Feeding a Dachshund puppy right will require a little bit of research on your part.
There are just so many options out there, and all of them claim to be the best for your pup.
But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
We’ll look at all the options out there – from kibble or wet food to raw feeding or homemade meals for your puppy – and weigh the pros and cons.
We will also cover how much to feed, as well as the ideal feeding schedules for your pooch.
This way, we’ll help you put together the perfect dietary plan for your new Dachshund puppy.
A healthy diet as a puppy can set your Dachshund up for a lifetime of good health.
So let’s dive into it!
Swapping Puppy Food Brands
First off, we know that once you have chosen your pup’s new food, you will be eager to get started with your plan for feeding a Dachshund puppy.
A little patience goes a long way, though.
Your Dachshund puppy’s digestive system is already used to the food that the breeder (or the shelter) was giving him or her.
To give your dog’s tummy time to adjust, it’s best to transition slowly.
Keep feeding the same food your pooch is used to for at least two weeks after taking him or her home.
Then, start by mixing 90% of the old food with 10% new food.
Gradually increase the percentage of new food over the course of 7–10 days, until your puppy is happily munching on a bowl filled with nothing but his or her new chosen food.
Probiotics Might Help
To help make this transition as smooth as possible, you can add probiotics to your pup’s food once a day.
Probiotics are good gut bacteria that help with digestion.
Studies have shown that they can be beneficial for your dog in times of stress, food changes, or illness.
Your vet can make a recommendation for a good brand of canine probiotics.
Dachshund Puppy Diets
Puppies have different dietary needs than adult dogs.
As their bodies are still growing, they require more of certain minerals and vitamins (for example calcium and phosphorus).
Most importantly, puppies need foods that are at least 22.5% high-quality protein.
A lot of people seem to think that it’s not possible for a puppy to get too many nutrients.
However, this is not quite true.
Puppies do need more calories per pound of bodyweight than adult dogs, but it’s important not to feed too much, or your Dachshund pup will grow too fast.
Fast growth can lead to problems with bones and cartilage.
Since Dachshunds are already predisposed to certain conditions such as intervertebral disc disease (IVDD), it’s best to err on the side of caution.
How Feeding Changes as a Dachshund Puppy Gets Older
In contrast to larger dog breeds, Dachshund puppies have their steepest growth phase before being weaned from their mother.
So once you take your pup home, its growth will have slowed down quite a bit already.
Still, your Dachshund pup will need more calories per pound of body weight than an adult dog.
It’s important to keep an eye on the scale.
Ideally, you should weigh your pup at least once a week and adjust the feeding portions accordingly.
Number of Meals in a Day
Puppies – especially those of smaller breeds like Dachshunds – have a fast metabolism and are therefore at risk of hypoglycemia if they don’t eat for longer periods of time.
At the beginning, you will need to distribute your pup’s total daily portion into multiple feedings throughout the day.
The amount you should be feeding a Dachshund puppy can decrease as your puppy gets older.
A rough guideline to follow is:
- 2–4 months of age: 4 meals daily
- 4–6 months of age: 3 meals daily
- 6–8 months of age: 2–3 meals daily
- Over 8 months of age: 2 meals daily
As Dachshunds are very active dogs and known for their hearty appetites, we would recommend sticking with 2 meals daily, even as your pooch reaches adulthood.
What to Feed a Dachshund Puppy
So now that we have established the basics, let’s have a detailed look at the options out there.
In general, you get to choose between commercial dog food (either in the form of kibble or wet food, or a combination of both) and a homemade diet (cooked or raw).
Complete commercial dog foods are balanced, which means that they contain all the nutrients and minerals your pup needs in the right amounts.
This will ensure your dog’s healthy growth.
If you choose to feed your puppy on a homemade diet – be it raw foods or cooked meals – it will be your job to ensure that the meals are well-balanced.
We recommend that you work closely with an experienced veterinarian to create a meal plan.
Before you make your choice, let’s talk about the pros and cons of each dog food.
Feeding a Dachshund Puppy Kibble
Kibble is by far the most popular and convenient choice of dog food.
It comes in many different shapes, sizes, and flavors.
It’s important to choose a kibble that was designed specifically for puppies, preferably for small-breed puppies.
Kibble for small breeds is smaller and therefore easier to chew and swallow.
When buying kibble, it’s often worth spending a bit more.
Premium kibble tends to contain a higher quality protein.
As ingredients in dog food must be listed by amount in descending order, look for a kibble that lists a meat source as the first ingredient.
Try to avoid brands that contain fillers such as cereals and grains (corn, soy, wheat, and so on).
Feeding a Dachshund Puppy Wet Food
Wet food is a commercial alternative to kibble.
It tends to be more expensive and a little less practical than its dry counterpart.
Due to its high water content, wet food spoils more easily once opened.
Some other concerns with wet food include its tendency to cause loose stools, as well as the fact that it doesn’t help clean you pooch’s teeth in the way that kibble does.
On the other hand, wet food is very tasty for most dogs.
We wouldn’t recommend feeding a Dachshund puppy on wet food alone.
However, it can be a great occasional treat at mealtime – or it can be mixed with kibble to get the best of both worlds.
If you do choose to feed your pooch only on wet food, make sure to choose a brand that says “complete” food (not “complementary”).
Feeding a Dachshund Puppy Raw (BARF)
BARF stands for “biologically appropriate raw food”.
BARF, or raw feeding, has gained immense popularity in the world of dog lovers over the past few years.
