Beagles are energetic and delightful pets for any household. They are loyal companions and can also be excellent guard dogs. However, like any other dog breed, they require a lot of care.
Any dog owner will have to get used to dog hair on their sofas, car seats, etc. But if you are a beagle owner, what should you know about their shedding? Do beagles shed? The straight answer is yes, they do shed. The following sections will describe all you need to know about a beagle’s shedding.
The Unique Beagle Coat
If you know what a beagle looks like, you know that it has a unique three-color coat with patches of white, black, and brown. The coat is one of the defining features of a beagle and sets the breed apart from similar hound breeds.
However, the tricolor of their coat also means the hair is all the more difficult to hide when it shed around the house. There’s no single color upholstery you can use to camouflage the fallen hair. If you use a light color, it may hide the whites but the browns and blacks will be prominent. If you use a darker color, the whites will be prominent.
In other words, there is no winning other than finding ways to manage the shedding. Also, the beagle coat is unique because it has an undercoat. While the coat is short, the undercoat on this breed means that it sheds heavily during certain seasons.
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Beagle Shedding Schedule
Beagles are moderate to heavy shedders and will shed their hair the whole year. However, while the rest of the year will be moderate shedding, there are seasons when the shedding will be heavy. The beagle shedding season is usually the months of spring and winter, but the reasons for both these shedding seasons are different.
In the winter, beagles shed their summer undercoat to make way for a thicker coat that will protect them from the cold. Once the cold months have passed and spring arrives, beagles shed that protective layer to make way for a lighter coat that is suitable for the summer.
Heavy shedding during these months means that you are likely to find hair practically everywhere. The shedding process is also known as ‘blowing the coat’, which means that it can feel like the beagle’s coat is practically blowing away in the wind. Within weeks, they will shed their entire coat and grow a new one that is appropriate for the season.
While for longer haired dogs like Siberian Huskies, the shedding will be more apparent so you will be able to see clumps of hair missing from their coat, it may look different for medium-haired dogs like beagles. For a beagle, you may not see chunks of hair missing but the hair will fall consistently even if it doesn’t seem like it on their coat.
In a nutshell, there is no time in the year that is not part of the beagle shedding schedule. However, while they have a year-long shedding schedule, different parts of the year are characterized by the degree of shedding.
Related: When Do Beagles Stop Growing?
When Should You Worry?
While it has been stated that beagles are year-round shedders, there are certain things that you should find alarming if you observe them in your beagle. Ideally, beagles should not be losing their hair in clumps, even when it is a heavy shedding season.
If you see clumps of hair gone from your beagle’s coat, that could be a sign of infection or an allergic reaction to something. You need to contact the vet and have it checked out to be on the safe side. Even if it is something minor, you do not want it to flare up without adequate attention.
If you notice their coat shedding in clumps or observe that they are scratching a certain area persistently, you may want to look out for skin inflammations and other signs of infections. But do all this while contacting the vet. It is important to gather some information before you speak to the vet, but the sooner you get a consultation the better it is.
Beagles also have sensitive skin which can make them prone to various kinds of skin infections. These infections can often be the reason for heavier hair shedding. The heavy shedding can also be a result of parasitic mites that latch onto hair follicles and oil glands. These are all causes for concern and must be addressed professionally.
If it is not shedding season and there are no apparent signs of infection, but your beagle is still losing a lot of hair, it could also be a result of stress. Just how human beings tend to lose hair when they are stressed or anxious, dogs are not too different. There could be any number of reasons for dogs to feel stressed.
It could be an environmental reason—perhaps, you have shifted into a new apartment? There could be some other type of mental trigger that you cannot immediately diagnose, perhaps something related to their diet? Either way, if you observe your pooch behaving differently and suspect that they are stressed by something, find ways to make them feel comforted and safe. Remember that dogs are extremely intuitive and your anxiety can also pass onto them.
Related: Why Do Beagles Like to Cuddle?
Managing Beagle Shedding
While there is nothing you can do to stop your beagle from shedding hair, there are certain things you can do to manage the shedding and bring it under control so the hair doesn’t go flying everywhere. The following are some of the aspects of grooming you may want to look into:
Brushing your pooch’s coat is by far the most important and effective way to manage the shedding. Brushing the hair is a great way to collect the loose hair in one place so you can dispose of them, instead of having them fall all over the house.
You can pick up the stray, loose fur on the brush which allows you to keep the rest of the house relatively clean. Brushing is also a good way to distribute the natural oils of the coat evenly. The brushing will also encourage blood flow on the skin and prevent infections.
