When it comes to hunting skills, the Beagle is unquestionably top dog. The breed's talent was developed over centuries of hunting gopher, rabbit, and small game. In the 1800s, the Beagle's popularity began to dwindle as fox hunting became popular and the Foxhound stole the limelight. But determined and passionate breeders kept the Beagle breed alive. Today, this beloved hound is still one of the most popular breeds for hunting small game.
What makes the Beagle a prized hunting dog?
Driving trails: When hunting rabbit, a dog is expected to direct the prey towards the hunter. The Beagle has a knack for doing this effortlessly.
Scenting: The Beagle has full nostrils ideal for scenting (sniffing out scents). He is almost always found with his nose to the ground. Sometimes a Beagle's keen sense of smell can even lead him to uncover things on his own.
Baying: The Beagle is recognized by hunters for his unique bark which is called a bay. This distinctive sound can be heard deep within the woods.
Determination: Drive is an important trait in a hunting dog. In some cases climate conditions can make a hunting dog's job that much more difficult. The Beagle's perseverance in tracking game makes him a great companion for hunters in the field.
Energy: Hunting trips often start very early and last until the sun goes down. A hunting dog must have the energy to keep up the pace. Beagles are almost always ready to run.
Alert: When out in the field, a hunting dog must know what is going on at all times so that other hunters don't mistake him for a game animal, such as a deer. They must also avoid potential danger with larger animals. Beagles are not only alert, they are intelligent—the perfect combination for a good hunting dog.
Beagles are loyal, energetic little dogs that hunt intensely with all their heart. But your Beagle can be just as happy in the backyard as long as he has regular exercise and a loving owner.
As your dog ages, you’ll likely notice changes in your best pal’s energy levels, routine and even muzzle. Older pets may require adjustments to help them get around, exercise and live their best life as a senior. One important aspect of caring for a dog entering their golden years is diet.
When it comes to diet, every dog has unique, individual needs, regardless of age. So, there's no one easy answer to the question of soft food versus hard food. Both types of food can provide your dog with the nutrition they need — as long as you feed your dog a high-quality dog food that’s nutritionally balanced and complete.
Signs Your Senior Dog May Benefit from Wet Food
If your dog has very specific health concerns, such as aging joints or weight issues, consult with your vet for more information about what type of food best addresses your dog's needs. That being said, there are a few reasons why you may consider switching your senior dog to soft food.
As your dog gets older, their teeth may become more sensitive, which can make chewing kibble more difficult and even uncomfortable. Switching to a soft food can help to alleviate your pet’s oral discomfort when eating.
However, if your dog is experiencing serious pain at mealtime from a condition like tooth decay or gingivitis, switching to soft food won't remedy the problem. Make sure you talk to your vet about oral care and dental treatment.
Digestion begins in the mouth with saliva, so if your dog has a tendency to scarf down meals, they may not be adequately chewing the food or adding enough saliva to it. Soft food can aid with digestion because it's more easily chewed.
It’s no surprise that wet food has a higher moisture content when compared to dry kibble. If your senior pup is prone to urinary-tract issues or simply needs a little help staying hydrated, canned dog food may be a good choice.
Aging dogs tend to have a slower metabolic rate compared to their younger years, which puts them at a higher risk of becoming overweight or obese. Many nutritionally balanced wet dog foods offer high protein content with fewer carbs than dry food, which can benefit older dogs with slower metabolism. Always talk to your vet if you have concerns about your pup’s weight.
While wet food may be less than appetizing to humans, the opposite is true for dogs! If your aging best friend has started turning their snout up to dry food, wet food tends to be more appealing to picky eaters. Mixing wet food and kibble offers your pup a variety of flavors and textures; try adding wet food as a topper on dry food for a real treat!
Whether you choose dry food, soft food or a mix of both, ask your vet before making any transition. And when it's time to switch your dog's food, remember to do it slowly — even if it's the same brand and flavor — to help prevent stomach upset and allow your dog time to adjust.