Obesity in Greyhounds

Keeping your greyhound healthy and happy involves helping him maintain the ideal body weight. Keeping your dog at a healthy weight reduces the risk of health issues such as respiratory disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney disease, and specific forms of cancer. Making sure your greyhound is trim also helps to lower the risk of injuries to bones, muscles, and joints as a result of excess weight.

For arthritic dogs, a healthy body weight makes it easier to manage the discomfort that accompanies joint pains. Fewer medical issues will save you from avoidable doctor bills as well as improve the length and quality of life of your canine companion. Generally, it takes a healthy diet, regular physical activity, and reducing the time spent lounging to prevent or manage obesity in greyhounds.

Can greyhounds be overweight?

With the health issues linked to obesity and other associated harmful consequences; this is an issue that any responsible pet owner will be concerned about. Since some breeds of dogs are more susceptible to obesity than others, you will need to find out the likelihood of the breed you own being overweight. When it comes to obesity in greyhounds, here is part of what you need to know.

So can greyhounds be overweight? The answer is yes. If greyhounds are overfed, they are just as likely as any other breed of dog to become overweight. This breed has a unique body structure; they stand tall, have powerful necks, a muscular chest, a slender build, and a flexible spine. With these features, greyhounds can propel their bodies at speeds of up to 45 miles per hour when in the peak of physical fitness. Despite their lean body and athletic ability, these dogs are known to be couch potatoes and can spend the larger part of the day curled up on the sofa or in bed. In the absence of regular physical exercise and without a healthy diet, greyhounds can gain body fat over time. While they are not among the breeds that are at high risk of retaining fat decomposition, you should continuously work on keeping them at the ideal body weight.

Retired racing greyhounds are more likely to gain weight since they come into a family home from rigid training schedules and racing. If you adopted a retired greyhound, you should always be mindful of new food and reduced exercise, making sure you monitor the dog’s weight over a period of time. Although the dog will be at the ideal weight when they come into your home, gaining too much weight can make it difficult for them to do simple tasks such as rising from a lying position. As the age of the greyhound advances, the excess weight will cause enormous strain on their bodies if not addressed.

Most TV dog shows have images of dogs that are slightly overweight. With a greyhound’s physical structure that features a thinner body than many breeds and protruding bones in certain places, a good number of people will be unfamiliar with the appearance of this breed. Such people may feel that the animal is underweight and has been neglected. In case your greyhound appears to be “healthy” to most of the people you come across, there is a good chance that the animal has gained weight. As a greyhound owner, you should be prepared for strangers who are not familiar with the physical appearance of the breed to tell you that your pet is too thin.

Obesity health problems

Obesity in greyhounds can cause discomfort and joint pains. Long-term effects of excess weight include heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis, osteoarthritis, diabetes, kidney disease, fatty tumors, and cancer. Excess fat in the chest can prevent the lungs from expanding fully, a factor that will result in breathing problems. Although greyhounds were born to run, excess weight can make something that they typically enjoy to become very dangerous. This is because the fat will make it difficult for the dogs to expel heat quickly when running, posing the risk of severe overheating. These long term effects are serious and will affect your dog’s quality of life. In extreme cases, the consequences can be fatal.

How do I know my greyhound is overweight?

Pet parents should take the necessary steps to keep their dogs trim. In case the dog gains too much weight, you should be able to notice the changes in good time before the condition leads to serious health issues. One of the common questions that those who own this breed ask is, “how will I know my greyhound is overweight?” Here are a number of pointers to look out for:

Their weight is higher than normal.

Once you suspect that your greyhound is overweight, you should get your bathroom scale and weigh him. However, since the number you get can be deceiving, you may need to get a chart from your vet or online to get an idea of what the ideal weight should be. Generally, the ideal weight for healthy greyhounds is between 80 and 90 pounds on average.

You cannot feel their ribs.

The rib test will also help you to establish whether your greyhound is overweight. If your dog is at the ideal weight, you should be able to feel their ribs when you run your hands around their flanks and abdomen. However, your dog will be too skinny if you can see the ribs. In case you cannot feel them, you should consider changing the diet and getting the canine to exercise.

Excessive panting

Usually, the excess fat that accumulates in the chest area will prevent the lungs from expanding fully. This will lead to breathing difficulty and excessive panting even after very light physical activity. Immediately you notice heavy breathing; you should find out whether excess body weight is the cause.

Lack of interest in physical activities

Although greyhounds are not usually overly energetic, they will be enthusiastic when you come back home, play around from time to time, enjoy fetching toys, and be active during exercise sessions. A noticeable lack of interest in physical activities could be a sign that the dog is overweight. Carrying excessive weight can be exhaustive for the animal and make it difficult for them to engage in physical activity.

