How to Prevent Back Problems in Dachshunds

How to Prevent Back Problems in Dachshunds

With how much we talk about our employee’s mini Dachshund, this blog has been a long time coming. We love talking about little Peter, so this blog is for all of our fellow dachshund fans out there! After all, who couldn’t love the long pup with little legs?

As all dachshund owners know, they have a long body, which means they are prone to back problems. We’ve all asked ourselves how to prevent back problems in dachshunds at one point because of this. Thankfully, it’s pretty easy to do if you work it into yours and your dog’s daily routines! 

Why Such a Long Back?

We know we’ve asked ourselves why the heck are dachshunds shaped the way they are. Well, as it turns out, they are hunting dogs! We were shocked by this – anyone that knows Peter knows that he loves to play fetch, but finding his ball under a blanket isn’t exactly his strong suit. Normal dachshunds (sorry Peter) were bred to go underground to hunt foxes and badgers. 

Nowadays, Dachshunds are beloved pets in many countries of the world. They are the best of both worlds: they are very active dogs and love to play, and they are extremely affectionate towards their owners and love to cuddle. 

They also stick their noses in everything – from your face to cover it with kisses, to every blade of grass outside. 

Sadly, dachshunds aren’t very easy going dogs. They can be quite stubborn and are keen watchdogs who are fiercely protective (as fiercely as a small dog can be) of their owners and home. They can be trained, but it does take persistence and a firm hand. We don’t recommend them for first time dog owners because of these traits. 

Preventing Back Problems in Dachshunds 

Unfortunately, the elongated spine makes dachshunds more vulnerable to back issues. One of the more common problems is known as intervertebral disc disease or IVDD. They usually develop back issues near their rear, but neck and cervical problems can develop as well. 

Back problems in dachshunds are caused by almost everything – running, jumping, playing, old age, stairs, and more – so preventing them can seem like a dauntless task. However, we promise that it’s easy once you get into a routine

Ideally, every Dachshund should avoid high-impact activities, especially jumping, high-speed running, and any activity that will put excessive force on the spine. Some of the common activities that many Dachshunds take part in every day and ideally should avoid include:

  1. Jumping up or down from furniture or cars
  2. Going up and down stairs (yes, even a few of them!)
  3. Climbing anything they find outside, including rocks, curbs, or tree roots
  4. Excessive digging & burrowing 
  5. Running at top speed 
  6. Rough-housing 
  7. Tug-of-war (Trust us, do NOT do this)
  8. Picking them up without supporting their lower back

Try a Ramp Instead

Ramps are much easier on dachshunds’ backs. We recommend getting one with carpet or abrasive strips to help them grip the ramp. 

You may need a couple of ramps around the house to encourage your dog to safely use their favorite spots, including the bed, car, and couch. Of course, you can always carefully pick up your dog, but this doesn’t solve the problem of when they’re alone or want to get down. 

There are a ton of different ramp options available alone. We recommend this one

Use a Leash or a Harness When Outside

As you can imagine, not using a leash gives them freedom to do whatever they want. Using a leash will help you control their movements and their pathing when they’re outside. This will help prevent any high-speed chases, climbing, or digging. 

No dachshund should be without a harness. They are notorious pullers on leads – especially if they like to chase – and a harness will help keep them secure and safe without putting any pressure on their neck and spine. 

Crate Train!

Finally, a crate will be your best friend. Crate training your dachshund will ensure they don’t get up to anything (literally) when you’re not home to monitor them. 

 When implemented properly, their crate can be a comforting sanctuary for them. Make it big, make it comfortable, feed them and give them treats in it; and you may find that they are quite happy to spend the day relaxing in it while you are out. Alternatively, keep your Dachshund confined to a room with no furniture on which they could jump.

If your dachshund has separation anxiety or a tiny bladder, try putting down puppy pads in their crate. These make cleaning up a breeze! 

A Fit Dachshund is a Happy Dachshund

Finally, obesity is a huge n-no for dachshunds. A single extra pound can be extremely hard on their body and can expedite their road to a back injury. Every Dachshund owner should ask their veterinarian to give them guidelines on how much to feed their pet to maintain a healthy body weight.

And that’s it! See, preventing back problems in dachshunds isn’t too hard. All it takes is a little adjustment and a little ramp training and you’re good to go. As always, play on (just not too hard)!