Dachshunds make the most amazing loving pets but they do need extra care. Be aware that dachshunds are prone to inter vertebral disc disease (IVDD). None of our dogs or puppies we have bred have ever developed this but care needs to be taken to help prevent it. Like some other small breeds of dog, dachshunds have a higher risk of developing inter-vertebral disc disease. In IVDD, the cushioning between your dachshund’s vertebrae bursts or bulges out, which places stress on the vertebrae. IVDD can cause pain, bladder control problems, and even paralysis. To help reduce your dachshund’s risk of developing IVDD, you will need to take certain precautions. You should also know how to recognise the symptoms of IVDD in your dachshund to determine when there may be a problem. Contact your dachshund’s vet immediately if you notice any of the following symptoms:
- change in activity level, not jumping or running anymore
- having trouble standing
- crying out in pain
- change in behavior, acting anxious, nervous
- hunching back and neck and/or tensing back and neck muscles
- eating less or not at all
- losing control of bladder and/bowels
Steer clear of any spine-twisting activities, such as vigorous tug-of-war games.
Help your dachshund to maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight will put your dachshund at a much higher risk of developing IVDD, so it is important to feed him right and help him get plenty of exercise. To determine if your dachshund is at a healthy weight, stand over him and look down. If you can see his ribs, he is too thin and needs to gain some weight. If you cannot see his ribs but you can feel them when you touch his sides, then he is a healthy weight. If you cannot see or feel his ribs, he is overweight. Your dachshund should also have a tapered waist rather than a belly that hangs down
Learn how to hold your dachshund. Holding your dachshund the right way will also help protect his back. To hold your dachshund, support your dachshund’s rear end with one hand and place another hand under his belly to support his back. You may want to practice with something light before you hold your dachshund. Never hold your dachshund with one hand only or by the paws or head and please don’t pick him up by his front legs as that strains his back. Please teach children how to hold hi correctly as well.
Help your dachshund go up and down stairs. Climbing stairs puts pressure on your dachshund’s back and over time it may cause your dachshund to develop IVDD. Typical stairs are too tall for dachshunds to go up and down without causing stress on their backs. To avoid this problem, always carry your dachshund when you’d like him to come upstairs or downstairs. Put a baby gate up to keep your dachshund from going up and down the stairs. Consider installing ramps for small staircases that your dachshund must go up and down every day.
Keep your dachshund from jumping on furniture and other high places. Jumping also puts a significant amount of pressure on your dachshund’s back and may increase his risk of IVDD. To eliminate this risk factor, do not allow your dachshund to jump up on high places such as onto the sofa or your bed. If you want your dachshund to get up on your lap, lift him up yourself. Do not encourage him to jump up. Consider getting some furniture ramps if you want your dachshund to be able to get onto furniture when you are not around.
Use a harness to walk your dachshund. If your dachshund tends to pull when you take him for a walk, he is causing extra stress on his vertebrae which may lead to him developing IVDD. Attaching your dachshund’s leash to a harness instead of to his collar will help reduce the stress on his neck and eliminate another factor of IVDD