Owning a beagle
In the home
Make sure there are no electric cables or trailing leads in the area in which your beagle will be left unattended, even for a short time.
Your beagle will need its own water and feeding bowls. Metal ones are safest for a puppy as they enjoy chewing the plastic variety. Your beagle will also need a lead and collar. A small soft collar (as worn by cats) and a lightweight nylon lead are suitable for a puppy.
Allocate an area and bed which are the beagle’s own. Most owners find an area in the kitchen or utility room which can be adapted, and with a puppy, making a ‘pen’ using mesh panels (available at DIY stores for making compost bins) or a baby’s playpen, is ideal.
Beagle owners often find a baby-gate to be useful to bar beagles from a specific room, or from going upstairs. Your hound will still be able to see you and not feel left out.
A hard-moulded dog bed is easy to clean and more resistant to chewing than the wicker type. If you have a puppy, it is best to start off with a cardboard box with one side cut down as an entrance – this can be replaced as the puppy grows and chews, but avoid boxes with metal staples which can be dangerous.
You might consider buying a collapsible metal pen which have a wide variety of uses. They make ideal dog beds at home and on holiday, a place to go away from visitors and their children, a safe place if doors are left open or if potentially dangerous activities are taking place. The pens are ideal to use in the car, protecting the interior from damage and preventing your beagle from jumping out. The pen should be at least 24″x18’x21′ to allow your beagle to sit, stand and stretch in comfort.
Whichever type of bed you decide on, your beagle will require clean bedding at least once a week. Something old and warm can be used for a puppy to snuggle up in but do check there are no buttons or fasteners that can be chewed and swallowed. A special type of warm, non-allergenic bedding called ‘Vet-bed’ is available from good pet stores. It is tough, hardwearing and machine washable.
In the garden
By law, your beagle must wear a collar when in a public place, bearing your name and address. A harness is a good idea for the livelier hounds.
Remember to check regularly that the tag is still in place and clearly readable. Don’t forget to change the address if you are away on holiday.
The Animals Act places responsibility for any accident or damage caused by your hound firmly on YOU. Check your household insurance policy or think about taking out a special dog insurance with one of the specialised companies.
Please think carefully before you invite a beagle to join your household, but remember, that in return for your time and care, a beagle will reward you with love and friendship for an average of 12 to 14 years.
Please be a responsible beagle owner and never allow your hound to be noisy or annoy others.
Poop scooping and the law
Local councils (and some other organisations like water companies and the British Waterways Board) can make local laws called bylaws. These can require you to clear up after your dog in certain areas, such as streets, parks and beaches. However, powers to create poop scoop areas have been given to local authorities. Under the Dogs (Fouling of Land) Act 1996 councils can now designate most public land which is open to the air as a poop scoop area. If land is designated under the 1996 Act and you don’t clear up after your dog, you may be asked to pay a fixed penalty of £50 instead of being taken to court.
Do not wait until the law makes you clear up. It is in everyone’s interest that dog mess is not left lying where people might tread or sit in it.
Don’t play into the hands of the anti-dog lobby. Train your beagle not to foul in public places and always carry a plastic bag or ‘poop-scoop’ to clean up any mistakes.