The information in the Greyhound Care section has been written to help you and your new pet to get to know each other and to build a relationship that will last for many happy years ahead.
Your greyhound will come with a collar, lead and muzzle and will have been vaccinated, wormed and are usually neutered. The insurance company, Petplan provides the first 4 weeks
insurance cover free of charge.
It would be helpful if you have two bowls ready, one for water and one for food. An old duvet folded in half will make an ideal bed. A waterproof coat and grooming mitt are essential and a soft collar to wear around the house carrying an ID tag will complete the picture. Your dog must be walked wearing a greyhound collar and leather lead. A waterproof coat is recommended and can be bought from the RGT_
Two very important points:
It is a legal requirement that an ID tag is worn by the dog at all times.
Never use an extendable lead. A greyhound can accelerate from a standing start to nearly 40 mph in no time at all and with an extendable lead, the potential for disaster is all too obvious.
The positioning of the dog’s collar is very important It should go up behind the ears, which is the thinnest part of the neck and should be tight enough to get two fingers between the collar and the neck. But don’t worry about this as we will show you how to get it right
When you first have your dog, we recommend that your dog wears a muzzle when taken out for a walk. After a while, you will know the social behaviour of your dog and you may then choose
to walk without the muzzle
When taking your new Greyhound home, please bear in mind your dog will never have been in a home environment before Your dog will settle at its own pace and there needs to be no rush. At your side is where they want to be. Remember, they will become a precious part of your family. Enjoy the experience of seeing them grow from a kennel dog to a family pet They will
bring you great joy!
Domestic appliances which are commonplace to us, such as vacuum cleaners, washing machines, n,’ etc. will be alien to them and may initially spook them. Upon arriving home, take the dog straight into the garden or designated toilet spot, wait until they relieve themselves and then praise them profusely. Use their name, tell them good boy/girl and reward them with a small piece of cheese or biscuit (whichever you are using for training
purposes). Repeat this process every hour or so for the first day and then get into a routine of letting them out – ie before meals and straight after meals.
Then take your dog around the house on the lead initially so they can see everything in a calm manner. After 10 minutes or so, take the lead off and sit down, letting them roam around on their
own. By this stage the initial excitement will have worn off and they can snoop around calmly.
Set the house rules from day one.
This way, they will know what they can and cannot do, and ensure all family members are familiar with these guidelines or the dog will become very confused about its role. Their first few days in this alien world can be quite daunting for them and they may become anxious. Keep in mind the size of the busy, noisy kennel you have taken the dog from and the quiet, new, small world you are introducing them to. Signs of anxiety are pacing, panting, diarrhoea, not eating and drinking and whining at night when left alone. Anxiety can be shown through destructiveness Please be patient while your dog adjusts. Night-lights and low volume radios left on can help the dog not feel completely alone in the dark. A DAP diffuser can also help calm your dog.
Dogs must learn basic commands. Why? Because like people, dogs need a basic level of education and socialising to enable them to feel confident and behave in a socially acceptable
You will need to give your dog verbal praise and reinforcement Treats of small pieces of cheese can reinforce your verbal commands and are an effective training aid – as is a water sprayer!
Should your dog be doing something they shouldn’t e.g. jumping up at visitors, paws up on the kitchen counter etc, a quick ‘blast’ in the face from a water sprayer will quickly prevent
your dog from committing the same crime’
Be quick to praise your dog for good deeds, and reinforce bad behaviour with the word ‘NO’ spoken loudly. Please refrain from hitting your dog – it will not understand and may become
As with young children, do not leave things lying around that your dog could get hold of – either something they could destroy or harm themselves with. It is better to prevent accidents before they happen.
Dog training classes can be good fun and can help your greyhound socialise with other dogs.
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’.
It is important to remember that not only greyhounds chase cats – so do many other dogs! Greyhounds are sighthounds after all, and their instincts have been deliberately bred for chasing: they have been trained to chase something small that is moving.
Humans might not even realise this because a greyhound may see something seen to be worth chasing that could be up to half a mile away. But just as Greyhounds show different degrees of competitiveness in a race, they show greater and lesser degrees of interest in small animals.
Some greyhounds CAN LIVE WITH CATS. You will have been advised if the dog you are choosing is considered suitable or not to home with a cat It is IMPERATIVE; however, that the following sensible precautions are taken until you are confident of your dog’s temperament.
When you make the initial introduction, keep your greyhound muzzled and on a tight collar and lead.
