You can’t get much cuter than these adorable sausage dogs! According to the AKC, the Dachshund is the 12th most popular dog in the United States.
With popularity like that, you’d imagine that the best dog food for Dachshunds would be simple and easy to find. However, this is not always the case.
Choosing dog food can be quite complicated, especially when you’re trying to balance the health needs of this breed. Their long back needs extra support through nutrition, for example.
My favorite food for Dachshunds is Wellness Small Breed Complete Turkey & Oatmeal Recipe Dry Dog Food. With whole turkey and many sources of protein, this is the best dog food for Dachshunds on the market.
Some may benefit from a different food, though. I’ve reviewed nine other great dog foods for Dachshunds below, so you should be able to find something for every wiener dog.
Our Top Picks
- Best Overall – Wellness Small Breed Complete Dry Dog Food
- Best for Puppies – Diamond Naturals Small Breed Puppy Dry Dog Food
- Best for Seniors – Merrick Lil’ Plates Senior Dry Dog Food
- Best for Sensitive Stomachs – Blue Buffalo Basics Adult Dry Dog Food
- Best for Allergies – Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet Dry Dog Food
- Best Wet Food – Purina Beyond Canned Dog Food
- Best Premium Option – VICTOR Classic Hi-Pro Plus Formula Dry Dog Food
- Best Budget Option – Purina Pro Plan Dry Dog Food
- Best Natural Food – Zignature Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food
- Best for Weight Loss – VICTOR Purpose Senior Healthy Weight Dry Dog Food
10 Best Dog Foods for Dachshunds Reviewed
Not all Dachshunds are made the same. While there are some great foods that will fit most, I have reviewed ten different options so that you can find something for every canine.
- First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Turkey, Chicken Meal, Salmon Meal, Oatmeal, Ground Brown Rice
- Key Feature: High-quality recipe suitable for nearly any Dachshund
- Nutrient Content: 28% Protein, 15% Fat, 4% Fiber, 11% Moisture
- Type of Product: No Corn, Wheat, or Soy
- Life Stage: Adult
We highly recommend this Wellness Small Breed recipe. It has everything Dachshunds need to stay healthy and happy, including a decent amount of protein and fat.
Deboned turkey is the first ingredient, followed by chicken meal and salmon meal. The inclusion of salmon raises the omega fatty acid content substantially, which can help support your dog’s coat and skin.
Furthermore, this recipe includes glucosamine — an essential nutrient for joint health. Due to their short legs and long back, joint protection is essential.
Antioxidants are also added to prevent oxidative stress, which is linked to a variety of different health problems.
I particularly like that probiotics are added into this formula. While these go a long way to supporting a dog’s digestive health, they are surprisingly difficult to find in their food.
This formula is even free from GMOs, meat by-products, fillers, or artificial preservatives. And, because it is specifically designed for small breed dogs, the kibble is tiny and easy for your Dachshund to eat.
There are truly very few things to dislike about this dog food.
- First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Ground White Rice, Chicken Fat (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Cracked Pearled Barley
- Key Feature: Chicken-based food specifically for small breed puppies
- Nutrient Content: 32% Protein, 22% Fat, 3.5% Fiber, 10% Moisture
- Type of Product: No Corn, Wheat, or Soy; High-Protein
- Life Stage: Puppy
Compared to some other breeds, Dachshund puppies don’t have super specific dietary needs — meaning they can get away with basically any puppy food.
With that said, I particularly like this food by Diamond Naturals. It’s affordable and designed specifically for small breed dogs, so the kibble is tiny. As you can imagine, the kibble needs to be practically miniature if a Dachshund puppy is to easily eat it.
This formula includes omega fatty acids to support your Dachshund puppy’s skin and coat health, and DHA is added for brain growth.
Probiotics are added as well. Your Dachshund puppy is basically starting from scratch when it comes to their gut biome, so supporting it with the correct probiotics can be essential to their health.
This dry food contains absolutely no corn, wheat, or soy. White rice is included, though, so it isn’t grain-free. This is also a lower-quality grain choice for dog food — my only complaint.
