The Dachshund, also affectionately known as the sausage dog, is often thought of as a toy dog, but he is in fact part of the hound group. His spunky and curious nature makes him quite the energetic pup, so he needs a lot more energy than your standard small dog. He still has a small mouth that needs smaller bites, so many owners find it difficult to find the best food for their Dachshund that’s perfectly balanced. Many Dachshunds are also known for having a sensitive stomach, and many owners comment that they have to try a few kibbles before finding the perfect one for their pooch.
Here in this article we will talk you through each of his life stages and what nutrients he needs during each of them. Using this knowledge, we have scoured the market for the best options for him as a puppy, adult and senior. It is also no secret that the Dachshund loves his food, so we look at some weight management kibbles for those porkier Dachshunds in order to get him back to a healthy weight.
So many kibbles claim to be the next best thing, and if you don’t know what you are looking for it can be quite a scary task finding the best nutrition for your beloved pet. You are not alone though, as many canine parents have no idea what their dog’s nutritional needs are. But you have come to the right place, so sit back, relax, and get ready to learn everything you need to know about your little sausage’s nutritional needs.
At A Glance: Our Favorite Foods For Dachshunds
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- 1 Dachshund Puppy Nutrient Needs
- 2 Adult Dachshund Nutrient Needs
- 3 Senior Dachshund Nutrient Needs
- 4 Best Food For Dachshund Puppies
- 5 Best Food For Adult Dachshunds
- 6 Best Food For Senior Dachshunds
- 7 Food For Overweight Dachshunds
- 8 Final Thoughts
Dachshund Puppy Nutrient Needs
According to the MSD Veterinary Manual and AAFCO, small breed puppies need a kibble that will contain a minimum protein content of 22% and a minimum fat content of 8%, as these levels will ensure he has enough energy to grow into a healthy adult. Do not feed him anything but puppy formula that is specifically designed for smaller breeds, otherwise it is likely that he will miss out on key breed nutrients.
It is likely that a puppy Dachshund pup will eat around 1,000 calories every day, but this will be dependent on his size and energy levels, so be sure to follow the package instructions. Remember this will constantly change as he grows into an adult, so be sure to check the instructions regularly. Feed your Dachshund puppy his daily food allowance across 3 different meals, and do not allow him to free feed otherwise he will eat all day long.
Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) is an important ingredient to look for, as this supports healthy brain and eye development. It is naturally found in mothers’ milk and can be found in egg products and fish oils. A blend of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants should also be listed in the ingredients as they will help to strengthen his developing immune system, which can be found in fruits and vegetables. Omega fatty acids that can be found in fish oils and flaxseed also ensure that his coat and skin are nourished.
Adult Dachshund Nutrient Needs
An adult Dachshund will be fully mature at around the age of 12 months, and when the time comes get ready to slowly transition him from his puppy kibble to an appropriate adult kibble. Again, only adult kibbles that are designed for smaller breeds will do here.
The adult Dachshund should be fed between 2 and 3 meals every day, dependent on yours and his preferences, but again avoid free feeding as he will quickly become overweight. An adult will need around 600 calories a day, whereas an active adult will need around 900 calories a day, but be sure to feed him according to the package instructions and his lifestyle.
A minimum protein content of 18% and a minimum fat content of 5% is required for the adult Dachshund according to the MSD Veterinary Manual, and an overall balance of omega fatty acids, vitamins and minerals will keep him healthy and happy.
As many Dachshunds are known to suffer with a sensitive stomach, after consultation with your Veterinarian, it would be wise to consider a kibble that is designed specifically for those with sensitive stomachs, or those kibbles with a higher fiber content.
Senior Dachshund Nutrient Needs
At around the age of 8 years old, although this does differ with different pooches, you should look to slowly transition him to a suitable senior kibble, again, that is specifically designed for small breeds.
A senior Dachshund will need less energy and calories, and you can expect that a typical senior will need around 470 calories a day. Senior kibbles will have fewer calories and fat as his digestive system and metabolism begins to slow down, and he cannot digest fats as efficiently as he once could. Dachshunds are prone to suffering from Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD), which is why his energy intake needs to be monitored, because the extra weight will increase his chances of this. So, less calories for the seniors please!
These kibbles will also have a much higher glucosamine and chondroitin content, either from meat and fish meals or from extra added supplements, as they keep his aging bones and joints supple. A wide variety of vitamins and minerals are also required to bolster his immune system too.
Best Food For Dachshund Puppies
When your Dachshund is a puppy, it’s important to ensure that your little Doxie is getting the nutrition he or she needs. Puppyhood is the most important time to really zero in on making sure that your dog’s nutrient needs have been met in order to ensure they reach adulthood fully developed.
