How Long Does an Overweight Dachshund Live?

We love our Dachshunds with all of our hearts and want them to be with us as long as they can.

You may be wondering how long that is though.

There are a lot of factors that influence a Dachshund’s lifespan.

One of them is how overweight they are.

Article originally published December 6, 2012

Overweight Black and Tan Dachshund Lying on a Tile Floor
Photo Credit: Depositphotos/dfartgroup

A chubby Dachshund is not “more to love” or a “cute”.

That extra weight is fat and it’s unhealthy for your Dachshund.

A fat Dachshund might not live as long or might get sick and not be able to live a life of quality and adventure.

Let’s Get Real: Is Your Dog Fat?

Pet obesity is on the rise and it’s one of the most common Dachshund health issues.

We love our Dachshunds “just they way they are” though so we tend to miss when they are getting a little chunky until it’s too late.

If you want to help your Dachshund live a long, happy life, you have to honestly asses their current weight.

Here is a handy chart to asses your dog’s body condition from the Association of Pet Obesity and Prevention.

Photo courtesy of Virtua Vet

If your dog is a 4, they could probably stand some lose some weight.

If they’re a 5, then your dog definitely needs to loose weight.

Determining your dog’s ideal weight is more than just looking at a chart though. There are several other factors to consider.

For more information, check out my article How Much Should My Dachshund Weigh.

How Long Will My Overweight Dachshund Live?

The average Dachshund lifespan is 12 – 15 years, with some living longer and some living shorter.

A Dachshund’s lifespan can be shortened by things like accidents, back problems, genetics, diseases, and how fit they are.

New research with data provided by Banfield Pet Hospital found that the lifespan of overweight dogs was up to 2.5 years shorter, on average, than the lifespan of dogs with a healthy body weight. (source)

Because no one can tell you exactly how long any Dachshund will live if they are not obese, they can’t tell you exactly how long they will live if they are.

Being overweight can cut up to 2.5 years off of your dog’s life.

However, with an average life expectancy of 12-15 years, and the fact that excess weight can shorten a dog’s life by up to 2.5 years, an overweight Dachshund could potentially only live to be 9.5 to 12.5 years old.

What Can I Do if My Dachshund is Overweight?

The first step is admitting there is a problem.

If you have determined that your Dachshund is overweight, you’ve already started the process of making a positive change in your dog’s life.

The next step would be to talk to your veterinarian to discuss your Dachshund’s health and rule out any underlying medical causes for your dog’s excess weight.

Beyond that, it’s pretty much like with people: Controlling weight is a matter of balancing calories in with calories out.

Calories Out: The Exercise Factor

When my Dachshund’s start to look a little plump, the first thing I do is look at the amount of exercise they’re getting.

Here are 9 signs that your Dachshund may need more exercise.

Make sure you are walking your Dachshund enough times a week and a long enough distance for each walk.

Calories In: The Food Factor

You’ll then want to look at how much your Dachshund is eating each day.

Making sure your dog is not overeating, or slightly cutting down the amount they eat, can help keep your Dachshund’s weight under control.

Don’t forget to count the treats or the tasty tidbits other people in our house may be sneaking your pup behind your back!

Don’t be afraid to ask them – tell them why it’s important that they are honest.

Let your family members know there are other ways to show the dog that they love them without making them fat.

Consider that some supplements also contain calories like raw goats milk, probiotic yogurt, multivitamin chews, and joint chews.

Make sure you are giving your Dachshund a high-quality food. You’ll be able to feed a lower volume of food if it’s more nutritionally dense.

Check to make sure you are giving your Dachshund the correct amount of food.

Verifying you are not feeding more than is recommended on the back of the package is a good place to start.

However, that is just a general guideline. If your dog is gaining weight, you may need to reduce their food portion a little.

Replacing part of your dog’s meal with no-salt green beans can help them feel full while significantly reducing calories consumed.

Also, switch to scheduled feeding if you have been free-feeding (leaving the bowl of food out all day).

It’s easier to monitor how much your Dachshund is eating if you know how much and when they are eating.

Also, if you have a multi-pet household, it ensures that your sneaky Doxie can’t steal out of their Brother or Sister’s bowl.

What Does a Fit Dachshund Look Like?

Honestly, it’s not what most people think a Dachshund is supposed to look like.

My Dachshunds are very fit and I’ve had many people over the years ask me what is wrong with them, or if they are sick, because they look “too skinny”.

I can assure you they are not too skinny.

They are certainly fitter than most Dachshunds out there but I get complimented by almost every veterinarian I see for their excellent weight.

