Retired racing greyhounds or 40-mph couch potatoes, as they are fondly called, make wonderful pets. If you have recently adopted one, congratulations on the new addition to your family!
The first thing you probably noticed about your new pet is that how underweight it seems. Unfortunately, retired greyhounds are not given proper nutrition as their more active and younger racing cousins so these retired fellows rely solely on their new foster families to nurse them back to their old, healthy selves. Here are ways to help yours out.
- Vet visits. The first thing you need to do after adopting your greyhound is to have a veterinarian examine him to rule out any diseases he may have. The doctor will also help you determine its ideal weight and teach you ways on how to help him gain it back. Ask your doctor what dog food he needs to be fed. You need to make sure that he gets all the nutrition he needs to make him healthier. Although he can gain weight from eating just about any type of dog food, it is your responsibility to make sure that he does so in a healthy way.
- Shop for food. You need not spend more for your greyhound’s food. Any type of dog food will do as long as they are of high quality. Most retired greyhound owners suggest dry food over soft or canned variety. Aside from health reasons, dry food helps your dog to keep its teeth in a good condition as the soft diet it has gotten used to during his racing career has made them bad. Your dog’s digestive system is also another thing you should consider because some dogs have digestive systems that are more sensitive than others. Buy foods that are high in fiber but low in fat. If your dog is a bit old, these foods will work well with him too. You can also shop for dog treats because greyhounds absolutely love them. Just make sure they are of nutritious quality too.
- Feeding time. Now that you have everything ready, you can now begin feeding your dog. Most retired greyhounds need to gain 3-5 pounds to achieve an ideal weight for pets. Help your dog gain weight gradually. Your dog needs to adjust to his new life as a pet so don’t stress him by hurrying the process. Since your greyhound has been used to a scheduled life in the race tracks, it will be good for him if you establish a schedule for feeding and exercise. Feed your dog twice a day. The sudden change in food may cause diarrhea so make sure you introduce his new food gradually to avoid it. Start by mixing his old food with the new one and gradually decrease the proportions of his old food in the days to come. Continue doing so until the new food is wholly incorporated to your dog’s diet. Give your dog an equivalent of 8 cups of dry food a day for the first few weeks or months. Continue giving him this amount of food until he reaches his ideal weight. You can usually determine it by checking to see if his hip bones are still visible. Once it is covered, you can now decrease feeding to just 4-6 cups to maintain your dog’s weight.
Caring for retired greyhounds is a good activity for the whole family. Just avoid over-feeding your dog to keep him well. Remember, a healthy dog is a happy dog so do your part to make sure he stays that way!