Most Frequently Asked Questions About Life With A Retired Greyhound

FOOD

1) What food, how often a day and how much does my greyhound need to eat?living_with_greys_1

We recommend that your greyhound eats twice a day. Breakfast in the morning and dinner in pm. If the dog is very skinny, still fresh from the track, very big, was or is sick, we recommend that you feed him/her two cups of kibbles twice a day or three smaller meals if you are at home during lunch. If you feed canned food, you have to put the amount of canned food in consideration.

Maintenance is for a normal size greyhound: 1 ½ cups of kibbles in AM and PM, please mix this kibbles with some either good quality canned food, veggies, some lean beef or chicken, cottage cheese, etc.

Please do not over feed your dog, every extra pound causes damage on his/her heart, lungs, and also adds to arthritis problems later. Having said this, nothing is more disturbing to me than meeting adopters who proudly keep their adopted dog at his racing weight. A golden middle way would be 5-8 lbs more than the dog’s former racing weight. NOT MORE!

Sometimes we find overweight greyhounds and the adopters insist that they do not feed more than what was recommended. Please be aware how many calories all the treats have you give your greyhound during the day.

Most of our foster dogs and our own dogs are on “Nature’s Select of Tampa Bay-Select Mobility”. It is holistic food, has the right amount of carbs and protein and the dogs love it. Since you can order it on line and you will get it delivered the next day, it is a hit with the greys and their owners.

No matter what you decide to feed, please read the labels and feed high quality dog food. Consider the special nutritional needs in greyhounds, while the newest crave of grain free and high protein food might be okay for regular dogs, your greyhound has different needs and you do not want to aid to kidney failure in your ex-racer by feeding high protein food.

No matter what brand you choose, do not feed any products that have lamb in it. The lamb protein is very hard to be broken down by the liver of greyhounds and can cause vomiting and lethargy in greyhounds!

Read the labels: if the kibbles has chicken- by-products, you feed the peak and feathers, the feet and toes of the bird, if it has corn and soy as main ingredient, your dog gets fat but has no nutrition and it also causes a lot of allergies in dogs!

If you cook for your greyhound and add rice to the meal, even though you also feed kibbles, you are not doing your greyhound a favor. Rice is not a complex carbohydrate and you just add empty calories to the meal. Of course, for short term, if your greyhound is sick, rice and boiled chicken is fine, but not for long term. Many greyhounds do not even tolerate rice that well. Trainers and breeders will not feed rice, they rather feed pasta instead. It seems that elbow macaroni are much better tolerated by greyhounds. Our secret recipe is macaroni and canned salmon – salmon will sooth the intestines since it is in the cold/cool food category.

2.) How do I change dog food?living_with_greys_2

The rule of thumb is 5 days to switch from one brand to another. (check on the bag of your food, it is usually written on there how to do it)

3) Why is it so important to wet the dry food?

Most veterinarians and regular dog owners will tell you to feed dry kibbles because it keeps the teeth cleaner and healthier. This is true, but at the same time it is potentially very dangerous or deadly for greyhounds. Due to their anatomy (narrow throat and nasal passageway) they easily can choke on dry food. A group in Michigan nearly lost their new dog in a vet’s office because he stayed overnight and the vet tech. gave him dry kibbles. 10 min. after he ate, he started to have a severe nose bleed. He needed a blood transfusion! The group called me and asked me whether the grey had a head injury prior of being sent on the hauler- he did not- after they ran a ton of tests on him, the vet looked in his nasal passage and dislodged one small kibbles that gotten stuck and ruptured an artery. Case closed!

4) High Raised Feeders: Why and What to Buy

We recommend and asked you to buy raised feeding dishes before you get your greyhound into your home. Greyhounds are tall dogs and to avoid bloat, (a potentially deadly twisting of the stomach) and also to avoid “gas” please buy raised feeders, 12-15 inches tall-Also it will help to avoid neck strains in your greyhound. You can buy them in local pet stores, or on line or through a variety of pet catalogs, or use stylish designer plant stands with stainless steel bowls. Do not use plastic bowls, rather buy stainless steel or ceramic bowls. Plastic bowls can cause an allergic reaction by taking away the black pigmentation of the muzzle area and turning it flesh colored.