People are used to seeing round Dachshunds that look like they have a barrel chest.

They look cylindrical from front to back like a sausage.

What most people don’t realize though are that Dachshunds are a deep-chested breed.

When people usually think of “deep-chested” dog breeds, Dobermans, Greyhounds, Great Danes and Standard Poodles usually come to mind.

But Dachshunds are a deep-chested breed too!

A dog with a deep chest has waist that is significantly wider, measured from the back to the bottom of the chest (sternum).

A deep-chested dog usually has a chest that extends to or below their elbows.

When a deep-chested dog is at an ideal weight, their waist is significantly smaller than their chest circumference.

They have a visible “tuck” as their waist slopes up sharply behind their ribcage, and sometimes the last rib or two is visible to the naked eye.

Final Thoughts

Letting your Dachshund gain too much weight is a problem but it’s less so if you commit to doing something about it.

Obesity can shorten a Dachshund’s lifespan up to 2.5 years.

I know you want your furry companion to live as long as they can so please discuss your dog’s weight with your vet, increase their exercise, and adjust how you feed them, if needed to keep their weight in check.

What is the life expectancy of an overweight Dachshund?

About the Author

Hi, I’m Jessica. I’ve been studying the Dachshund breed since 2007, owned 3 of my own, and shared in the lives of thousands of others through their owner’s stories. When I’m not sharing what I know on this blog, you can find me hiking, camping, and traveling with my adventurous wiener dogs.

50 Comments

  1. Woof! Woof! Golden Thanks for sharing this. I used to be FAT. I finally lost 10 lbs, my hiking/walking/running n swimming did the trick. Lots of Golden Woofs Sugar

    1. Wow! That’s great Sugar. Getting outside is more fun than sitting on the couch anyway isn’t it? πŸ™‚

  2. This is a touchy subject. What do you say to a friend when you know their “baby” is just too darn fat without totally offending them? And what is they do know but choose not to make any lifestyle changes that would help? Good friends recently lost a dog to heart disease. The dog was extremely obese, the owner knew it but did nothing about it. My heart hurt for their loss but in the back of my mind was that nagging “you could have done something”. Of course I can never say anything, but darn it i wish they’d made some changes before it was too late.

    1. I am really sorry for your friend. It is always hard to lose a pet no matter what may have influenced it.

      Yeah, it is tough. Through our Adventureweiner Club, I see a few that are grossly overweight. I try to reach people indirectly through education or example but resist saying anything to the owner directly. However, I have had a couple of people as my opinion and I tactfully tell them what I really think (that yes, your dog is overweight). People just need to understand that having an obese pet means that they will be will you for a shorter time.

    2. I am worried about my dachshund. He is fat. “Tonka is my best buddy and I thought I was being “nice” by feeding him scraps. For the last 3 mos he has not had any scraps. He is still fat but we are going to start taking walks again. I Hope I can turn this around.

      1. Hi everyone,

        How nice to see this blog. I have a problem with my “Lucy”. She loves to eat and I love to feed her. Six years ago I adopted her and she was 11 lbs…now she’s 16. How much food do you give your mini every day. I don’t know if that’s wrong with me or it’s because I give her too many snacks. Help!

        1. Hi Carole. The struggle is real. Almost ever Dachshund will always try to convince you they are starving. They really know how to beg and make you feel bad. I’m glad you are seeking some help but the #1 thing you can do is to manage your impulse to give her treats and extra food. Choose high-quality, low-calorie treats when you do want to give them to her. Limit the number though and/or cut down her volume of food to compensate for the extra calories throughout the day. My two are at a healthy weight and both weigh around 1 lbs. They get about 3/4 cup of food a day spit between two meals. On days that they get a lot of treats, I give them a little less. We are also really active though. A dog who is less active would need less calories. Anyway, I want to help but could write a novel here about this issue. Instead, please read my article about Dachshund weight and how to keep them fit: https://youdidwhatwithyourweiner.com/what-should-my-dachshund-weigh/ Good luck!

  3. I wish that more people understood the importance of keeping their dog at a healthy weight! When we see dogs that are at their ideal weight their owners think they are too skinny, it’s so sad!

    Love the diagram. I thought Sherman was losing weight so I increased his food a little, then I took him into work and he had gained 4 pounds! I was so bummed! Needless to say I adjusted his food again!

    1. I feel like it is all about education. I know about pet obesity being a problem but forget that some others either don’t or don’t realize the gravity of the situation. Since our blog is about the heath and fitness of small dogs, and I see more overweight small dogs than I do big, perhaps it is a subject I should talk more about on our blog.

