Care Package

//Care Package

The 3 Bees of Adopting A Retired Racing Greyhound

Body, Behavior, Basics


  • Teeth (Demonstration)
    • Brush daily if possible with flavored DOG tooth paste (most brands come with the toothbrush).
    • Use teeth cleaning tool or your thumb nail to pry tarter off the teeth – being careful not to score the tooth enamel – if you get behind on brushing. Provide toys that control plaque (ie, Dent-a-rope and Nylabone).
  • Nails (Demonstration)
    • w  Clip or file nails once a week.  Filing the nails with a Dremel-type rotary sander is a great alternative to the nail clippers!
    • w  With the nail clippers, less is more.  Cut very little to avoid bleeding.
  • Ears
    • Right tattoo is birth date.
    • Left tattoo is track number.
  • Fur
    • Most of the fur will grow back with good food.  Your adoptor can provide information on brushes that will help get rid of dull racetrack fur.  Some dogs come with bald butts.  This may never grow back.
  • Skin
    • Some scars will disappear, some will not.
  • Soft Paws
    • Paws are soft from racetrack surface.  Build up to long walks on hard surfaces.
  • Weight
    • Do not over-feed your greyhound.  You should be able to see the last three ribs.  Most dogs off the track will need to gain 5-10 pounds.  Some will be fine.  Ask the advice of your adoptor.
  •  Stitches (Females only)
    • w    Remove stitches after 10-14 days.
    • w  Use round-ended scissors.
  • Bathing
    • You can bath the dog after stitches are removed, or approximately 14 days after spay/neuter.  If you must give the dog a bath, do “spot” bathing to avoid getting any incisions wet.
    • Greyhound skin is sensitive, so be sure to use a mild dog shampoo, such as oatmeal and lanolin or oatmeal and aloe.  Human skin has a lower pH than dog skin, so shampoos formulated for humans lead to dry flaky skin in dogs!  Diluting the shampoo makes rinsing easier.
    • The chemical compounds found in various flea shampoos, dips, and sprays can be toxic to greyhounds. If a flea shampoo must be used, Adams Flea Shampoo is safe for greyhounds.  Wait at least 48 hours after using a greyhound-safe flea shampoo before applying Frontline or Advantage.


Please contact GFFL at the first sign of a behavior that concerns you for recommendations on how to correct it!

  • Housebreaking
    • At the Auburn foster facility, the dogs are turned out about every 4 hours during the day; at 7:00 am before breakfast, at 9:00 am, 1:00 pm, 5:00 pm before dinner, and 9:00 pm.  Be sure to take your greyhound out often (every 2 hours or so) at first and give praise when the dog does his/her business outside.
    • In the beginning, until you know the dog is housebroken, do not let your greyhound have the run of the house.  As soon as you are not looking, the dog may have an accident or mark.  Keep your greyhound in the same room with you when you are home.
    • If a dog has a tendency to “mark” inside the house, belly bands can be a useful tool for stopping this behavior.
    • If your greyhound has an accident inside clean it up with a rag and place the rag outside where you want the dog to pee.  Spraying enzymatic cleaner on the spot will remove the smell and help deter further marking.
    • The dogs are used to having one door to go out of for relieving themselves.  Pick one door in your house.  Be consistent.
  • Separation Anxiety
    • Greyhounds may have some separation anxiety when left alone, so start leaving your dog alone, crated, for 10 to 15 minutes at first, then gradually increase the time that the dog is left alone.  It may take a little time to settle into a new routine, so be patient.
    • Help your dog associate time alone or in a crate as a positive experience by giving treats when you leave (rather than when you return) and providing a treat-filled kong or other safe toy to play with.
  • Crates
    • They are used to being in crates.  This is where they feel safe.  In the beginning, always crate them when you are not around, but never longer than 4 hours.  You can stop using a crate when they are fully housebroken and you know that they will not destroy things in the home.
    • A 42-inch wire crate or 500 size plastic crate is a sufficient size for most female; a 48 inch wire or 700 size plastic crate will be needed for most males.
  • Sleeping/Waking
    • Never touch a sleeping greyhound.  You will surprise them and they may wake up growling and/or snapping.  Call their name first to get their attention and make sure you have eye contact.
  • Windows, Stairs
    • If you have sliding glass doors, tape a paper towel or post-it notes at dog’s eye level until they know it’s a glass door.
    • Most dogs have never seen stairs.  Be patient with the process.  Don’t force them to go up.  Try a couple of stairs at a time until they get used to them.
  • Training
    • Training is always a good thing.  It helps you bond with your dog and gives the dog confidence.  Greyhounds are extremely smart dogs that catch on very quickly.  Note: most of these dogs come from a harsh environment.  Please take a gentle approach to training.  A firm “No” usually does the trick.
    • Many greyhounds find the “sit” position uncomfortable, so it’s OK to immediately place them in a “down” position or go quickly from a “sit” to a “down”.
  • Exercise
    • Long walks are plenty of exercise for your retired racer.
    • Use extreme caution when entering a dog park.  Use common sense.  If there are dogs who appear to be aggressive, do not enter.  Never hesitate to ask someone if their dog is friendly.  A completely enclosed dog park or playing field is the ONLY place where you can let your greyhound off leash.  NO EXCEPTIONS.


