The recent news that 69% of voters in Florida voted to ban greyhound racing has left many people overjoyed. Florida housed 11 of the 17 active race tracks in the United States which will all need to be shut down by January 2021. While this is a fantastic advancement for the Greyhounds, it will put roughly 6,000 of them without homes. Rescues all over the United States and Canada are stepping up, and have been, to find these wonderful dogs their forever homes.
Before adopting a greyhound though there are some very important things to realize about this breed. Most rescues will even require some light reading and research before adopting one as they are unique. Typically, a key characteristic of greyhounds for new owners to know is how fast they can run and what that means. Greyhounds are ‘sighthounds’ which means they like to chase. If they see something worth chasing, they can take off and reach 40 miles per hour speeds. For that reason, they need to be kept on a leash when outside or in a secured fenced in area. You might have also noticed their slim figure and short coat, because of this they can get cold easily. Living in Canada, we know winter takes up a large part of our year, so it is good to be prepared with a warm coat for when they are taken on walks and even out to relieve themselves. Some may even get booties as well for the harsh colder days. Even inside the house, they will need to be kept warm, so have plenty of soft, comfy bedding for them to curl up on in different rooms of your home.
While they are often referred to as gentle, calm, or a ‘couch potato’ it is easy to forget where they have just come from. While living on the track, there are many things they won’t be used to that can occur day to day in their new home. Be careful and patient while introducing them to the many new things and experiences such as; small children, other pets, car rides, doorbells, stairs, slippery flooring, meeting new people etc.
As with any new dog, training should be done from day one. By working with them day to day on behaviour and new environments they will adjust to their new home and life in no time. Adopting shouldn’t be taken lightly as it is a long-term responsibility. Greyhounds can live on average 10-12 years and will need yearly check-ups with the vet as well as vaccines.
If you aren’t sure if a greyhound is right for you to reach out to your vet for more information, greyhound rescues (MGAP and GPAC here in the Maritimes) and local trainers.
Here are some useful links as well to check out!
Written By: Emma Foster, Veterinary Assistant