Why Won’t My Dachshund Eat?

dachshund refusing to eat food

Has your dachshund suddenly stopped eating? Is he acting strange around his food bowl? Are you worried and don’t know what to do? It’s time to find out why your dachshund won’t eat and how to get him eating again.

Why won’t my dachshund eat?

  • Your dachshund is unwell
  • Your dachshund’s teeth hurt
  • Your dachshund doesn’t like the food
  • Your dachshund doesn’t like the food bowl
  • Your dachshund doesn’t like the smell of the bowl
  • Your dachshund isn’t hungry
  • Your dachshund is attention seeking
  • Your dachshund doesn’t like being watched
  • Your dachshund doesn’t like change
  • Your dachshund is anxious
  • Your dachshund is recovering
  • Your dachshund has side effects
  • Your dachshund is hormonal

Read on to find out what the possible causes could be, what quick and easy changes you can make to get your dachshund eating again, and when you should contact the vet.

This article is based on research and personal experience as a Dachshund owner of 10+ years. I’m not a Vet or qualified dog behaviourist.

Why is my dachshund refusing to eat?

Dachshunds are a greedy breed so, when they’re off their food, you know something’s up. Although there could could be many things going on, the main reasons your dachshund won’t eat are:

Your dachshund is unwell

Even though dachshunds can’t tell you when they’re ill, they can show you. So, if your dachshund has suddenly gone off his food, and there doesn’t seem to be a logical explanation, he could be unwell. It could be that he’s eaten something outside that’s given him a bit of an upset tummy. But it could also be something more serious like cancer, kidney or liver disease. If your dachshund has suddenly stopped eating and drinking water, or has any other concerning symptoms, contact your vet immediately.

Your dachshund’s teeth hurt

It’s not unusual for dachshunds to get dental issues. Any sort of decay, sore teeth or gums, could cause your dachshund to stop eating. This is more common in senior dachshunds, but cracked or infected teeth can happen at any age. Puppies may also stop eating while teething as the food may be too hard to eat.

Your dachshund doesn’t like the food

Dachshunds can be fussy with food. One minute they’re gobbling it all down. The next, they’re point bank refusing to eat! Sometimes, it’s down to food boredom and wanting to try something new. Other times, it’s because they’ve been fed too many tasty treats and are holding out for something better! But if you’ve changed your dachshund’s food recently, there’s a high chance he doesn’t like what you’re now feeding him.

Your dachshund doesn’t like the food bowl

Dachshund eating dinner cautiously from a metal bowl
Dachshund eating his dinner cautiously from a metal bowl

If your dachshund’s food bowl is made of metal, it can make a horrible scratchy noise against the floor. It’s a bit like fingernails down a chalkboard to a dachshund! The noise may frighten him enough to stop him eating. His tag or collar could also chink against the edge of the bowl, and that may cause him to back away from it. In fact, even his reflection in the metal could freak him out enough to stop him eating.

As well as noise, some dachshunds don’t like the shape or size of their bowl. If it’s too deep or big, his long nose may get in the way of him eating properly. He might even take the food out of the bowl and dump it on the floor to eat instead!

Your dachshund doesn’t like the smell of the bowl

Dachshunds have sensitive noses and strong scents can put them off their food. Have you cleaned your dachshund’s food bowl in different washing up liquid? Do you have new dishwasher tablets? Also, if his bowl hasn’t been cleaned enough, there could be old dried food particles inside that may smell and put him off eating.

Your dachshund isn’t hungry

If you’ve been over-feeding your dachshund with treats and food during the day, he may not be hungry at mealtimes. He might not want to eat his food, but doesn’t want anyone else to eat it either (not that you would but he doesn’t get that!). This can make him act a bit strange around his food bowl. He may try burying his food under his bowl or could just sit and stare at it. This can look like a refusal to eat, but is actually just a full tummy!

Your dachshund is attention seeking

Some dachshunds don’t eat because they get attention for NOT eating. If you stand by his food bowl, call his name, point at his food and desperately try to encourage him to eat, he may start to enjoy the attention he gets! If he’s happy to eat bits of fresh chicken or chunks of cheese from your hand, he may well be attention seeking!