  • Collar (Demonstration)
    • A “Martingale” is a special sighthound humane-style choke collar.  It’s designed so it will not slip off over the head.  Make sure it’s adjusted correctly.  A good alternative to a martingale collar is a harness.
  • Leash
    • Unless you are in an enclosed area, NEVER LET THEM OFF LEASH!!
    • This is the number one killer of retired racers.  Because they don’t look both ways before crossing the street, most dogs get hit by cars.  This should be your No. 1 concern. You are supplied with a 4-foot leash, which gives you good control over your greyhound.  Insert your hand through the loop and wrap a part of the leash around your hand for firm control.  Do NOT use a retractable leash!
  • Muzzles
    • Use the muzzle when introducing your greyhound to cats or other small animals. Do not trust your greyhound with your cat or small dog for at least 3 weeks after adoption.  Keep the animals separated when you are gone and keep the greyhound muzzled when you are home but cannot watch them.
    • Until you know how your dog will react in public, use the muzzle if you plan on being around small animals.  When greyhounds are playing together at a dog park or playing field, all dogs should be muzzled to avoid accidental nips – which can turn into gashes requiring stitches!
    • Please return the muzzle to GFFL when you no longer need it.  It will save us the cost of replacing it.  Thank you!
  • Food
    • Feed twice a day, approximately 12 hours apart.
    • Usually 2-3 cups per feeding, depending on the size and initial weight of the dog. Add enough water to cover the kibble.  Wait at least 15 minutes.
    • Optional: Add a spoonful or two of wet food for flavor
    • Choose a high quality dog food—your greyhound is worth it!
    • Some greyhounds will not eat for a day following the adoption.  As long as your greyhound is drinking some water, this is not a concern – it’s how the dog is dealing with the stress of a new environment.
  • Bloat
    • SOAK, SOAK, SOAK the dog food.  Bloat is usually fatal.  Do not allow vigorous exercise 1 hour before or after feeding.  Please read carefully the insert enclosed in your adoption packet regarding “Bloat.”  This should be your No. 2 concern.
  • Treats
    • High quality treats are fine in moderation.
    • No Rawhide.  They can get stuck in the throat and cause choking.
    • The only bones we recommend are “knuckle” or marrow bones.
    • No raisins, grapes, or chocolate – these are toxic to dogs.
  • Toys
    • Most greyhounds will learn quickly to love playing with toys.  Some dogs, however, will rip soft toys apart, so rope toys and “tuff” toys that are difficult to tear apart are best for these dogs.  If dogs swallow the filling of a soft toy, the intestinal track may become blocked, requiring surgery, so keep a close eye on your dog’s behavior with these soft toys.
    • Don’t forget to remove eyes, buttons, etc. from stuffed toys.
  • Lifting Your Greyhound
    • If your greyhound won’t jump into the car or other high place, lift the front paws on the surface, then move around to the rear (hang onto the leash!) and boost the back end of the dog up onto the surface.  Do not lift from the midsection as this can cause stress on the back.
    • For cars or SUVs with a back hatch, have the dog enter the vehicle from a side door whenever possible.  It is always a risk that the dog will slip out the back while opening or closing the hatch.  If another person is present and the back hatch is used, have the other person get in the car, then lift the dog in, hand the person the leash to keep the dog away from the open hatch, then close the hatch.
  • Poop
    • Some dogs will have diarrhea at first. This is usually caused by the stress of moving to the new home and/or new food.  Cooked white minute rice or oatmeal, boiled chicken or boiled hamburger, canned, unsweetened pumpkin, or cottage cheese will help with this, along with a spoonful of kaolinite/pectin (NOT Kaopectate, which now contains an aspirin-like ingredient) or a single Imodium tablet.  Add water to the rice/oatmeal/chicken/hamburger mixture as well.  Slowly transition with small amounts of kibble.  They usually only need this special mixture for a few days.
  • House and Yard:
    • Establish awareness among family members regarding gates and doors to ensure that they are completely closed each time they go through them.  Greyhounds, especially newly adopted ones, see an open door as the starting gate of a race and will dash through it.
    • Many greyhounds learn how to open latches, so put locks or clips on gate latches to prevent the dog from opening the gate and getting loose.
    • Having secondary containment (screen door, gate across front porch, secondary gates to back yard) will greatly decrease the chance of your dog getting loose.
    • Check your yard and house for possible injury‑causing areas. For dogs that are prone to chewing, beware of wooden gates. Also check metal gates and fences; some dogs may be able to squeeze through them. Watch for tails before shutting a door. If you have a swimming pool, make sure that your dog knows how to get out.
  • For you and your Vet:

 Your dog has already been tested for the following tick-related and fungal diseases :



Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

Valley Fever

See insert enclosed in your adoption packet for more information on tick-related diseases.

    • Valley Fever.  Dogs contract Valley Fever by inhaling spores distributed by wind and construction, and probably by digging and poking their curious noses in rodent burrows.  Many dogs become infected with Valley Fever but do not become visibly ill or have only mild symptoms that goaway on their own.  A lot of dogs are not so lucky and get very sick from the fungus.
    • Your dog has already been tested for Heartworm.  Take your test results to your Vet for appropriate medication.  Give heartworm preventative medication once a month.
    • Rabies Vaccination certificate.
    • You have been provided paperwork showing proof of spay/neuter and dates of other vaccinations.
  • Flea Control
    • Your dog may have had one or more applications of flea and tick control.  The date(s) when this was given is on the Adoption Information page.  Make an appointment with your Vet to start a flea and tick control program.  Never use a flea collar or flea dip – these are toxic to greyhounds!
  • 1-800 GHOUNDS and Loose Greyhounds
    • GFFL has provided you with a 1-800-GHOUNDS dog tag.  You must keep this on your dog’s collar AT ALL TIMES and you must keep the collar on the dog AT ALL TIMES.  Your dog has been assigned a number with GFFL that includes all your contact information.
    • Should your dog get loose, call the 800 number immediately.  We will help you find the dog by calling the local shelters, police, etc.  We can also put together a poster with a photo of you dog and get volunteers to put up the posters and help look for the dog.
    • If someone finds your dog, they can call the 800 number, read the ID number on the tag, and we can call you.  If you aren’t reachable at the time that the dog is found, someone in the group can pick up the dog and keep it safe until it can be returned to you.
    • Order a personalized tag with your contact information as soon as possible and use the temporary tag provided until it arrives and is attached to the day collar.

