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Thinking About Adopting A Grey But Have A Few Questions


Guest SoleSky
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Guest SoleSky

Hello! I am new to the greyhound world and am thinking about adding a grey to my life but I have a few questions that I would love to have answered from the experts.

 

My first question is, how do greys do with an 8:00am-4:00pm schedule? I am a veterinary student and usually begin classes at 8:00am and finish the day around 3:30-4:00pm. I can usually make it home for an hour lunch break to let them out but there are some days when I cannot make it home. Most students have pets and theirs seem to do fine but I wasn't sure how a grey would do.

 

Second, I've heard they can have separation anxiety. I've dealt with fosters (not greys) with this problem before but it can be difficult to correct. Do many greyhounds have this issue and do they tend adjust over time?

 

Third, I am looking into adopting an older greyhound (she is 7) and I was wondering what sort of health problems I should be looking out for at this age? Hypothyroidism and osteosarcoma? Are they prone to arthritis?

 

My life style is very laid back as far as energy goes. I don't usually have the time to take long walks or go for runs but there is a park nearby that many students bring their dogs and it is fenced in so would be a good place to take the grey a few times a week. I also would be able to do two 20 minute walks a day in addition to all the potty breaks. I tend to take naps when I have the time and enjoy little outings like a small hike or walk around the neighborhood. I was looking for a grey because their lifestyle seemed to fit well with mine.

 

I am so excited to take the next step in adopting one but I just want to make sure I am doing right by the dog and that he/she will be happy. Do you think that my lifestyle will fit well with a grey?

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You'll be fine. I think as stated many times on this forum problems seem to get blown slightly out of proportion in internet forums as all the people that don't deal with it don't post and say their dogs are just fine. After 6 greyhounds and too many foster greys and other breeds to count the worst case of separation anxiety that I've seen is the terrier at my feet that was basically abandoned and tossed food once a day.

 

Most greys will do fine with your schedule, even if you don't make it home at lunch. However, if you do most days is there a trustworthy neighbor who could let her out/walk her on days you can't make it? Dogs love routines and I have paid stay at home Moms or retired neighbors to let my dogs out to potty for quite reasonable sums. If all they have to do is walk across the street or next door they don't expect the wages of a professional dog walker.

Everyone one here will tell you that greys are prone to osteo. Being a vet student you can most certainly ask your professors about the difference in normal thyroid levels in greys vs. other dogs. Many greys are mistakenly diagnosed with hypothyroidism - it happened to one of mine. Lumbosacral Stenosis happens but it seems to happen more often in the bigger boys. Been there done that twice. Arthritis :dunno if greyhounds are more prone than other large breed dogs - but I'm sure someone on here will know.

An older girl sounds like a perfect fit for your lifestyle. Keep us posted!

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Guest SoleSky

Thank you for all of the responses! I will definitely ask my professors what they believe to be a normal range for greys as far as hypothyroidism goes. My anatomy professor is really into greyhounds so he would likely know. As far as my schedule goes - I will be doing clinical rotations in my fourth year (I am a first year) but my family has agreed to watch over him/her for that time. I do worry about when I get into practice but I'm sure there are ways to still own a dog. I know many vets who bring theirs to practice.

 

This is honestly my biggest concern at this point but maybe it would be selfish of me to bring in a dog when I'm uncertain of my future schedule. I just really feel like something is missing from my life and I am so far away from home so really my friends are all I've got here. My school is in the middle of nowhere so there isn't much else to do around here but study and spend time with the dogs. I frequent the shelter and foster many different animals but it's just not the same as having your own as part of the family.

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I have 2 Greyhounds and 1 Galgo and they take up most of my time…now, both Greyhounds have corns and both have had back surgery..DaVid actually had the same surgery twice and Lady had disks taken out and two years later had disks put back in..she is my bionic dog! They are on pain meds every 8 hours. The Galgo is problem free, but only about 5 years old..When the time comes that I do not have anymore dogs, I plan on volunteering at a shelter…I figure I can make a difference to many dogs that way and not just to 3. Wish you the best in your adoption.

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Guest SoleSky

Thank you again for all of the responses! I've spoken to a lot of my friends and they think that there will be options available to us when we start working in practice.

