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Beagle Food

Overview of Feeding a Beagle

Proper feeding is vital to your dog.  Puppies need a great meal plan to grow up healthy and adult Beagles can become overweight if care is not taken concerning the diet. 

Overweight dogs can have health problems, just as humans can.   A Beagle can get diabetes, and have strain can be put on his joints and ligaments if his diet is not controlled.

Beagles burn calories at a faster rate than some other breeds, especially when they are puppies. But as they mature, needs change for dog food and/or more exercise. Proper feeding goes beyond daily heath; it can extend life expectancy.
Owners are understandably concerned about what is the best food to feed a Beagle and we will go over this as well. 
Feeding Your Beagle Puppy 

4 Weeks to 8 Weeks Old

With Beagle puppies, during the first 3 to 4 weeks, their main diet will be the dam's milk. By week 4 they are being slowly weaned with an incremental introduction to solid foods. This is done by mixing canine milk replacer with the food that the dam has been eating. Every few days, the ratio of liquid to solid will be less. By week 7, most Beagle puppies are eating a purely solid diet.

8 Weeks to 6 Months Old - When first obtaining an 8 week old Beagle puppy, it is best that he is fed the same brand that he is used to receiving. A changeover to your preferred brand should be done in steps to avoid stomach upset. This can be done over the course of 3 to 4 weeks. Both old and new food should be mixed together well, with the ratio of newer food increasing every few days.

Appetite should be good with the Beagle very hungry and eager to eat at meal times. Scheduled feedings should now be done with most pups doing well with 3 meals per day. Free feeding is not recommended. When you have set meal times, this helps with housebreaking. In addition, when a dog has a good, firm schedule,he is better behaved.

6 Months to 1 Year - During this time, despite appearance, your Beagle is still considered a puppy. During this 6 month time period, work your way down to 2 meals a day; 1 in the morning and 1 in the early evening.  At the 1 year mark, your dog should be eating 1 good and healthy meal a day (plus additional healthy snacks), though some owners (mostly those that are home with the dog) prefer to give two smaller meals. Snacks and treats will be needed for many training techniques; having your Beagle down to 1 meal will allow room in his or her diet for the extra treats that will be given as rewards.

1 Year and Older - Your Beagle is now an adult. While there may be some growth up until 15 months or so, for an adult, focus should be placed on maintaining weight.  Stay aware of how many snacks you feed your Beagle since these calories can add up. 
What to Feed

You will need to decide between commercial dog food or home cooked food.

Some things to know about manufactured dog food:
  • Many contain fillers - Usually "high quality" just contains less fillers than cheaper brands. Fillers are completely empty ingredients with zero nutrients and zero calories. These are put into manufactured dog foods in order to pump up the "food" to make it look as if there is more and to fill up your dog's stomach (while offering no nutrients). They pass right through a dog's body, without being absorbed. This can cause gas problems and other issues. This is a terrible thing to give to any dog, whether a helpless puppy, an adult that you want to keep healthy or the senior Beagle that really depends on you to give them healthy food.
  • Most contain coloring, artificial flavors and additives which can cause allergic reactions.
  • Dogs need to eat real meat. Many manufactured dog foods have confusing labels and will list out ingredients such as meat by-products. By-products are parts from animals that are not considered healthy for human consumption and these are low in protein. This includes chicken beaks, fatty tissue, stomach linings and intestines. Other food ingredients that can be misleading are 'rendered meats'. These consists of animals that have died during transportation, expired supermarket meats and disease animals. These 'meat's are cleansed to remove bacteria and separates fat from meat. The fat is put into pet food to satisfy the 'fatty' levels and the so-called meat is put into some brands to satisfy protein levels. 
If you do decide to offer a manufactured dog food, we would recommend a high end brand such as Orijen or Whole Earth Farm. These brands are packed with real, wholesome foods such as bison, venison, chicken and fish. There are no fillers and some good quality vegetables and fruits. For recommendations regarding specific brands and flavors, look to 'Food' in the Beagle Specialty Shoppe.
Donovan the Beagle
Donovan Oliver Gus, 5.5 months old, from Cootamundra, NSW, Australia
Photo courtesy of owner Gloria Alkins
Home Cooking

Making food at home is easy and in most cases, less expensive. Many of the ingredients are those that you normally buy. Buying in bulk saves money. For example, if you are purchasing chicken, you can purchase a large bulk package, putting some aside for you and some for your Beagle.