Words To Live By:

Can’t Keep Jack, Bring Him Back!

And Never Let Go of That Leash!


2017-08-23T14:27:19+00:00 March 21st, 2014|Care Package|


Susan Netboy

Founder, Greyhound Friends for Life and Greyhound Protection League



You must expect an adjustment period and, during this time, and you must spend quality time with your new hound.  If you work, your evenings will be committed and you might have to get up a little earlier.  Not so much of a problem if you are at home all day, but then you must remember your new dog DOES need to rest!

The adjustment period varies from dog to dog, but unless you have chosen to make a new life for a badly treated dog, you should see marked improvement in a very few days.

A few basics first:

  • Always have fresh water available in a location where it will not be knocked over by human or animal.
  • Dogs are creatures of habit and a schedule for exercise, eating and sleeping will add to the dog’s security. 
  • Public access gates to the dog’s area should be padlocked; those within your property should be latches that dogs cannot open.
  • Your dog should have his own area.  A place with a blanket that is his alone.  This is NOT a place for punishment.  Placing your dog in a corner with a dunce cap does not work anyway!
  • Dogs like to please the pack master (YOU, as adopter) and regular training exercises will benefit both dog and owner.  Training can be as little as the “shake hands” variety to an obedience course.  An obedience course is highly recommended.  There is no better way to get a dog to respond to a new adopter (and vice versa!)  The rewards are tremendous.

A few other things for your consideration…perhaps reminders if you have previously adopted (or been adopted) by a Sighthound (ie, Greyhound, Afgan, Saluki, Borzoi, Deerhound, Wolfhound, Whippet):

All Sighthounds are chasing (coursing) hounds.  Your new Sighthound should NEVER be allowed off-lead in an area that is not closely fenced.  Whippets, for instance, can wriggle through a very small opening (don’t leave your car windows down more than ½ inch).  And Afghans notoriously (and some of the other hounds less often) climb!  Watch carefully for this tendency in your fenced back yard the first few days.  It may be amazing, but all too true, as you watch an 80 pound Greyhound climb a six foot cyclone fence.

The former life of your rescue is not always known.  Most Sighthounds get along wonderfully with children IF they have been raised around kids.  It is dangerous to assume your new dog will like children.  It is also threatening to the dog to have an 18 month to 5-6 year old stagger, run, walk or jump towards him.  You must remember the Sighthounds were hunters and this ancient art is inborn in any hound, no matter how many years he and his forebears have spent on someone’s couch!

2017-08-23T14:27:19+00:00 March 21st, 2014|Care Package|

Separation Anxiety

Separation Anxiety

Greyhounds are bred and raised on greyhound breeding farms, where they spend their puppyhood in the company of many other greyhounds of all ages.  When they are taken to the track for training and racing, they are housed in kennels with 70-100 other greyhounds.  It’s therefore not surprising that some of these dogs have separation anxiety issues when they are adopted, especially if they are an only dog and the family is gone a large part of the day.  This is why we suggest leaving the dog alone, starting with a short time period, then increasing the time alone, from the time the dog is first adopted.  Use of a crate is highly recommended to keep the dog and your home safe while getting the dog used to being alone.

Below are some links dealing with separation anxiety issues.
National Greyhound Adoption Program. (
Northeast Ohio Greyhound Rescue. (
Medical Alert Advice.  This article talks about separation anxiety in both pets and their owners  (
2017-08-23T14:27:19+00:00 March 21st, 2014|Care Package|

Kids’ Pet Safety Tips

(For adopters with children, “Childproofing your Dog” is a “must read”!)

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Get permission from the owner before you pet Rover.

Many dogs are very friendly, but some dogs are not.  Make sure to ask the owners if their dog is friendly and if it’s okay for you to pet the dog; make sure to also ask your own parent or guardian before you pet somebody else’s dog.  And be sure to follow all of the safety tips!

“May I pet the puppy?” is what you say to ask an adult if it’s okay.

It is also important to ask an adult before petting puppies, especially when the mama dog is present.  Mothers of almost any animal are naturally protective of their babies.

Petting under the chin is where you’ll begin.

After you have received permission to pet a dog, you should pet the dog under its chin or on its chest.  This way the dog can see where your hand is and what you are doing.  Many dogs don’t like to be petted on the top of the head.  They might think you are trying to hurt or dominate them.

A dog may sniff your hand in order to understand.

A dog’s sense of smell is much, much greater than our own.  Dogs use this sense of smell when greeting and getting to know newcomers.  If a dog smells you to get to know you, let him sniff the back of your hand.  This will keep your fingers out of the way as well as not threaten the dog.

If a dog has a bone, you must leave him alone.

If a dog has a snack, you must keep back.

If a dog is eating or is chewing on a bone or other item, he or she might think you are going to take it away, which could cause the dog to protect what it has by growling, snapping or biting.

Respecting their space can save your face.

It is common sense to keep a respectable distance between your face and the teeth of a dog, even if it is the family pet. Though humans bring their faces close together with others in affection, dogs may feel threatened and protect themselves by growling, snapping or biting.

If a dog is asleep, don’t make a peep.

