Frequently Asked Questions

Page updated 2011

The questions are not exhaustive but do represent common queries. If you have further questions you can contact Debbie direct - by telephone or text message on 07879 615471 or by sending an email to homing@greyhounds4u.co.uk please put Greyhounds in the subject line).

Why do you insist on a successful "home check" before allowing visits to see the dogs?

We have found that a successful home check is essential for the well being of our dogs. For the security and safety of the dog we need to be able to see for example, that your fences are high enough and that you do live where you say you do. It is also a chance for you to put any questions you may have about greyhounds to your home checker. The home checker is not there to interrogate you. During the initial stages of contact, Debbie will ask you many questions about your home situation and what you want from a pet dog. She does this not too be nosey, but to be able to create a shortlist of dogs that would suit your lifestyle and preferences. If you were to view the dogs first and "fall for one" that we believed to be unsuitable in your situation, disappointment would occur and there could be an "awkward" situation for us. This is particularly true where children are concerned, they could become very upset if the dog that they had spent time with and become fond of was not to subsequently join their family. Our priority is the long term care and well being of our hounds, but from the shortlist of suitable dogs provided, you are free to make your choice.

Do you home your dogs to families with very young children or babies? Many other rescue organisations have refused us because we have a 2 year old child.

Yes, we do. The vast majority of greyhounds are "child friendly". Having said that, we need to find one suitable for the age of your child/children. A young "puppy like" and very bouncy greyhound would be better placed in an active home with older children, otherwise a young child could be too easily knocked over. For very young children, generally a slightly older, more sensible and "laid back" hound would be better. Each adoption is assessed separately and we can guide you towards a selection of hounds which we feel will suit your circumstances. Please consider for a moment that the our volunteers and Debbie have spent (in the vast majority of cases) many months and sometimes years working with each hound that we have available for adoption and therefore they know the dogs very well.

Are your dogs housetrained?

We can't offer any guarantees for this. However greyhounds are generally "kennel clean" creatures and are accustomed to toileting outside. In most cases the dogs work it out straight away, providing of course you give them plenty of opportunities to perform. You do need to praise them well once they have performed outside so that they very quickly learn to "want" to use that place again. They thrive on praise and will soon work out that toileting outside gets it for them. A small minority of greyhounds, most commonly bitches will refuse to toilet on any surface except grass, you may have to look for a grassy patch for your dog to perform on whilst on a "lead walk".

I have a cat and I am concerned because I've heard that greyhounds are "cat killers", is this true?

Let us first state that all dogs of any breed are a potential danger to cats. The difference with a greyhound is that they are fast enough to catch them. We have however successfully homed greyhounds to cat owning families. Most greyhounds will "detrain" with cats, a few will never be safe. Finding one suitable to share life with a cat is another reason we feel that we need to get a shortlist of suitable hounds ready for you. Careful supervision is required with every dog in the early days, until you are 100% that the dog is trustworthy. If you have a cat "with attitude" life is simpler. One good swipe from your cat's claws is often sufficient to put a greyhound "off" cats for life! Don't forget that even though your dog will eventually accept cats from his/her own "pack", any "unknown" cats could still trigger the chase instinct. Debbie's own three hounds happily live with 10 cats and also used to live with a pet rabbit.

Why do you only have a "mobile" contact number? I would like to enquire about homing a greyhound, but I am worried about the cost.

Sorry about that, but as our homing centre is run by volunteers from their own homes, we felt that posting home phone numbers on the internet was a security risk. If you don't want to phone Debbie's mobile you could send a text message instead. Please leave your name and a "land line" evening phone number and Debbie will call you as soon as she is able to. (Land lines are preferable, but not essential. Debbie finances all the homing phone calls from her own pocket and she too has concerns about costs.) Alternatively, send an email to homing@greyhounds4u.co.uk. We guarantee that we will not pass your details on to any third party. Your details are for the exclusive use of the Greyhounds for You homing team.

Where are you located? I can't seem to find the information on your website.

The dogs are kenneled in Hampshire. As the homing centre is run by volunteers, appointments are essential to ensure that routine is maintained for the dogs and that the kennels continue to run smoothly.

I live in a flat, does that mean I don't qualify to adopt one of your dogs?

