October 03, 2020 9 min read

How Often to Feed a Beagle

What you feed your Beagle has a huge effect on his health, now and for years to come.
His diet sets the foundation for proper growth, maintaining weight, energy, good digestion, and nutritional levels to power him both physical and mentally. 
Everything that a Beagle eats will either be beneficial or detrimental.
So, it is important to take time in choosing the best foods to feed your Beagle puppy, adult or senior. And you'll want to be diligent in following proper feeding guidelines.

How Often to Feed a Beagle

4 Weeks to 8 Weeks Old
With Beagle puppies, during the first 3 to 4 weeks, their main diet will be the dam's milk. By week 4 they are being slowly weaned with an incremental introduction to solid foods. This is done by mixing canine milk replacer with the food that the dam has been eating. Every few days, the ratio of liquid to solid will be less. By week 6, most Beagle puppies are eating a purely solid diet.
Young newborns need to nurse every couple of hours.  When weaning, 6 to 8 small meals per day are given. 
8 Weeks to 6 Months Old - When first obtaining an 8 week old Beagle puppy, it is best that he is fed the same brand that he is used to receiving. A changeover to your preferred brand should be done in steps to avoid stomach upset. 
This can be done over the course of 3 to 4 weeks. Both old and new food should be mixed together well, with the ratio of newer food increasing every few days.
Appetite should be good with the Beagle very hungry and eager to eat at meal times. Scheduled feedings should now be done. You will want to feed your new Beagle puppy 3 meals per day. Free feeding is not recommended. When you have set meal times, this helps with housebreaking. In addition, when a dog has a firm schedule, he is better behaved.
6 Months to 1 Year + - Starting at about the 6-month mark, work your way down to 2 meals a day; 1 in the morning and 1 in the early evening.  
If your Beagle is home alone, offer a light breakfast, and then leave a good portion of food in a treat release Kong. 
Snacks and treats will be needed for many training techniques; having your Beagle down to 2 meals will allow room in his or her diet for the extra treats that will be given as rewards.
1 Year and Older - Your Beagle is now transitioning to the adult phase. Weight gain is slowing quite a bit. Stay aware of how many snacks you feed your Beagle since these calories can add up. 

Two Main Choices

You will need to decide between commercial dog food or home cooked food. 
The pro for homemade food is that you have complete control over the ingredients, and it's very easy to ensure that your Beagle will only be taking in wholesome foods. The con is that it does take some effort to cook the meals; however, you can do this in big batches.
The pro for manufactured food, is that if you choose the right brand, you can feel secure that your Beagle is eating a balanced diet and is free from the harmful ingredients found in inferior brands. The con, if you opt for one of the better brands, would be the cost. You get what you pay for, so you will be spending a bit more for a quality food then if you obtained a cheaper filler & chemical filled food from your supermarket or pet store shelf. 

