If you have just adopted or are thinking of giving a Beagle a home, you may be wondering what to feed a Beagle?
Beagles are active dogs with insatiable appetites. A Beagle has no limits when it comes to food. What and how much you feed a Beagle is crucial for a fit and healthy dog. We explore what has worked for our Beagles and explore other tips and information that will help inform you about the best way and what food to give a Beagle.
What to Feed a Beagle a complete guide: table of contents
- What do Beagles eat?
- What’s the best diet and feeding regime for a beagle?
- Check your Beagles poop
- How often to feed a Beagle
- How many cups of food should a Beagle eat?
- What can Beagles not eat?
- Slowing down a Beagle that eats quickly
1. What do Beagles eat?
Initially bred for tracking and hunting game, a Beagle would spend most of its time running and chasing around in large packs. Hunting would require enormous amounts of stamina and energy, so a Beagle would eat whatever came its way. So, given a chance, a Beagle will eat anything and everything.
Modern-day Beagles are much more likely to be family pets. Unchecked, their ravenous appetite could lead them to become an overweight hound in no-time. Keeping a Beagle at a healthy weight means strictly monitoring the quantity and quality of food. It may be tempting to give your Beagle scraps and treats, make sure you make allowances in their diet for this extra food, a fat dog is an unhealthy dog.
I did a little research to see how many calories a Beagle needs a day. According to Beagle Pro (link), they recommend 45 calories per pound for an adult dog, a little less at 42 calories per pound for a senior dog, give or take 20%. Pet Care RX (link) says “Beagles range in weight from 25 to 30 pounds and need between 674 and 922 calories per day.” These figures are only good for food items that list out the calorific content. With a little trial and error, you will see how much food to give your dog to maintain their target weight.
Below is a table below with a guide for weight ranges for adult Beagles depending on size.
|Beagle height range||The ideal weight range for an adult Beagle|
|13″ and under||22 – 30 Pounds (9.97 to 13.60 kg)|
|13″ to 15″||25 to 35 pounds (11.33 to 15.87 kg)|
2. What’s the best diet and feeding regime for a beagle?
There are three main different feeding regimes you could feed your Beagle;
- Raw food diet – raw meat, bones, fruits, and vegetables
- Dry kibble/biscuit
- Wet tinned foods sometimes mixed with dry kibble
If you have a Beagle from a puppy, presuming you got the dog from a reputable breeder, it’s best to stick with the feeding regime they have in place. If the diet suits your dog, then you may decide to stay on this diet, why fix what’s not broken?
Raw food diet
To some, the thought of feeding their dog raw meat, whole bones, eggshells veggie scraps etc. may seem weird. However, raw dog food diets are rising in popularity. While it’s a little odd for us, for the dogs, it’s perfectly natural and what they would have eaten before becoming domesticated. We still find it fascinating when our youngest, Bonnie, comes running as soon as crack an egg; she loves eggshells!
A raw diet could typically include raw meat, bones, some fruits, and vegetables.
Those who are in favour of raw food diets report benefits such as;
- Shinier coats
- Healthier skin
- Cleaner teeth
- Higher energy levels
- Smaller and stiffer poops
You could choose to prepare the raw food items yourself, buying in bulk from a butcher or other source and freezing ready for use. Or, like us, if you want the convenience of prepacked raw then use one of the many companies that supply frozen prepared meals. Choose a quality raw food brand. A quality brand is more likely to contain high-quality, natural, human-grade ingredients. The food should contain the essential amino acids, vitamins and macro-nutrients your Beagle needs.
When we had our first Beagle, Bracken, over ten years ago, we fed her on a quality dry kibble; if my memory serves me right, it was Eden Pet Foods. After a few years, we heard more and more about raw food and gradually switched all of our Beagles over to a raw food diet. As we are in the UK, our favoured prepared raw food is from Nutriment.
Kibble is another word for a dry biscuit. Consisting of ground-up ingredients, formed into various shapes or pellets. Kibble ingredients usually include meat, grains, vegetables and other materials. Kibble is the most popular type of food for dogs and, compared to wet dog food, can prove to be the best nutritional source, after raw food, for your beloved pet.
There are many different kinds of kibble from low budget to high-cost premium food products. Avoid the cheap supermarket filler biscuits. These biscuits are often purchased as they are low cost and convenient. They can be sued on its own or mixed with wet dog food found in cans. Cheap kibble is full of preservatives, bulking agents and byproducts, it’s like feeding your dog fast food for 365 days of the year, if you care for your dog, stay well clear.
