While the dachshund’s body shape and size might seem a comical mishap of nature, it has a purpose. Dachshunds were bred for hunting, primarily for flushing badgers and small game out of holes and burrows. Its long, thin body and short legs allow the dog easy passage through underground tunnels and good leverage for pulling animals from their hiding places.
But your Dachshund’s famous hotdog-figure is also his vulnerable point, leaving him susceptible to spinal injury, painful back ailments, ruptured discs, even paralysis. This is why veterinarians recommend that you prevent your Dachshund from jumping up on furniture or running down stairs too often. It’s an attempt to try to limit any activity that jars or puts added stress on his long spinal column.
Vets also suggest that owners use the “horizontal hold” method when carrying the breed. Rather than lifting straight up from the forelegs, lift with one hand under the chest and another under the rear body, keeping your Dachshund’s back horizontal at all times.
Why a harness might be a smart choice
Many Dachshund owners believe that a harness is safer and more comfortable than a collar when walking a Dachshund. A collar pulls on the neck and can result in neck or back trauma, particularly if you have to yank your dog hard during walks to avoid cars, street hazards, or other dogs. Collars can also slip off during a walk.
When fitted properly, however, a harness wraps securely around your dog’s torso, evenly distributing any pressure you apply to the leash when directing him on sidewalks or parks.
Special harnesses for Dachshunds are available in many pet stores. Consider a padded harness rather than the naked nylon type that can pull fur and chafe your dog’s skin. Also pay attention to fit: If you can slide your index finger under the harness it’s probably loose enough to be comfortable but snug enough so it won’t fall off.
With his muscular body and strong legs, your Dachshund is no weakling. But taking a few precautions to prevent spinal injury may help your dog lead a happier life.
As your dog ages, you’ll likely notice changes in your best pal’s energy levels, routine and even muzzle. Older pets may require adjustments to help them get around, exercise and live their best life as a senior. One important aspect of caring for a dog entering their golden years is diet.
When it comes to diet, every dog has unique, individual needs, regardless of age. So, there's no one easy answer to the question of soft food versus hard food. Both types of food can provide your dog with the nutrition they need — as long as you feed your dog a high-quality dog food that’s nutritionally balanced and complete.
Signs Your Senior Dog May Benefit from Wet Food
If your dog has very specific health concerns, such as aging joints or weight issues, consult with your vet for more information about what type of food best addresses your dog's needs. That being said, there are a few reasons why you may consider switching your senior dog to soft food.
As your dog gets older, their teeth may become more sensitive, which can make chewing kibble more difficult and even uncomfortable. Switching to a soft food can help to alleviate your pet’s oral discomfort when eating.
However, if your dog is experiencing serious pain at mealtime from a condition like tooth decay or gingivitis, switching to soft food won't remedy the problem. Make sure you talk to your vet about oral care and dental treatment.
Digestion begins in the mouth with saliva, so if your dog has a tendency to scarf down meals, they may not be adequately chewing the food or adding enough saliva to it. Soft food can aid with digestion because it's more easily chewed.
It’s no surprise that wet food has a higher moisture content when compared to dry kibble. If your senior pup is prone to urinary-tract issues or simply needs a little help staying hydrated, canned dog food may be a good choice.
Aging dogs tend to have a slower metabolic rate compared to their younger years, which puts them at a higher risk of becoming overweight or obese. Many nutritionally balanced wet dog foods offer high protein content with fewer carbs than dry food, which can benefit older dogs with slower metabolism. Always talk to your vet if you have concerns about your pup’s weight.
While wet food may be less than appetizing to humans, the opposite is true for dogs! If your aging best friend has started turning their snout up to dry food, wet food tends to be more appealing to picky eaters. Mixing wet food and kibble offers your pup a variety of flavors and textures; try adding wet food as a topper on dry food for a real treat!
Whether you choose dry food, soft food or a mix of both, ask your vet before making any transition. And when it's time to switch your dog's food, remember to do it slowly — even if it's the same brand and flavor — to help prevent stomach upset and allow your dog time to adjust.