All dogs love food. However, Beagles seem to adore food a lot more than regular canines. These dogs have a penchant for gobbling up everything in their bowls and they simply don’t know when to stop.
If you’re a first-time beagle owner, it’s not unusual to wonder if your canine’s voracious appetite is a cause for concern.
But just why do beagles seem to have a deep love affair for food? Are they greedy? Aren’t they getting enough food? Do they have high metabolism? Or is the behavior indicative of intestinal worms?
Surprisingly, all these are possible reasons why any dog would overeat. But when it comes to beagles, the reasons for overeating mainly come down to their unusual food digestion as well as powerful hunting cum scavenging instincts.
If you’ve recently been wondering ‘why do beagles eat so fast,’ this article is for you. Read on for a definitive guide to why beagles never seem to stop eating.
Natural Reasons Why Beagles Are Always Hungry
If you’re a first-time beagle owner and have recently started paying attention to your dog’s eating habits, you may have noticed what appears to be an unusual appetite. This may get you asking, ‘why is my beagle always hungry?’
So, why do beagles eat so much?
Slow digestion is the primary natural reason why beagles seem to be perpetually hungry. Beagles are unable to regulate their appetite as efficiently as other canines. That’s due to their slow and rather unusual digestion.
Note that digestion in most dogs (and even humans) begins right from the mouth where enzymes in saliva start to break down the food as it’s chewed. This escalates the digestion process, ensuring that the feelings of satiation occur shortly after consuming moderate food portions.
But for beagles, the process won’t begin until the food hits their stomachs. As such, it takes considerably longer for the sensations of fullness to set in for a beagle. And until those feelings take effect, the dog will continuously gobble up his food.
There’s no standard duration it takes for a beagle to feel satiated. But some animal experts theorize that the dogs may take up to three days for the feelings of fullness to set in. You can only imagine what would happen if a beagle ate continuously for three days.
Here are other natural reasons why beagles are always famished;
1. Hunting Instincts
Beagles were bred primarily for hunting hare. Hare hunting is technically known as beagling, which pretty much explains the breed’s name.
Most hunting dogs have a reputation for being opportunistic feeders, and the beagle is no exception.
But why do hunting dogs always crave for food?
A high food drive is one of the core behavioral attributes in all hunting dogs. The logic is simple – the animals must be hungry enough to remain focused on tracking down their prey.
The fact that beagles were particularly bred as pack hunters made them opportunistic eaters. That’s because there was always competition for food among dogs in large packs. The dog would eat as much as he could after every successful hunt as he knew it could probably take days to nail the next meal.
2. Scavenging Instincts
Beagles are not only skilled hunters. These dogs are master scavengers too.
Beagles are known to rummage through trash cans for any food leftovers. That’s regardless of whether the dog is well-fed or not.
Scavenging instincts may help improve a dog’s hunting skills. But it can also increase the animal’s food drive.
Scoffing, also known as food bolting, is a phenomenon when an animal eats his food too quickly, usually without much chewing. The behavior generally occurs when the animal fears that their food source may be taken away from them.
Many dog breeds are susceptible to scoffing. But to beagles, the habit is more like their second nature.
Scoffing is more common in beagles that were born as part of a large litter where competition for their mother’s milk was intense.
Beagles are naturally curious. Again, this has a lot to do with their powerful hunting instincts.
A beagle is always happy to check out new things in his surroundings. And one way the dog explores his environment is by tasting objects.
To most beagles, anything that can fit in the mouth is potentially edible. The dog will try to swallow the object or at least break it down before spitting it out.
Medical Reasons Why Beagles Are Always Hungry
The above-listed natural reasons for insatiable appetite are almost unique to beagles. However, the following medical reasons can affect any dog breed;
1. Intestinal Parasites
Intestinal parasites will most certainly make a dog hungry all the time. These parasites consume much of the food a dog eats, leaving the animal malnourished and perpetually famished.
