If you're a bit confused about pest, parasite, and insect issues with your Beagle, you're not alone.
This section will cover:
The type of pests to be concerned about for a Beagle of any age
Summary of the 4 most common worms, including heartworms, and the dangers they present
Summary of fleas
Summary of ticks
The health risks of prevention products
Recommendations for the best heartworm, flea, and tick control for Beagles
Additional steps to help decrease exposure
Types of Pests to be Concerned About
Whether it is with all-natural products or a medication, you'll want to protect your Beagle from:
Worms (this includes hookworms, roundworms, whipworms, and heartworms)
Depending on where you live and the season, you may want to use mosquito repellent. And only if your Beagle develops an issue, you will treat for mites or other parasites.
First, we'll cover each of these individually, and the summarize what your Beagle needs when, along with recommendations for both all-natural protection and medicated controls.
All worms can cause health issues, sometimes even fatal ones, and this holds true for both puppies and adults. This said, the effects of worm infestation can vary a lot due in part to both the type of worm and the age of the dog.
Most de-wormers and worm prevention medications take care of several types of worms all at once. So, even if your Beagle is not susceptible to one type, he or she most likely is vulnerable to another.
The 4 most common worms are:
Less common, but possible are lungworms and tapeworms.
Photo courtesy of Tim & Kathy Yaple
The cycle of roundworms is quite amazing (or gross, depending on how you look at it).
Once a dog ingests the eggs, they hatch into larvae. From there, they spread to the liver and in some cases, up to the windpipe.
If they make their way to the windpipe, this triggers a dog to cough, and that cough leads to more larvae being swallowed.
And so the cycle will continue unless medication is given to kill the worms.
Newborn puppies can very easily get infected by the dam. This is because de-wormers for adult dogs are may not be 'complete kills'. Some eggs may be there, dormant. When milk production begins this can activate the eggs, which then get transferred via nursing.
Dogs of all agescan catch roundworms by ingesting eggs found in the feces of other animals or from the ingestion of an infested small animal (like a mouse).
Signs & Dangers:
Puppies almost always become sick from roundworms. There can be diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss, and poor coat health. Another sign is a potbellied appearance. Sometimes, but not always, roundworms are visible in feces and/or vomit.
Adultsmay or may not show signs of illness. However, if the population of roundworms living in a dog's body reaches a certain point, this will cause the same type of illness as with pups.
Willow, photo courtesy of Tim & Kathy Yaple
Hookworms are a dangerous intestinal parasite; these hook onto a host's intestinal wall and feed off the blood supply.
Like most parasites, it is easier for puppies to become infected, but adult dogs are not immune.
Newbornsare almost always infected if the dam has hookworms.
Beagles of any age can become infected via ingestion or via larvae penetrating the skin. The two most common sources being contaminated water and infected soil.
Signs & Dangers:
Puppiescan become very sick and this can be fatal due to severe internal blood loss. Signs include poor appetite, paleness of the skin. There may or may not be coughing, diarrhea, and/or constipation.
Adults, due to having a larger body structure, may show more subtle signs including gradual weight loss and possible gastrointestinal upset.
Whipworms infest the large intestine, causing severe levels of irritation.
Dogs become infected via the ingestion of whipworm eggs. These eggs can stay alive in the environment for years.
They can be found in soil, ground water, and feces.
Signs & Dangers:
For both puppies and adults, whipworms can cause bloody diarrhea, signs of dehydration, lethargy, pale gums, and/or weight loss. Eggs may be seen in a Beagle's feces.
Bagel, photo courtesy of Alan
Copper, at 11 weeks old,
photo courtesy of Tiffany S.
Heartworms have been diagnosed in every single state in the US, and can infect a dog of any age.
While these are more prevalent in the eastern half of the country, there is no state where a dog is safe without prevention.
Heartworms are spread via 30+ species of mosquitoes. Note that these are NOT just spread dog to dog.
Other animal host include cats, wolves, coyotes, jackals, foxes, ferrets, and even sea lions. In rare cases, humans can contract heartworms.
Signs & Dangers
For dogs of all ages, heartworms are often fatal. While heartworms can sometimes be successfully treated, this is both costly and difficult.
This is a very serious disease that your Beagle needs to be protected from year round, no matter where you live, and no matter your dog's age.
