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Learn : Dog Allergies

Beagles with Skin Allergies


As one of the top ten most popular breeds in America, the Beagle is well-known for his intelligence and playful personality along with his flexible nature to family members young and old. Lively and adventurous, the Beagle is ready to accompany you on whatever road you travel likely with a loud howl. On your way, keep an eye out for the variety of skin allergies, from seasonal allergies to food allergies, that can negatively affect your Beagle’s quality of life. 

Beagle Coat Characteristics

Beagles typically have a tri-color coat with a black saddle on the back, white chest, legs, and belly, a white tip on the tail, and a tan colored head. The coat itself is a double coat that is dense, smooth, and waterproof. The Beagle’s shorter hairs mean it does not shed as voluminously as other breeds and mostly during the spring when the thicker winter coat is shedding. That said, the Beagle should still be brushed weekly to encourage new hair growth and to remove dead fur. Regular grooming also allows you to check your Beagle’s skin for symptoms of allergic reactions.

A Breed Prone to Skin Allergies

Beagles may have winning temperaments and engaging personalities, but they are also prone to a myriad of skin allergies. Genetically, Beagles are predisposed to both seasonal and food-related allergies that often manifest themselves in rashes, dandruff and flakiness, hot spots, and other skin irritations. If left untreated, injuries due to chronic itchiness and scratching can cause yeast or bacterial infections to develop. 

Allergy Locations on Beagles

The symptoms of allergies begin to show somewhere between the ages of 1 and 3 in the Beagle breed and may worsen with each passing year. Beagles suffering from allergies may have skin irritations on any of the following areas of the body:

  • Anywhere on the Beagles’ body is subject to patchy, thinning fur or hair loss with itching, and may be indicative of an allergy.
  • The belly area is a common location for dry, flaky skin; often, it is the skin underneath the coat that is responding to the allergens. Beagles will often lick or scratch the belly compulsively in an attempt to alleviate the itchiness.
  • Excessive chewing and biting on the self, particularly the legs, is also a sign of potential allergens at work in the Beagle breed. In cases of severe allergy, a beagle may chew the fur right off of his legs to stop the itching sensation.
  • Ears are prone to allergic reactions and often respond through inflammation and repeated ear infections.
  • Eyes are targets for allergies too, and a Beagle with allergies may have eyes that may be runny and have excessive discharge, or eyes that are irritated and bloodshot.
  • Stomach upset is often a direct result of food allergy or intolerance. A Beagle with this condition may vomit or have diarrhea, lethargy, dry heaving, and loss of appetite.

Causes of Skin Allergies

Allergies are often caused by contact, environmental factors, or foods. Contact allergies can occur if a Beagle is bathed with inferior shampoo products or exposed to laundry detergent or cleaners that trigger a reaction, or walks on grass to which they are allergic. Contact allergies occur only where the offending agent has come into contact with the skin.  Environmental factors such as grasses, tree pollens, ragweed, molds, and dust mites are often responsible for Beagle allergies. Often, environmental allergies cause hair loss, hot spots, and chronic itchiness.

Beagles are often susceptible to food allergens, particularly those caused by meat protein. Food allergies can be verified with the assistance of a veterinarian or board-certified veterinary nutritionist and elimination diet procedures.

Treatment Options

You can provide some interim relief for your beagle’s skin and coat issues by bathing him with a quality, organic, hypoallergenic shampoo that is free of sulfates and chemicals. Shampoos that include ingredients such as hydrocortisone, bentonite clay, and tree tea oil are useful for soothing and calming inflamed skin. Organic hot spot sprays can alleviate itchiness in stubborn outbreaks as well. Medical options include immunotherapy and symptomatic therapy as well as the application of corticosteroids and antihistamines. 

The treatment for food allergies in beagles can be a bit trickier to determine. A consultation with your veterinarian, allergist, or board-certified veterinary nutritionist can diagnose your dog and develop a dietary plan to combat your Beagle’s allergies. Any change in a dog’s diet needs to be entered into carefully and slowly so as not to cause gastrointestinal upset.

