Greyhounds are gentle, lovable dogs that make great pets but are different from most dogs. Adjusting from working life to a pet animal is smoother when we understand these differences. Taking up a retired Greyhound is very rewarding, but it requires foresight.
Having been a racer, your greyhound is used to regiments, feeding time, bathroom breaks, and rest. This transition from a regimented lifestyle to a more relaxed lifestyle can be a little confusing for your greyhound. A lot of patience and encouragement are crucial when easing your greyhound into his new environment.
Prepare your home
Get a crate
Your greyhound is already accustomed to sleeping and eating in a crate. A crate provides familiar housing where your greyhound can enjoy his personal space. You can get either a plastic crate or a metal/ wire crate.
A metal crate is pricier but a better option, especially if you plan to wean off your greyhound form the crate. The crate also allows your dog to see what is happening around; therefore, your dog can embrace his new environment better.
Plastic crates or airline crates are cheaper and great for traveling. They are safer and offer better protection when your greyhound is hurt. You may also opt to get a folding crate, especially if you do not intend to use crate all the time.
Get a comfy bed
Greyhounds are specifically indoor house dogs. They have less body fat and short coats that do little to insulate their bodies from heat or cold. Basically, Greyhounds aren’t equipped for an entirely outdoor life. Get a bed that is washable and big enough for your hound, preferably 50 inches if round and about 34 x 44 inches if rectangular. Ensure the bed is extra cushioned because greyhounds have low body fat that doesn’t offer much cushioning on hard surfaces, and that could cause sores. You may opt to put a thick piece of foam rubber under the bed you buy or comforter you have chosen to DIY into a bed.
Create safe areas
There are in house facilities that your greyhound may have never encountered before and should be blocked off until you can properly train him to use them. These facilities include stairs, glass doors, and windows. Dog crates are a great option to use when creating safe areas, especially if you won’t be home. As for the kitchen, remove any food that is reachable until your dog understands boundaries.
Introducing your greyhound to his new environment
Greyhounds are gentle dogs that thrive in the company of human beings. Greyhounds take no more than a few days to get attached to an individual. Their quick attachment also means they can quickly settle in a new home.
Keep him on a leash
Greyhounds are considered one of the fastest dog breeds, and keeping him on a leash the first time you take him home is essential. Greyhounds are great hunters who enjoy seeking out small animals, which they can easily spot with their excellent distance vision. Before you know it, your greyhound could disappear in seconds. A leash will keep your hound from trying to chase everything he sees especially other pets. It will also help you steer him away when you notice he is trying to ‘mark’ his territory at a doorway or chair.
Use a muzzle
If you have other pets at home, it is crucial to ensure you muzzle your greyhound. Preferably, use a plastic muzzle and one that is made explicitly for greyhounds. The muzzle is essential when introducing your dog to other animals both inside and outside the house.
Do not leave your greyhound by himself
Since Greyhounds quickly bond with human families, they dislike being left alone at home. Ideally, spend plenty of time with him in the first few weeks as he gets used to the new environment. Research has shown that dogs who are left alone for a more significant proportion of the day tend to be depressed, anxious, and exhibit destructive behavior such as chewing the furniture.
Allow your hound to sleep in your room
Greyhounds are sensitive dogs that aren’t usually left alone. If he is adopted, he has spent time being housed with other greyhounds. Your dog will prefer to sleep in a room with a family member. Don’t have your greyhound spend the night in a room alone. Why? Greyhounds are a social breed that loves being around people, and staying alone may cause your greyhound to try and escape. Sleeping in the same room with your dog allows him to build trust and be more comfortable around you and your family members.
He doesn’t have to sleep on the bed with you. You can carry his bed into your room and place it on the floor beside your bed. You may hear your hound crying at night the first few nights, but as soon as he trusts you enough, he will sleep like a baby. Greyhounds can sleep up to 18 hours a day.
Wait to have visitors
Allow your greyhound a few days at home, bonding with you and your family before having company over. Greyhounds take time to adjust to a new environment and living with new people. He is excited, yet still fearful.
When your kids first interact with your greyhound, be sure to supervise them. Playing may be an entirely new concept for your dog. If he follows you around all day for the first few days, do not panic. This is normal, and he only wants to know that you will permanently be in his life.
Potty-train your hound
It is more than likely your adopted greyhound is used to a schedule for relieving himself. You can opt to ease him into a laid back set up by taking him outside when he wakes up. Praise and encourage him whenever he relieves himself outside so that he knows it’s the right thing to do. If he accidentally relieves himself in the house, reprimand him verbally, not physically. If he starts pacing around, walking in a circle, walking to the door, and looking back at you, he probably needs to go outside.
Introduce your greyhound to stairs, glass, and other pets.
One great misconception is that Greyhounds cannot integrate into a home with other pets. When adopting a Greyhound, make sure he goes through socialization classes that will aide him to become accustomed to other pets. When getting a puppy, he will simply accept other pets in the home.
