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What do I need to consider before adopting an ex-racing greyhound?

Greyhound on sofa

There are several important things anyone thinking of adopting a greyhound should consider that will help make the transition to life in your home smoother for your new canine companion.

How will you help your greyhound feel comfortable and secure?

Some greyhounds may prefer to spend a lot of their time outside and they will need protection from the elements (sun/heat and cold). Due to their low body fat levels, greyhounds don’t cope well with very hot or very cold weather, so avoid exposing them to extremes of weather and be prepared to keep them warm inside or with a winter jacket when they are outside if it is cold or a cool area for them to rest if it is very hot.

Provide a retreat for them so that they have a place they feel safe and secure — this may be having a bed in a quiet part of the house or outside under shelter.

They will also need stimulation and company, which may involve you spending time with them outside or having them come inside. Some greyhounds have never been inside a home and may feel trapped in a small room with unfamiliar people or children nearby. It may take a while for them to feel comfortable and relaxed in your home and especially inside.

Although they may learn relatively quickly, it is also important to remember that your greyhound won’t necessarily be toilet trained, so be patient and do the same training as you would for a puppy. For more information, read: Why do greyhounds need help with toilet training?

How much space does my greyhound need?

Greyhounds don’t need a lot of space, but they do need a place of their own to retreat to when they wish to be alone. Those who like to be indoors are happy with a comfortable bed to rest, combined with walks or play sessions. For those who like the outdoors, a medium-sized backyard will suffice to run around and play in, with street or park walks adding variety. The main thing is that the backyard needs to be fenced and secure and made interesting with toys and other forms of environmental enrichment.

Can I have a greyhound if I already have other companion animals?

If you already have companion animals (pets) at home, it is vital to check that the greyhound you are looking at is considered compatible with other animals. Many dogs, including greyhounds, can be quite predatory towards other animals. Breeding and training play a huge part in how strong this prey drive might be; like all dogs, some greyhounds can happily co-exist with cats and other small animals, while others can never be safely left alone with them. Always err on the side of safety, and don’t expect that your dog will become best buddies with other furry family members, including other smaller dogs. Separation may be required, at least on a temporary basis.

Many shelters/rehoming organisations will suggest you introduce your greyhound to other family

dogs, before you bring them home.

For more information, read:

What will I need before my new greyhound arrives?

Check with your shelter/rehoming organisation staff or veterinarian for advice on collars and leashes, grooming products, bowls, bedding, food, toys, treats and medications.

Generally, before collecting your new greyhound, you should have the following necessities:

  • Collar and identification tag (with your greyhound’s name & your phone number)
  • Front-attaching harness and leash
  • Water bowl
  • Food bowl
  • Dog or puppy food (a high quality balanced premium commercial dog food is recommended, appropriate for their life stage)
  • Comfortable bedding (may need more than one bed/basket for different rooms in the house or for outside)
  • Dog kennel for shelter outside
  • Dog coat
  • Toys, rewards and treats
  • Pooper scooper
  • Grooming brush or comb
  • Flea and tick control products
  • Worm control product
  • Muzzle (if required)

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Updated on May 31, 2022
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