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page last updated March 24, 2011  

Avoid Having A Fat Beagle 

 

All of us have seen fat beagles.  It is sad, it is ugly, but most of all it is a horrible health risk for your pet.  Beagles are not a bit choosy about what they eat.  They consume it so fast, at times, that they have no opportunity to even taste it.  They are always hungry, and are always in search of food.  However, you need to watch the food intake.  Don’t allow your beagle to steal food from your plate, or eat things from the table.  Don’t leave food unattended where your beagle can get it.  Keep garbage out of reach.  Limit treats.  Instead of giving a whole treat, give a half of a treat.  Trust me; they don’t measure it, they are just glad to have it.  A treat is a treat, regardless of size. 

 

Beagles have perfected the “woe-be-gone,” pathetic, face.  It is how they get what they want.  Don’t fall prey to that look.  It is “killing your dog” with love.  Make sure you keep your beagles fit and trim.   

As your dog ages, he becomes more sedentary.  He is not as likely to race around as he once did.  This lack of exercise leads to weight gain.  Make sure your beagle gets the exercise he needs to stay fit.  Just as we find in people, an over-weight beagle is more prone to injury or illness.  Conversely, any sudden weight gain (or loss) may indicate a health issue.  Make sure you consult with your veterinarian about your beagle’s weight gain (or loss). 

If your beagle is getting fat, then cut back on the amount of food that you feed, each day.  Mix canned green beans, or canned pumpkin (NOT pie filling), into your beagle’s food.  Cut the food in half and replace that other half with green beans/pumpkin.  If you normally feed one cup; then feed ½ cup of food mixed with ½ cup of green beans or pumpkin.  They are still eating 1 cup, but are only getting ½ cup of food. 

Beagles who have been spayed/neutered normally gain weight rapidly.  They also become far less active.  You need to make sure that adequate exercise and appropriate food portions are maintained to keep your beagle fit, and to keep them healthy. 

The impact of obesity in your beagle is no different from the effects of obesity in people.  The same health issues apply to them, as applies to us.  Make sure that tough love is part of your regime.


IS YOUR BEAGLE FAT?   By Julie Wright

 Beagles are one of a very few breeds that will literally eat themselves to death. Most dogs will self-regulate and only eat the amount of food they need to maintain the level of exercise they are getting. However, beagles have a tendency to eat all the food they can get and use those soft brown eyes to beg for more and more. In order to keep your beagle at a healthy weight, you may have to employ some ‘tough love.’ Otherwise, your beagle will be at risk for many troublesome side effects including:

  • Arthritis

  • Neck & back disc deterioration and rupture

  • Ruptured and torn ligaments or tendons, especially in the rear knees

  • Diabetes

  • Snoring and respiratory stress

  • Heart disease, especially enlargement of the heart

  • Skin conditions

  • Immune disorders such as Cushing’s and Addison’s disease

  • Increased risk of death and complications in the event that an illness or injury occurs that requires surgery.

A veterinarian once told me that for every month your dog is seriously over-weight, you can deduct 2 months from his life expectancy. 

Preventing your dog from getting fat. 

  • Measure out the daily allotted food for your beagle. 

  • You can use a portion of their regular food as a treat or limit treats. Instead of giving a whole treat, give a half of a treat.  Trust me; they don’t measure it, they are just glad to have it.  A treat is a treat, regardless of size.   

  • Don’t allow your beagle to steal food from your plate, or eat things from the table. 

  • Don’t leave food unattended where your beagle can get it. 

  • Keep garbage out of reach.  

  • Beagles have perfected the “woe-be-gone,” pathetic, face.  It is how they get what they want. Don’t fall prey to that look.  It is “killing your dog” with love. 

  • Make sure you keep your beagles fit and trim.   As your dog ages, he becomes more sedentary.  He is not as likely to race around as he once did.  This lack of exercise leads to weight gain.  Make sure your beagle gets the exercise he needs to stay fit.  Just as we find in people, an over-weight beagle is more prone to injury or illness. 

  • Conversely, any sudden weight gain (or loss) may indicate a health issue.  Make sure you consult with your veterinarian about your beagle’s weight gain (or loss). 

  • Beagles who have been spayed/neutered normally gain weight rapidly.  They also become far less active.  You need to make sure that adequate exercise and appropriate food portions are maintained to keep your beagle fit, and to keep them healthy.

 So, how do you know if your dog is fat?

The easiest test is to look at your dog from the top. The ribs should be just covered with flesh so that they are visible, but not ‘countable’ (do not stick out) and there should be an indentation (or waist) behind the last rib and in front of the hips. You can also ask your groomer, breeder, trainer, or veterinarian whether your dog is at a healthy weight. Just to give you an idea, a beagle that measures exactly 15” at the top of the withers (scapulae/shoulder) should weigh about 28 pounds.

 What should you do if your dog is fat?

The key here is simply reducing the amount of food the dog eats and gradually and safely increasing exercise. This is not always easy, especially if your beagle has learned to beg and demand food. Many of the ‘weight loss’ dog foods are not nutritionally as good as just feeding a high quality food in smaller amounts. Pay careful attention to treats you may be un-wittingly giving and family members who are contributing to the problem by giving in to the dog’s demands for extra treats. One way you can help your dog feel ‘full’ is to add green beans (canned, frozen, any cut, preferably without salt) to the ration in place of some of the usual food. If you are feeding twice a day, try to cut back to one feeding, perhaps just giving a carrot or small biscuit in place of the 2nd meal. Carrots are a great low-calorie snack that most beagles enjoy.

 Most owners of dangerously obese dogs are in denial about their dogs’ condition as well as how much food the dog was eating. If you love your dog and want it to be around for a healthy future, you have to ‘get real’ about what the dog is eating.

 If your dog is over three years old and/or if you are following a dedicated weight loss program with poor results, you should have your veterinarian test for low thyroid or other metabolic disorders that may be contributing to the weight problem. It is a common side effect as dogs age for the thyroid function to decrease. In that case, it is simple and in expensive to give your dog a daily thyroid supplement medication.

 It may be hard at first to change old habits and get your dog to a healthy weight and routine, but the pay-off will be a much longer, happier, healthier life for your beagle.