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The beagle is a wonderful small-breed that can be even-tempered and friendly, but excitable as well. This intelligent hound dog needs proper nutrition to live life to the fullest.
Read on for a complete nutritional guide to help you select the right food for your beagle.
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Beagles weigh on average between 18 - 30 lb., with males larger than females. They are very energetic during young adulthood, and inevitably slow down as they age.
An average beagle weighs 22 lb, and that is the weight used for the calorie intake* estimations below:
* These calorie intakes were calculated using the Pet Food Manufacturer’s Association calorie calculator. Consult your vet to determine the specific calories your dog requires.
Beagles are not sedentary dogs; hyperactive as puppies, they remain very active as adults. Beagles burn a good deal of energy and require a dog food that is specifically designed for high-energy hound breeds.
Choosing the right food for your beagle ensures that he has the proper foundation for growth, energy, digestion, and weight.
Common health problems in Beagles and how feeding the right food can help
Beagles live 13 years on average and are less prone to canine diseases than other dog breeds. Keep these common health conditions in mind when choosing a food for your beagle.
Beagles are susceptible to a variety of eye problems, particularly glaucoma, progressive retinal atrophy, cataracts, and cherry eye (prolapse of the third eyelid).
You can help promote and strengthen eye your beagle’s eye health by looking for these ingredients on the dog food label:
- Carrots, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and broccoli
- Cold water fish such as cod, salmon, and tuna
These fruits and vegetables contain ingredients such as lutein, selenium, and zinc, all of which work toward making your beagle’s eyes stronger and healthier.
Like many other dog breeds, beagles have a genetic predisposition toward hip dysplasia and arthritis because they are such an active breed of dog.
Beagles are ranked #55 out of 183 dogs tested for this genetic condition by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals. Here are some ingredients to look for to help your beagle ward off hip problems:
- Glucosamine is a naturally occurring substance that helps to repair damaged or deteriorating cartilage and works in a preventative role to keep dogs in top condition
- Chondroitin is a natural molecule found within animal cartilage that, because it attracts water in the body, acts as a shock absorber and lubricant
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Because of their tendency toward excitability and stressors, beagles may suffer from irritable bowel syndrome. This can be a chronic condition, so choose a food with ingredients that promote healthy digestion.
These ingredients in your beagle’s food can help prevent IBS:
- A low-fat, hypoallergenic diet
- Adequate amounts of fiber
- Grain-free food with quality meat protein
Fiber in particular is an important ingredient in your dog’s food as it can regulate bowel movements and prevent stomach upset, a win-win for your pup.
Sadly, beagles are not immune from bladder cancer, one of the most common cancers that dogs suffer from.
Here are some steps you can take to diminish your beagle’s chances of bladder cancer:
- Make sure your beagle’s dog food is high in quality protein
- Avoid foods that include fillers, colors, and additives; these elements cause an increase in toxins
- Choose a food that includes vegetables and fruits, natural antioxidants that fight cancer
- Focus on low-carbohydrate foods as sugar-laden foods have high quantities of unused glucose that is stored as fat and which promote cancer growth
- Keep your beagle active and at a healthy weight; obese dogs are at a higher risk of cancer
Beagles will take advantage of every opportunity to eat so extra care is necessary with what and how often they eat. Beagles should be fed in 2 - 3 smaller portions per day with no free-feeding allowed.
An overfed beagle can quickly gain weight which may increase the risk for arthritis, cancer, and heart disease. Don’t overfeed your beagle, give him daily exercise, and feed him only healthy treats in moderation.
Macronutrient needs for Beagles
Protein is a vital nutrient for your beagle. Dogs need a minimum 18% of protein in their diets. The beagle’s active nature and smaller stature means that he requires more than that minimum amount. When choosing a food for your beagle, select a small-breed specific food that supplies the amount of protein that best suits your beagle’s activity level.
Always check that the food you are purchasing lists quality, animal-based protein first in its list of ingredients. Fresh poultry, beef, and seafood are all good ingredients to see on the label.
Meat meals are also acceptable ingredients as meat meals are fresh meats that are pre-cooked to remove moisture to produce a higher concentration of protein in the food.
It is recommended that adult dogs have 9 - 15% fat in their diets.
Due to the beagle’s renowned high energy levels and small-breed status, you should select a food that has fat levels which exceed this average recommendation. Beagles require more fat because their metabolic rates require more energy to burn calories, so look for a food that has a healthy fat content of at least 15%.
Foods that are high in Omega-3 fatty acids, often found in flaxseed oil and fish oils, are also important to include in your beagle’s diet. These fatty acids help to keep a dog’s skin and coat healthy and shiny.
Digestible carbohydrates are keys to a balanced diet for your beagle. But if your pup is prone to allergies, you should select a grain-free food. At the very least, select a food that includes whole grains like oatmeal and brown rice.
Starchy vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, are good ingredients because they are lower on the glycemic index than more refined carbohydrates like wheat and corn. These vegetables will supply your beagle with plenty of slow-burning energy to keep him energized and active all day long.
Healthy supplements, probiotics, and vitamins
Ideally, the food you feed your beagle will include some form of probiotics or dried fermentation products. Another important consideration is a food that includes fresh fruits and vegetables as both supply your beagle with key minerals and vitamins.
