The beagle dog breed is one of the most recognizable, beloved, and popular canines out there. In fact, this lovable dog breed is immortalized as one of the world's most popular cartoon characters: Snoopy. 

Beagles are scent hounds, and were originally bred in Great Britain for rabbit hunting because of their powerful sense of smell. Sometime in the 1800s, beagles were brought to America as hunting dogs, and it wasn't long before they became house pets. It's really no wonder: Beagles make loving, loyal companions for so many families. 

What is the average beagle lifespan, and how can you keep your beloved companion around for as long as possible? Read on to learn more about your beagle's life expectancy and what you can do to keep your pooch happy and healthy for years to come. 

Average Beagle Lifespan

Beagle lifespan: beagle lying on the sofa

So, what exactly is the average lifespan of a beagle? How long can you expect your beagle to live? 

The average lifespan for a beagle is about 12-15 years. Of course, this can vary depending on a variety of factors. Some beagles can live to 20 years or longer, and there are also plenty of contributing factors to a shorter or longer lifespan. They include:

Size and Weight

Beagles are technically considered small dogs, but they're larger than breeds like Chihuahuas or toy poodles. A healthy adult beagle weighs between 20 and 30 pounds or so (males are typically larger than females) and stands about 14 inches tall. 

When a beagle starts to carry extra weight, it affects their health negatively. Obesity is linked to arthritis, high blood pressure, and heart disease in dogs, and it can shorten your pet’s lifespan if left unchecked.

Breeding

Some purebred beagles have been inbred to preserve a pure bloodline. Unfortunately, this increases the risk of health problems and genetic defects. Purebred beagles tend to have shorter lifespans than crossbred beagles, although it depends on the dog themselves.

Congenital Diseases

It’s possible for any dog to be born with genetic defects, like heart defects or hip dysplasia. Some beagles are born with a syndrome known as Musladin-Leuke Syndrome (MLS), which affects the development of connective tissue. Genetic defects like these may shorten a beagle’s lifespan, although it’s entirely possible for a beagle to live a normal life when pet owners and their veterinarian work together to maintain good health.

When you first get your beagle, there are a few things you can look for to make sure you're getting a healthy pet. If you're buying a beagle puppy from a reputable breeder, look for signs of good health like:

  • Consistent, regular breathing
  • Clear eyes and nose (no discharge or mucus)
  • Clear ears (no discharge or brown specks, which is likely flea dirt)
  • A smooth, shiny coat
  • White teeth

If you adopt an adult beagle, whether it's a purebred dog or a crossbreed, look for the above signs and take your pooch to the vet. The initial check-up is very important for ensuring your beagle's health moving forward.

What Health Problems Can Beagles Experience?

Beagle lifespan: vet checking a beagle

While beagles can experience almost any health issue that other dogs can, beagles are particularly prone to a few specific health conditions. According to data from the Veterinary Medical Databases, there are three issues that affect our floppy-ear friends more than any others:

  • Cancer is the most frequent cause of death for this breed, as 23.1% of beagles will experience it. While this figure is definitely sad, it's worth noting that cancer is also a leading cause of death in many other dog breeds as well. In fact, it's a leading cause for almost all of the dog breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC). 
  • Trauma is the second most frequent cause of death among beagles, coming in at 16%. Trauma includes things like run-ins with cars or getting in fights with other animals. That's why it's so important for all dog owners to be vigilant and keep their pets safe. 
  • Neurological conditions lead to death in 13% of beagles. These are disorders and diseases of the brain and spinal cord such as intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) or epilepsy.

A variety of other common health conditions — distemper, ear infections, parasitic worms, and many others — can affect your beagle as well, as they could any dog. And that's why it's up to you as a beagle owner to do everything you can to keep your four-legged friend safe. 

How Can I Keep My Beagle Healthy for Life?

Beagle happily running in a field while carrying a stick

Reading about the conditions we described above can be scary. But don't worry — when you take steps to make sure your dog stays safe and healthy throughout your time together, you offer your pet the greatest chance of a happy, long life.

Here are the best ways to help your beloved family member reach full life expectancy: 

Feed Your Pet Quality Dog Food

What a dog eats has so much to do with their overall health, and beagles are no exception. Giving your pet high-quality dog food that's formulated for their size, age, and weight is essential. It provides your dog's body systems with the nutrients they need to keep functioning properly, and it helps to control your dog's weight and avoid dangerous obesity. 

Want to supplement your dog's diet with extra nutrition? Native Pet's Bone Broth Topper is a great way to do that. It's rich in protein and collagen, and it tastes great, too. Bone broth can be used to rehydrate food or simply given as a delicious drink. 

Encourage Regular Exercise

The beagle breed needs plenty of exercise, like all dogs do. Whether it's long walks in the park or vigorous play sessions with a favorite toy, make sure your pet is getting plenty of physical activity every day. The general rule of thumb is your dog should get at least 30 minutes of exercise per day.

If you're unsure what kind of activity level your beagle should be getting, ask your vet for a recommendation.

Have Your Dog Spayed or Neutered

Having your dog undergo the spaying or neutering procedure (ideally early on in life) is another great way to help lengthen their lifespan. For one, this reduces the risk of certain cancers, including testicular, ovarian, and mammary cancer. It also reduces the urge to roam in order to find a mate, making it less likely that your dog will escape and encounter cars, wild animals, toxic or dangerous materials, and other hazards. 

Bonus: Spaying or neutering also makes behaviors like digging, chewing, and loud vocalizations less likely. 

Practice Preventative Medicine

As Ben Franklin said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” 

Keep your beagle healthy by keeping them up to date with preventative medicines that protect against heartworm, fleas, and ticks. Vaccinations are also essential; they're what keep your dog protected from dangerous viral diseases like parvovirus, distemper, hepatitis, and others.

If your dog is in need of vaccines or preventative medications, contact your vet's office for help.

Try Native Pet's Probiotic Powder as a preventative measure for your dog's gut health. This all-natural probiotic creates a thriving environment for healthy flora and can even help address acute and chronic diarrhea.

Reduce the Risk of Trauma

Since trauma is the second leading cause of death among beagles, owners should be vigilant about preventing accidents. Unless you have a fenced yard, keep your pet on a sturdy leash when you take them outdoors for bathroom breaks or walks. Use caution when your pet is around other dogs, perhaps at the dog park or while on walks in the neighborhood. 

See the Vet Regularly

Regular vet check-ups are also key to a pet's good health. When your vet sees your dog regularly, they can monitor your pet's health over time and notice any issues quickly, resulting in faster and more effective treatment. 

While veterinary visits are important throughout your beagle's life, they're vital for older dogs whose health can be more precarious than younger ones. 

Lengthen Your Beagle's Lifespan

Puppy beagle kissing his mom

It's safe to say that beagles make wonderful family pets. They're adorable, energetic, friendly animals who are loved by millions of pet parents all over the world. 

Beagles live 12 to 15 years on average. The top health issues that affect this breed of dog are cancer, trauma, and neurological conditions, although they're susceptible to a variety of other health concerns just like any dog. 

Fortunately, there are plenty of things you can do to encourage a longer lifespan for your beagle. Feed them healthy food and exercise them regularly; have your dog spayed or neutered; keep them up to date with vaccines and pest preventatives; be careful outdoors to avoid trauma; and visit your vet on a regular basis. 

Follow these steps and you're likely to enjoy as many happy, healthy years with your beloved beagle companion as you possibly can. If you would like to read more about your dog's health and wellness, visit the Native Pet blog here.


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