  4. I finally bought senior less-active food for my 5 older mini dachshunds. Of course they hate it. That’s the point. If I give them Chef Michael’s Chicken they eat the chicken bits, leave the peas and carrots, and gain a pound a day. Since they hate this new food they eat less and so they’re on a diet as well as getting only what they need as seniors. No worries: after a few days, that stuff will start to look really good to them. Oh, except for Franny. She’ll still get the special Franny Food because she really won’t eat anything else, she’d rather dry up and blow away. Spoiled..rotten. (See The Tao of Franny blog post)

    1. Ha! I try to use that method for me too…try to keep food on hand that I am not very excited about. When I am truly hungry I will eat it but I won’t “go to the food” when I am simply bored πŸ™‚

  5. It really is a lot more difficult to determine than these charts make it seem. I know it looks simple but when your vision and senses are obscured by love or denial or just being accustomed to seeing your dog look a certain way. It can be hard to gauge. So many people have told me my dog is too thin, including people who know more than most about what neglect looks like.

    From the chart she is definitely a 2 but is also kind of a 1 because her ribs and spine are visible. There is nothing wrong with her muscle mass and I don’t think she looks emaciated but others have told me she does. This dog eats a ton of food! At the max of what is recommended for her weight. The vet says she is perfectly fine but charts like these make me question that. Nothing is easy, is it?

    1. Yes…It can be difficult as fur and denial can get in the way. I do think that people can get a good idea by checking their dog themselves against this chart.

      As with anything though, there are always exceptions. Each dog is different, like people, and have different healthy set-weights. According to this chart, a dog may appear slightly over or under weight but still be healthy in actuality. That is why it is always good to follow up with your vet. Chester is definitely on the thinner side as you can see most of his ribs but the vet said he is at a healthy weight.

  6. Nola’s about a 3. I can see the last 2-3 ribs, easily feel her hip bones and her spine. She’s solid muscule. I do want to get her down a few more ounces though; she should be at the lowest weight possible (while still being healthy!) for agility so theres the least amount of stress on her joints.
    Amanda

    1. I have heard that people with dogs in agility prefer them to be on the thinner side. It’s like any athlete – there is an ideal strength to weight ratio for maximum performance I suppose.

  7. What a lot of people don’t realize is that commercial dog food is a huge factor in making dogs fat. Dogs are not supposed to eat carbohydrates and that is all dry kibble is. Dry food is a major factor in causing diabetes, kidney problems and lots more. Just a switch to a more species appropriate diet can vastly improve a dog’s health. Feeding a “diet” kibble is not appropriate nor is restricting calories a great majority of the time. I don’t know what they were thinking when they made kibble. It’s certainly not something a dog should be eating.

    1. Yes…to much carbs OR fat/protein can cause pet obesity. Many people who feed their dog regular kibble with lots of carbs might switch to a grain free kibble (which is a step in the right direction) and keep feeding the same amount – causing their dog to become even more overweight because they don’t realize that the portions will likely need to be reduced.

      In my experience, there is the same danger with raw food too. Sometimes if one switches from kibble to raw (which can be more calorie dense), the amount of food given to your dog needs to be reduced.

      1. Actually I free feed and they get as much fat as they want and nobody is fat. Carbs are not required by dogs at all while fat and protein are. You don’t have to reduce the amount of food if carbs are cut totally out. And there is no danger with raw since it weighs much more than dry food. It naturally takes less to fill a dog. Of course, sometimes when switching a dog from kibble to real meat a dog will gorge themselves and overeat just because they can’t believe their great luck but as time goes on and they realize the great food is there to stay they chill out.

        1. I switched from dry kibble to raw freeze dried. I didn’t know it was calorie dense and fed the same portion as the old food Big mistake. They all gained weight. I have since cut back the portions but I struggle thinking it’s not enough food. I have to keep telling myself they will be better off with less.

          1. Hi Dee. You can try adding thawed out frozen green beans (not canned because of the sodium) to your pup’s food to make up some of the volume without the calories. Most dogs love them. I don’t know how much you are feeding your pups but, for reference, Gretel is 12 lbs., and she gets about 1/2 cup of raw food a day – 1/4 in the morning and 1/4 in the evening – to maintain her weight. I have to reduce that amount a bit in the winter when she isn’t as active. Also, on days when I know she is going to get a lot of treats, I reduce that amount too.

  8. I can’t tell you the number of times I have seen dogs and thought they were overweight. When I ask what does your vet say about the dog’s weight, the answer is usually: “his/her weight is fine”. Our dogs generally need more weight, but we have no problem cutting them back when they start to gain weight.