Choosing a Manufactured Food for Your Beagle

There are some really excellent choices and there are a lot of terrible choices. The ratio of great brands compared to inferior ones is about 1 to 20.  This is because poorly made dog food is very easy to manufacture; it's cheap. The ingredients are inexpensive and it can be mass-produced. Since so many owners have no idea just how bad it can be, it's sold in huge quantities, fueling the cheap dog food market, in a vicious cycle. 
What to Avoid
It's a bit shocking what can be legally allowed in dog food. The biggest culprits include:
  • Fillers - Fillers are completely empty ingredients with zero nutrients and zero calories. These are put into manufactured dog foods in order to pump up the "food" to make it look as if there is more and to fill up your dog's stomach (while offering no nutrients). 
They pass right through a dog's body, without being absorbed. This can cause gas problems and other issues. 
  • Artificial coloring, flavors, and chemical additives & preservatives. These can do a number on a dog, causing everything from skin reaction (dryness, peeling, itching, to coat health (thinning coat, brittle texture) to gastrointestinal distress. 
  • By products and rendered meats- Dogs need to eat real meat. Many manufactured dog foods have confusing labels and will list out ingredients such as meat by-products.
By-products are parts from animals that are deemed unfit for human consumption and these are low in protein. 
This includes chicken beaks, fatty tissue, stomach linings and intestines. 
Other food ingredients that can be misleading are 'rendered meats'. These consists of animals that have died during transportation, expired supermarket meats and disease animals. These 'meat's are cleansed to remove bacteria and separates fat from meat. The fat is put into pet food to satisfy the 'fatty' levels and the so-called meat is put into some brands to satisfy protein levels. 
Donovan the Beagle
Donovan Oliver Gus, 5.5 months old, from Cootamundra, NSW, Australia
Photo courtesy of owner Gloria Alkins
  • Disproportionate ratios of healthy fats, protein, and carbs. If a food has low amounts of fats, this can lead to poor skin and coat heath, along with low energy. Inferior or low protein causes a dog to struggle with maintaining proper muscle mass, and also does not offer the body enough fuel for energy. And high carbs causes weight gain, and most foods high in carbs get there by adding corn and other heavy grains which can cause stomach upset. 
What You Do Want in Your Beagle's Food
When it comes to a really good food, the list of qualities to look for is not all that demanding; and it's really a shame that so few brands out of the many out there can actually offer this:
Real meat - Beagles do great on a wide variety of meats, from lamb to pork, chicken to turkey, fish and even bison. The key is that the meat needs to be real and wholesome. It should be listed simply as the meat that it is, or as 'meal'.  Chicken meal, beef meal, etc. means that the meat has been condensed (water and moisture removed), which offers more protein gram for gram.  
No fillers, or artificial chemical additives - This will ensure that your Beagle is only eating real food ingredients and is not ingesting agents that can have terrible consequences to his health.  
A leading brand, that takes in millions of dollars per year and advertises as being “natural and wholesome”, has corn as their #1 ingredient. So, never fall into the trap of grabbing a bag of food because you've heard the name before or have seen commercials.  
Proper nutritional balance. There should be no generic animal fats. You'll want a protein to carb to healthy fat ration of 25 - 35% each. There should be a substantial amount of meat-based protein, and adequate fiber by way of wholesome vegetables. 
Fat levels are important; while humans want to watch their fat content, dogs need a good amount of healthy fats. Dietary fat is the most concentrated source of energy for dogs, and are necessary for proper development and function of body cells, nerves, muscles, and body tissues. 
Cheap foods low in animal fats lead to terrible skin and coat health, and low energy levels for the dog. 

The Best Food For Beagles - Top 3 Picks

Taking all of the aforementioned information into account, our picks for the top 3 best foods are:
Orijen -  Orijen is a 5-star food with varieties for puppies, seniors, and adults (original, tundra, six fish, regional red). Their top ingredients are real meats: chicken, turkey, yellowtail flounder, Atlantic mackerel, chicken liver, turkey liver, chicken heart, turkey heart, whole Atlantic herring, etc.
There are healthy beans (pinto beans, chickpeas, green lentils) and some great ingredients such as pumpkin, butternut squash, carrots, apple, pears, collard greens, sunflower seeds, juniper berries, and chicory root. 
Protein is 36%, healthy fat is 41%, carbs are 23%, and fiber is 4.5%. 
Whole Earth Farms - Whole Earth Farms is a good 4.5-star food, which several varieties, including grain-free.  There is no corn, wheat,  soy, by-products, artificial colors, or artificial preservatives. 
They also include ingredients such as sweet potatoes, alfalfa, and blueberries, and extras such as rosemary, sage, and thyme. 
Protein is 26%, healthy fat is 31%, carbs are 43%, and fiber is 3.9%.
* Wellness Core - Wellness Core is a top 5-star food, and is now our #1 pick. Dog food cannot get much better than this.  There are varieties to meet every stage and need, including for puppies, a reduced fat formula, and a grain-free.
There is the orignal formula with turkey, chicken, broccoli, carrots, spinach, apples, blueberries, kale, and sweet potatoes. Along with healthy ingredients such as flaxseed oil, salmon oil, chicory root, yucca extract, rosemary, green tea extract, and spearmint extract. 
The wild game variety has wholesome real duck and lamb. The ocean formula has whitefish, herring, and salmon. 
The average ratios are 34% protein, 29% healthy fats, 37% carbs, and 6.7% fiber.
Coming up ahead, we'll go over some home cooking facts, human food issues, and a general overview of how much to feed for meals. 