Attention seeking dachshund refusing to eat his dinner
Attention seeking dachshund refusing to eat his dinner

Your dachshund doesn’t like being watched

Some dachshunds simply don’t like being watched when they eat. Is there a lot of activity in the room when he’s eating? Do you have kids doing homework? Is it noisy or busier than usual where he normally eats? Has the position of his bowl moved recently? Some dachshunds would rather wait until no one is around to gobble up their food in peace.

Your dachshund doesn’t like change

A sudden refusal to eat can sometimes coincide with some sort of change at home. Have you moved house or had a new baby? Do you have a new partner? Has a new dog or cat joined your family? Have you been doing any home renovations? Have you started a new job? Any change to your dachshund’s normal routine could spook him enough to alter his eating habits.

Your dachshund is anxious

Dachshunds are a noisy breed, but they’re also very sensitive to loud bangs. They can get really distressed by things like fireworks or thunder and lightening. For the following days, they may be overly anxious and clingy. This increase in stress can occasionally affect appetite. That’s why it’s important to act like loud bangs outside are no big deal (as much as it’s possible!).

Your dachshund is recovering

If your dachshund has had any veterinary treatment or been neutered recently, he may not feel that hungry. Maybe he was given some medication that caused him to lose his appetite. Illnesses and procedures of any kind can take time to get over, but speak to your vet if you’re worried your dachshund seems out of sorts.

Dachshund laying on the sofa feeling unwell with no appetite
Dachshund laying on the sofa feeling unwell with no appetite

Your dachshund has side effects

Some flea treatments, worming treatments and vaccinations can have side effects that may change your dachshund’s behaviour and eating habits. It’s a good idea to watch him more closely for a few days after any treatments or vaccinations. Speak to your vet if you notice anything that concerns you.

Your dachshund is hormonal

Hormone changes can affect appetite. So, if a female dachshund is in season or having a phantom pregnancy, she may go off her food. If a male dachshund gets the scent of a female in season, he may also go off his food.

How long can a dachshund go without food?

Dachshunds shouldn’t go more than 3 days without food, but don’t leave it that long. If your dachshund has suddenly stopped eating and isn’t drinking water, don’t wait, contact your vet immediately! It’s best to rule out any health conditions before trying other ideas.

How do you get your dachshund to eat?

If your dachshund seems absolutely fine, is excited, playful and running around like normal, some of the ideas below may help get him eating again. But, if you have ANY doubts about your dachshund’s health, contact your vet before trying any of the tips below.

Hand feed your dachshund

Start by hand feeding your dachshund a few treats to see if he’ll eat. Work towards hand feeding him the same food he’d normally eat from his dinner bowl. If he eats from your hand OK, you should be able to rule out most teeth problems (unless there are other symptoms that concern you). If your dachshund doesn’t eat anything at all, you should contact your vet for advice.

Change the food bowl

One of the first things you should change is the food bowl. Some dachshunds simply don’t like the screechy, scratchy noise of a metal dog bowl. Ceramic bowls are a better option but, even then, a lot of dachshunds still prefer to eat from a flat plate! If you have a dachshund who picks up his food and dumps it on the floor before eating, swap over to a flat dish or plate to see if that makes a difference. Also, put a mat under the bowl or dish, or use a non-slip bowl to stop it moving around.

Feed on schedule

Feed at the same time every day. Put the food bowl down for 20 minutes and then take it away again. If he eats, that’s great. If he doesn’t eat, wait until his next mealtime before putting the bowl on the floor again. Don’t speak to your dachshund or look at him when you do this, and don’t encourage him to eat. Just put the bowl down, act like it’s no big deal and leave him alone to eat. Within a short time, he should start eating on his own. If he doesn’t, contact your vet.

Dachshund sat beside a clock waiting for his 5pm meal to be fed on time
Dachshund waiting for his dinner to be fed on time

Move the food bowl

Sometimes, just moving the food bowl to a different room or the other side of the kitchen, can change the negative association your dachshund has with eating. Try the bowl in a new place to see if that makes a difference.

