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Plodder And Puller

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We've got two hounds a female 7yo (Daisy) and a male 6 1/2 yo (Charlie). Both ex-racers. Our female was diagnosed with arthritis which was more advanced than would be expected for her age. However, after initial treatment with anti-inflammatories she seems to have forgotten all about this and is desperate for walks and zoomies several times a day.


However our Charlie has always been fairly slow - before we got Daisy, Charlie was happy with very short walks and, although compliant, was never overly excited at the prospect or going out.


Then we got Daisy who lives for walks. It's always been clear that Charlie has a naturally slower pace than Daisy (and another couple of greyhounds I walk regularly) and he tires a lot sooner than the others.


Charlie also seems to feel the heat more (he's nearly 100% black) and if the sun is out while he's walking he'll pant and go even slower.


Our usual routine is 30 mins in the morning on lead and 45 mins in the evening on the lead, probably a couple of garden runarounds in between.


Now the weather is getting warmer I'm noticing that Charlie is very slow, even a 30 minute walk in the early morning sun seems to leave him quite tired towards the end and in need of encouragement to keep walking.


Aside from this he seems his usual self. He's eating like a horse, still wants to play with me lots. I'm just wondering if this is something I should be worried about or if some dogs just have much lower exercise requirements than others. I know that sometimes 8 year old are described as seniors but it seems early for Charlie to be slowing down because he's 'old'.


I've got his boosters coming up soon so I was going to mention to the vet but often their advice is to 'wait and see' and I'm never sure if I'm just another neurotic owner. I'm just wondering if I should be insistent on a blood test or anything like that - is there anything in particular he should be tested for?


Any thoughts much appreciated.


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Guest LazyBlaze

Blaze is the same age as Charlie, has a blue coat, and really struggles in any sort of heat at all. It completely saps him of all energy. During summer we try to walk on shady trails or at times when the sun isn't beating down. He just can't handle it.


With Charlie being generally slower notwithstanding the heat, you might want to get him looked over by a vet/vet physio/animal chiropractor just to make sure that he doesn't perhaps have some underlying pain from an old injury that you don't know about. We only found out after Blaze broke his front right wrist that he had probably been dealing with some degree of nerve pain/discomfort from the C7-T1 vertebrae for a long time (the fracture likely was a consequence of him having reduced control of his right leg due to the aggravated nerve). Even before the leg break he could labour on longer walks and scuff his toenails, which at the time we attributed to a lack of stamina on his part. So it could be that Charlie has some impairment somewhere that causes his muscles to fatigue more quickly, or maybe he's absolutely A.OK and it's just his individual character and fitness level. Might be worth getting him looked over just for your peace of mind.


I've decided that in future if I have another ex-racer (very likely!) I will get them checked over by a vet physio and chiropractor at the get-go, just to look out for any possible weak points that might benefit from early intervention and treatment.


Charlie sounds like a very sweet boy - give him an ear rub from me!

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Dogs are individuals, just like people, and have different energy levels and heat tolerance. I would have him checked over to be sure he doesn't have some underlying pain, but likely he is just a low energy guy. I currently have an 11 yr old with multiple chronic leg/shoulder/foot issues, so we only go for short walks. My other dog will be 8 in a few months, and is perfectly happy with these short walks. In fact, Conner always wants to keep going, even though he is limping, while Val is satisfied to turn back. She is also black, and feels the heat much more than Conner.


If he checks out ok, can you just walk him separately so he can go at his own pace?

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I also think it's the heat. As you can see from below, Annie is blonde, but she *hates* the heat. She may not know she hates it, but it's obvious in her demeanor on our walks that it bothers her body. She starts off with enthusiasm, but when the temp is warm -- anything above 50 is warm for her -- she slows down quickly. In colder weather, we usually walk 1.5 miles in the morning and another mile after supper, with turn outs in the backyard in between. With the sun and higher temps, I'm lucky if we get in a full mile in the morning. She pants, she lags behind, she stops in the shade. I will be taking a towel wet with cold water on our walks to rub down her body and feet. I'm hoping that will help a little.

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Desi was 7 when I adopted him (he's 13 now). He's black. He was slow, low energy, heat intolerant then, and it has only progressed with age.

He's on joint supplement & pain med......he's happy.....just happy to be in the a/c when it's hot (like Annie, above, anything over 50 is hot to him).

He is how he is, and I'm happy to oblige.

Blessed is the person who has earned the love of an old dog.

