Dachshunds may be small, but clearly, no one has told them that. Brave and loyal, these spunky little dogs will follow you to the ends of the earth unless you plan to get there by swimming or running — two activities their short little legs make quite a challenge. Though almost nothing else stops these determined dogs, excess weight can and does. This is a breed that handles extra pounds poorly, so you'll need to keep a close eye on your pet's waistline.
What your dachshund should weigh
To determine your dachshund's ideal weight, you first need to know what kind you have. A standard dachshund is one who stands 8 to 9 inches tall upon reaching adulthood and ideally weighs between 16 and 32 pounds. Smaller dogs, standing only 5 to 6 inches high, are known as miniature dachshunds. For optimal health, a miniature dachshund weight should not exceed 11 pounds.
Miniature and standard dachshunds are part of the same breed, making it hard to predict what a puppy will grow up to be. Two miniature dachshunds can breed and produce a standard dachshund and vice versa. This makes it hard to say exactly what your puppy should weigh at any given moment. Typically, however, a 5- or 6-month-old dachshund puppy will weigh about 7 or 8 pounds.
If you don't have a scale, you can still eyeball your dog for a general idea of his condition. Your dachshund's chest bone should stick out a bit, with a small dimple on each side. His spine should visibly arch slightly behind his ribs and his waistline should be visible, tapering upward toward his back. If you see a round waist and have to poke through a layer of fat to feel your dog's ribs, he's probably overweight.
Why weight matters
Carrying around extra pounds isn't good for any dog, but a fat weiner dog may suffer more than other breeds. Doxies are adorable, but their extra long bodies put extra stress on their spines. A dachshund who carries too much weight is likely to suffer from slipped and ruptured discs, both of which can cause a pup a lot of pain.
Of course, overweight dachshunds are also at risk of all of the other problems associated with obesity. All overweight dogs face an increased risk of diabetes, arthritis, hypertension, heart disease, and cancer, among other things. Obese dogs live shorter lives and experience a diminished quality of life along the way.
Dealing with a fat weiner dog
It's easy to spoil your dog with treats and give in to her sad, little eyes at the dinner table, so don't be too hard on yourself if your dachshund weighs more than she should. Instead, start taking steps to correct the problem, which is absolutely reversible. Start by cutting back on the treats and eliminating table scraps completely. If you do want to offer your dog a treat, give her a green bean, baby carrot, or other healthy snacks.
To encourage weight loss, you'll generally need to feed your dog about 20 percent less food than she's getting now. You should visit your vet before making a change, however. He can tell you exactly what kind of food to feed your dog and in what quantities. Then, it's only a matter of using a measuring cup to make sure you're feeding the correct amount.
You can also help your doxie lose weight by getting the little couch potato up and moving. This small but mighty breed needs two moderately long walks a day to maintain an optimal weight and build muscle. Avoid lots of stairs during your workouts, however, as frequent trips up and down them can be difficult for this short breed.