Monthly Archives: September 2013

Meet Sky

Meet Sky the Greyhound

We like to celebrate our homing successes, please help us by sending any pictures and stories you may have of your dogs after their life after racing and we will put them on the web site.
We think you will all agree, these stories of our greyhounds finding their forever homes makes all the work worth while!!

Lovely Sky making the most of his 2! Onthe right – Christmas day!!

Sky the greyhound doing his version of the 40mph Couch Potatoe

Meet Dolly

We like to celebrate our homing successes, please help us by sending any pictures and stories you may have of your dogs after their life after racing and we will put them on the web site.
We think you will all agree, these stories of our greyhounds finding their forever homes makes all the work worth while!!

Picture of Dolly the greyhound sleeping

Well, there’s not much else to say – think the pictures say it all!!

She’s a really lucky girl and now lives by the sea. She only finished racing in September!

Picture of Dolly the greyhound laying down

It hasn’t taken much for her to adjust to a home life!!

Meet Frankie & Feeby

We like to celebrate our homing successes, please help us by sending any pictures and stories you may have of your dogs after their life after racing and we will put them on the web site.
We think you will all agree, these stories of our greyhounds finding their forever homes makes all the work worth while!!

Picture of Frankie and Feebs the greyhounds

I emailed a different RGT branch who I thought were our nearest branch and we had a successful home check. We visited the kennels and just outside the building there was a dog who had just arrived called Amber, We said hello then went into the kennels and saw all the calm and graceful Greyhounds looking up at us.

I was very tearful looking at these beautiful animals and having to choose just one knowing the others will be left behind was just so painful (even though i knew they would all eventually be homed)! We
decided to take four or five of them for a little walk and they all walked gracefully on their leads.

I saw Frankie and I think I fell in love with him there and then! I emailed them and Sarah called the next day. We chatted and arranged to go and have a little look at the weekend.

Picture of Feebs the greyhound laying on her bed

We met Sarah and she was excited to show us Frankie. When he appeared I just melted. He is a large boy with a brindle coat and a cheeky look on his face.
We took him for a walk and I knew then that I would now be getting TWO beautiful new friends to come and live in our home.

We arranged to pick him up after we picked up Amber (now Feeby) in a weeks time. Sarah was extremely helpful and knowledgeable regarding the behaviour, diet and training and nothing was too much trouble to her.

I couldn’t hardly sleep for the week before we were picking them up. We couldn’t wait to get them home. We bought a bed and all the things they would need.

We picked Feeby up in the morning and she wasn’t very happy in the car but she made it home and had a good sniff around. We had kept it a secret from our Daughters and their faces were an absolute picture when Feeby walked into our living room.

We then all piled into the car (poor Feeby had to be lifted in) and drove to Ormskirk were once again we met Sarah. She brought out Frankie and my daughters took him and Feeby for a walk on the field. Me and my partner spoke at length with Sarah and we decided to Foster Frankie to see how things go as it was such a change to us having dogs in the house and we didn’t want to make a mistake.

Picture of Frankie and Feebs at Christmas

We got both of them home and let them sniff around (which they did for a looooong time!). We then sat down and relaxed and so did Frankie and Feebs! They ate their tea no problem and got on really well together. Feebs had one little accident but apart from that they happily went outside and did their business.

That night we went to bed ready to be woken in the night with some whimpering but we didn’t hear a sound!! I couldn’t believe how they slept happily in what to them was a very strange place.

We decided that there was no way on this earth we could hand Frankie back so called Sarah to let her know we wanted to adopt him.

It is a whole week on and both dogs have settled in. Feebs is still quite timid but Frankie looks after her and Sarah has told us it may take her a little longer to settle and for her personality to come out. We have left them alone in the house little by little and now have it up to three hours with no problems.

They do collect trainers and anything else soft and place them on their beds which we find highly amusing!

Picture of Frankie and Feebs laying down

We love watching them have their mad five minutes jumping around and pretend fighting. They will stand for an hour just being stroked. They let us groom them and brush their teeth.

They walk beautifully on their lead and other dogs don’t bother them in the slightest. They are not afraid of traffic and noise. The television doesn’t faze them and neither does the hoover. I was worried about all these things but worrying was a waste of time.

We all adore them and we all agree that having them in our lives brings us all alot of love and fun. I don’t think our lives would be the same without them now even though it has only been a week.

If you are reading this because you are thinking of adopting one (or two!) of these beautiful dogs then take it from us, it will be one of the best decisions you will make.

Jo, John, Alex, Gem, Georgi, Frankie and Feeby! x

Care of the Greyhound (part 4)

https://www.lancashiregreyhoundtrust.org.uk/

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.

