Feeding the Beagle
These nutrition tips cover all canine needs, as well as the Beagle's unparalleled love of food.
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Water is Nutrition
Perhaps more important than food for your Beagles nutritional health is water. Why? Because, like humans, a Beagles body is nearly 70 percent water. While your dog could survive even after losing all its body fat and over half of its body protein, a 10-percent loss in body water can result in death, according to Dr. Reinhart.
Sporting dogs, such as the Beagle, carry an extra demand for water because of the stresses placed on their bodies during competition, hunting and shows. Dr. Reinhart says water is lost from a dogs body in several ways: urinary losses, exercised-induced panting to help thermoregulate, respiratory evaporation and stress-induced diarrhea.
Most dogs drink about a gallon of water per 100 pounds of body weight, says Dr. Carey. A 25-pound dog should consume about a quart of water. If the conditions are hot or the dog is working hard, its water intake will double, he says. While your dog needs water, don't be tempted to provide it immediately after heavy exercise. Keep about an hour between eating or drinking a lot and exercising, Dr. Carey advises.
How can you tell if your Beagle is getting enough nutrition? Just take a look, advises Sharon Clark, a handler, supporting member of the National Beagle Club and breeder in Simpsonville, S. C., for almost 30 years. Looking at your dog tells you everything you need to know, but you have to know your dog, she says.
One way breeders evaluate their dogs food is the results it produces. Your dog should have bright eyes, a shiny coat and raging enthusiasm, maintains Julie Fulkerson, who has been a breeder for nearly 40 years. I also look at the volume of stool they produce. Like many other breeders, Fulkerson has found that the better quality and more digestible the food, the better the stools. On a good diet there is less volume of stool, it doesn't smell as bad and its firmer, she explains. If you switch foods and see a difference, you'll know immediately.
Theres a lot of validity to that assessment, adds Dr. Carey. Diets that are easily digested produce a small, firm, easily-passed stool.
Both Fulkerson and Clark feed their dogs commercially prepared foods. They stress that your dogs food is not a place to pinch pennies, though. The first thing that people need to understand is there is no bargain in dog foods. If you're paying a cheap price, then you're getting cheap ingredients, Clark says. She adds that just because a brand is more expensive doesn't mean its better. She selects food based on how it affects the condition of her dogs.
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