Common health problems with Dachshunds

30 April 2024 - 4 min read

Dachshunds are ideal if you want an intelligent, affectionate pet. They're small dogs with bold personalities.

They were initially bred as hunting dogs, meaning these pint-sized pups are full of energy and vigour. They’re also known for their surprisingly loud bark.

Like most breeds, Dachshunds are prone to certain health issues. Despite there being so many things to like about Dachshunds, you do need to prepare for a few things.

Below, we list the most common Dachshund health problems and the steps you can take to lower the risk.

The most common Dachshund health issues

Intervertebral Disk Disease (IVDD)


 A Dachshund's short legs and long back are why spinal problems are common. The dog's frame stresses their spine more than other breeds.

A major consequence is Intervertebral Disk Disease (IVDD). This is where a bulging or slipped disc puts pressure on the spinal cord. It can lead to complete, permanent paralysis of all four legs. Treatment depends on how severely it impacts your dog.

Vets recommend medical and surgical treatments. Surgical is often needed to help Dachshunds regain use of their legs, bladder and other areas.

Luxating patella (LP)

This is where a dog's kneecap slides out of its normal position. Symptoms include a skipping gait or trouble walking.

Vets grade LP on a scale of one to four, with higher grades for severely affected dogs. For the higher grades, symptoms are severe, and the kneecap is hard to replace.

Half of LP cases affect both hind legs. Treatment includes physiotherapy, medication and surgical intervention. Higher grades are more likely to need surgery.



Dachshunds are very prone to obesity. Their short frame and legs make exercise difficult. Conditions like IVDD in dachshunds, arthritis and other orthopaedic disorders can impact mobility.

Obesity is a big issue in dogs, particularly Dachshunds. It can lead to further health problems like:

  • orthopaedic disease

  • spinal disorders

  • organ issues

  • diabetes

We recommend carefully monitoring your Dachshund's weight and diet.

Progressive retinal atrophy

Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) is an inherited eye disease that slowly progresses. It can cause blindness. The condition refers to degeneration of the cells in the back of the eye, known as the retina. The retina helps the eye form images.

The condition leads to loss of sight as the image can't form for the brain to interpret. Fear not - although PRA is not treatable it's not a painful condition. Your dog will likely adjust very well to limited or no vision with your help.

Our Pre-existing policy can cover recent conditions.

Epilepsy and Lafora disease

There are inherited conditions, like epilepsy and Lafora disease, that can result in seizures. It can cause your dog to experience fits and seizures due to overactivity in the brain.

The frequency and severity vary. Treatment depends on how badly it affects your Dachshund. Your veterinary surgeon will work with you to treat your pup and help control symptoms if they develop.

How to care for your Dachshund

Cute dachshund pet lies in dog bed at dog-friendly hotel looking at camera. Black domestic friend relaxes in room on vacation close view

Genetic testing

Some conditions that Dachshunds struggle with are inherited. This means screening of potential breeding adults is essential to prevent these conditions from being passed on. Genetic testing is available for diseases such as PRA and Lafora disease.

Breeders aren't allowed to work with dogs that test positive for PRA or Lafora disease.

Weight management

As mentioned, obesity is an issue in Dachshunds. It's due to the mobility issues things like IVDD and luxating patella cause.

You should visually track your dog's weight. A good way to do this is by looking from above to check they have a waist; you should see a little tuck just behind the ribs. You should be able to feel their ribs under a thin layer of fat. If you can't, they're likely overweight.

Other tips involve getting a good grasp of pet nutrition, feeding them the right amount of food and getting advice from your veterinary clinic. A clinic can advise on the optimal weight for your pet and help with things like switching pet food.


Supplementation can help. We recommend things like joint protection supplements in addition to a healthy, balanced diet.

Preventative veterinary exams

You can often prevent Dachshund problems with veterinary exams. Preventative care includes vaccines and routine exams, which can prevent and spot common illnesses. Always trust your vet, and don't be afraid to ask them questions.

Regular grooming

Grooming helps maintain your Dachshund's coat and should be an essential part of any dog's health routine.

They're pretty low-maintenance dogs. Long and wire-haired Dachshunds will need weekly brushing. Short-haired Dachshunds still need grooming but not as frequently. But make sure you do it, as grooming makes them healthier and happier.

Staying vigilant

Observing your dog goes a long way. You can analyse behaviour changes and potentially catch health issues early.

How dog insurance can help

Dachshund insurance can help you prepare for unforeseen health issues.

Dog insurance helps with up to £15,000 vet fee cover, unlimited 24/7 vet calls with FirstVet and a host of other perks.

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Get £15,000 lifetime vet fee cover with our Complete policy.

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