Protein to vegetable and other ingredient ratios will be a bit different from commercial brands since there are only real foods and no 'extra' such as fillers, by-products, etc.

The important, base ingredient should be fresh, wholesome, real meat. This is what a Beagle needs. Roughly 25% of the mixture should be one or a combination of:
  • Lean, white breast chicken
  • Lean hamburger
  • Turkey
  • Lamb
  • Veal
  • Fish - Tuna, Mackerel
Now for vegetables. This should make up 35% of the meal. This can include wholesome, fresh veggies which you can mix in raw or steamed including:
  • Carrots  (raw baby carrots are great as snack too)
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Sweet peas
  • String beans
Now for starch, which is important as an energy source, this will be in the form of rice (white or brown) and/or pasta in a ratio of 15%. Pasta is fantastic for a Beagle, offering great nutrients and wholesome real food for health and energy.

Fruits and extras: You'll want your Beagle to have some fruits as these provide not only vitamins but also antioxidants. 15% of the meal should contain blueberries, raspberries, some banana, mango and even orange slices are great food additions. Some whole white yogurt and also some cottage cheese are good items to mix in as well; this will be roughly 10%.

Finally, a good daily dog vitamin and mineral canine supplement should be mixed into a meal each day or given in tablet form. This should be given whether home cooking or giving commercial food.
female Beagle with red bows
Molly, 2 years old
Photo courtesy of owners: Chris & Mary Ross
How Much Food to Feed a Beagle

While many owners want to know exactly how much to feed a Beagle, to say 'one cup' would not be helpful. Each type of food (wet, dry, chicken vs bison, etc.) will have varying levels of calorie dense ingredients. If you are offering a high-end brand, certainly read the recommended serving sized, which are based on weight. In general, growing puppies need to have roughly 55 calories per each pound of body weight, per day. This can vary by 20% depending on activity, age, health and individual metabolism. Full grown adults will need approximately 45 calories per pound and senior have slightly lower metabolisms, needing a bit less at 42 calories per pound, give or take that 20%. 

Free VS Scheduled

It is never recommended to leave out food and allow your Beagle to eat whenever he wishes; this breed could easily graze all day and end up overeating. Dogs that are given a daily schedule for just about everything...eating, grooming walks, play time, etc, are found to be much better behaved dogs. A good rule is that a dog should eat for15 to 20 minutes. Anything not eaten within that time should be saved for later. If your Beagle eats too quickly, it is suggested to obtain a stainless steel slow-feeder bowl. 
Human Food 

Most owners find it hard to resist those pleading "puppy eyes" that dogs can give us when they want our tacos burgers or other human food. While you may think you are gaining love and loyalty by giving your dog some of your food, you may very well be jeopardizing his health. When you home cook, this is not the same as giving your dog your dinner. Home cooked foods are specific real, wholesome, healthy foods for a Beagle. They will receive their food in their dog dish. Giving your dog little pieces of your dinner is just setting yourself up for a life time of begging behavior.

There are several reasons why giving a dog your dinner is a terrible habit to have:
  • Once you give in, even once, you may have a dog that begs for your food at all times. Getting him to eat his own food will become a struggle. Your food will not give your dog what he needs in regard to optimal nutrition, so he needs to be eating his own.
  • Foods and ingredients that we would never think twice about eating can be so dangerous to dogs. Just about everyone knows about chocolate. But what about: onions, raisins, grapes, fruit seeds, fruit cores, raw salmon, mushrooms and caffeine? These foods are poison to a dog's digestive system and many can be found in your meals. Also, the coloring, spices and additives in your meals are detrimental to your dog's health.
  • This can very quickly lead to weight gain.
Nutritional Needs, Odd Eating Behavior, Health Questions... Behavior Issues.. Questions About Your Beagle....???
  • All elements needed to confidently raise a happy & healthy Beagle
  • EVERY feeding issue possible
  • 34 Health Detail
  • 24 Behavioral Detail...With Detailed Training for Each
  • Learn more about the most comprehensive Beagle-specific book that exists. Now in both hard copy & eBook!
See also:  Beagle Water Requirements - How much water a Beagle should be drinking each day.
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