Please Donate to Lancashire Greyhound Trust
Cats

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 and 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.

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 cat’s 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 work 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.

Getting older

Ageing is a genetic process and your dog ages at a much faster rate than you do. Dogs are classed as mature at 18 months. The life expectancy of a dog ranges from 8 to 16 years and varies according to state of health.

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.

Diet

There are some notable differences in the nutritional requirements of the older dog. Senior life stage diets take into account altered life styles, 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.

Some older dogs require up to 20% fewer calories as they become less active, so weigh your dog regularly (every 3 months). 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 or capsules and Glucosamine will help prevent joint deterioration. (speak to your vet for more advice). Feeding them little and often avoids overloading their digestive system. (2 meals a day). 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.

Dealing with anxiety

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 I?

Here are a few tips to help ease this common separation anxiety:

Practice leaving your greyhound for 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 fine!

Greyhound Care Part 1

Frequently Asked Questions

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.

Please Donate to Lancashire Greyhound Trust
Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Are greyhounds highly strung?
A. No. Not as a rule. As with all dogs they all have different temperaments and characters.

Q. Are greyhounds good with children?
A. It is impossible to say that greyhounds are either good or bad with children. They are the same as any other breed. Some feel comfortable around children and others don’t. We have recently made it policy that we do not rehome to families with children under the age of 6yrs as the majority of greyhounds we have for rehoming have never been around small children and below that age they are often head height to the greyhound. This means they are eye to eye with the greyhound and this can often be quite stressful and disconcerting to the greyhound so we don’t want to place them in such a position as this can make them vulnerable and anxious. We will, however, look at each individual rehoming request as we receive them and assess if we have any suitable greyhounds in at that time.

Q. How much exercise do they need?
A. Toilet considerations apart, very little indeed. Thirty minutes, twice a day is usually more than enough. Greyhounds are sprinters and their energy gets used up in short bursts.

Q. Is muzzle wearing obligatory?
A. It is better that the dog is muzzled when you are out and about. They are quite used to it and associate it with pleasurable walks.

Q. Will I need a special bed for the dog?
A. No. An old quilt folded in two is perfect. But they are used to sleeping off the ground and will need no encouragement to take over your bed as well as your settee. They do like to stretch out.

Q. How do greyhounds get on with other dogs?
A. They are no different from other breeds of dogs when it comes to getting on with others. Some will like or dislike certain dogs and it also depends on the dog they meet!  Many have not encountered other breeds of dogs before nor seen them so they can often be curious as to what the other breed of dog may be! With gentle positive approach they will often become familiar with what other breeds loo like and adapt well. There will be an initial wariness, but familiarity and common sense is the order of the day.

Care of the Greyhound (part 3)

https://www.lancashiregreyhoundtrust.org.uk/

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.

Please Donate to Lancashire Greyhound Trust
Special needs

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 of 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.

If your greyhound is particularly sensitive and even increased confidence does not improve their behaviour, then the use of an indoor kennel may be required, or perhaps a relative, dog walker, friend or neighbour could act as ‘baby sitter’ whilst you are out.

The indoor kennel can be effective to help with both separation anxiety and house training. Providing they are taught that the kennel is their sanctuary and it is furnished with their normal bed, a small bowl of water and their favourite toy, they will feel confident and relaxed. The kennel will prevent them from chewing furniture and it is unlikely they will soil in an area where they may have to lay.

Once your greyhound is confident enough to sleep in the kennel, you can begin to shut the door for periods whilst you are in the room and soon you will be able to leave the room for brief time. When you return and they have been quiet, you should praise them without fuss.

Greyhounds with special needs can take up your time and energy in the early days and weeks, but your efforts will be rewarded. However we would advise that you give careful consideration to your experience in handling special / problem dogs and the work involved when considering these dogs.

With the correct care, all of these dogs have great potential to enjoy a happy retirement in a home. Handling advice on each dog will be given and post-adoption support is available, should you require it.

There is nothing worse than taking on a dog and giving up on it. A dog is for life – not to be given up on. Returning them to the kennels after being in a home can often disturb them more. Please think carefully before committing to take on a dog. If, after you have tried everything and things are still not working out – the dog must be returned to the kennels to prevent further distress.

Training

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.

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.

Be quick to praise your dog for good deeds and reinforce bad behaviour with the word ‘NO’ spoken loudly. NEVER hit your dog – It is unacceptable and will not understand and may become distressed.

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.

Babies and children

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 best of friends. Never let a child disturb a greyhound when it is asleep.

Greyhound Care Part 4

Care of the Greyhound (part 2)

https://www.lancashiregreyhoundtrust.org.uk/

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.

Please Donate to Lancashire Greyhound Trust
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.

Greyhound Care Part 3