These friendly, curious, and cheerful dogs are on the smaller side of the dog spectrum, weighing in between 20lbs-30lbs. Small, but sturdy, beagles are known for their floppy ears and big hearts. While beagles are affectionate with their families, they do have an independent streak to their personalities. Beagles are considered to be excellent family dogs since they are rated as very good with young children. They are also very friendly towards other dogs and love to play with their new friends. Whether you’re already a proud beagle owner or are considering adopting one of these noble animals, you may be wondering about how long a beagle’s life span is, and if there are any beagle health problems you need to know about. We’ll discuss both of these topics along with ways to keep your beagle healthy and happy. 

What is the Life Expectancy of a Beagle?

The beagle’s lifespan is between 10-15 years. That is quite a range and is evidence that in general, smaller dogs tend to live longer lives. While there is nothing you can do about your dog’s genetics, many factors that affect your dog’s health are under your control. We’ll discuss how to extend your beagle’s life expectancy in a later section.

Common Beagle Health Issues

The good news is that beagles tend to be healthy dogs. However, every breed has health problems. Here are some of the common beagle health problems

  • Patellar luxation

This is a common condition seen in dogs where the patella, or kneecap, moves sideways. It could also be called a dislocated kneecap. Beagles with the condition will often skip when walking. The limp can come and go. In most cases, the cause of this condition is genetic, although trauma can also dislocate the kneecap. 

  • Glaucoma

Glaucoma is an eye disease that increases pressure in the eye. This is caused by poor drainage of fluid in the eye. The pressure causes damage to the retina and the optic nerve. Signs of glaucoma include eye pain, watery discharge from the eyes, and swelling of the eye. 

  • Epilepsy

This is the most common neurological disorder found in dogs. Epilepsy is a seizure condition and can be inherited or caused by problems with the brain. Sometimes there is no known cause of epilepsy. A vet will diagnose the type of epilepsy a dog has and start treatments from there. 

  • Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA)

This is a group of degenerative eye diseases that affects a dog’s retina, which contains the eyes photoreceptor cells. With PRA, these cells break down over time which will eventually lead to blindness. There is an early onset version that affects puppies between 2-3 months old and a late-onset type that affects adult dogs. 

  • Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism occurs when a dog’s thyroid is underactive. Two causes are when the body attacks the thyroid (lymphocytic thyroiditis) or when the gland itself starts to atrophy (idiopathic thyroid gland atrophy). There is a genetic role in this condition as well. This disease can be treated with thyroid hormone medication.

How to Improve Your Beagle’s Health and Lifespan

There are many ways to improve your beagle’s health, prevent health issues, and support longevity. 

  • Responsible breeding

If you don’t have a beagle already and are considering adopting one, the best way to ensure you have a healthy dog is to work with a responsible, ethical beagle breeder. Responsible breeders not only produce healthier dogs, but they are also supporting the whole breed. Here are a few ways to know you’ve found a good breeder. 

  1. They have their breeding animals tested appropriately. Different breeds need to be screened for specific genetic issues. Good breeders will never breed animals that are unfit and might produce unhealthy puppies or puppies prone to health issues later in life. 
  2. Reputable breeders are knowledgeable about their dogs and will take the time and effort to educate you on their proper care.
  3. They will interview you and put you through a rigorous screening process before allowing you to adopt one of their puppies. Good breeders will never adopt out to unfit homes because they put their dogs’ welfare above profits. 
  4. Their dogs seem happy, healthy, and content. Even if you cannot meet the father, good breeders will introduce you to the mother dog and her puppies. The dogs’ living area will be clean, warm, and safe. Mother dogs who seem content and are interacting with their puppies are a sign of a good breeder. If the puppies and mother are kept outside, then good breeders will be bringing the puppies into the house regularly for socialization and will visit the puppies outside often. 
  5. Good breeders will start socializing their puppies before adoption, and will never, ever adopt before the puppies are ready. Puppies need time with their mother and littermates to learn good canine manners. Waitlists are common with good breeders.
  6. With a reputable breeder, you will sign a contract with them stating that the breeder will take the dog back from you if you’re unable to house it properly for any reason. 
  • Nutrition

Your dog’s body knows how to heal itself and stay healthy. It’s pretty incredible that way! But they need the proper nutrition to stay healthy, and many common commercial dog foods are lacking in necessary nutrition. Some of the most popular and trusted brands of dog food are formulated to meet the nutritional requirements of an “average” dog. This means that some dogs won’t be able to get the nutrition they need from their dog food. These brands also use cheaper ingredients, including high amounts of grain and indigestible proteins like hooves, hides, or feathers. Some grain in dog food is good and nutritious, but when the grain is one of the main ingredients, dogs will miss out on the nutrition they need. 

Look for high-protein dog food that uses real meat as the first three ingredients. While higher-quality dog foods are more expensive, they will save you money in the long run. Your dog will need to eat less of these high-quality protein-rich foods. Also, a healthy dog costs less than a sick dog, making good food worth the investment. 

Read dog food labels carefully. Some dog food brands will disguise their main ingredients by breaking them up into parts. Corn becomes “ground corn”, “yellow cornmeal”, and “corn gluten”, and these “separate” ingredients find their way further down on the ingredients list. Your vet likely carries excellent dog food or can recommend a good brand of dog food for your beagle. 

  • Exercise

Next on the list of ways to keep your beagle healthy and extend its life expectancy is daily exercise. Not only is exercise necessary for your dog’s health, but beagles are also especially active and energetic dogs who require an hour of exercise every day. This is especially important for beagles who are solo pets. When left to their own devices with excess energy, they can turn towards destructive behaviors. 

Since they were bred as scent hounds, beagles need to walk on leashes due to the instinct to chase after prey. They are also described as escape artists, so their yards or exercise areas need fencing that is at least 5 feet tall and also extends underground because beagles like to dig.

  • Grooming

With their smooth, dense double coats, beagles do shed a moderate amount. Their coat thickens in the winter and then sheds in the springtime. During the shedding season, daily brushing is recommended. Otherwise, weekly brushing with a medium bristle brush will remove loose hair and promote a healthy coat. 

Beagles require their floppy ears checked each week to make sure they are clean and healthy. 

As with any dog, regular dental care is essential for a healthy mouth, but also the health of their whole body. This includes brushing and regular dental cleanings. Dogs need daily teeth brushing, or some kind of daily oral care to prevent gum disease. Gum disease can lead to expensive dental work and the loss of teeth. 

There is a direct relationship between your dog’s oral health and the health of their heart, liver, and kidneys. The bacteria that grow as a result of gum disease can travel through the body and have been linked to both heart and kidney disease. While brushing your dog’s teeth might feel like a chore, it truly is one thing that you can do to extend your dog’s life and health. 

  • Veterinary care

Taking your beagle to their regular vet visits is an essential part of their health and longevity. Your vet will likely be able to spot any health issues before or as they arise, which means that any needed treatment can begin sooner rather than later. 

  • Supplements

Nutritional supplements are a wonderful way to provide your dog with extra nutrition and support their current and future health. There are a wide variety of nutritional supplements for dogs. Look for organic brands or brands that are certified by the National Animal Supplements Council (NASC). Good supplements for your beagle include hemp seed oil, probiotics, and antioxidants.