If you’ve found yourself reading this post, you’re probably wondering if you can take your Dachshund running with you.
Since Dachshunds are prone to back issues, it makes sense that you’d be looking for answers as to whether your dog can participate in your active hobby.
In this article we will clarify whether or not running is bad for Dachshunds, and provide other helpful information about being active with your Doxie.
Is Running Dangerous for Dachshunds?
Note: I am not a veterinarian. However, I have personal experience with back issues in Dachshunds and have reviewed many scientific reports and papers on the topic. My opinions are based on what I’ve learned but it’s always best to get an opinion for your specific dog from your veterinarian.
The answer to this question is “no” if you have a healthy adult Dachshund. In fact, Dachshunds can be fantastic runners over long distances, if properly trained for such activity.
Many Dachshund owners are very aware that back issues are common in Dachshunds. However, the primary cause of those back issues is misunderstood by many.
The majority of Dachshund back problems are caused by a genetic disease, not something you can control.
One in four Dachshunds will experience some sort of back issue in their lifetime.
With a few exceptions (acute injury and age-related degeneration, these back issues are caused by an underlying genetic disease called intervertebral disc disease (IVDD)
IVDD is a progressive, hereditary disease that causes the spinal column and disks to become brittle and prone to rupture.
It’s understandable to think that, because Dachshunds are prone to IVDD and related back issues, running must be bad for them. Thankfully that’s not always the case.
Since IVDD is hereditary, running cannot cause it. However, if your Dachshund already has IVDD, running can exacerbate the issue and potentially lead to severe injury.
It’s best not to run with your Dachshund if they have any stage of IVDD.
With proper physical training, Dachshunds who enjoy running will unlikely develop back problems from the sport unless they have had a prior back injury, have reached their senior years, or have IVDD and you don’t know it yet.
Any Dachshund who starts running should always start slow and easy. Proper physical conditioning is key in helping to prevent injuries.
Now, if you have an adult Dachshund who does not have IVDD and is seemingly in fantastic health, running is a great option to keep them active.
In the interest of transparency though, I should let you know that there is no test for IVDD and you won’t know your Dachshund has it until they suddenly can’t walk or are clearly experiencing back pain.
Some Dachshund owners don’t want to take any risks – to do anything that could potentially increase the chances of their Dachshund having a back issue.
But, as I said before, if a Dachshund doesn’t have IVDD, they are unlikely to have back issues no matter what their owner allows them to do.
In my opinion, I don’t want to treat my Dachshund like breakable glass their whole lives because they might develop a back problem.
I’d rather they live a quality, enjoyable life until there is some kind of “proof” I need to restrict their activities due to back issues.
Remember too, if you run with your Dachshund on trails or dirt roads, it won’t have as much impact on their muscles or joints as running on pavement.
What Are the Benefits of Running for Your Dachshund?
High energy Dachshunds would greatly benefit from a running routine, especially since these hound dogs do need walks each day.
Doxies are small, but they need at least 30-60 minutes of exercise per day.
For Dachshunds who may battle anxiety or boredom, running can help physically and mentally tire them out.
Dogs who become destructive or anxious because they are not getting enough exercise (link to new post on signs) may benefit from the extra physical exertion that running requires.
Whether running is good for your Dachshund or not will come down to their particular situation.
Of course, not every Dachshund should run or likes it. Only you know your particular dog. If you aren’t sure, check with your vet first.
If your dog is aging and slowing down, it’s probably best to retire your dog from running like they did in their prime.
Puppies shouldn’t do any strenuous activity, or run, until they are fully grown and developed. Putting a puppy’s fragile joints through vigorous exercise can damage growth plates and cause injury.
If your puppy isn’t getting tired after regular walks, try increasing the length of your outings. Should you have the time, your energetic Dachshund puppy may also love going on multiple short walks per day.
Keep in mind that adult Dachshunds require a substantial amount of exercise compared to other small breed dogs. Don’t let their small stature dissuade you from ramping up their activity.
How do I know if my Dachshund is getting too tired?
When running with your Dachshund, there are signs you should look for to ensure your dog is okay to keep going.
If your Dachshund is getting too tired, or dislikes running, they will likely let you know with their body language.
Knowing your Dachshund’s body language will help you determine whether or not you should complete your current exercise.
Look for these signs to determine if your Dachshund is too tired to continue:
- Increased heart rate that will not slow down during breaks
- Excessive slowing down or stopping
- Licking at an area on their body due to harness or collar chafing
- Reddened gums can indicate heat stroke
- Slow, shallow breathing
- Limping or skipping can indicate injury such as a pulled muscle, a crack/tear in a paw pad, or the onset of back issues.
If you notice any of these signs while running with your Dachshund, stop and immediately assess the situation. Then seek veterinary attention as needed.
Should I use a collar or harness for running with my Dachshund?
You should always use a leash and harness when doing anything outdoors with your Dachshund. UA
It’s better if you use a harness to walk or run with your Dachshund. It can give you better control and it’s safer for them.
We really like this harness for hiking or prolonged activity, especially in wetter climates.
Harnesses are always best for Dachshunds because they take pressure oof of your dog’s neck and throat.
Harnesses also provide better control, especially in situations where your dog may want to jump on people or run after wildlife.
To piggyback off that note, this is our favorite leash. It’s easy to clean, weather resistant and made from high quality material.
Another option for running with your Dachshund is using a hands-free leash that attaches to their harness and fits around your waist.
These types of leashes generally offer shock absorption for runners, and they are typically made with reflective piping for low light conditions.
Examples of Dachshunds That Like to Run
Although running with a Dachshund is less common than walking, there are those that enjoy it with no issues.
I organize a 1,000+ member Dachshund club. I;ve had several oweners over the years tell me that they regularly run with their Dachshund.
My first Dachshund, Chester, helped me train for a marathon. He stayed home for the longer training runs but he accompanied me on most of my 5-7 mile runs.
He always loved our outings and would get excited ever time I grabbed his leash and harness.
He never experienced his back issues until he was well into his senior years.
Another great example of Dachshunds who love running is a celebrity Dachshund named TruMan.
TruMan has run a 50k, which is 31 miles!
Those types of achievements come with substantial daily training, but TruMan tremendously showcases what Dachshunds are capable of.
TruMan’s veterinarian knows that he runs and keeps a really close eye on his health for any signs he should stop, but otherwise approves of his activity level (he has a Dachshund brother that runs now too).
Check out this blog post about him and everything he has accomplished with his ultrarunner Mom, Catra.
Most owners will never run a 50k with their Dachshund, but the ability to even fathom such a feat means that you can absolutely take your Doxie on weekly, or even daily, runs.
Dachshunds are perfectly capable of running, and it’s a great outlet for these energetic hounds.
While your Dachshund should not be running if you know they have back issues or some other kind of health condition, most healthy adult Dachshunds can handle anything from a few short sprints on walks to running for miles.
It’s important to check with your veterinarian before starting any new exercise with your dog to make sure they are healthy enough to do so and to ask any specific questions you may have.
Running can be a great way for your Dachshund to get enough exercise and stay healthy. As a bonus, it can also help you build your bond.