Digestive problems and constipation

When your dog takes in too many calories but does not burn the required amounts, they may develop conditions such as liver problems, pancreatitis ad diabetes. These conditions can compromise their ability to regulate and cleanse their bodies, resulting in problems when defecating or recurring bouts of constipation.

Reduced stamina

While greyhounds are built for speed, they do not have much stamina. If your dog still looks active and can perform his regular activities but cannot do them fast or for long, you should consider checking his weight. When the greyhound’s weight is above what is considered ideal, there will be more work for muscles, the blood, and even the heart.

Difficulty doing simple tasks

Limited stamina means that exercising will require much more effort. In some extreme cases, you may notice that your greyhound has a difficult time doing simple daily activities like jumping on the couch, following you around the house, and rising from a lying position. Difficulty doing simple tasks that the dog used to do previously may be a sign that you have an overweight greyhound.

Excessively lengthy naps

Greyhounds are known to be couch potatoes. They will also take a short nap after an exercise session or extended playtime. However, excessively long naps could be an indicator that things are not right. As much as there are many reasons why this can happen, you cannot rule out weight gain.

What causes obesity in greyhounds?

Obesity is a build-up of excess body fat and extra body weight as a result of energy intake exceeding energy expenditure. In order to determine the right treatment option for an obese dog, the underlying cause of the disorder has to be diagnosed. Here are some reasons why your greyhound is obese:

Unhealthy eating habits

From the definition of obesity, the disorder is a result of taking in too many calories without burning the required amounts. This means that feeding your canine companion more than they can expend in exercise will present a significant risk of obesity. Some of the dietary factors that may contribute to this disorder are the number of meals, high-fat foods, table scraps, large quantities of food, frequent treats, and frequent variation in diet.

Inadequate exercise

Another common reason for greyhounds to gain weight is too little exercise. Greyhounds can spend a significant part of their day indoors, sleeping or curled up on the couch. However, these dogs require a certain level of physical activity daily to meet their exercise needs. Without the right amounts of exercise, your pet will not burn off the extra energy in their body. This will result in an accumulation of adipose tissue, a factor that can lead to obesity.

Chronic illness

There are various health conditions that may lead to weight gain in your greyhound. Cushing’s syndrome, also known as hypercortisolism, occurs when their adrenal glands produce too much cortisol. Cortisol is a chemical that helps the animals to control their weight, regulate blood sugar levels, fight infections, and respond to stress. Another condition that can contribute to weight gain is hypothyroidism or underactive thyroid. This happens when the dog’s thyroid gland does not produce certain important hormones.

Old age

As your greyhound ages, their energy levels and metabolism will slow down. The dog’s ability to exercise will decrease significantly, leading him to spend most of his time lying on the couch or bed. Since lean body mass and the total daily energy needs of your pet will also decrease, there should be a proportionate decrease in food intake. If food intake is not adjusted accordingly, the greyhound will have more energy in their body, than they can burn off. This will result in weight gain and obesity.


One of the effects of neutering your greyhound is a decrease in the production of sex hormones and lower energy expenditure. This will result in increased hunger, a factor that could lead to increased food intake. If the dog does not take part in physical activities regularly, they will not be able to expend the extra energy stored in their body. When the body is stored in the body as fat and in large quantities, your greyhound may become obese.


Certain medications can contribute to obesity in greyhounds. For instance, phenobarbital is a common anticonvulsant that can cause a decrease in satiety, effectively leading to overeating. Another drug, glucocorticoids, can cause abnormal fat deposition and weight gain. Before administering any kind of medication, you should consult your veterinarian for expert advice. You may also want to visit your vet when you notice that these drugs have the said effects on your dog.

Overweight or obese owners

Your greyhound will normally adjust and fit into your lifestyle. If you have an active lifestyle, the canine will keep up with you. However, the dog will curl up and cuddle by your side if you spend most of your time relaxing indoors. This means that greyhounds can become obese if they live with an overweight person who does not engage in physical exercise as much as is required.

What should I feed my overweight greyhound?

If you own an overweight greyhound, a proper diet plan will go a long way in helping them lose weight. This is why you will have to pay close attention to what goes into your pet’s body. While diet alone will not deliver the desired results, here is part of what you should consider when it comes to feeding your furry friend.