If a dog is startled out of sleep, he or she might feel afraid or threatened and snap at you before waking up completely.  Dogs should not be approached or touched when sleeping.  Call the dog’s name and make sure that he or she is fully awake before touching the dog or getting close to the dog’s bed.

If you run and shout, it can freak a dog out.

A shy dog may think you’re the bomb if your behavior isn’t calm.

The way you behave can influence the way a dog behaves.  If you scream, shout, run, or swing your arms or feet around dogs, dogs are more likely to chase or attack you.

Shy or nervous dogs can be even more affected by rambunctious children.  Being calm around a shy dog can make them feel less nervous and more secure.

Quiet and slow is the only way to go.

If you are scared of a dog, do not run or scream.  It is safer to walk away slowly and quietly.   As you calmly walk away, try not to stare into the dog’s eyes or the dog might think you want to fight.

Whether you’re a girl or a boy, never tease or annoy.

If you are teasing or annoying a dog, they can’t tell you in words that they want you to stop; but they can tell you to stop by growling, biting, or scratching.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

2017-08-23T14:27:19+00:00 March 21st, 2014|Care Package|

Greyhounds and Cats

Zuri GH and Kabuki Mangels-1

By Lee Lavery

Greyhound Guardians, Inc, Northwest Indiana

Anyone who lives with a greyhound and cats has seen some kind of interaction between the two species. If the greyhound has been properly cat tested and properly introduced to the cat, it can be a match made in heaven. If the greyhound has not been properly cat tested and not properly introduced to the cat, it can be a deadly combination.

We all know that not every greyhound is cat safe, and we all know that cat testing is not 100% accurate. However, if done correctly, cat testing can reveal a lot about a greyhound’s prey drive. Having cat tested greyhounds for almost eight years, I have learned that first impressions are not always accurate. I have always felt it wise to cat test a “raw greyhound” (fresh from the track) at least twice before placing it in either foster care or an adoptive home. The greyhound that shows no interest in the cat during the first test may well try to devour the cat during the second test. Conversely, what appears to be a high prey driven greyhound during the first test may be a totally uninterested greyhound during the second test. Keep in mind that there are many things that can taint a cat test, i.e. unfamiliar settings may agitate a greyhound causing them to either act out or withdraw thus giving you an inaccurate cat test. Strange noises or stimuli may draw the greyhound’s interest away from the cat, also giving you an inaccurate cat test. I strongly feel that it is always better to test as many times as possible before placing the greyhound and, if possible, place the greyhound in foster care with cats prior to adoption.

When cat testing raw greyhounds I have found that a four step process using two people works well. One person works with the cat while the other person works with the greyhound. Between the two people, the greyhound and the cat can always be kept under control preventing any harm to come to either animal. Initially, I like to start off with the greyhound being muzzled and leashed. While the greyhound is muzzled and leashed, the cat is held in front of the greyhound’s face. If there is little to no reaction the cat is allowed to get down and walk around (I have seen many, many high prey greyhounds that will completely ignore a cat until the cat is moving). If there is still little to no reaction the cat is picked up and the greyhound is un-muzzled and we start the introductions all over again. If the greyhound is still showing little to no interest, the cat is allowed to walk around with the greyhound still leashed but un-muzzled. By this time, if the greyhound has shown little to no interest in the cat we consider him/her to be cat safe.

Once a greyhound has been cat tested and is placed in a home, the family should always be given a muzzle and encouraged to use the muzzle until the introductions to all existing house pets have been made and things have “settled down” a bit. This process might actually take a couple of days (or a couple of weeks

[baj]). I’m not saying the greyhound should be muzzled for the entire time; however, the greyhound should only be un-muzzled when there is strict supervision between greyhound/cat meetings. I also strongly recommend the use of a crate until everyone in the family – animal and human – is completely comfortable with the situation. Once the greyhound is well integrated into the home and family, it is fairly common to allow the greyhound and the other house-pets free, unsupervised run of the house. I do advise anyone with cats to arrange some sort of “escape route” for them, just in case. This can something as simple as a baby gate that the cat can get over or under, while still preventing the greyhound access to a certain area of the house where the cat can “relax.”

While, very often, greyhounds and cats can peacefully cohabitate with one another in the comfort of their own home, one must consider the potential dangers of allowing cats and greyhounds to run freely together outdoors. In all the years I have been working with greyhounds, cat testing greyhounds and placing greyhounds in “cat homes,” I have seen only a select few greyhounds that were cat safe outdoors. In most cases, there’s something about the “great outdoors” that can change a cat safe greyhound’s prey drive in a heartbeat. The most cat safe greyhound inside the house can become a very determined hunter in the backyard. I have seen my own greyhounds, which live quite peacefully with six cats, try to attack one of their feline housemates in the yard. It almost seems that the greyhounds don’t understand that that cat in the yard is the same cat they sleep with on the sofa. To put it bluntly, in dealing with cats and greyhounds, if they are outdoors, all bets are off.

Sadly, I have received more than a handful of tearful phone calls from adopters telling me their cat safe greyhound killed their cat out in the yard. This always upsets me for more than one reason. Reason one, obviously, is the death of the cat. Being chased down and killed by a greyhound must be a violent death for a cat. Reason two is the senselessness of it all. There is no reason for this to happen if greyhound adopters will only heed the advice of their adoption representatives and never, ever allow their greyhounds and cats to roam the yard together.  We stress to all our “cat families” that greyhounds and cats in the yard together is a deadly combination no matter how cat safe the greyhound may seem in the house. We explain to them that greyhounds are hunters by nature and this is not something that can be un-learned. The bottom line is that, to a greyhound, if it’s small and furry and moving in the yard – it’s mine!

