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Care (Top 7 Tips Main Page)

The Top 7 Beagle Care Tips

Overview

While everyone knows the basics of proper care for a dog, it's always important to assess if you are truly following the right guidelines. Of course, our dogs cannot speak to us to tell us what's wrong, and everything might seem like it's going fine; however slacking in just a few areas can lead to quite a few issues.

Let's take a look at the top 7 tips that every owner should be following. How many do you follow? 

Beagle Care Tip #1 - Offer the Best Possible Food; Meals and Snacks

Everything that your Beagle eats (and drinks, see next tip) directly affects his health, right now and for all the years to come. So, it's really important to choose both meals and snacks wisely. This goes way beyond just finding a food that your Beagle will like.

Tips for main kibble:
  • Never buy a brand just because it's a name that is familiar to you; some of the well-known brands that you see lots of commercials for are the worst offenders. 
  • Steer clear of artificial chemicals; these are notorious for causing all sorts of issues such as allergic reaction (dry and/or itchy skin, dull coat, rashes) and/or stomach upset. You'll want an all-natural food with no chemical preservatives, coloring, or flavoring. 
  • Steer clear of by-products. Meat by-products are animal parts that are deemed unfit for human consumption.  You'll want real meat or meat meal, which is a concentrated meat with extra water removed. 
  • For Made in the US brands, which is what you'll want, double check that ingredients are sourced and made in the US (or North American, which includes Canada and is safe as well). 
Recommended: Orijen and Whole Earth Farms are excellent choices. And our newest recommended brand, which we are very impressed with, is Wellness Core.  It contains premium meats, real vegetables,  no wheat, corn, soy, meat by-products, or artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.
Tips for treats:

What you offer in between meals is just as important; most dogs ingest 20 to 30% of their calories from their snacks and rewards. 
  • As with kibble, be sure to steer clear of heavily laden snacks with chemicals; some horrendous.
  • Go with Made in the USA or North American only. 
  • Do not give raw hide or other snacks that can cause internal obstructions. 
  • Offering fresh fruit or vegetables is always a good choice. Blueberries, strawberries, and bananas are well tolerated and super healthy.
Recommended:  Fruitables are awesome and a great snack that we've just recently discovered. These are all-natural treats that 1) have nothing to hide; the only foods in these are wholesome ingredients and 2) are very low calorie; a great bonus for this breed that tends to pack on weight.

Himalayan Yak Dog Chews - If your Beagle hasn't had these yet, he's in for a treat! These are a fantastic alternative to raw hides.  It may sound a bit crazy, but these are made from 100% yak and cow milk, with salt and lime juice. That's it! They last a long time, for hours, and are well received. 

Beagle Care Tip #2 - Ensure Your Beagle Meets Exercise Requirements

beagle-with-bow-tie
Parker, at is 2 years old
Photo courtesy of Ed Kafarski 
This is an active breed with high energy. Beagles not only love to move around, they need to!

It's easy to get caught up with a busy day, and maybe you don't take your Beagle out as much as you should, and he may even appear to be okay... but this often will catch up with you.

Without enough exercise, a Beagle will end up having a lot of pent-up energy. He can become frustrated, as he is unable to properly release it.

This can manifest as agitation, excessive barking, and destructive chewing behaviors. Some Beagles can also become sullen and lethargic if they don't move around enough. 

Beagles need to be walking, running and playing with you. They need to be outside, smelling new scents, hearing new sounds and seeing interesting sights.
Here are some tips:
  • Plan and stick to an exercise routine of, at minimum, 2 brisk walks per day.
  • Don't let bad weather get in your way. Plan ahead for this. In the winter, make sure your Beagle's paws are well protected with a quality paw wax, place a lined vest on him if it's really cold out, and be sure to dress up super warm yourself. Unless there is a blizzard or sub-freezing temperatures, take him out to exercise twice per day. 
  • Let your Beagle enjoy the fun of full-out running now and again. Though, of course, this is risky off-leash. If you do have a large indoor, fenced yard, that's great (be sure to supervise him). And for when you're at a large field or other such area, have him on a long 50 to 60 foot leash and let him go!
Be sure to first give the 'Sit' command, and then the 'Okay' command, so that he realizes you are allowing this. Dogs just need to feel free once in a while. 
  • Make outside activity fun by having fun session of fetch.  It's a great cardio workout and when you interact in this way, it's a bonding activity as well. 

Beagle Care Tip #3 - Take Note of the Water Your Give to Your Beagle

This is a huge one, and far too overlooked.  The chemicals and toxins found in tap water is unbelievable. 