Keep your cat in the room and if your greyhound pulls towards the cat, pull them back and say, “no, leave,” in a firm voice. You may find that a quick shot in the face with water from a water sprayer is also a great deterrent’ If your greyhound reacts to your commands as you wish them to – don’t forget to praise them – treats of small cubes of cheese are often favoured!
Do not pick your cat up as this will heighten your dog’s interest. The next step is to get your greyhound to lie down and relax close to your cat. This step may well depend on your cats willingness to co-operate.
Some cats may spend time watching the dog from the highest and furthest place possible; others may be willing to give the newcomer a blow to show who’s boss. It is always best to favour the cat above the dog as this will give the cat higher authority in the eyes of the dog, and It should not be forgotten that we have two temperaments to work with in this introduction.
If your greyhound is scratched by a cat; bathe the scratch immediately with warm water. When you think you are making progress; take away the muzzle, keep the tight collar and lead on and feed your greyhound and cat together. By doing this they are alongside each other but do
not have their minds on each other. When you are feeling confident, replace the muzzle and take away the collar and lead. In time, the muzzle can also be removed.
Your greyhound will quickly accept the rules and accept the cat as a member of the family. However, a sensible approach and all necessary precautions should be taken: ensure the cat has a place to escape. If necessary, put a baby gate at the bottom of the stairs so that the cat can get through but the dog cannot. Even when the dog accepts your house rules, remember strange cats outside the home may well still be regarded as fair game for a chase, so always be alert when out exercising If you are letting your dog out into the garden, it is worth checking to make sure there are no cats in your garden
Until you are confident, it would be unwise to leave your dog and cat alone in the same room. If your cat is not used to dogs in its home, there is a risk that it might leave. It is essential that your cat has a collar and identity disc to cover this possibility.
Feel free to contact a member of our Trust and we can put you in touch with one of our many happy dog and cat owners to talk through any of your concerns and questions with you.
It is extremely important to remember that your greyhound has never been left alone before.
So if you have to leave him at home alone, he may be scared and confused. He’s wondering. Where did you go? Will you return? Where am l?
Here are a few tips to help ease this common separation anxiety:
Practice leaving your greyhound for just a few minutes at a time to start with. Don’t make a big deal about leaving (if he thinks you’re going somewhere and having more fun than he is, then he’ll definitely be upset’) and just leave for 15 minutes at first If possible, gradually increase this time away to a few hours. He’ll soon get the idea that you’re coming back and his anxiety about you leaving him forever will be eased. An item of worn clothing can provide comfort
Dog-proof your home
Keep your windows unobstructed from knick-knacks and blinds. Your greyhound will go to the window first to look for you and if there are blinds or other objects in the way, they could get eaten when he gets anxious! Be aware of the danger that your greyhound may try to run through transparent glass in patio or other doors, unless the glass is obscured in some way.
Borrow an indoor kennel for the first few weeks. If anxiety is bad, then borrowing a good-sized indoor kennel for the first few weeks at home; can make a real difference. Your greyhound has always lived in a kennel, so it can be familiar and re-assuring for him, whilst making the transition from racer to pet.
The plan might be to place him in the kennel when left home alone, during the first 2 weeks. Then, when he starts to know the family routine, he’s again placed in the kennel, but now with the door left open; to give him the choice of whether to stay in it or not. After 2 more weeks, the kennel can be returned as your greyhound will now have settled in properly. But do wait to see how he fares at first before borrowing or even purchasing a kennel – he may be just finel
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 noses 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 its 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
Greyhounds do make wonderful pets, but it’s important to bear a few simple ideas in mind.
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.
Skin and 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
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 dog’s 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.
Ears should be checked regularly, as although ear infections are no more common with Greyhounds than other breeds, they can occur. Regular cleaning of the outer ear with cotton balls; plus warm salt water, will keep the ears free of wax that can trap germs leading to infection. Special wipes can also be purchased from pet stores and vets. 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.
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.
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.
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
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 in the shade.
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.
The majority of greyhounds settle happily into family life. However, there are those with specific needs who are also looking for homes. These are dogs with behavioural problems, extreme timidness or who are simply just so overwhelmed by the world outside the kennel doors that they experience adjustment problems or separation anxiety
All of these dogs require special homes to meet their individual needs, where they can find inner peace to join the world outside of kennels.
Typical symptoms of adjustment problems are howling, barking, scratching or chewing furniture and fittings or even excreting around the house during your absence. Your greyhound has
been used to the company of their kennel mate, trainer; re- homing staff and volunteer walkers and to be left alone can be initially distressing for them. Try giving your greyhound an Item of your worn clothes.
