Care of the Greyhound (part 2)

Making friends

If you already have a dog, please bring it with you to our kennels when you are considering a Greyhound – the dogs will pick each other!

The first meeting should always be in a neutral area, this does not include any areas where your dog regularly walks, as these are considered secondary territories. Allow them to smell each other on loose relaxed leads whilst muzzled. Continue walking until the dogs are relaxed with each other and then take them back to the house and into the garden.

Ensure your existing dog’s toys, beds, bones, food and water bowls are taken up and put out of sight so there is nothing for them to argue over. Your existing dog might not like another dog playing with their possessions at this stage. When you put the possessions down, make sure there are more than enough for both dogs.

To avoid future problems between your dogs, remember to ‘back up’ your pack leader. The pack leader will be first through the door, first to seek attention and the first at the food bowl.

Given that racing greyhounds have only ever really known other greyhounds it is surprising how quickly they get on with other dogs after a certain amount of initial caution. Most greyhounds that leave our kennels will have been neutered and it shouldn’t be too long before they are perfectly happy with their new‘house mate’.

Fireworks

Any pets, including Greyhounds can be terrified of loud noises. Fireworks, storms, thunder and lightening may scare your dog. Don’t leave them alone if possible. During firework season, take your greyhound out for their walk before dark. Draw the curtains at dusk and put the radio or television on.

Your greyhound will look to you for your response to the sounds so try not to react. Let your dog go to where it feels safe and do not keep pampering them – they will only respond more to the noises around.

DAP™ diffusers, available from your local vets are very good at calming your greyhound. This is a plug-in device which emits ‘dog appeasing pheromones’ similar to those produced soon after a puppy is born by it’s mother. The pheromones create a ‘safe feeling’ for your dog and are very effective.

Alternatively seek medication from your vet, if the firework season causes undue distress. Prior to the firework season, you can also prepare your greyhound by buying a ‘Noise Phobia CD or cassette’. This imitates the sounds of fireworks and should be played at a very low level for a couple of days.

Gradually increase the volume of the CD over a few days and your greyhound will become used to the strange noises and hopefully begin to show no fear when hearing them. There are also Homeopathic remedies such as Kali-Phos, Bach Rescue and Serenity.

General care

Greyhounds do make wonderful pets, but it’s important to bear a few simple ideas in mind.

Neutering:

Most Greyhounds that leave our kennels are usually already neutered but occasionally this operation has to be carried out at a later date.

However, if you receive one directly from a trainer, or another source that has not been neutered, we strongly recommend this be done as soon as possible so as to prevent future unwanted pregnancies/unwanted mating. This also prevents problems in later life.

Ears

Ears should be checked regularly, as although ear infections are no more common with Greyhounds than other breeds, they can occur. If your dog is flapping their head and rubbing or pawing at their ear, and the problem persists, seek veterinarian advice. An infection will quickly be cleared up with antibiotic ointment or drops.

Many Greyhounds are sensitive with their ears due to racing (due to tattoo checking) so take care when handling them.

Parasite Control

Regular grooming of your Greyhound will ensure you are quickly aware if they pick up fleas or ticks. There are a variety of products available to control parasites, however the more effective ones need to be obtained from a veterinary surgery.

We suggest using only products prescribed by a vet. Remove fleas with a flea comb and bathe your dog with a flea shampoo, but remember, the bath only takes care of the adult fleas on your dog at that time. For more extensive protection, as well as control over pre adult fleas, you will have to treat your dog and your home especially carpets and bedding. A house spray from the vets is available for this.

Your dog will have had a worming treatment at the kennels before you take them home to ensure their intestines are free from infection.

Regular doses with a complete wormer available from the vets are necessary. We recommend worming at 3 monthly intervals but seek advice from a vet.

Feet & Nails

The feet and nails have been very important to your Greyhound while they have been racing and need continuing care from you. Their nails will have been clipped short on a regular basis and you will notice they grow quickly.

Seek advice from a vet if you unsure as to how to clip your dogs nails. Check your Greyhounds pads, feet and legs for cuts after they have been exercising outdoors. This is particularly important if they have been running in a large area that you cannot examine completely. Sharp stones, sticks, thorns and glass can cause cuts or become embedded in the foot. Wash their feet in warm soapy water and seek veterinary advice if necessary.