Not necessarily, living in a flat is not always a problem but there are important issues that need consideration before we make a decision. Examples of these are: What floor do you live on? Ground floor is preferable because racing greyhounds have never encountered stairs before. Some take longer than others to work stairs out and some never do. Do you have a private garden? If not, consider if you are you really prepared to take your dog out in "all weathers", several times a day and possibly occasionally during the night to accommodate it's toilet needs. Are you a tenant or are you buying the flat? If you are a tenant, we would like to see written confirmation from your landlord that pets are accepted. If you are buying, please check for any restriction in your leasehold agreement. If you have young children, have you considered what will happen if your pet needs to toilet and your partner is out for the evening. Who will care for your children in your absence? What if you are ill and feel unable to take the dog out? Please do not be put off by these questions, we do not wish to discourage people from adopting a greyhound but there are "issues" that need investigation. Debbie, our founder and "team leader", actually lives successfully in a ground floor flat, which has a private garden with her hounds and 10 cats.

I work full-time can I home a greyhound?

Yes, possibly. This very much depends on your situation. If you work close to home and are dedicated enough to return home every lunchtime to see to your dog or are willing to recruit a "dog walker", another family member or good reliable friend to care for your dog a little during your absence then we may home to you (subject to a successful home check). In our opinion leaving a dog alone most of the day and naturally most of the night (whilst you are asleep) is not fair to the dog. Greyhounds thrive on human companionship, a hound who is "abandoned" may become distressed, destructive or otherwise unhappy. The well-being of the greyhounds is our prime concern and as such if you cannot answer with a firm yes to all of the above then no, until circumstances change, we would not home one of our greyhounds to you.

You keep mentioning a "shortlist" of suitable dogs, what does this mean and why do you do it?

We have found, through experience that the most successful way to home our hounds is to match them to the adopters' needs. Once Debbie has ascertained your domestic situation, working hours and what you want from a pet greyhound, she can build a list of dogs which she believes would be suitable for you. For example, if you have no children, are at home all day and have no other pets and simply want a companion dog, your choice of suitable hounds is almost unlimited. If you work part-time, have 2 cats and children under 5 years old your choice will be more restricted. This is because Debbie needs to find a selection of hounds who are both "child and small animal friendly" and who are content to spend time alone. If you are of the "older generation", mobile but not up to hour long walks, then she needs to find a hound who is content to have company without excessive amounts of exercise. Our motive for the shortlist of suitable dogs is to "get it right" first time. There is nothing more distressing to our dogs or us than a dog being returned from a comfy, warm home because the dog didn't suit the person's lifestyle.

I can't home a dog at present, but would like to "help" in some way, what do you need?

The best way you can help is by promoting greyhounds as pets to everyone you meet, give them our web address or Debbie's phone number. Alternative ways you could help support retired greyhounds can be found here.

What do you do with dogs considered "unsuitable" for homing?

We never destroy a dog unless it is on the advice of a veterinary surgeon for medical reasons. In the case of the rare few "unsuitable for homing" hounds we have, we feed, house and give daily care to them until such time as they "pass on".

How much do you charge for a dog?

We ask for a donation of £120 when you home a dog. This is a minimal amount, which helps us towards to cost of feeding the remaining hounds and will provide you with the dog, a collar, a lead, a muzzle and a copy of the "Homing Pack". The homing pack is a comprehensive information booklet "geared" to the needs and queries of a new owner.

Why do you supply a muzzle, does that mean greyhounds are vicious?

No, greyhounds are not vicious dogs. We give you a muzzle for safety reasons. Please remember that ex-racing greyhounds have only ever met other greyhounds. They have never seen or encountered any other breed of dog. At first we recommend that you keep your new hound muzzled. Introduce it to as many different shapes and sizes of dogs as you possibly can, whilst keeping it under control on a firmly held lead. Praise friendly reactions and discourage growling or lunging with a firm "no". Once your hound has stopped the undesirable behaviour praise him/her immediately. Your new hound will soon work out what earns him/her favour and oblige you. Greyhounds thrive on attention and will willingly "detrain" once they learn that it pleases you and that they earn special "good" attention by being sociable with other dogs. Some dogs accept other breeds straight away, others take a little longer. Keeping your dog muzzled in the early days is a protection for both you and other people's dogs. Once you are certain of your dog's reactions you can, if you wish, dispense with the muzzle. Some greyhound owners prefer to keep the dogs muzzled when "off lead", as it's quite common for greyhounds to "sight" rabbits and squirrels, they are quite capable of catching them too. Further advice on socialisation and the use of muzzles can be sought from Debbie, who will be happy to address any concerns you may have.

Is there any benefit to owning more than one greyhound and on the contrary, are there any "down sides" to owning more than one?

Yes there are several benefits to owning two or more greyhounds. Greyhounds are pack animals, in most cases a greyhound has always lived with another, generally of the opposite sex. Greyhounds are social animals, they enjoy canine companionship. This is particularly true and of help to your dog if you go out to work and leave your dog for any length of time. A pair will enjoy playing chase together and curling up together for a snooze. A shy dog can really "come out of it's shell" when it has a confident companion. A young and boisterous dog can be naturally calmed by the company of an older, more sensible companion. In most cases we advise that if you have a male dog, your second animal should be a bitch and vice versa. However with some animals, depending on their temperaments you can successfully home two or more animals of the same sex.

