Dachshunds, more popularly known as wiener dogs or Doxies, are known in the dog world as having exceptionally long lives. Learn all about their average life span and the factors that can impact it to give you the most quality time with your furry friend.
What is the life expectancy for a Dachshund? The average life expectancy of a Dachshund is around 15 or 16 years of age. A miniature Dachshund typically has the same range, though it can be between 16-18 years of age. Many live for longer — some even well into their 20s — and some life for shorter. Like many things to do with your dog, their life span can vary dramatically depending on genetic factors such as breeding, breed-specific issues such as heart and spine issues, and overall lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise.
While nothing can guarantee it, of course, factoring in all of these points will help your Doxie enjoy the best quality of life possible and may just give you a few extra years with them, too!
What do Dachshunds usually die from?
Your sweet Doxie will eventually part from this world and cross over the rainbow bridge. There is no such thing as an immortal Dachshund, though many would wish different. As far as the usual cause of death, you can expect that your Dachshund will most likely die from old age, i.e., natural causes. Many dog breeds have complications, but Doxies consistently tend to have the most issues with natural causes as the leading cause of death.
The second cause of death is cancer, typically breast cancer or lymphoma (which is the most common cancer among doggos). This quite a way behind natural causes, though; you’ll be happy to learn.
After this, heart disease and its complications is another breed-specific cause of death. The disease itself will vary from dog to dog, and it may be gradual or sudden.
While it is the least common cause of death, Doxies can be prone to spine issues that, together with the complications that they bring, will cause death in rare cases. However, please note that spine issues don’t always lead to death.
Common health complications in Dachshunds
Sometimes “complications” are considered to be the cause of death in your Dachshund. This is when it is a combination of factors that can’t be necessarily separated from each other that end in death for your doggo. Take a look at the more common ones below for the Doxie breed.
Intervertebral disk disease
As you most likely know, Dachshunds have exceptionally long spines, earning them the nickname of “wiener dog”. This long back can be a health hazard as the excessive amounts of vertebrae can lead to invertebrate disk disease, which means that his discs are damaged. This is a very painful disease that can’t always be moderated with pain or lifestyle changes. If your Doxie jumps a lot or runs a lot, it means that they are more at-risk for these issues later in life.
Issues with joints and hips
From knees that prop out to improperly balanced hips, Doxies are also known for having lots of joint-related issues as they get older, especially if they are very active and go on lots of walks. These issues tend to be focused on his legs and spine, as well as his hips.
Also known for their seemingly oversized and puppy-dog-pout-perfect eyes, Doxies can also have eye issues that will complicate their health profile. Other Dachshunds have especially small eyes that also cause a problem. It really does vary in terms of their health factors (more on that). Common eye issues include cataracts, dry eyes, and even glaucoma. Many Doxies will even lose their sight as they age.
This is a disease that creates a series of benign tumors throughout the body. Dachshunds are thought to be especially susceptible to it. These often focus on the pituitary or adrenal glands in the body, resulting in too much cortisol in his body. Essentially, his natural stress levels will be heightened.
In Doxies, in particular, insulin-resistant diabetes is common. This means that they won’t produce enough insulin, which must be managed with help and support from you and your vet.
Similarly, hyperthyroidism is when your thyroid gland doesn’t produce properly and slows down his metabolism. This leads to many issues that can cause life span-related complications, including obesity. Thankfully, this is often easily managed by medication.
Feeling the need to run and give your Dachshund a big hug? Go right ahead. We’ll wait.
Learning about your beloved furry friend’s possible complications is scary, but remember that knowledge also brings power! If you know where the potential problems are, you can watch for them and make sure that you are ready to act as soon as the possibility and/or need comes up.
Health factors affecting Dachshunds’ average lifespan
Some more general health factors can also influence the average life expectancy of your Dachshund.
Genetics from parents
You’ve most likely added your Doxie to your household through a breeder, so one of the best things about that is that you’ll have access to all of the information about his parents right from the very beginning. This should include proper certification, of course, but also potential health weaknesses that can be transferred on from parent to pup. If you are aware that these are likely risk factors for your doggo, you and your vet can both use those to plan and adequately care for your Dachshund as he ages.
