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Grooming

Beagle Grooming

Overview

To keep your beagle healthy, you must provide regular grooming and care to his coat, skin, nails, ears, eyes, and teeth. Grooming a Beagle is also a great time for you and your puppy or dog to bond, as well as an opportunity for you to inspect your dog's for changes that may need attention.    

While some resist sitting still at first, you will find that with a bit of patience, this can be an enjoyable time for you....Also, due to the short coat, this is not that time consuming.  Issues usually arise when an owner falls behind with grooming tasks.  So, let's go over what will be involved. 

Getting Your Beagle Used to Grooming

If you begin grooming a Beagle when he or she is a puppy, you will find that in as soon as a few short weeks, he will begin to enjoy this time. Many dogs find brushing to be soothing, in as much as humans enjoy a nice back massage. In addition, bath time can be a great way to bond with your Beagle. You will want to:
  • Start a regular grooming routine immediately after you bring your puppy home.
  • Reward your Beagle with treats for staying still and allowing his paws, muzzle, teeth and ears to be touched.
  • If your dog doesn't like to be groomed, you may need to implement more desensitization training. Begin by just using your hand instead of a brush to allow your dog to get used to sitting still while being touched. As days and week progress, do this for a increasingly longer times and then slowly switch from hand to brush. 
  • Keep a grooming kit; it's easier to take care of things when everything is in one place.

Items to Have in Your Grooming Kit

Due mainly to his nice short coat, there are only a few important grooming items and tools that you'll need for your Beagle:
  • A quality bristle brush - size medium for puppies and size large for adult Beagles and/or a horse hair finishing brush.
  • A grooming mitt or de-shedding tool to pull out dead hairs from the coat. This is important, since the majority of them will fall back into the dense coat.  If they are not removed, this blocks healthy air flow and clogs skin pores.
  • A good bath brush - This helps you reach through the dense coat and reach the skin when bathing.
  • Quality bath products - This includes a really good canine shampoo, conditioner and protective leave-in spray
  • * Optional - A light spritz to make the coat smell nice
  • Canine eye wipes - These are great for keeping stains off the eye area and for wiping away eye 'boogers'
  • Ear cleaning solution and gauze pads or cotton balls.
  • Clipper or grinder for nails - We recommend a grinder since its much easier to file the nails down; it only takes a few minutes.
  • Nose balm - To prevent dry cracked noses.
  • Paw wax - To protect paws if your Beagle seems to 'rough it' too much outside, to prevent chemical burns to the paws in the winter due to ice-melt products, to provide better traction if needed and to heal dry paw issues.
  • Dental care items - An effective toothpaste and a quality 3-sided toothbrush.

Choosing the Right Items

Inferior products will produce inferior results. And in some cases, adverse effects. 

Anything that comes into contact with a Beagle's body can either benefit him (healthy skin and coat, proper moisture, removal of excess body oils and debris) or be detrimental (dry skin which can lead to itching and peeling, brittle coat, smells and odors, and more).

So, it is important to choose wisely. Ahead, as we look at each grooming task that needs to be done, we'll cover our recommended items. 

Giving Baths

Here's the thing about giving Beagles a bath; the super short and tightly packed coat repels a lot of dirt and debris. A Beagle can be out tromping through the forest or rolling around the yard and he'll hardly look like he's been outside at all. For this reason, owners may not realize that a bath is needed when it in fact is. 
Whether or not the coat appears to be dirty, there are other things going on that make routine baths a necessary part of grooming.

Normal, healthy skin has a thin layer of body oils on it. As each day goes by, a bit more is excreted by the body. After 2 to 3 weeks, there is quite an accumulation of it. At the same time, some amount of short dead hairs are falling back into the coat. A Beagle doesn't need to be in an actual shedding season for this to happen; it's just part of the normal life cycle of all hairs: grow, rest, fall.

