Why Do My Dachshunds Feet Turn Outwards?

Have you noticed that your Dachshunds feet turn outwards? If so, firstly don’t panic. It’s more than likely normal since they can be turned out very slightly, without being a health problem.

It is expected for Dachshunds feet to be straight or turned very slightly outwards. The Dachshund dog breed has a genetic disorder called achondroplasia. Achondroplasia, a form of dwarfism, and it is the mutation that gives them their short legs. The problem lies with how much they turn outwards due to the mutation. When the feet are turned outwards too much, this can lead to a severe health problem and cause discomfort. Other health problems for turned out feet in Dachshunds can be through illness, injury or a lifestyle factor.

But how much is very slightly outwards? It’s hard to tell, especially if they are puppies. Dexter below is five months old, and his feet are very slightly turned out and are considered healthy and okay.

Dachshund with healthy feet and legs
Dexter the Dachshund

How do your Dachshunds feet compare to our Dexters? If you think that your Dachshunds feet are turning outwards more so than the above image. I advise you to book a veterinary check-up as soon as possible. Please continue to read the below for general guides, and other possibilities the feet can turn outwards. Some you can put into action now. Learn about the ongoing care that you must take as a Dachshund owner. It is imperative to protect their posture and minimise your dog’s chances in the future of turned out feet.

Why do Dachshunds have small legs?

A Dachshund has short legs because of achondroplasia’s genetic disorder: Achondroplasia, a form of dwarfism. Dwarfism was purposely bred into the Dachshunds, giving them their small legs compared to their bodies.

What is achondroplasia?

Achondroplasia is a form of osteochondrodysplasia. Achondroplasia is accomplished by a mutation of the fibroblast growth factor receptor gene. The result is abnormally short limbs; a condition called dwarfism, which gives the Dachshunds their unique short legs.

The common reasons your Dachshunds feet turn out

Other than it is expected for Dachshunds feet to be turned very slightly outwards, see the different common reasons below. Remember you must contact your vets if you believe they are more than slightly out, even if you’re unsure. It’s always best to check.

Leg trauma

Trauma to a Dachshunds leg can result in the feet looking turned out, and you may find that one is more than the other depending on the trauma area. The trauma could be another part other than the leg, such as the back, or the shoulders. Trauma will affect the Dachshunds posture and force the legs into an unnatural position. There is certainly a possibility that your Dachshund has had some trauma. If you believe this to be the case, a veterinarian can confirm this for you and decide on the next course of action to take.

Being overweight

Dachshunds are prone to being overweight. It is one of the essential rules of a Dachshund owner that you need to know. Don’t overfeed them! If they put on too much weight, this can have serious health problems for them. The back of a Dachshund must be kept safe, without carrying unnecessary weight. Due to their long, unique bodies, the extra weight will add strain, and to keep a better balance, the legs will turn outwards. You must feed them the correct portion sizes each day and opt for healthier treat options. A vet should advise you on your Dachshund’s ideal weight and how much you should feed your Dachshund. A vet can also help put them on a diet if needed and how best to do it. It could be a simple solution like changing their treats from the shop to homemade plan boiled chicken treats.

Long nails

It would be best to cut your Dachshund nails at least every three weeks, to avoid any bad posture due to the fact they are too long. Nails that are too long will push back up in the nail bed when they hit the floor. Your Dachshund will alter his or her stance for a more comfy position to avoid this. By adjusting their stance, can result in possible turned out feet to preventing the pain.

Nutrient deficiencies

Nutrients are just as vital for dogs as it is us. We need many different nutrients and minerals each day to stay healthy, just like our pets. By choosing to feed your Dachshund on a portion of good quality food each day you are doing their health a world of good. They will continue to live a happy life with you for many years. However, on the flip side, if you give them junk food, or table scrapes, or cheap local shop brought food, you will risk the chances of poor health. Healthier food isn’t that expensive compare to cheap food. You will need to be organised in buying the food, its usually online orders or larger pet shops that have better varieties. Don’t run down the local corner shop that has a poor selection. Poor health from Nutrient deficiency can come in many forms. It will affect the bones of your Dachshund, significantly when they are growing up. Providing them with a healthy meal each day will reduce the risk of bone damage since bone damage will result in poor posture, it can then lead to turned out feet.