So, can greyhounds and cats live together harmoniously? Yes, many can if you understand the rules and follow them. Rules Quimby and Blueberry Foss-1  are put in place for the well being of all parties involved in any given situation and, unfortunately, breaking the greyhound/cat/yard rule may well end up in disaster, for you and for your cat.  

2017-08-23T14:27:19+00:00 March 21st, 2014|Care Package|



Suzanne Stack, DVM

Greyhound bloodwork has enough differences from “other dog” bloodwork to sometimes make it deceivingly “normal” or “abnormal” if one isn’t familiar with these differences. The salient differences are discussed below.UniverseDU5R0628

CBC = Complete Blood Count

RBC = Red Blood Cells

Hgb = Hemoglobin

PCV / HCT = Packed Cell Volume / Hematocrit

WBC = White Blood Cells


Greyhounds                             Other Dogs

RBC:                   7.4 – 9.0                                   5.5 – 8.5

Hgb:                    19.0 – 21.5                               12.0 – 18.0

PCV:                   55 – 65                                     37 – 55

Greyhounds have significantly more red blood cells than other breeds. This elevates parameters for RBC, hemoglobin, and PCV / HCT, and is the reason greyhounds are so desirable as blood donors. Most veterinarians are aware of this difference. Never accept a diagnosis of polycythemia – a once-in-a-lifetime-rare diagnosis of pathologic red cell overproduction – in a greyhound.

Conversely, never interpret a greyhound PCV in the 30’s – low 40’s as being normal just because it is for other dogs. A greyhound with a PCV in the 30’s – low 40’s is an anemic greyhound. Here in Arizona, a greyhound PCV < 50 is a red flag to check for Ehrlichia.


Greyhound: 3.5 – 6.5

Other dog:  6.0 – 17.0

Other greyhound CBC changes are less well known. The greyhound’s normally low WBC has caused more than one healthy greyhound to undergo a bone marrow biopsy in search of “cancer” or some other cause of the “low WBC.”


Greyhound:  80,000 – 200,000

Other dog:  150,000 – 400,000

Likewise, greyhound platelet numbers are lower on average than other breeds, which might be mistakenly interpreted as a problem. It is thought that greyhound WBCs, platelets, and total protein may be lower to physiologically “make room” in the bloodstream for the increased red cell load.

Confounding these normally low WBC and platelet numbers is the fact that Ehrlichia, a common blood parasite of greyhounds, can lower WBC and platelet counts. So if there is any doubt as to whether the WBC / platelet counts are normal, an Ehrlichia titer is always in order. The other classic changes with Ehrlichia are lowered PCV and elevated globulin and total protein. But bear in mind that every greyhound will not have every change, and Ehrlichia greyhounds can have normal CBCs.

Chem Panel

T.P. = Total Protein




                                      NORMAL VALUES FOR:
T.P.                               Globulin

Greyhound:               4.5 – 6.2                       Greyhound: 2.1 – 3.2

Other dog:                 5.4 – 7.8                       Other dog: 2.8 – 4.2

Greyhound total proteins tend to run on the low end of normal – T.P.s in the 5.0’s and 6.0’s are the norm. While the albumin fraction of T.P. is the same as other dogs, the globulin component is lower.


Greyhounds: 0.8 – 1.6

Other dogs: .0 – 1.0

Greyhound creatinines run higher than other breeds as a function of their large lean muscle mass. A study at the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine found that 80% of retired greyhounds they sampled had creatinine values up to 1.6 times as high as the top of the standard reference range for “other dogs.” As a lone finding, an “elevated creatinine” is not indicative of impending kidney failure. If the BUN and urinalysis are normal, so is the “elevated” creatinine.


Greyhounds: 0.5 – 3.6 (mean 1.47+/- 0.63)

Other dogs: 1.52 – 3.60

These figures are from a University of Florida study of thyroid function in 221 greyhounds – 97 racers, 99 broods, and 25 studs – so it included both racers and “retired.” While greyhound thyroid levels are a whole chapter unto themselves, a good rule of thumb is that greyhound T4s run about half that of other breeds.


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


M.R. Herron, DVM, ACVS, Clinical Pathology of the Racing Greyhound , 1991

C. Guillermo Couto, DVM, ACVIM, “Managing Thrombocytopenia in Dogs & Cats,”Veterinary Medicine, May 1999

J.Steiss, DVM, W. Brewer, DVM, E.Welles, DVM, J. Wright, DVM, “Hematologic & Serum Biochemical Reference Values in Retired Greyhounds,” Compendium on Continuing Education, March 2000

M. Bloomberg, DVM, MS, “Thyroid Function of the Racing Greyhound,” University of Florida, 1987

D. Bruyette, DVM, ACVIM, Veterinary Information Network, 2001

2017-08-23T14:27:20+00:00 March 21st, 2014|Care Package|


After fostering many different breeds of dogs, I was finally in the happy position to adopt one permanently. My choice was a greyhound because of the breed’s gentle nature and beauty.

I pursued the adoption through Greyhound Friends For Life, and through every step of the process, I was warned that sight hounds could not be let off-leash since they were unpredictable and prone to taking-off when loose. I said I understood and agreed to be extremely careful. I knew I had a fenced-in yard from which the dog could not escape, and that there was also an enclosed track/ball field behind the local high school where the dog would be able to run without getting away- so I adopted a beautiful boy named Lad.

Lad was special from the moment I met him, and within just a few weeks, had become a well-loved member of my family (which consisted of 4 cats, 1 potbellied pig, 1 small dog, and 1 husband). Although initially shy and reluctant to participate in the family, through basic obedience classes and patience, Lad became a well-adjusted, enthusiastic family member. From the day I had him, he was well-behaved and never tried to run away.

