Greyhounds As Pets
Due to the training and treatment of racing dogs and the rigours of competing on the track, a retired greyhound may require more time, patience and understanding than other breeds. Greyhounds, however, can and do make wonderful pets and your efforts will be rewarded.
Every greyhound is different and it is important to match the right greyhound with the right home. We recommend speaking to responsible independent rescues that have a good knowledge of each dog in their care.
Racing greyhounds are normally kennelled in pairs and will, in most cases, happily share their new home with another dog. It is important of course, to see how both animals react towards each other before adoption, and a male/female pairing is generally recommended.
Owning a cat does not exclude adopting a greyhound but introductions need to be slow and carefully considered. Seek qualified guidance and keep expectations reasonable.
Pets in general and babies must be kept apart or supervised by a responsible adult at all times. Care must also be taken when there are young children in the home as you might have to protect the dog!
Greyhounds are not known for being well padded and love nothing more than making themselves comfortable on the family sofa. If, however, furniture is out of bounds then a large dog bed or folded duvet is ideal.
Complete foods suit the digestion of greyhounds. Look for products that have a protein content not exceeding 20%. Adding a little warm water (never hot) and a small quantity of tinned food will make the meal more appetising.
Recommended wet food is of a low protein content, easily digestible, i.e grain free. Or perhaps once a week add to dry food cooked white fish (all bones removed) or tinned tuna (in oil or spring water but not brine) or sardines (in oil or tomato sauce but not in brine). A small amount of cooked veg i.e carrot or broccoli can occasionally be added. For dental care, good quality dental treats, even a whole raw carrot. Cooked bones or rawhide chews should never be used.
Fresh raw beef marrow bones or rib bones are usually available from butchers shops and should be given fresh, preferably outdoors on the lawn or an old sheet (as they can be messy/greasy) once a week/fortnight let your hound have a good gnaw on one for 5-10 minutes then remove and dispose of.
Please remember: human chocolate, raisins, salt and raw onions are poisonous to dogs in large quantities.
For walking your hound use only a fixed length lead (never an extending lead) with a martingale collar or adjustable collar with room to fit 2 fingers underneath or a thick rope type slip lead with a tag to bring down to stop the lead slipping over your hounds head.
A greyhound likely to slip a collar should be walked using a comfortable, padded, fitted harness and lead (with the addition of a slip lead optional) or a martingale collar with fixed length lead.
Toilet considerations apart, a greyhound requires two or three 30 minute walks each day, but of course a young, healthy greyhound will likely enjoy further walking. It is a breed particularly susceptible to extreme temperatures and so do not walk far on very hot days.
A wet coat can be used if you are unable to walk your hound very early morning or late evening in hot weather. (cool houndz wet coats, neck bands and mats are available from AfG’s website). Also ideal to use for traveling in a motor vehicle on hot days.
On very cold days a jumper or fleece coat are ideal (but with a waterproof coat on top if it is cold and raining) Sighthound jumpers, snoods, neck bands and hats are available from AfG’s website.
On wet days lined waterproof coat is ideal, look for coats especially designed for sighhounds for a perfect fit.
A greyhound should be given a period of weeks, possibly months to become familiar with their new environment before allowing the animal to run free. Choose a safe location fully enclosed and use a muzzle until such time he/she can be trusted with other dogs.
In time, a greyhound may be walked off lead in many locations but it’s vital to note; wire fencing, ruts and potholes are just some of many hazards that are potentially lethal because of a greyhounds speed.
Finally, dog training classes are good fun and help a greyhound socialise with other breeds but keep in mind that sitting does not come naturally to the majority of greyhounds (leave to stand or lie down).
The above covers the basics only. Further information is widely available both on the internet and in book form, and AFG is happy to answer any questions you may have.
Photographs by Sighthoundmad©