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Acting Strange

When a Beagle is Acting Strange

Strange, Odd Behavior Overview

When a Beagle is suddenly acting odd, this can be troubling for owners. While dogs can be silly sometimes or do things that we can't quite understand, when behavior is so strange that it falls out of the realm of what we would consider normal, it is smart to take notice. 

While many odd behaviors are actually harmless, there are a few that can point to a health issue or a need for a change in environment.

There are quite a few ways in which a Beagle puppy or dog can begin to act oddly, so we have taken a group of questions from Members who have written in regarding their Beagle's odd habits and actions. This page will answer the most commonly noticed odd quirks and observations that Beagle owners have considered to be weird. 
Beagle acting strange and silly
Oli, 4 years old; Photo courtesy of Leanne
Beagle is acting restless - Most Beagle are on alert even when resting and can have quite a bit of energy, however if a Beagle is pacing a lot, cannot seem to settle down, keeps looking around or seems on edge, this can defiantly be classified as acting strange and due to this sort of behavior, some even refer to this as acting paranoid. 

Short episodes: While there are many random elements that can cause a dog to act this way, for an acute episode the most common reason is a physical discomfort. And with dogs, the most typical issue is an upset stomach. A Beagle may have eaten something that disagreed with his stomach or can even have a canine stomach bug due to a virus or bacteria. When a dog needs to vomit or if his stomach hurts, it is very common to pace, act anxious and/or be unable to relax and lie down.

Some owners have found that if they let their Beagle outside, he or she will eat some blades of grass to induce vomiting and will feel better almost immediately. Even if a Beagle does not throw up, minor cases of digestive issues are often self-limiting and resolve on their own. If there are other signs such as nonproductive dry heaving, lack of appetite, trouble with stools, if the strange behavior worsen or does not go away after 24 hours, it is recommended to call the veterinarian.
You will also want to keep an eye on the Beagle's abdomen to take note of bloating, which can point to bloat, a dangerous and sometimes fatal condition that requires emergency medical care. 

Chronic issues: If a Beagle has been acting odd and restless for days or even weeks without showing any other signs, this may be an element in the environment that is causing him to be on alert round-the-clock (more ahead) or it may be a health issue that is causing internal pain without manifesting outwardly.  
Beagle keeps barking at nothing and is hyper alert: Beagles have amazing hearing and a scent capability that rivals that of any other dog breed. If a Beagle keeps looking out of windows, runs back and forth seemingly on guard and/or is barking at apparently nothing, this is often a case of the dog acting in response to someone or something outside. 

There are a vast array of outdoor wild animals that can essentially be inadvertently teasing a Beagle that is inside. Squirrel, raccoon, deer, birds, mice, beavers, chipmunks and basically any woodland creatures that are in the vicinity of the house can cause a Beagle to act exceedingly hyped up. If a Beagle is barking at the ceilings and scampering back and forth as if he is following an invisible object, this is typically a case of a bird or squirrel up on the roof of the home. 

Beagle bays and howls at the exact same time every day or night: The breed is known for howling and this is done to call out to other dogs regardless of whether or not any are actually in the area. Some Beagles may appear to be on a schedule of howling, which owners find to be strange. This can be seen as endearing or frustrating depending on how long it lasts and the time of day or night that it is done. In general, unless this is disturbing the household or the neighbors, a Beagle should be allowed to call out. Whether or not he receives a response, this breed gains satisfaction from this ritual and is part of the Beagle's rich heritage as a pack dog. Most will calm right down afterward. 

Some owners have inquired if a Beagle feels rejected or even depressed if he/she is a the only dog in the house and when howling, does not hear back from any other dogs… essentially, if a Beagle feels bad that he is baying out for a pack that does not exist. You can rest assured that while a Beagle would relish a quick jaunt of running through a field with a pack, this breed does just fine in a single-pet household. Beagles bay at night not only to call out, but also to send a message of 'I am here'. Once that message is sent, he is usually satisfied. 