5) Treats and Bones

Again, read the labels. Do not buy treats from China. Do not feed pig ears. They can cause salmonella. Again, over indulgence in treats is a real danger. Greys are excellent actors. Do not fall for their begging eyes, they do not starve! Be strong, for their sake!

 

LEAVING YOUR GREYHOUND “HOME ALONE”

To teach your greyhound to leave him or her alone, but that you always come back home, is easy, if done correctly! Start by taking your car keys, opening the garage door, and pretend you are leaving. Leave for only 2-3 minutes and sneak around the house and peak through a window or slider to see what your dog is doing. (if he is still calm on the bed, don’t worry, he got the message, if he runs around the house, frantically looking for you, he is not ready for you to go to work, then you can borrow a crate from us and we will help you with this adjustment) Try to do this leaving several times a day, always a little longer, up to 2 hours and see how it goes. Please leave the radio on, greyhounds are used to listen to music at the track!

DON’T CLOSE THEM INTO A ROOM!living_with_greys_3

Greyhounds don’t like being locked in a room with the door closed! (Remember: they are sight hounds and need the peripheral vision to look out) They have been known to scratch through doors and drywalls. If confinement is necessary, use a child’s safety gate. These gates can be cheaply purchased at Walmart, K-mart, Target or at garage sales and Thrift stores!

Should your greyhound need a crate in the beginning, please contact us, we can loan you a crate
for the training period. You do not have to spend the money and buy one.

 

HOME REMEDIES AND FIRST AID

It is safe to give:

For diarrhea: Immodium 2 tabs every 12 hours
For upset, gurgling stomach: Zantac, Pepcid or Tagamet
Baby Aspirin or Coated Aspirin every 12 hours for pain
Never give TYLENOL; it can kill your dog!

NOTE:
If the symptoms persist more than one or two days, see your veterinarian!!!!!!!!!!! These are not tips to avoid taking your sick dog to the veterinarian.

living_with_greys_10For minor injuries: Greyhounds have not much fat layers and bruise and bleed real easily. For minor cuts and scrapes on their paws and feed, even after leg surgery, I found baby socks to be the answer. They are made of 100% cotton, wounds can heal because they can breath and the socks keep the dogs from licking the wounds raw. I buy the athletic socks at Wal-Mart in bulk or go to local Thrift stores.

Use Neosporin on minor cuts and scrapes, If you want to go the natural way, buy TRAUMEEL(at ADAs) it is a natural antibiotic and will heal everything, I take it instead of oral antibiotics, it helps without side effect and upset stomachs (cream and pill form) or you can use “Milk of Magnesia” – let it dry out a little on your counter and apply to affected area like a paste and cover it- you will be amazed how quickly the wound or scrape will heal.

Use warm soaks in Epson Salt if you think your dog has a splinter or a small bite wound.

For wounds on the body: cover it up with an old t-shirt! Not only will it keep them from licking this wound constantly, they look so adorable in the shirt that they will get extra cuddles I actually found that the undershirt with no sleeves (the kind Marlon Brando and James Dean wore) work the best. They fit closer to the body and are easy to put on and off.

 

PREVENTION

1) Heartworm prevention:

Why it is so important that the greyhounds are on heartworm prevention and what is safe for greyhounds to use?

Heartworms are long, thin worms, kind of looking like spaghetti.

They colonies in the right heart chamber and will cause moist, muffled cough, fluid accumulation in the lungs, dogs will cough up blood in the advanced stage. They often have pitting edema in their legs and they die an agonizing death of congestive heart failure.

The treatment is very dangerous (a weak form of arsenic is used) and it is also very expensive. Heartworms are transmitted by mosquitoes and cannot be transmitted by other dogs!

