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If you have caught your beagle eating a non-edible object, then my dear friend, you are not alone. I cannot tell you how many emails I have got from beagle parents regarding this problem. In fact, even my beagle use to do it. I once caught my younger beagle trying to eat a stone. So I contacted my friend who is a certified dog behaviorist and asked her, why do beagles eat everything?
Beagles are curious and food-driven dogs. They like to examine things with their mouth and see if it is eatable or not. Some beagles assume that if they can fit something in their mount then it is eatable and that’s why they eat everything they find.
Further in this article, we will look into the reasons why your beagle eats everything, and understand how harmful it can be. We will also go through a step-by-step guide to correct this behavior.
5 Reasons why your Beagle Eats everything
As I said, beagles are curious and like to explore new things. They are not blessed with thumbs, so they use their mouth to pick up things and examine them. The definition of ‘exploring’ in a beagle’s dictionary is to see whether the thing is eatable or not. If the beagle can fit the thing in its month, he will try to swallow it. If he cannot, then he will try to break it so that he can swallow it. That’s literally how beagles thing.
Back in the past, beagles use to run in packs and hunt small animals. Out in wild, it’s not like they get to eat every day. So they would eat as much as they could after a successful hunt. They wouldn’t stop eating even if they were full, as they knew that their next meal could take days from now.
Due to this instinct, your beagle eats anything he sees even right after he had a meal. He may seem as if he is hungry all the time, but it’s just his instant. So do not overfeed him, it will make him overweight in no time.
Dogs have always been carnivorous animals, which means they eat meat as well as plant-based food. Back in past, while scavenging, dogs would end up eating on the garbage and leftovers thrown by humans.
Well, even though beagles have not been a wild animal for a long long time, but they do possess the train of being natural scavengers. That’s the reason why your beagle is always searching for food in trashcans, litter box and on floor.
Like humans, beagles don’t switch on the TV and Netflix and chill when they are bored (it would be totally awesome if they did). When they are bored and don’t have anything to do, they start chewing things. If you left your beagle unattained for a while, chances are high that he will start destroying your furniture out of boredom.
Apart from instinctive and physiological reasons, your beagle can have a medical condition called ‘Pica‘ which is a disorder of eating non-consumable food like grass, hair, dirt, paint, even poop. It is common in all the breeds to have a slight symptom of this condition.
If you think that your beagle may have this condition, talk with your vet about it for better advice and explanation
How Harmful Can it get?
While most of the small objects will get passed through a beagle’s body without doing any damage. But when an object that a beagle swallowed is large enough, it may get trapped inside his stomach. This can cause severe gastritis and require surgery to extract that object.
Small objects can do severe damage too. If the object has sharp edges, then it can injure the beagle’s digestive tract, causing diarrhea, vomiting, or/and loss in appetite. It can also cause severe cuts in intestines, which can even lead to death.
If the object is too big to swallow, then the beagle will try to break it down with his teeth. In this process, it can cause injuries inside the mouth. Swallowing large objects can also chock and suffocate the beagle.
Consult a Veterinarian immediately.
Consuming something which is not fit for eating like food from the trash, poop, grass, plants, can be harmful too. It can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and gastric.
There have been many cases where beagles eat poop. If your beagle eats his own poop, then in most cases it is not dangerous. However if he eats poop of other animals, then it can be harmful.
Consult a Veterinarian for treatment and advice.
How to Stop Your Beagle From Eating Everything
It is quite common for young beagle puppies to munch on everything they see. One of the essential parts of a puppy’s training is teaching him what’s okay to eat and whats not. Most beagles stop eating objects when they grow up. But few equally-adorable beagles refuses to give up on this habit. Be persistence and go with the following steps:
Step 1: Baby proof your house
The first thing to do is, restrict the area where your beagle can go. Usually baby-proofing the entire house is not possible so select one of two rooms and do not allow your dog to go anywhere else in the house for a few weeks.
By baby proof, I mean remove every small object from the floor. Don’t forget to clear the coffee table where your pooch can reach. In those two rooms, make it impossible for your beagle to find anything that he can put in his mouth.
Step 2: Keep your beagle under supervision
For the next few weeks, keep your beagle under supervision. Don’t leave your beagle unattended. Keep him in a crate when you are busy. If you don’t have a crate then get one and crate train your beagle, it’s quite essential for every dog.
Ask one of your dog-loving friends or relatives to come over and look after your pooch when you are away.
Step 3: Say NO
If you notice your beagle is trying to chew on something he is not supposed to, say ‘NO’. He needs to understand that this is a bad thing to do.
If your pooch is not aware of basic commands like ‘NO’ and ‘Leave’, teach him as soon as possible.
Step 4: Correct the Behaviour
After you say NO, divert your beagle with a toy. This will correct his behavior and make him understand that chewing on his toys is okay whereas chewing on other objects is not.
Step 5: Be consistent
Well, your beagle won’t learn this in a day or two. You will have to be consistent with the training. It may seem just impossible at first but just hang in there, don’t give up.
Until your beagle learns what’s okay to eat and whats not, keep him under the supervision and no not leave him unattended. And if you suspect unusual diarrhea or vomit, consult your vet immediately.