Choosing a food for your dachshund can seem overwhelming. With all the different brands and varieties, how are you supposed to decide which is best for your little sausage?
When it comes to dog food, dachshunds have very specific needs. They are small and prone to certain health problems, so it is important to make sure that you provide them with nutrients that can help to combat these.
If you are not sure which dog food to buy for your dachshund, we might be able to help! We have rounded up our 5 best foods for dachshunds to show you what’s great about them and why it even matters.
- Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin and Sensitive Stomach Dry Dog Food
- Iams Proactive Health Minichunks Dry Dog Food, Chicken Flavour
- Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food, Adult, Sensitive Stomach & Skin Recipes
- Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Small Breed Dog Food
- Canine Cuisine Wet Dog Food
Why it matters: Breed-specific health issues
You might think you can trust that all dog food will be good for your dachshund, but some foods are healthier, have higher quality ingredients and suit specific needs.
Sadly, dachshunds are prone to obesity, but can also have huge appetites and will usually eat as much as you give them. Consequently, you should follow the guidelines on the packaging and take care not to overfeed them.
To work out if your dachshund is overweight, use this Pet-Size-O-meter as a guide.
Obesity can initiate or worsen other health issues and make it hard for your dachshund to exercise.
Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD) is an inherited back disease that affects almost ¼ of dachshunds. Their distinctive, long backs mean that they are more likely than other breeds to develop IVDD.
Other health issues prevalent in dachshunds are ear infections, hip and leg problems, eye problems such as cataracts, liver and heart problems, cancer and epilepsy.
Whilst most of these might be beyond your control, choosing a food with the right nutrients can help to keep their immune system, joints, bones and muscles as strong as possible.
Allergies occur in all breeds of dog, but some can be more common in dachshunds. Despite this, they still vary between individuals so keep an eye out for behaviour changes such as loss of appetite or vomiting. Common allergies in dachshunds are meat, wheat and corn.
Types of dog food include wet, kibble, semi-moist and homemade. Some people even feed their dachshunds on a raw food diet, but the effects of this are widely debated among vets.
When choosing food for your dachshund, be sure to read the ingredients carefully. The AAFCO has set guidelines for acceptable standards of meat content in dog food and how they should be labelled.
If your dachshund is overweight, it might be best to feed them kibble because it generally provides more nutrition for fewer calories.
The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) state that dog food should provide all necessary nutrients (‘complete’) in all the right quantities (‘balanced’).
The breed-specific requirements for dachshunds include protein-dense foods from which they can obtain energy without eating a lot. They also need foods that protect and maintain their immune systems and oral hygiene.
Quantity: Treats matter!
Treats should not make up more than 10% of your dachshund’s diet.
How much you feed your dachshund is crucial to helping them maintain a healthy weight, and even the strictest dinner routine can be wrecked by too many high calorie treats.
Furthermore, not all treats are made equal. In fact, some human foods might actually harm your dachshund. Though they may seem grateful for treats from the table, items such as bacon and cheese can upset your dachshund’s delicate stomach.
Most dog foods have instructions on the packaging showing guidelines based on your dog’s weight. Begin with the recommended amount and alter this to suit your dachshund if needed.
Introducing a new dog food
Many dog owners find one food that works great and stick to it, but some experts advise that this might not be the best for your dachshund.
Nancy Kerns, the founder of Whole Dog Journal, recommends finding 3 or 4 foods that suit your dog and rotating these every 2 to 4 months. This is to provide them with a greater range of vitamins and prevent an over- or underabundance of any one nutrient.
This also applies when your dachshund becomes an adult (at 12 months). The nutritional requirements for puppies and adult dogs are different, so you might want to change to adult food around this time.
If you wish to change your dachshund’s food, it is recommended to do so gradually. Start with 25% new food and 75% old food and slowly increase this to 100% new food over the course of a week.
The bottom of your priority list but the top of your pooch’s!
Luckily, dachshunds are not fussy eaters, however, you might still want to ensure their food is as tasty as possible.
To your dog, the smell of food is the most important part of eating, even more so than taste!
Food with meat from skeletal muscles (rather than organs) are tastier and easier to digest. If you want to feed your dachshund the most appetising grades of meat, check your dog food’s ingredients list against the AAFCO guidelines.
The number 1 rule
The consensus among pet owners is that whatever the flavour, it should be number 1. The first ingredient should always be the main protein source listed as the flavour. This will usually be the meat or fish flavour in the name and shows that that is the majority ingredient.
This is, however, disputed by nutritionists. Due to the AAFCO requirement for ingredients to be listed in descending order of weight, some dog food suppliers split ingredients to give the impression of higher meat content. Wet and semi-moist ingredients lists can also be influenced by water weight.
