Is your Dachshund having trouble walking lately? You may have noticed your pup moving in an odd manner or standing on his hind legs when going out for a walk. Although Dachshunds love to play games and run around the backyard, they can also hurt themselves very quickly. Unfortunately, due to their shape and genetic predisposition, it’s common for Dachshunds to develop certain health issues. Statistics show that 1 in every 4 Dachshunds will become crippled or paralyzed from disk disease in their middle age. However, there are precautions you can take to stop this from happening. Let’s find out more about this issue and how you can protect your Dachshund from hurting himself.
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The Root of the Behavior
Out of all the health problems Dachshunds are confronted with throughout the course of their lives, spinal damage is at the top of the list. There is a genetic condition called Intervertebral Disc Disease, which causes damage to the discs in their spines. Due to the configuration of their long backs, their vertebrae are stretched to the breaking point and are genetically weak. This can cause serious pain that may lead to severe damage to the spine and in some cases even paralysis. Although this happens at extreme levels, you may notice that your Dachshund is not walking properly or has trouble placing weight on his hind legs. Because Intervertebral Disc Disease is a hereditary condition, your pup is more prone to developing the disease in his middle years, although there are many things you can do to help prevent the situation from worsening.
The symptoms you need to pay close attention to include a reluctance to run around, jump on the furniture, walk down the stairs, a sensitivity to touch, an unusual quiet or withdrawn behavior, showing signs of aggression toward you, a hunched back, limping, any form of lameness in the front legs, as well as neck spasms and episodes of spontaneous crying. In order to avoid these back problems in your Dachshund, you need to be aware of all the symptoms and not let the situation get that far. You should also know that it doesn’t take long for your dog to experience a serious disc episode: he can be playing happily one minute, and unable to move the next. This is why prevention is always better than cure. Even if standing on his hind legs while “begging” for food can be a very cute position for you, it could turn out to be seriously damaging to your Dachs.
Encouraging the Behavior
If you notice any of the above-mentioned signs in your beloved Dachshund, the first thing you should do is crate your dog to restrict movement and to prevent further injury. After that, you’ll need to take him to the vet as soon as possible, because a serious disc episode requires urgent medical attention and care. Crating is very important as it allows them to rest and prevents them from jumping or chasing, which is something a Dachshund will enjoy doing on a regular basis. You can also make sure he’s not jumping on and off the couch or anything that is positioned high up. All these things put pressure on his long back while exacerbating the issue.
Furthermore, you should be very careful about the way you pick him up. You should always support his chest and behind whenever you want to carry him in your arms so that the spine is not stressed. Ensure that all your family members know how to properly pick up and carry a Dachshund, and steer clear of allowing, or even worse, training him to stand on his hind legs, in an upright position. This can put an unnecessary strain on his lower back and spine, so you should avoid it at all costs.
Other Solutions and Considerations
Apart from protecting his back, you should also consider taking care of the neck area when you take him out for walks. If you are using a neck type leash, you’re putting your dog’s back at risk because of the strain it causes to the neck. Most dogs will pull on the leash when out for a walk, so why not try using a harness instead? The harness is a much better option because it places the strain on the chest area and so it reduces the possibility of injuring the back. There are plenty of options you can choose from, just make sure you go for the type and size that’s most suitable for your little Dachs.
Although Dachshunds can experience back pain during their lifetime, there’s no reason you should allow for that to happen. Make sure you take him to the vet if you notice any unusual symptoms, such as standing on his hind legs and be careful about the way you pick him up as well. The solution is not to refrain your pup from any physical activity, on the contrary… Dachshunds need plenty of exercise to stay healthy in the long run.