5 Best Dog Foods for Dachshunds to Help Them Stay Fit 2019

Dachshunds and other small breed dogs make great pets, but their small frames put them at risk for health issues like weight gain, back problems, and dental issues.

If you love your little doxie but are at a loss of how to help them stay fit and healthy, you’ll want to read on to find out our picks for the best dog foods for dachshunds and miniature dachshunds.

Optimal Weight is Important for Your Dachshund

Obesity is a Major Problem for Doxies

As a doxie owner, you already know how good these sweet, funny looking little clowns are at making a home in your heart. But do you also know how important it is to keep your doxie fit and trim?

The same long back that makes dachshunds so much fun, is also what puts them at risk for health problems if they’re packing on a little extra weight. According to akc.org, keeping your doxie thin with good muscle tone is important in reducing potential disk damage.

Of course, keeping extra weight off is easier said than done with a hound that loves to eat! It is likely the dachshunds’ voracious appetite that helped land them on the list of dog breeds most likely to be overweight according to a study published in The International Journal of Applied Research in Veterinary Medicine.

Weight Loss is Common in Small Breeds

Does your doxie have the opposite problem? Do you feel like you have to feed more food than their stomach can hold just to keep enough weight on them?

Many small dog owners run into this issue, especially if their dog is very active or young.

Turns out, this is because your dachshund has very different metabolic needs than your neighbor’s Newfoundland. In fact, according to petmd.com, smaller breeds have much higher metabolisms and can require up to twice as many calories to thrive than their larger counterparts, pound for pound.

Small Breed Specific Dog Foods

Luckily, there are many dog foods on the market that are tailored to the metabolic needs of tiny dogs. These small breed diets are often more calorie dense and contain protein and fat levels balanced for your dachshund’s needs to help keep them at a healthy weight.

Want to learn more about small dog diets? Check out our recommendations.

Reviews of The Best Dog Foods for Dachshunds

#1. Merrick Lil Plates Grain Free Small Breed Recipe

Best Overall

Merrick Lil Plates Small Breed
Score: (5/5)

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70% animal sourced ingredients and high protein to keep your doxie lean and active.

Quality ingredients

Multiple flavors, all grain free

70% animal source ingredients


Higher price tier

Merrick has always made quality food with high levels of animal-sourced ingredients, and their small breed recipe is no exception. In fact, the Marrick brand’s reputation is just one of the reasons we’ve named this food the best food for dachshunds.

The fact that this food comes in multiple flavors and all four flavors contain 70% meat, egg, and healthy fats is another big reason we consider this one of the best dry dog foods for dachshunds. All those animal ingredients help give this food an impressive 38% protein content, which is great for active and younger doxies who need quality calories to build muscle without adding excess weight.

And, this diet is made without grains, making it our pick for best dog food for dachshunds with skin allergies. Even if your doxie suffers from an animal protein allergy, you are sure to be able to find a compatible flavor since this food comes in four different animal protein varieties.

This food also contains probiotics to aid in digestion and reduce stomach upset, a common occurrence in many small breeds including dachshunds.

Customers enjoy this food for the size appropriate kibbles which is why we have named this recipe the best small bites dog food and one of the best dog foods for mini dachshunds.

This food is on the higher end of the price spectrum but is well worth it for any small dog owner looking for high animal ingredient content or struggling with food allergies.

#2.Wellness Core Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food Small Breed

Runner Up

Wellness Core Small Breed
Score: (5/5)

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High-protein and high-fat content for your active doxie’s fast metabolism.

Quality ingredients

High animal protein

Grain free



Wellness Core’s small breed formula comes in second on our list of the best dog foods for dachshunds for a number of reasons.

To start, this food is made with quality ingredients, including turkey, turkey meal, and chicken meal as the first three ingredients listed. All this animal protein is perfect for your dachshund’s metabolism as it packs a lot of energy without unnecessary fillers that can lead to weight gain.

Like our number one choice, this diet is grain free, making it an especially good choice for doxies with sensitive stomachs or allergies.

This food is made with natural ingredients and added vitamins and minerals, which means you don’t have to worry about your small dog ingesting any harmful chemicals. These quality natural ingredients make this food one of the best natural dog foods for your doxie.

This food contains only slightly less protein than our first choice at 36%. This high protein amount makes this food one of the best dog foods for dachshund puppies.

In addition to the macronutrients available in this food, the recipe also contains glucosamine and probiotics to protect your dachshund’s joints and stomach. While small dogs don’t suffer from as many of the joint issues that large dogs do, they are prone to luxating patellas in addition to the back problems many dachshunds face.

This quality food is one of the more expensive foods on our list but is definitely worth it for any owner looking for complete nutrition with an emphasis on high protein.

#3. Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Small Breed Dog Food Small Breed Healthy Weight

Best Weight Control Diet

Wellness Complete Small Breed Healthy Weight
Score: (5/5)

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Reduced calories while maintaining proper nutrient density to help your doxie lose weight.

Made for weight control in small breeds

Quality ingredients

High protein with lower fat


Not grain free

We just can’t get over the quality of the Wellness brand. And that’s why we have also included their formula for small breed weight control on our list.