One evening during our walk in my neighborhood, my shih-tzu, Lindsay, managed to get her leash tangled with Lad’s and wound around his legs. Without even thinking, I dropped the leashes to untangle the dogs, and in that brief moment, Lad took off at full speed, sending Lindsay tumbling in his wake. He ran away down a hill and out of my sight, ignoring my calls to him. I don’t know if he saw something off in the distance, or exactly what prompted him to take off at just that moment, but he never even looked back.

I heard, but did not see, the car that hit him, breaking his neck and my heart. That brief second’s thoughtlessness cost Lad his life, and will cause me sorrow for the rest of mine. I finally learned the lesson that everyone had been trying to teach me from the beginning: Don’t let your sight hound off the leash.

For those of you who have let a greyhound into your heart, please do not let him run free. You can never take back the few seconds it takes for an accident to happen, and when it does, it will haunt you forever.


2017-08-23T14:27:20+00:00 March 21st, 2014|Care Package|

Need Help??!!!


Everyone at Greyhound Friends for Life realizes that owning your first (or second, or third, or…) Greyhound is an exciting time.  We also know that you’ll have lots of questions.  Please feel free to contact us.  And remember, there is no such thing as a “stupid question”.  We just want you and your dog to be as happy as possible.

Barbara Judson (

(510) 525-3844
(510 506-6225 (cell) 

Marni Parmar (

(510) 520-6030 (cell)


General Information


Should your Greyhound become lost, immediately call the 1-800-446-8637 (1-800-GHOUNDS) so that the group can help locate your pet for you.

If, for some reason, you are unable to keep your Greyhound, you must return it to GFFL, rather than placing it in a home yourself or taking it to an animal shelter.


  • Shampoo:  Use an all-natural shampoo formulated for dogs.  Oatmeal/aloe shampoos are particularly good for soothing the skin and helping to get rid of dry skin.  Citrus shampoo as a second scrub on black dogs enhances sheen.  Oxydex helps clear blackheads and dandruff.
  • Flea Control:  Do not use flea collars!  GFFL recommends Frontline or Advantage products.  See your veterinarian for advice on which would be best for your dog.
  • Grooming Supplies:  Large nail clippers, curry brush, toothbrush and CET or Petrodex toothpaste.  Oticlens or OtiRinse is useful for cleaning ears and drying inner ears after bathing.  Talk with your veterinarian for products to use for ear infections and wound management.
  • Collars:  Day collar with GFFL and personal ID tags (must be left on the dog at all times), Martingale-type collars (no choke chains), harness if preferred, strong 4-foot metal clamp or buckle leads (NO Retractable Leads).
  • Kennels:  500 series kennel for most female greyhounds, 700 series for males.
  • Dishes:  Metal or ceramic (avoid plastic)
  • Food:  Any premium dog food (eg, Canidae, Nutro, California Natural, Eukanuba Premium Performance, Wysong, Nature’s Recipe, etc.).  Avoid foods with “animal by-products”, wheat, or corn.  Supplements can include brown rice, cottage cheese, canned dog food (small amount), vegetables, and some fruits (peaches, apples, blueberries).
  • Anesthesia/Tranquilizers:  Ketamine/Valium followed by isoflurane or halothane gas or propofol-isoflurane.  Avoid ketamine-rompun-ace (KRA).  

Contact Information:

Barbara Judson


If you’d like to help with a donation, please contact:

Barbara Judson

 P.O. Box 6863

 Albany, CA, 94706-1682

(510) 525-3844 or 1-800-GHOUNDS (446-8637)

2017-08-23T14:27:20+00:00 March 21st, 2014|Care Package|

Setting Realistic Expectations of your New Greyhound

The ex-racing greyhound has had a completely regimented life until the time he goes into a home.  From puppyhood, he has been on a schedule of exercise, feeding, turnouts for peeing and pooping, and sleeping.  The only prohibition in a racing Greyhound’s life is not to get into a fight—or eat certain stuff in the turnout pen.

This is the life of a racing greyhound—

From weaning until he goes away for serious race training, usually at 1 to 1 1/2 years, he eats, grows, and exercises with his siblings.  When he gets to the training kennel, he is put into a separate crate in a large kennel, usually housing about 70 greyhounds.  Although these crates are in rows and stacked, the greyhound has its own space and no one touches or startles him without warning.  A dog hears a vehicle drive up or the kennel door being unlocked.  The light switches are flipped on.  The loudmouths in residence, and there always are some, begin to bark or howl.  The greyhound is wide awake by the time the human opens the door to his crate to turn him out.  A greyhound has never been touched while he was asleep.

The greyhound is fed on a strict schedule.  There is no choice of food; the greyhound’s bowl is put in front of him and there is no chance to eat any other dog’s food or get food from another dog.  The greyhound and his food are not touched or disturbed while he is eating.

Turnouts are also on a strict schedule.  The greyhounds are placed in a turn out pen and it isn’t long before they get the idea of what they are supposed to do while out there.  Unless the greyhounds really get out of hand, they can chase, roughhouse, jump, and put their paws on the other dogs.  The only humans the greyhounds know are the trainers and handlers who bring food and turn them out to go to the bathroom.  Respect people? Surely you jest.

In a greyhound’s life, there are no surprises, day in and day out.  The only thing that is wanted of the greyhound is that he will win, place or show, and he doesn’t have much control over this.  It is either in his blood, his heart, or his fate—or it is not.