Beagle is super hyper and bouncing off the walls: Any time that a Beagle acts weird as if he is stuck in jail cell and just wants to burst free, this is a clear-cut sign of needing additional exercise.  This is a very active breed that enjoys being outside. A Beagle needs to explore with both his eyes and his nose. He needs to have brisk walks to release pent up energy. 
Beagle looking out of window
Cora, approx. 1 and 1/2 (rescue dog)
Photo courtesy of Patrick
And if he is kept inside too much or a 'walk' consists of going with his owner to the mailbox and back, he will begin to have trouble staying calm. 

A Beagle should be walked at least two times per day and each session should last for a minimum of 20 minutes, while 30 is best. 

Owners of this breed need to be prepared to bring their Beagle out regardless of the weather. We are often deluged with emails during the winter season from owners reporting that their Beagles are acting strange and this is due to the canine equivalent of cabin fever. When owners dress appropriately for the weather, it is much easier to make sure that the puppy or dog receives the right amount of activity. 
Beagle is acting like he is drunk: When a Beagle is acting really sluggish, is having trouble walking correctly, is perhaps with the body and/or head swaying back and forth and/or being very uncoordinated, many owners refer to this as the puppy or dog seemingly acting as if he or she is drunk on alcohol. 

With young puppies, this can be an issue of hypoglycemia which is a rapid drop in blood sugar levels. While the cause is not known in all cases, sometimes this can be brought on by stress (even excited, happy events can bring this about or by not eating often enough. The Beagle puppy may be acting dazed and confused, show signs of dizziness and disorientation by stumbling into walls. The at-home treatment is to provide a quick rush of sugar directly into the bloodstream which is often best accomplished by rubbing a dab of honey onto the puppy's gums. If improvement is not noticeable within just minutes, this needs to be treated at the vet's office. In some cases, this can spiral into a severe case that can lead to coma or even death. IV intervention often brings a puppy back to acting normal quite rapidly. 

For Beagles of any age that appear to be acting drunk, this may be a matter of ingestion of toxins. The most common cause in which owners see no evidence involves the ingestion of poisonous plants; this can be either indoor or outdoor plants. Other reasons include neurological disorders including canine cerebellar ataxia, a rare but serious brain condition.

Since the cause of having drunk-like symptoms almost always points to a serious medical issue, it is advised to bring your Beagle to the veterinarian immediately. 
Beagle for blog
"Woof, rufff, rrrr...grrr... UMPHF!"

Translation: "Tweets for treats...? ... or share for... ahh... a pear??? 
Well, you get the gist! Show me some love & share this site before you read on."
Beagle is acting strangely depressed or unhappy: The most typical cause of a dog acting sad or mopey is a change in the household or environment. This can include the loss of another pet or the absence of a person who was home a lot more in the past. Some Beagles are very sensitive to time spent with owners and can act odd and distant if they are not getting the attention that they are accustomed to. There is always the possibility that a health issue is causing a Beagle to act depressed and have lowered energy levels. In very rare cases, it can be an issue of canine clinical depression.  

Additional signs may include a lack of appetite or increased hunger, sleep much more than normal, have no interest in things that previously brought joy such as playing a game or being given a toy and/or even start urinating in the house. 

If a Beagle is acting oddly in this way, you'll want to take note of any changes in the household or time spent with the dog. Often engaging with a lonely dog and having set times of interaction can help quite a bit. However, since a wide range of health conditions can make a dog act this way, if this sort of depressed behavior does not resolve, it will be important to have an experienced and reputable veterinarian perform a complete checkup. 
Beagle is acting scared for no reason: If a dog is acting skittish, overly nervous or is acting so scared that he is hiding under the bed or in a closet, seemingly afraid to be out in the open, this is often a case of the dog being spooked when the owners were not around to see it happen. 

The most typical event would be a noise that was loud enough or unexpected enough to startle the puppy or dog; keeping in mind that their hearing range and ability is much more enhanced than ours. 