If you choose to use kibble, there are many quality brands out there. We gave our first two Beagles kibble for years without much issue, though the most significant difference when on kibble was the size and consistency of their poop. On kibble, it was much ‘looser’ and more of it. Raw food has seen their poos become much harder and with much much less of it. Because the dogs’ digestive system makes more use of raw food, much less comes out the other end.
Tinned wet dog food
Now before I jump in and say that wet dog food is terrible for your dog, I have to admit that I have personally not fed my dog’s wet food. Well actually, when I was a child, my mom fed our dog canned food, but that wasn’t really my choice so doesn’t count.
All I can tell you is that of all the Beagles we have had the breeder has not once suggested wet food. People I know with more experience of wet food than me, have all stayed clear of wet food. They cite inferior quality ingredients, easy weight gain and large runny or loose poop. Beagles tend to be bred by breeders who are incredibly proud of their lineage of Beagles. Subsequently, they want what is best for their dogs, so if they recommend a particular diet or food I think it’s a good idea to listen!
3. Check your Beagles poop
Now, this might sound disgusting, and I don’t mean you should go out and handle the poop, though sometimes that can tell a story, by keeping an eye on your dog’s poop you can gauge if their diet is as good as it could be.
You will ‘hopefully’ pick up your dog’s poop daily as you clean your yard or are out on a walk. This is a good time to monitor your Beagles poop; any changes in the stool could be a clue about the wellbeing on your dog.
In my experience, dry kibble foods tend to produce quite a lot of poop, and the poop is more likely to be soft or ‘loose’ than if on a raw food diet. Switching to raw has reduced the amount of poop my dogs leaves behind. The poop is also hard in comparison.
Two of our Beagles have had issues with anal glands, needing them squeezed regularly, which neither dog enjoyed, nor did my bank balance! Switching to a raw food diet more or less stopped the need for the regular visit to the vets as passing the hard stool helped clear the anal gland as it passed by.
If you suddenly notice your dogs poop become loose, then this could be a sign they have an issue or eaten something they shouldn’t have. Either way, you can monitor it, and if it doesn’t clear up quickly, you should take your Beagle to see a vet. You may need to adjust their diet, though your vet or dog nutritionist will advise accordingly.
4. How often to feed a Beagle
If you are having a Begale from a puppy, it is best to stick to the meal plan provided by the breeder. If you plan on changing the brand of food or diet, then this should be done gradually, over at least 2-3 weeks, mixing the foods more and more each day until they are entirely on the new diet. This gradual approach to changing your dog’s food ensures your puppy doesn’t get an upset tummy.
A Beagle puppy would usually have three meals a day. However, try to stick with the same routine the puppy had when with the breeder. Keeping to the same routine keeps disruption to a minimum. It maintains continuity, necessary for house training, and dogs love routine.
Our breeder recommended that we go down to two feeds per day around the 6-month-old age. Two feeds per day are much easier to fit into a normal lifestyle, one before and one after work. Always make sure your Beagle has access to fresh, clean water.
5. How many cups of food should a Beagle eat?
Given a chance, a Beagle would eat anything and everything and would quickly become a fat little Beagle. All too often, I see Beagles that are overweight. It’s difficult not to give your dog your dinner scraps or a little extra at mealtime, how can you resist those pleading brown eyes? However, you must resist, or if you give them extra food, then reduce the amount they eat at their set meal times.
If you feed your Beagle dry kibble then always follow the manufacturers recommended quantities. In our experience, it’s never a simple case of just 1 or 2 cups of food. Most manufacturers will require you to weigh out the food based on your dog’s ideal weight.
Before we moved our Beagles onto a raw food diet, we fed our Beagles using the excellent Eden Dog Food Kibble for many years. Based on an ideal weight of 13kg for our size of dogs, the recommended amount was 140g per day. In the summer, when we were much more active we up the quantity to 154g. We would give half in the morning and the remaining in the afternoon.
140g, when placed in a cup, doesn’t look like much; however, most quality kibbles are high concentrated food sources, and as such you don’t need much, don’t be tempted to give them more!
Below is a table showing the amount of food to feed a medium-sized dog when using Eden dry kibble.
|Normal Adult Beagle||Active/Working Beagle|
|Body Weight (kg)||Daily Portion (g)||Body Weight (kg)||Daily Portion (g)|
Remember to check with whatever your chosen manufacturer is for their quantity guidelines.
