Beagles have medium-length, dense, waterproof coats that are easy to care for and don’t require the complicated grooming of some longer-haired breeds. Little scent hounds originally bred to hunt rabbits and other small game, beagles not only enjoy following interesting scents, but sometimes roll around in something smelly, getting all kinds of outdoor grime on their fur. Regular bathing and brushing is needed to keep your beagle’s coat fresh, shiny and clean.
When they are following their noses outdoors, rough-and-tumble beagles can get into lots of dirt and mud, or pick up brambles and stickers in their coats. Spruce up your beagle’s fur and prevent shedding with a quick brushing every other day using a firm, natural-bristle brush or a hound grooming glove for a few minutes. Use a slicker brush to remove excess hair and debris during a longer weekly grooming session. Brushing spreads your dog’s natural oils throughout the skin and coat, making it shiny and healthy.
The beagle’s double coat consists of a hard outer coat and a softer, insulating undercoat. In the spring and fall, beagles shed the entire warm undercoat as the weather changes. Brush your dog two to three times weekly if you notice the coat shedding more heavily during the seasonal changes.
Frequent baths can dry a beagle’s skin and coat. A bath every two to six months is sufficient, unless your dog has soiled the coat, which beagles are prone to do. In these cases, a washing is in order. Bathe your beagle in a bathtub, using a shower attachment to wet the coat with warm water. Smaller beagles can be bathed in a kitchen sink, using a sink sprayer. Use a gentle, soap-free dog shampoo to lather the coat thoroughly, using your fingers to work the shampoo into the coat. Rinse the shampoo out. Repeat the process if necessary, to remove all traces of dirt. Apply a conditioner formulated for dogs to the coat to keep it shiny, brushing it through the coat with a wide-tooth comb. Rinse all traces of shampoo and conditioner from the coat to prevent skin irritation. Dry your dog with a towel or a hair dryer on the lowest setting.
Avoid getting soap or running water in your dog’s face during a bath. Before a bath, apply ophthalmic ointment to your dog’s eyes to protect them from water or soap. After rinsing your dog’s body, use a washcloth dampened with warm water to wipe the face. Wipe the corners of your beagle’s eyes to clean any tear stains away. Gently clean the outside of the ear flaps, and avoid getting water in the ears.
Lack of air circulation makes beagles’ hanging ears susceptible to infections. Clean your beagle’s ears weekly using an ear-cleaning solution formulated for dogs. These solutions contain ingredients to break down and remove excess wax; some contain gentle antibacterial agents to soothe irritations and discourage infections. Dampen a cotton ball, and gently wipe out the inside of the ear. Use a clean cotton ball for each ear to avoid spreading any infection. Check the ears for injuries, and apply antibiotic ointment as needed. Have your vet check any signs of an infection or larger scrapes on the ear flaps.