- First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes
- Key Feature: Senior dog food packed full of extra nutrients
- Nutrient Content: 32% Protein, 12% Fat, 3.5% Fiber, 11% Moisture
- Type of Product: No Corn, Wheat, or Soy, Grain-Free, Gluten-Free, Weight Control, Sensitive Digestion
- Life Stage: Seniors
When your dog gets into their twilight years, you may want to switch them to a senior dog food — though this isn’t absolutely necessary unless your canine is affected by common senior health problems.
Senior dog food usually restricts calories, which can be helpful for overweight dogs. If your canine begins to slow down, they’ll need less calories, and it may be time to switch their food even if they’re otherwise healthy.
For instance, my own dog has minor hip dysplasia that has only gotten more challenging with age. Senior formulas often include joint-supporting nutrients, so I decided to switch my dog to it when he reached his older years.
If your dog falls into this category, we recommend switching to this senior food by Merrick. It includes many of the added nutrients that older dogs thrive on.
For instance, omega fatty acids are added, and these could be particularly helpful for long-haired Dachshunds who may need more coat support. Dogs with skin irritation will also benefit from this increased nutrient.
Glucosamine is included for joint support. If your dog has joint problems, I highly recommend giving this dog food a try.
And — just to make this food even better — on top of all these added nutrients, this formula uses high-quality ingredients. Meat products are plentiful and high up on the list.
- First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Turkey, Potatoes, Turkey Meal (Source of Glucosamine), Pea Starch, Peas
- Key Feature: Limited ingredient dog food with gentle ingredients for sensitive tummies
- Nutrient Content: 20% Protein, 12% Fat, 6% Fiber, 10% Moisture
- Type of Product: Sensitive Digestion, Grain-Free, Limited Ingredient Diet, No Corn, No Wheat, No Soy
- Life Stage: Adult
There are a lot of things I like about this Blue Buffalo dog food. Firstly, it includes only a few ingredients — which is great for dogs with sensitive stomachs.
Turkey is included as the only protein source. Therefore, this recipe is great for dogs that are okay with a turkey-based food. If your Dachshund is better on a different protein, Blue Buffalo also makes this line with different meat options.
It is important to note that dogs who are sensitive to chicken will also be sensitive to turkey.
This formula includes antioxidants, which are vital to prevent oxidative stress. This sort of damage is associated with a wide variety of different illnesses.
Blue Buffalo also did not put any artificial flavors or preservatives into this dog food. For the most part, it is completely made up of high-quality ingredients.
My only major complaint is that this food contains a lot of peas. And it’s not only whole peas listed on the ingredient list, it’s also a variety of pea derivatives.
Blue Buffalo obviously practiced ingredient splitting with this food, which involves breaking up a single component into many different, smaller ingredients.
For instance, peas have been broken into pea starch and pea protein, making them appear further down on the ingredient list.
If you combined all these into a single ingredient, peas would appear much higher on the ingredient list. This isn’t a good thing, as peas have been associated with heart conditions by the FDA.
- First 5 Ingredients: Salmon, Menhaden Fish Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Cassava Flour, Potatoes
- Key Feature: Small number of high-quality ingredients, best for dogs with allergies
- Nutrient Content: 24% Protein, 10% Fat, 4% Fiber, 10% Moisture
- Type of Product: Limited Ingredient Diet, Sensitive Digestion, No Corn, No Wheat, No Soy, Grain-Free, Pea-Free, Chicken-Free
- Life Stage: Adult
Finding high-quality dog food for canines with allergies is hard work. I would know! My dog has a minor allergy to chicken — if he eats too much, he gets very itchy.
Luckily, the L.I.D recipes by Natural Balance are very high-quality. Unlike some other dog foods made for allergies, this brand doesn’t stuff their food full of peas. In fact, their recipes are completely pea-free.
This particular formulation includes only salmon and fish meal as the main protein sources. As long as your dog isn’t allergic to fish, they should do just fine on this adult dog food.
The use of salmon and other fish also makes the omega fatty acids content very high. If your dog is recovering from the itchy, flaky skin that often comes from allergies, this food is a great option.