During non-shedding seasons (meaning, the moderate shedding seasons) you may want to brush your beagle twice or thrice a week to keep the shedding in check. But during heavy shedding season, you may want to brush your beagle almost every day to try to limit the shedding to one place in the house.
The brushing session does not have to be too long either. Beagles are medium-sized dogs with medium-length hair, so the whole process should take about 15 minutes. The good thing is, beagles enjoy being fussed over and pampered, so the brushing may be something your beagle actively enjoys. This is also a good time to bond with your pet.
Apart from the brush, various other de-shedding tools can help to manage the shedding process. A de-shedding tool is especially helpful during the heavy shedding seasons. This is a tool that reaches the undercoat and eases out the tougher hair. The hair in the undercoat is going to fall anyway, the deshedding tool simply makes the process quicker and at your convenience. Once you have raked the hair out from the undercoat, you can use the regular brush to collect all the loose fur.
Both the brush and the deshedding tool should be used together, especially during heavy shedding seasons, for the best results.
All dogs need to be bathed so their coats can be kept clean, but the frequency of baths is different for different breeds. Beagles do not need regular bathing and once in two months is good enough for an average beagle. Their coats are of medium length and are not wiry, so there is no fear of dirt getting trapped in the coat. Besides, you can keep the coat clean by brushing it regularly.
Over-washing a beagle can strip the coat off its natural oils and leave the skin underneath feeling dry. As mentioned above, beagles tend to have sensitive skin which could be triggered by over washing.
Having emphasized the low frequency for beagle baths, it is also important to flag off the types of shampoo that are suitable for beagles. Since the breed tends to have sensitive skin, it is important to use a mild and gentle shampoo. Oatmeal-based shampoos are a good option for beagles with sensitive skin.
It also cannot be emphasized enough that you should not use human shampoo on your pets, even if you are using mild baby shampoo. The skin composition for dogs and humans are entirely different, and there could be ingredients in human shampoos that irritate the skin of your pooch, especially if they already have sensitive skin.
A beagle’s diet has a huge impact on how much they shed. A healthy and high-quality diet will also reduce shedding through the year (though the heavy shedding seasons cannot be avoided as a beagle has to blow its coat). A good diet for a beagle consists of plenty of omega fatty acids.
This is a nutrient that is great for a beagle’s skin as well as coat. Neither a human’s body nor a dog’s body produces these fatty acids naturally, so they must be provided to the body through the diet. Egg products, fish, fish oil, flaxseeds, etc. are good sources for omega fatty seeds.
If you cannot add these elements in your beagle’s diet, the vet can also suggest certain food supplements that may help. Other nutrients such as biotin, vitamin E, folic acid, etc.—also known as micro-ingredients—are also great for beagle coat and skin. Since this breed has sensitive skin, there is no harm in going the extra mile to keep their skin healthy.
How Often Do Beagles Need Haircuts?
To put it succinctly, beagles never really need a haircut or even a trim. They have a natural system that takes care of the length of their coat without any human intervention. Their coat will not grow beyond a certain length and they have their own way of regulating the thickness of the coat depending on the season.
When humans interfere with this system, they only introduce complications. Even if you think you are helping your pet by giving them a trim during a hot summer, know that you are doing more damage than good. Your beagle has a way of finding a way to deal with even the hottest summer, so it’s best not to mess with that process.
Besides, a beagle’s hair is not that long so if you run a trimmer through their coat, the razor will cut quite close to the skin. This will irritate your beagle’s already sensitive skin even more and can also cause injuries if you are not careful.
The only time it is advisable to shave your dog is if there is a medical necessity. If your beagle is going in for surgery and the area of the incision needs to be cleared off fur, a professional can come in and do the job. The bottom line is you should avoid shaving your dog’s fur at all costs!
To conclude, a beagle sheds its fur throughout the year, though some parts of the year are moderate, while other months are characterized by heavy shedding. If you have a beagle as a pet at home, you simply have to get used to the shedding. Having a beagle means you can say goodbye to clean upholstery and carpets.
However, this does not mean that the shedding cannot be controlled. Through regular brushing and with deshedding tools, you can manage the shedding. The brush allows you to collect the loose fur in one place so you can dispose of it. This prevents the hair from ‘blowing’ all over the house. Having a beagle means caring for a beagle and managing its shedding is one of the most crucial aspects of beagle care.