General health and lifestyle
Other health factors are more in your control, such as his day to day life and health. These focus on the kind of food he gets, how much of it he gets, and his exercise routine. This will help manage his general health as well as those more at-risk issues such as his heart and even spinal health.
How to help a Dachshund live longer
As his loving pet parent, it is your job to help him make sure that he seems as many happy and healthy years as possible! While it may feel like a challenge, it’s also pretty special to think that raising him properly will help him to enjoy better and longer years, right?
Get all of his immunizations
From his first puppy shots to spay or neuter, to yearly immunizations, you’re going to want to stay on top of whatever your vet recommends for shots. These will help him fight off sicknesses and diseases which is very important for when he gets older and more susceptible to all of these things, just like humans.
Have your vet check out his parent’s records
If possible, have a trusted vet check out his parents’ records as far as their certifications and hereditary factors (all of which should be no issue for a breeder to give you ahead of time) before you sign a contract for a puppy from a breeder. They might be able to let you know ahead of time of any genetic markers to know about. A breeder can also be a great source of information about them.
Once you get him home, consider sharing any kind of medical information that you have for him with your vet. This will help them to make informed decisions as well as watch for particular markers that could cause health problems down the road. The more that they know about your puppy, in particular, the more that they can help preventatively — which is what this is all about.
Feed him a healthy diet
Perhaps you already know a lot about your Doxie’s diet regarding the diet itself you want to approach. There’s kibble, canned food, raw food. However, whatever medium you decide to go with, you’ll want to pay some attention to what is actually in the food you are giving him!
Doxies need to have a lot of protein in their food, particularly lean protein. These will help them get excellent muscle growth and healthy bones, which will help prevent issues with their spine and joints.
Carbs are essential in their diet as well, though there often turn out to be differing opinions on how many to have. As a general rule of thumb — your vet will be able to help more — you can aim for less than 50% of their daily diet to be carb content and aim for smaller servings as far as how much to have at one point. This will give you the best of both opinions.
Healthy fats from fish oil and other omega-3s will promote better eyesight and even better brain development in Dachshunds. Focus on those healthy lean sources of fats as much as you can instead of the “bad fats”.
Lastly, proper vitamins and minerals will finish it all off as far as a balanced diet. Certain ones will be more valuable at various stages in his life, so ask your vet for guidance on this.
There’s no question that there is a lot of effort that goes into enhancing your Dachshund’s life expectancy through diet, but it is long thought to be one of the most critical factors.
Manage his weight with exercise
Due to their strange, though adorable, shapes, Dachshunds can be prone to dealing with obesity. You’ll want to make it another priority to really focus on your doggo’s overall weight, especially as he ages, and his metabolism and energy start to slow down naturally. Other than diet, you’ll also want to focus on exercise as far as a factor for weight management. But, for your Doxie, not all exercise is good.
With their breed-specific issues, particularly with his spine and hips, you’ll want to be very careful with exercise when he is a puppy. He should still get some exercise, but try to keep it focused on shorter spurts—short play sessions, shorter walks, and minimal to no jumping or running. If you are careful to monitor his amount of exercise as a pup, he will be much better off for it as he ages.
When he gets older and is full-grown as an adult, you can look at having him go for longer walks or play sessions. Also, consider low impact activities such as swimming as this will keep the strain off his various joints. He’ll still get some great exercise, and he also will enjoy himself!
A reminder on your Dachshund’s life expectancy
How many of us wish that our dogs could live forever? Yeah, exactly. Even if you are the most attentive pet parent in the world and do every single thing on this list to help increase his life expectancy, there are a lot of factors that even the best specialists and vets can’t predict.
It could be something as simple as a heart attack or even just some sort of bad fall that results in him having severe pain where you have to make that seemingly impossible call whether or not you should put him out of his pain. None of this means that you’ve failed as a pet parent or that you didn’t do it properly. An estimate, at the end of the day, is just that: an estimate. All the more reason to genuinely enjoy every single moment that you possibly can with your Dachshund.
With the right information to guide you on estimated life expectancy and how to get as much time as possible with your sweet Doxie as your faithful bestie, you’ll be well on your way to taking on the world side by side!