1. Bathing and Brushing Your Beagle. Beagles, because of their short but sometimes thick coat, do require attention. Beagles do shed and brushing and bathing should be done on a regular schedule. Frequency of baths will greatly be determined by how much time your beagle stays outside and the climate. Of course, if you have allergies or white carpet and furniture, you will have to bathe your dog more often!
Generally, bathing once a month is sufficient for most house dogs. If you have a dusty yard ( or a beagle that loves to dig!) you may need to give most wonderful beagle a bath more often. A good quality dog shampoo ( Don't use human shampoo, it's a bit harsh for dog coats.) will be just fine. Be sure to rinse well, as dried shampoo can cause your dog to itch and scratch.
Brushing your Beagle is very important because of that thick coat. Beagles do shed and regular brushing ( at least weekly) will help and reduce the amount of hair on your couches and bed. My beagles have a peculiar habit of sticking their nosed straight up and licking slowly when I am brushing. You can tell it feels sooooo good!!
2. Ears. Because of their hanging ears, Beagles can develop yeast infections, so ears need to be cleaned and checked once a week. There are several good ear cleaners on the market - all you have to do is put a few drops into the ear canal and let them shake. Make sure you dry the ears good after a bath to help prevent yeast infections.
I like to use a mixture of 1 part water to 1 part apple cider vinegar.The vinegar discourages yeast growth because it creates an acidic environment.( And it's cheap, too!) I use a hemostat clamp on the swab and dip it in the mixture. This allows you to get down in the ear, but not too far, to clean those crevices and get the swab back out easily. An ear syringe filled with this mixture and used to flush the ears might be necessary if the ear is really "gunked up".
3. Teeth. Your dog's health can be compromised by bad teeth and trips to the veterinary dentist can be expensive. Once a day or every other day, tooth brushing will keep those pearlies nice and healthy. All puppies should be introduced to tooth brushing early on. If you haven't done this before, start by running your index finger in their mouth across their teeth. (Helps to smile, laugh and perhaps, sing a tune while you're doing this.....Sounds strange, I know, but while the dog might not like this, he understands when you're happy....there you are, singing and laughing - obviously happy! So he thinks " Hmmm, we must be having fun" and is more likely to tolerate your odd behavior.)
Once he gets use to you putting your bare finger in his mouth, try wrapping a bit of wet gauze around it and "brushing" his teeth. When he tolerates that, dab that web gauze in some baking soda and "brush" his teeth. ( Remember to smile and sing!)
If your dog doesn't mind all of the above, you can usually get a doggy tooth brush ( or a soft human one ) and tooth paste for dogs from your vet and give him a daily brushing, but baking soda is a perfectly good cleaner, cheap and easy to come by.
A good "knuckle" bone with lots of marrow to gnaw through is also a wonderful way to clean those back molars....and, since it's food, this will be your Beagle's favorite tooth cleaning exercise! Keep in mind that teeth can be broken by chewing on bones, so if you give your dog bones, be sure and routinely check for cracks. I would throw away the smaller bones as they could swallow them whole.
I also use a tooth scraper to clean around the gum line of the teeth. Not every day, but as necessary.
4. Nails. With some Beagles this can be the "best outta three falls" kind of an ordeal. Some beagles will tolerate clipping the nails while others tolerate grinding the nails. I personally clip the nails first and then smooth the edges with a grinder. My best advice is to invest in toe nail clippers and a dremel tool to grind the nails. You can purchase the clippers at any vet or pet supply store. I use the Resco brand and you can also buy replacement blades for this type. Dremel grinders are usually two speed and are easier to handle than "dog nail grinders" that are available through pet stores or catalogs and you can get one at the local hardware type store or Wal-Mart. The cost is about $40.00 and make sure you get the rechargeable battery type. If you are unsure how to "clip nails"enlist the help of a doggie friend or ask your vet.
I start young pups by clipping
the nails every week after birth ( the first 8 weeks I use a regular
human fingernail clipper) and then as they get older letting them hear
the grinder - giving a treat, handing their feet - giving a
treat, letting the dremel hit on the nail a bit - giving a treat, doing
one nail at a time and giving treats in between. If your dogs are like
mine, they'll do anything for a cookie!
I put mine on the grooming table, but many people do nails while the pup is on the floor or couch.
How often you do nails can depend on the surfaces your dogs walks on ..... concrete will help keep them short, or how fast the nails grow. Some show people do them once a week. Most pet owners can get away with twice a month. Like anything, it's routine care that should be done for your pet's best health.
5.Fleas. With the new products on the market, such as Frontline, there is no excuse for your dog to have fleas. A good fence will keep other flea-bearing dogs out of your yard and keep your dog from going around collecting fleas. To rid your house, yard and dog from fleas, your program must address all three things. Weekly washing of the dog's bedding, vacuuming the house, spraying or dusting of the yard at least every 3-6 mos. and a careful eye on your dog should make your dog and house flea free. Most veterinarians carry several brands of flea products for the house and yard, in addition to treatments for your dog.
6. Health Check Ups Good care does not substitute for regular veterinary exams. Routine exams and vaccinations are a must. There are new protocols for vaccinations, so talk with your vet. Talk with your vet about what your beagle needs to be happy and healthy.
Authored and contributed by Sandra Fikes-Kalahari
Ridgebacks. Edited for beagles by Darlene Stewart.
Authored and contributed by Sandra Fikes-Kalahari Ridgebacks. Edited for beagles by Darlene Stewart.