What you need to do is desensitise them and build their confidence. If your greyhound follows you everywhere around the house you must stop them, encourage them back to their sleeping area and try to leave the room again until they become
confident with letting you out of their sight.
Your greyhound will also associate the going out procedure or putting on your coat and picking up your keys as the start of a time alone and will begin to get anxious. To stop them fretting at the prospect of being alone, you should take off your coat, put the keys back and carry on with the normal household routine. After a short while; put your coat back on; pick up those keys again; then, without any fuss; put the keys back, remove your coat and repeat these actions until your greyhound gets positively bored’
You can build their confidence by closing them in the room where they sleep and moving around the house for a very short time, then for just a short time, gradually acclimatising them to being left alone. When leaving the room you should make as little fuss as possible, so they learn that being left is a normal everyday occurrence.
Leaving a radio on a low volume is quite reassuring for them. Following this you should be able to leave the house for short periods, perhaps walk to the end of the road and back, so your greyhound learns that you do actually return.
It is essential that when introducing a canine into a home where babies and small children are present, special care is taken. There is no exception with a greyhound. Children and babies should never be left unattended with the dog. Children must be educated to be calm and gentle with the dog and have respect for its needs and its bed. An escape place is an excellent idea, so when the dog has had enough, it can retreat to its own space.
Greyhounds are people-orientated; gentle, placid and docile but all breeds have a breaking point when taunted by children. Please teach children respect for your dog and soon they will be the best of friends. Never let a child disturb a greyhound when it is asleep.
There are some notable differences in the nutritional requirements of the older dog. Senior life stage diets take into account altered lifestyles, levels of activity and declining organ function Your vet will be able to give you advice when changing from an adult to a senior diet.
Many veterinary surgeries have scales as well as breed weight guidelines Adjust the food intake to maintain optimum weight. Obesity is likely to put more strain on the heart, lungs, muscles and joints and may result in a shorter life expectancy If your dog is overweight, speak to a vet about a calorie control diet.
As activity levels fall, older dogs may start to demonstrate muscle wastage. Supplements such as Cod Liver Oil capsules and Glucosamine will help prevent joint deterioration. Normal, healthy senior dogs should receive the same levels of protein as younger dogs but it must be of high quality. Feeding them little and often avoids overloading their digestive system. Their appetite may reduce as the sense of smell and taste diminishes.
Old dogs require extra attention from you. Be kind and considerate and recognise this need for greater input into your dog’s life. Older dogs also tend to need to go to the toilet more often as a result of muscular weakness. Give them more opportunities to go out during the day, later at night and earlier in the morning.
Signs of Ageing
Ageing changes occur gradually and may not be obvious to you, as you see your dog every day. You might see changes in coat colour, greying of the muzzle, sleep pattern, appetite and thirst,
body shape, reluctance to exercise and behaviour. Many of these changes also develop as symptoms of diseases, so have your dog checked by your vet regularly. Many veterinary practices run senior or geriatric clinics dedicated to offering advice on diet and care for the older dog. Routine healthcare such as annual vaccination boosters, worming and flea control should not be overlooked and should be continued throughout your dog’s life into old age.
Seeing a greyhound in full flight is a wonderful thing However there are a few things to bear in mind before you are tempted to let the new member of your family off-lead for a run around.
Firstly, allow time for them to settle into their new life which is completely different to the one they have been used to. All greyhounds are individuals and need time to bond with their
owners, recall training is of the utmost importance, all dogs, whether a greyhound or not, need to have learned recall for their own and everyone else’s safety. Begin recall training at home.
Therefore, in unenclosed spaces your new greyhound needs to be kept on his/her lead at least until recall is well established which could take up to 6 months.
In enclosed spaces, be mindful of obstacles such as fences/trees/other dogs etc as even here, your greyhound can pick up a fair turn of speed.
When the time is right for your greyhound to be off-lead (and bear in mind some with a high prey drive may never be) be on the lookout for barbed wire, uneven surfaces, obstacles, other animals etc
We recommend your greyhound wears his/her muzzle initially when you are out until you know how they will react as everything is new and strange. This also applies if and when you go off-lead for the first time.
Finally, on the subject of leads, a retractable (extendable) lead or “long line” is not recommended for most greyhounds as they accelerate so quickly and can seriously damage their neck when they “snap back” at the end of the line; you may also find yourself face down on the ground’. We all want to keep our greyhounds safe and free from injury, they have such thin skin and little body fat to protect them from situations which cause little or no trouble to other breeds