Fans of raw feeding advocate its positive effects on teeth, coat, and digestive functions.
One drawback of raw feeding is certainly that it requires lots of effort and planning on your part.
Unlike with commercial dog foods, if you feed your pup a raw diet, it is your responsibility to ensure that he or she gets all the right nutrients in the right amounts and ratios.
This is crucial in all of your dog’s life stages, but especially during the growth period.
Lack of calcium or phosphorus – or an inadequate ratio of the two – can cause growth defects in puppies.
Consult with a Vet
Therefore, if you want to feed your Dachshund pup on a raw diet, we recommend getting an experienced veterinarian on board.
They can help you put together a well-balanced meal plan.
Last but not least, watch out for your own safety and the safety of your family when preparing raw meals for your pup.
Raw meat contains bacteria – such as Salmonella and E. coli – that can endanger humans.
Proper hygiene is very important when handling raw meat or bones.
If you feed a raw diet, you might also need to deworm your dog more often.
Please ask your trusted vet for guidance.
For more details on raw feeding a Dachshund puppy, have a look at this article.
Feeding a Dachshund Puppy a Homemade Diet
There is also the option to cook homemade meals for your Dachshund pup.
With homemade diets – as with raw feeding – it is up to you to ensure that meals are well-balanced and meet all the nutritional needs of a growing puppy.
If you want to cook for your dog, work closely with a vet to put together a meal plan.
Unfortunately, human meals are generally not fit for dogs.
They contain too much salt and fats and the calcium to phosphorus ratio is not optimal.
Therefore, you will need to cook separate meals for your dog if you choose this type of feeding a Dachshund puppy.
How Much Should I Feed My Dachshund Puppy?
In general, you can calculate the daily amount of calories your puppy needs based on his or her current weight.
A rough guideline to follow is that growing dogs require two times their resting energy requirement (RER) per day.
This total daily calorie amount is then distributed into multiple meals throughout the day.
If you choose a commercial dog food for your pup, the good news is that someone else already made these calculations for you.
Kibble and wet food come with detailed instructions on how much to feed depending on the age and current weight of your pup.
If you feel that the recommended amount is too little or too much, talk to your vet.
Is My Puppy the Right Weight?
Weighing your Dachshund regularly is not only important to figure out caloric needs but also to track his or her growth.
The numbers on the scale don’t tell the whole truth, though.
It’s crucial to also determine your pup’s body condition score.
There is a tendency to think that it’s okay for puppies to be chubby as they will “grow out of it.”
However, being overweight during the growth phase can have a long-lasting detrimental effect on your pup’s health.
Dachshunds are genetically prone to develop intervertebral disc disease (IVDD).
This is a disease of the spine that is very hard to treat and is unfortunately a frequent cause of euthanasia in Dachshunds.
Obesity can increase your dog’s chances of developing IVDD.
Weight control – starting early on in your pup’s life – is the best prevention.
On the other hand, being underweight is just as unhealthy for your pup.
If your dog is too thin, have a vet check him or her for worms, infections, or other underlying health issues.
My Puppy Is Still Hungry
If your pup wolfs down his food and then goes straight to begging for more, try not to oblige too readily.
Stick to the calculated daily calorie amount, but try distributing it over more feedings and spacing out the meals throughout the day.
Another option is to slow down your pup’s food intake – this will help him or her feel more full.
Slow-feeder bowls are a great option, as are treat balls or puzzle games that make your dog work for his or her food.
My Puppy Won’t Eat
With the excitement of changing homes and foods, it’s possible that your pup’s appetite suffers for a bit.
If your pup misses more than 2 meals or 12 hours of feeding, or if you notice other symptoms (apathy, vomiting, diarrhea), give your vet a call right away.
How Long Is a Dachshund Considered a Puppy?
Your Dachshund pooch is considered a puppy until he or she reaches 12 months of age.
Between 12 and 14 months, you should switch to an adult diet for Dachshunds.
If it’s available, choose an adult food by the same brand as the puppy food.
When making the transition to adult food, follow the same pointers as you did when you first started your dog on his or her puppy diet.
Feeding a Dachshund Puppy
We hope these tips answered all your questions on the healthiest and best options to feed your Dachshund puppy.
Head over to the comments section if there’s anything else you’d like to know or if you have something to share!
References and Resources
The American Kennel Club – Dachshund
Pedigree – Puppy Age Calculator
Purina – Healthy Dog Body Condition
AAFCO – Recommendations for Dog Food
Ohio State University – Basic Calorie Calculator
Merck Vet Manual – Small Animal Nutrition
Biourge V, et. al. The Use of Probiotics in the Diet of Dogs. The Journal of Nutrition, 1998.
Gawor JP, et. al. Influence of Diet on Oral Health in Cats and Dogs. The Journal of Nutrition, 2006.
Jackson JR, et. al. Effects of Dietary Fiber Content on Satiety in Dogs. Veterinary Clinical Nutrition, 1997.
Mack JK, Kienzle E. Inadequate nutrient supply in “BARF” feeding plans for a litter of Bernese Mountain Dog-puppies. A case report. Tierarztliche Praxis, 2016.
Blanchard G, et. al. Calculation of a dietary plan for puppies. Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition, 2009.
Packer RMA, et. al. How Long and Low Can You Go? Effect of Conformation on the Risk of Thoracolumbar Intervertebral Disc Extrusion in Domestic Dogs. PlosOne, 2013.
Priester WA. Canine intervertebral disc disease – Occurrence by age, breed, and sex among 8,117 cases. Theriogenology, 1976.