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How to Prevent Back Problems in Dachshunds

Jennifer is the owner of two Dachshund mixes (Snoopy and Minou).

Dachshunds often develop back problems, but these tips can help your dog stay strong and healthy.

Dachshunds often develop back problems, but these tips can help your dog stay strong and healthy.

Dachshund Back Problems

The Dachshund breed has existed for 600 years. These dogs have short legs and long backs, and they were bred to serve as hunting dogs, as their body shape was ideal for them to go underground and hunt badgers and foxes.

Nowadays, Dachshunds are beloved pets in many countries of the world. They are very active dogs and love to play. They like to stick their noses in everything and enjoy a lot of exercise, but they also love to cuddle up next to you. They can be quite stubborn but can be trained with some persistence. Dachshunds are also keen watchdogs and will definitely try to protect you with all their heart at all times.

Ways to Prevent Back Issues in Dachshunds

In general, Dachshunds don't suffer from health problems if they get a proper amount of exercise and the right food portions. The average life expectancy is between 10 and 15 years. Due to their physiology, however, Dachshunds are prone to disc problems. Nonetheless, if you take the proper precautions, your Dachshund can live a long, happy, and healthy life. In this article, you'll learn:

  1. How to help your Dachshund avoid stairs
  2. Ways to control your dog's diet
  3. How to help your Dachshund avoid jumping on furniture
  4. Tips for keeping an eye on your dog's mobility
  5. How to hold and pick up a Dachshund (the right way)
  6. My own Dachshund's experience with back problems
Follow these safety precautions to keep your dog healthy (and happy).

Follow these safety precautions to keep your dog healthy (and happy).

1. Don't Let Your Dachshund Climb Stairs

Make sure your Dachshund doesn't have access to stairs—whether they are in the backyard, in front of the house, or even inside the house. Climbing stairs puts excessive pressure on this breed's intervertebral discs and can strain their spines.

Tip: It is recommendable to build ramps, block stairs, or simply supervise your Dachshund so that he doesn't climb stairs.

An example of a ramp you can install to prevent back problems.

An example of a ramp you can install to prevent back problems.

2. Control Your Dog's Weight

If you cannot feel your dog's ribs, he is overweight. The Dachshund's spine will be strained if he's overweight, and this can lead to intervertebral disc disease. Check your dog food: The packaging usually indicates how much food a dog of a certain weight should eat on a daily basis. An ideal combination of exercise and reduced food portions should help your Dachshund reach its ideal weight.

Tip: To start off, daily portions and treats should be reduced, and your dog should also get regular exercise (walks 2–3 times per day).

A Dachshund of ideal weight.

A Dachshund of ideal weight.

An obese Dachshund.

An obese Dachshund.

3. Don't Let Your Dachshund Jump On and Off Furniture

As much as Dachshunds love to jump on and off furniture, it should be avoided as much as possible. It can take some time to train them not to do it, but with some patience and some treats (kept to a minimum to keep their weight under control), it can be achieved.

Tip: If your dog is used to sleeping on the bed or on the couch, carry him up and down instead of letting him jump on his own. The usage of ramps can be an alternative.

4. Monitor Your Dog's Mobility

It is crucial to keep an eye on your Dachshund's mobility. If he shows any unusual inactivity, discomfort, or reluctance to take a walk or run, take him to the vet immediately. This can be decisive because the longer you wait, the more serious the problem can get. Eventually, your Dachshund might need to get surgery, which is not always a guarantee of a cure.

If you keep an eye on your dog's mobility and always pick him up correctly, you can help his back stay strong.

If you keep an eye on your dog's mobility and always pick him up correctly, you can help his back stay strong.

5. Pick Up and Hold Your Dachshund Correctly

It is extremely important to know how to pick up a Dachshund in the right way. Knowing how to pick them up can make a huge difference for their back health.

  1. Put your hand under your Dachshund's chest.
  2. Place your other hand around the Dachshund's rear end.
  3. Lift the Dachshund up gently and hold him close to your chest.
  4. When you set him down, make sure to do it gently and avoid throwing him down or letting him jump from your arms.

My Dachshund's Back Problems

My Dachshunds are about to turn three years old and as active as ever. They are like two hyperactive kids, jumping and running everywhere and always very curious. I never thought that their activity and curiosity could pose a threat to them.

Minou's First Symptoms

My female Dachshund Minou started to show signs of indisposition one afternoon. She was very quiet, didn't move at all, and slept all afternoon. When it was time for me to take them for a walk, she didn't budge. This was the first sign that something was wrong because walks are like Disneyland for them. My other Dachshund, Snoopy, was already on his way to the forest (which is just around the corner of my house), but Minou still didn't want to go. In the evening, she started to whine and shiver. She hadn't pooped all day. At first, I thought she suffered from constipation, but her pain only got worse, so I had to take her to the emergency vet in the middle of the night.

Minou's Vet Visit

After the vet examined her, she told me she had an inflammation of her lower back. She informed me of all the precautions I had to take and warned me that if I didn't follow them, Minou might have to get surgery on her discs, which is not an easy one and doesn't always go well. That gave me quite the scare, and from then on, I was extremely cautious regarding everything that could put a strain on my Dachshunds' backs.

Take Our Advice (And Keep Your Dog Healthy)

You should follow this list of safety precautions if you plan on getting a Dachshund or if you already have one. Giving your Dachshund freedom is one thing, but preventing back problems in Dachshunds is another thing—and the two need to be combined so that your Dachshund is happy AND healthy.

Video: A Story of a Dachshund and His Recovery From Back Problems

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

© 2013 Jennifer Madison


Marina Mogensen on May 08, 2020:

I had two doxies. One we had to put to sleep I February. A month shy of her fifteenth birthday due to kidney failure. The other is 16 years old. Both had back issues around the age of 6. Not overweight. We have an animal chiropractor where I live and she has kept my dogs healthy! Thank God for Dr. Sherrie Guillet of Complete Family Chiropractic in Sudbury! She still corrects my Ruby's back once a month and at 16, still has a spring in her step!

Jennifer Madison (author) from Lohmar on November 13, 2013:

Thanks you for reading and voting up, Room of My Own. I am glad you are a dachshund fan as well. They are truly the best dog breed :)

Sadie Holloway on November 13, 2013:

Great hub for people who love dachshunds! I had two minis as a child and we were always mindful of their weight and jumping off and on furniture. This is a must read for anyone considering adopting a dachsy! Voted up!