How to Care for Beagles
Beagles are popular animals that are energetic, need plenty of exercise, and love to sniff things. They love other animals and people since they were originally bred to hunt in packs. If you are considering getting a beagle, there are some things you need to known to care for him and keep him safe and healthy.
Caring for Overall Health
1. Take him for checkups.
To make sure your beagle stays healthy, make sure you take him to the vet regularly. At eight weeks, take your beagle to the vet to check his overall health as well as him early vaccinations. These include those for distemper, rabies, and Lyme disease.
- Talk to your vet about a regiment of preventative medication for heartworms as well. This disease can cause illness and even death.
- After the first checkup, your beagle will need a booster shot for his vaccinations.
- Once he is older, he will need a yearly checkup.
2. Spay or neuter your pet.
Once your dog is six to nine months old, consider fixing your pet. This can help with certain diseases, such as tumors and cancer. It will also help you avoid unwanted puppies and certain behavioral issues.
- Avoid doing this if you plan on breeding your dog.
- Make sure to research this matter further, as new studies are coming out all the time regarding the health concerns of spaying/nuetering while the beagle is young.
3. Watch out for breed specific diseases.
There are certain issues that may arise because of your dog is a beagle. This means that your beagle will be more prone to these disorders than other breeds. These issues include:
- Seizure disorders
- Hip dysplasia
- Inter-vertebral disc disease
Providing the Right Nutrition
1. Feed your dog the right food.
There are many foods you can feed your dog, but you need to look for the highest quality dog food that is made for small breeds. Your beagle will do well with commercial dog food as long as the food contains quality ingredients that are specialized for small breeds. The first three or four ingredients should be meat and vegetables.
- It can contain meat by-products and wheat, but they should be farther down the list.
2. Consider a homemade diet.
If your dog doesn't do well on commercial food or if you want to make it yourself, consider a raw diet. If you choose this path, contact your vet to find an animal nutritionist to help you provide a balanced diet for your beagle. If it isn't, your dog's quality of life may suffer.5
3. Feed him the right amount.
In order to keep your dog in the right weight range, you need to feed him the recommended amounts every day. To help you do this, measure the amount of food with a measuring cup at each meal. This will ensure you don't overfeed or underfeed him. Look on the back of your dog's food to see the proper amount for him.
- This is typically based on weight, so make sure you know how much he ways so you can feed him the right amount.
- Overfeeding can lead to obesity, which is the largest nutritional issue facing dog’s today.
- If you follow the recommended amount of food, avoid feeding him more than a treat or two a day because it will increase his calorie intake.
Improving Quality of Life
1. Potty train your dog.
In order to keep you and your dog healthy and happy, you need to potty train him. It takes patience, time, and continued work. You need to set up a feeding and walking routine and enforcing good behavior when he goes to the bathroom outside. You may also need to paper train him if you live in an apartment.
- The length of time it takes to potty train will vary depending on your dog. Keep at it and your dog will eventually learn.
- Keep you dog in a small, easily cleanable area while you are potty training him, such as a bathroom or laundry room.
2. Crate train your dog.
A good way to train your dog is with a crate. This can help keep your beagle in a contained area when you aren't around and will help you travel with him. It isn't bad for you dog if he is trained to use the crate correctly.
- Start by putting the crate with a blanket or bed inside in a place where he is comfortable. Encourage him to come inside with a treat for a few days just to get him inside. After a few days, close the door behind him for 10 minutes at a time. Then, slowly increase it until he is used to it and can stay in there for long periods of time.
- Make sure you buy a crate that is an appropriate size for your dog. He needs plenty of space to move around and be comfortable. He should be able to stand normally without a hunched back and be able to turn around comfortably while in the crate.
- The crate does not have to be bigger than this.
3. Exercise your dog.
Your beagle should be happy and energetic, which means he needs to exercise every day. This includes two walks that last at least 20 minutes a piece. If you beagle is a puppy or elderly, the walks can be shorter at 15 minutes or less.
- You can also play interactive games with your beagles, such as fetch or Frisbee.
4. Socialize your dog.
Your beagle is a social animal since he was originally bred to be in packs. This means you need to socialize your dog with other dogs as well as other humans. Take him to a dog park or a community park so he can play with other dogs and can meet other people as well.
- He, like other beagles, will love to play and will have an energetic, carefree spirit. This means he will love to play with you and other dogs. Buy toys you can throw and that he can chase across the yard.
- You can also take him to obedience classes, which will help socialize him as well as teach him good behavior.
Grooming Your Dog
1. Take care of his teeth.
Your beagle will build up plaque on his teeth just like you do. This means you need to focus on his teeth, which can be done with dental formulated treats as well as brushing. Treats such as rawhides or dental treats help clean the plaque as your dog chews. In addition to these treats, brush his teeth every few days to once a week.
- Start by buying a dog toothbrush and toothpaste from the pet store or your vet. Never use human toothpaste because it is poisonous to dogs.
- Use a small amount of toothpaste on your finger to get him used to taste and you being in his mouth. Rub it along his gums, then work up to brushing his teeth. Work from the back to front on the outside of his teeth for about 30 seconds.
2. Trim his nails.
Trimming your dog's nails is important to prevent accidental scratching and keep him happy. Start with the back nails, which are typically shorter and easier to handle. When you go to cut his nails, look for the quick, which you can see on the underside of the nails. These contain blood vessels and will bleed if you cut them. Move two to three millimeter from the quick, trimming from there. Do the same for each nail.
- The first time you do this, ask someone to help by holding your dog. He might jerk and cause you to hurt him.
- Make sure you buy a dog nail trimmer. Never use scissors or human nail trimmers.
- If you aren't sure how to do it yourself, ask your vet to show you.
- If your dog is older and arthritic, it may cause him pain when you cut his nails.
3. Brush your dog.
Your beagle's coat may be short haired, but that doesn't mean he doesn't have to be brushed. He is prone to shedding, and brushing him regularly will help cut down on his shedding. Buy a short bristled brush to help remove loose fur and stimulate skin circulation and skin health.
- While you do this, also look for fleas, ticks, and other skin conditions or abnormality. If you find parasites on him, treat them as soon as you can. This includes his skin as well as bedding and your house.