Beagles use their mouth to figure out things. They like to examine objects with their mouth to determine whether it’s edible or not. Since Beagles are curious dogs, different or small objects intrigue them.
If the object fits in their mouth, they assume it is edible. This is the reason why you will see your Beagle constantly munching or nibbling on things. It has very little to do with their hunger and more with the opportunity to eat.
Beagles are also known to have problems regulating their appetite. So, they tend to eat themselves sick.
While it is common for Beagles to eat non-edible objects, it is not advisable. Below are the reasons why they eat everything and what you can do to prevent it.
As we mentioned above, Beagles are curious creatures. They are fond of exploring things in their environment. They will use their mouth to pick something up. While they are examining, they figure out if they can eat it.
And, if they find out they can fit it in their mouth, they will attempt to swallow it.
Beagles are also clever dogs. So, if the object is bigger, they will break it down with their teeth and then swallow it.
You may be wondering, where does this curiosity come from? Well, Beagles are hunting dogs. They have always been trained to track things. Their exploration habits make them excellent hunting dogs.
2) Natural Scavengers
Beagles still possess the trait of natural scavengers. They were always searching for food while traveling in packs. They would look for food in all kinds of places. Hunting is tiring and usually leaves them hungry at the end of the day. So, they would take every opportunity to eat.
Hunting dogs would often hunt over several days. The only food they got was the one they would manage to catch. So, they wouldn’t know about the next day’s meal. Because of this, they would eat whatever they could find to their hearts’ content and beyond.
You will probably notice that they exploit every occasion to eat.
It might be a little taxing to train them. However, you must do it. Or else your Beagle might run into some problems.
Your Beagle may seem hungry all the time. In most cases, not food drives them but just an instinctive behavior to eat something. Beagles used to thrive in packs and hunt small animals.
However, hunting also meant that sometimes they wouldn’t get food. So, they learnt to settle for anything and everything they could find. It’s why they would as much as they could after a successful hunt. Sometimes, they would overstuff themselves.
It is not a reason for you or any owner to overfeed your dog. It will make your dog overweight.
4) Medical Disorder
While Pica is common in most breeds, you still need to consult a vet in this case. In their excitement to eat anything, they are most likely to harm themselves.
The maximum Beagles can do to occupy themselves is to play, exercise or go on walks. This might seem like a lot of activity but can be less for energetic dogs like Beagles. So, they become bored. When they don’t have anything to do, they will start chewing things like grass or objects.
And, if you leave them unsupervised, they might even resort to destroying your furniture.
Beagles are hunting dogs. Therefore, they were not bred and trained to sit still all day. They crave the outdoors and need to exercise as much as possible. These dogs are highly energetic and athletic. It would help if you allowed them to get out and burn all that energy.
Is it Harmful? How to make them stop?
If the objects are small, most of them will pass through your Beagle’s body without causing any lasting damage. However, if the small object is sharp, it can injure the dog’s digestive tract. As a result, they will experience vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite.
If the cut is severe in the intestines, it can lead to death.
When the object is large, it will get stuck in your dog’s throat or stomach. It can cause choking and gastritis, respectively. Your dog will attempt to break the large object into smaller pieces. While doing this, they can injure their mouth and teeth.
Things like trash, grass, plants, stones and poop are not for eating. They can be hard to swallow or be harmful, leading to vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain and gas problems.
Most dogs are known to eat poop. If they wat their own, there is no cause for danger. However, eating the poop of other animals can be dangerous if toxins, parasites and viruses have polluted it. In this case, you need to take them to the vet immediately.
Now, most Beagles will stop eating random things when they grow up. On the other hand, some will refuse to give up this habit. So, you need to teach them what to eat and what not to eat.
There are a few ways you can go about it:
Set a Routine
Set a feeding time for your Beagle. They love food, so they will want to eat at every opportunity they get. It is up to you to set meal times for your dog. Then, they will know when to expect food. Slowly, they will become accustomed to this routine and stop their scavenging.
Manage the Environment
Also known as baby-proofing your place or damage control. Your Beagle might tend to eat everything because everything is lying about your house everywhere.
You have to restrict the areas where your dog gets to go. Remove all small objects from within their range. Make it so that they can’t find things they usually put in their mouth.
It is mandatory that you leave no food unattended and within your dog’s reach.
Keep all your food in cupboards and shelves that are higher up.
You can also use playpens sections to block things off.
If you are removing access to things they are not allowed to have, that means everyone in the house must cooperate in organizing.
Monitor your dog
Keep a constant eye on your Beagle when you are teaching them eating habits. If you are busy, then make use of the crate.
Use a leash to lightly pull them back during walks when they try to eat grass or stones. An effective way to prevent this is to walk in places with fewer temptations.
Use Basic Commands
Teach your dog some basic commands like “Leave it”, “drop it”, and “heel”. You have to make them understand why they shouldn’t eat random things. Reinforce the idea of paying attention to you. Teach them to focus on you so that when you say these commands, they respond immediately.
Correct the Behavior
Most dogs will still chew on things they shouldn’t if you do not correct this behavior as early as possible. ake your dog understand that chewing things like food or chew toys is okay. Chewing other items is not.
After you say no to whatever they want, distract them with a toy or offer them something better as a trade.
Practice recalling and teach them how to move away from something they want to get and offer something equally enticing.
Provide excellent toys outdoors. This way, they won’t be inclined to find other stuff to swallow.
You can also use a muzzle if your dog’s eating habits are uncontrollable.
Remember that change does not happen overnight or even within a day or two. Be regular in your training, do not punish your dog for eating or try to take things back from their mouth by force. They might end up biting you or get scared.
You can also watch the below video to gain more insight on how to train.
How Much Food To Feed Your Beagle
Eating twice can make them less hungry. So, feed them correctly every morning and before evenings with high-quality food. Their portions should be 2-3% of their ideal adult weight.
For adults, give one cup of dry food per day. More active dogs will require a higher quantity than this. Meanwhile, for puppies, give 1.5- 2 cups of dry food per day.
Do not provide food in a single spread. Make sure you spread it throughout the day to give your dog an impression that they have eaten more. You can divide the portions into 2-3 meals in a day.
Avoid high-coloured foods for treats as they contain a lot of fillers, which have meager nutritional value.
Eating random objects is quite common among dogs. However, you should not let curiosity get the better of them.
Their instinctive behaviour and boredom are reasons we can understand. Nevertheless, we all know prevention is better than a cure. So, try to find ways to stop them from the list we made above.
Whether the object is genuinely harmful depends on the shape, size and sharpness of the object. In any case, eliminate the objects from the equation and train them to eat the right things.
Comment below to let us know what and your dog targets to eat!
Dr. Aram Baker has been with Santa Clarita Animal Hospital since 1995 and his special interests include behaviour medicine and dermatology. He graduated from the Cleveland Humanities Magnet Program in Reseda, CA and attended California State University at Northridge where he received a Bachelor’s degree in biology. He went on to pursue his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine at the University of California at Davis. He also spent time in the zoological medicine department at U.C. Davis during his Junior and Senior years. He is dedicated to caring for all pets big or small, young or old with compassion, patience, kindness, and love.