What should I feed my greyhound?
Greyhounds, retirees or otherwise, do not need a special diet. The same nutritional values that we apply to all dog breeds also apply to a greyhound. So what should I feed my greyhound becomes more generalised to what should I feed my dog.
Whether an owner chooses to work with a complete dried food, canned meat and fish or cook their own, the important thing is that a dog is provided with a well-balanced diet that meets their needs.
A healthy canine diet includes a combination of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, minerals, vitamins and water. Achieving a nutritious and balanced diet is no accident.
Many pet food manufacturers place a great deal of time and resources in developing a formula that suits the needs of our canine companions. Owners should take their time when selecting what to feed their dogs.
There is no definitive answer to how much you should feed a greyhound. There are guidelines based on weight which is a good starting point but the final decision should come from the owner.
Dog have different metabolisms and varying exercise routines. The combination of these two factors leads to more or fewer calories being burnt off. If a dog is losing weight, feed them a little more. If a dog gains too much weight, feed them a little less.
Avoid the "pour and guess" technique. Owners should decide on a measurement of food and stick with it for a period of time. Whether it is an exact weight, weighed out on scales or a specific canister used over and over, it is important to be consistent.
Monitor weight, review a dog's energy levels and determine whether the quantity is right.
Foods to avoid
Some foods should be avoided as they cause gastric upset and, in extreme cases, toxicity which can be fatal.
Milk and dairy products.
Lactose intolerance is a common diagnosis amongst dogs and why milk and dairy products are listed as a food group that dog owners should avoid.
Similar to humans with the same intolerance, dogs cannot produce the chemical that breaks down lactose. They develop acute intestinal symptoms which will grow in severity if digested regularly.
Owners should look out for excessive gas, loose stools and vomiting after having milk or lactose based products. Certain individuals may not suffer at all, or the volume of intake is not enough to upset their tummies.
My grey Tipps loves to lick out the yoghurt pot and has never had any negative reaction. When I decide on what to feed my greyhound, i usually try to refrain from processed food but he does love a few licks off a yoghurt pot.
The cocoa bean, which is used in the marvellous creation of chocolate, produces a compound called theobromine. This chemical can induce the same affects as caffeine and cocaine - both also very toxic for your pet pooch - and results in increased heart rate, excessive sweating and panting and in some cases, fatality.
Dog's digestive systems cannot process theobromine at the same rate as humans, leading to a build up of toxic levels, making it easy for poisoning to occur.
The effects of this poisoning will depend on the concentration of theobromine, the volume consumed and the size and weight of the dog. Certain dogs may only face an upset stomach, vomiting and diarrhoea. Those worst affected could experience muscles spasms, seizures, internal bleeding and heart attack.
Too much salt in a dog's diet can result in sodium poisoning. In years gone by, Salt was used by vets to induce vomiting in animals but this was stopped with more research.
High levels of salt in the body can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, seizures, severe injury to the kidneys, coma and even death.
All owners should ensure that there is a fresh bowl of cool water available for their much-loved mutts. Although not healthy, dogs can lose all their body fat but a loss of just 10% water fluid can see serious illness start to develop. Canine dehydration or a negative body fluid balance occurs when the body is losing more fluid than it is taking it.
Water is essential to body functionality. Dehydration effects in dogs are similar to those in humans. Mild forms of dehydration can be treated quickly and easily and leave no lasting damage but extreme cases can be fatal.
Moderate dehydration symptoms will include:
- Reduced skin elasticity; if the skin on the back of the dogs back is pinched and pulled up gently it should spring back into place. If not, this could be a sign of dehydration
- Lethargy and lower levels in a dog's energy. Seeming weaker than normal and unmotivated or depressed.
- Trembling or shaking. Body tremors are a common symptom of dog dehydration, but also of a lot of other reasons. Greyhounds in particular chatter their teeth and have muscle convulsions.
- Dry gums, mouth, nose and sunken eyes
If an owner suspects their pet is dehydrated, they should start to monitor their dog's water intake. Encourage them to drink more. Change the water frequently to ensure freshness and make available at all times. Add water to food or try out new water based treats like ice cubes. If a dog remains unresponsive to increase their water intake, veterinarian advice should be sought.
Severe dehydration symptoms will include:
- Loss of appetite and not drinking at all.
- Drunken style walking or collapsing and inability to get up
If a dog is distressed and showing any of the above signs, veterinarian advice should be sought immediately.