All animals, including hairless monkeys like yours truly, need regular exercise. It simply makes us all happier and healthier in every way and definitely prevents behavioral problems in pets.
Overdoing it can lead to a number of problems, though. How far can a dachshund walk each day without risking joint issues or other injuries?
Dachshunds Aren’t Made for Walking
You may have wondered where dachshunds come from. Maybe some mad scientist just woke up one morning and said: “I want to create a dog shaped like a cylinder!”
As it happens, these dogs were actually bred to crawl into tunnels in the earth to chase out resident badgers and other burrowing animals.
This is why they have such a lopsided dog-to-leg ratio. Dachshunds are not the breed you’d choose if you plan to go trekking across the Alps alongside your pooch (unless you plan to carry her in your backpack).
Still, even though we now have better ways of dealing with pesky wild animals, dachshunds remain the 12th most popular breed of dog overall. Many pet parents value them for their playful, affectionate, and independent nature.
How Far Can A Dachshund Walk, Typically?
Clearly, dogs are individuals, and each has a different level of stamina. You can’t expect a recently adopted apartment-bound pooch to walk as far as a healthy, already-active dachshund.
Puppies are going to run out of steam sooner than mature dogs, and these are eventually going to slow down as they get older and their legs get stiffer.
As a rule of thumb, though, an adult dachshund requires about 30 minutes to an hour of physical activity per day. This can mean playing with her toys or running around in circles by herself, but she probably prefers to do stuff with you instead.
If walking at a normal pace, this translates to going 1 or 2 miles (1½ to 3 km). A reasonably fit dachshund can actually cover as much as 5 miles (8 km), while several dog owners have taken their brave little sausages on hikes three or four times that distance without any problems.
What About Puppies and Senior Dachshunds?
Veterinarians recommend that puppies walk no more than 5 minutes at a stretch for every month of age. (That is, a 3-month-old dachshund can go about 15 minutes or half a mile.)
Much more can cause complications in their joint development as they grow. For older dogs, it’s best to ask when taking them for a checkup: many have diabetes or joint or heart problems that make too much exercise a bad idea.
Obese dogs need special consideration. To make them lose weight, it’s best to take them on short, regular walks, perhaps more than once a day. You’ll also need to keep an eye on their calorie intake and try to resist their miserable moans and whines at dinnertime.
How Far Should a Dachshund Walk Without a Break?
Whenever you buckle on the leash, you should match the dog’s pace, not the other way around. She will try to please you by keeping up – and in fact, it’s better to exercise if she maintains a steady pace – but tiring her out completely or risking injury is not the objective here. Whenever she wants to catch her breath, you should allow it.
Your dachshund may be able to walk for far longer than you thought as long as she’s allowed a few rests stops along the way. If you plan to be outside for a long time, it’s a good idea to take along a small bowl and plenty of water as well as some doggy treats.
If you’re training her to handle longer distances, you can try timing these breaks and gradually increasing the duration between them. If you’re just giving her some exercise, it’s best to observe her closely and stop for a rest whenever she needs to. Forcing her to walk when she doesn’t want to may cause or aggravate an injury.
How to Tell If Your Dachshund Is Walking Too Far
It’s pretty much common knowledge that taking a stroll in a natural environment – even a city park or a tree-lined street – has major mental health benefits. Many people make this a part of their daily routine, but how much is too much for your little tail-wagging buddy?
The clearest sign that a dog has walked as far as she can is that she simply stops, rolls onto her back, gazes at you with her big brown eyes, and refuses to move any farther. Pound for pound, though, a dachshund has just as much fighting spirit as any Alsatian: she may have already pushed herself past her limits by this point.
Keep checking for changes in her behavior: losing interest in her environment rather than stopping to sniff at every other bush, dragging on the leash, drooping her tail, and of course, limping. Excessive panting often indicates a serious problem. Gently pull her lips apart: if her gums are bright red, she may be on the verge of heat exhaustion.
Use your own judgment; you’re probably the person who knows your dog best. It’s a good idea to err on the side of caution, though, especially on hot days.
How Far and Fast Can a Dachshund Run?
Like most dogs, dachshunds love to run, ears flapping in the wind and probably imagining that they’re chasing elks through the forest. They’ve been clocked going 20 mph (30 km/h) over short distances – that translates to running a 100-meter sprint in about 12 seconds, which is faster than most of us can manage.
They’re not meant to keep this up for long: their little legs practically vibrate at that speed, and there is a chance of their long backbones getting injured.
Dachshunds are surprisingly good joggers, though. If they’re relatively fit, they can easily keep you company on a 10k run and cross the finish line with a smile.
Here is more info on how fast a dachshund can run.
Developing Your Dachshund’s Walking Endurance
Compared to most four-legged animals, humans actually have terrific staying power over long distances. What can you do if she enjoys walkies as much as you do but can’t quite keep up?
The most important thing is to remember that getting into shape is always a slow and steady procedure. Consistent progress is what you’re after – even Usain Bolt didn’t just strap on a pair of trainers and start breaking records straight away.
You’ll also need the right equipment: a comfortable harness that doesn’t chafe your dog’s skin, as well as booties sized for dachshunds. These look pretty undignified but will prevent her little paws from getting scraped or bruised until the pads toughen up.
You will generally take her for a walk (or run) once or twice every day. Start small and gradually take on longer, steeper routes. Use a notebook to track her improvement.
Persistence is important, but so is rest. If your dachshund seems a little lethargic or lazy the morning after, you may have been overdoing it. There’s nothing wrong with taking a day off to let your pooch recover.
What to Feed an Active Dachshund
How far can a dachshund walk if its diet consists of nothing but the doggy equivalents of doughnuts and beer? An active dog needs and deserves better.
First off, buying premium dog food is almost always worth it, especially from brands that have a wide selection of products for different breeds, ages, and lifestyles. These contain more nutrients and less filler (read: more meat and vegetables, less grain). Although it’s more expensive, your dachshund won’t have to eat as much to be satisfied and maintain a healthy weight. You’ll recoup all the extra cost in lower vet bills over time, anyway.
Depending on how far your dachshund walks each week, she may need a little extra support. Any or all of the following supplements can do her a world of good:
- Fish oil. Salmon or any kind of oil containing omega fatty acids supports your dachshund’s heart and joints, along with having a whole laundry list of other health benefits.
- Fruit and vegetables. Typically not the first thing you’d associate with dog food, but a valuable source of nutrients nonetheless. Dachshunds particularly like bananas, broccoli, carrots, cucumber, and watermelon and may even start to demand them as treats.
- CBD oil. Processed from hemp, this won’t make your dog drowsy but does help muscles and tendons recover from exercise much more quickly.
When relaxing, a dachshund can easily seem like she has a somewhat aristocratic attitude, as if she deserves to be carried around on a velvet pillow rather than walking everywhere. Despite this, they possess strong hunting instincts and need to be active.
As intelligent animals, they also have to have access to mental stimulation. No matter how many interesting sticks and birds can be found in your backyard, it’s no substitute for exploring the wide world outside.
The big question is not “how far can a dachshund walk before dropping?” but rather “how far and often should it walk to stay fit and interested?” Once you’ve discovered the right distance, stay on track with the daily walkies schedule. It really only takes a little time out of your day, and your vet bills will be much lower as she gets older.