Common symptoms that your beagle could be battling intestinal parasites include;
- High food drive
- Rapid, unexplained weight loss
- Nausea and vomiting
- Scraggly coat
- Frequent shedding
2. Compulsive Eating Disorders
Like humans, dogs can suffer from various eating disorders. Some of these diseases can cause a dog to undereat while others may have the animal consuming more than his fair share of food.
Pica is probably the most common eating disorder in dogs. The condition is characterized by the compulsive consumption of non-edible objects, such as dirt, rocks, metals, plastics, grass, hair, paint, and even poop.
A dog suffering from pica will definitely want to gobble up more food than he should.
2. Metabolic Disorders
Any disease causing high food metabolism will most certainly increase your beagle’s food drive.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common metabolic disorder that may interfere with a beagle’s food digestion. The condition results from an inability to secrete the hormone insulin or utilize this hormone efficiently. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas, which is involved in blood sugar regulation.
Type 2 diabetes can produce a wide spectrum of symptoms. Two of those symptoms include increased food and water drive.
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4. Malabsorption Conditions
Malabsorption conditions refer to diseases that inhibit a beagle’s ability to absorb and utilize nutrients in the food that he eats. One such condition is exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI), which causes loose stools, rapid weight loss, and increased hunger. The disease may also cause nausea, vomiting, and greasiness to the coat.
Besides EPI, malabsorption may also result from bacterial overgrowth in your beagle’s small intestine (ileum). In addition to increased hunger, bacterial overgrowth may also cause vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, gassiness, and loud gurgling sounds coming out of the stomach.
5. Stress and Boredom
Stress, anxiety, and boredom may cause a beagle to resort to unbecoming behaviors, such as overeating.
Beagles that are left alone for long and without sufficient provisions to keep them stimulated can develop a severe anxiety disorder known as separation anxiety.
Other symptoms of separation anxiety besides overeating include;
- Nervousness on the part of the beagle when his owner is about to leave the house
- Overexcitement when the dog’s owner returns home from a long absence
- Bad potty habits, such as going on the floor
- Destructive chewing or digging
- Nuisance vocalizations, such as barking, howling or growling
6. Endocrine Disorders
Last but not least, certain hormonal disorders may interfere with your beagle’s eating habits, causing the animal to eat a lot.
- Hyperadrenocorticism (Cushing’s disease) – Excess production of the stress hormone cortisol by the adrenal glands.
- Hyperthyroidism – Excess production of the thyroid by the thyroid glands, causing rapid weight loss and increased hunger as some of its core symptoms.
So, why do beagles act like they are starving?
As we’ve just highlighted, there are numerous natural and medical reasons behind your beagle’s high food drive.
The next things to consider are the risks involved and how you can help mediate this behavior.
Dangers of Overeating in Beagles
One of the frequently asked questions about beagles is – do beagles tend to overeat?
The answer is a resounding yes, and we’ve already explored the various reasons why. Your next concern should be what could possibly go wrong if your beagle overate.
Below are the top inherent dangers of overeating in beagles;
Any dog that eats more than his fair share will eventually become obese. Obesity is a severe lifestyle disease that can open up your beagle to other medical problems, such as arthritis, type 2 diabetes, and even heart disease.
The fact that a beagle takes longer to feel satiated doesn’t necessarily mean his stomach will handle the excess amounts of food. The dog may end up vomiting the excess food.
3. Choking and Intestinal Blockage
Choking risks in beagles mainly result from scoffing. Remember that these dogs do not take their time chewing food. Therefore, they could easily swallow larger chunks than their small throats can accommodate, leading to asphyxiation.
Swallowing large food chunks might also result in intestinal blockage, a severe medical problem that may necessitate surgery.
Worse yet, beagles suffering from pica might swallow sharp objects. These objects could end up tearing through the animal’s digestive tract, causing severe internal hemorrhage.
Having highlighted some of the adverse effects of overeating in beagles, you may now be wondering, will a Beagle eat itself to death?
Unfortunately, beagles can easily eat themselves to death due to their insatiable appetite.
