Beagles have noses made for following scent trails to their end. Their enhanced scenting and trailing abilities were developed over centuries of selective breeding of small to medium sized hounds for the purpose of hunting rabbits and other small game. A Beagle's discriminating nose also tends to lead the dog to food, as this highly active sporting breed has a ravenous appetite. Unchecked, a Beagle's penchant for food can produce an overweight little hound dog. To keep your Beagle at a healthy weight, monitor the dog's food intake, and feed your Beagle creatively to engage the dog's hunting skills.
Beagles range in weight from 25 to 30 pounds and need between 674 and 922 calories per day. This recommendation must be adjusted according to the activity level of your Beagle, with more active dogs needing more daily calorie intake. Most Beagles are active, energetic dogs with seemingly boundless energy, so the larger daily recommendation is likely to be more well-suited to your dog, especially if your dog is a puppy. Beagles over 7 years old are typically less active and need fewer calories.
Types of Food
Beagles are not known for being picky about food - in fact, they'll eat almost anything. Dry dog food works well with Beagles, especially since it helps to keep their teeth clean. A commercial dry food can be free-fed during the day because it doesn't spoil, but if you are concerned about your beagle's weight, free-feeding is not the road to weight control. Measure your Beagle's food carefully according to advice on the dog food package for the weight and activity level of your dog, or look at the calories per cup and measure accordingly. Divide your dog's daily ration into two to three daily meals. A small amount of canned dog food can be mixed with the dry, but the total should add up to no more calories than your Beagle requires.
Beagles require a high-protein diet to support their active lifestyles, especially if the dog is involved in tracking or agility competitions. Foods approved by the Association of American Feed Control Officials contain all of the necessary ingredients for a balanced diet. Select a dog food with poultry, fish, or whole meats listed first among the ingredients on the package label. Sources of essential fatty acids, such as sunflower, safflower or fish oil, help keep your dog's coat shiny and maintain the dog's energy level. Vegetables, fruits, and carbohydrates such as brown rice add healthy fiber to the food.
Avoid ingredients like meat by-products and cereal grains such as corn or wheat, which can be harder for your beagle to digest than whole meats or meat meals. Higher-quality foods contain easily digestible proteins, vegetables, and fruits that usually result in less waste and smaller stools. Natural preservatives like Vitamin E or Vitamin C are preferable over chemical preservatives like butylated hydroxyanisole, butylated hydroxytoluene, and ethoxyquin.
Beagles are hunting dogs and enjoy following an interesting scent. Take advantage of this natural tendency and engage your dog's mind during the day by hiding dry dog food around your home in places your dog can sniff out. This makes a fun game out of feeding and helps to prevent destructive behaviors when you aren't around your Beagle.
Beagles love to chew, so providing your dog with a chewable puzzle toy that you can fill with dry food mixed with something like peanut butter, satisfies this need in your dog. This also helps to protect your prized possessions from possible destruction in your absence by your dog. Beagles enjoy spending time with their people and can develop destructive behaviors if they are lonely and bored. Feeding your dog in this manner helps to curb such behaviors.
The Beagle is a relatively healthy breed with few health concerns. Unfortunately, an overfed Beagle can easily become obese, and that can lead to a variety of health conditions such as arthritis and heart disease. Feel along your dog's sides and back. If the ribs and spine are so padded by fat that you can't easily detect them, your beagle is overweight. Seek the advice of a veterinarian about reducing the dog's weight; some health conditions can also cause obesity.
Besides increasing your Beagle's daily exercise, just cutting your dog's food ration or feeding them a low-calorie dog food containing increased amounts of fiber can help your dog lose weight. Dividing your dog's food into several meals throughout the day can burn more calories while keeping the dog feeling full. You can also consider adding healthy ingredients such as green beans or canned pumpkin while reducing the dog's ration. Such ingredients can help your dog feel full without adding many calories, according to the National Beagle Club of America.
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