A dachshund, or doxie for short, is also lovingly named a wiener dog. All dog breeds should strive to remain within their ideal weight guidelines, but an overweight dachshund could suffer from more health problems compared to some other breeds. The healthy weight for your dachshund will vary depending on the type (miniature or standard dachshund), size, and age. How do you assess what the ideal body weight for your dog is? That’s what we’re here to help you with today and to give advice to owners who have a dachshund that is overweight.
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What is a Healthy Weight for Dachshunds?
There is no single answer to the question of how much should a dachshund weigh. As mentioned, there are plenty of factors that determine what a healthy weight is for your dog. We’re going to explore the average weight recommended by experts and vets alike for dachshunds in various stages of their life and ones of different types.
Let’s start with dachshund puppies. Of course, a healthy puppy should not weigh as much as an adult. After the initial vet check, the professionals will also give you a guideline for healthy weight gain for your new dachshund puppy in intervals. It’s very difficult for even experts to determine the projected size and weight of your dachshund puppy. There is one thing you can do to get as close an idea as possible, and that is to go straight to the source.
By source, we mean your puppy’s parents! Depending on the type of parents, either standard dachshund, a miniature dachshund, or a mix of both, your puppy will grow to be of various sizes. If you can get this information from your breeder then that’s wonderful. However, the shelter for rescue dogs may not be privy to this information, so you may have to rely on your vet’s expertise.
Once you know how much your dachshund should weigh in his adult years, you can get a better idea of how much he should weigh at different months. There is no clear answer for how much dachshund puppies should weigh because genetics are fickle.
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If you know you have a miniature dachshund, then it’s much easier to estimate the healthy weight range. Miniature dachshunds are the smaller of the two main types, hence the name. They are quite a bit smaller than standard dachshunds on the heavier end of the scale and fall under 11 pounds. They are quite small and light, which makes them excellent for dog owners who like to pick up their dogs with minimal effort.
Standard dachshunds are larger than miniature ones, and they usually fall between 15 to 32 pounds. That is a vast difference, and the discrepancy is due to the varying heights and lengths of your standard dachshund. There is a bit of a grey area between 11 to 15 pounds. Some would argue that dachshunds that end up in this range are either large minis or small standards.
We then have the mixed breeds of miniature and standard dachshund mixes or either variety mixed with other breeds. Mixed breed dog weights are even harder to project than pure breeds. We’re not even going to attempt to predict what nature has in store, but we will tell you this: you have to look at both parents to narrow down the possibilities. Then again, your dachshund could surprise you and end up much smaller or larger than either parent.
Is My Dachshund Overweight?
Even if you don’t know the ideal weight of your dachshund, you can still identify whether or not he or she is within a healthy weight range. The key is to examine your dachshund’s body condition and appearance. It may not be easy to assess just by looking at your pup, so you need to get up close and personal with your pooch.
Where is the Ribcage?
Start by feeling his chest. Do you feel ribs? If you run your hand gently over his frame, you should be able to feel the ribcage, maybe not too obvious and you may not necessarily see it. In fact, it’s ideal to feel but not see the ribs.
Is there a Waist?
Your dog should also have a defined waist. Yes, they have a cute nickname but in no way should your Weiner dog actually resemble his namesake. You want to be able to make out the waistline, but not have it be too defined. A good way to gauge what is “too defined” is to look at your pup from the side.
The belly should be concave and not in alignment with his chest. Of course, a pregnant dachshund will have different standards. Puppies also generally have a larger belly, or the pup pudge as we like to call it, but that’s normal. As your dachshund grows into his body, he should elongate and the belly will disappear.
When you view your dachshund from above, you should see a slight definition but in no way should it be in line with the chest or protrude past it.
Are there Rolls?
If there are rolls visible on your standard or miniature dachshund, then we’re sorry to say but it is most definitely overweight. Just like with humans, rolls indicate excess body fat and is a huge signifier that it’s time to lose weight. There should also not be any dimples anywhere on his body as well,
Is He Slow?
Your dachshund should also be quite energetic as they are considered an active breed. If you start to notice that your dog lumbers along slowly with great effort, then it could also be a sign that he isn’t within his ideal weight goals.
Is My Dachshund Underweight?
Aside from being overweight, another danger is for a dachshund to be underweight. There are a few ways to tell if your pooch is too skinny.
Ask yourself these questions when you examine your pup up close:
- Can you see the ribs?
- Is there an overly defined waist?
- Is your dog often cold?
