Diet & Exercise
YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT
Muscle is dense and heavy. Unless your dog is getting a lot of hard exercise, he is naturally going to lose some of those muscles. If you try to add five pounds to your dog’s weight too quickly you may actually be adding ten pounds of fat as it replaces the muscle weight. This is likely to be unhealthy for the dog. Excess weight and fat cause unnecessary strain on their hearts (shortening their life expectancy) and also result in many forms of lameness.
A good quality kibble is fine as a basic diet. Good quality does not necessarily mean expensive, nor does expensive necessarily mean good quality. Look for one with meat as the first ingredient and with no soy products. Some recommendations are: Nutro Lamb & Rice, Iams Lamb & Rice, Exceed Lamb & Rice (from Sam’s Club), Pro Plan or Science Diet are also acceptable. Foods that have dyes, sugars or other additives listed should be avoided such as Kibbles-n-Bits.
Adding various veggies makes it more interesting and tastier for your dog and adds nutrients without adding a lot of calories. Low fat yogurt (plain) and cottage cheese are excellent and yogurt has the added benefit of helping to reduce excess gas. Greyhounds usually seem to have less stomach upsets if they are fed twice a day rather than once.
If you feed dry kibble, it should be moistened thoroughly. This helps prevent choking as the dog eats, and also helps prevent bloat (which can kill quickly) afterwards when the dry food absorbs stomach fluids and expands. Also, to avoid deadly torsion, never let your dog run or play too hard right after eating. If your greyhound tends to eat it’s food very rapidly, you may want to place a racquet ball or other type of rubber ball of similar size in it’s dish with it’s food or turn another small dish upside down inside the larger feeding dish, either of which will slow the dog down while eating and should help keep it from gulping food and thus swallowing air.
Too many treats can be like giving your dog an extra meal without realizing it. But a couple of crunchy dog “cookies” or raw carrots each day, especially right after eating soft food, are very good for their teeth and make a nice treat for the dog.
FEEDING YOUR GREYHOUND
GEM strongly recommends that you restrict your dog’s exercise before and after eating. The following are the guides for feeding:
- Strenuous exercise – There should be no strenuous exercise, 2 hours before and 2 hours after a meal. Strenuous exercise can induce bloat.
- Feeding Balance – Feed 2 meals per day of even amounts (for example 2-3 cups a.m. and 2-3 cups p.m.)
- Weight feeding guide – The average female of 60 lb. should eat approximately 2-4 cups per day. The average male of 70 lb. should be fed approximately 3-5 cups per day. The amount fed depends upon how much exercize the dog is getting, less exercize = less food, more = more.
- Gain weight – If your dog needs to gain weight, increase the amount of food by a quarter of a cup per feeding and observe for 2 to 3 weeks. The desired weight gain should take place.
- Lose weight – If your dog needs to lose weight, decrease the amount of food by a quarter of a cup per feeding and observe for 2 to 3 weeks until the dog reaches “fit” weight. Remember “Don’t change the type of food just the amount.” You can substitute that quarter cup with a quarter cup of cooked green beans, they add bulk and keep the dog feeling like they had a full meal without adding extra fat or calories.
- Treats – Limit the number of doggie treats per day. If you use the large biscuits, break in half, dogs like to get treats. They don’t care how big or small the treat .
- Prozyme – Prozyme is a great additive. It helps the coat grow in quickly and aids in digestion.
- Fresh water – Fresh water should be available at feeding times. Do not let your dog drink excessively after eating. Drinking too much water to quickly can cause bloat. Remember ” What goes in must come out”.
- Gags – If your greyhound gags on the dry food add some warm water. Also, gently massage its throat and soothe it. It is best to slowly wean your dog off the wet food as a good crunch does wonders for the teeth.
- Inhales – If your dog really inhales its food, use a Jell-O mold or a bundt pan for its dish. The center hole forces the dog to eat more slowly.
