The following information 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, microchipped, wormed flea treated and 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 or harness.
A waterproof coat & fleece is recommended and can be bought from us and the RGT or other places.
Two very important points.
1. It is a legal requirement that an ID tag is worn by the dog at all times. Try Identitags engraving. You can buy them on-line and they send you them by post. Easy!
2. 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 need to use your own judgement as to when it is appropriate to muzzle/ not muzzle your dog but if in doubt use the muzzle.
We don’t advise letting your dog off lead in a public place as they are sighthounds and will probably chase if given the opportunity. Like any breed of dog there are exceptions but we advise to be cautious. You will know your dog better than anyone. If you decide it is safe to do so he/she must be muzzled when ‘off lead’.
Arriving at home
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, TV 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, so they 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.
We can’t guarantee a house-trained dog but most Greyhounds are clean in their kennels, and once they know where you want them to empty, they will be happy to stick with that routine.
House training should begin as soon as your dog arrives home. Take them straight into the garden, wait until they relieve themselves and then reward them with a small piece of cheese or a dog biscuit.
After this initial visit to the garden, keep repeating the routine at regular periods throughout the day. It is advantageous to take your new pet for a short 5 minute walk at regular periods throughout the day.
During this time it is unlikely that the Greyhound will have had a chance to have an accident and they will be thoroughly familiar with the idea that any ‘toilets’ are to be done outside.
Thereafter, if your dog has an accident indoors, bear in mind punishment does not work and can make the dog worse. Anticipate when your dog needs to go, take them outside and praise and reward them when they ‘go’.
Any ‘accident’ in the home should be washed thoroughly with a solution of biological washing liquid, as this will take away the smell, otherwise they will constantly re-mark over that spot.
Take them to the toilet immediately after food, when they get up and before they go to bed and, of course, in between. Some signs to look for when your dog needs to go to the toilet are restlessness, pacing up and down, whining, scratching at the door or circling.
Of course, at first, there may be no signs as the dog will have been used to living in a kennel, but Greyhounds are generally clean animals and learn very quickly.
Remember, all pet owners have a responsibility to pick up any mess your dog does while walking anywhere on public ground. It’s not only illegal, with fines to be paid, but also very nasty to tread in and offensive in a modern society. Poop scoops can be bought from your local pet store or vet practice or you can use ‘Nappy sacks’ which are a cheaper alternative.
Many new owners already know how and what they want to feed their dog, based on past experience. There is a huge range of food products to choose from. Speak to The Natural Pet Centre for advice on feeding. The company is run by a vet nurse with 16 years of experience in nutrition in dogs and will give you great advice. 0151 345 1757
Whatever food you choose to give your new dog just make sure you read the ingredients on the packet to make sure it has no added colourings, sugars, salts, synthetic preservatives and that the protein source ie chicken, fish, lamb etc is the first ingredient on the list not the last!
Protein content should be around 20 to 24% but what is the most important aspect of protein content is it’s quality. The poor quality protein can be difficult to process however, buying a human grade quality food will put less strain on the body and the protein percentages not so critical. This is why those feeding a raw meat diet can feed loads of protein rich foods without a problem ie raw meat and bones.
Quality wet foods such as natures harvest and nature diet are great for those wanting to feed a softer diet but they are very high in protein and will put weight on the dog. Don’t be fooled by the packet saying 10% protein. The moisture content in wet foods can be around 75% so the protein content is based on the other 25% of the dry matter (the meat). This can mean the true protein content of the pack of food is probably around 30 to 40%!!
Some greyhounds do well on raw feeding. You need to make sure you receive good quality advice if you want to begin raw feeding to ensure your greyhound receives the right balance and ratio of bone, meat and offal. If you want to find out more call Sarah or the Natural Pet Centre on 0151 345 1757
Should be available at all times and changed regularly. Never leave your dog without fresh water.
Biscuits and chews:
These will aid the dog’s digestion and help to keep their teeth clean. They can also be used as training aids and of course as an extra treat!
A teaspoon of sunflower/vegetable/fish oil added to the main meal will help maintain a glossy coat. Cooked eggs in any form can be enjoyed once a week or so. Oily fish, such as sardines or pilchards and other filleted fish are a healthy treat.
Human chocolate, raisins, salt and raw onions are poisonous to dogs. They simply cannot digest it. Only give doggy treats. Make sure all children and visitors are aware of the significant danger to your pet. Be aware of danger if your pet gets into household waste bins from open tins and glass etc. Keep the bin secure.
Never allow your Greyhound to scavenge or pick up bits of food outside the home. There may be poison or vermin bait present and the consequences can be a serious illness or even death.
Common sense will tell you not to feed the dog before a long journey, just carry water for the comfort stops. Never feed just before or just after exercise. Always wait about one hour. It is recommended that you feed your greyhound from a raised bowl on a stand whenever possible as greyhounds have such long necks and legs that it is awkward for them to eat from a bowl placed on the floor.
For them, an elevated dog bowl on a stand (as pictured below), available from pet supply stores or catalogues may be the answer. An upturned bucket may serve the same purpose. Contact any member of our team for help with feeding problems.
Greyhound Care Part 2