Senior Dachshund Care Guide

Dachshunds are super loving and loyal, but as is the case with nature, just like us humans, dachshunds get older too and need extra care as they age.

This is our detailed guide on senior dachshund care, to help your four-legged best friend stay healthy and happy for as long as possible.

We want to cover a variety of things here, such as what qualifies as a senior dachshund, how to care for senior dachshunds, as well as some of the most common health concerns of senior dachshunds that you need to watch out for. 

What Is Considered Old For A Dachshund?

an old dachshund dog

Generally speaking, the average lifespan of a dachshund is somewhere between 12 and 16 years, with 14 or 15 years being pretty standard.

Keep in mind that there are some dachshunds that managed to make it to 20 years of age or older.

In terms of being a senior, some would consider a dachshund to be old or a senior once it hits 10 years old, with most classifying a wiener dog that is 11 years or older as a senior.

10 Tips To Take Good Care of Your Senior Dachshund

Just like us humans need special care as we age, so do dachshunds.

Here are some great tips to follow in order to take care of your senior dachshund, to keep it as comfortable, happy, and healthy as possible.

Most of these tips are fairly common sense, but that said, some are things that you might never have thought about.

1. Watch Their Diet

old dachshund eating

One of the most important things that you need to do in order to take good care of your senior dachshund is to ensure that it has a well balanced diet.

Dachshunds are extremely susceptible to obesity, and a large part of it is because they will eat more or less anything that they can fit into their mouths, and generally can eat for the sake of eating if the food is there for them.

People also tend to feed their Wiener dogs really unhealthy snacks that dogs should not have at all.

The older your dachshund gets, the more likely it is to develop an upset stomach or digestive issues due to food that it should not be eating. 

To help prevent obesity and upset stomachs from occurring, you should feed your dog a diet that is high in vitamins and minerals, and fairly low in sugar and fat.

It doesn’t have to be any special kind of diet, but it does have to be fairly healthy. You don’t want to be feeding your doxie unhealthy, sugary, and fatty snacks (the occasional treat is still fine).

Remember, doxies are also susceptible to developing diabetes, so this is something to watch out for.

2. Keep Moving

To keep your senior dachshund and as healthy as can be, another tip that you need to follow is to stay active with them.

As mentioned above, these dogs are susceptible to obesity, which makes exercise just that much more important.

Moreover, as dachshunds age, they become heavy nappers, and the older they get the more they want to nap. 

Now, you should provide your dachshund with plenty of rest per day, but don’t let them rest for too long. You should definitely provide your dachshund with plenty of exercise every day. 

This does of course depend on how mobile and healthy they are, but that said, you should give them at least 20 or 30 minutes of exercise per day.

Just make sure to not rush your dog too much, especially right after a nap, because those limbs can be pretty stiff after napping for a long time.

Physical activity will not only provide your dachshund with a bit of extra energy, but it will also stimulate its mind, and also help keep obesity at bay.

Of course, you do need to use a bit of common sense here, because exactly how much exercise you provide your dog with will depend on its age and health.

However, the bottom line here is that just because your dachshund is becoming a senior does not mean that it does not require exercise.

Don’t neglect going for at least one or two short walks per day.

3. Proper Coat Care

dachshund being brushed

As your dachshund ages, another thing that you need to do is to keep good care of their skin and coat.

As these dog’s age, they become susceptible to a variety of irritating skin conditions.

In order to prevent fur and skin conditions from occurring, it’s a good idea to give them regular brushing sessions. 

Keep in mind that older dogs lay down a lot, and this can cause tangling and matting of the fur.

Therefore, some increased brushing is required. You want to brush their fur to prevent bacteria and parasites from building up in their coats. 

Moreover, as doxies age, they may lose teeth and can start to drool more, with excessive saliva on their coats and skins possibly causing further irritation.

Therefore, you want to wash their faces on a regular basis, with dog friendly shampoo, to remove any saliva that could cause possible irritations.

4. Dental Hygiene Matters

brushing senior dachshunds teeth

Due to their small mouths, toxins are relatively susceptible to a variety of dental hygiene issues occurring, especially things like plaque and tartar buildup, and gingivitis. Dachshunds are also susceptible to losing teeth as they age. 

In general, dachshunds are more susceptible to developing a variety of dental hygiene issues than other dogs.

What you may not know is that dental issues not only can lead to tooth loss but also do things like infections and even heart disease.

Moreover, when it comes to obesity, truly healthy foods can be difficult when there is tooth pain going on. 

Therefore, you should always practice proper dental hygiene with your doxie and, and this goes not only for when your dog is a senior, but should be done from an early age.

The best type of treatment is always prevention.

5. Trim Those Claws

Dachshunds may develop a variety of mobility issues as they age, especially related to their spine, and possibly hip dysplasia as well.

A dog that is already having trouble walking is going to have an even harder time walking if it has really long claws. 

Really long claws can make it extremely uncomfortable and even painful to walk in some cases.

Therefore, providing your dog with regular mail trimming sessions should be standard. In order to prevent those claws from becoming too long, you should trim them at least once per month.

6. Provide Them with Mental Stimulation

One thing that most people overlook when it comes to taking care of an elderly dog is the mental side of things.

Just like with us humans, a dog can also suffer from mental decline as they age. The dog’s brain can also slow down as it ages. 

Just because a dog is old does not mean that it does not need mental stimulation

You should spend plenty of time playing with your dachshund, and you should also provide it with puzzle toys and other stimulating toys.

Keeping their minds sharp is just as important as keeping their bodies sharp.

7. Avoid Jumping and Stairs

As you probably know, this type of dog often suffers from mobility issues related to its odd shape.