Take your greyhound to a glass door or window and place his paw against it. This way, he will learn that even though he can’t see anything, there is, in fact, an object. Again, take him by the stairs and show him how to walk up and down. It will take some time for your dog to grasp these new concepts, so be patient. Remember to shower him with praise when he does any of these things right and keep him on a leash to aide his motions.
Feeding your dog
Raised food and water bowls
Greyhounds are tall, and it is easier for them to eat on raised bowls. Preferably, 12 to 16 inches is suitable. Some greyhounds, however, prefer eating from the ground, so try out both positions and see which one he is more comfortable with.
The right type of food for your greyhound
Premium dry dog kibble is appropriate for your greyhound. Your dog is used to a high protein diet; therefore, choose food that has meat as its first or second ingredient. Opt to purchase your dog food online or from a pet store. Grocery store brands contain too much sugar and fillers that can cause diarrhea and gas.
To the dry kibble, add a little water. Greyhounds produce very little saliva and need extra water to aid in digestion. Other additions you could use to wet his food are vegetables, canned meat, and yogurt.
Avoid giving your dog raisins, salt, or chocolate because they are poisonous and can’t be digested.
You may ask your vet for food recommendations.
Feed your dog twice a day
Feed your greyhound equal proportions of food, one in the morning and the other in the evening. Try to feed him the same time every day and do not leave the food bowl lying around for him to feed at any time. Greyhounds are a lean breed of dogs, and overeating will cause him to add unnecessary weight.
A fresh bowl of water should always be available for your greyhound.
Track your greyhound’s weight
Naturally, you should be able to feel your dog’s ribs, backbone, and a few of his last ribs. He shouldn’t be more than 5 pounds over his racing weight. Your average female greyhound should weigh about 65 pounds while the male should be at about 70 pounds. It takes only two to three weeks for your dog’s weight to change, so keep track, make adjustments, and see your vet if no improvements are noticeable after the changes in the amount of food.
The health of your hound
Greyhounds can run up to 45 miles in an hour. Your dog needs to take a sprint every once in a while. You can opt to put a leash on him and let him run around your fenced backyard or area. A regular brisk walk at least twice a week would be a good exercise for your dog. Daily, opt for shorter walks that are more frequent.
Avoid exercise one hour before or two hours after a meal, as it will cause your dog to bloat. After every walk, examine your greyhound’s footpads for any blisters because he isn’t used to walking on concrete and hard floors.
Apart from physical exercise, your dog also needs mental stimulation. Bored dogs are destructive and end up chewing, barking, and digging a lot. Mental enrichment can be in the form of food mazes, treat balls, and fun games. Use toys in creative ways such as stuffing food in them and allowing your dog to dislodge it for enjoyment.
Weekly grooming will help keep your dog in clean and hygienic conditions. Clean their teeth and ears, cut their nails, and brush their coat weekly. The bathing frequency you opt for depends on how dirty your dog gets. However, Greyhounds do not require a bathe as often as other dogs. They have a natural sweet-smelling scent. Once a month is enough unless he has health issues. Use a gentle shampoo for bathing him and avoid the temptation to use human shampoo.
Given the diet that adopted Greyhounds were usually on previously, they often suffer dental problems. Brush your dog’s teeth often. A dental problem such as tartar build-up is common to Greyhounds. During your annual checkup, ensure you remind your vet to give your dog extra care or a special examination to prevent serious problems from developing.
Your greyhound’s nails shouldn’t touch the floor when he stands on a hard surface.
Your greyhound are indoors pets
Greyhounds have short coats, little body fat, and thin skin. This means its hard for your dog to regulate his body; therefore, he can overheat in the summer and get chilled in the winter. The general standard is that if it’s too hot for you to go outside, it is too for your greyhound. If its lower than 32 °F, then your greyhound needs a blanket or coat.
Greyhounds have muscular necks and small heads. A regular collar would slide off, but a choke collar would hurt the skin around his neck. Get an ideal collar such as the Martingale collar.
Always keep your dog in a collar and with an identification tag.
Within the first two weeks that your dog comes home, have him visit the vet just like any other dog. Research and find a vet with experience handling greyhounds. After your first visit, your greyhound will have yearly checkups that you should keep track of. Ensure your dog receives preventative heartworm medication, a Distemper booster, and a rabies shot. He should also get a Kennel cough C5 vaccine, Parvovirus, Hepatitis, and Distemper.
Bloating for your greyhound can be catastrophic. When the chest cavity fills with gas, his stomach will twist, and he won’t be able to breathe properly. Take your greyhound to the doctor as soon as you notice or within 30 minutes.
Be aware of the physical remnants of his previous life
If your greyhound is a former racing dog, you may notice scars, bald thighs, and tattered ears. Ensure your vet checks for any of these signs. These signs do not mean there is anything wrong with your dog. In the instance of a bald thigh, the hair should grow back in three months.
Greyhounds are demure, lovely dogs that make fantastic family pets. They are easy to please, sensitive but also tend to have an independent temperament. They love company and hanging around their owners. These tips will help you be the best greyhound owner and provide him with the best environment to thrive in.