Tap water is slowly poisoning people, and for pets in which water is all that they drink, the consequences can be shocking. 

Of the 260 contaminants known to be in tap water, half are not regulated. Of those are are, small amounts of toxins are legally allowed; this is because the are deemed 'safe' based off of a one 8-oz. serving. 

Unfiltered tap water has bromate, haloacetic acids and trihalomethanes which are known carcinogens.  Additives such as Chloramines and chlorine can cause eye and nose irritation. 

Some sources have arsenic, asbestos and even cadmium, which causes kidney damage. 
beagle-on-bridge-
Whiskey, with Bradley and Margo
"Together for wedding anniversary photos"
And of course, many water supplies have added fluoride; this substance that was first used as a rat poison is toxic to dogs. 

What can you do? The fix for this is super easy and you'll probably find that you feel a lot better yourself, knowing that you're not using straight tap water for your cooking and other things.

You can get a filter system for your kitchen tap. This is a good choice if you are handy. Once it is connected, you don't need to think about it at all, other than to swap out the filter.

You can get a filtering water pitcher. These are great.  They come in a variety of sizes that you can keep in your fridge. As the water is poured out, it is cleaned and toxins are removed.  And, it's really easy to swap out the filters. 
beagle-resting
JJ Bear, at 2 years old
Photo courtesy of Nicki, from WV

Beagle Care Tip #4 - Buckle Up Your Beagle

If there was just one care element that had a direct life-or-death impact for a dog, it would be a car restraint.  Allowing your Beagle to be free in the car is dangerous for both him and you. 

Here are some important facts to take note of:
  • In the US, there are 16,000 car accidents per day. 
  • In the UK, 59 people are injured each day, and 5 die each day in a vehicle accident. 
  • 22% of accidents are weather related.  So, the chances are upped during the winter and any time of the year if there is rain or fog. 
  • Distracted driving causes a half million crashes every year, in the U.S. And unrestrained dogs are a top distraction.  In a poll taken by AAA and Kurgo, 29% of drivers admit to being distracted by their dog while driving. 
  • A director with the ASPCA explained another issue well: Unrestrained dogs can be thrown with incredible force. In an accident going 35 mph, a 50-pound dog is thrown with the force of a 1,500 pound object. This is enough to severely injure other passengers in the car, and cause devastating injury or death for the dog. 
Bottom line, no matter how good of a driver you are, don't think it can't happen to you. And if you would buckle up a child, there should be no question as to whether you would show the same courtesy for your Beagle.

What stops owners? The biggest concern is that the dog won't be happy. However, with the right canine safety belt, your Beagle can still look out the window; in fact, he can stick his nose out just fine.

And in fact, issues of motion sickness can be greatly decreased. When unrestrained, the dog bounces around with every turn and stop, which can increase feelings of nausea. However, when buckled in, the dog is secure, which can help keep his stomach settled and cut down on dizziness.

In addition, for Beagle puppies, a booster seat will give better line of sight, which is a major factor with car sickness

What to do:  If you have a Beagle puppy, get him a certified canine car booster seat. Please note , that there is a buckle strap inside the seat; this is to be connected to your pup's harness, not a collar. If you connect this to a collar, it can cause terrible neck injury. 

If you have an adult Beagle, opt for a belt restraint.  There are 2 great options: 1) A tether. This is a simple yet effective method. One end clips into your dog's harness clip, the other snaps into the seat belt receptacle of your vehicle. 2) A harness with tether. If your Beagle does not have his own harness, this is an all-on-one device. It includes the chest harness and the tether which clips into your car's seat belt. 
lemon Beagle, female
Rosita, at 10 years old
Photo courtesy of Diana Botero, from Medellín, Colombia

Beagle Care Tip #5 - Don't Skip Vet Wellness Checks

Most owners are great about bringing their puppy to the vet; however, as the dog matures vet visits tend to get skipped.

The American Animal Hospital Association recommends one visit per year for a wellness check. And twice-per-year visits for seniors. However, when polled, 18.7% of dog owners did not bring their dog to the vet for an entire year. The top reason? Their dog was not sick.

But, wellness checks are not for sick dogs; they are preventative checks to catch issues early and to screen for possible conditions. 

When a dog is in the phase of a subclinical disease (the condition is present, but symptoms are minimal), your dog cannot tell you what is wrong and you will not know. 
Catching conditions early is the best route to a good prognosis and successful, fast treatment. 

The 2nd top reason for skipping this important care element is lack of funds.  However, this can be budgeted for, in all but the most extreme of circumstances. 