- Neck strain – To avoid strain on the dog’s neck you can elevate their food dish.
A good rule of thumb is that your greyhound should gain 5 lbs over the weight that he/she raced at, but this can vary from dog to dog due to body type and muscle density and is just a guide, overall appearance should be the deciding factor. You should always be able to see the tip of the backbone and a bit of rib on a greyhound. Also, there should be an area that indents between the ribs and tail. A greyhound should never look like a sausage!
Allowing your greyhound to gain too much weight can create health problems. Their bone structure cannot support extra pounds. The more excess baggage a dog has to carry around, the less it wants to move and the chunkier it becomes.
Greyhounds, don’t need to run constantly. It’s nice when they can, as long as they are fit enough to run without hurting themselves, and they do love it. Many greyhounds live happily in apartments with several daily walks and maybe an occasional trip a securely fenced area as their only exercise.
Greyhounds are bred for short bursts of speed and short runs. If they are provided a yard large enough for a few sprints, they’re happy and will spend most of the rest of the day sleeping.
BATTLING THE BIG “D”
Diarrhea / Loose Stool Diarrhea can happen with any dog. Some of the common causes of diarrhea are table scraps, cat food, stress, grass and garbage picking. All of these are controllable and care should be taken to avoid in the future.
The following is a simple schedule GEM recommends to combat loose stool / normal diarrhea:
- Withhold food for 12 hours and limit the water intake.
- Give your dog either Immodium or regular strength Pepto Bismol at the child dosage once.
- Cook white rice.
- After everything has cooled make a mixture of 1cup of rice to 1/2 ration of your dog’s regular food for each feeding (twice a day). The mixture should be served at room temperature. The amount of food can be increased if the diarrhea stops.
Once the dog has had three consecutive days of firm stool you can begin to introduce more of their regular food into the mixture. The introduction should be gradual (Typically no increases over 1/2 cup regular food).
The following is a simple schedule recommended to combat blowout diarrhea:
- Take your dog to a veterinarian for a shot of anti-diarrheal medication.
- Withhold food for 24 hours and limit the water intake.
The following is a recommended process for reintroducing food after blowout diarrhea:
- Boil boneless chicken or ground hamburger and drain off the fat (shred the chicken).
- Cook white rice.
The rule of thumb is: The dog must have 3 consecutive days of firm stools in order to Progress to the next level
- Level 1 – Mix 2 cups cooked white rice and 1 cup cooked hamburger or chicken and add 1/4 cup of regular dog food. 3 days of firm stools, go to Level 2.
- Level 2 – Mix 2 cups cooked white rice and 3/4 cup of cooked hamburger or chicken and 1/2 cup of regular dog food, 3 days of firm stools, go to Level 3.
- Level 3 – Mix 1 3/4 cups cooked white rice and 1 1/2 cup of cooked hamburger or chicken and 3/4 cup of regular dog food. 3 days of firm stools, go to Level 4.
- Level 4 – Mix 1 1/2 cups of cooked while rice and 1/4 cup of cooked hamburger or chicken and I cup of regular dog food. 3 days of firm stools, go to Level 5.
- Level 5 – Mix 1 1/4 cups of cooked while rice and 1 1/4 cup of regular dog food. 3 days of firm stools, go to Level 6
- Level 6 – Mix 1 cup cooked white rice and 1 1/2 cups of regular dog food. 3 days of firm stools, at the next feeding decrease the amount of cooked white rice by 1/4 cup and increase the amount of regular dog food by 1/4 cup.
Continue this regimen until your dog is back to their usual amount of dry dog food and then discontinue the rice. If at any time in this process your dog experiences diarrhea again you must go back to the cooked white rice & hamburger or chicken mixture only.
Note: For the first two feedings on the rice/hamburger or chicken mixture you may want to add regular strength Pepto-Bismol at the children’s dose.
Note: If the diarrhea does not slowdown, does not stop after three days, or you see blood in the stool contact your veterinarian immediately!!!