It is, therefore, worth checking all the ingredients in your dachshund’s food and double-checking with a vet if you are not sure.
Best dog foods for dachshunds
So, now you know how to choose the best food for your dachshund, here are some that we think are great:
If your dachshund has a sensitive stomach or allergies, this might be the food for you.
Purina Pro Plan for sensitive skin and stomach has prebiotics which help promote good bacteria and aid digestion. It also contains Omega-3 and -6 to support healthy joints, skin and coat, which can help prevent IVDD or allergies.
The antioxidants in this formula can help to sustain a healthy immune system, and the food is high in protein to keep your dachshund full of energy.
This kibble follows the AAFCO requirements of ‘complete’ and ‘balanced’ and lists salmon as the first ingredient.
The small breed variety has smaller pieces, so your dachshund will have no trouble eating them, and the salmon smell is strong to entice them in.
- Salmon first ingredient
- Aids digestion
- Nurtures skin to help allergies
- Supports healthy joints
- Small-sized kibble for small mouths
- Complete and Balanced
- Might cause gas in some dogs
- Strong salmon smell can be off-putting to owners
This kibble formula from Iams is recommended by vets and adheres to the AAFCO guidelines. Chicken is the first ingredient listed, and the high protein content will develop your dachshund’s muscles without them having to eat too much.
Iams proactive health dog food contains fibre, prebiotics and L carnitine to aid digestion and promote a healthy stomach. Antioxidants also maintain a healthy immune system and fight off sickness.
The minichunks are smaller than normal kibble, to help keep your dachshund’s gums and teeth healthy whilst being easy to eat for a small dog.
- Vet recommended
- Chicken first ingredient
- Small-sized kibble
- Nurtures oral, muscular and digestive health
- Complete and balanced
- Can cause gas
Hill’s Science Diet dog food for sensitive stomach’s and skin could be another option if you have a dachshund with allergies or stomach problems.
Whether you want to improve or maintain your dachshund’s digestive system, the prebiotic fibre in this dog food is specially formulated to help maintain a healthy stomach and toilet routine.
The high quality, vet recommended ingredients including vitamin E and Omega-6 can help to maintain healthy skin and coat. They are natural and responsibly sourced, and each ingredient is analysed for individual nutritional value.
Small kibble pieces make this food easy to eat, digest and absorb for a small dachshund.
Although many vets recommend Hill’s Science Diet range, they do not specify whether they follow the AAFCO guidelines of ‘complete and balanced’.
- Small-sized kibble
- Vet recommended
- Chicken first ingredient
- Does not specify complete or balanced
- Can cause gas
Blue Buffalo’s small breed formula has increased protein and carbohydrate concentration to provide small dogs with energy and muscle strength from a small amount of food. The kibble pieces are small enough even for miniature dogs and do not contain corn or any artificial ingredients.
The first ingredient is animal protein and all supplements are exclusively blended by experts. This ‘life protection’ formula promotes a healthy immune system throughout adulthood and into seniority.
Blue Buffalo company take a holistic approach which, whilst natural, does not specify whether it follows AAFCO guidelines.
- Holistic, natural recipe
- High-quality protein first ingredient
- Might cause digestive issues in some dogs
- Some products have had to be recalled
- Does not specify complete and balanced
Whilst feeding your dachshund kibble can help prevent obesity, you might wish to mix some wet food to improve taste and aid hydration.
If you wish to feed your dachshund grain-free foods, this might be a good option for you.
Canine Cuisine wet food pouches follow AAFCO guidelines and contain the vitamins and minerals required by small breeds.
This food smells stronger than kibble so might suit an older dog who needs a little more temptation! Despite this, the high-fat content means that it might be better to mix it in with some dry food.
Although it comes in handy sealed pouches, wet dog food must be kept in the fridge once opened. This makes it slightly less convenient than kibble.
- Complete and balanced
- More hydrating than kibble
- Appetising to dogs
- Higher fat content
- Must be kept in the fridge
Our favourite food for dachshunds
It contains all the nutrients a dachshund needs, whether they are healthy or need a diet change. The strong smell will appeal to dogs and it also follows AAFCO guidelines, so you can be a little more confident about the ingredients.
- One (1) 30 lb. Bag - Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin and Sensitive Stomach Small Breed Dog Food, Salmon & Rice Formula
- Formulated high in protein to meet the needs of highly active small dogs
- High protein formula, with real salmon as the first ingredient
- Fortified with guaranteed live probiotics for digestive and immune health
- Used to be known as FOCUS Sensitive Skin & Stomach Salmon
Whatever food you buy, always read the ingredients, and check them against the AAFCO guidelines. Try not to overfeed your dachshund and remember that treats should only make up 10% of their diet.
When introducing a new dog food, do so slowly, and always consult with your vet if you are uncertain.