How to Prevent Back Problems in Dachshunds
Dachshunds have short legs, long backs and were bred to serve as hunting dogs, as their body shape was ideal for them to go underground and hunt badgers and foxes. The dachshund breed has existed for 600 years.
Nowadays, dachshunds are beloved pets in many countries of the world. They are very active dogs and love to play, like to stick their nose in everything, enjoy a lot of exercise but also love to cuddle up next to you. They can be quite stubborn but can be trained with some persistence on the owner's side. Dachshunds are also keen watch dogs and will definitely try to protect you with all their heart at all times.
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 disk problems. Nonetheless, if you take the proper precautions, your dachshund can live a long, happy and healthy life.
Minou's First Back Problem
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.
However, 2 months ago, 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 disney land 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. 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 strain on my dachshunds backs. Here is a list of safety precautions you should take 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.
Installing Ramps to Prevent Back Problems
1 No Access to 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 their intervertebral discs and can strain the spine. It is recommendable to build ramps, block stairs or simply supervise your dachshund so that he doesn't climb stairs.
Dachshund with Ideal Weight Vs. Obese Dachshund
2 Control Your Dachshund's Weight
If you cannot feel your dachshund's ribs, he is overweight. The dachshund's spine will be strained through overweight and can lead to intervertebral disc disease. The packaging of your dog food usually indicates how much food a dog of a certain weight should eat on a daily basis. To start off, daily portions and treats should be reduced and the dachshund should also get regular exercise (walks 2-3 times per day). An ideal combination of exercise and reduced food portions should help your dachshund reach his ideal weight.
A Story of a Dachshund and His Recovery from Back Problems
3 No Jumping Off and On 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. If the 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 Dachshund's Mobility
It is crucial to keep on 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 for a cure.
5 Hold and Pick Up 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. It is important that you always support the dachshund's rear end when you are holding him. Never pick him up without supporting the rear end. This can damage the spine and lead to serious back problems in your dachshund.
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.