In some cases of a Beagle acting oddly, it is a matter of an approaching storm or a storm that is too far off for us to notice or witness. Lightning storms are the most frightening weather event that scares dogs of all breeds and they can sense the change in air pressure and hear lightning strikes that are miles away. With storms, if a Beagle is overly bothered and owners live in an area that receives quite a bit of activity, the use of a thunder vest can be quite helpful.  

In most cases of a dog having been startled, it is best to speak in a matter-of-fact manner, since a comforting voice only adds confirmation that there is something to be afraid of.
Beagle on chair
Imber, 8 months old
Photo courtesy of Kayla Wilson, TN
 Most dogs only need a short amount of time to shake off the event and are acting back to normal soon afterward. If a dog continues to act strange, distraction with a toy or treat may help.  

If symptoms continue until the next day or if there are any new signs of distress or changes in appetite, etc., this may be a matter of the Beagle appearing to act scared but is he is actually displaying a canine trait of retreating and hiding when in pain. When a dog is ill, he feels vulnerable and this can cause him to withdraw; for this reason a vet visit is in order. 

As an added note, in a multiple dog household, if one dog is always acting fearful or skittish, this may be a matter of a more dominant dog bullying the other. If these dogs are left home alone, it may be best to keep them separated until it can be established if this is the cause. 

Beagle is smacking his lips: Dogs can act this way just to amuse their owners, since most people find this to be quite silly… some dogs have learned to smack their lips as a way to ask for a snack and some actually do this as a way to relax in the evening. However, if a Beagle is constantly smacking his lips and it does not seem as if he is doing this to entertain you, it can be due to dehydration, a dental issue or due to feeling nauseous. With dehydration issues, even a small water loss of less than 1% can cause both changes and physical symptoms. If this is suspected, encourage your dog to drink more. Offering flavored ice cubes is a good method as well as bringing along water on walks to take a break at the halfway mark to drink up.  

When a Senior Beagle is acting Moody: When a dog is entering his or her senior years, they can be more sensitive to their surroundings and seemingly small things can cause the dog to act moody or withdrawn. Certainly age related health issues such as arthritis can cause a dog to rest more and not be so active. It is important to not write off odd senior behavior as normal, since many issues can be helped with medication and/or supplements. Just obtaining a quality orthopedic canine bed for a senior Beagle can allow the dog to get a much better night's sleep and ease an aching body, which gives you dog that acts much happier the next day.
female Beagle acting sleepy
Milli, Photo courtesy of Missy Rios
Also, senior dogs do not often cope well with changes. Some decreased vision can make an older dog nervous or hesitant. It is best to not rearrange furniture or make any changes to where the Beagle eats, rests or sleeps unless absolutely necessary. Beagles with decreased hearing do best if lights are flickered before entering a room and if people approach from the side. 

Female Beagle is Acting Moody: If a female dog is not spayed, it is very common for her to experience mood swings during her heat cycle. She will go into season before any discharge is apparent and there are continued hormone fluctuations for several weeks after the discharge has ended. Therefore, a female Beagle may act a bit odd for up to 7 or 8 weeks, twice per year if it is due to her heat cycle. 

She may act overly clingy, do the opposite and appear withdrawn or swap back and forth between the two. She may nest, appear anxious, have changes in appetite and/or sleep more than normal. 
Since spaying a dog can greatly extend her life span by eliminating or reducing the odds of several types of cancer, spaying is recommended for all non-breeding female dogs. It is most beneficial to spray while young, before the first heat. 

While all puppies and dogs act silly some of the time and our dogs will always have some odd quirks that are just random and odd, most are harmless idiosyncrasies that are unique to each Beagle. However, when a dog is acting so strange that you really take notice, at that point it is important to access if the dog should be seen by the veterinarian. One of the biggest mistakes that a person can make is saying that everything must be okay since the Beagle just had a checkup. However, whether a day, a week or a month has passed, something could have developed since that time.
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