Revert back

If you’ve recently changed your dachshund’s food and he’s since stopped eating, you may need to revert back to what you were feeding before. It could be as simple as he doesn’t like the taste or texture of the new food. Sudden food changes can sometimes cause stomach upset and diarrhea. So if you notice any runny, watery, squishy, cow-patty, pebbled, rock hard or dry stools, contact your vet for dietary and health advice.

Check the dog food is in date

Check your dachshund’s food is in date and smells OK. It may be better to open a new tin or packet, rather than continue to feed what you were before. It’s possible the food has gone off and that’s why he’s turning his nose up at it!

Add a topping

It’s not good to change your dachshund’s food too often, but mix up the flavours a bit or slowly phase in some new food. Try adding something tasty to the top of his meal. Don’t do this long-term, just for a few days to encourage him to start eating again.

Soak the food

If your dachshund’s teeth are sore, it may be the food you’re feeding is too hard to eat. Try soaking the kibble to soften it up before feeding, or give him wet dog food instead. If you suspect teeth issues, book to see your vet.

Limit the treats

Feeding your dachshund treats is fine, but should be done in moderation. If you give him too many tasty treats throughout the day, he won’t be fussed about mealtimes! Schedule your dachshund’s treats and deduct the quantity from his daily food allowance. You want to feed the right amount of food every day for your dachshund’s weight and size. You don’t have to be rigid about this, but don’t go overboard on the treats. He may get used to the free flow of food and could stop eating at mealtimes!

Don’t feed from the fridge!

Dachshund sat on the floor refusing to eat his dinner
Dachshund refusing to eat dinner because he wants chicken from the fridge!

It’s worrying when a dachshund stops eating. But if you start enticing him with freshly cooked chicken from the fridge, you could be making a rod for your own back. Yes, your dachshund may miraculously start eating again, but that’s because he’s getting exactly what he wants! He’s figured out the fresh chicken in the fridge is an option, and he’s going to hold out for it at mealtimes. He knows that if he refuses to eat his dinner, you’ll open the fridge and feed him tasty treats. So stop with the fridge dinners and stand firm on the dog food. When your dachshund realises there’s nothing else available, he’ll soon start eating again!

Leave your dachshund alone to eat

Some dachshunds hate being stared at when eating. It may make him anxious and put him off his food. He may even pick up on your anxiety over him not eating and think there’s something to worry about. You don’t want to make mealtimes awkward, nor do you want your dachshund to avoid them. So it’s best to put the food down and leave him alone to eat.

Feed at regular times

Dachshunds are creatures of habit. If anything changes in their daily routine, it can unsettle them enough to stop eating. So, if your dachshund’s been struggling with change (new baby, new home, new partner etc.) you need to spend a bit more one-on-one time with him. You need to take him out for regular exercise, have regular playtime and feed at regular times throughout the day. This gives him structure and reassures him all is ok.

Feed in a separate area

If you have more than one dachshund or any other dogs (or cats) living in your home, feed them in separate rooms or crates. This’ll give your dachshund his own area where he doesn’t feel anxious about the other pets trying to steal his food.

Change your cleaning products

Swap out your regular washing up liquid for something unscented or natural. The strong scent could be ingrained in your dachshund’s bowl and is putting him off his food. Always rinse the food bowl throughly with water, even after being in the dishwasher, so you remove any scent or residue.

Create a snuggle-den

If your dachshund stops eating because he’s anxious about something, you need to work on his anxiety. Some dachshunds hide behind sofas or under chairs when they’re stressed. So one idea is to set up a crate and turn it into snuggle-den. You don’t have to shut the door or anything. It’s just a quiet space for him to retreat to when things get a bit too much. Putting his food bowl inside his den may also encourage him to eat.

Relaxed dachshund laying on the floor
Relaxed dachshund laying on the floor

When should you visit the vet?

If your dachshund suddenly stops eating, isn’t drinking water, looks unwell, is anxious, depressed, sluggish, has diarrhea, vomiting or any other medical symptoms, contact your vet right away. You need to rule out any serious conditions before trying other ideas.

So, there you have it! Dachshunds may stop eating for health, emotional or physical reasons. If you’re at all concerned, it’s best to pop to the vet. When you get the all clear, you can then try out some of the ideas in this article. Making these quick and easy changes can make a big difference to your dachshund’s eating habits!

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