  9. Thank you for your post, feeding too much to a dog as much as we will like it, is bad for us in the long term! That’s why we also have a body score chart on our website similar to the one you have but we also have views of the dog from above which you may be interested in and we also have one for cats and rabbits! Thank you for making people aware!

  10. Heavens no! Mom is always being complimented on the great shape my sis and I are in – the way it should be. We are mom’s fitness buds so we 3 stay fit together. We have once cat on the chubby side which makes mom nuts but he has been that way forever.

  11. Keeping a dog fit is no mystery. Like people, it’s simply a matter of feeding them a high quality diet, not that commercial trash, and plenty of exercise. While part of me gets angry and disgusted with people who allow their dogs to become fat and call it “cute”, I realize some people just need education on proper dog care. Then there’s well meaning owners who just need to find a good balance between diet and exercise. There was once a time where my Pickles was fat. We exercised, he ate wet food, and my God did he get plenty of treats! It was a bit excessive, though. The fat seemed to just creep up on him. I woke up one morning to realize my cute little hot dog now looked like a ballpark frank! I also noticed a slight dip in his energy, and his bowel movements left something to be desired. I knew something had to be done. I cut back on his treats, switched to a dry food, and had to exercise double hard to lose the fat. And at the time, it was a struggle to get in extra exercise in with my busy schedule. Things would have been a whole lot easier if I just took the extra precautions. It was well worth it to make the change, though. Pickles is now at a healthy weight again, and the multiple comments on his appearance proves that. Not only is he in the best shape of his life, but I too have noticed improvements in my life. His exercise needs forces me to get off the couch and get a workout, and as most people know, exercise releases endorphins which makes you happy. I can’t wait for this summer. The pet’s are gonna have a hot mom. And with recently adopting Penny, all the more reason to go for a jog. Seriously, she won’t let me be lazy. She’ll yell at me by the door until I do. Is there any better motivator than a dog? Lol. Anybody like win turducken? It’s what you get when you treat your dogs right. A great post to remind pet owners the benefits of a fit dog. Btw, I’m new to this blog. I discovered it, oh, maybe a half hour ago and I’m already in love. Lol. Keep up the great work!

    1. What an inspiring story. Thanks for sharing! Sometimes we don’t realize the fat is creeping up until one day we look in the mirror, or at our dog, and it is obvious. It would be great if that point was never reached. As you pointed out, it can take so much more work to reverse it than it would have to stay on top of it in the first place. I know with Chester, he can fluctuate by a pound do to this creep. One day I notice he is getting a little chubby (but know it has been building for a while) so I cut down his food and increase the exercise. Then comes some times when I look at him and say “my gosh he has gotten so skinny” so I up his food a little. It’s always a give and take balance around our house. The important thing is being able to recognize when something needs to be done and being willing to take action.

      Thanks for reading our blog and taking the time to comment. We are glad you like it!

  12. I’m with Kristine: the chart is fine as a rough guide, but it quite frankly does not work for many breeds, particularly the sighthounds. By the time a greyhound is a No. 3, he’s fat.

    Mine are difficult. Jeffie is super skinny, even for a greyhound, and it’s hard to keep weight on him. He’s a No. 1, for sure, but the vet (who does the greyhound track work in our town so is as near to a greyhound expert as you can hope for in a vet) says he looks fighting fit and perfectly healthy. In fact, when I asked him if he thought Jeffie was too skinny, he snorted and said no, he looks as if he’s just come off the track and could happily go back, in other words, in good, athletic shape. While he has bony protuberances visible at a distance, he does also have great, fat, solid muscles. No body fat to speak of, but muscle he certainly has.

    Sid, on the other hand is a tripod and a pig when it comes to food. If I didn’t watch him he would become fat, for sure, and a fat greyhound is a horrible, horrible sight! He doesn’t fit ANY of the descriptions between 1 and 3. I can see his bony protuberances at a distance, yet he does have a little visible fat. He has excellent muscles (his professional masseuse calls them ‘ridiculously big’). I can feel all his ribs, and yet if I don’t watch him extremely carefully, he begins to lose his tuck and quite clearly has a fat belly. Luckily, I know what to look for in a greyhound, but if anyone were to go by your chart, he’d be very definitely FAT. The last three greyhound ribs are supposed to be visible.

    1. I agree that this chart is not a one-size fit all. It does to a pretty good job for most breeds. However, I really see it as useful because it increases awareness about the weight of one’s pet. The point of the chart to me is to see where our dog falls and ask your vet questions if you have them – if they don’t seem to fit in any of these categories.