The dog is given two injections 24 hours apart, he/she has to stay at the vets and is allowed to go home after the second injection on the second day if all goes well. The dog needs to be kept very quiet and has to be leash walked. NO excitement or exercise for at least 2 months, than the dog needs to get treated for potential microfilaria, which would be the baby heartworms. Again, after the shot is given, the dog needs to be kept quiet for two more months.

Greyhound safe Prevention:

Oral: Heartguard Plus (you can buy the generic brand, TriHeart Plus very inexpensively at your local vet or on line, however you need a prescription from your vet for it).living_with_greys_9

Our oral prevention of choice is SENTINEL- it is Interceptor and Program combined and will not only prevent HW, it also gives the dogs a certain protection for Hook, Round and Whipp Worms and will prevent adult flea infestation.

TRIFEXIS: a newer medication, it is pushed and recommended by many vets – though it seems to be safe for greyhounds, we prefer Sentinel.

Topical: REVOLUTION

Flea Prevention: Frontline, Advantage and Adams Top Spots are safe for greyhounds. Do not use ADVANTIX or Frontline Plus, or BIOSPOT or any other over the counter topical treatments, there have been several death reported in greyhounds!

Also do not use any flea or tick collars, they are equally dangerous!

HYGIENE AND BATHS, GROOMING AND TOENAIL TRIMS:

How often should I bath my greyhound, what shampoo should I use and how should I do this?

Again, common sense is important – if your dog is dirty, bath him – if not, once a month is fine. Do not use human shampoo (not even baby shampoo) – it will strip the skin of essentials oils. Oatmeal, Aloe Vera, Citrus shampoos of a good quality are fine. Should your greyhound have fleas, ADAMS flea and tick shampoo is greyhound safe.

Please use some common sense and do not bath your greyhound outside with cold water.

You can get some hand held shower heads very inexpensively and it is so much gentler when your greyhound gets bathed inside.

The water from the hose many times is well water or untreated water and it is cold!

Would you want to shower with cold water?

I put some big beach towels or some thin blankets into my dryer and wrap the dogs after their bath into the warm sheets which relaxes them quite a bit and bath day turns into a SPA DAY!

Brushing and Grooming:

Use either a mitten or a grooming glove or a soft brush and gently brush or swipe your greyhound’s coat so any dead hair can fall out and the coat looks shiny and healthy

Toenails:

How often do they need to be clipped, can I do it myself or do I need to bring the dog to a groomer or the vet office?

Since I am the one who gets most dogs off the track, I always admire the short toenails the racing dogs have.

WHAT A DIFFERENCE RETIREMENT CAN MAKE!!

Many times I visit greyhounds in their forever homes or see them at some outings and I can hear the dogs approach because their toenails are so long that they make a noise on the tile or concrete floors.

PLEASE – KEEP YOUR DOG’S TOENAILS SHORT!!!

Cut them once a month if your dog is calm and does not mind – most veterinarians and vet techs will show you how to do it.

If you are scared of your greyhound is too nervous, bring him or her to the vet or groomer, usually they will charge around $10.00 per dog.

I use a dremel grinder. First I let them get used to the noise, later to the vibration (short second on their nail) with time, they get used to it – with an open treat bag nearby, they now give me their paws, knowing a treat is coming…

REMEMBER – HAVING TO WALK ON LONG TOE NAILS IS LIKE WALKING FOR A WOMAN IN 5 INCH HEELS!

living_with_greys_8COATS AND PYJAMAS:

We live in Florida- do greyhounds really need coats?

The answer is yes – the rule of thumb is: “If you are cold, your greyhound is cold. If you are hot, your greyhound is hot”. Thanks to our Lynda C., we have the most stylish coats for our greyhounds available – not only will your greyhound be the best dressed grey in FL, they will look so cute, that you adore them even more!

SUPPLEMENTS AND HERBS:

Does my greyhound need supplements and herbs, what is safe to use?

