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6 Best Puppy Foods for Dachshunds in 2021 – Reviews & Top Picks

chocolate and tan dachshund

Let’s face it – there are way too many dog food brands in the grocery store. So, how can you choose the right one for your Dachshund puppy without spending hours reading food bags?

With our knowledgeable, in-depth reviews and buyer’s guide, you’ll be an expert in your Dachshund puppy’s diet in no time.

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A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Puppy Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Puppy
  • Feature iconMany sources of healthy fats
  • Feature iconPotassium and urinary support ingredients
  • Feature iconWhole foods and supplements
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Iams ProActive Health Smart Puppy Iams ProActive Health Smart Puppy
  • Feature iconFirst ingredient is chicken
  • Feature iconLess expensive than the last toy your puppy destroyed
  • Feature iconVast array of vitamin and mineral supplements
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Wellness CORE Grain-Free Small Breed Puppy Wellness CORE Grain-Free Small Breed Puppy
  • Feature iconNo by-product or filler ingredients
  • Feature iconNo added calcium
  • Feature iconSkeletal and joint support
  • American Journey Puppy American Journey Puppy
  • Feature iconMultiple fruits and veggies
  • Feature iconGood for source of glucosamine and chondroitin
  • Feature iconExtremely reasonable price
  • Hill's Science Diet Puppy Small Bites Hill's Science Diet Puppy Small Bites
  • Feature iconFirst ingredient is chicken meal
  • Feature iconCareful combination of vitamins and minerals
  • Feature iconMade in the US
  • The 6 Best Puppy Foods for Dachshunds – Reviews 2021

    1. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Puppy Dry Dog Food – Best Overall

    Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Puppy Dry Dog Food

    Blue Buffalo is a dog food brand that cares about your puppy’s health. You can tell just by looking at the ingredients list: deboned chicken, brown rice, cranberries, and Menhaden fish. The vast majority are nutrient-dense whole foods that won’t weigh your little friend down.

    The Life Protection formula is specially formulated for puppy bellies and bodies. It has easier to digest ingredients and lots of fiber. And they don’t skimp out on healthy fats and proteins that support brain and body development.

    This puppy food is also competitively priced and comes in at around the middle of the pack on cost. Healthy, carefully selected ingredients and a great budget choice.

    • First ingredients deboned chicken and chicken meal
    • Many sources of healthy fats
    • No leftovers or by-products
    • Mid-range price for a higher quality food
    • Whole foods and supplements
    • Potassium and urinary support ingredients
    • Higher calcium content
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    2. Iams ProActive Health Smart Puppy Dry Dog Food – Best Value

    Iams ProActive Health Smart Puppy Dry Dog Food

    On a budget, but don’t want to settle for bottom of the barrel for your puppy? Take a look at Iams, a respected brand that provides mediocre quality food at super reasonable prices. It has the carefully balanced vitamins and minerals your dog needs, and minimal filler ingredients.

    Iams ProActive does contain corn and one by-product ingredient but could be a decent choice if your other brand is out of stock. It may also be appropriate as a filler itself, to help extend the lifespan of a more expensive food.

    Though it may not be the best puppy food period, it is certainly the best puppy food for Dachshunds for the money.

    • First ingredient is chicken
    • Vast array of vitamin and mineral supplements
    • Less expensive than the last toy your puppy destroyed
    • Contains by-products ingredients, corn, and wheat
    • Small amount of whole foods, mostly supplements
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    3. Wellness CORE Grain-Free Small Breed Puppy Dry Dog Food – Premium Choice

    Wellness CORE Grain-Free Small Breed Puppy Deboned Turkey Recipe Dry Dog Food

    CORE brand puppy foods always come in at the top three for our lists. And that’s because they don’t make any concessions when it comes to quality ingredients.

    Between the whole foods, supplements, and healthy fish oils, CORE truly is the premium choice in nutrition for your Dachshund puppy. And unlike other brands, CORE doesn’t add any extra calcium that may crystalize into nasty stone.

    That high standard of quality also means it is unfortunately pricey. A single 12-pound bag costs about as much as a fancy sushi dinner for you! For puppy parents where money is no barrier, this would be an excellent choice.

    • First ingredients are deboned chicken, chicken meal, and turkey meal
    • No by-product or filler ingredients
    • Impressive spread of whole food ingredients
    • No added calcium
    • Skeletal and joint support
    • More expensive than a fancy dinner for you
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    4. American Journey Puppy Dry Dog Food

    American Journey Puppy Dry Dog Food

    For a solid, middle of the road puppy food we recommend American Journey. Many of the ingredients are good quality, and it doesn’t just have vitamin and mineral supplements either. It also has some whole fruits and veggies too.

