How to Care for a Greyhoundby Jane Williams
Greyhounds are sighthounds, traditionally used as hunting dogs that relied on sight and speed to chase down prey. The fastest dog breed, the greyhound can reach top speeds of 45 miles per hour, which explains their use as racing or coursing dogs throughout history. Caring for a greyhound incorporates most of the typical care all dogs need, such as regular immunizations and checkups, but the physical traits of this breed offer challenges that require specialized care.
Visit your veterinarian regularly. Keep your greyhound current on all immunizations and booster shots, and have regular checkups to help him stay healthy. Find a veterinarian who is familiar with greyhounds, as their distinctive body type makes them more sensitive to anesthesia and medications than other dogs the same size. Prevent parasite infestation, such as heartworm or tapeworm, by keeping him on a regular flea and tick prevention medication and heartworm preventative as needed in your region.
Feed him well. Give your greyhound a high-quality dry food to encourage proper digestion and healthy teeth and gums. If you're changing his food, mix small amounts of the new food in with his accustomed food, and gradually increase the new and reduce the old over the course of a few days so that by the end of a week he's eating mostly the new food. Use raised food and water dishes so he can reach his dinner without having to stoop. Allow your greyhound to free feed by leaving food out at all times, or give him one to three cups of food twice a day. Provide clean, fresh water at all times.
Keep him clean. Bathe your greyhound only when he seems very dirty, as shampooing too often can strip his coat and skin of natural oils. Use a gentle shampoo every few months to bathe your greyhound, and rinse him thoroughly to remove all soap residue. Towel him dry. Brush his coat once or twice a week with a soft bristled brush. Use a soft toothbrush to brush his teeth at least a few times a week to prevent tartar. Use a cotton ball and ear cleaner once a week to keep his ears clean and healthy.
Let him run. Give your greyhound exercise by taking him for a daily walk. Find a safe, open or enclosed area where he can run without hurting himself or getting lost. Supervise his outdoor time, and use a leash when necessary. Offer him stuffed toys, especially toys with squeakers, to help him play and get some exercise while inside.
Keep him comfortable. A greyhound's low body fat doesn't offer much cushioning on hard surfaces. He'll appreciate a soft place to rest and nap. Offer water at all times during hot weather to help him keep cool, and keep him warm during the winter months to prevent illness. Keep him inside during extremely hot or cold weather to keep him healthy and safe.
Items You Will Need
- Standing food and water dishes
- Soft brush
- Nail clippers
- Dog shampoo
- Dog toothbrush and toothpaste
- Dog bed
- Greyhounds typically thrive on routine, so feed him, take him outside and walk him on a regular schedule.
- Generally speaking, greyhounds are good with children and other animals, so long as everyone has been properly introduced. Supervise all interactions between your dog and new children or animals to prevent problems.
- Due to his height, your greyhound can easily reach the tops of your kitchen counters and help himself to any food sitting there. While he will enjoy the snack, it may not be in his stomach's best interest to have it. Keep your counters clear to discourage “counter surfing,” and keep your dog healthy.
- Hard, crunchy dog biscuits help to prevent tartar.
- Because a greyhound has very little body fat, toxins enter his bloodstream very quickly. Consult your veterinarian when it's time to treat your dog for fleas and ticks, as your greyhound may react badly to what would otherwise be considered a normal dose of medication.
- A greyhound will run if allowed, and he is built for speed. Never allow your greyhound to run without supervision. Do not tie him to a post, as one burst of speed could cause him to injure himself as he hits the end of the leash.
- Because of his low body fat, a greyhound is vulnerable to extreme conditions such as very hot or very cold weather. Only allow your greyhound out for short periods of time in the heat of summer and bitter cold of winter. Provide plenty of water in any season, and a warm coat in winter to keep him comfortable.
- Hund Nina image by Conny Hagen from Fotolia.com