If you open a pet catalog, you will get dizzy with all the supplements and pills they offer for your grey. While supplements are very important and helpful, keep it simple and don’t spend an arm and a leg for something you can buy cheaper at your local pharmacy or wholesale markets, like Costco.

A supplement every greyhound should be on and is readily available is:

ESTER-C 500 mg daily

Ester-C is an excellent antioxidant that prevents:
1) Re-occurrent urinary track infections due to making the urine acidic.
2) Helping in preventing osteoarthritis
3) Fighting cancer

NZYMES GRANULES

I have seen a huge difference in my greyhounds since they are on the Nzymes – gurgling stomachs, stiff joints and skin problems are gone or have lessened. If you want to order or read up on their testimonials, go to www.nzymes.com or call: 1-877-816-6500

Nupro Silver, Missing Link, and other supplements are great too and help the aging greyhound with different problems, such as arthritis and skin problems.

If you truly want to witness a miracle, the supplement for your ailing greyhound however is:

COLOSTRUM

– ask Dixie, Cassie, Minnie Mouse, Mamas Shaker, Dutchess, Betty White and so many others about this best kept secret – as Gerry, my dear husband says, “Dogs cannot lie”. You can order it at : www.iherb.com

living_with_greys_12THUNDERPHOBIC DOGS: HOW CAN I HELP MY GREYHOUND?

Many of our greyhounds seem to be extremely scared of thunderstorms and loud noises. I have seen greyhounds hide in the smallest places, shaking like leaves when thunder is rolling in.

Many of them do not want to be held or comforted and prefer a nearby closet, laundry room, shower stall, etc. Some of the behavior has to do with the electrical charge in the air.

Rubbing them down with dryer sheets sometimes helps, also letting them lay on tile floor. For these dogs the Stormdefender cape would work well. www.stormdefender.com

You can try Bach Flower Essence Mixture of:

4 drops Rescue Remedy, 2 drops of Rock Rose, 2 drops of Mimulus.

Sometimes Valerian Roots will take the edge off, and you will not overdose with it. Calms Forte also will help, if you go to your local Health food store, they have a variety of pills for your scared, thunderphobic dog. Also promising is the Comfort Zone you can order on line, just ask me about it! We have several people who had greyt responses from their greyhounds with it!

Another option is the THUNDER SHIRT – if you put it on ahead of the storm, it will work. It has no side effects and works well, but at the end, you have to find out for yourself what works best on your greyhound. Having Nitro, an extreme thunderphobic greyhound in my heart and home, a combination of Calms Forte, Rescue Remedy and the thundershirt, makes life doable during the stormy season here in Florida.

Please remember, everything we share with you, we were taught by living with our greyhounds. We gladly pass what we learned on to you – if your greyhound is teaching you new tricks, please feel free to share it with us so we can continue to learn and become better greyhound parents.

 

GREYHOUND HEALTH

How to find a greyhound veterinarian:

Even though Florida is saturated with greyhounds and most veterinarians are used of treating greyhound patients, it does not hurt to ask around and to do some “interviewing” for your potential new vet. Just as you would do with a Family Practitioner, make an appointment and introduce your new family member to the vet. Have some questions ready – like – “Are greyhounds different from the medical stand point than other dog breeds?”living_with_greys_5

If your vet thinks there are no differences, leave, find another vet.

Below is medical information appropriate to treating greyhounds. If you ever have any questions regarding the care of your greyhound, please do not hesitate to call us at any time.

Blood Diagnostic Information:

A greyhound’s blood work differs from other breeds in the following ways:

CBC (Complete Blood Count)

Greyhounds: Other Breeds:
HGB (Hemoglobin) 19.0-21.5 12.0-18.0
HCT (Hematocrit) 55.0-65.0 37.0-55.0
WBC 3.5-6.5 6.0-17.0
Platelets 80,000-200,000 150,000-400,000

Greyhounds have significantly more red blood cells than other breeds. Most veterinarians are aware of the differences. Never accept a diagnosis of polycythemia – a once-in-a-lifetime-rare-diagnosis of pathologic red cell overproduction – in conversely, never interpret a greyhound PCV (Packed Cell Volume or Hematocrit) in the 30s-40s as being normal just because it is for other dogs. A greyhound in the 30s-40s is anemic. It can be a red flag for Erlichia tick born disease.