    American Journey also has a substantial amount of nutrients that support joint health like omega fatty acids and glucosamine to keep your wiener dog’s spine healthy. But there is also added calcium, which could cause issues for your Dachshund’s bladder down the line.

    The major downside is that you can see a few cheap ingredients if you look closely. Brewer’s rice, for example, is made from the bits of rice swept up off the floor during the milling process. Overall, however, it is a decent choice.

    • First ingredient is chicken
    • Multiple fruits and veggies
    • Extremely reasonable price
    • Good for source of glucosamine and chondroitin
    • Contains brewer’s rice, a castoff food
    • Higher calcium content
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    5. Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Small Bites Dry Dog Food

    Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Small Bites Dry Dog Food

    With Hill’s Science, you know that you are getting a dog food that has special attention paid to the nutritional needs of canines. Minerals and vitamins are carefully combined for maximum effect: vitamin E and C work together for the immune system, and DHA from multiple fish oils support brains and eyes.

    However, though scientifically sound, this food contains few whole foods with more bioavailable nutrients. Supplements are great, but harder for your puppy’s body to absorb.

    And though the first ingredient is a healthy chicken meal, the next four are all grains – wheat, sorghum, corn, and barley. While some grains are good for a puppy, the excessive amounts in this food speak to them being used as cheap fillers.

    • First ingredient is chicken meal
    • Careful combination of vitamins and minerals
    • Made in the US
    • Significant amount of filler grains
    • Whole veggies and fruits are last ingredients
    • Added calcium
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    6. Purina Pro Plan Focus Puppy Dry Dog Food

    Purina Pro Plan Focus Puppy Dry Dog Food

    The best thing that can be said about Purina Pro Plan is that it is one of the cheapest options available.

    Though it is a very budget-friendly option, there are several reasons for the low price tag. This blend is full of cheap grain fillers like wheat, corn gluten, and brewer’s rice.

    And a large amount of the touted DHA and omega fatty acids come from questionable sources. “Animal fat” can be rancid or removed from dead or dying animals. By-products and meat “meals” may contain extra parts like beaks, horns, or hair.

    This Purina blend also has multiple added sources of calcium. Calcium supplements are more likely to crystalize into kidney stones, a condition to which Dachshunds are already prone. While it may be your best bet in a tight spot, it would be better to not rely on this brand for a Dachshund puppy’s regular diet.

    • Chicken is the first ingredient
    • Inexpensive
    • Contains multiple by-products
    • Excessive grains
    • No whole vegetables or fruits
    • Small amount of garlic, mildly toxic
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    Buyer’s Guide

    In many ways, canine nutrition is as complex as human nutrition. But don’t let that scare you! In this buyer’s guide, we’ve gathered general nutrition and specific recommendations for Dachshund puppies that will make choosing a dog food easier than you ever thought possible.

    Dachshund Puppy Nutrition

    General Nutrition

    Canines, like humans, are omnivores. They need a diverse spread of nutrients from animal and plant sources to stay happy and healthy.

    To get you better acquainted with your Dachshund’s nutritional needs, here’s a breakdown of nutrients and what they do for your puppy:


    As any dog will tell you, meat is their favorite part of mealtime! Protein helps your puppy grow strong muscles and bones, keeps their skin and nails in tip-top shape, and even facilitates wound healing.

    Dachshund puppies will benefit most from lean proteins like fish, fowl, and eggs. Fatty meats may contribute to obesity, which can be a serious problem for these stout little guys.

    Most dogs have trouble digesting plant-based proteins, so stick to animal sources for this pivotal nutrient.


    Fats make up your pup’s primary energy source and deliver important minerals and vitamins to the rest of their system. A healthy portion of fats in your Dachshund’s food will keep their skin and hair soft, their nose and paw pads hydrated, and can help keep joints from deteriorating.


    Carbs come in two forms. Simple carbohydrates like starches and sugars get digested quickly and give a zip of energy. Too much of these can make it easy for your puppy to put on weight, and Dachshunds especially should avoid excessive sugars to avoid obesity.

    Complex carbohydrates are things like whole veggies, fruits, and grains. Foods like these provide steadier energy output and take longer to digest. A diet rich in complex carbs is recommended for Dachshund puppies as the added fiber helps maintain GI health.


    Fiber helps keep your puppy’s bowel movements smooth and regular. High fiber foods include grains like rice and oats, fruits, and many vegetables.