5. High Maintenance Costs
There are also economic implications associated with overeating in beagles. Even if the dog doesn’t suffer any medical complications from overeating, his voracious appetite may strain your finances.
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How to Stop My Beagle from Eating Everything
It’s not unusual to come across a beagle owner wondering, ‘my beagle is always hungry, what can I do to address the dog’s high food drive?’
The most important tip for dealing with overeating in beagles is to understand the root cause of the problem. The solutions you adopt should be able to address the underlying triggers.
Below are some ways to curb your beagle’s high food drive;
1. Do Not Reward the Behavior
What did you do the first time you realized your beagle was overeating? Did you add more kibble to his bowl?
If yes, then you may have inadvertently encouraged the behavior.
Whatever you do, never reward a beagle for overeating. Do not yell at the dog either, as doing so only reinforces the bad behavior.
2. Baby-Proof Your House
Baby-proofing your house is all about restricting the areas where the dog can venture into. Pay particular attention to the kitchen and dining area for obvious reasons.
Also, do not forget to clear the dining table immediately after having a meal.
3. Ignore The Dog’s Begging
Beagles will happily rummage through trash cans for food leftovers even after having a large meal. And if there’s nothing in there to scavenge, the dogs will come begging for more food from you.
Do not give in to these antics. Ignore the dog completely, provided that you’re convinced he has had his fill.
4. Say ‘NO’
You can deter your beagle from chewing on objects by saying the ‘NO’ or ‘STOP’ command. Just be sure the dog already associates these words with a warning to stop.
However, do not shout at the dog. Instead, say the words in a soft but assertive tone.
5. Practice Portion Control
Controlling the food portions your beagle consumes may also go a long way in addressing the problem of overeating. But perhaps the big question here is – how much should a beagle eat?
You can calculate the food portions enough for your beagle based on the animal’s age and body weight. Beagles generally weigh between 25 and 30 pounds. The recommended calorie intake for dogs with a similar weight range is between 650 and 900. Obviously, you can adjust this recommendation based on your beagle’s size and activity levels.
6. Feed Small Portions Multiple Times a Day
It’s not enough to avoid free feeding. You should also consider feeding your beagle smaller food portions multiple times a day as opposed to larger quantities once or twice a day. This makes it almost impossible for the dog to overeat.
But just how many times a day should beagles eat?
Consider feeding your beagle 4 to 5 times a day provided that the portions are incredibly low. In the same breath, avoid giving your beagle too many treats. Restrict treats to 10% of their daily calorie intake.
7. Have Fixed Meal Times
Dogs are habitual creatures. These animals instinctively know when it’s mealtime and naptime.
You can leverage these natural instincts to feed your beagle at specified times during the day. This will prevent the dog from begging for food outside his usual feeding hours.
8. Invest In Puzzle Feeders
Puzzle feeders slow down the eating and digestion process. These products discourage scoffing, which makes them excellent for beagles.
Besides, a slow-feeding bowl can keep your beagle’s brain engaged. This could further help avert stress, anxiety, and boredom.
9. Invest In High-Quality Food Too
Dogs should eat a balanced diet at all times, and the beagle is no exception. Not only does high-quality food prevents malnutrition. It may also help address the problem of overeating.
The conventional wisdom is to buy quality dog food from established brands. Avoid products containing cheap filler ingredients like corn bran, potato by-products, corn gluten, and oatmeal.
Also, insist on fiber- and protein-rich diets. The two nutrients are famous for their remarkable filling effects and can help keep your beagle satiated for much longer.
10. Visit the Vet
Numerous medical conditions may cause a beagle to overeat. The only way to address these problems is by whisking the dog to the vet.
Thorough diagnostic procedures will uncover the underlying health reasons your beagle is eating more than he should. Thereafter, the vet will recommend a raft of treatment measures to combat overeating.
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So, Why Are Beagles Always Hungry?
There are numerous factors behind the beagle’s voracious appetite. Fortunately, there are equally many ways to prevent this unbecoming habit from taking a toll on the dog’s health.
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