The thick fur of a Beagle keeps both the oils and the shedded hairs trapped in the coat. At just about the 3 week mark, these elements will begin to emit a bad smell.   
Beagle in bathtub
Therefore, a bath should be given every 3 weeks to:
  • Clear away those oils, giving the skin a 'fresh, clean start'
  • Help loosen dead fur
  • Moisture the skin to prevent dry skin issues
  • Clean dirt and debris out of the fur
  • Add a layer of protection, via a quality conditioner - to protect the coat from sun, dry air, cold and contact friction damage. 
Choose your shampoo and conditioner wisely. Inferior bathing products can do a number on both skin and coat. Cheap shampoos have high alkaline; you will want to use ones that have a neutral pH, along with ingredients like oatmeal and aloe, to keep skin and fur healthy. 

Scrubbing agents must be effective at washing away accumulated body oils, but without stripping the coat or causing irritation. 

Place cotton wads (torn from cotton balls) gently into outer ear canals to prevent water from going down the ear canal. Be sure to go over the entire body, including the tail, underbelly and genitals. 

A bath brush works well for the main coat to ensure that you are reaching down through the coat to the skin, and a soft washcloth is best for sensitive spots. Eyes should be wiped with a soft wash cloth. 

If you notice that discoloration around the eyes, it is recommended to use canine facial or eye wipes. Excessive eye discharge is considered to be a health issue and should be checked out by your dog's veterinarian. If the hairs around the eyes are very discolored, opt for a tear stain remover. 

Tip: Young puppies do best when having baths in the kitchen sink, as opposed to a large bathtub. Be sure to put a non-slip mat in the sink before you add the water. 

Brushing Overview

While it may seem like there's not too much to brush (so many other breeds have much longer coats), regular brushing is an important part of properly grooming your Beagle.  This will:
  • Stimulate blood flow to the skin, which in turn keeps hair follicles healthy
  • Distribute body oils on the skin
  • Sweep away any dirt and debris
  • Remove any dead hairs
  • Keep the fur in good shape - particularly when a quality leave-in spray is used in conjunction with brushing
The two tools you'll want to have on hand is:
  • A quality bristle brush (boar bristle brushes are great) which will take care of most of the elements listed above. You should brush your Beagle at least once per week, and twice per week is ideal. 
  • A mitt (glove) or de-shedding tool. This are much different than a brush. It's main purpose is to remove dead hairs from deep within the coat.  During heavy sheds, you may want to go over your Beagle's body a few times a week. During minimal shedding times, use the glove or tool once per week. 

Nail, Paw & Nose Care

The nails on a Beagle need to be cut about every 5- 6 weeks. If they are left to grow too long, they can begin to curl inward and become ingrown which can be quite painful for a dog.  If you lose track of when your Beagle is due for a nail trimming, the clickety-clack sound of them on a hard-surface floor will remind you.

Some owners choose to have a dog's nails clipped at the groomers, while others feel comfortable doing this at home.  You may use a canine nail clipper or a nail grinder. Personally, we like the grinder much better since it quickly files a nail down super fast and you really don't need to worry about hitting the 'quik', which is a vein that runs down the center of a dog's nail.  

The only downside to the grinder is that it makes a bit of noise; this is really only applicable to young pups that might be a little skittish.  Most Beagles get used to the sound quickly and appreciate that nails are done fast as opposed to an owner nervously and slowly trying to snip them.  

The paws need to be paid attention to, because issues with the outer layer (stratum corneum) can quickly spiral into peeling or even cracking. Paws put up with a lot of abuse; hot pavement in the summer, freezing surfaces in the winter, and walking over all sorts of terrain year-round. 

You'll want to keep the paws healthy and protect them from damage by using a quality paw wax. Look for one that absorbs quickly (under 10 seconds), and allows the paws to breath, while offering proper protection from the elements and from drying. 

The nose should not be overlooked. It is one of the most vulnerable spots on a dog. And since Beagles love to use their nose, the skin on the nose also takes quite a beating. Bright sunlight in the summer can lead to nose skin drying out, and cold winds in the winter can lead to chapping. 

Use a quality nose butter or balm to keep your Beagle's nose moisturized and healthy. 

Ear Care

The Beagle's hanging ears should be routinely checked for any signs of infection, any excessive waxy build-up, or any and excessive hairs. With this breed, good ear hygiene can stave off issues. 

To see more details, look to Beagle Ears
You may also be interested in:

Beagle Smells and Odors - Reasons why a Beagle may develop a bad smell and steps to take. 
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