thrived on it. The owners also liked that the food had been chopped into smaller pieces, making it convenient for them to feed their dogs.
Some owners complained that the wet food was too soupy with too few solids. Also, as with most wet food, there may be quality issues, such as damaged cans during transportation or dried-out food due to being on the shelf for too long, so be sure to check before serving your dog.
4. Solid Gold Dry Dog Food (Holistique Blendz)
- Key feature: Low-protein and low-fat option for breeds and dogs that benefit from such arrangements that go gentle on digestion
- First 5 ingredients: Oatmeal, Pearled barley, Peas, Ocean fish meal, Dried eggs
- Caloric content: 1500 kcal/kg
- Guaranteed analysis: Min 18% protein, Min 6% fats, Max 4% fiber
- Best for: Adult and senior Dachshunds
Solid Gold Holistique Blendz formula is a low-protein and low-fat option that is one of the rarer kinds in the market. The kibbles are packed with healthy fats and nutritious superfoods for better digestion while keeping calorie content low.
This formula provides 18% proteins and 6% fats, within the ideal nutritional range for Dachshunds. At 1500 kcal/kg, you will not have to worry about your Dachshund gaining weight and becoming obese, affecting is overall holistic health.
Owners with overweight dogs reviewed that their plump dogs slimmed down after switching to this food without any side effects. Dogs with pancreatitis thrived on this food too, and those with sensitive stomachs were able to digest the kibbles without issues.
However, the taste is not exactly endorsed by some dogs, as most low-star reviews were centered around owners commenting that their dogs either refused the food totally or require a mixture of wet dog food before they were willing to eat it.
5. Wellness CORE Natural Wet Weight Management Dog Food (Grain-Free)
- Key feature: A weight-management formula using only premium, grain-free ingredients to promote the development of lean body mass and muscle tone
- First 5 ingredients: Chicken, Chicken broth, Turkey broth, Pork liver, Whitefish
- Caloric content: 1,340 kcal/kg
- Guaranteed analysis: Min 11% protein, Min 3.5% fats, Max 2% fiber
- Best for: Adult Dachshunds on weight management
The Wellness CORE weight-management wet dog food contains fresh meat that provides high-quality proteins to help your Dachshund develop lean muscle mass and tone. It is also free from corn, wheat, soy, or animal by-products that may compromise the quality and cause possible allergic reactions.
The food contains 11% protein and 3.5% fats, falling just right in the recommended nutrition for Dachshunds. The caloric content is 1,340 kcal/kg, which is just suitable for standard Dachshunds but is slightly higher than recommended for miniature Dachshunds.
Top reviewers have verified that Wellness brands are of excellent quality, and most dogs love them. In addition to keeping dogs’ weight in check, this formula is also good for dogs with sensitive stomachs.
However, the Wellness brand can be pricy for some owners on a tighter budget as it does not compromise the quality. Also, the weight-management formula only has chicken flavour, so dogs allergic to chicken or find the taste unappealing will have to try out other brands.
6. Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Adult Dry Dog Food (Vegetarian Recipe)
- Key feature: Limited-ingredient vegetarian wet dog food made with nutritious brown rice and other vitamins and nutrients, free from corn, wheat, and artificial flavours/colours
- First 5 ingredients: Brown rice, Oat Groats, Pearled Barley, Peas, Potato Protein
- Caloric content: 3,480 kcal/kg
- Guaranteed analysis: Min 18% protein, Min 8% fats, Max 5% fiber
- Best for: Adult Dachshunds in general
Natural Balance is one of the few brands offering quality vegetarian dog food, allowing dogs with trouble consuming and digesting meat an alternative option. Additionally, this formula uses a simplified and limited list of premium ingredients without compromising on its quality.
The kibbles contain 18% protein and 8% fats, which fall exactly into the suggested nutritional requirements for Dachshunds. With a caloric content of 3,480 kcal/kg, considered below the average amount of calories for most dry dog food (~3700 kcal), you can be sure that your Dachshund will not stray far from a healthy weight.
Owners commented that dogs with sensitive stomachs and allergies consumed this food without any health issues and showed a love for this food, looking forward to feeding time every day.
However, some owners do also say that their dogs were not used to the food and would throw up after eating. For such concerns, do understand that not all dogs are suited for a vegetarian diet, and the transition to new formulas should always be made gradually over time.
Dachshunds’ Dietary Requirements
Dachshunds’ dietary requirements are generally the same, with bigger-sized and more energetic ones requiring a slightly higher amount of nutrients than smaller-sized and less active ones.
On average, an adult or senior Dachshund should eat a diet containing 18-20% crude protein. Puppies will need slightly more, at about 22%, to support their rapid growth and development.
Proteins should come from high-quality sources such as lean meats like chicken, turkey, and fish. A combination of these foods is ideal for providing the nutritional value that your Dachshund needs.
Dachshunds need a diet that is rich in healthy fats to keep them energized and their coat shiny. Fats also provide energy, aid in digestion, and some even offer other benefits such as reducing inflammation (Omega-3 fatty acids).
According to AAFCO, Dachshunds thrive best on a diet with 5-8% crude fat . Healthy fats suitable for their consumption are found in fish, flaxseed oil, and some vegetables like lentils, peas, and broccoli.
Carbohydrates can be found in a variety of foods, such as fruits, vegetables, grains, and animal products (e.g., milk). Consuming a moderate amount of carbohydrates is important for Dachshunds to serve as an easily digestible and readily available energy source.
However, too much consumption can lead to obesity, higher blood sugar levels, and other health issues.
For Dachshunds, it is best to keep their carbohydrate intake low (as compared to other dog breeds) as they put on weight fairly easily. Obesity is one of the core health issues faced by Dachshunds which leads to other health problems, and carbohydrate intake is one of the main factors.
