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Caring for your Dachshund

Dachshunds are not too much different than any other dog breeds when it comes to their care and feeding. We've outlined some of the more important points below.

Feeding

More than any other aspect of your dog's life, choosing the proper food is paramount to the health and longevity of your dog's life. At one time, it was believed that home cooked meals were the best alternative to commercial dog food. With all the nutritionally complete commercial dog foods available today, home cooking is no longer necessary. A good deal of money and research has gone into the development of these foods and they have been developed for the various stages of your dog's life. You can use just commercial dog food, or, especially in the dog's early years, a supplement of "human" food can be used.

Up to 3 months:
When the puppy is ready to start eating "real" food, at approximately 5 - 7 weeks, he should be fed four times a day. In the morning and evening give him kibble (dog meal) soaked in hot water or broth. Add to that some canned meat-based food or small pieces of fresh raw meat. At noon and bedtime you can give him moistened kibble or whole grain cereal moistened with milk (moistening the food help with the digestive process since dogs don't usually chew their food).

3 to 6 months:
From 3 - 6 months increase the portion size but cut it down to three meals a day - one milk and two meat.

6 months to 1 year:
From 6 months to 1 year, the portions can be slightly increased, but the meals can be cut down to just twice a day.

1 year and older:
A single daily meal can be given and supplemented witha few dry dog biscuits in the morning and evening.

Health Concerns

Dachshunds require special care and attention, but not any more than other breeds. From the day you first get your Dachshund, your veterinarian will be your new pet's second best friend. Choosing a vet can be a difficult task. How do you know if the vet will treat your pet as they would their own pet or will they treat them as just another money maker? One of the best ways is to talk to your neighbors, friends, or family members to get recommendations on a vet. His advice and treatment should help to ensure that your Dachshund lives a full and healthy life. Your vet should be the first person to call when accidents or illness occurs.

You should also keep a first aid kit prepared specifically for your pet. Some of the items to keep in your first aid kit should include: gauze bandages, adhesive tape, medicated powder, hydrogen peroxide, tweezers, and antibiotic cream like Neosporin. Be sure that anything you put on your dog is non toxic.

As far as illnesses go, most of them will have basically the same symptoms: loss of appetite, diarrhea, dull eyes, dull coat, warm and/or runny nose, and a high temperature. You should take the dog's temperature as soon as any symptoms start to appear. For this, you will need a rectal thermometer. Lubricate the tip with a small amount of petroleum jelly. Carefully insert it into the rectum approximately two to three inches and hold it there firmly for at least two minutes. It is important to hold the thermometer firmly so that it cannot be sucked up into the rectum or expelled out. The normal temperature for your Dachshund should be between 101° and 102.5°F.

Grooming your Dachshund

Due to the short length of your Dachshund's hair, they require only a minimal amount of care. You should take a couple of minutes each day to groom your dog's coat. This will keep his skin and coat in good condition. This also gives you the opportunity to check for any scratches, abrasions, etc. that he may have received. Another added benefit is that a dog who is groomed on a daily basis will require far fewer baths. If you start grooming when the dog is a puppy, it will become accustomed to the extra bit of attention.

Brushing the coat:
Stand the dog on a stable bench or table so you don't have to bend over to do the grooming. Start each session with a brisk rubdown with your finger tips over the dogs whole body. This will help to loosen any dead skin. Then give him a thorough, but gentle brushing; first, against the grain of the coat, and then with the grain. During the warmer months, be sure to check his skin and coat for any parasites like fleas, ticks, mites, etc. Any time that parasites are found, you need to remedy the problem as soon as possible. Depending on the parasite, you should also change the dog's bedding and thoroughly treat any area where the dog spends time.

Bathing your Dachshund: 
A normal, healthy dog should be bathed as infrequently as possible. This is because a dog's skin is very different that human skin as it contains many oil glands that help to keep the skin soft and helps to prevent drying and cracking as well as keeping his coat healthy, shiny, and water resistant. Bathing your dog too often will remove the oil from the skin which can lead to dry cracking skin which will be irritating to him. The irritation will cause the dog to scratch which can lead to various skin diseases including eczema and other infectious skin ailments. You will need to bathe your Dachshund only when you have exhausted other means of getting him clean. Before placing your dog in the tub, put a drop of castor oil in each eye and a small piece of cotton in each ear. Make sure the bath water is luke warm, never hot or cold. Be sure to use a soap specifically for dogs. Start at the head and work your way to the back. When rinsing, make sure you get all the soap out of his hair. Then dry him with thick towel. If it's warm outside, you can let him out to complete the drying. If it's cold out, do not let him out.

Trimming the toenails:
If your Dachshund spends a considerable amount of time on concrete or gravel, he will probably keep his nails naturally trimmed. If he doesn't, you'll need to keep the nails trimmed. If the nails are allowed to grow long they will force the dog's toes to point up in the air and cause his feet to spread wide. The toenails can be trimmed with specially designed clippers or with a file. Many dogs do not like to have their nails clipped unless you start doing it at a very early age. It also takes a lot of practice to keep from cutting into the blood vessel in the nail which is known as the quick. You can also trim his nails by using a wooden file. File the nails only in one direction - go from the top of the nail downward with a round stroke, ending underneath the nail.

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