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Our grey is a red 'blonde' and his heat tolerance has shifted to a much lower temp than it was (he's ten, but it changed about two years ago). He used to like it best between about fifty and seventy Fahrenheit, but now it's probably thirty to fifty-five. He loved the couple-day cold snap last week (highs in the forties), and hated the eighties that came before.

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Guest flowerpotpie

My Emma has always been extremely heat sensitive which I thought odd for a desert breed dog. She is now 12 but this issue is always been very evident. I have had to take measures to keep her cool since she was about 6yrs even though our weather is typically not extreme. With even slightly warm days, her activity plummets and the deep panting starts.


Something that I have found helps is spritzing her coat until wet prior to walks. The fine misting has never bothered her and I do it until she is quite wet before setting out. I also carry a spraying bottle with me when possible and also have one in the car. She has come to identify the spritzing with relief rather than dislike, especially if we are on warm or shadeless pavement mid-walk. Sometimes I freeze 1/3 of the bottle and fill the rest so it's very cool. It gets her home.


Good luck with Charlie.

Edited by flowerpotpie
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None of mine do well in the heat.

And Nixon...turning 11 in a month.. has decided that he really does not care for long walks anymore.

He's a sniffer and a marker and has always been slower than Ruby and Nigel.

He still gets super excited when the leashes come out.... It's obviously that he wants to go walking.

So now we all go a short distance then turn around and bring Nixon home, then I carry on with the other two.


Perhaps you could try this, as long as Charlie is fine on his own while you take Daisy for a longer walk.


Nancy...Mom to Sid (Peteles Tiger), Kibo (112 Carlota Galgos) and Joshi.  Missing Casey, Gomer, Mona, Penelope, BillieJean, Bandit, Nixon (Starz Sammie),  Ruby (Watch Me Dash) Nigel (Nigel), and especially little Mario, waiting at the Bridge.




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Thanks all and sorry for slow responses, I hadn't checked the 'follow this topic'box. Yes I'll mention to the vet while I'm there but not worry until then as this sounds like it's quite common.

I've thought about walking separately previously but I'm not sure any of us could bare it! Maybe I should try (I'd be leaving him with my girlfriend) - is there a best/least upsetting way to go about walking separately?

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As long as there's nothing medically wrong with him, can you leave him home for the second, longer walk of the day?


That's an idea and I might give it a go, although I feel that it's good to get him out for at least a stretch of the legs.


I've also been looking at cooling jackets which might be worth a try.

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Guest KarenD

I have the same issue. When we fostered, the foster always walked longer. Other than the "stinky eye" she was okay with us leaving her at home when we walked the foster. Then we would come back for her for the short walk.

Heat.......we use those cooling kerchiefs that golfers wear? The kind that you soak in water first, then they swell a bit. I use them myself for outdoor work as well.

Good Luck

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Thank you. We went to the vet today for check up and boosters - the vet couldn't find anything of concern but was intrigued by a small dip in the middle of his back although this didn't seem to be causing him pain (I'm sure I've seen this in other people's greyhound pictures but I digress) so the vet said to bring him back if it seems like he's suddenly slowing down or shows signs of discomfort but other than that she's not concerned so I will focus on trying to keep him cool and look at walking separately.


This was the first time that me and Charlie had left Daisy (other than her dental) and she was so pleased to see him when he got back.

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The mid-back dip/dent is normal in Greyhounds' anatomy. Greyhounds' spines are more flexible (like a cheetah) allowing them to run with a double suspension gait.


Works well for our hounds to take walks together first, then stop at the house to drop off tiring elders. (Tired hounds are usually happy to be back home while others finish walking.) Otherwise, we juggle different walks: elder hounds walk separately from younger hounds.


All our hounds struggle if walking in heat. We're careful to walk in shady areas, usually early morning or late evening. Our hounds' most comfortable walking temperature is up to about 70 degrees F. (21 C?) Direct sun is hard on the temperature sensitive Greyhound breed (thin fur, no fur undercoat, thin skin, lack of fat layer, etc.), plus pavement often gets too hot for their paw pads.


I haven't seen any new reports of cooling coats proven to be effective(?); some previous tests resulted in cooling coats that trapped and increased dogs' body heat.

Perhaps the neck coolers might be more effective(?).

Slowly rinsing dogs legs, underside, and neck with cool water can help. We carry water bottles on hikes, and during Greyhound events, etc.

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