Despite the sometimes frantic comments of advocates of ‘natural’ dog food, commercial dog foods are fine for your Dachshund. Some of those concerns are well placed, though. A diet that is not too rich and not too lean, full of healthy ingredients is best. But that advice is far too vague as it stands. What does it really mean?
Any commercial kibble food will have a list of ingredients on the package, starting with the one present at the highest percentage listed first. Ensure that the ingredient listed first is some kind of animal protein. Chicken, beef or lamb are the most common. Vegetable proteins are harder to break down into useful components and contain smaller concentrations of needed amino acids.
Like other dogs, Doxies are by nature meat eaters. But fresh meat isn’t required. Anything that provides enough protein is fine, since what is really needed are the amino acids that go to make them up. Any protein consumed is broken down to those constituents then ‘re-constructed’ again by the dog.
Apart from amino acids, there are a number of essential vitamins and minerals required for good functioning.
Foods rich in Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids are good not only for humans but Dachshunds, too. In both cases, those compounds help improve joint and skin health.
Antioxidants perform a role similar in a Doxie’s life that they do in their owners. Vitamin E, beta-carotene and others help protect the immune system by reducing something called ‘free radicals’. These are elements or molecules with an extra electron that can harm cells when they exist in too-high concentrations.
Fat, far from being the villain it is sometimes (incorrectly) painted in discussions of human diet, is a must. Fats provide compounds vital for good nerve function. They are broken down to take part in forming hormones and enzymes. They also provide a source of calories that Dachshunds need to power all those activities, just as people do.
Puppies that have been weaned should eat 3-4 meals per day. Smaller amounts, fed more often, are preferable to large helpings at one time, even though that is a little more inconvenient for the owner. The routine is best for Doxies about 8-12 weeks old.
Between the ages of 3-6 months the frequency should be reduced to no more than three and possibly only two meals per day. Even puppies can get fat, so keep an eye on the waistline behind the rib cage. It should have a slight curve. If your Doxie is perfectly straight you may be feeding too much.
That advice is a little more difficult to follow in the case of Dachshunds than some other breeds, since they are a bit more tubular by nature. Even so, the curve can be seen if you observe closely. Aid your eye by feeling the puppy in front of the rear legs. Get familiar with their shape and it will be easier to judge small changes.
By the time they’ve reached a year old, one meal per day is fine. If they seem eager to eat more often two meals is fine, but divide the portions in half.
Feed your Dachshund a premium brand food. Those contain a more appropriate quantity of calories and less ‘junk food’ than cheaper brands. For fussy dogs, or just for extra flavor, mixing a spoonful or two of wet food with dry is fine.
Never feed your Dachshund chocolate, raisins, or grapes – all of which are toxic to dogs.