And when it’s not, the greyhound, in a very brief period of time, is often expected to be a well‑trained pet when it goes into an adopter’s home.  He is dropped in a totally unfamiliar world without warning or training.  But adopters don’t realize the greyhound may not even understand English and most don’t know their name because they don’t need to.  But suddenly, the dog is expected to behave himself in places he’s never been taught how to act.  He is expected to take responsibility for saying when he needs to go outside, to come when he is called, told not to get on some or all of the furniture, and to not eat food off counters and tables.  At first, almost everything he does may be wrong.  Suddenly he is a pet, expected to know the rules and the schedule, even when neither exist.  We get calls from adopters saying “He won’t tell me when he has to go out.” What kind of schedule is that?

There is no more strength in numbers for him.  He is left alone for the first time in his life, in a strange place with no idea of what will happen or how long it will be before someone comes to him again.  In many cases, one of his first experiences with his new family is punishment, something he doesn’t understand in the middle of the rest of the chaos.  After all, what are the most common human reactions to misbehavior?  We live in a violent society, where the answer to any irritation is a slap, punch, kick, whip, or rubbing your nose in it.

When first left alone, if the greyhound is not crated, he may go though walls, windows, or over fences, desperately seeking something familiar, something with which to reconnect his life.  If he does get free, he will find the familiarity within himself:  the adrenaline high, the wind in his ears, the blood pulsing and racing though his heart once again—until he crashes into a car.

Many adopters expect their greyhound to have the manners of at least a 6-year old child.  But what responsible person would leave an unfamiliar 6-year old human alone and loose in a home for hours at a time and not expect to find who knows what when they returned home?  Also, consider that a person who did this with a 6-year old child could be brought up on charges of child abuse, neglect, and endangerment.  Yet people frequently do this with Greyhounds and this is often the reason for so many returns.

Adopters must assume that they are dealing with a 2-year old, not a 6-year old.  Too many dogs have been returned within the first few weeks because they did not know how to tell the adopter when they had to go out.  Or for jumping on people, getting on furniture, counter‑surfing, separation anxiety, or defensive actions (eg, growling or biting) because of being startled or hurt.

Almost all adoptions can be successful if the adopters understand the background of these wonderful dogs and are willing to work with them.  Despite their lack of bonding with humans on the track, they are anxious to please and will respond with affection and loyalty to the adopter who is patient and gentle but firm in providing structure and training in a loving environment.

This is an edited version of a talk given by Kay. L. Gilley – delivered in Council Bluffs, Iowa on 10 Oct 98

2017-08-23T14:27:20+00:00 March 21st, 2014|Care Package|


This deadly stomach disorder

Can kill a dog in an hour

The death of one of America’s top show dogs has brought about a new awareness of the condition called bloat.  Even the TV show “The Simpsons” made a recent reference to bloat, when Bart’s dog (named Santa’s Little Helper) nearly died of what the vet called “a twisted stomach.”

But bloat is no laughing matter.

Bloat can kill a dog within an hour after its onset.  It affects 36,000 dogs in the United States each year and kills as many as 30 percent of those.  The cause of the ailment is unknown.

Morris Animal Foundation’s Bloat Advisory Panel defines bloat as “a sudden, dramatic and often fatal disorder characterized by the rapid accumulation of gas in the stomach, an increase in intragastric pressure, compression of surrounding organs, and shock.”

“Veterinarians call the ailment Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus or GDV,” said veterinarian Dennis Feinberg, Charles Towne Veterinary Clinic, Charleston, SC.  “The first part of the name refers to a rapid accumulation of gas in the stomach.  For some unknown reason the stomach doesn’t empty normally.  No food passes into the intestine, and no food passes in the other direction as vomit, either.”

“The second part of the name refers to what can happen to the stomach with this condition.  Sometimes the stomach flips over or twists clockwise on its long axis.  When this happens, the spleen turns with the stomach.  This turning compresses the caudal vena cava, one of the major veins carrying blood to the heart.  The blood supply is cut off from the stomach, spleen, and some other organs.  The dog goes into shock, and death in imminent.”

“Bloat is a medical emergency,” said Dr. Joel K. Jensen, Arden Animal Hospital, Arden, NC.  “If your dog exhibits any of bloat’s symptoms, take him to the vet immediately.  Any delay can be deadly.”

“A dog who is experiencing bloat will be very uncomfortable.  He may seem anxious, and may whine and pace the floor.  He may keep looking at his stomach, which may look swollen and distended, and he may try to vomit, with no results.  The dog will seem to be unable to get comfortable in any position.  Any of these symptoms are warning signs of possible bloat,” Dr. Jensen said.

Symptoms usually begin after a meal, though that isn’t always the case.  GDV has developed in dogs hospitalized for other conditions who haven’t eaten for more than twenty-four hours.

“When your dog arrives at the vet, the doctor will immediately try to pass a tube through the mouth and into the stomach.  If this succeeds, the gas and pressure can escape, stopping the attack.  If this procedure isn’t successful, the vet knows that torsion has occurred and the only treatment is immediate surgery to correct the twist,” Dr. Jensen said.  Even then, the dog isn’t out of danger.  While the blood is prevented from circulating, damage occurs to some of the organs in the body.  When the twist is corrected, the trapped blood rushes back to the heart.  It can carry damaged micro-organisms and small blood clots with it.  Vets call these “reperfusion injuries.”  They can damage the heart and other organs and may cause death within a few days.

At Purdue University’s School of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Gary Lantz is conducting clinical trials on treatment of reperfusion injuries.  “While his work is still experimental, the techniques look promising,” a leading bloat expert said.