Dachshunds often develop issues such as arthritis, joint issues, and spinal issues, all of which can be extremely painful and debilitating. 

Therefore, you need to avoid having your dachshund and climb large flights of stairs, and you also need to avoid having them jump in the air.

Older dachshunds who climb too many stairs and who jump a lot are much more likely to develop various mobility issues related to the legs and the bath.

All of those activities can increase spinal strain and lead to a more severe case of intervertebral disc disease, something that documents are generally susceptible to due to their long shapes. 

Therefore, not only should you prevent them from straining their spines and legs, but you should also provide them with a diet that has lots of good minerals in it that will keep their joints healthy.

8. Help Them Maintain a Comfortable Temperature

Something else to consider here is that doxies are very low to the ground, which means that in the wintertime, their stomachs can get wet, and this leads to them being cold, and during the summertime they can also be excessively hot.

Due to the small body of these dogs, they have trouble maintaining an ideal body temperature. 

This is especially the case as they age. Therefore, you need to provide your dog with little sweaters during the winter, and in the summer you need to find ways to keep them comfortably cool.

Being way too hot or way too cold is never comfortable, something that only gets worse with age.

9. A Good Doggy Bed

Due to all of those joint and mobility issues that dachshunds may develop as they age, you do want to provide your little guy or girl with a soft doggy bed to lay on.

Having an old dachshund lay on a solid floor is not ideal. Even if the dog in question does not have joint issues or pain, laying on a very hard floor is still not comfortable.

10. Regular Visits to the Vet

Of course, there are a lot of health issues that you won’t be able to see with your eyes, and in many cases, your dog may also not let you know that it has issues going on.

Therefore, to ensure that your senior dachshund is not developing a variety of mobility issues, joint issues, digestive issues, heart related issues, and more, you should take your dog to a regular vet checkup at least twice per year.

How Much Exercise Does a Senior Dachshund Need?

A normal dachshund needs up to 60 minutes of exercise per day, but a senior dachshund who may be developing mobility issues should get about 30 minutes of exercise per day.

Of course, you do want to use a good bit of common sense here, so if you have a very healthy dachshund then you may very well provide it with up to 45 minutes of exercise per day.

Common Senior Dachshund Health Problems

Dachshunds in general are not the healthiest of dogs, and moreover, this problem only gets worse as they age.

Let’s take a look at some of the most common senior dachshund health problems that your doxie may be faced with as it gets older.

1. A Variety of Skeletal Issues

The unfortunate reality with dachshunds is that their long and skinny shape does lead to a variety of bone related issues, most commonly related to the spine, the hips, and the elbows.

Let’s take a quick look at all of the most common skeletal issues that your aging dachshund may be faced with.

  • One of the most common skeletal issues is known as intervertebral disc disease, or IVDD for short. This is a condition that is characterized by the cushioning discs between the vertebrae of the spinal column being destroyed or moved out of place. This can lead to serious pain and mobility issues, and yes it has to do with that long spine combined with a lack of support from underneath.
  • Dachshunds in general are susceptible to developing either hip or elbow dysplasia, or condition that is characterized by the two parts of the joints not growing at the same rate, and this ends up with uneven joints, plenty of pain, and mobility issues. although senior dogs won’t really develop this condition, if your doxie already has it, it’s only going to get worse.
  • Another common skeletal issue that aging doxins are faced with is known as patellar luxation, a fancy way of saying that their kneecaps may dislocate. As dogs age, their bones may get weaker, just like with us humans, and this may very well reach the kneecaps dislocating, especially with excessive motion.

2. Dental Hygiene Issues

Dachshunds in general are susceptible to dental hygiene issues, but of course, this only gets worse as the dog ages.

The smallmouth with their teeth spaced closely together, this means that food can easily get stuck in between those teeth, which then leads to bacterial growth, and a variety of dental issues.

A dachshund may develop a variety of dental issues including plaque and tartar buildups, gingivitis, periodontitis, various infections, and tooth loss.

It is absolutely essential that you help your dachshund maintain proper dental hygiene in order to prevent any of these conditions from occurring.

3. Cardiac Disease

And dachshund age, they also become fairly susceptible to a variety of cardiac issues, or in other words, heart disease.

One of the most common types of heart disease that a dachshund may develop in old age is degenerative mitral valve disease, which is where the mitral valve of the heart stops functioning properly.

This is unfortunately a condition that is not treatable. There are also other types of heart disease that these dogs are susceptible to in old age, mainly patent ductus arteriosus.

4. Eye Problems

Dachshunds are also susceptible to developing a wide variety of vision related issues, especially as they age.

Let’s take a quick look at the most common vision issues to affect senior dachshunds.

  • Dachshunds are susceptible to developing cataracts in their old age, which is a condition characterized by the clouding of the normally clear lens of the eye, and this can cause vision to be cloudy, or over time can also lead to total vision loss.
  • Another vision related issue that often affect these dogs in old age is glaucoma, a condition that is characterized by damage that is caused by abnormally high pressure in the eye. listen causes damage to the optic nerve, and over time this can lead to total blindness.
  • Dachshunds are also susceptible to developing something known as progressive retinal atrophy, which is when the photoreceptor cells in the eyes start to deteriorate, thus resulting in a partial or total loss of vision.

5. Others

Below are some other possible health conditions that your dachshund may develop in old age.

There you have it folks, everything you need to know about exactly how to care for your senior dachshund, as well as all of the possible health conditions that an old dachshund may develop.

Now that you have all of the information at your disposal, you can do everything in your power to keep your senior dachshund as healthy and happy as possible.