- First 5 Ingredients: Beef, Beef Broth, Chicken, Liver, Potatoes
- Key Feature: Wet food packed full of meat products
- Nutrient Content: 8% Protein, 6% Fat, 1.5% Fiber, 78% Moisture
- Type of Product: Grain-Free, Sensitive Digestion, High-Protein
- Life Stage: Adult
Some Dachshunds just do better on wet food — especially picky eaters. The high moisture content can also help dogs maintain a healthy weight, though I wouldn’t necessarily consider this formula a diet dog food option.
This wet dog food includes high levels of meat. Beef is the first ingredient and the main animal product. However, chicken, liver, and beef broth are also included. For the most part, this recipe is only meat.
It includes absolutely no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. It’s also grain-free and contains no corn, wheat, or soy.
Of course, it includes all the vitamins and minerals that your Dachshund needs to thrive. My only complaint is that it doesn’t include many of the extra nutrients that are helpful but not required — like glucosamine and omega fatty acids.
With this being the case, it may require supplementation.
- First 5 Ingredients: Beef Meal, Grain Sorghum, Chicken Fat (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Pork Meal, Chicken Meal
- Key Feature: Premium, expensive, top-of-the-line dog food
- Nutrient Content: 30% Protein, 20% Fat, 3.8% Fiber, 9% Moisture
- Type of Product: High-Protein, Gluten-Free, No Corn, No Wheat, No Soy, Pea-Free
- Life Stage: All Life Stages
You can’t get much better than this formula by VICTOR. It utilizes mostly meat products, including everything from beef meal to menhaden fish meal. And these fantastic ingredients provide everything your Dachshund needs to support lean muscle mass.
This formula is extremely nutrient-dense, which makes it suitable for all life stages. You can feed it to both adult Dachshunds and puppies — a rare trait that’s usually a sign of a higher-quality food.
A probiotic mix is also included to support your dog’s gut health, and this is important for their immune system since most germs will travel through their gut first.
I particularly like that this food is fortified with just about everything your dog could need, like omega fatty acids, for instance.
However, this brand is costly. Much of this expense is due to the high meat content. Meat is more expensive than grains, fruits, or veggies, so if you choose a high-meat formula, you’re likely going to pay a bit more.
- First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Rice, Whole Grain Corn, Poultry By-Product Meal (Source of Glucosamine), Corn Germ Meal
- Key Feature: Budget formula perfect for overweight Dachshunds
- Nutrient Content: 27% Protein, 9% Fat, 5.5% Fiber, 12% Moisture
- Type of Product: High-Protein, Weight Control, High Fiber, Low Fat
- Life Stage: Adult
Not everyone has tons of money to spend on expensive dog food. If you’re looking for a healthy diet on a budget, I highly recommend this option by Purina.
It was specifically made to help dogs stay at a healthy weight, and when it comes to Dachshunds, this is very important — extra weight can damage their long back, leading to IVD down the road. Just a few extra pounds can be extremely detrimental.
Surgical care for these injuries can be even more difficult if the dog is overweight.
This formula includes both probiotics and prebiotics, additives that are essential for your dog’s overall health.
Real chicken is also included as the first ingredient, which is a positive, though many of the others are somewhat low-quality. Whole grain corn is used, as well as corn germ meal.
However, it’s these lower-quality ingredients that allow this formula to be so much cheaper than other options.
- First 5 Ingredients: Turkey, Turkey Meal, Chickpeas, Peas, Sunflower Oil
- Key Feature: All-natural food packed full of high-quality ingredients
- Nutrient Content: 32% Protein, 15% Fat, 4% Fiber, 10% Moisture
- Type of Product: Grain-Free, No Corn, No Wheat, No Soy, Low Glycemic, Limited Ingredient Diet, Gluten Free, Chicken-Free, Natural
- Life Stage: Adult
While it is considerably more expensive than other options, Zignature Turkey Dry Dog Food is all-natural and contains top-notch ingredients.
This recipe includes turkey as the main ingredients, listing both whole turkey and turkey meal as the first two. This is the only animal protein throughout the whole recipe, making it a good option for dogs with allergies.