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Welcome to GreyTalk! :)

 

Many veterinarians are Greyhound parents. Your current school schedule is similar to a standard work day which is fine; however, Greyhounds should be provided a potty break every 4 hours during day + evening. I agree re: prearranging a back-up plan for any days that you can't get home during lunch. The leashed exercise walk schedule sounds fine.

(All our own Greyhounds need 5-7 potty outings total per day/evening.)

 

Retired racing greyhounds often have a unique adjustment period when entering a new home because they've lived with other Greyhounds their entire lives, and most have never lived in a family home. Some Greyhounds adjust quickly and are fine becoming an only dog while others require more time and patience. Some need extra alone training; the majority progress well in time. Greyhounds are pack oriented and thrive being close to their person/people.

 

Considering your interest in a 7 year old, it could work for you. I wonder if she might be a brood matron(?). If so, many incorporate easily into home/family life. The broodie lying next to me is 14 years old.

One of our young foster Greyhounds was adopted by a (Greyhound experienced) first year vet student (far from family) who found it much more of an unexpected stressful challenge than anticipated, especially as school demands increased. Adopting a dog is similar in responsibility to adopting a child.

 

Many mid-age Greyhounds arrive into adoption groups needing an extensive dental before being adopted. Some require extractions. Ongoing daily tooth brushing is important for this breed. As retired athletes they can develop arthritis as they age. Osteosarcoma might not be detected unless there is a limp or spontaneous fracture.

If you know the hound's racing name, her racing history might reveal potential clues.

Answers to your medical questions can be found in this link (written by a Greyhound track veterinarian): http://www.greythealth.com/

 

Aside from time, care and expenses, another consideration is distance and transportation to visit your family during school breaks. Greyhounds are a very sensitive breed; after they've tasted home life, some don't adjust well to staying in vacation boarding kennels. If driving, consider if a Greyhound could travel with you for all family visits, and does your family have small animals that would require extra management in presence of a sighthound. Greys are temperature sensitive too.

 

BTW, some adoption groups discourage letting retired racing Greyhounds into (occupied) all-breed dog parks due to sighthounds' speed/prey/hunting instinct, and their thin skin (tears more easily than other breeds). Racers often become competitive when running with other dogs. Many Greyhound adoption groups arrange safer "Greyhound breed only" play groups where all Greyhounds are muzzled. (It's not safe to muzzle only one dog in a group of dogs because the muzzled dog is seen as an underdog (helpless target) who is unable to defend him/herself from non-muzzled dogs.)

 

Good luck with whatever you decide. :)

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Your situation sounds as good as anyone's I think. Unless maybe if you're retired and have a fully-fenced acreage (dream!) My DH and I both work full-time so Jake is home alone most of the day. Sometimes DH will go home during his work break, and sometimes not. Jake is usually napping so he doesn't really care either way. Then again, we do have a dog door so he goes out on his schedule.

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Guest SoleSky

Welcome to GreyTalk! :)

 

Many veterinarians are Greyhound parents. Your current school schedule is similar to a standard work day which is fine; however, Greyhounds should be provided a potty break every 4 hours during day + evening. I agree re: prearranging a back-up plan for any days that you can't get home during lunch. The leashed exercise walk schedule sounds fine.

(All our own Greyhounds need 5-7 potty outings total per day/evening.)

 

Retired racing greyhounds often have a unique adjustment period when entering a new home because they've lived with other Greyhounds their entire lives, and most have never lived in a family home. Some Greyhounds adjust quickly and are fine becoming an only dog while others require more time and patience. Some need extra alone training; the majority progress well in time. Greyhounds are pack oriented and thrive being close to their person/people.

 

Considering your interest in a 7 year old, it could work for you. I wonder if she might be a brood matron(?). If so, many incorporate easily into home/family life. The broodie lying next to me is 14 years old.

One of our young foster Greyhounds was adopted by a (Greyhound experienced) first year vet student (far from family) who found it much more of an unexpected stressful challenge than anticipated, especially as school demands increased. Adopting a dog is similar in responsibility to adopting a child.

 

Many mid-age Greyhounds arrive into adoption groups needing an extensive dental before being adopted. Some require extractions. Ongoing daily tooth brushing is important for this breed. As retired athletes they can develop arthritis as they age. Osteosarcoma might not be detected unless there is a limp or spontaneous fracture.

