Caring for Greyhounds
Most Greyhounds have never been in a house before and are going to need time and understanding to adapt. Greyhounds have usually spent all their lives in kennels and have never been toilet trained. With the right training and management, they soon learn that they are to go outside to toilet.
Many have never had the chance to be puppies and play, all they have ever known is their kennel which just has a bed in it. They have never been up and down stairs and need to be taught this, never seen or heard vacuum cleaners, washing machines, dryers, dish washers etc, so they need to be introduced to them gradually or they will be very frightened.
Greyhounds are used to people and them being round them during the day. The also bond to their carers, so if you take in a Greyhound, try and have some time to spend with them when you first get one. This time with them will also set the boundaries and house rules for your Greyhound, and start him on the way to being house trained as well. The more time you can spend with him at this stage the better for him and it will be a lot easier for him to settle and adapt to being a pet.
Ex-racing Greyhounds have been taught to “Chase”, and will often go after small animals not matter what type they are. It is up to the new owner to make sure that these other animals are safe by keeping their Greyhound under control and muzzled until you are 100% sure that he won’t attack and kill a small animal.
Greyhounds have not been used to a family life including being woken up when someone wants to cuddle or play with him. In kennels, by the time someone gets through all the gates, the Greyhounds are already awake.
Never touch a Greyhound when he is asleep, always wake him up without touching. If you do touch him, you are likely to frighten him, and this could lead to you being bitten.
Greyhounds that have never lived in a home before don’t know that food left out on counters/tables/plates etc are not to be touched and will help themselves. To a dog this is normal behaviour, but to us humans it isn’t acceptable. The only sure way of stopping this is to put all food away. You will read on the internet lots of guarantees to stop this, but they don’t work but many could end up making your dog very nervous or with a sensitive to sound. It isn’t worth this, but my house is a lot tidier now since I got a Greyhound.
Peculiarities of Greyhounds
- Greyhounds can be sensitive to some medications and anaesthetics
- Their skin is thin and their coat sparse, so feel both heat and cold easily, they need a good coat in the cold weather, and their skin tears easily
- They are prone to bloat
- They find it very difficult to “Sit” because of their anatomy/conformation, stand or down is much better for them
- They need special collars because of the length of their necks and the size of their heads. These can be the Greyhound leather collar or a Martingale collar.
- Greyhounds are very sensitive dogs and many methods of correction don’t suit them. Physical punishment including choke chain corrections, these corrections can damage larynx. Invisible fencing doesn’t work with most sight hounds, they just run through it
- Greyhounds have never seen a patio door or similar and will run through them until they know they are there. To them, they are already outside. Masking tape on the glass at first is a good idea
All dogs get fleas at some time, but the chemicals in flea collars are too toxic for Greyhounds. Always contact your vet if your Greyhound gets fleas.
Greyhounds are sprinters and don’t have a lot of stamina. They can be built up to take more exercise than they get when racing, but this needs time to do. Two 20 minute on lead walks per day and a run off lead in an enclosed space is the minimum that they need. Like all dogs, they enjoy their exercise so if you can give them more, do so.
Most ex racers have been taught to walk well on a lead so this shouldn’t be a problem.
Greyhounds keep themselves quite clean and because of their thin coat, a grooming glove is all they need mainly. They often come with long nails with take time to get back because the quick has to be shortened as well.
Greyhounds have terrible teeth and these need attention daily. You can brush them with a dog’s toothbrush and toothpaste or there is Logic, which you put into their mouths.
Greyhounds have a tendency to get bloat so their food is better split up into a minimum of 2 meals a day, 3 is better. Some say feed them with a raised food bowl but modern research shows that the height you feed isn’t relevant. I feed mine on the floor.
They often have sensitive stomachs and need food for this. Burgess Sensitive is a very good food for Greyhounds, and it isn’t very expensive.