A variety of veggies are also included, such as chickpeas and peas. However, as we stated previously, peas are not our favorite due to their possible connection to dilated cardiomyopathy.
Legumes can also cause an increase in gas and gastrointestinal discomfort.
Sunflower oil is added to increase the omega fatty acid content, and it may help improve your dog’s overall coat and skin. Dachshunds aren’t terribly prone to skin problems, but you can never go wrong with some extra support!
This formula is completely free from corn, wheat, soy, dairy, and chicken. It may be a good option for Dachshunds with more sensitive stomachs — especially considering the all-natural ingredients.
- First 5 Ingredients: Beef Meal, Whole Grain Brown Rice, Whole Grain Millet, Grain Sorghum, Chicken Fat
- Key Feature: Senior food that is also perfect for weight loss
- Nutrient Content: 27% Protein, 11.5% Fat, 4.5% Fiber, 9% Moisture
- Type of Product: Weight Control, Sensitive Digestion, No Corn, No Wheat, No Soy, Gluten Free
- Life Stage: Senior
Weight gain can be a serious problem for Dachshunds. Too much weight can put extra stress on their longer-than-average spine — leading to back problems.
Sadly, most dogs do not get the exercise they need and eventually become overweight.
This problem is particularly bad for senior dogs.
If your senior Dachshund is a bit overweight, we highly recommend this dog food. It contains all the extra nutrients they need as seniors and it can help them lose weight.
The fiber content is higher, helping your dog stay fuller for longer. And the lower fat content may also help them lose weight, while the high protein provides enough nutrition for their muscles.
L-carnitine is included to support cellular metabolism, and probiotics are added to support their digestive health.
Glucosamine is also added to support your dog’s aging joints and back.
Guide to Buying Dog Food for Dachshunds
It can be difficult to choose a quality dog food for your Dachshund with mile-long ingredient lists and plenty of industry slang.
In this section, we’ll go through everything you need to know about canine nutrition and how it applies to your Dachshund — helping you choose the perfect food for your pup.
Nutritional Needs for Dachshunds
Dachshunds have similar nutritional needs to other canines. The AAFCO outlines exactly what dogs need at each life stage, and the large majority of the food on the market follows these guidelines.
However, there are a few nutritional needs that are unique to Dachshunds, and they’re important to consider when selecting a food.
Sustainable Protein Levels
Dachshunds are not the most active dogs out there, and they usually don’t need as much protein as some other breeds. They aren’t running around as much as a labrador retriever, after all!
Dachshunds that are used for hunting purposes will move around more, though. These dogs will require higher protein levels.
However, that doesn’t mean that every other Dachshund doesn’t need any protein. As canines, they still require a substantial amount of protein to thrive — most dogs need at least 30%, even when they’re as laidback as your average wiener dog!
Preferably, this protein should come from a high-quality source. Whole meat and meat meals are your best options, as these provide the protein your canine needs to thrive and are quite high in fat.
Dogs need a lot more fat than most people seem to realize. Even Dachshunds, who have lower energy needs than other canines, need substantial amounts.
Most of a dog’s energy should come from fat — not from carbohydrates.
We recommend about 15% to 25% fat intake, unless your dog is overweight, in which case they may need less.
Preferably, your Dachshund should be eating high levels of animal fat. While whole meat and meat meals are often high in fat by themselves, it isn’t odd to see companies adding in animal fats separately.
Foods that contain high amounts of meat probably have enough fat for your canine.
The only time a Dachshund should eat lower fat levels is if they have a specific health problem that requires it. Many weight control dog foods are lower in fat for this reason.
Dachshunds do not need many carbohydrates at all.
This macronutrient provides easily accessible energy, but Dachshunds simply don’t need this source of energy as much as some other breeds.
Labrador Retrievers and German Shepherds might benefit from the energy boost, but your Dachshund is probably just going to gain extra weight.
Therefore, we recommend recipes that are lower in carbohydrates.
A low-carb diet is particularly important for dogs with diabetes, which is somewhat prevalent in Dachshunds.