- Can you see or feel his bone structure under his skin?
Dog Body Condition Score
To help you get a better grasp of whether your dog is fit or fat, we have condensed the information regarding your dog’s body condition score into a few short paragraphs. This score is an indicator of where your dachshund’s weight lies. There are 9 categories from emaciated to severely obese. Let’s take a look at what they are.
- Emaciated – If you can see the bones in your dog’s frame clearly from a distance. Your dog seems to lack fat and muscle.
- Very thin – You can still see the frame but there is minimal muscle loss with slight body fat.
- Thin – Ribs can be felt and visible at a closer distance.
- Underweight – You can feel the ribs quite easily but there is a layer of minimal fat over them. The waist is well-defined with a tucked tummy.
- Ideal – Ribs can be felt, with a visible waist and tummy tuck.
- Overweight – You can feel a layer of fat over the ribcage the tummy bears a rounder appearance and the waist is less defined.
- Heavy- The ribs are difficult to discern, there is no waistline the tummy is round.
- Obese – No definition can be seen or felt without pressure.
- Severely Obese – Obvious fat deposits, no definition at all, rounded appearance
We’re quite glad there is yet to be a section 10, and we guess that would be morbidly obese. We advise not to let your dog get past the “heavy” category. We realize there is quite a jump between 5 and 6, as it’s easy to fluctuate from ideal to overweight. We personally feel there should be a section in between to give a little more leeway. As a general rule, 4 to 6 are acceptable for healthy dogs.
What is ideal will also differ slightly from breed to breed. For example, greyhounds are known to be very sleek dogs that don’t possess much body fat while pugs and bulldogs are quite the opposite. It has to do with the breed history and genetics, which is why we advise giving your dog a little room and not focusing so much on the labels.
Why Is My Dachshund Overweight?
Despite our darndest efforts, there could be conditions out of our control that make our dachshunds overweight. Some influencers include health problems, way of life, and genetics.
If your dog suffered from an illness and the weight gain is due to a lack of exercise or side effects of the medicine, then it’s understandable. Dogs that gain weight due to health problems can also bounce back in the future. In the meantime, let your dog rest and heal before you worry about his weight. Even the medication the doctor put him on can cause weight fluctuations.
The doctor should make you aware of any potential side effects illnesses and their treatments can have on your dog.
Too Much Food
For the most part, the reason your miniature dachshund or standard dachshund is overweight is due to too much food, snacks or treats – basically just too much food intake. In a perfect world, there is a calorie counter device that will automatically tell you how many calories each bowl of food or each treat contains and how much your dog needs. Since this is an imperfect world, you will need to track that yourself.
What’s tough about tracking calorie intake for your dog is it’s hard to be exact. You never know who fed your dog a piece of freeze-dried chicken when you were at work. The best we can do is get a general idea, and that’s completely okay. This is why we suggest a 4-6 on the condition scale. If you notice your dog is losing some weight, then add a bit more food to his bowl and vice versa.
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Not Enough Exercise
Another reason why your dog is overweight is a lack of exercise. You may not have enough time to take your dog on daily walks or maybe he just doesn’t like it. Whatever the reason is, not enough exercise can increase the chances of an overweight dachshund puppy.
One more thing that will cause your dachshund to exceed its healthy weight is a procedure most dogs go through, and that is spaying or neutering. Sometimes the procedure will calm your dog down, which means he or she is less inclined to run around and exercise. If this is the case, you will need to make up for it by decreasing his calorie intake.
It’s in the Genes
Sadly, genetics also plays a part in dachshund obesity. Your puppy may be more susceptible to weight gain because it runs in his family. It’s okay, it just means your dachshund will have to work that much harder to stay within his ideal weight but it can be done. Again, to determine whether or not your doxie has a predisposition to be a bit pudgier, you should look at his parents.
Why is My Dachshund Underweight?
Conversely, if your dachshund is on the lighter end of the scale, you may also want to figure out why. There are a few reasons why your beloved pup is underweight, and not all of the reasons have to do with poor care. So before you start blaming yourself, take a look at some of the common reasons that contribute to your dog’s thin frame.
A very common issue for an underweight dachshund is stress. Emotions are factors that can keep your dog from being a healthy weight. It can happen to a miniature dachshund or a standard one, stress doesn’t discriminate. What is your dachshund stressed about? Figuring out what causes the stress can help you combat its effects. For example, some dogs struggle with separation anxiety.