If you know the hound's racing name, her racing history might reveal potential clues.

Answers to your medical questions can be found in this link (written by a Greyhound track veterinarian): http://www.greythealth.com/

 

Aside from time, care and expenses, another consideration is distance and transportation to visit your family during school breaks. Greyhounds are a very sensitive breed; after they've tasted home life, some don't adjust well to staying in vacation boarding kennels. If driving, consider if a Greyhound could travel with you for all family visits, and does your family have small animals that would require extra management in presence of a sighthound. Greys are temperature sensitive too.

 

BTW, some adoption groups discourage letting retired racing Greyhounds into (occupied) all-breed dog parks due to sighthounds' speed/prey/hunting instinct, and their thin skin (tears more easily than other breeds). Racers often become competitive when running with other dogs. Many Greyhound adoption groups arrange safer "Greyhound breed only" play groups where all Greyhounds are muzzled. (It's not safe to muzzle only one dog in a group of dogs because the muzzled dog is seen as an underdog (helpless target) who is unable to defend him/herself from non-muzzled dogs.)

 

Good luck with whatever you decide. :)

 

Hello, thank you for the response. My dogs back home can go over four hours without a potty break, does this mean greyhounds are different in their needs? Not that it matters, I am mostly home every day for lunch. In addition, the park I mentioned is not a dog park but simply a fenced in area where students "sometimes" take their dogs. It is normally empty when I go. I would also never board my dogs. I worked at a boarding facility and I know the high stress environment/lack of hygiene etc. It's a breeding ground for parasites.. ick... Aside from that, I will be getting a grey that is good with cats, and small breed dogs to avoid the prey drive. I am also going to look for a grey that is fairly easily adaptable and outgoing. I know they exist. Which is why I was looking into the brood matron (which actually the one i'm looking at was never actually bred but she spent time at a breeding farm).

 

In addition, we are considering fencing in the yard at my house so a doggy door can certainly be an option in the future. Of course school is demanding but considering the amount of students with pets already (and multiples at that) I believe I can make it work. My only concern is making sure I adopt a dog who is OKAY with being an only dog. That being said I have friends who frequent the house who bring their dogs.

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You'll be fine. :) I adopted Summit in my third year of vet school. I specifically chose a greyhound as the best fit for my busy student life. We didn't have a yard and I didn't really live close enough to go home at lunch, so most days Summit hung out at home for 6-8 hours while I was gone, and we walked 3-4 times per day for exercise and potty needs. When I was home we'd hang out on the couch and study, or go to the dog park down the road from us with friends and their dogs. A lot of other students had dogs, and most of them had much higher energy dogs than I did. One of my classmates got a Ridgeback puppy right before final exams one year, and it turned out just fine. A greyhound is far more adapted to a student lifestyle than a lot of other breeds, so if they can do it... well then a greyhound will likely excel at it.

 

Kili I got fresh out of school. I graduated in May, moved in June, and got Kili in October. She was a lot more work than Summit since she was a puppy. I did take her to work with me for about the first 8-10 months because she had a lot of urinary issues and had to be let out frequently until we could resolve them. But since then my dogs typically stay at home instead of coming to work. At my last job I was able to go home every day at lunch, but at my current job that's not really feasible so they stay home all day. Generally the only time I bring them with me is if I know we need to be somewhere right after work (agility class or something), or if I know I'm likely to get stuck at work late (and/or my BF won't be home on time). Your work schedule is only as demanding as you choose for it to be. Yes, if you choose a specialty or to work at an emergency clinic you're probably going to have longer hours or weird hours, but that's something you choose for yourself and there are ways to work with it. My current job has 2 shifts, but regardless I'm only scheduled for 9 hours. Emergency hospitals have weird hours and sometimes you might get stuck a bit late, but it's not like they can legally schedule you to work 18 hours straight, you just might have to work a weird overnight shift. Dogs adapt to that. My dogs don't always get fed at the same time every single day, or get let out at the same time, but they always get fed 2 meals and they always get let out an appropriate number of times per day.