Depending on whether there needs to be any testing of stool samples, heartworm disease, or there is a need for booster shots, the checkup will range from $50 to $200. If your Beagle needs a professional dental cleaning, the cost can be upwards of $400.

If you plan for this, you will want to stash away $4 to $16 a month, for a year.  If there needs to be a full dental, the breakdown is $33 per month. 

Ignoring issues or being in denial is not in your Beagle's best interest, and can lead to undue suffering as the time passes by and health issues worsen. 

Beagle Care Tip # 6 - Don't Skip At-Home Dental Care

Can you imagine if a person did not clean their teeth? The decay would be horrid. And ultimately, the pain could become unbearable. 

Well, this is really no different for dogs and here is what is happening to your Beagle right now:  Every day, round the clock, plaque is being produced in a dog's mouth. It is a sticky substance that clings to teeth.

When it is not wiped, brushed or cleaned away, it hardens into tartar starting at day 3.  At this point, it is much more difficult to remove.

The plaque and tartar is like a horrible glue, eating away at enamel on a ravenous path. It not only attacks the surface of teeth, but can crawl its way under the gum line. 

Infection can develop; if it does, it can travel up to the sinuses and even cause a full-blood infection (sepsis). 

Teeth eventually become weakened from rot and loosen. Supporting tissues give way, and teeth will fall out.  And of course, this does not happen without a good level of pain. 
The biggest myth about canine oral health is that chewing on toys is sufficient for cleaning the teeth. What may be loosened from chewing on ropes, Kongs or other toys is a tiny fraction of what develops on the teeth.

A better, more effective plan is needed. 
What to do: Ideally, you want to care for the teeth in 3, if not 4, ways.

Brushing - Your Beagle won't mind a few minutes of scrubbing each day if you have 1) the right sized toothbrush and 2) a great canine paste that is flavored with chicken, beef or vanilla (dogs love vanilla). 

If he balks, try a fingerbrush; these attach to the tip of your finger and it can be a bit easier for a dog to stay still. 

The 3rd element is a supplement that works to kill bacteria and reduce plaque. This is recommended for dogs that are prone to dental decay, as it is a great bonus step. 

And 4th and last, but not at all least, is one of the best plaque fighting tools you can use: An effective dental treat. The only one that we recommend is Greenies; it just cannot be beat. These are the #1 veterinary recommended dental chew and have received the Seal of Acceptance for control of plaque and tartar buildup by the Veterinary Oral Health Council. 

They come in a variety of sizes (Teenie is for pups 5-15 lbs., Petite is for dogs 15-25 lbs., Regular is for dogs 25-50 lbs.)
beagle-boy
Rusty, at 1 and 1/2 years old
Photo courtesy of Jaquie and Cyndy

Beagle Care Tip #7 - Proof the House and the Yard

Often referred to as 'puppy proofing' this important care tip is for Beagles of all ages. 

The things that dogs are capable of ingesting are shocking and it may happen even if your Beagle has never had any interest in mouthing things before.

We know of a senior dog that until the age of 11 never got into trouble. Then, he ate 3 socks and had to have emergency surgery ($2200).

 We also know of a dog that got into a lower medicine cabinet and somehow ingested a small role of medical tape; he had to have life-saving emergency surgery ($4500). 

You'll want to routinely check the entire house and your yard too.  
Socks and any small clothing items should always be picked up. Look for loose change, dropped jewelry, anything your Beagle can reach. It's also a really good idea to use cord concealer to wrap up electrical cords. We also recommend child-proof locks on any lower cabinets.

A Final Word

Our dogs depend on us to make the right choices. To keep them safe. To protect them from any harm that we can foresee. Please do reassess your Beagle's care routine and make changes in any areas that need some improvement. 
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Other Care Related Pages:
Helping a Beagle Lose Weight - Beagles can get overweight despite their high energy levels. Read about the 6 steps to take if your Beagle needs to drop a few pounds. 
Beagle Ear Care - Covering infections and how to keep the ear clean. 
Can a Beagle Live Outside - An important article if you're thinking about having your Beagle outside in the yard for the day, or even living outdoors. Tips to keep an indoor Beagle happy and content. 
Beagle Exercise - Making sure that your Beagle gets the right amount of purposeful activity. 
Beagle Summer Care - What you need to do to keep your Beagle happy, safe, cool, and comfortable in the summer. 
Flea, Ticks, and Worm Prevention - The vital importance of prevention and recommended products, including all-natural options. 
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