Other greyhound CBC changes are less well known. If a greyhound has high Eosinophils, it is an indication of a parasitic infestation, even though a fecal test can be negative. In a case of elevated Eosinophils, a cause of deworming is indicated.

Chemistry:

Greyhounds: Other Breeds:
TP (Total Protein) 4.5-6.0 5.4-7.8
Globulin 2.1-3.2 2.8-4.2
Crea (Creatinine) 0.8-1.8 0.1-1.6

Greyhound Creatinines run higher than other breeds as a function of their large muscle mass. A study found that 80% of retired racers had creatinine values above the standard range for “other dogs”. As a lone finding, an “elevated creatinine” is not indicative of impending kidney failure. If the BUN urinalysis is normal, so is the “elevated creatinine”.

T4 (Thyroid Test)

Greyhounds: Other Breeds:
0.5-3.6 1.52-3.60

While greyhound thyroid levels are a whole chapter of themselves, a good rule is that greyhounds T4s run about half that of others breeds.

The rule also is, if a greyhound has low thyroid level but has no symptoms, leave it alone, however, if your greyhound has symptoms, treat is aggressively. www.ngap.org – click on Greyhound Health Symptoms can include: spooky behavior, lethargy, dull coat, mirror image hair loss on both sides of the body and fear biting.

Urinalysis:

And lastly, the good news – greyhound urinalysis is the same as in other breeds. It is normal for males to have small to moderate bilirubin in the urine.

living_with_greys_6Anesthesia:

The greyhound has greater susceptibility to anesthesia due to a low percentage of body fat and the manner in which the liver processes drugs. The liver metabolizes these substances more slowly, keeping it in their body longer, thus taking them longer to recover from drugs.

Note: Barbiturates are not safe for any greyhound to be used.

For general anesthesia a mixture of Ketamine and Diazepam can be used, also Propafol i.v. to initiate anesthesia is safe – To maintain anesthesia, Isoflurane is used.

If your veterinarian is not familiar with the greyhound anesthesia protocol, please change vets, your
greyhound’s life might depend on it.

(I cannot tell you how many greyhounds have passed because of wrong anesthesia being administered. From a broken leg repair, which the greyhound tolerated well, to just a minor repair of a gush on the flank of a greyhound, the surgery went well, but the greyhounds died of hyperthermia, due to wrong anesthesia – BE CAREFUL – you are your greyhound’s guardian and spoke’s person!)

Greyhound’s Teeth and Oral Hygiene:

We could write and show pictures that would fill an entire book, rather than a page about greyhound’s teeth and periodontal disease.

The truth is that greyhounds, due to the bad meat (4D meat) at the track and on the farm, and due to the anatomy of their mouth (wide jaws but narrow snout) they are prone to periodontal disease.

Yearly dentals are a must – unless you adopted a greyhound that was lucky enough to be retired at early age and/or just has no dental issues.

If oral hygiene, such as ultrasonic dentals, are missed or not done, the constant infection of the gum line will cause the bacteria to go into the blood stream and the infection will manifest itself in the heart and the kidneys of retired greyhounds. Years of pain, suffering and ultimate death is a highly potential outcome.

If you feel that dentals for a greyhound are not appropriate, we feel that a greyhound is not the right dog for you!

Please check out: www.ngap.org – Greyhound Health – about dental diseases and treatments.

Tickborn diseases:living_with_greys_7

Ticks have become a major problem for dog owners across the country, including areas where they were unknown several years ago.

Please be aware, even if certain ticks are not indigenous to Florida, greyhounds are moved from track to track in their active career, and, even if they never left our sunshine state, the greyhound in the next crate could have come in from another state and brought some small, creepy friends with him.