Your puppy can usually stick around with a good nutrient-dense puppy food until they reach 12 to 15 months of age. Puppy foods usually have a higher calorie count as well to meet your puppy’s growing needs. In no particular order, let’s look at our favorites.
Purina Pro Plan Puppy Small Breed
- High in protein to meet the needs of highly active small dogs under 1 year old.
- Real chicken is the first ingredient.
- Fortified with guaranteed live probiotics for digestive and immune health.
- DHA for healthy brain and vision development.
This recipe has the second highest protein content on this which ensures that he has enough growing power and muscle maintenance thanks to real Chicken ingredients. There are optimum levels of DHA for his brain and eye development too from fish oils, and many reviewers commented how shiny and healthy his coat looked after eating this kibble.
The kibble pieces are small for the mouths of smaller breeds so that chewing is much easier, and calcium rich ingredients ensure that his bones, teeth and gums become stronger and healthier.
We love that this has the highest moisture content, which makes it a great option for those Dachshunds who find the kibble harder to crunch, or who are just particularly picky eaters.
Wellness Core Small Breed Puppy
- Smaller kibble size for easy eating.
- DHA for brain development.
- Grain-free formula.
- Made with nutrient-dense superfoods.
- Made in the United States.
- 504 Calories per cup.
- 38% Protein, 18% Fat, 4.5% Fiber.
This premium recipe is made with deboned Turkey, Chicken meal and Turkey meal, which are the first three ingredients, with Salmon meal not far behind, which is exactly why this kibble is full of high quality and lean protein. It also means that there is plenty of glucosamine in this food for his long spine and joints. Many reviewers commented that their pup’s overall wellness had increased since switching to this food.
Broccoli, kale and blueberries ensure that he eats enough antioxidants for his cellular health. It is the only grain free option on this list, which makes it the only option for those Dachshunds who have a sensitive stomach or grain intolerances.
We love that this recipe has the highest protein content and calorie count for his growing muscles.
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Small Breed Puppy
- All-natural small breed puppy food.
- Real meat is the first ingredient.
- Contains no meat by-product.
- Contains no fillers or artificial ingredients.
- Contains blueberries, peas & carrots (Fiber).
- Also contains sweet potatoes (antioxidants).
- Smaller size kibble for smaller jaws.
This recipe has a mixture of smaller kibble pieces and Blue Buffalo’s exclusive LifeSource Bits, which are packed full of vital nutrients that puppies need to grow into healthy adults. Not only do they boost his immune system, but they are also full of DHA and optimum calcium levels.
Blueberries and cranberries provide him with antioxidants for a healthy oxidative state, and sweet potatoes and whole peas ensure that his digestive tract is supported with essential fiber. Blue Buffalo is one of our ttop brands for Labradors and several other large breed dogs.
We love that this recipe has the highest fiber content, which is great for those Dachshund puppies who suffer with sensitive stomachs or loose stools.
Best Food For Adult Dachshunds
Dachsunds start to reach adulthood at 12 to 15 months of age. Just like Rottweilers or other large breed dogs, you’ll want to start transitioning your Dachshund to an adult dog food at around this age. You’ll want to transition them slowly because Dachshunds are known for having an extremely sensitive stomach.
While they aren’t really picky about the food they eat, they can get gassy and make your life a little unpleasant during food transitions. Plan on integrating your new adult dog food slowly, transitioning over a 3-4 week time. In no particular order, let’s look at our favorites for your Doxie adult.
The Farmer's Dog
- Cooked fresh, flash-frozen, and shipped to you.
- Personalized meal plans.
- 4 healthy, vet-designed options: beef, chicken, turkey, or pork.
- Made with human-grade ingredients (no fillers or preservatives).
- Manufactured in the United States.
- Calories and nutritional values vary based on recipe.
The Farmer’s Dog (TFD) created its healthy recipes with nutritional experts to make sure it provides all-natural, human-grade food that is balanced for your adult dog. The brand has four grain-free recipes (chicken, turkey, beef, and pork) and provides customized meal plans for your Doxie based on its age, current weight, ideal weight, activity levels, and more. Each recipe lists a meat protein as its first ingredient and includes a blend of vegetables and other nutritious items, packing lots of prebiotic fiber, antioxidants, and more.
We love how all of the recipes include a ‘TFD Nutrient Blend’ to support your dog’s immune system with vitamins and minerals. With no artificial preservatives, your dog will experience a less irritating digestive system than with other more processed foods.
Royal Canin Adult Dachshund
- Formulated for purebred dachshunds 10 months and older.
- Unique kibble shape helps dachshunds pick up and chew their food.
- Calcium and phosphorus provide joint and bone support to help aid a small dog’s tiny limbs and a long backbone.