Heartworms live in an animal's heart, as well as the lungs and blood vessels. They multiple rapidly; dogs that are found to be infected often have hundreds inside of them. They eventually overwhelm the heart and respiratory system.
Heartworm and worm protection
There are no homemade solutions or all-natural remedies for this that are proven to work. And there are no special diets that are proven to work. Worms must be treated and prevented with medications.
Using strong medications is a justifiable concern for owners since these can have a wide range of unpleasant or harsh side effects.
However, for roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, and heartworms, it is very important to protect your Beagle. And, there are some brands of parasite protection that are better tolerated than others.
For Beagle puppies - Newborn to 3 months old:
Since it is so easy and common for new puppies to already have at least one type of worm, medicine given at this time is often referred to as 'de-worming' the pup.
Once these initial meds are given, the puppy will then follow the same preventative schedule as his older counterparts.
De-worming schedule for newborns and young puppies:
Typically new puppies are de-wormed starting at 2 weeks old, and then every 2 weeks to the 12 week mark. So, this is at 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12 weeks old.
De-worming at the vet vs at home:
Your vet may recommend that you bring your newborns or new 8-week-old puppy in for de-worming. This has its pros and cons.
Pros: Since getting the exact dosing is important, if you do not feel confident in handling this, it is best left to your vet. Also, you can have assurance that the de-wormer will be one of the better ones.
photo courtesy of Steve Madden
Cons: This does entail quite a few vet visits, which must be budgeted for. However, the cost of an effective de-wormer may come close to what these multiple visits will be.
What to use:
If you opt to de-worm your newborn Beagles at home, you must choose the product wisely. It should be a pyrantel based formula. If you opt for ones geared toward older dogs, those will be fenbendazole based medications which are very cheap, but do not work to properly de-worm newborns.
Bonnie, 5 years old, with Jordyn (also 5 years old)
photo courtesy Crystal
One that we recommend is Nemex-2 De-Wormer; this can be given to puppies that are at least 2 weeks old. And in fact, is the same medication that many veterinarians use themselves. This does not mean it is without risk; but it is one of the better ones.
Note:If you want to see more details about Nemex, you'll want to look at the 16 oz., since that is the liquid formula that is meant for young pups.
For Beagles 3 months and up:
Beagles 3 month and older, for life and year-round, need to be given heartworm prevention medication. Many also work to prevent roundworms, hookworms, whipworms. And some will have additional protection against scarcoptic mange since the parasite drug that works on worms works against mange as well.
It's important to notethat most of your choices (and the brand we recommend) also targets fleas as well.
Some flea products can cause devastating side effects. Also, flea and tick control are often grouped together.
For this reason, we'll first cover a summary of fleas and ticks, and then look into your choices of what to use.
While fleas are most prevalent in the spring and summer, this is a year-round problem because they can live inside homes, and even cars, 365 days a year. These are very easily passed from one dog to another, and the animals do not even need to have physical contact since fleas can jump.
Once a Beagle has a flea infestation, and this will mean that your house does too, it is not quick or cheap to resolve it.
There are 2 choices for this; you may use a flea and tick spray or control (repelling and/or killing fleas and ticks are almost always grouped together) or flea protection may already be present in the heartworm prevention that you use.
You may already be aware that ticks carry Lyme disease. There are also 6 other tick-borne diseases to be concerned about: canine anaplasmosis (dog tick fever), Rocky Mountain spotted fever, canine babesiosis, canine bartonellosis, and canine hepatozoonosis.
Ticks are mainly active in the spring and summer. However, the deer tick can be active all year-round. These do not die in the winter, and can be active on any day that there is no snow cover.
The brown dog tick can be active year-round, with higher populations in the southwest and in Florida. These can also be found inside if they make their way in, often living in indoor potted plants.
The American dog tick is found mainly on the eastern half of the US, and can be active year-round in the southern states.
The lone star tick, despite its name, is not found just in Texas, and is a problem in many south-eastern states, as well as up the east coast.
So, do you need to guard your Beagle from ticks? The answer is yes, but which type of product you use will depends on where you live and to what degree ticks are a concern.
Essentially, if the risk is low on your area, you may be able to just use a natural tick repellent to avoid using harsh chemicals on your Beagle or having to give your dog oral preventative controls.
