Beagles are small to medium-size scent hounds who grow to adult size by 18 months. When feeding your growing beagle, it is important to consider growth stages, activity level and special needs. Your vet knows best, but generally you'll start feeding a beagle adult food before he's an adult.
Newborn puppies nursing from the mother grow quickly. Around age 4 weeks they'll begin to eat moistened kibble; by age 7 to 8 weeks, they are usually fully weaned and eating solids. Growth continues at a fast rate until approximately 6 months, at which time overall growth slows. Around one year, growth plates within the skeleton begin to fuse, and the remaining growth is muscular. The adult beagles reach full maturity around 18 months.
When puppies transitions to solid food, feed a puppy food. Puppy food has more protein and fat. Many also have controlled calcium content. Puppies need more fat and protein than older dogs. Puppy food provides sufficient energy for learning, motor development and organ growth.
Beagles reach 75 percent to 80 percent of their adult size at the age of 6 months, and their future growth occurs at a significantly slower rate. Beagle Pro recommends you transitioned to adult foods at this point, as the beagle is prone to obesity. Adult foods contain less fat, helping to control weight as growth slows. Since beagles gain weight easily, do not feed diets that have excessive fillers, grains or sugars that can contribute to obesity and obesity-related diseases.
Other Feeding Options
When preparing to transition your beagle to adult food, consider all your options. Many beagles do well on all-life-stage foods that can be fed from the day your pup comes home from the breeder. Many beagle enthusiasts choose to feed dehydrated, raw or home cooked meals. If you are considering any of these options, talk your veterinarian or a nutrition consultant to consider all the options. That way, you can build a diet that considers your beagle's individual needs.
Shelly Volsche has worked as a professional dog behavior consultant, holds a Bachelor's degree in psychology, and a diploma in canine nutrition. She has written for "The Chronicle of the Dog" and Lucky Dog Magazine and is currently pursuing her PhD in anthropology with a focus on pet parents.