Separation anxiety is anxiousness that overtakes your puppy when he is away from you. Your dachshund puppy may be so affected by this condition that he poops, pees, destroys, or refuses to eat. There are varying degrees of separation anxiety, but the more serious cases can be seen in an underweight puppy in a miniature and standard dachshund. The best way to handle this behavioral problem would be to work with an expert trainer.
Maybe They’re Just Picky
It could be that your dachshund is just picky. While this can be the reason, it’s much less common for your dachshund’s underweight problem because dogs don’t tend to starve themselves even if they are picky. Picky eating is often seen in dogs, but if it standing in the way of your dachshund’s ideal weight, then it is time to bring in the professionals.
Another reason is abuse. We hope this is never the reason. but the truth is there are cruel individuals out there that abuse dogs physically, mentally, or both. Coming back from the PTSD will take time, effort, and lots of patience. It isn’t for everyone, so before you adopt a dog that has been abused from the shelter, make sure you understand what is required of you to acclimate the dog to everyday life.
Abuse is so mentally and physically stressful that a dog may lose its appetite completely. If this is the case, work with a trainer to help your dog start to trust again.
Illness and Old Age
The telltale sign of a sick dog is a dog who refuses to eat. Whenever you are concerned about your dog and you call up the vet’s office, the first thing they ask is your dog’s energy level and whether he is eating normally. So, if he is sick, chances are your dachshund will not be very interested in food. This is okay, because your dachshund will regain his appetite after he recovers, but make sure to take him to the vet.
When your dog enters his senior years and becomes less active, he will need fewer calories and energy, which means he will eat less often or require less food. This is nothing to be alarmed about, but in case you notice a sharp drop, then take your dachshund to the vet just to be sure.
How to Keep Your Dachshund at the Ideal Weight?
It’s okay if your dog loves to eat. A way to offset his love of food is to increase exercise. However, you must not overdo it, especially for a dachshund because Dachshunds are prone to spinal issues due to their short legs and long bodies. Vigorous exercise could exacerbate their natural tendency to develop IVDD (intervertebral disc disease), or hip dysplasia.
Just because your doxie is prone to orthopedic issues doesn’t mean you take your foot off the exercise pedal. Instead of running with your doxie, switch to walking instead. Walking is a better way to exercise your dachshund puppy without compromising the spine, hips, and bone development. Try to push the exercise period to half an hour, but it’s okay to start with 20 minutes just until your dog gets used to the fitness regimen.
After the walks, you can still find time to play with your dog to burn off any excess calories or energy he may have stored up. Playing a game of fetch, using puzzle games or training sessions can be useful for physical and mental stimulation – something all dogs need.
Try not to engage your dachshund in any activities that require jumping from or up to a high surface. You want to do your best to keep your dog moving while still protecting his spine.
Another key component to keeping your dog at a healthy weight is to watch his diet. Feed nutritious and high-quality dog foods that have balanced and wholesome ingredients. The recipes should be free of fillers, artificial ingredients, and preservatives. How do you know if you are feeding your dog high-quality food? It’s difficult to keep a balanced diet with raw food unless you are well-versed in the area. We won’t go into too much detail on that, but we have other articles covering this topic.
Subscription dog food should be from trusted companies that work with a vet nutritionist to develop the best profiles. Subscription dog food is a fresh food service that uses human-grade ingredients to create meals that are tailored for your dog’s needs. You would fill out all the necessary information about your dog such as weight, size, energy level, and flavor preferences.
After the company receives this info, the professionals will custom create a recipe just for your dog. All the ingredients used are fresh, human-grade, and cooked in a safe kitchen. The food is then frozen and delivered to your door in packages. The portion and amount you get is dictated by your subscription plan. The service isn’t cheap and is a relatively new diet plan, but so far it has seen great benefits to dogs’ health.
We then have the more traditional kibble and wet food diets or a mix of both. Both hard and soft dog food follows the same criteria that will determine if they are “good dog food”.
For starters, there should be clearly named sources of animal protein as the first few ingredients (ideally at least 5). The longer the list of whole, natural, organic sources of ingredients go, the better. For example, Orijen is a great example of high-quality dog food that has named meats sometimes for the first 10 ingredients on certain recipes. If you follow the list all the way down to the very end, you can discern most of what goes into your dog’s food. They have well-balanced recipes that consist of meats, veggies, fruits, vitamins, and minerals and they use natural vitamin E preservatives.
It’s hard to avoid preservatives for dog kibble and wet food, so the best we can do is to ensure they use natural means. Now that you know what to look for, you also need to understand what to avoid.