    A fiber-rich diet will benefit a Dachshund by preventing chronic diarrhea and constipation, and therefore keeping their anal glands working just as they should.

    Minerals and vitamins

    Minerals and vitamins provide a host of different benefits for your growing Dachshund puppy. Here’s a list of the ones to keep your eyes peeled for on your dog food’s nutrition facts:

    • Potassium
    • Magnesium
    • Phosphorous
    • Sulfur
    • Calcium
    • Vitamin A, C, D, E, and K
    • B1, B2, B5, B6, and B12
    • Biotin
    • Choline
    • Folic acid

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    Specific Concerns For Dachshund Puppies

    Bone health, joint health, and spinal health

    Due partially to their iconic, hot dog shape and part to a genetic predisposition to dwarfism, Dachshunds need special care paid to joint health. Though they may be energetic puppies, if you don’t continue to choose foods that support bones, joints, and spinal health they can develop painful arthritis and back problems.

    Glucosamine, healthy fats, vitamin D, omega fatty acids, and chondroitin are nutrients that support joints and bones. Many fish and fish oil supplements are excellent sources of these.


    It does not take a lot of extra calories to fatten up the already stout Dachshund. Overweight dogs are also having more strain put on their joints, which contributes to poor spinal health as mentioned above.

    To start your pup off right, choose foods that are specially formulated for small breeds, or are lower-calorie. Lean meats are a far preferable source of protein than pork or beef. You may also want to be cautious with how many treats your roly-poly little friend gets in a day.

    Coat and skin problems

    Dachshunds are prone to skin and coat problems, most of which are genetic. And puppy’s skin is extra sensitive, so promoting healthy hair and skin with their diet from the start is a wise choice.

    Vitamin A, omega-6s, fish oil, vitamin E, zinc, and healthy proteins all contribute to good skin health.

    Image by congerdesign from Pixabay

    Kidney and bladder stones

    Urinary stones are formed by crystallized calcium in the bladder or kidney that cause extreme pain when passed. Unfortunately, Dachshunds are more likely than most to develop these uncomfortable stones.

    Fortunately, it’s relatively simple to avoid. Choose foods lower in calcium and higher in potassium to help your pup stay bladder stone free!

    Anal glad issues

    Like many other small dog breeds, Dachshunds are likely to develop issues with their anal glands not emptying properly as they age. These issues are caused by frequent constipation and diarrhea, which are, in turn, caused by poor food choices.

    One of the best ways to ensure that they don’t ever have trouble in this department is to feed your puppy easily digested food that includes a few good fiber sources, easy proteins (like fish and fowl), and naturally probiotic foods.

    What to Look For – Healthy Ingredients in Dachshund Puppy Food

    The number one type of ingredient to seek out in Dachshund puppy food is whole foods. Whole foods are minimally processed that are more nutrient-dense and easier to digest than additives and processed foods. Vitamins and minerals in whole foods are much more bioavailable than supplements.

    Great ingredients that speak to quality in puppy food:

    • Fowl like chicken or turkey
    • Fish like salmon, trout, or tuna
    • Greens like kale
    • Fruits like berries and banana
    • Veggies like broccoli and sweet potatoes
    • Animal fats from a whole food source (salmon oil, chicken fat)
    • High-quality grains like oats and brown rice

    What to Avoid – Unhealthy Ingredients in Dachshund Puppy Food

    Unfortunately, there’s a lot of crap ingredients in dog food too. Cheap companies cut corners with leftover animal parts and skimp on higher quality – more expensive – ingredients by using inexpensive fillers.

    Here’s a good idea of what kinds of ingredients to avoid for your Dachshund puppy:

    • By-products meats and meat “meals”
    • Rendered fats from unspecific sources like “poultry fat” or “animal fat”
    • Castoffs like brewer’s rice
    • Corn syrups and refined sugars
    • Cheap grains like soy, wheat, and corn
    • Indigestible materials like cellulose
    • Artificial dyes and preservatives

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    The overall best buy for Dachshund puppy food is Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Puppy Dry Dog Food, by a mile. You just can’t beat the combination of quality ingredients and reasonable pricing.

    Puppy parents that need an inexpensive option should check out our best value pick, the Iams ProActive Health Smart Puppy Dry Dog Food. It’s good for when you’re in a pinch between paychecks or can keep your dog happy while you wait for their usual brand to ship.

    We hope our dedicated research and carefully considered reviews have helped make you and your puppy’s day just a little bit easier.

    Happy chomping!

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    Featured Image: Pablo Villalon from Pixabay