If fresh fruits and vegetables are not on the label, look for synthetic supplements. While these supplements are not as ideal as fruits and vegetables --- which are easier for the body to absorb and utilize --- they are better than no supplements at all.
What is the best food for Beagles?
Here are four dog foods that are optimum matches for a beagle’s dietary requirements.
#1. Orijen 6 Fish Grain-Free Formula Dry Dog Food
Orijen is a high-quality dog food, and the 6 Fish Grain-Free Formula food is a superb choice for the beagle diet.
The macronutrients in this food are ideal for beagles, including 38% protein, 18% fat, and 4% fiber. The proteins in this food come from whole Atlantic mackerel, herring, flounder, redfish, monkfish, and silver hake. This food is grain-free and safe for dogs with allergies.
Due to the multi-fish content, there are higher levels of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids in this Orijen product, making this a finely balanced food.
There is an impressive amount of fruits and vegetables as well, including collard greens, pears, apples, pumpkin, and carrots, amongst many other healthy selections.
Orijen also contains glucosamine and chondroitin to help promote healthy joints; as such, this is an excellent food for beagles with arthritis and hip dysplasia.
While Orijen does include a few vegetables like carrots to maintain a dog’s eye health, it does not include other fruits and vegetables that can do the same, such as blueberries, broccoli, and sweet potatoes. If your beagle suffers from poor eye health, this food might not have enough necessary ingredients to help your dog.
- Very good for typical Beagles
- Proteins come from fish
- Excellent levels of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids
- A wide range of fruits and vegetables
- Additional ingredients to support joints
- Not enough ingredients to promote eye health
Wellness is known for its holistic, natural approach to creating dog food. It provides optimal caloric content to support a beagle’s metabolism.
The Wellness CORE Grain-Free Small Breed dry food provides 36% protein, 16% fat, and a whopping 5% fiber, which is helpful for beagles with irritable bowel syndrome.
The main protein sources are deboned turkey, chicken meal, and turkey meal. It is a grain-free product, and therefore a good choice for beagles with allergies.
While Wellness CORE provides ingredients including Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, they are far below the levels found in the Orijen food. The same goes for the inclusion of chondroitin and glucosamine, which promote joint health, but which aren’t provided in large quantities.
Wellness CORE provides an excellent array of fruits and vegetables, including kale, spinach, appes, parsley, and spearmint. In particular, this food contains key fruits and vegetables which promote eye health.
- Appropriate for a typical Beagle
- Grain-free food that is good for dogs with allergies
- Contains a wide variety of fruits and vegetables
- Includes Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids
- Includes supplements for joint health
- Excellent choice for Beagles with poor eye health
- Highly fibrous for digestive health
- Lower in amounts of fatty acid content
- Lower in amounts of joint health content
Merrick food is a popular dog food brand that touts high-quality and high-protein as top ingredients. The Merrick Classic Small Breed Recipe contains 30% protein, 15% fat, and 3.5% fiber.
The protein is derived from deboned chicken, chicken meal, and turkey meal. This food is not grain-free, and may not be suitable for Beagles with allergies. It does contain carbs that are low on the glycemic index, such as brown rice, oatmeal, and barley. Additionally, a small amount of fruits and vegetables are in evidence.
Flaxseed oil is the main fat source to provide Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids, but this is at a much lower level compared to other brands.
With high levels of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, the Merrick food is an excellent choice for Beagles with joint health conditions.
- A good selection for average beagles
- Excellent source of protein
- Provides high amounts of joint health supplements
- Not grain-free
- Offers fewer fruits and vegetables
- Not optimum for beagles with eye health concerns
- Lower levels of fatty acids
Whole Earth Farms offers a grain-free, protein-rich selection that covers most of the general bases needed for a beagle’s diet.
This food contains 26% protein, 13% fat, and 3.5% fiber. For a beagle with digestive issues, this food is recommended to help ease that condition. Although the protein is at acceptable levels, it is far below the levels in the other foods reviewed here. The protein is mostly derived from chicken meal, chicken fat, and turkey.
Whole Earth is appropriate for dogs with allergies as it is grain-free. It is, however, lacking in a variety of fruits and vegetables compared to other brands.
While providing mineral supplements from zinc, sulfate, and potassium, Whole Earth has no additional supplements provided for joint health, and may not be a good food selection for beagles with hip dysplasia or arthritis.
- Meets the basic needs of a typical beagle
- Provides a variety of mineral supplements
- Protein derived from chicken and turkey
- Fibrous ingredients help ease digestive issues
- Protein levels are lower than other brands
- Lacking in a variety of fruits and vegetables
- No joint health supplements
Overall, the Orijen food is the top choice as it provides the exact macronutrient specifications for a beagle’s health.
Wellness CORE is also an excellent food choice for beagles, especially those who suffer from digestive issues or poor eye health.
Merrick is an acceptable fit for typical, healthy beagles but not a good match for beagles with allergies. Finally, Whole Earth Farms provides the basic ingredients necessary for a beagle’s diet and is appropriate for beagles with allergies.
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