We all love a food treat now and then, and your Beagle is no different! To ensure your Beagle doesn’t become overweight treats should be healthy and as natural as possible. Avoid giving them processed snacks, or your food scraps as these can be high in carbs, fats, salts and sugars, all of which will make it easier for your dog to gain weight.
If you use treats as part of your training regime, then ensure you adjust the quantity they have at mealtimes to accommodate the extra food intake.
Used a distraction, treats can be an excellent way to keep your Beagle occupied for a while. I work from home quite a lot, and sometimes I need to ensure my dogs are quiet while I make an important call. At this point, I give my dog their favourite treat, a 6-8″ piece of deer antler. Deer antlers are a hard bony material that most Beagles find interesting and love to chew. They are long-lasting, great for Beagles that east most things in super quick time and are full of nutrients such as calcium. You can buy antlers from all kinds of places, even Amazon.
Another alternative to keep your dog occupied while giving them treats is the use of a Kong. Kongs are non-toxic rubber dog toys. They have a hollowed-out middle where you can place your dog’s favourite treat, peanut butter, training treats, whatever else they might like. Beagles love to get stuck in and get all of the treats out of the Kong. Not only do they get a treat, but they are also stimulated while they work out how to get every last morsel from the inside fo the Kong. Remember to adjust your dog’s food intake or have more exercise if you give them extra treats.
7. What can Beagles not eat?
I did some research to see what foods Beagles definitely can’t eat. Most people know that grapes and chocolate are off-limits to all dogs, but some of the items on this list might surprise you.
This list was compiled from various online sources.
- Apple seeds
- Apricot Pits
- Cat Food
- Sugarless gum
- Macadamia Nuts
- Mustard Seeds
- Peach Pits
- Potato Leaves and Stems
- Tomato Leaves and stems
- Yeast Dough
Unfortunately, we have experience of one of our Beagles eating one of the items on the list, chocolate, that very nearly cost our Beagle her life. We had friends staying with us over from the Netherlands. They had kindly bought us gifts, expensive, dark Dutch chocolate, with a high cocoa content. In the excitement at arriving at our home, they took their bags to their room and left the chocolate in their luggage ready to give to us later.
My eldest Beagle at the time, Bracken, broke into their room, sniffed out the two 500g bars and ate both. Wrappers and everything. Fortunately, we quickly realised what had happened. A quick call to the out of hours vet and we were on our way. The vet gave Bracken an injection to make her throw up her stomach contents. After twenty minutes, the poor dog had puked up the contents of her stomach all over the grass. She was feeling very sorry for her self, but she was alive.
The vet said that if she had started to digest the chocolate, then she would have likely died. We were fortunate we caught her in time, it certainly saved her life and made us extra vigilant going forward!
8. Slowing down a Beagle that eats quickly
Not only can a Beagles keep eating and eating, but it also does so as fast as any other dog I have ever seen! Of the Beagles we have had, all have taken seconds to devour their food. As soon as the bowl hits the floor, and you give the command to eat, it’s gone! Slurp finished!
Gulping their food is probably an instinct left over from when Beagles were bred for hunting, out all day as part of a large pack, running around, tracking small game. They would eat what they found, and quickly, so as not to share it with all the other greedy Beagle pack members.
Luckily there are a few options to slow down how quickly they eat. You can buy bowls designed to slow down how quickly they can get to their food, like the one below.
There are many types of bowls in various sizes. Some have ridges, some with ‘mounds’ and some with a mixture of the two. The design is such that the dog has to get their tongue around the bowl to get all of the food; they can’t just slurp up the food in one go.
You could also feed your Beagle by hand, but this is not convenient for most and can be a little messy.
Why do Beagles eat so much? Beagles struggle to regulate their appetite like other breeds. Used in large packs to hunt, Beagles are the ultimate scavengers. Hunting all day is hungry work, always on the lookout for food and taking every opportunity to eat. A strict meal schedule is essential to avoid your Beagle becoming overweight.
How much exercise do Beagles need? Adult Beagles should have two walks a day for a minimum of 20-30 minutes for each walk and set at a brisk pace. A puppy should be limited to a maximum of one mile per day and spread over several short walks. A puppies skeletal system does not fully develop until 18 months old, so exercise must not be overdone so as not to disrupt the healthy growth of bones.