Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Greyhound Special Needs: Dog Houses, Anesthesia & Meds, Extreme Weather

Quite frequently I look at my blog stats to see what words or phrases people are searching that brings them to The Dog House. Just this morning I found that someone did a search on greyhound dog houses. Well, it seems to detroit dog that some advice is needed about the care of greyhounds.
  • Most greyhounds average about 19% body fat, whereas most other dogs average about 35% body fat. This classifies greyhounds as "special needs" dogs.
    • Because greyhounds have less body fat, in addition to thin skin and extremely short coats, they cannot self-regulate their body temperatures; i.e., their body temps do not adapt well to extreme temperatures - neither heat nor cold. While some dogs can tolerate long periods of 40 degree or 80 degree temps, greyhounds cannot. Heatstroke easily affects greyhounds; they will easily freeze to death in winter weather, regardless if you stuff a dog house with hay and blankets. Dog houses are not for greyhounds.
    • Also due to the greyhounds' low ratio of body fat, they metabolize anesthesia and medications differently than other dogs: their bodies are more sensitive and absorb it more readily. Be sure that you take your greyhounds to a vet very familiar with that breed; not all vets understand the special needs of a greyhound.
    • Lastly, because greyhounds have such thin skins and low body fat, chemicals are also more easily absorbed through their skins and, again, metabolized differently than by other dogs. Giving a greyhound a flea or tick bath will probably throw the dog into convulsions or kill it. Flea collars will render the same results, as will many dog shampoos. What to do? Use a gentle oatmeal soap for shampoo or baths. See your vet if concerned about fleas.
Greyhounds make greyt indoor pets, even in apartments or small homes. Greyhounds rarely - if ever - bark. Generally, they have a low activity level and are not rambunctious inside - preferring to nap or keep you company. They do enjoy their walks.

detroit dog's advice: Do not leave your greyhound outdoors for extended periods of time, in either cold or heat. If you are concerned about your dog wreaking havoc indoors while you are away for a few hours, crate train them (most former racing greyhounds are very accepting of crates; they are a familiar part of life). Be sure your vet and your dog groomer are well aware of the special needs of greyhounds.


  1. This article is a great article for new greyhound owners to read! We have two adopted greyhounds and I just googled "doghouses for greyhounds." Our intent is to find something they can "shelter" into on those nice spring days when they really do not want to come inside. Because of the conditions at the track stable, my greyhounds want to dig holes to feel cozy. We are hoping a cozy doghouse will prevent holes. :)

    1. Our dogs shade themselves under our maple tree. Last year, we found some lawn-chair cushions, and they love to lay on those. However, both dogs like to dig a nice cool spot in the dirt, in the shade, and then lie down there, too.


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