If you’ve ever watched a Beagle devour its meal, you may have found yourself asking, why does my beagle eat so much, why are beagles so greedy and is there something wrong with my beagle? This seemingly insatiable appetite is common amongst Beagles, but what drives this behavior? In this article, we discuss why beagles eat so much, explore the reasons behind their apparent greed and provide practical tips to ensure they stay healthy and don’t become obese.
Why Do Beagles Eat Everything?
The beagle dog breed has a keen sense of smell and were originally bred as hunting dogs and used in large packs to track game and other small animal and wildlife. The only food a beagle likely got on a hunt was the food they scavenged themselves and the odd bit of food scraps thrown away from the human members of the hunt. Each beagle would compete against each other for food, so eating quick and as much as possible was high on the agenda for each dog.
If it looked like food, they’d eat it. Even to this day, Beagles will eat anything and everything; it’s just part of their instinct to eat whatever they can, whenever they can.
The modern beagle breed still displays the scavenger and opportunists instincts of its hunting ancestors. When I got my first beagle, i wasn’t prepared for these traits, so learning to recognize, understand and manage these behaviors was a steep learning curve for me.
Why Are Beagles Always Hungry?
So while a beagle is a natural scavenger and a beagles instincts is to eat as much as it can when it can, doesn’t fully explain why your beagle appears to always be hungry.
There could be other reason as at to why your beagle is always hungry, these include;
- Medical conditions can cause an increase in appetite leading to issues like obesity.
- Behavioral reasons include learning to beg when you are eating knowing you will give them a treat.
- Food related reasons include giving your dog a poor quality diet, for example feeding them a dry kibble with poor quality ingredients.
Medical conditions can have an effect on your beagles appetite, so it’s best to rule these out before presuming the over-eating is behavioral in nature.
Some of the medical conditions that can cause an increase in appetite include;
- Cushing’s Syndrome (Hyperadrenocorticism)
- Malabsorption Conditions
If you think your beagle has an increase, or decrease in appetite book an appointment with a qualified veterinarian so they can check out your dog for any potential health problems.
Obesity in Beagles
As already discussed, beagles are notorious for their love of food and their insatiable appetites. Unfortunately, this voracious appetite often leads to a high level of obesity in the beagle breed.
Health implications of overeating and weight gain
Overeating and weight gain in beagles can lead to a plethora of health problems. Obese beagles are at a higher risk for conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, and respiratory issues.
Excess weight puts strain on their joints and organs, impacting their overall quality of life. It is essential to address obesity in beagles to ensure they have a long and healthy life.
Prevention and management strategies for weight control
Preventing and managing weight control in beagles requires a combination of healthy eating habits and regular exercise, starting from an early age as a puppy.
First and foremost, beagles should be fed a balanced diet that is appropriate for their breed and size. Portion control is key, as feeding too much can easily lead to weight gain.
In addition to a proper diet, regular exercise is essential for beagles. Daily walks, interactive playtime, and mental stimulation can help burn off excess calories and keep them from becoming sedentary.
Owners should also be mindful of using food as a reward or source of comfort. Instead, try using non-food rewards and providing plenty of love and attention or use low calorie treats such as vegetables.
Remember, prevention is always better than cure when it comes to obesity in beagles. By being proactive and mindful of their diet and exercise, we can help our dogs live healthier lives.
Beagles and Food – Nothing is Safe
From the moment i bought my first beagle (Bracken) home I realised I had to change some of my habits around the house in regards to food. I had to look at our home differently, through the eyes of a beagle so to speak.
Our house had become my beagles hunting ground. We had to ‘Beagle’ proof everything, ensure food was out of reach at all times, cupboard doors closed and locked, and no food was left unattended.
Guests, adults, and kids alike would be asked not to leave food anywhere a Beagle could be.
We had to take this over-cautious approach even when outside with our dog. We were always scanning and assessing the surroundings to make sure our beloved beagle wasn’t able to get into trouble.
We had trained Bracken to be off the leash; she had a good recall (for a Beagle). However, she often sniffed out food. She wouldn’t hesitate to help herself to a family picnic, her recall training conveniently forgotten. She once stole a child’s ice cream right out of his hand!
Some beagles are know to eat feces. While eating feces is gross and a terrible habit for any dog, it’s not as uncommon as you may think amongst dogs. The terms for poo eating is Coprophagia, and you can learn more about why beagles eat poop and how to stop it. Dogs eating feces can causue them issues with diarrhea, sometimes leading to vomiting and or infection.
Good Quality Food Will Help Keep your Beagle Full For Longer
Feeding your Beagle with a varied and healthy diet is crucial. Too often, people feed their dogs poor-quality canned food or cheap kibble biscuit.
Cheap ‘wet’ dog food doesn’t always contain the nutrients your dog needs, and poor quality dry biscuit can contain bulking agents.
Feeding a dog with quality food can increase the cost of ownership of a beagle, but that’s a commitment we make when we decide to get a dog. You owe it to your beagle to provide him with a varied diet that gives it all the nutrients they need.
We recommend a fully raw food diet. If raw food seems inconvenient (it’s not), a high-quality kibble (biscuit) can be used and fed at two intervals per day.
We gave our first Beagle quality dry kibble from the start. We followed the exact guidelines from the manufacturer for the correct amounts for her ideal weight. She kept a stable weight, her coat looked shiny, and all seemed well.
Over time we started to hear much more about a raw dog diet. We researched, listened to others, and eventually took the decision, putting Bracken and our other Beagle, Baylee, on a 100% raw food diet. When changing a dog’s diet, it is always better to gradually make the change over a few weeks so as not to cause any issues. I won’t go into why raw is best here as that’s a broad topic by itself, but needless to say, we wish we had done it earlier; our dogs thrived on it!
How Much Should a Beagle Eat a Day
By feeding your Beagle with good quality food and the correct quantity, you can be sure to keep your Beagle at a healthy weight. Feeding twice daily may help your dog feel less hungry as they are less likely to have an empty stomach for long.
Ready-prepared raw foods, such as Nutriment Raw or quality kibble, will guide you on how much food to give your Beagle based on your dog’s ideal weight.
If you are buying fresh raw food items from a butcher or online, finding the best quantities is a little trial and error.
As a starting point, feed your Beagle about 2-3% of his ideal adult weight; if your dog is active, feed him a little more if he’s a couch slouch, then a little less.
The best way to check if you feed the right amount is to run your hands over your beagle’s ribs. If you can feel but not see them, they are at a good weight.
Beagles come in all shapes and sizes. Depending on the breeder, some Beagles are naturally smaller than others, and ideal weights vary accordingly.
|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)
Strategies to Slow Down Your Beagle’s Eating Pace
Beagles eat fast, so it’s best to try and slow down how quickly they eat. Eating slower will cause them to chew food and be kinder to a beagles digestion system.
There are different ways to slow down how quickly your Beagle eats. Rather than a regular round bowl, you could use a dish like the one below. This kind of design means that your dog can’t just take the food in one mouthful. He has to dig food from around raised sections of the bowl, which slows down how quickly they can eat their food.
Another way is to feed them by hand. By feeding by hand, you control the rate of the food and how quickly they get to eat their meal. Just remember to clean your hands after hand feeding as a dogs saliva contains all kinds of germs.
You could also use mealtime as a chance for obedience training or any other training. Work on things such as ‘leave’ and ‘recall’ and use their food as a reward. Break the food down into smaller parcels; this turns a 20-second fast feast into a few minutes worth of valuable training for your Beagle.
If feeding by hand suits you, then great, but for most, it’s inconvenient and messy, but it can be fun and rewarding!