Stay away from heavily processed foods with a multitude of preservatives, artificial coloring, and flavors plus fillers. Not to mention, there are some very cheap commercial brands that do not offer named meats in the ingredients list let alone the first 5 ingredients. These obscure brands usually have corn as the first ingredient and a ton of fillers and byproducts.
Less is More
Of course, there is more than just calorie-counting to lose weight, but to put it simply, feeding your dog less will help him lose weight. You must also choose calorie-dense foods to do this in a healthy and safe way. The right way is to figure out how much food your dachshund needs to stay in his ideal weight range. Take his size, age, and activity level to get a clear picture.
If you are unsure, consult with your trusted vet. The professionals will have a record of your dog’s health history and can better assess the best route to take.
Watch the Treats
When we said overfeeding is one of the biggest issues a standard or miniature dachshund or a dachshund puppy faces, we were mostly referring to treats. It’s easy to give your dog the right amount during mealtimes, but some dog owners forget to factor in the treats. It’s even easier to hand your dog a snack here and there throughout the day, especially if he turns a few tricks or behaves very well.
Try your best to limit this not only for your dog’s health but also for your sake. If your pup is used to getting treats all the time, it will make it more difficult to find high-value treats that entice him and training becomes that much harder.
Again, the same logic applies to treats in which you need to select healthy ones. There are plenty of treats that are advertised to be low-calorie such as Zuke’s training treats. Most treats that are either natural such as freeze-dried protein and ones of smaller sizes can help you manage your dog’s calorie intake.
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Don’t Give in to Puppy-Dog Eyes
It’s so hard to not give in to the adorable pair of eyes watching you as you enjoy your meal. Do not give in! Dogs can be quite cunning, and the sad puppy eyes are a ruse to get you to give them a piece of the pie. If you relent, your dog will ecstatically remember that puppy dog eyes work, and he will proceed to do it every time. To avoid this, you should never give in.
Just remind yourself that it’s in your dog’s best interest for you to stay stoic and adamant to help your dachshund with his weight loss journey. Don’t engage with him or give him any attention when he’s begging with his paws or with his eyes.
We talked about how to keep an overweight dog at a healthy weight, but now we are going to cover what to do to help an underweight puppy dog gain weight.
In tandem with a proper diet, you should still make sure your underweight dog gets enough exercise. This is not only to build muscle mass, but it also ensures that all the extra food you are feeding your dog doesn’t become fat.
Be sure not to overdo it, because too much exercise could burn off the extra calories you are feeding your dog and cancel out the effects. Not to mention, over-exercise will take its toll on your dachshund’s joints and spine.
The primary way to help your dog gain weight is through his diet. Your dachshund will benefit from a higher-calorie diet. You can ensure this by choosing calorie-dense foods or look into supplementing your dog’s daily meals with some extra add-ons. We don’t mean human food, by add-ons we mean healthy supplements such as food toppers.
Wet or fresh foods are more enticing to your dog as they are richer in flavor. Just as you would be more inclined to eat yummier foods, your dachshund will most likely consume this type of food with more gusto and in larger amounts. This is a great way, but it’s also harder for your dog to go back to an all-kibble diet. If that is your goal, then try to just use the wet or fresh foods as toppers.
Other dry dog food toppers include freeze-dried bits. These are usually little freeze-dried chunks of protein such as beef or chicken, and sometimes they come in power form. All you need to do is sprinkle a little bit on top of the dry kibble and mix it well.
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Your dog could be undernourished in terms of nutrition. In cases like this, your trusted vet could recommend additional vitamin and mineral supplements. We would recommend asking your vet about what specific supplements your dog needs as professionals would have a better grasp of your dog’s nutritional profile. Over-feeding supplements can have adverse effects such as an upset stomach or nutritional imbalance.
Health Risks of an Overweight Dachshund
A dachshund is prone to certain health issues such as heart disease, kidney failure, and IVDD. An overweight dachshund is more likely to develop these issues.
It’s okay if your dog has a little bit of pudge, but when he crosses the threshold into the obese or severely obese category is when you need to worry and make drastic lifestyle changes. An obese dachshund has a higher risk of developing various cancers, which is already common in a dachshund. Other illnesses that plague an overweight dachshund are bone issues such as osteoarthritis, and hip dysplasia.
Being overweight is also taxing for your dog’s heart. You will notice your fatter dachshund to be slower, and runs out of breath faster than other healthier dogs. An overweight dachshund isn’t able to tolerate heat very well, so this can be extra dangerous if you live in a hot climate. Heatstroke can often be fatal for dogs.
