With a breed like the Beagle that has such a large range of standard weight, it’s not always easy to tell by the scale. And, if you go by AKC standard weight guidelines, this does not tell the whole story.
For Beagles that are 13 inches (33 cm) or less (measured floor to withers, which are the top of the shoulder blades) AKC standard weight is ‘under 20 pounds’ (9.07 kg), and for Beagles with a height of 13 to 15 inches (33 to 38 cm), AKC standard weight is 20 to 30 pounds (9.07 to 13.6 kg).
However, there are lots of Beagles that are heavier than that maximum of 30 pounds, and this does not necessarily mean that they are carrying too much fat. They may be taller than the 15 inches, or may be a larger than average bone structure.
And, there are Beagles in the 20 to 25 pound range, that should be 15 or 17 pounds; thus while they may be smaller than some other Beagles, they are overweight.
So, due to both bone structure and height differences, it's wise to look beyond the scale.
The best way to know for sure, before you take any steps to help your Beagle drop a few pounds, is to have your dog examined by the veterinarian. There are other important reasons as well, since the vet can rule out health issues that can cause a dog to gain weight, as well as evaluate your dog’s ability to engage in some extra activity to burn calories.
This said, a check of your Beagle’s body shape and feeling for fatty areas can give you a basic idea of whether or not there is too much fat on the body. While other dogs need to be wet down to have a look at profiles, with such a short coat, this is not needed for Beagles.
1. Look at your Beagle from above. Do you see a defined waist? There should be a narrowing of the body between the ribs and the hips.
2. Look at your Beagle from the side. There should be an uptuck, where the abdomen tucks up into the rib cage.
3. Feel the base of your Beagle’s tail. It should be smooth and you should be able to easily feel the base where it meets the spine.
4. Feel the rib cage. You should be able to easily feel each defined rib without excess fat being in the way. Feeling ribs, but under some fat points to a weight issue. If you cannot feel the ribs at all, this points to a dog being severely obese.
As you can see in the photo below, the Beagle on the left is a healthy weight; and the Beagle to the right is overweight. If you are wondering if your Beagle is too fat, chances are that he/she falls somewhere between these two.
And, keep in mind that aging is not an excuse to carry excess pounds. It is normal for an older Beagle to have some muscle loss compared to his younger self; however, older adults and senior Beagles are not excused from being overweight; for older dogs, maintaining a good weight is more important than ever.