Unlike our number two choice, this Wellness diet is made for small breeds that struggle to slim down or maintain a healthy weight. With only 28% protein and 10% fat, this formula is lower calorie than others on our list while still maintaining an impressive amount of protein to keep your little carnivore healthy.

We are happy to name this food the best food for dachshund weight loss.

Much like the original Wellness recipe, this one contains quality ingredients, including turkey, chicken meal, and salmon meal as the first three.

This food is not grain free like the first two choices on the list, as it does contain rice. However, it does not contain corn or any other fillers and is still a great choice for most small dogs.

This food is moderately priced. Considering it is a specialty formula for weight loss and small breeds, we consider it a steal at that price point.

#4. Diamond Naturals Small Breed Dog Real Chicken Recipe Premium Dry Dog Food

Most Affordable

Diamond Naturals Small Breed
Score: (4.5/5)

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High protein formula made for doxies at an affordable price.


Quality ingredients

Optimal protein and fat content


Contains multiple grains

Our number four pick made our list because of quality ingredients at a bargain price.

Diamond Natural’s small breed formula provides a good middle ground between Wellness’ traditional and weight management formulas. It has a protein level of 27% and fat content of 16%, making it a great choice for adult dogs with a high metabolism who don’t need a ton of protein for building muscle.

While we did not feature it on this list, Diamond Naturals also makes a small breed puppy formula that we would consider one of the best puppy foods for dachshunds.

This food contains chicken and chicken meal as the first two ingredients. It is not grain free, however, and may not be the best choice for small dogs with sensitivities or who bulk up easily on higher carb diets.

Overall, though, this food has quality ingredients designed to help dachshunds and other small dogs thrive.

Best of all, this is the lowest priced food on our list. If you are looking for quality food that won’t break the bank, this is it.

Many customers rave about this food for how much their little dogs enjoy it and how well they seem to be doing while on it.

#5. Nutro Wholesome Essentials Adult Dry Dog Food for Small & Toy Breeds – Chicken, Brown Rice & Sweet Potato Recipe

Runner Up Most Affordable

Nutro Wholesome Essentials Small Breed
Score: (4.5/5)

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Quality ingredients and optimal protein for your doxie at an affordable price.


Quality Ingredients

High protein


Contains multiple grains

We included Nutro’s Wholesome Essentials small dog formula as another budget-friendly option packed with quality animal sourced ingredients and optimal protein and fat content for a small dog’s high metabolism.

Another great quality of this food is it is made for both small and toy breeds. Because of the formula’s inclusion of teacup-sized pups, we have named this one of the best dog foods for miniature dachshunds.

The first two ingredients in this food are chicken and chicken meal and it also contains lamb meal and a host of other natural ingredients. Like our previous choice, this one is not grain free but is corn free.

This food actually contains a higher amount of protein, at 34%, than our previous pick and is a great option for more active small dogs. In fact, if you are looking for a food for your dachshund who competes in field trials or other sports, this is a great option that won’t cost you a fortune.

This food is slightly higher priced than our number four choice but is worth it for that added protein content.

What is the Best Dog Food for Dachshunds?

We reviewed many small dog specific formulas with quality ingredients and optimal protein and fat levels for the average small dog, but in the end, Merrick’s Lil Plates grain-free small dog diet easily outperformed the others.

Not only does this food contain a whopping 38% protein, but with a formula of 70% animal ingredients, you can be sure that most of that protein is animal sourced and biologically available to your tiny pup. This on top of the quality, natural ingredients make Merrick a no-brainer for the best dog food for dachshunds.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I feed my doxie?
Like large adult dogs, most adult small dogs do best when fed two meals a day. However, some small dogs, particularly those who are very tiny like mini doxies, can struggle with low blood sugars and feeding smaller meals more often can be better.
Can I feed my dachshund the same food I feed my large breed dog?
Many small dogs do just fine on all-size formulas. However, it is important to look for foods with higher than average fat and protein content to make sure your little dog is getting enough calories for their faster metabolism.
I feel like the serving size recommended on my dog food bag is too small, should I feed more?

It is important to remember that dachshunds have much smaller stomachs than us and their slightly larger canine counterparts. Feeding your dog portions that are too large can cause stomach upset and digestive problems as well as weight gain.

Instead of upping the serving size, find a quality food made for small dogs and feed only enough so your dog maintains a healthy weight. You can take comfort in knowing your doxie is getting all the nutrients they need, even if the portion looks smaller than it should.

Summed Up: The Best Dog Foods for Dachshunds

Merrick Lil Plates Small BreedWellness Core Small BreedWellness Complete Small Breed Healthy WeightDiamond Naturals Small BreedNutro Wholesome Essentials Small Breed
Features for DachshundsQuality ingredients, high animal protein, calorie dense, grain freeQuality ingredients, calorie dense, grain freeQuality ingredients, nutrition made for less active and overweight small dogsOptimal protein and fat levels for small breeds, affordableOptimal protein and fat levels for small breeds, high in animal- sourced ingredients, affordable
Ingredient Quality5/55/55/54/54.5/5


    1. Various. “Obesity in Dogs.” petmd.com.
    2. Elizabeth M. Lund, et al. “Prevalence and Risk Factors for Obesity in Adult Dogs from Private US Veterinary Practices.” The International Journal of Applied Research in Veterinary Medicine, Vol. 4, No. 2. 2006.

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