“Owners of large or giant-breed dogs should be especially cautious as these dogs seem to have a much greater chance of developing the disease,” cautioned veterinarian Colin Burrows of the University of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine, who has been studying bloat.  “The giant breeds are more than 130 times more likely to experience bloat than dogs under 20 pounds, and the Great Dane is the breed most susceptible to GDV.  Older dogs are also at greater risk, and purebred dogs have the ailment four times as often as mongrels.”

“While there is no doubt that GDV results from the accumulation of gas in the stomach, the origin of the gas remains a mystery,” said Dr. Burrows who has been studying bloat.  Some people believe that diet plays a role in bloat.  These people are particularly suspicious of soy products because they believe these products cause gas.  However, no studies funded by Morris Animal Foundation give conclusions that implicate foods.  “Studies at the University of Florida and at Colorado State University suggest that diet is probably not the cause of the disease,” Dr. Burrows said.

While bloat may not be related to what the dog eats, how he eats may affect him.  Stress seems to be related to bloat.  “This is hard to test,” Dr. Burrows said.  “How does one define stress?”

Yet there is an increased incidence of bloat in dogs who have just returned from the vet or have been boarded in a kennel while the family was away.  Even the dog who is being shipped prior to or after breeding is under stress, and more likely to develop bloat.

“At the University of Florida, dogs who are subject to heavy metal rock music show signs of gastric distress,” Dr. Burrows said.  “Given the results of our stress studies, one cannot help but speculate that stress might be a major risk factor.  However, it cannot be the whole story, because dogs subjected to stress do not routinely develop GDV.  Also, this doesn’t explain the predisposition of large and giant breeds to contract bloat.”

Dr. Rob Hilsenroth, staff veterinary spokesman at Morris Animal Foundation (MAF), suggested that owners learn the symptoms of bloat and the risk factors related to the disease.  “Owners can take steps to help protect their pets from bloat,” he said.

MAF offers these guidelines for dog owners.  These are not guaranteed to prevent bloat.  They may help protect a dog, since they are based on suspected risk factors.

* In general, divide a large dog’s food into at least two feedings per day.  Avoid feeding only one meal a day.

* If possible, feed the dog when someone will be there to observe him for about an hour.  This person should be aware of warning signs and emergency procedures.  * Discuss emergency measures with your vet.  Some vets will recommend emergency procedures to uses while transporting the animal to the vet.

* If you have a dog who is at higher risk of suffering from bloat, develop a good relationship with your vet.  You should feel comfortable calling on the vet at any time of night or day.

* Water should be available to dogs at all times.  Limit the amount of water for dogs who drink too much after eating.

* Help the dog avoid vigorous exercise, excitement, and stress one hour before and two hours after a meal.  Walking is permissible; jogging and playing fetch are not.

* Feed dogs individually in a quiet place.  Dogs who feel they have to bolt down their food or protect it are under stress while eating.

* Changes in an animal’s diet should be made gradually over 4 or 5 days.  Mix a small amount of the new food into the old food for the first feeding, and gradually increase the amount of new food over subsequent feedings until only the new food is being presented.

* Special attention should be paid to all of the above any time the dog is under stress.  This is especially true during breeding season, after a trip to the vet, or while the dog is boarding at a kennel.

* Dogs who have survived bloat are at increased susceptibility for more attacks.  Preventive surgery or medical management should be discussed with the vet.

What’s in the future in terms of treatment and prevention of bloat?  Dr. Burrows said, “despite a great deal of study, the cause of GDV remains as elusive as ever.”  Some researchers believe the basic cause of bloat may be the result of a variety of factors which combine to block the stomach from emptying after a meal.

“Our research has taught us a great deal about what happens to the dog during bloat, and we have learned about medical and surgical treatment of the disease.  While some tantalizing clues exist as to its cause, we are still a long way from any comprehensive understanding of the disease.”

A new study funded by MAF is underway at Purdue University.  The two-year epidemiological study hopes to identify the many factors that predispose a dog to bloat.  It also hopes to pinpoint the factors that cause GDV so that veterinarians can predict, and hopefully avoid, the onset of the condition.  The study, which involves examining hundreds of medical records from actual cases of bloat over the last ten years, should be complete in the fall of 1993.

You can help support bloat studies.  Through grants to scientists, Morris Animal Foundation funds research on this deadly condition.  Donations to MAF can be ear-marked for bloat research.  Send contributions to:

Morris Animal Foundation

45 Inverness Drive, East

Englewood, CO  80112

 Barbara Backer is a frequent contributor to Good Dog!

 Dogs At High Risk For Bloat

  •  Basset Hound
  • Borzoi (Russian Wolfhound)
  • Bouvier de Flandres
  • Boxer
  • Collie
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • German Shepherd
  • German Shorthaired Pointer
  • Gordon Setter
  • Great Dane
  • Greyhounds
  • Irish Setter
  • Irish Wolfhound
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Saint Bernard
  • Large Mixed Breeds

Source: Burrows, C.F. and Ignaszewski, L.A.; (1990) Canine gastric dilatation-volvulus; Journal of Small Animal Practice 31, 495-501

Warning Signs of Bloat

  •  Whining
  • Pacing
  • Retching
  • Swollen or distended stomach
  • Dog can’t seem to get comfortable
  • Dog keeps getting up and lying down
  • Dog looks at stomach
  • Dog seems anxious

 Don’t delay.  Bloat can kill within 1 hour.  Call your vet or emergency clinic NOW!

 VET’S PHONE:____________________

NIGHT EMERGENCY:______________

Clip and post near telephone.

2017-08-23T14:27:20+00:00 March 21st, 2014|Care Package|