- Highly digestible proteins and precise fiber content reduce stool volume and stool odor.
With a lower protein and fat content, this adult kibble now focuses on what the adult Dachshund needs. With Chicken as the main protein source, optimum levels of calcium and glucosamine help to support his joints and bones, which is particularly important for his unique long skeletal structure.
L-carnitine helps to support his metabolism and ensures that he does not put on too much weight for his frame, and beet pulp and brown rice provide him with fiber and healthy carbohydrates to keep him energized. Royal Canin is one of our favorite food manufacturers.
We love that this kibble is made with the Dachshund adult in mind, and all of his unique breed needs are met with this recipe, as well as uniquely designed kibble pieces suited to his muzzle shape.
Wellness Core Small Breed Adult
- Grain-free formula.
- Smaller kibble size for easier consumption.
- Glucosamine and chondroitin boost.
- Probioitics for gut health.
- Made in the United States.
- 412 Calories per cup.
- 36% Protein, 16% Fat, 5% Fiber.
With the highest level of protein on this list, this recipe is made with deboned Turkey, Turkey meal and Chicken meal that is lean and necessary for muscle maintenance and repair. Salmon oil not only supports his coat and mobility, but along with taurine it keeps his heart healthy.
Superfoods such as spinach and kale are an excellent source of iron, and apples and blueberries provide him with antioxidants for a healthy oxidative balance. Reviewers commented that this recipe was of high quality and their pooches loved it too.
We love that this recipe is grain free so it is the best option for those who are grain intolerant.
Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Stomach
- Budget-friendly food.
- Specifically formulated for digestion.
- No corn, wheat, or soy.
- No poultry by-products.
- Made with rice and oat meal.
- 478 Calories per cup.
- 28% Protein, 17% Fat, 3% Fiber.
This kibble is made with Salmon as the main protein source, along with Salmon meal and fish meal, which makes it a great option for those Dachshunds who are not a fan of the most popular protein source, Chicken. It also means that it provides his body with all the omega fatty acids he needs for a healthy coat and mobility.
Canola meal and a blend of prebiotic fibers aid digestibility, and sooth a sensitive stomach. Many reviewers commented that after years of trying new medications for skin allergies or sensitive stomachs, a simple switch to this kibble resolved their pups health concerns.
We love that is a great option for those Dachshunds with sensitive skin or stomach.
Blue Buffalo Small Breed Adult
- Made with high-quality ingredients.
- Glucosamine for joint health.
- DHA for brain development.
- No corn, wheat, or soy.
- 397 Calories per cup.
- 26% Protein, 15% Fat, 4% Fiber.
Part of the Life Protection line, this kibble follows in the footsteps of the Blue Buffalo puppy kibble. With a precise blend of adult nutrients such as optimum calcium and glucosamine, this kibble will look after your adult Dachshunds bones and joints.
Real Chicken and fish meal provide plenty of protein and energy for his bouncy personality, and omega fatty acids to achieve a beautiful coat. Cranberries not only provide antioxidants but they also provide support for urinary tract health which can be a common issue in smaller dogs.
We love that the LifeSource Bits are cold-formed to ensure that they retain their nutrient potency, and many reviewers commented that their pooches seem to love the different textures in their bowls.
Best Food For Senior Dachshunds
As your Dachshund starts to age, you’ll want to monitor their food intake. Doxies are known for gaining weight relatively aggressively if they free feed, so getting them to a Senior food at around 7 years of age or older is a very good idea.
If you’ve done a good job keeping your pup’s weight in check, any of the below options will work well with your Doxie as they enter their golden years. In no particular order, let’s look at our favorite foods for older Dachshunds.
Blue Buffalo Small Breed Senior
- No corn, wheat, or soy.
- Glucosamine boost for joint health.
- Vitamins and minerals for immune health.
- Brown rice for easily digestible fiber.
- No poultry by-product meals.
- 371 Calories per cup.
- 23% Protein, 13% Fat, 6% Fiber.
This recipe completes the Blue Buffalo Life Protection set that we have recommended at each stage, so this makes the obvious choice if you have given him this kibble throughout his life. It’s a top senior food brand for Yorkies as well as other small breeds like your Dachshund. A mixture of LifeSource Bits and small kibble bites ensure that his interest is piqued with extra taste and texture, as well as being packed with life-stage nutrients.
This recipe has a precise blend of glucosamine and chondroitin which assists with his slowing mobility as well as keeping his teeth strong, and his immune system is supported with fruits and vegetables. Blue Buffalo is often compared to Merrick, another top food brand that you’ll read more about below.
We love that this recipe has the highest fiber content for those senior Dachshunds who need a little bit more help with their digestive tract, or those with loose stools.
