ANESTHESIA ~ Certain types of “standard” anesthesia medications should not be used on Greyhounds at all. Before having any surgery done on your dog, you MUST make sure your vet is aware of these things.   For an excellent overview of anesthesias and their use in the greyhound read Dr. Suzanne Stack’s article on Greyhound Anesthesia.

CHOOSING A VET ~ Many veterinarians have an excellent reputation for being Greyhound-savvy. If you find out from friends that your vet has sufficient experience with them, that’s fine. But don’t just ask him/her and assume that a positive answer means the knowledge is really there. Educate yourself beforehand on what anesthesia protocols are recommended for sighthounds and then discuss them thoroughly with your vet. If your vet holds the opinion that a sighthound can be treated just like any other dog of comparable size, it’s time to find a new vet! GEM provides a listing of vets from various areas, that we feel comfortable recommending, in the home visit packet you receive prior to adoption.

COMMON PESTS ~ Flea and tick prevention – “Normal” flea and tick products can be extremely dangerous to Greyhounds.  GEM recommends Frontline (spray or drops) and Advantage (drops). Frontline is also effective on ticks. Recent studies have shown Advantage to be more effective than Frontline, but Frontline is still an excellent product.  Be sure to follow directions provided with these products carefully.  Frontline and/or Advantage should be available from your vet or from various veterinary supply catalogs, both printed and online.  DO NOT USE FLEA COLLARS! Flea collars contain chemicals, which go directly into a greyhound’s blood stream and can cause serious health problems and possibly death.  NEVER FLEA DIP your greyhound!

Capstar is a flea pill you can get from your vet.  Using that in conjunction with Frontline will solve an immediate flea problem.  Capstar begins killing immediately and continues to kill the fleas for 24 hours.  That is just about the time you need for Frontline to kick in, which is 36 hours.

To learn more about fleas and ticks, visit Michael Dryden’s website.  It is a wealth of knowledge from a veterinarian dubbed “Dr. Flea”.

INSECTICIDES ~ Try to keep in mind that insecticides used in your home or in your yard (as well as some weed killers) can be very dangerous for a Greyhound.  These products should not be used without verifying their safety for your pet first.   If you use a lawn service, find out exactly what chemicals they use before they treat your yard. Some lawn treatments can be fatal to greyhounds. Do not allow your greyhound to walk on any chemically treated areas. Lawn services such as Chemlawn, Lawn Doctor, etc. are required to mark treated areas with yellow flags. If you use lawn chemicals please make us aware of this.

CHOCOLATE ~ Chocolate contains theobromine, a substance that is toxic to dogs. Chocolate should be kept out of reach at all times.

PAINT ~ Exposure to oil base paints can cause a variety of reactions in your dog. If you are painting your home it is best to arrange to safely have your greyhound elsewhere. If this is not possible the dog(s) should be put in a safe and well ventilated area of the house away from the fumes.

HOUSEHOLD CHEMICALS ~ Many harsh detergents and chemicals are used in connection with house cleaning and home remodeling. For example, if you use the continuous cleaning type of toilet chemicals like Tide-E-Bowl, make sure the toilet seat is kept down.

HEARTWORM PREVENTION ~ This is a MUST!  GEM recommends that the dog be kept on heartworm preventative year round since most heartworm preventatives also help control other internal parasites. They used to say you could go 2 years between testing, but recently that has been changed to every year.  If for some reason you decide not to keep the dog on heartworm medication for the winter, you must have a heartworm test repeated in the spring before you resume giving heartworm pills.

GEM has had your greyhound surgically altered, provided its initial one year inoculations for rabies and distemper, had him/her tested for heartworm, and treated with panacur (a broad spectrum wormer which kills hook worms, whip worms, and round worms).

The following veterinary care should be acquired by you within two weeks:

  • Wellness Visit ~ GEM recommends that you take your greyhound to your veterinarian for a wellness visit. The doctor can establish a profile of your dog when it is well. Also bring the medical records you received from GEM.
  • Stool sample ~ A stool sample should be taken to your veterinarian for parasite testing.
  • Worms ~ There are four types of worms that can be found in dogs. The following are the recommended medications:
    – Cextex or Droncit ~ The best for tapeworms. Tapeworms look like rice (young worms) or linguini (mature worm segments) in a dogs stool.
    – Panacur or Ivermectin ~ These are very broad spectrum wormer for hookworm, roundworm, and whipworm. However, if your dog has been diagnosed with ONLY 1 of the 3 worms listed here, you may be given a wormer that is specific for that variety of worm.  After your dog has been medicated for worms, you must wait at least three weeks to take a stool sample to your veterinarian.
  • Do not panic if your dog still has worms. It sometimes takes a second dose to completely rid your greyhound of worms. GEM worms all greyhounds when they arrive with either Panacur or Ivermectin but a second dose is sometimes necessary and can easily be provided by your vet.
  • Dental Care ~ Ask the veterinarian to show you how to brush your dogs teeth.

At your annual veterinarian visit, in addition to a routine checkup, your greyhound should receive:

  • A Rabies Vaccine ~ Depending on the state and/or town, a rabies shot will need to be given every one or three years.
  • Distemper Vaccine ~ A combination shot for distemper and other viral diseases.
  • Heartworm Test ~ If this test was not done at the well visit or your greyhound was taken off the preventative it is imperative it be done at the annual visit.

