Requirements of a greyhound
- Somewhere warm to sleep - they get cold easily as they have no layer of fat under the skin (unlike other dogs and indeed humans) so they like a raised bed such as an old sofa, with a blanket on it.
- Food - I began feeding the ex-greyhound racer food as used by the kennels, but he produced a huge amount of faeces. After a month I changed him to a dry food, Gusto (available in Tesco) and the costs are even less - about £5 per month! He has gained a little weight (which he needed to do) and the waste is far less copious and more regular. Some dogs will want to nibble throughout the day, others will race to eat it at once - it depends on whether they had to share a kennel and compete for food in their past life.
- Water - he must always have a supply of water, but if he still pees indoors, provide just a saucerful at a time so he doesn't drink too much. (Always provide a full bowl of water at mealtimes.) If he pees overnight, take up his food and water at bedtime.
- A raised feeding area - so they don't have to lower their heads to eat. An upturned crate, or a weighted bucket, will do absolutely fine.
- Walks - one or two twenty minute walks a day will suffice, but he enjoys more. Longer walks just tire him out - he would rather have more shorter ones. He is happy with a very short walk a couple of times a day in addition, to the main two, just to stretch and relieve himself. A trip into the garden would do just as well and my dog's routine has a walk in the morning and a play outside at lunchtime.
- Toys - furry squeaky toys are my dog's favourite.
- Love - they crave affection. When new to the house they will follow you everywhere, and love to be fussed and reassured, or rewarded for the smallest thing. They want to please, so give them commands they can obey, and loads of praise!
- Feeding bowls
- Leather collar and lead
- Plastic muzzle
- Indoor (loose) collar
- ID tag (must be worn outside the house, by law)
- Grooming glove
However, on day one all you really need is a collar and lead, somewhere quiet and warm for him to sleep, some feeding bowls, and some food. The rest can come over the next few days or weeks.
Greyhounds have a few quirks.
- Their body processes toxins less well than other dogs; this is because they don't have a protective layer of fat under their skin and because their organs are less effective at this. It means that they should never be given potentially harmful substances like chocolate, and if they do eat something odd or poisonous, remember that what another large dog would get away with might be disastrous for a greyhound - call and check with your vet. If they show any signs of ill health, take them to a vet immediately.
- For the same reason, they have specific anaesthesia requirements (and are likely to collapse and sleep it off when they get home). Make sure your vet is experienced with greyhounds, or ask your rehoming centre to recommend one.
- Their fur and skin is quite thin and can be easily cut. Beware of brambles, sharp sticks, and nips from other dogs. Get some of the elastoplast bandage that sticks to itself, and some gauze padding, just in case you need to protect a paw.
- They have only eaten soft food, so their teeth can be in poor condition. When you get them seen by a vet, ask him to have a look - it's possible to get their teeth cleaned while they are anaesthetised for neutering, for example. You should feed them some crunchy food or treats.
- If they see a small furry animal they will be off... make sure they are only ever off the lead in an enclosed area. If you don't have a secure space, they will not be deprived by only going out on walks (or in the garden) on a lead.
- Similarly if you have a small animal in the house you will need extreme care and advice from your rehoming centre and/or vet.
- They aren't used to stairs! Ex-racers won't have seen any. They may take to it, or need training - or just decide to stay downstairs.
You should also read the Care Guides before adopting a greyhound, as they provide much more detail!
This page last updated: 30 September 2005
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