You thought your college-aged son packed away a lot of food until you saw your Beagle devour his supper! When it comes to food, Beagles don't waste time. They seem to be a breed that is ready to eat all day, every day. No matter how much food you put in their dish, they're always looking for more. You could have an all you can eat dog food buffet at your house, and Fido would still eat you out of house and home. What is it that makes your Beagle hungry all the time? Is it worms? Is it an incredibly high metabolism? If so, you'd like to borrow it to lose a few pounds yourself. The truth is that eating copious amounts of food quickly can lead to many different health problems for your dog. Whether your dog is pushing the obese side or not, it is important for you to manage appropriate portion control for your Beagle. This is easier said than done as Beagles are masters at sourcing food in unusual places. Just what is it that makes your Beagle race through his meal time like he's on the Daytona Speedway?
The Root of the Behavior
Beagles like to eat. Of this, there is no doubt. Unlike many other breeds, Beagles seem to have little capacity to regulate their appetite. While other breeds would experience satiety and cease eating when feeling full, Beagles seem unfamiliar with this sensation. They will eat to the point of gorging themselves. As a result, they will sometimes fall ill and vomit the excess food. Even more common is their penchant for gaining weight. Why do Beagles eat so fast? There are many reasons why your Beagle inhales his food. Because Beagles are the ultimate canine opportunists, they will exploit every occasion to eat. If you free feed your Beagle, you will quickly learn that he will eat as much food as you will put out. For this reason, many owners opt to feed their Beagle only at set meal times and in carefully measured amounts. Excess weight can lead to a host of medical problems for your Beagle. It is much easier to prevent weight gain than to remove excess pounds, so monitoring your Beagle's daily food consumption is key to his health. Research shows that the Beagle's digestive system is constructed differently to that of other dogs or even humans. In human beings, our saliva begins the process of breaking down our food supply, thus converting it to easily accessible energy. With our digestion aided so early after consumption, we begin to feel sated when appropriate amounts of food have been consumed.
However, our Beagles do not possess this same quality. The Beagle's digestion begins when the food hits the stomach. Since it is a lengthier procedure for masticated food to travel through the esophagus for processing in the stomach, it takes a longer period of time for your Beagle to register that he is full and can cease eating. This makes it far easier for your Beagle to overeat and become overweight. Experts agree that because of the differences in the processing of food in Beagles that it can take up to three full days for a Beagle to feel fully satisfied from the meal he just ate. From this, it is easy to see how overeating occurs. Of course, Beagles realize that opportunities dry up if they are not seized immediately. Eating quickly may simply be a means to make sure that he gets the food before it is taken away or eaten by another animal or family member. The faster you eat, the surer you are that you are going to get all of that delicious food all to yourself!
Encouraging the Behavior
Since most dogs respond well to positive reinforcement and have memories that are quite long, your Beagle may have learned from you that certain behaviors are sure to elicit the response that he wants. For example, if you have witnessed your Beagle scarfing down a meal and have been alarmed enough by his seeming ravenousness to replace the food in the bowl with more, you are going to see this same scarfing behavior time and time again. After all, the desired response was more food, and you played right into Fido's hands by delivering on the goods! Past behaviors that equate to the desired surrender always lead to more of the same. You inadvertently rewarded your dog's behavior. The cycle must now be broken in order to change this habit. Your Beagle may still inhale his food, but whatever you do, you must not give in! Sometimes, the problem can be that the food that you are feeding is not sufficient to meet your dog's nutritional needs. Some foods are filled with "filler products," and they do not provide the satiety your dog is looking for. The food you feed may be a top quality food, but it may not be quite working for your Beagle.
Dogs are all individuals and a food that works well for one dog may not work well for another. It pays to do your research and consult with your veterinarian to choose a high quality, nutrient-packed food that is appropriate for your Beagle. Many dog foods are the product of slick marketing campaigns that have more to do with seducing the owner than providing great nutrition for your dog. Don't be deceived! Do your homework, learn to read labels, and select only the very best for your Beagle. You will also need to feed less of a premium quality dog food, so although you may be paying a much higher price tag, the food will last longer and will keep your Beagle feeling full. This is a win-win for you and for Fido! Of course, it is also possible that your Beagle is eating vast amounts of food at a rapid pace because of an existing medical condition. It is well worth a visit to your veterinarian for a wellness examination to rule out any health problems that may be resulting in gorging behavior. Certain medical issues such as diabetes and Cushing's disease can have powerful effects on your Beagle's appetite. These diseases require medical intervention for improvement to occur.
Other Solutions and Considerations
It is also important to consider that your dog may actually have worms. Certain types of parasites will assume all nutrients taken into your Beagle's body, leaving him feeling hungry all of the time. Normally, dogs suffering from parasites exhibit other symptoms such as poor coat and frequent shedding as well as weight loss. De-worming is easy to do and inexpensive, so it is good to do this regularly to rule out any problems with worms. If your Beagle is prone to eating too much and too fast, there are some things that you can do to assist with changing this behavior. One of the first things you need to put in place is to control all food your Beagle receives. This means structured and regular meal times and snacks.
All meals should be pre-measured and served in a slow-feeding bowl. Slow feeders discourage binge eating. They act as a form of puzzle. This helps to engage your Beagle's brain. Your Beagle must figure out how to get the food out of the dish. This naturally slows down his ability to eat quickly thereby helping to eliminate the problem. You could also choose to feed your Beagle smaller meals more frequently throughout the day. Smaller amounts of food make it impossible for your dog to overeat, and if the food is dispensed in lesser quantities, there will not be the pressing urgency to devour it quickly. Feeding by hand can also discourage gorging in your Beagle. It also has the added advantage of allowing you complete control over the amount and frequency of eating your Beagle is able to do.
Is your Beagle's eating habits breaking the bank? Beagle owners around the world can relate! To help your Beagle learn to eat at a more leisurely pace, follow the steps in this article. Making use of a slow feeder can help engage your Beagle's mind and teach him that quality is always better than quantity.
By a Parson Russel Terrier lover Jason Homan
Published: 04/06/2018, edited: 01/30/2020