The average life span of dogs is increasing, just as the average human life span is. A well-cared-for dachshund usually lives to be 14 — 15 years old; many live longer. One of the first signs of aging is slowing down. It will take your dog longer to get up and get started from a lying position, longer to climb stairs (one at a time, rather than two). Some of these changes are natural, but it is important not to overlook changes that may be symptoms of a condition needing treatment.
10 Tips for Keeping Your Senior Dog Healthy
- Establish a relationship with the best veterinarian you can afford. Make an appointment with the vet every 6 months. Your vet should be someone you trust and feel comfortable talking with him.
- Inform yourself about common conditions for older dogs and possible therapies available. Be alert to symptoms. When symptoms warrant, bring them to your vet’s attention promptly. Discuss treatment options.
- Feed your senior dachshund the best food you can afford; consider preparing a homemade diet that can be specially adapted to your senior’s specific needs. Provide two small meals daily rather than one large one.
- Don’t overfeed. Obesity creates health problems and shortens life.
- Consider dietary supplements such as glucosamine/chondroitin for arthritis.
- Provide adequate exercise, and adjust to changing abilities.
- Dental health in seniors is very important. Brush teeth daily and cleaned them professionally whenever your vet advises.
- Vaccinate only once every 3 years, as currently advised by the major veterinary colleges.
- Control fleas and ticks. Keep your dog and his environment scrupulously clean.
- Make your senior as much a part of your life as possible, and do all you can to keep them interested, active, happy, and above all comfortable.
I have a beautiful miniature dachshund she will be 15 years old in August not doing too bad tiny sign of her right hip hurting a little bit what can I do for her naturally to help her feel better I love her so?
This dog is very vital and very happy as most dachshunds are she runs the house so I hope I can keep her around a longer time is that possible?
Dr. Holly Ramsey, Ph.D.
Thanks for your comments.
About Right hip pain/Extended lifespan:
Likely your Doxie is experiencing the beginnings of hip dysplasia. With the condition, the ball of the femur becomes misaligned with the socket joint at the hip. That creates rubbing resulting in pain and inflammation, with the joint becoming increasingly worn.
Ultimately, the “fix” is surgical; however, natural aids to health issues as age progress can help in their capacity. Still, as a rule, the vet’s treatment plan should be primary when conditions become severe with aids meant to serve in an assistive role and do so quite advantageously.
Something to remember is “a botanical is a pharmaceutical not yet refined into a drug,” meaning they can therefore have adverse reactions as any substance you put in a Dachshund’s body. Pay attention for those.
One botanical with natural pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory attributes is: “Boswellia serrata,” which boasts a powerful anti-inflammatory. Other examples:
● MSM, chondroitin, glucosamine
● Herbal prescriptions in collaboration with the vet
● CBD oil
● Vitamins C & E
● Fatty Acids
Prevention and management are key with the condition, very common in Dachshunds. Since we know hip dysplasia is a possibility from early on and maintaining connective tissue health as long as possible is the priority, the idea is to initiate a wholesome diet, leading to managing weight adequately and involve the animal in a low-impact exercise regimen.
Excessive impact like jumping on and off of higher surfaces needs to be avoided, climbing/descending stairs, catching fly balls where the animal has to leap into the air; these are all activities that can make the condition worse. Look around your house from the eyes of someone with a bad hip or back and take note of things that would be challenging for you and then take it to her level.
As far as helping your Dachshund live a prolonged life, the ideal way to do that is to make sure you collaborate with a trusted vet. That should be regularly through each vital stage of growth/development and follow as age progresses.
Working with a professional on a proper diet plan for each phase of life, varied exercises suited for the milestones, and ensuring adequate care when health issues do arise, is the perfect way to ensure a Doxie has the highest quality of life; more important than quantity. Still, in following this path, an extended lifespan usually falls into place.
I have a sweet beautiful Isabella Doxie, Gus. He’ll soon be 15. Gus has so many health issues it’s heart breaking. Kidney disease, IBD, colitis, occasional seizures. All vets in LA are always too booked and packed to get in within 2 weeks or even a month… including my vet.
Gus has gone from 11lbs to 8 lbs. is heart breaking. I try everything!!! I take him for fluids every day. His diarrhea can only be controlled by small amounts of Imodium. He’s my best friend. I’ve literally spent 8k on him in the last 2 months. Does anyone know what I can feed him? He needs to gain weight!
Shane R Horwedel
Well I would feed the little guy things he just likes. If he’s not drinking your emergency vet should put him on an IV with a Saline bag. You don’t have to keep him at the vet after they put the IV in. Simply keep it taped up and make sure he’s hydrated. This step would most likely help with his weight but its important to be think of his quality of life at this point. Its the hardest part but try and make the most of the time you have left with him. Feed him his favorites and spend time with him. Unless a dramatic change happens think about letting him go to Weiner heaven. I’m sorry this is the hardest thing in the world, but don’t stop trying and just make the most of the time you have.