Antebrachial growth deformity

The Dachshunds are particularly prone to this because of the chondrodysplasia (CDPA) dwarfism gene. Antebrachial growth deformity (ABGD) is a condition that causes abnormally-shaped front legs and, or displacement of the elbow or carpus. The radius or ulna bones stop growing at different times if one of these bones stops growing early. The other bones will carry on, resulting in bending and twisting.

CAUSES

  • Trauma
  • Developmental basis
  • Nutritional basis

The rare reasons your Dachshunds feet turn out

Canine Elbow Dysplasia

Elbow dysplasia is the abnormal development of organs and tissues in the elbow joint. The three bones of the elbow joint are called the humerus, radius and ulna. Canine elbow dysplasia means that these three bones don’t fit together correctly, forcing a Dachshund’s legs to turn outwards. Elbow dysplasia causes four different types of conditions.

  • Fragmented medial coronoid process (FCP)
  • Osteochondritis dissecans (OCD)
  • Ununited anconeal process (UAP)
  • Medial compartment disease

More information on each of the conditions caused by elbow dysplasia can be found here, from Davies (The Vet Specialist).

Medial Patella Luxation (MPL)

Medial Patella Luxation affects the knee joint, particularly the patella bone, which helps the pully mechanism in the knee to extend. Medial Patella Luxation is the malfunction of the pully mechanism. Read in-depth about Medial Patella Luxation (MPL) found on the VSC Veterinary website.

Carpal Valgus

Carpal valgus mainly affects puppies, it’s a deformity in the carpus joint which causes a dog’s feet to point outwards or unnaturally away from the dog’s body.

Caring for a Dachshund

Dachshund owners four rules you must follow.

  • Never let your Dachshund jump up at you or on the furniture.
  • Dont let your Dachshund climb up or down the stairs.
  • Dont over walk your Dachshund, especially before they are one year old.
  • Never overfeed your Dachshund, and feed them of the highest quality of food within your price range.
Dachshund on a walk
Dachshund on a walk

Walking a Dachshund

AgeTime
One MonthFive Minutes
Two MonthsTen Minutes
Three MonthsFifteen Minutes
Four MonthsTwenty Minutes
Five MonthsTwenty Five Minutes
Six MonthsThirty Minutes
Steven MonthsThirty-Five Minutes
Eight MonthsForty Minutes
Nine MonthsForty-Five Minutes
Ten MonthsFifty Minutes
Eleven MonthsFifty-Five Minutes
Twelve MonthsSixty Minutes
How long you should walk a Dachshund

The above table shows the recommended minutes to walk a Dachshund up until one year old, after this age they should be good for much longer walks. Please note that no dog can walk for hours and hours, so within reason after one year.

Dogs that have the achondroplasia gene

Fun fact

The Dachshund legs are often referred to resemble Queen Anne style furniture. The name Queen Anne Legs is generally spoken about their leg shape, as the lower part of the leg turns inwards, and the foot turns outwards.

Update – April 2021

Dexter Update – 10 Months old now

Conclusion

You must take your Dachshund to the vets if you think they are more outwards than what is considered safe, even if you are unsure. You are now aware of the importance of doing simple things like cutting your Dachshunds nails, not letting them climb up and down the stairs. Perhaps a stair gate can assist you with this. Another thing to remember is never overfeeding your Dachshund and choose the right treats. Did you know Dachshunds love carrots? There are many benefits, like being low in fat. See here how much Dexter loves his carrots.

Happy dog parenting!

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