Wellness Complete Senior Small Breed
- Low sodium for heart health.
- Glucosamine and Chondroitin boost.
- Omega 3’s and 6’s for skin and coat.
- Lower calorie for less active Boston Terriers.
- No fillers or by-products.
- 437 Calories per cup.
- 25% Protein, 12% Fat, 5% Fiber.
This recipe has the highest calorie count per cup, so if you still have an energetic senior Dachshund on your hands then this will provide him with plenty of energy to keep him going throughout the day. Despite this, however, many reviewers commented on how it managed their senior weights well, thanks to other ingredients.
Turkey and Whitefish offer him lean sources of protein and ensures that muscle maintenance is still a key priority in his diet. With a precise blend of vitamins, specifically vitamin A and E, his overall health and happiness is maintained. No preservatives or nasty fillers can be found in this recipe, and many reviewers commented that they were recommended this as a low sodium recipe.
We love that this recipe focuses on his overall health, so you can be sure that every aspect of his senior health is well cared for with this recipe.
Merrick Senior Lil Plates
- Glucosamine boost.
- Deboned chicken is the first ingredient.
- L-Carnitine for metabolism boost.
- Made in the United States.
- 372 Calories per cup.
- 32% Protein, 12% Fat, 3.5% Fiber.
This recipe is made with smaller seniors in mind, and with that it has a higher moisture content which enables smaller pups to chew the kibbles with ease. It is also grain free which makes it a great choice for those pups with intolerances, and it also has plenty of probiotics and prebiotics to help with his slowing digestive system.
It also has the highest protein content thanks to the deboned Chicken, Chicken meal and Salmon meal ingredients. These ingredients, combined with Chicken fat and Salmon oil, also help to lubricate his joints and nourishes his coat from the inside out. Many reviewers commented on how their picky pups loved this recipe over many others.
We love that this senior recipe has leading levels of glucosamine and chondroitin, which are crucial for his aging bones and joints. Merrick is another top food brand, is often thought highly of when compared to Blue Buffalo.
Food For Overweight Dachshunds
If our Dachshunds were left to their own devices they would quickly become as wide as they are long, so it is important to monitor their food intake. Dachshunds, with their long spine, are more prone to suffering from IVDD, and being overweight significantly increases the chance of them suffering from this, as well as a plethora of other serious weight related health concerns. For this reason, their weight needs to be taken seriously, and if you notice those extra pounds creeping up on him, be sure to switch him over to a weight management kibble. Here are our favorite picks for the chunkier Dachshund.
Eukanuba Weight Control
- Complete and balanced nutrition for small breed dogs 12 months or older with an ideal weight up to 23 lb.
- 40% less fat and 50% more glucosamine vs regular formula.
- Supports lean bodies and muscles.
- Guaranteed levels of DHA and vitamin e maintain healthy brain function.
- High-quality chicken is the first ingredient.
Specifically designed for small breeds over 12 months, it is made with leaner protein and L-carnitine which helps to stimulate their metabolism which burns off more energy. With a protein content of 29% and a fat content of 10%, which is 40% less compared to their standard adult version of this kibble, you can be sure that your Dachshund will be able to manage his weight much easier with this kibble.
We love the Eukanuba weight control food. The clean formula with lower calories will ensure your pup maintains a healthy weight.
Science Diet Perfect Weight
- Made with natural ingredients.
- Made for small breed weight maintenance.
- Veterinarian endorsed brand.
- High-fiber formula.
- Made in the United States.
- 291 Calories per cup.
- 24% Protein, 9% Fat, 13% Fiber.
This recipe is designed for small and mini-adults who want to find their perfect weight, and over 70% of dogs lost weight within 10 weeks of eating this kibble. With a protein content of 28.6% and a fat content of 11.2%, there are 291 calories per cup which is enough to allow him to get on with his everyday activities, but low enough to lose weight. This kibble is made and recommended by Veterinarians across the world, and it is a recipe that is based on science, so you can be sure it does exactly what it says on the tin.
We love the Science Diet weight control food for smaller breeds. It’s also on our list for other small breeds, like the Shih-Tzu.
The Dachshund is a distinctive looking dog, with equally distinctive nutritional needs. He must be fed life-stage appropriate food that is designed for smaller breeds, whilst ensuring enough protein for his energetic personality. He should never be allowed to put on too much weight, but if it does happen, be sure to switch him to weight management kibbles, otherwise the chances of him suffering from IVDD increase significantly.
Thankfully, with our recommendations listed above, there is something for every Dachshund out there, and every owner too. So, if you stick to our favorite picks, you can be sure that your little sausage’s nutritional needs are met in every way.