The most common tick borne diseases are: Erlichia, Rocky Spotted Mountain Fever, and Babesia. Most vet clinics will do a snap test or a 4D Heartworm test and therefore can screen for some of the tickborne diseases (Babesia is not included).

If your greyhound suddenly comes down with following, but not only, symptoms- weakness, cough, labored breathing, fatigue, intermittent fever, arthritis, muscle wasting, depression, anorexia, increased thirst and urination, head tremors, neck or/and back pain, bleeding tendencies, seizures, rashes, swelling of the extremities, swollen lymph nodes, etc. – THINK OF TICKBORNE DISEASE!

Corn dogs: (Only greyhounds have corns in the canine world)

If you wonder and worry why your greyhound is suddenly limping, or favoring one leg, check the paws of the foot that is affected. There is a big possibility that your greyhound suffers from corns.

Sadly, these corns are very painful and treatment is very frustrating, time consuming and many times just nothing you do, seems to work.

There are lots of different treatments recommended, such as putting plain duct tape on the affected area, or banana peel, or, another method is have your vet hull the corn out with a dental tool and immediately have an anti-viral cream (such as Abrevia) applied.

I have tried nearly every method there is – right now I am trying a holistic approach.

I am cautiously optimistic – go to: www.lorirosehomeopathy.com

Feel free to contact me at any time to check how this treatment is working. No matter what, if you have a corn dog at home, my heart goes out to your greyhound and to you! (again, check out OSU/Greyhound Welfare or NGAP.org for more info)

Please do not hesitate to contact us at any time if you have any medical questions and solutions or treatments you would like to share with us.

 

GUIDELINES TO FINDING A LOST GREYHOUND

1.) ALWAYS have ID – collar on dog – REMEMBER – even if greyhound is micro chipped, people will pick up a loose running dog with a beautiful collar and tags more likely than a dog without a collar!living_with_greys_4

2.) HAVE COLORED PHOTO of your greyhound handy

3.) IF GREYHOUND RUNS OFF, DO NOT CHASE AFTER HIM/HER!
Your greyhound will just run faster and further away-walk calmly towards him/her.

4.) HAVE A SQUAWKER at all tines in your car!

5.) IF YOU CANNOT FIND YOUR GREYHOUND IN THE FIRST 30 MIN.

Of his/her disappearance, call us at: #239-549-7693, you will receive more optional numbers when calling this number!

We will immediately dispense a search team with more greyhounds and volunteers with squawkers.

6.) HAVE A FAMILY MEMBER, neighbor or friend stay in your house to monitor incoming calls

7.) DISTRIBUTE FLIERS in your neighborhood, gas stations, give them to mail carriers, delivery persons, road workers, school bus drivers, garbage truck drivers, pet stores, fire departments, etc.

8.) INFORM local police, sheriff, ALL veterinarians and all animal shelters in your area.

9.) GO TO YOUR LOCAL ANIMAL SHELTERS in person, many times they will not help you over the phone and check in your behalf and your dog might be there and running out of time. You can fill out a lost dog report at your local LCDAS or ASPCA, ANIMAL CONTROL, etc.

10.) PLACE AN ADD in your local newspaper, neighborhood paper, etc.

living_with_greys_11

11.) CHECK YOUR NEIGHBOR HOOD CANALS

IF YOUR GREYHOUND IS IN THE CANAL, DO NOT HESITATE to jump in and get your dog to safety ASAP. Greyhounds generally cannot swim and since they do not have any fat layers under their skin, they succumb to hypothermia very quickly.

12.) WHEN YOUR GREYHOUND IS SIGHTED, approach slowly on his/her eye level, use the squawker behind your back, just sit or kneel and wait until your greyhound is in reach, slowly stretch out your hand and grab hold of his/her collar.

There is a 90% chance that your greyhound will come to the sound of the squawker and to you if you are low on the ground and calm!