Common Health Issues In Dachshunds
Dachshunds have a fair share of health issues, and listed below are some of the most common health issues Dachshunds can have and how you can help to prevent them.
Obesity in Dachshunds usually occurs because they are not getting enough exercise or they’re being overfed with treats or human food.
Symptoms such as snoring, decreased stamina during walks, an inability to see their feet, and an increase in overall size are all indicators that your Dachshund may be overweight.
As obesity in Dachshunds will lead to many other issues (some listed below in more detail) and complications, maintaining a healthy weight is of utmost importance to this breed.
To maintain a healthy body weight for your Dachshund, monitoring its diet closely and providing plenty of physical activity is important. Feeding them the right amount of quality food that includes lean proteins, complex carbohydrates, and essential fatty acids will help them avoid becoming overweight or obese.
Back and Spine Issues
Having an elongated spine is what makes Dachshunds unique. However, it also makes them more prone to developing back issues .
Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) is a spinal disorder commonly found in Dachshunds. This painful condition requires immediate veterinary attention, as it can lead to paralysis if left untreated.
It is caused by the degeneration of the discs between the vertebrae in the spine, which leads to pain and stiffness. The most common symptom of IVDD in Dachshunds is rear-end weakness or lameness, but other signs may include reluctance to move, vocalization when moving or being touched, and an arched or hunched-back posture.
There are ways to reduce the likelihood of back issues developing, such as the following:
- Exercise your Dachshund frequently, promoting the development of strong muscles and healthy tissues
- Keeping weight in the healthy range by providing quality food and, if necessary, weight-control food
- Support the whole body instead of only the front/rear so that your Dachshund’s spine is supported evenly
- Encourage your Dachshund to stay grounded, or if moving towards high places, ensure that they are easily accessible; discourage frequent and long-distance jumps from one area to another
Valve Deformities and Diseases
Dachshunds are more prone to heart-related issues than other breeds, including deformities and diseases.
Valve deformities are when the valve between the heart and lungs is not formed properly, resulting in poor circulation of oxygenated blood throughout the body. This can lead to many health problems, such as shortness of breath, coughing, and fainting.
An example of valve disease is Degenerative Mitral Valve Disease (DMVD), an increasingly common heart condition among Dachshunds that can be serious and even life-threatening. DMVD is caused when the mitral valve becomes weak and enlarged, leading to a backflow of blood from the left ventricle into the left atrium. This can cause severe damage to the heart’s structure and function, leading to further complications.
In both cases, regular checkups should catch these conditions in the early stages and be controlled through medication and/or surgery.
In addition, keeping your Dachshund’s weight within the normal range is important so the heart does not need to work harder than normal to support it through daily activities.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Feeding Dachshunds
We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions that Dachshund owners have known to ask.
If you have a question not listed here, you can always contact us, and we will give you a reply.
When should I switch from puppy to adult food?
A Dachshund’s growth rate is much slower than other breeds of the same size due to their short legs and elongated body shape. Therefore, Dachshunds take 14-18 months to reach full maturation.
The best way to do this is to assess its height and weight. When your Dachshund has attained 90 to 99 percent of its adult size in weight and height, you can begin to feed your Dachshund adult food.
Standard Dachshunds typically weigh between 16 and 32 pounds and measure up to 8 inches tall at the shoulder. Miniature Dachshunds should weigh no more than 11 pounds and stand at 5-6 inches tall at the shoulder.
If you are unsure when to switch to adult food, especially if you are unsure whether your Dachshund belongs to the standard or the miniature group, it is best to seek advice from the veterinarian.
When your Dachshund is ready to take adult food, switch from puppy food to adult food gently over two weeks by reducing the proportion of puppy food and replacing it with adult food.
Is wet dog food or dry dog food better for Dachshunds?
Choosing the best dog food for Dachshunds can be a challenge, especially since both wet and dry dog food has their pros and cons.
Since dachshunds are small dogs with short snouts and mouths, they benefit from softer foods that are easier to chew. Moreover, many wet foods include added vitamins and minerals that provide essential nutrients for optimal health, which is of utmost importance for Dachshunds.
However, some Dachshunds may show a preference for dry kibbles. Also, kibbles are often more economical while still providing high-quality nutrition that meets AAFCO standards.
Therefore, while I recommend wet dog food for Dachshunds in general, you are the only one that can decide which option is more suitable for your Dachshund.
Can Dachshunds live on a meatless diet?
Dachshunds owners have this query mainly because of allergy complications (to multiple types of meat) and obesity issues (gaining weight too easily when given meat).
The answer is: Yes, Dachshunds can definitely thrive without meat, as long as they are provided a properly balanced vegan diet .
However, some dogs may have difficulty transitioning to an entirely vegan lifestyle, just like humans. When considering a vegan diet for your Dachshund, it’s important to do your research and consult with your veterinarian first before making any changes.
Also, similar to how you would switch from puppy to adult food, transition from a meat-based diet to a vegan diet should take place over a couple of weeks unless absolutely necessary (e.g., restricted by health issues such as allergies).
Dachshunds are loyal, loving, and full of life. They can be found in a variety of sizes and colors, so it can fit into most families easily. They also have a long lifespan that allows owners to enjoy their companionship for years to come, making them an ideal choice for anyone looking for a devoted companion.
We strongly believe Merrick Lil’ Plates Small Breed Wet Dog Food (Grain-Free) is the best dog food for Dachshunds overall, given the variety of flavours and the slight difference in nutritional values catering to both Standard and Miniature Dachshunds.
Nevertheless, every Dachshund is unique. Do evaluate your Dachshund’s needs before selecting dog food for it, and always consult a veterinarian’s opinion when you are in doubt.