Kristie and the Apex Agility Greyhounds: Kili (ATChC AgMCh Lakilanni Where Eagles Fly RN IP MSCDC MTRDC ExS Bronze ExJ Bronze ) and Kenna (Lakilanni Kiss The Sky RN MADC MJDC AGDC AGEx AGExJ). Waiting at the Bridge: Retired racer Summit (Bbf Dropout) May 5, 2005-Jan 30, 2019

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Greys (and other dogs) can go longer than 4 hours without a potty break. I do know that is (or was years ago) an adoption requirement with many groups in the UK but I've never heard of it in the U.S. Pre dog door when I was gone for 7 to 9 hour shifts (including commute time) my dogs were fine. Once I installed a dog door and was home all the time I can promise you that of their own accord not one of my dogs has needed to potty every four hours. I used to laugh at Poodle and my greys sticking their heads out the dog door in inclement weather weighing how bad they needed to go vs. how nasty the weather was outside. I think 14 hours was the record. :)

Again, greyhounds are dogs. Quirky dogs with sometimes different blood values etc. but they are dogs. The vast majority of greyhounds grow up happy and healthy on farms in OK and KS. Outside 24/7/365 with a communal dog house in the freezing winters and a kiddie wading pool 100 degree summers. They shouldn't be outside only dogs but don't need the bubble wrap some want to swath them in. Certainly agree that greyhounds don't do well in boarding situations as I worked at a daycare/boarding kennel for several years and also agree they are a breeding ground for parasites and kennel cough - the latter because of stress. If you can't take your grey with you you can probably find someone to keep your dog in their home for far less cost and stress than boarding.

Go for it.

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Guest DarkHorse

Just echoing that they can absolutely go 8+ hours. I work from home most days, but the boys go out around 7:45 and then again around 5:15, because that's the schedule when I do have to go in to the office. If there's an emergency while I'm home, I'll absolutely get them out, but otherwise they're fine just to nap all day and come check out what I'm up to when I go into the kitchen for lunch. My dogs have almost always gone out 3 times per day - after breakfast (7:45-8), after work trip or walk in the winter (5:15-5:30), and then a pre-bed trip or walk in the summer (10-11). Every once in a while they need an extra trip or three, usually because of an upset stomach or some kind of medication, but three is their typical.

 

We don't board our dogs - they're either at home with a family member looking after them or they go to my parents' place. If a situation arises where there isn't someone to watch over them, they'll be "boarded" at the kennel we adopted them from or in a home environment. Otherwise they haven't really needed any special care outside of coats in the winter, sweaters when the bedroom in our rental place couldn't stay warm at night, and then martingale collars. In a lot of ways, they've actually been easier to handle than relatives' "normal" dogs - my parents' Lab, SiL's Dane, uncle's Jack Russell, and other SiL's white fluffy mutt have all had way more issues than any of our pups.

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Guest SoleSky

That's relieving to hear! I'm glad to hear both perspectives. I've been a dog owner my entire life - the troubled and the easy - not to mention i've fostered several dogs while in vet school (most were troubled) so when I hear worries that people have had I tend to blow it out of proportion. Plus I'm making a huge commitment which always causes me to worry no matter how exciting it is. But I just got done with finals and feel that I am ready to take on a grey. Thank you all for your wonderful advice, it has really been a great help to hear from everybody. Most likely I will be back on the forums - hopefully with a few family member :D

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As said above, I think you'll be a greyt Greyhound mom. Also, I just want to chime in about not needing to go potty every 4 hours. I'm retired and most days I'm home or run errands so am not gone long. Therefore, on most days, Annie could go outside every hour if she wanted. But even if I had a crow bar, I wouldn't be able to get her to go outside in our fenced yard to go potty every 4 hours. She just doesn't have to go, though like most dogs, if we're on a walk, she can squat and mark every 50 feet if she feels the need. At night, she goes 10 to 12 hours without needing to go potty. She can also do that during the day if I am gone for a long time.

 

BTW, my girl is 8 years old and I'm aware that in the future, she may have P&P issues, but right now, she's fine.

 

Dog parks: Some of us do them; some don't. I'm in the don't column. I have taken my Annie to them, but she doesn't enjoy them and there is no benefit for her, though there are a few negatives, so we just don't go.