Commercial weight-loss dog food

Once you have established that your greyhound is overweight, you can feed them commercial dog food that is meant for weight loss. Most of the options available have the right quantities of nutrients to help your dog return to a healthy weight and keep them trim. Specialists recommend that you look for commercial foods with above-average protein, below-average fat, and below-average calories. This will allow him to burn off the excess energy over time, without resorting to meager portions that might end up making him feel hungry. However, you should be on the lookout for dog foods that are loaded with fillers.

Homemade greyhound dog food

There are times when preparing homemade dog food may be a better option to help your pet regain healthy weight. Generally, homemade food can be either a raw diet or a cooked diet, each of which features natural ingredients. If you choose to feed him a raw diet, you should include equal portions of meat and vegetables. While meat can include liver and beef, your vegetable choices are collard greens, carrots, peas, celery, and potatoes. However, you should boil or bake potatoes first before using them.

When it comes to a cooked diet, you will need to cook vegetables and meat separately. Chop the vegetables, combine them with the ground meat and add some whole grain rice and unsweetened yogurt.

Customized diet

Even as you work on getting your overweight dog to the ideal weight, you should remember that not all weight-loss foods are the same. This is why you will want to come up with a nutritional plan that addresses the specific needs of your four-legged companion. When shopping around for commercial dog food, look for a brand that offers a variety of food items that match your greyhound’s tendencies. You will have to take into account factors such as weight management, the dog’s likes, and food sensitivities. A personalized nutrition plan will make for an effective way of supporting your dog’s health and lifestyle.

Make sure the diet is well-rounded.

Regardless of the option you choose, one of your priorities should be making sure that the diet is well-rounded. As much as you will be keen on getting the greyhound back to a healthy weight, you will also want to meet their nutritional needs. Ensure that the food contains beef, lamb, chicken, or turkey as the first ingredient. The meal should have rice as the main grain. A well-balanced diet will keep the pet’s coat shiny and sleek, strengthen their immune system, and keep their digestive system working properly. This way, you will reduce the risk of your greyhound developing the diseases associated with obesity.

Other considerations

Instead of abruptly changing what your pet eats, consider easing them into a new diet. Work on feeding the dog twice a day, in the morning and at night. Make sure they do not gorge themselves at a single meal and pick up the bowl after the meal, so that dog food is not always available. Also, feed the dog based on activity and limit table scraps and treats to about five percent of the dietary intake. Lastly, provide the greyhound with clean and fresh drinking water at all times.

At the end of the day, you will want a diet that helps your greyhound to lose excess weight while still keeping him healthy and strong. As such, you should take the time to look at the ingredients if you are buying commercial dog food. You should also consult your vet to help you choose the best dog food for an overweight greyhound. Even after the canine achieves the ideal weight, you should stick to a healthy diet in order to keep him in good shape.

FAQs about obesity in greyhounds

If you are to help your dog stay trim or ensure your overweight greyhound returns to the ideal weight, it would be important to learn more about obesity in greyhounds. Below is part of the information you will need in order to take care of your pet better.

What is considered obese for a greyhound?

Obesity is simply an accumulation of excess body fat. If your greyhound weighs between 10 and 20 percent above the ideal body weight, they are said to be overweight. However, the dog is said to be obese if he weighs 20 percent or more of their ideal body weight.

Can my dog die from being overweight?

Excessive weight gain is the lead cause of many health issues, such as breathing problems, high blood pressure, and heart disease. If not treated in good time, most of these diseases can become serious and could be fatal.

How can I prevent obesity in dogs?

The best way to prevent obesity is to adopt a healthy and balanced diet and ensure regular physical activity. Making sure you balance food intake and physical exercise will go a long way in promoting the burning off of excess fat, effectively keeping your greyhound at a healthy weight.

When should I take my overweight greyhound to the vet?

As a responsible pet parent, you will provide a healthy diet and put your greyhound on an exercise regimen once you notice he is overweight. In case you try all the options available without any significant improvement, it may be time to visit a veterinarian.

What kind of exercise is good for my greyhound?

While most people focus on how long a greyhound should exercise every day, very few know the kind of activities that are good for these dogs. Some of the exercises you can try are ball retrieving, walks, runs, remote-controlled toys, and swimming.

My greyhound begs all the time. What should I do?

To begin with, you should check in with your vet to know whether you are meeting the greyhound’s calorie and nutritional requirements. If the diet you are providing is okay, try substituting treat times for the social activities that your dog enjoys.

It is entirely your responsibility what you feed your greyhound. This means that you must ensure the diet you provide is not only healthy but also meets the nutritional needs of your four-legged companion. The right nutritional plan helps to reduce the chances of obesity in greyhounds, keeping your pet strong, healthy, and happy.

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