If you want your dog to be your companion for as long as possible, then making sure he stays within the proper weight guidelines is very important.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I tell if my dachshund is overweight?
You can tell if your dachshund is overweight the same way you would for any other dog breed. You can take him to the vet, or judge his body condition via the body condition scale. Ideally, you want your dachshund to exhibit an identifiable waistline and feature a tummy tuck. You should be able to feel his ribcage under his skin without having to use too much pressure.
The view of your dachshund from above or from the side will reveal a svelte figure and in no way should you see obvious protruding bones or a belly that protrudes far past his frame. Lastly, your dachshund’s belly should not drag on the ground. An overweight dachshund will suffer from many more health problems than one within an ideal weight.
How much should a standard dachshund weigh?
A standard dachshund should fall between 15 to 32 pounds give or take. This isn’t a hard line because dogs come in all shapes and sizes. A standard dachshund could be larger than usual and exceed 32 pounds but still, be within a healthy weight. Similarly, a standard dachshund could also be smaller and weigh less than 15 pounds. The 15 to 32-pound weight range is just a guideline. To be sure, you can always ask your vet.
Vet professionals can examine your dachshund thoroughly to reveal any hidden health issues he may have and give you advice on how to maintain your dachshund’s current health condition.
How much should a miniature dachshund weigh?
A miniature dachshund is usually under 11 pounds. The smallest miniature dachshund should be around 5 pounds at least. Any dachshund under 5 pays may be considered unhealthy or was bred to be small and come with a host of bodily problems. Teacup dogs are cute, we won’t deny that, but to be that small it took a lot of breeding and if the breeder isn’t ethical, they will sacrifice health for the size of the dog.
If you ever see designer dachshunds offered at sky-high prices and are under 5 pounds, then you should be wary of the breeder.
How much should a dachshund eat daily?
Dachshunds are considered small dogs in general, but if you have a larger standard doxie, then he may cross the threshold into a medium breed. Small dogs require 3/4 of a cup of dry dog food a day if they are around 10 pounds. If they reach 15 pounds then the amount should be a cup. Move up to a cup and a half when your pooch is closer to 20 pounds.
How much your doxie needs to eat daily isn’t only dependent on his weight, but it is also tied to his activity level. A 10-pound doxie that spends his time running around will require more food to sustain his output than a 10-pound doxie couch potato.
How can I help my dachshund lose weight?
The first step is to identify why your doxie is overweight. Some dogs suffer from weight problems because of illnesses or medication. Others are simply overweight because they enjoy food too much. Before you can take action, you must first identify why. For example, if your pooch is fatter due to his love of food, then start by cutting down his portions.
Don’t reduce too much at once, just 1/3 of a cup would be enough to make a difference. Feed him his regular amount minus a -third for 5 days to a week. See if your dog is overweight after a few days to decide if it’s the right amount. You should adjust your dog’s food until he hits his goal weight and continue feeding him that amount for the foreseeable future.
Make sure that your doxie continues with exercise despite the smaller amount of food. If you notice your dachshund is much more lethargic than before after exercise, then you may be feeding him too little.
How much should a dachshund weigh? The answer to this question is much more complex than just a number. You need to take into account the type of dachshund you have, miniature or standard, to decide. Remember that weight is fluid. If your dog is overweight now, he can exercise and diet to get back to a more ideal weight, and the same is true for a dog who needs to gain weight. The most important thing is to make adjustments to your dog’s lifestyle and diet slowly and make sure to monitor its health every step of the way.
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An overweight dachshund, especially a miniature doxie, will be very difficult to pick up and hold correctly. We say miniature dachshund because some standard doxies are quite heavy and aren’t the type of dogs that you have the instinct to pick up. If you don’t hold your dachshund the right way, you are putting your dog at even more risk of developing spinal and other back issues.
A heavier dachshund will also have more weight to carry, and since they have short legs, it’s much tougher on their joints and backs than other breeds that are overweight.
Related: How to Pick Up a Dachshund
Did You Know?
Do you know what’s super cool about the dachshund breed? These dogs were the first Olympic mascots! The first official one that is. The first official Olympic mascot went by the name of Waldi, and he made his mark in the summer 1972 Olympics in Munich, Germany, the country in which dachshunds originate from.
Why do you ask? We would like to assume it’s because of the dog’s determination, endurance and agility all of which are traits that are revered in athletes.