Home Cooking

Making food at home is relatively easy if you like to be in the kitchen, and in some cases, less expensive. Buying in bulk can save you money. 
The important, base ingredient should be fresh, wholesome, real meat.  Roughly 35% of the mixture should be one or a combination of: 
  • Lean, white breast chicken
  • Lean hamburg
  • Turkey
  • Lamb
  • Veal
  • Fish - Tuna, Mackerel
Now for vegetables. This should make up about 25% of the meal. This can include wholesome, fresh veggies which you can mix in raw or steamed including:
  • Carrots  (raw baby carrots are great as snack too)
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Sweet peas
  • String beans
Now for starch, which is important as an energy source, this can be from rice, pasta and/or potatoes, with a ratio of 25%. 
Fruits and extras: You'll want your Beagle to have some fruits as these provide not only vitamins but also antioxidants. 15% of the meal should contain blueberries, raspberries, some banana, mango and even orange slices are great food additions. Some whole white yogurt and also some cottage cheese are good items to mix in as well. Adding fish oil will bring in some healthy fats if you are not adding fish as one of the main proteins. 
Finally, a good daily dog vitamin and mineral canine supplement should be mixed into a meal each day or given in tablet form. This needs to be added when home cooking, because with commercial brands, this is pre-mixed into the kibble.  When you prepare meals at home, you must add this yourself. 
female Beagle with red bows
Molly, Photo courtesy of owners: Chris & Mary Ross

How Much Food to Feed a Beagle

While many owners want to know exactly how much to feed a Beagle, to say 'one cup' would not be helpful. Each type of food (wet, dry, chicken vs bison, etc.) will have varying levels of calorie dense ingredients. 
If you are offering a high-end brand, certainly read the recommended serving sized, which are based on weight. These are pretty spot-on. 
In regard to calorie requirements, in general, growing puppies need to have roughly 55 calories per each pound of body weight, per day. 
This can vary by 20% depending on activity, age, health and individual metabolism. 
Full grown adults will need approximately 45 calories per pound and senior have slightly lower metabolisms, needing a bit less at 42 calories per pound, give or take that 20%. 

Leaving Food Out

It is never recommended to leave out food and allow your Beagle to eat whenever he wishes; this breed could easily graze all day and end up overeating. 
Dogs that are given a daily schedule for just about everything... eating, grooming walks, play time, etc, are found to be much better behaved dogs. A good rule is that a dog should eat for 15 to 20 minutes. Anything not eaten within that time should be saved for later. 
If your Beagle eats too quickly, it is suggested to obtain a stainless steel slow-feeder bowl or use a portion pacer ball. 

Human Food - Can a Beagle Have Part of Your Dinner?

There are several reasons why giving a dog your dinner is not a good idea:
  • Once you give in, even once, you may have a dog that begs for your food at all times. Getting him to eat his own food will become a struggle. Your food will not give your dog what he needs in regard to optimal nutrition, so he needs to be eating his own.
  • Foods and ingredients that we would never think twice about eating can be so dangerous to dogs. Just about everyone knows about chocolate. But what about: onions, raisins, grapes, fruit seeds, fruit cores, raw salmon, mushrooms and caffeine? These foods are poison to a dog's digestive system and many can be found in your meals. 
Also, the coloring, spices and additives in your meals are detrimental to your dog's health.
  • This can very quickly lead to weight gain.
Jan Helge Mathisen
Jan Helge Mathisen

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