IVDD in dachshunds: how to reduce the risk with real food

Dachshund on lounge

With their unique elongated bodies and little legs, Dachshunds are such a firm favourite when it comes to choosing the perfect pet. But, it’s their distinctive body shape that leaves these pups pre-disposed to Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD).

The good news is that there’s plenty you can do to help manage the symptoms and lower the risk of IVDD, to ensure that your Dachshund lives their best, healthiest life.

What is IVDD?

There are two types of IVDD, with Type I being more common in Dachshunds. The intervertebral discs sit between the vertebrae, protecting the spinal cord. In a healthy dog, the discs are made of a gelatinous substance with a thick outer layer that absorbs shock. In IVDD Type 1, the outer layer of the discs hardens, which allows it to break more easily.

IVDD can occur when:

  • The outer layer of the disc hardens, making it break more easily

  • Any shock, like a forceful landing, causes the discs to burst and press into the spinal cord

  • The pressure on the spinal cord can then cause pain and stop nerve impulses from the brain reaching their target destination

Unfortunately for this beautiful breed, around one-quarter of Dachshunds suffer from IVDD, and it tends to affect them earlier than other breeds.

Two wet Dachshunds running on beach

How do I know if my Dachshund has IVDD?

The most common signs and symptoms of IVDD are pain-related and include:

  • Anxious behaviour

  • Reluctance to jump

  • Hunched shoulders

  • Reduced appetite

  • Yelping

Other warning signs to look out for include:

  • Weakness in the rear legs

  • A wobbly gait

  • Loss of bladder/bowel control

These symptoms depend on which part of the spine is affected, but always see your vet if you notice any abnormal behaviour in your Dachshund, as imaging will confirm the diagnosis.

How can I manage IVDD?

Although IVDD is genetic in Dachshunds, there’s plenty you can do to help your precious pup manage their daily life and keep the pain at bay.

  • Ensure your pup maintains a healthy weight

  • Use a harness while walking your pup to keep stress off their neck

  • Limit jumping. Train your Dachshund as early as possible that cuddles on the sofa are by invitation only

  • Avoid stairs where possible. Some parents install ramps or smaller steps in their houses to help their pups avoid the repetitive moments and leaping or jumping unnecessarily.

There’s still some way to go with the research, but our in-house Integrative Vet, Dr. Matthew Muir, suggests using general strategies that are known to help senior dogs and assist with arthritic pain. These include building core muscle strength and eating a diet rich in Omega 3s. And it’s always a good idea to keep on top of your dog's knee and hip health with your vet.

How a real food diet can support your Dachshund

Supports healthy weight

Excess weight can put added strain on your pup's joints, slow their metabolism and cause stress. Every dog has an ideal weight range influenced by their breed, age and health concerns. Chat with your vet to understand how much your dog should weigh. You can also use our body condition chart to make a quick check at home.

If your pup is overweight, you can successfully manage this through portion and calorie control, along with the kind of food they're eating and a tailored exercise plan. Your Dachshund's meals should be nutritionally complete, and contain real ingredients that support their health from the inside out.

Lyka's meal plans are portion-controlled based on your dog's unique requirements, making sure they're getting the right calories and nutrients for their daily needs. Each meal has controlled fat content, and contains nutritious low-GI ingredients like carrots and purple sweet potato to keep your pup fuller for longer.

Full of anti-inflammatory nutrients

Anti-inflammatory ingredients can help give some relief to sore and swollen joints by preventing inflammation-causing enzymes from being released into the body.

Lyka contains real ingredients with anti-inflammatory properties like broccoli, turmeric and ginger to help ease sore joints, while also encouraging tissue repair.

Rich in antioxidants

Free radicals are often mentioned when addressing mobility and joint concerns, but how they’re related isn’t always clear.

Too many free radicals can cause damage to cells, which is called oxidative stress. Antioxidants help create a balance between free radicals and minimise damage caused by oxidative stress.

how an immune system works without antioxidants diagram
how an immune system works with antioxidants diagram

Lyka contains antioxidant-filled ingredients like fennel seeds, spirulina and quinoa for healthier bones and cartilage development.

Lyka: portion-controlled for optimal weight

Lyka’s vet-formulated recipes contain an ideal balance of protein, fresh veggies and superfoods to help keep your pup living their healthiest life from the inside out. Each pup has their own meal plan subscription tailored specifically to their weight, age, breed and lifestyle, with each pouch portion-controlled to take the hassle out of dinner and to ensure your pup maintains an optimal weight. Check out Daps the Dachshund’s weight loss journey and order a Starter Box today!

Shannon and Daps Lyka 5-star testimonial about how he became healthier after Lyka

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A picture our range of Lyka meals

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