Lynne M Miller
Do you live near any vet schools? If you have a regular vet, a referral could be made. I live an hour from Cornell, and there is also another vet clinic in Ithaca NY that is excellent, with specialists. But the vet schools have specialists such as cardiology.. It’s a thought.
I recently had to take my Doxie in for an emergency and ended up driving 60 miles to Scranton, PA but had to wait until the next morning. Unfortunately, the hospital did not have a neurology specialist. I had called Cornell, the day his problem started, and was told I would need a referral, but I had never needed one before. Besides, they were at capacity, and could not do anything but diagnose. I have been there many times and it was where several of my animals had been treated, including this boy who had his disc surgery there in 2018. I was told I would need a referral, and I did get one from the emergency clinic and were told Cornell was expecting us. We then turned around, and drove the 120 miles back to Ithaca, and he was taken in for observation because of his history of heart problems .rather than waiting with him in the very full waiting room. it took 3 1/2 hours before we were told what was going on and was admitted, had successful surgery for a ruptured cervical disc. As you know, the anxiety., and the quest to do what’s best for your pup is almost over whelming.
My dachshund is 13 years old constantly panting cannot get him into any vetz office they are weeks backed up. Woody is obviously uncomfortable. What can I do for him?
Dr. Holly Ramsey, Ph.D.
Hi William Appleby,
Our Dachshunds are unable to communicate to us what’s happening with them in their body or how they feel healthwise. In order to do so, they use panting as their tool. When your Doxie is trying to cope with discoform or feeling pain, continual or heavy paint will often be an initial warning sign.
A first point to check is the dog’s weight, is she obese? That can lead to multiple health issues for us and pups. It’s less of an immediate problem but it does need attention. If your 13-year-old is panting excessively, a vet will need to advise on how to get rid of the extra weight so she can breathe easier and avoid a vast array of more harmful conditions.
In the worst case scenario, as dogs progress in age, they become susceptible to varied medical conditions creating the panting response. One of those is quite severe and results in heavy, excessive panting and that is congestive heart failure. It is relatively exclusive to senior dogs and sadly by the time a beloved Dachshund begins the panting stage due to heart failure it can often have progressed too far.
It is critical my friend that your Doxie receive emergency medical care for examination and treatment as soon as possible.
Hope that help,
Lynne M Miller
Dear Holly, My boy’s heart problem was picked up on a regular annual exam, and I was asked if he had ever had a heart murmur before. He was seen by a cardiologist in Syracuse, NY, and was put on Pimobendan after his echocardiogram. He has had echos done very 6-8 months, and was doing fine from that standpoint. I knew he hadn’t had a murmur since he had surgery at Cornell just over a year before, and it would have been picked up then. Cornell pretty much covers all the bases when an animal is evaluated.
BTW, vet cardiologists are scarcer than hens’ teeth. Shortage of vets, too.
My Dachshund Stan, is about 10-11 years old, he has had hip pain for years. Most recently we were told he has Cataracts. The last 3-4 months he has become so aggressive. At first I thought he had a bad tooth. We did course of pain med.’s and antibiotics. He bites us in an aggressive manner when we pet him at times. We have also noticed in the last 6 months that he wants to get up at 2, 4, or 5 am, to go out and to eat, and his routine has always been 6- 7 am, almost like he is getting confused about the time.
Can dogs get confused or demented? Or is it most likely the blindness or a combination?
Hi Dr. Ramsey,
I have a 16 and a half year young Dachshund named Otto. He is doing quite well for his age. No signs of any pain or serious conditions. He has a few fatty lumps on his belly but my vet assured me that they would not be a problem. I would like to know if you have any advice on bathing a senior dachshund? Otto has not had a bath in several months and being the couch potato that he is he doesn’t like a break in his routine. He managed to get something sticky on his coat and I wonder if I should just wipe it off with a warm damp towel or if I should bathe him. What do you suggest? Thank you in advance.
My dear friend Bubba named after the golfer.He is 15 years old having some discomfort in his hind legs hoping his vet can give him some relief possible.I love this little brown dog !hope and pray for a few more years together 12/29/22 .Thank you!
Hi Dr. Ramsey,
I have a 17 yr old, long-haired mini doxie who’s blind and has wobbly legs but gets around when “he” wants to. Recently he’s been having trouble holding his head up. Sometimes he rolls in his sleep & can’t get up on his own. He’s also in major need of a nail trim; most of the time had to be muzzled but groomer had a hard time w/ him last time. So we’ve been trying to bathe him in the sink, but can’t cut his nails. I’m afraid to put him under for a nail trim plus I’m not sure if his heart is strong enough & it’s pricey! He has a few other issues and we’re blessed that he’s still going.
Any suggestions as:
1. I’m searching for a new vet as ours has “changed a lot of things”.
2. I’m grieving the loss of my mom, a dog & a cat from a year ago.
3. Trying to help my mom’s dog adjust to her new life w/ us.
Thank you for any advice!