      Chester is more like a 2. I think he is too think but my vet gives me the “you crazy” look every time I say he needs to gain a half a pound or so πŸ™‚

      1. Yes, it’s a good wake-up call for people with ‘average’ shaped dogs, for sure. I really hate to see fat dogs. We can see that their quality of life is so much less than it could be, but their owners don’t seem to be able to get past their own fuzzy viewpoint.

  13. We lost our last Lab, Biscuit, in April last year with a tumour on the heart. She was overweight, and twice on a diet, so we blame ourselves for not persevering. Our current Lab, Polly, is 17 months and definately a 3, and we intend to keep her that way.

    1. I am so sorry to hear about your loss. We can’t beat ourselves up because we can never be 100% sure that it was the weight that cased such a problem. However, I do believe that keeping your dog at a healthy weight can help influence the development if diseases. Good for you for keeping track of the body condition of your new doggie. May you have many happy years together!

  14. Our mini dachshund pup turned five months old yesterday. Her body has become kind of sleek and seal like, with a belly that hangs down instead of being tucked. She is fed three times a day- equal amounts Natural Instinct freeze-dried raw chicken, Wellness Puppy Core canned puppy food, And Natural Instinct puppy kibble with raw boost nuggets. She has grown so fast over the last two weeks nobody can believe it in her puppy class. She is up to 9.8 lbs. Is she too young to have her portions or feedings cut?

    1. My 2 bobs worth as a mini daschie owner. Daschunds will eat anything and always be begging for food with that sad look they have perfected thru years of evolution.
      Be guided by the weight charts that show your daschie needs to have a waist! Also the head end of their belly should be closer to the ground than the tail end of their belly.
      Measure the amount of you give with a scale or a measuring cup. Twice a day feeds are probably fine now.
      Once you measure the food it is easy to adjust the quantity so she is not eating too much.
      Daily walks would be a great idea to strengthen her muscles . Mini Dashies can walk a long way and it does me and my dog a lot of good! Kibble is good to keep her teeth in good condition.

  15. My folks are a bit dumb.
    I am such a good Daschie (well after 7 years right?)
    I learnt to go to toilet on the paper they put down for me for the last 7 years until one day they forget to put my paper down. Bare,cold tiles Yuck!.
    Naturally I don’t want to mess up the house so I went outside thru the doggy door to do my business.
    Finally they realize the only reason I used my paper was I really wanted to make them happy!
    Don’t give up if your daschie is a bit slow learning to go in the right place. They really want to do the right thing!
    Don’t forget to praise them or give them treats when they get it right! Worked for me! Dad reckons I was a bit of a slow learner though……..Mum reckons he wean’t strict enough but hey we are all happy now.

  16. My wieners are obese!? i have 4. Three of them are probably 5s. the 4th, Coco is like a 8? Can somebody please post some good resources/groups/forums/blogs for me. I want to be a good mom. Not the mom that never says no and is shortening their life span.

    1. Hi Caroline. First, don’t be so hard on yourself. It sounds cliche but the first step is admitting there is a problem. I have no doubt you care for your pups if you are concerned about giving them longer lives.

      The weight loss formula is pretty simple – less food and more exercise. When my Chester needed to lose weight, I cut the amount of food he got down by about 1/3 and replaced the volume with frozen (but thawed) green beans. The frozen ones don’t have sodium. I took him for an extra walk a day too. The first thing I would do is check with your vet to make sure there aren’t underlying health issues causing the excess weight. You can then try reducing the food and increasing exercise like I did. Here is a great resource article that might help: https://petobesityprevention.org/news/2015/10/19/the-5-biggest-questions-you-must-ask-about-pet-obesity-how-to-check-what-to-feed-and-how-to-exercise

  17. we get the opposite comments on our little mini picasso! he’s a mini but he was the smallest of the bunch he weighs 7lbs. I take him to work and a lot of his toys have some food aspect, i feed him twice a day, he does not starve. but he stays skinny, a lot of ppl have no problem telling us to feed our dogs. the thing is, he loves his walks, i walk him three times a day and he lives for these walks. he walks a lot and that allows him to get extra treats so he’s happy, and i’m happy.

    Sometimes if i’m feeling sarcastic i’ll tell people i have to start remembering to feed him everyday when ppl ask me why he’s so skinny!

    1. Those comments must get annoying. I sometimes get asked if Gretel is sick because she is so fit/thin but it’s usually by people who don’t know much about Dachshunds and especially don’t know they aren’t supposed to be plump little sausages.

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