Body, Behavior, Basics


  • Teeth (Demonstration)Gromit img_4483 small
    • 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.
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  • 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 3-5  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 Windsor boarding facility, the dogs have access to the outside during the day and are crated at night.  You will want to take your greyhound out often (every 2 hours or so) at first and give praise when the dog does his/her business outside.  Dogs are fed at approximately 6:30 am and 4:30 pm.
    • 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”
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  • Exercise
    • Long walks are plenty of exercise for your retired racer.
    • Use extreme caution when entering a dog park.  Use common sense.  If your dog is not small animal safe, it is best to avoid dog parks unless there is a separate small dog area.  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. 
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  •  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 1 1/2 – 2 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 WillaIMG_5913apart, 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: IMG_0667
    • 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 some of the following tick-related and fungal diseases, depending on where the dog came from :




Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

Valley Fever

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

  • Valley Fever.  If your dog came from the central valley in California, or raced in the southwest or Mexico, they will be tested for 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 go away 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!