 

Walking: Even though I have a fenced yard, Annie and I walk most days at least 3 miles, split between two walks, so I'm in the column that encourages walking. It's a good way to bond with a pup and I also find it fun. I love to look at my girl sniff, stop and listen, look around and walk. They have such a cute, springy walk. It's good exercise too because Annie uses the backyard just for P&Ping, though it's plenty big enough to do zoomies in.

 

Annie definitely has arthritis. Her back gives her pain if she's not on Vetprofin, so she takes a pill every day. It does the trick and she's always raring to go for a walk or follow me around the three levels of the house.

 

Good luck! Hope to see you back here with pictures.

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Just chiming in to add that I think you and many greys would do well together. The usual advice is to work with an adoption group who will help you find good possible matches.

 

Yes, greys have a higher incidence of osteosarcoma than many other breeds. I don't know the rates on hypothyroidism, but it can be over/misdiagnosed because some greys have a naturally low but balanced T4 level.

 

There can't be any better way to study canine anatomy than to admire a beautiful greyhound. :)

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Ellen, with brindle Milo and the blonde ballerina, Gelsey

remembering Eve, Baz, Scout, Romie, Nutmeg, and Jeter

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Some U.S. adoption guidelines are to provide daily access to eliminate a minimum of every 4 hours for animals' health and welfare. (Some stretch it to 5 or 6 hours.)

Professional racing kennels are required to provide Greyhounds a minimum of 4 turn-outs per day.

(16 hours of non-overnight sleep time = elimination turn-outs every 4 hours.)

 

Greyhound track and adoption kennels are climate-controlled since Greyhounds are temperature sensitive. (Many Greyhounds have died from excessive heat/cold exposure.) Fortunately, adoption groups require Greyhounds live as indoor only family pets; thus, dog doors allowing hounds access into a fenced enclosure to eliminate can be very helpful.

 

All our Greyhounds (various ages) + visitors or fosters happen to be supervised 24/7. We document all elimination outings. Their natural elimination needs happen to correlate with the every 4 hours during daytime guidelines. Generally, when they need to go, they really NEED to go. Our Greyhounds are trained to ring a doorbell when they need to eliminate outside. If we can't respond quickly, ringing communication escalates to hound ringing repeatedly to communicate their urgency level, then hound races outside to eliminate. Each dog has his/her own time limits. As expected, new hounds in a new environment, anxiety, or medical issues greatly increase frequency need. A male often waited 6 hours during daytime when younger, but later struggled with kidney problems.

 

OP: As mentioned, seems a mature, middle age Greyhound (female or male) could be a good fit for your situation. :)

Greyhounds are typically a calm, non-demanding (excluding meals and walks) breed. Many in that age range seem to adapt into home life nicely. Many retired racing Greyhounds appear particularly grateful to experience a wonderful home life.

 

BTW, if you're not already aware, even Greyhounds who test small animal tolerant doesn't mean they will not view small animals outside as potential prey. Outdoors in a Greyhound's mind often means Game On.

 

Best of luck re: potential adoption, and your veterinary medicine education! :)

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  • 3 weeks later...
Guest SoleSky

Hello all! After much searching I have found who I believe to be my new baby. She is a 2.5 year old black and white female. I will be picking her up on Thursday. I am so excited. I looked at the 7 year old and she had very bad teeth and a previous racing injury and the match didn't feel right but I fell in love with this girl they call Free.

 

So I bit the bullet and will be adding a new family member into my home! They cat tested her again and said she was cat tolerant. She gets excited around cats but not in an aggressive way so that is my only concern.

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Guest budsmom

Congrats! If she can be easily distracted from the cat you should be just fine. I'm on my 3rd, and 2 of them were curious about the cats, but never went any further than that. The cat will probably have a harder time adjusting than the greyhound! As someone said before, though, cat safe in the house doesn't translate to cat safe outside, stray cats or your own if it gets outside could be seen as prey, so just be aware of that.

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Congratulations! I hope we get to see some pictures of your new baby :). I will also throw in that I work from home and have a dog door, and both my hounds tend to choose to go out once in the morning, once in the later afternoon, and then later in the evening, definitely 4+ hours apart. I think she should do fine with your schedule.

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