Caring for Beagles
By Nicole Pajer
Beagles are brave, intelligent, and social dogs that are good with children and known for their loving, tolerant, sweet, and gentle temperament. The breed does well indoors and as an apartment dog as long as they are properly exercised and taken for long walks daily. As Beagles were traditionally bred for hunting purposes, they need to be socialized from an early age, especially if their household includes non-canine pets. Also, Beagle owners are advised to keep their pets on a leash during walks to prevent them from running off and trailing scents or chasing game. Beagles can be stubborn and respond well to positive reinforcement. Like many breeds, they do best under the guidance of a strong pack leader. Practicing calm assertive leadership will help your Beagle to integrate into your lifestyle and will prevent behavioral issues from developing. Potential Beagle owners should also be aware that the breed exhibits a loud bay/cry/howl/bark, which may not always be appreciated by neighbors.
Beagles are average shedders and have short hair, which makes them easier to groom than longer haired breeds. They should be bathed with a mild, nonirritant shampoo whenever necessary and frequently brushed with a firm bristle brush. Owners should occasionally check their dog’s ears for signs of infection (discolored wax, dirt, foul odor, excessive scratching, whining, or shaking of a dog’s head) and should keep their nails trimmed. Beagles are active dogs that need to receive daily exercise in order to maintain a healthy weight. The most common health problems associated with Beagles are obesity, epilepsy, allergies, cherry eye, and hypothyroidism, conditions, which can be treated/managed by your local veterinarian. If properly cared for, Beagles have an average life expectancy of 12 to 15 years.
Engaging a Beagle’s Senses
In addition to playing fetch, going for walks, runs, and hikes, Beagles enjoy staying mentally stimulated. Since they are scent hounds, Beagles have a keen sense of smell and superior tracking instincts. These dogs make excellent hunting companions but can also benefit from other scent-oriented activities. Owners of Beagles can purchase animal scents and play tracking games at home in order to engage their dog’s senses. Beagles will also enjoy the stimulation of sniffing out hidden treats or having their food bowls placed in new locations, turning mealtime into treasure hunting.
Whether you are looking for a walking buddy, a hunting companion, or a family pal, Beagles, when properly cared for, can make wonderful additions to your home.