Skin & Coat

In order to keep your Greyhound’s coat healthy, a grooming mitt or good brush with firm bristles will be required. They will have been used to regular grooming in the racing kennel and most will stand and enjoy this special attention from you. If they require a bath, ensure they are dried quickly and can lie down somewhere warm.

Many Greyhounds have bare patches, especially on the bony prominences or on their rumps. This is usually due to poor bedding or the hounds preference to lying on concrete or wet paddocks or stress. With good food, soft bedding and regular brushing, your dogs coat will soon improve and look shiny and healthy. Some dogs may come with scars from their racing days. These, once healed, rarely give any trouble.

Teeth

The importance of good dental hygiene cannot be overstated.

Dogs, like people, can get gingivitis (inflammation of the gums caused by bacteria) and can suffer from decay and lose teeth without proper care. Gingivitis is a primary cause of bad breath in canines.

When the greyhound is admitted to be neutered by our vets, they will do a thorough teeth cleaning. Once this has been done, maintenance is down to you. Regular chews, cooked bones and dental treats (available from pet stores) will help with some of the plaque build-up, however brushing their teeth is the most effective form of dental care.

Some dogs will let you brush their teeth straight away, however, others will need to have their confidence built up.

You can do this in stages:
For the first few days gently stroke your dog’s muzzle.
Once your greyhound accepts this happily, you can then progress to lifting their lips up and praising them for their co-operation. Once your dog has gained confidence in you, they will allow you to gently brush their teeth. Use a soft bristle toothbrush and a canine toothpaste, usually flavoured with chicken or beef. This will be a real treat for your dog, who will find the taste so delicious they will try to chew on the brush!

Dog toothbrushes/finger brushes and canine toothpaste are available at pet stores or from your local vet. Regular attention to the mouth will save money for you and pain for your dog later. Check your greyhound’s teeth and gums regularly and seek veterinary advice if in doubt.

Heat and cold

Greyhounds are particularly susceptible to extreme temperatures, as they only carry a small portion of fat on their bodies.

This may be more obvious in the cold weather, but not so obvious in the heat. In the colder weather pop a coat on them to keep them warm.
They could develop pneumonia should they become too cold. Coats should be big enough to cover from the neck to over the tail.

Like all dogs, greyhounds get very hot on warm days. They will pant, possibly be grumpy (like us really) and try to find cool places to lie. In hot weather, leave your greyhound in peace as much as you can.

Remind children to cuddle a lot less, if at all. Help to keep them cool with damp flannels on their bodies and protect them from the sun with cream or shade if they decide to lie outside. This might sound crazy but if there is a breeze in the garden it might seem to be the coolest place, however dogs don’t know about UV rays and can get badly burnt.

Please remember to take care to only walk your greyhound before it heats up in the morning or at night when it has cooled down. If they are reluctant to go for a walk, then just give them the opportunity to toilet in the garden and let them lie.

It is best to feed earlier/later, if they don’t eat much – don’t worry unless there are other symptoms of illness.

Never leave a dog in a hot room or car – they can die within ten minutes.

Symptoms of heat stroke are distress, severe panting and collapse. If you think your greyhound is showing signs of this, cool your dog as fast as possible with cold water or ice applied to the head and back. If there isn’t an immediate improvement get veterinary help immediately.

Homing Greyhounds

Greyhounds are very adaptable and our rehoming policies are very flexible. Even if you work, have children, cats or are unable to go for long walks, it is still worth calling us.
We may have the perfect greyhound for you in our kennels.

Greyhound Care Part 3

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Interested in Adopting a Greyhound?

Enquiries should be directed by telephone or text message to Lancashire & Belle Vue RGT

Someone will be in touch within 48hrs to arrange your home visit, have a good chat and a chance for you to ask any questions.

If all is OK you can come to the kennels in Ormskirk, Lancashire and find your forever greyhound!

Come and see us every Saturday 6pm till 11pm at
Belle Vue Greyhound Stadium in the foyer.