Look for recipes that include fruits and nutritious veggies as the primary sources of carbs. Grain-free foods are not required, but do check that the recipe is using whole grains. Refined grains provide little nutrition.
They’re just fillers, for the most part.
Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamins and minerals are essential for your dog’s health. Without them, they simply can’t function correctly.
The AAFCO lays out all the nutritional needs of puppy and adult Dachshunds, and all foods with its seal follow these nutritional guidelines.
Thankfully, that’s most dog foods on the market today.
However, Dachshunds may benefit from some extra nutrients that aren’t technically “required.” For instance, omega fatty acids can support your dog’s skin and coat, but the AAFCO doesn’t require them.
Glucosamine is vital for Dachshunds. While they aren’t as prone to joint problems as some other breeds, they are predispositioned to some. Glucosamine may help prevent this issue.
Health Issues and Specific Dietary Requirements for Dachshunds
A Dachshund’s long back is one reason they are so adorable! However, selective breeding for this trait has caused the breed to develop some health problems.
Diet can play a role in preventing and managing many of these issues.
Bone and Joint Disease
Dachshunds are at risk for both hip and joint dysplasia, a genetic condition that causes the joints to align incorrectly.
Because the ball and socket of the joint don’t fit together properly, the bones rub against each other and wear down. Over time, this causes arthritis-like symptoms.
However, these usually occur before a dog’s fourth birthday, because the condition develops as the puppy grows.
Diet does play a role in this disease. If you overfeed your puppy, there is an increased likelihood that your canine may end up with joint issues. The extra calories can lead to unstable growth, which can cause the joints to misalign.
Glucosamine and other joint-supporting ingredients can be helpful if your dog does experience this problem. These have been shown to improve osteoarthritis symptoms, so they may also improve symptoms caused by joint dysplasia.
Intervertebral Disc Disease
Intervertebral disc disease is a severe condition when a dog’s spinal column becomes swollen. Ligaments between the vertebrae protect the spine, but this protection isn’t always enough.
Usually, this is due to some sort of trauma, though it can be minor — such as a jump.
Dogs with longer backs are more prone to this condition, including the Dachshund.
IVDD can be extremely serious. Some dogs go from fine to paralysis in less than an hour. Luckily, it can be reversed. Kennel rest and surgery are both treatment options.
The quick progression of this disease can be quite distressing. I know it surprised me when my Shih Tzu suddenly was unable to move her back legs!
A diet high in protein and lower in fat is often recommended. More muscular dogs may be less prone to this condition since the muscle helps them deal with the shock of jumps.
Dachshunds are sometimes prone to patellar luxation — a condition that affects their kneecaps. This condition is hereditary, so diet can not prevent it altogether.
However, glucosamine and similar joint-supporting nutrients may be helpful. These protect against joint damage, and this condition is quite similar.
With that said, the evidence for diet-supporting supplements and patellar luxation is scarce.
Many different eye problems may affect the Dachshund. For instance, they are prone to glaucoma and cataracts, though the latter usually only pops up in their later years.
Cataracts also occur with diabetes. Sometimes, they are one of the first signs of the disease.
Luckily, several supplements may help dogs with vision issues. For instance, vitamin E deficiency has been associated with certain eye problems. Therefore, keeping your dog on a diet containing plenty of vitamin E may be helpful.
Dachshunds are prone to obesity — like nearly any dog breed out there today. As you might imagine, obesity can cause serious issues.
On top of the normal problems associated with obesity, excess weight will also increase their risk for IVDD. The extra weight will put extra strain on their spinal column, which is the last thing you want.
To prevent this, we highly recommend keeping a close eye on your dog’s body condition. You should be able to feel their ribs but not see them.
If your dog gains weight, a weight management food may be in order. You shouldn’t over-exercise a Dachshund, as you may injure their back. Therefore, your primary means of keeping them a healthy weight will involve their diet.
Out of all the foods I reviewed, the Wellness Small Breed Complete Turkey & Oatmeal Recipe Dry Dog Food was the best dog food for Dachshunds. It includes high-quality ingredients and comes in a tiny kibble size.
However, in the end, any of the foods on this list are likely a good option for most wiener dogs.
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