If you suspect that your Beagle has a food allergy, then follow the steps below to conduct a food trial or elimination diet: 

  1. Feed him entirely new and generally pure food for a minimum of eight weeks. Feeding your dog a non-contaminated, simple ingredient diet for the entire trial period will provide the most accurate results. 
  2. The diet can be cooked or commercially produced. Dog food that has single sources of animal protein, vegetable protein, and carbohydrate calories is an ideal choice for Beagles with allergies; consider fish and potato or rabbit and peas. Avoid foods that include other natural flavors as those can consist of unidentified proteins.
  3. During the food trial, do not feed your Beagle any treats, table food, supplements, or flavored medications (if possible). 

After eight weeks, slowly reintroduce specific ingredients.

You should also consider adding a probiotic for dogs to supplement your Beagle’s diet. Studies have shown that adding a probiotic can decrease inflammation and boost a dog’s immune system. Overall, probiotics will not only help you Beagle’s digestive track, but it can also make a positive impact on managing or reducing his allergic reactions.

Key Ingredients to Fight Skin Allergies

When it comes to skin allergies, the best plan of attack for your Beagle may be a fresh food diet. Where commercial dry kibble falls short in terms of quality and nutrition, fresh food excels in providing only the ingredients your dog needs to live his happiest and best allergy-free life. Fresh foods include amino acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids that improve coat quality, skin condition, and reduce inflammation caused by allergic reactions. 

Consider the following suggestions for addressing the variety of allergic reactions that Beagles may develop:


Dietary Needs and Adjustments

Coat Color Changes

Increase amino acids which can be found in  protein (>75 grams per 1000 calories); use our calculator to convert a label percentage to the caloric basis (grams per 1000 calories)

Concurrent GI Signs

Avoid foods with tryptamine and histamine such as dairy or fermented vegetables and meats (yes, this includes bacon); try a simple ingredient food trial

Chronic Itching and Dermatitis

Fortify the diet with Vitamin E, B Vitamins, Zinc, and omega-6 and the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil; add a probiotic; try a simple ingredient food trial

Dull Coat and Scaling

Adjust EPA and DHA levels in the diet (added fish oil being the most common way); try a food that has added zinc

Dandruff and Crustiness

Add Zinc and Vitamin A levels

How Fresh Food Can Help

With real ingredients such as visible nutrition, high amounts of antioxidants, and essential, appropriately preserved fats, a fresh food diet is a crucial step to reducing or eliminating your Beagle’s skin allergies. Although commercial dry foods are attractive options because of their shelf life and price, Commercially produced extruded or canned dog food often contains ingredients that aren’t from whole foods sources and may not contain phytonutrients and other health-promoting compounds. 

The critical minerals, essential oils, and fatty acids found in fresh food work together to keep your Beagle’s coat shiny and skin healthy by fighting inflammation and strengthening the immune system. For Beagles who suffer from specific food-related allergies, customized, limited-ingredient fresh food diets are available to prevent allergic flare-ups. 

About Nom Nom

If you are looking to switch your allergy-prone Beagle to a nutritious, fresh food diet, try Nom Nom's fresh food dog recipes. that are made from scratch and delivered right to your home. Our perfectly portioned meals are made with fresh, high quality ingredients, cooked, inspected in our facilities, and ideal for Beagles with food allergies. Quality and your dog’s health are at the heart of each batch of fresh food we make.

Each serving of food also includes the Nutrient Mix which is full of critically important vitamins and minerals that give your dog the balanced, healthy nutrition needed to maintain skin and coat health. Vitamins A and E promote and protect the surface of the skin. Minerals such as selenium and zinc help to maintain a dog’s immune function as well. These components of the Nutrient Mix are just what your Beagle needs to help those allergy symptoms.  

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