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Life Span

Beagle Life Expectancy

The Life Expectancy of the Beagle

All dog breeds are given a general life expectancy number. One must remember that this is the average age. It depends quite a bit on genetics...

If a certain dog carries hereditary health issues this will affect life span quite a bit. 

Also, how an owner cares for his/her Beagle will greatly affect the life span of this breed.  You may be surprised to learn that some of the leading causes of death for this breed are avoidable. 

The average life expectancy of the Beagle is 12 to 15 years, with a median of 13.5 years. Many Beagles live well into their teens. 
Beagle VS Other Breeds

The Beagle lifespan is considered to be fairly typical in comparison to other breeds. Some dog breeds, have very short life spans in comparison, such as the Irish Wolfhound that only has an estimated life expectancy of 6 to 8 years.  The rare Xoloitzcuintle dog generally lives for 16 to 20 years. Therefore, when you take all breeds into consideration, the lifespan of a Beagle is typical for dogs in general.
Leading Causes of Death for the Beagle Breed

A 20 year study done by the University of Georgia studied the leading causes of death of top dog breeds, including mixed breeds. There were 82 dog breeds and 74,566 were in the database that they used.

The leading cause of death for Beagle puppies (those under the age of 1 year old) are:

Infection. This includes parovirus (a highly contagious disease that can spread rapidly among puppies.  And even if a pup is vaccinated, he can be vulnerable to this during a 'window of vulnerability' during his inoculation series), distemper (an often fatal virus with no known cure that most commonly affects puppies and dogs that are not properly vaccinated), bacterial infections, leptospriosis (a bacterial infection that attacks the liver, kidneys, central nervous system and eyes).
1.5 year old Beagle
Calie, 1.5 years old
Photo courtesy of owner: D. Pennings
This spreads via contact with the urine of wildlife.

There is a vaccine for this, however it is voluntary and only given if owners ask. If your Beagle will be in any area that may have wildlife -deer, squirrels, raccoon, etc. - it recommended to have him to receive the leptospriosis vaccine) and fungal infections.

Trauma. With Beagle puppies this involves being dropped, falling down staircases, being hit by a car and being accidentally stepped on. If all owners were conscientious, this cause of death could be taken off the list.

Congenital disease. This includes all disease and health conditions that are genetically passed down and by birth defects. Among this would be liver shunts and heart defects. Many congenital issues can be prevented by following proper breeding methods which tests both dam and sire for any hereditary issues.
The leading causes of death among adult Beagles are:

Cancer, 23.1%. This was not surprising, as cancer is the leading cause of death in all but 11 breeds.

Trauma, 16%. This second leading cause of death with Beagles is unfortunate, since this can be avoided the majority of the time. And out of all breeds, the Beagle placed #12. This includes being hit by a car, being accidentally stepped on (as is in the case of puppies), being fatally injured during activity and being killed as a passenger in a car.

Neurological, 13%. This includes diseases of the brain and spinal cord such as IDD or IVDD (intervertebral disc disease) which can lead to paralysis, fatal strokes, tick paralysis, seizures, encephalitis (inflammation of the brain most often caused by viral infections) and tumors of the spinal cord or brain. In addition, CCD (canine cognitive disorder) a disorder that affects senior dogs is included in the category.  
Milestones in a Beagle's Life - What to Expect

Birth to 1 year old: During this time your Beagle is in the short time frame and rapid growth phase of his or her life expectancy. This is the puppy year…and during this time your pup is going to have a fast growth spurt… the round appearance will turn into a slimmer, sleek look.

1-7 years: Your Beagle will now be an adolescent and an adult. The exact changeover from “teenager” to adult is not clear cut…It varies from dog to dog. Some say that a Beagle is an adult at the 1 year mark, and others say it should be the 2 year mark, since 1 year olds can still display puppy-like tendencies.

