Beagle health


Beagles are not normally difficult dogs to feed, as they will eat just about anything. Keep to the breeder’s recommended diet as any sudden changes may well upset a puppy’s digestive system.

A fully grown, adult beagle will be happiest if his daily ration of food is split into two meals – one in the morning and one in the evening.

Beagles are very food orientated and to expect them to ‘survive’ for 24 hours between meals is unrealistic. Many will be driven to thieving and scavenging although some will do this no matter how much you feed them.

There are many proprietary brands of dog food available and whilst the manufacturers’ feeding guidelines are helpful, the beagle’s ability to put on weight quickly, should not be underestimated.

Owners must use their own good judgement to decide if their beagle is getting too much to eat. With just a little pressure, you should be able to feel your hound’s ribs – if you can see them, then your beagle is probably a little thin. 

If an otherwise healthy beagle is overweight, it’s usually because they are being overfed and under-exercised. Obesity in dogs can cause the same serious health problems as it does in humans.

beagle feeding time

Experience has shown that some beagles react badly (both mentally and physically) when they are fed complete food which is high in additives and colouring and owners may feel it is better to avoid such foods. Sensible leftovers can be fed as part of the daily ration, they help to make dinner time even more interesting. Hot and spicy foods are best avoided.

Remember, some foods can have a very bad effect on dogs, leading to illness and occasionally death. These include chocolate, onions, raisins, macadamia nut, Xylitol and grapes.

As your hound gets older and less active you may need to adjust the diet and feed less protein.

Clean, fresh water should always be available.

General information

A beagle’s lifespan can vary. However, Beagles are generally a healthy and fit breed of dog. If kept a good weight and exercise regularly they will usually live for 12-14 years.

The breed does have a few ailments which are breed-specific and some which are found in other breeds too. Some can be genetically screened for and health experts are actively researching to try to work out why they occur and how to prevent them from happening.

For more details of these conditions please visit the beagle health site The website also has information on subjects that are helpful to beagle owners new and old.

Health in beagles in the UK is monitored by our health coordinator Samantha Goldberg BVSc. Sam is happy to receive emails at and try to help with any problems.

It should be emphasised that if your beagle is unwell you should ring your vet for help first. If there is something that you would like to discuss which is not on the website, please get in touch.


Beagles require plenty of exercise, ideally a minimum of an hour each day but this will vary, depending on the health and age of the beagle.


Once your beagle has settled in and is of suitable age, do attend a good training class. Vets normally know of local classes or you may have a neighbour or friend who can recommend a club.


Beagle coats are easily kept clean with a quick brush through every day, and when they moult a fine comb will help to get rid of unwanted hair quickly.

Feel free to bath your beagle whenever needed, but don’t let your hound get cold and remember clean bedding helps to keep your hound healthy.

Watch out for fleas, especially in hot weather, and if necessary treat adult hounds with a spray or shampoo. Never treat a young puppy for fleas without first obtaining veterinary advice.

Check weekly that your beagle’s ears are clean and get your hound used to have its teeth inspected. Some hounds, especially those who do not get much exercise on hard surfaces, grow rather long toenails, so pay attention to them by clipping the tip-off or by filing, otherwise, you will need to get your Vet’s help.

beagle taking a bath

Veterinary care

As soon as you obtain your beagle puppy contact your local Veterinary Surgeon to find out their programme of vaccinations. This does vary with the type of vaccinations used, but until your puppy has received its first full course, it must not be taken out where other dogs have been.

You can still take your puppy out to get used to new noises and sights by wrapping it in a blanket and carrying it safely in your arms, or taking it for short journeys in the car.

Most vaccines need a yearly booster, and licensed boarding kennels will need proof that this has been kept up to date. If you obtain a Welfare Beagle vaccination details will be passed to you where available, but if there is any doubt as to whether the vaccinations are up to date, then you must seek veterinary advice.

Remember also that puppies and adult hounds must be regularly wormed. Also, think about getting your hound neutered – a very good idea for any pet hound.

beagle at the vet


Beagle Welfare does not have a hard and fast policy on neutering. In some cases we have bitches or dogs neutered while they are in our care, if we feel that it is in the best interests of the individual beagle to do this straight away.

In other cases we wait for the hound to settle down in its new home and allow the new owners to arrange for the operation.

If any prospective owner was reluctant to have a hound neutered we would be very wary about passing them as suitable to have a Welfare Beagle as a pet.

We also recommend that you visit, where you can find comprehensive information about the health of beagles.