However, if the tick risk is high in your area, you'll want to consider using something stronger.
Next, we'll go over how some flea, tick, and heartworm controls are very dangerous, recommendations to help limit bad side effects, and additional steps you can take to limit your Beagle's exposure.
The Best Flea and Tick Repellents and Heartworm Prevention for Beagles
Notethat 'heartworm prevention' typically includes protection from roundworms, whipworms, and hookworms, since most active ingredients work on all four.
To use as few harsh drugs and chemicals as possible, and use the most well-tolerated products, while properly protecting your Beagle.
Honey, at 4 months, photo courtesy of Gwendolyn Adams
The dangers of flea, tick, and heartworm medications:
An entire book could be written just on this topic alone. However, to summarize, many flea & tick controls and many heartworm preventative medications can cause terrible reactions, including death.
Adverse reactions can include gastrointestinal issues (vomiting and/or diarrhea, sometime triggering excessive salivation) and nervous system issues including lethargy, nervousness, ataxia (lack of muscle control which can affect eye movements, ability to swallow, and gait), tremors and/or seizures.
You may want to steer clear of injectibles; these are meant to last 6 months, but if a Beagle has an adverse reaction, this can be very hard to treat.
In addition, many oral drugs have a higher toxicity in a dog's body and it can take up to 30 days for them to leave the system.
While some topical brands have been linked to higher rates of adverse reactions, this does not apply to all of them, and topical may be the safest bet for many Beagle puppies and dogs.
In regard to which ingredients to avoid, quite frankly any of them can cause adverse reactions. This includes cyphenothrin, imidacloprid, permethrin, spinosad, milbemycin oxime, pyriproxyfen, ivermectin, moxidectin and imidacloprid.
If your Beagle is doing just fine with a certain product and is not having any adverse reactions, we recommend not making any changes.
If, however, you are wary of brand or suspect that it is causing some adverse reactions, it may be best to try a chemical-free product (when you can, for fleas and ticks) and think about changing base ingredients for heartworm protection.
For fleas, worms, and heartworms:
We recommend Advantage Multi (this should be available at your local pet supply store), because while there is no guarantee, what seems to be most well-tolerated is moxidectin and imidacloprid, which are the ingredients in this.
This offers protection from heartworms (both adult and microfilaria, which are the offspring that live in blood vessels), fleas (both adults and eggs), roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, and sarcoptic mange.
Across the board, Advantage Multi offers what Trifexis, Sentinel, Heartguard, and others cannot do, in regard to a wide range of parasite stages and phases. This includes killing flea eggs and heartworm microfilaria.
While this is not marketed as tick repellent, it may work in low-risk areas. It cannot be not labeled as so; this would mean having to meet higher guidelines meant for high-population areas.
So, if ticks are not a high concern for your Beagle in the area where you live, using this along with a chemical-free tick repellent will usually cover all the bases.
Fleas and ticks go hand-in-hand. What repels one, repels the other.
Using 'double' flea control (one in the Advantage) and a topical is not typically a concern and especially if you are using an all-natural product.
If you opt for this, you'll want to apply this spray to your Beagle every 2 weeks. Use your hand to block your Beagle's eyes and nose, so that you can spritz this on the forehead, neck, etc. and all other parts of the body. Don't forget the underbelly and tail.
Another great choice is Curealia's Insect Repellent Balm for Dogs, which is a 100% all-natural balm. It works against mosquitoes too, and since mosquitoes are the ONLY source of heartworms, this is a great bonus.
Sasha, at 5 months old,
photo courtesy of Maria Venus Ver
With this, you rub a pea-sized amount between your hands so that the balm melts, and the spread it on your Beagle's upper back and neck.
Keep in mind that you're best bet is to use a no-chemical product while taking additional steps (more below) to limit ticks in your yard and lessen possible exposure.
There are several things you can do to keep your Beagle safe and protected:
1.Bring your Beagle to his/her annual wellness check; part of this will be a screening for worms and other parasites.
2.Keep your yard free of debris, including piles of leaves and overgrown grass.
3.Do not allow your Beagle to eat feces, his own or that of another animal. Always supervise your Beagle and keep your puppy or dog on leash and harness (the harness allows you better control and you can reel your Beagle to you without risking neck injury).
4.Check your Beagle for ticks each time you arrive back home from an outdoor activity.