With two or more animals you will need to be observant so that you can establish which of them is the "pack leader". We advise that the pack leader is assisted by you to maintain that position. This can be done very easily by greeting, feeding and fussing the pack leader first. If you have a favourite who is not the leader and always go to that one first, you are upsetting the pack order. Aggression, confusion or unexpected behaviour may be shown by the dogs. In nature there is always a pack leader, the pack leader is responsible for the safely and welfare of the pack so generally it will be the one who is strongest in character (not necessarily the biggest or fittest). The humans in the household obviously need to be the real pack leaders, but whilst you are away from home your dogs will be there with a canine one too.

There are some potential problems with more than one dog. The two animals must be compatible. Two dominant bitches for example will never work - fights will likely result. We have found that in the vast majority of cases a bitch will rule over a dog. Problems are generally seen as early as the first meeting of two dogs, which is why if you have a dog already we ask you to bring it with you to the kennels to meet it's potential future companion. A friendly response by both dogs will likely work, if one is aggressive, or overly nervous of the other, a different animal will need to be chosen.

Another potential problem is that of the pack instinct. By this we mean that if one of your dogs chases another, they will all likely chase it. The excitement generated will most likely turn your dog deaf and blind to all other things - you included. We strongly recommend that newly homed greyhound are always muzzled off lead until you are 100% sure your dog is safe around all other breeds. If you have a "pack" of greyhounds this is advisable even when they are considered safe. Sometimes much like people, a dog will instantly dislike another for no apparent reason, a dog's natural instinct is to "pack" and back up their leader.

I've heard that greyhounds suffer from particularly bad teeth for their age, is this true?

Some greyhounds do suffer from having bad teeth, others will have perfectly good ones. A lot depends on what sort of food your dog has been fed in racing kennels and whether or not they were kept almost entirely muzzled or just muzzled when travelling/racing. There are also variations between dogs of the same age who are fed the same food. Much like people, some dogs have strong trouble free teeth and others need dental help.

Most racing kennels feed a "sloppy" style food. It is generally a high quality mixture of minced meat, "soaked off" biscuit and vegetables. They are fed sloppy food to keep their hydration levels at a peak. The negative side of this type of food is that it has no abrasive qualities and sticks to the dog's teeth, this causes a build up of plaque and tartar over time. The use of muzzles can occasionally be another problem.

Some kennels may feed a harder style food and their dogs may have better condition teeth, there are no guarantees however, every dog is different.

There are effective and inexpensive ways of improving your dog's teeth after adoption. If you regularly feed your dog a selection of pig's ears, dried tripe, raw bones, tough rawhide chews, raw chicken wings or poultry necks you will begin to notice some of that built up tartar and plaque coming off the dog's teeth. A very useful, effective and economical aid to tooth cleaning is to give your dog a month long course of Fragaria (homeopathic remedy). See Ainsworths Homeopathic Vets under our Links Page. When used in the correct dosage and combined with the aforementioned hard foods you should notice a dramatic improvement in your dog's teeth over the month of treatment. Cleaning your dog's teeth with a toothbrush and "doggy" toothpaste is fine if your dog's teeth are healthy to start with and can be continued with good effect after they are clean. Brushing alone will not remove tartar nor will is cure rotten teeth. Fragaria and hard foods/chews will not cure rotten teeth either, but they will help to remove a build up of tartar, making it easier for your vet to see if there are any real problems or not.

If your dog has cavities, inflamed gums, difficulty managing hard chews or any sign of illness/infection take your dog to a vet. A dental clean up with the possibility of extractions may be required. It is vital to have rotten teeth removed otherwise they will become a source of pain and quite possibly serious infection for your dog. We have seen some cases where greyhounds have had untreated infected teeth/gums. Usually the dog is unable to eat without crying, weight is lost, coat condition declines and of course the dog becomes depressed due to constant pain. If infection sets in , it can lead to septiceamia and it is possible that the dog may die if no veterinary treatment is given.

Costs for dental treatment vary considerably depending on what is required, only your vet is qualified to guide you as to what treatment, if any is required. If you can schedule a dental in with anaesthetic treatment for something else (e.g., neutering) your dental costs will be reduced, as only one dose on anaesthetic will need to be paid for.

Some greyhounds require no dental treatment at all upon adoption, some may benefit from a general clean up and a few will benefit from having extractions.

Page updated - 2011