8 years and on: Yes, the time went by fast…But now your Beagle is a senior. This is usually determined by a veterinarian. He or she will determine this not only by the age of your dog, but also by his health, activity level and more. No Beagle goes past the 9 year make without being classified as a senior.
When this change occurs, an owner must be careful to watch how many snacks are given, since this breed can quickly become overweight and seniors are vulnerable to this. It is important to maintain activity. 

While your older dog will not want to play as much as before…and will not usually have the need to run to release pent up energy…slow walks (for about 30-45 minutes each day) are very helpful in keeping the senior dog healthy. This, of course, is as long as the dog does not have any injuries or health conditions that would increase discomfort when walking. 

The senior Beagle should also be given an orthopedic bed to sleep in…as older bones and joints need the extra support for the dog to sleep comfortably.
2.5 year old male Beagle on couch
"The sofa is all mine!"
Snoopy, 2.5 years old
Photo courtesy of owner: Silvia Martinelli
Gray?  Many wonder if a dog’s coat turns gray when they get older. The surprising answer yes, sometimes it does. While canines will not develop a full gray coat, it is not unusual for colors to fade somewhat…and it is not unusual for some grey hairs to be seen blending into the “normal” colors.  
How to Help Your Beagle Reach Full Life Expectancy

There are some health issues that cannot be avoided, however we will go over the many ways that you can help extend that life span.

1) Have your dog spay or neutered. With cancer being the leading cause of death for Beagles, this will prevent ovarian cancer with females, help reduce the odds of mammary cancer with females and prevent testicular cancer with males.

2) Feed your Beagle well-balanced, healthy diet. Offer healthy snacks that are packed with antioxidants. Good choices are fruits such as blueberries and raspberries.
3 year old female Beagle
Maggie Watson, 3 years old
Photo courtesy of owner: Elizabeth Watson
3) With trauma being a leading cause of death for Beagles of all ages, keep your Beagle on leash at all times when outside the house, follow procedures to prevent escape when door are opened (have all family members knock before entering so that the dog can be held back) and place your Beagle in a certified canine car seat any time he is a passenger in your car.

4) Be diligent about having your Beagle receive and stay up-to-date on all vaccinations. Discuss the leptospriosis inoculation with your dog's veterinarian to determine if he is at risk.

5) The odds of getting lung cancer can be greatly reduced if the dog is not subjected to 2nd hand smoke. Just like people, they will be inhaling very harmful chemicals and cancer causing substances if a person in the household smokes. 
It does not offer much help to limit it to 1 room, as air flow will bring those chemicals to other rooms.

The best solution, aside from quitting, is to do so outside or in a completely separated area such as a garage. If no one in the house smokes, any visitors or quests who do so, should be asked to step outside or to a designated, separated area. 

6) Maintaining a healthy weight and receiving proper exercise will play a large role in a Beagle's life expectancy. Once a Beagle is 12 to 15 months old, weight should remain the same, however the dog may still grow in height...This is what causes the round puppy appearance to change into the more sleek adult dog appearance.

Beagles are naturally energetic. They have the instinct to run and explore. They are programmed to be on the move. When this is stifled by keeping them indoors all of the time, they can quickly become obese this leads to a host of health problems.

No matter what the age of your dog, a daily walk is a must for good health. In addition, it is recommended to offer cardio exercise at least 3 times per week. This can be trail running with them, playing intense games of Frisbee or allowing them to run around in the yard or an enclosed field. 

If given the opportunity to play with other dogs, particularly of the same breed, they will often go for hours releasing energy and burning calories. Of course, offer plenty of water, no matter what the weather or temperature. 
8) Have will-power in regard to giving table scraps. Proper feeding will have a great impact regarding Beagle life expectancy. Table food is a big no-no. Unfortunately, some owners can't help but to give in to those pleading eyes and constant begging. One must remember that many of the snacks that we eat simply are not tolerated well by a dog's body and others will simply be empty calories.

One must be careful regarding snacks. Treats are often given to give positive reinforcement when training, and this is just fine. However, the treat should be a healthy one.....One can offer raw carrots or flavored ice cubes. Avoid brightly colored manufactured treats, as these are packed with chemical coloring and flavoring.
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