You and your veterinarian may notice that your greyhound has one or more of the following:

  • Scars ~ This is common with greyhounds as they have thin skin and may have banged into another greyhound on the track, or scratched themselves on a fence, etc.
  • Bald Spots ~ This is not a skin problem. Due to the greyhound’s diet on the track and being kept in a crate the hair is rubbed away.  Some greyhounds have very slick bald stomachs and rears.  Sometimes you can experience regrowth of the hair, but if that’s just they way your greyhound is, expect baldness to be his/her norm.
  • Tartar ~ The soft diet the greyhounds receive at the track tend to cause tartar build up on their teeth. With the feeding of dry food only you should see an improvement within a few weeks. You should also brush your greyhound’s teeth with a dog toothbrush and toothpaste at least once a week. If this does not clear up, it is recommended that you have your dogs teeth cleaned by the veterinarian.
  • Pieces of ear are missing ~ It is not uncommon for greyhounds to be in very close quarters. This closeness sometimes causes them to squabble and an ear can get bitten. This does not mean that your greyhound is aggressive.
  • Bursars or swollen elbows ~ Greyhounds have very little body fat and almost no padding on their joints. If they are forced to lie onhard surfaces for prolonged periods of time fluid may accumulate. Consult your veterinarian if your dog has this condition.  A soft quilt or dog bed will keep this from recurring.
  • Shedding ~ It is common for a greyhound to shed. This will occur twice a year. Weekly grooming with the hounds glove or rubber curry comb and Prozyme will minimize the amount of shedding. Greyhounds have a thin coat with no undercoat, their shedding is minimal compared to what would be experienced with many other breeds and is comparable to that of most smooth coated breeds such as boxers, whippets, italian greyhounds, bull dogs or other breeds with a similar smooth coat.

The following are areas of caution for greyhounds:

  • Bloat ~ All large chest cavity dogs are susceptible to bloat.
    Simply, bloat is a rapid build up of gas in the stomach/chest area.The stomach/chest area twists and significantly reduces the air intake. If this occurs your greyhound will lie down and gasp for air. He may also pace continuously. If this should occur you have approximately 30 minutes to get him/her veterinary care. Bloat can be avoided by not allowing strenuous exercise before and after eating, eating two moderate meals a day (not one huge), and not allowing your greyhound to gulp water excessively. GEM recommends that you feed your greyhound using elevated food bowls.
  • Anesthesia Sensitivity ~ If your greyhound needs surgery in the future please note that greyhounds are very sensitive to anesthesia.
  • Tickbourne Diseases ~ Has your greyhound ever experienced any of the following:
    – High Fever
    – Depression or Lethargy
    – Anorexia
    – Anemia
    – Diarrhea or Constipation
    – Loss of appetite or loss of body weight
    – Vomiting
    – Nose Bleeds, Skin Hemmorhage or any other unusual bleeding
    – Swollen legs or lymph nodes
    – Nervous system disorders, such as a stiff gait, head tilt, seizures or twitching.
    – Pale gums and/or inner eye membranes
    – Arthritis

There are four tick born diseases that can be the cause of these symptoms. They are Lyme disease, Ehrlichiosis, Babesiosis or Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. The only way to confirm if your greyhound may have a tick borne disease is through a blood test. Tick borne diseases are treatable. Your veterinarian will prescribe a treatment plan.

GEM wants you to know exactly what to expect if your dog has been spayed/neutered just prior to adoption.


… your greyhound to be groggy for the first few days after surgery. Each day the dog will get better.

… that your greyhound will need to go to the bathroom more frequently for a few days.

… that your greyhound may vomit the first night from the anesthesia. Nothing is wrong.

… that anesthesia may cause coughing.

… your greyhound to be tender and sore for a few days.


DO …

… give your dog only a small amount of water, with a few ice cubes, the first night. Don’t allow uncontrolled water drinking.

… check the incision every day for the first week. If it is red and/or inflamed call GEM or your veterinarian.

… go to the veterinarian for suture removal, if the sutures are not the dissolvable type.

… keep your dog in a crate more the first week. Rest and relaxation are the key to a speedy recovery.

… call GEM or your veterinarian with any questions.


… let your dog jump!! If you must go up/down from a high place, pick the dog up by placing one arm behind the rear legs at the knees and the other arm on the dog’s chest. Gently lift and place the dog.

… feed your greyhound the first night. If you must, out of guilt, offer it food, and limit it to 1/4 cup. Then get the cleaning solution (Natures Miracle), a bucket and paper towels to clean up the vomit that will result!!!

… let your greyhound run or jump for 14 days following the surgery. This applies to both males and females.

… give your dog a bath for 14 days following surgery. Your dog has been given a thorough flea and tick bath prior to surgery.

… let your dog lick or chew on the stitches. If this happens, use a muzzle and tape the bottom half. You can also put men’s underwear on the dog, with the dog’s tail coming out the slit. Please keep the shorts on the dog while in the house. Remember to remove them when you go outside or they may get wet.


Interesting Fact:

How old is your dog in people years?
Dog’s Age Under 20 lbs 20 – 50 lbs 51 – 90 lbs over 90 lbs
6 40 42 45 49
8 48 51 55 64
10 56 60 66 78
12 64 69 77 93
14 72 78 88 108
16 80 87 99 123
18 88 96 109
20 96 105 120