Snuggly soft stuff ~ the heat and the cold
SLEEPING ACCOMMODATIONS - Because of the way Greyhounds are built they need a soft place to sleep and nap. Hard floors, or even carpeted floors without good cushioning, can cause pressure sores. Of course your couch and your bed will usually be your hound's napping spot of choice, but even if you allow this (and most of us do, I'm afraid), he should still have a space/bed that he can call his own. You can spend anywhere from $5.00 to upwards of $100.00 on a dog bed. Or you can make your own. Here are a few ideas:
- Futon chair pads are very thick, large and round.
- Sleeping bags are great and wash easily in the washing machine.
- Twin size comforters are perfect size and wash easily.
- Thrift stores such as Salvation Army and Goodwill sell cheap used comforters.
HEAT and COLD - Again with the body fat (or lack thereof). Greyhounds carry very little "insulation". Therefore, they are more sensitive to extremes in both heat and cold than other dogs. This is not to imply that they can't live happily in a variety of climates. Thousands of Greyhounds are flourishing in homes from Canada to Florida. But you do need to be aware of their needs regarding the weather.
In the first place, Greyhounds are inside dogs. They should never be kept outdoors without shelter for extended periods of time. Racing kennels are usually carefully climate controlled, as should your Greyhound's environment be. In summer care must be taken not to let your hound overheat. Sometimes this might mean restricting his exercise on very hot days. Even though they may feel uncomfortable from the heat, they will still often want to run, not knowing it can hurt them. If you walk your dog, you should do it during the coolest parts of the day in summer. Basically, if it's uncomfortable for you, it will be even more uncomfortable and possibly dangerous for him. You should familiarize yourself with the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke and be prepared to deal with it fast if you should see those signs in your dog. Even at rest a Greyhound can become dangerously overheated during extended periods of exposure to high temperatures. In hot weather your dog should always have access to a comfortable resting place in the shade. Air conditioning is nice, but a fan should be sufficient in all but the hottest weather. A spray bottle of cool water to be sprayed directly on the dog is also handy, especially on walks. Dehydration can be a quick and instant killer for the Greyhound. Stress-Dex is an excellent electrolyte restorer (I call it doggy Gatorade, its even orange!) and it can be found in most stores that sell horse supplies.
In winter many people dress their Greyhounds in special cold weather wardrobes. This can be a lot of fun, at least for the humans, but depending on your situation, may or may not be necessary. If you have a securely fenced yard in which your dog can stretch his legs and take care of business, he probably will not need to get dressed up for a quick trip outdoors. Just don't forget to let him back in quickly! But if you must (or just want to) walk your dog in cold weather, a warm coat becomes more of a necessity than a fashion statement. The rule of thumb is that if you'd be cold without a coat, your dog will be cold, too. Some Greyhounds are, of course, more sensitive to cold than others. Even if you feel comfortable, if your dog is shivering, he's cold. If you walk your dog in places where salt or other chemicals have been used to melt ice, you should invest in (or make) a set of booties for him. It may sound (and look) a bit silly, but those chemicals can burn his feet and also do internal damage if he licks them off. If you run across these chemicals unexpectedly, be sure to wash off your dog's feet in warm water as soon as you get home. In extremely cold weather you should take care that his sensitive ears are warmly covered, too.
A few Greyhounds, usually older ones or very small ones, can be uncomfortably cold even in the house. You don't want to turn up the heat so that it's uncomfortable for you. This is where a sweatshirt can come in handy. A medium or large sweatshirt, will fit most Greyhounds fairly well. You'll need to shorten the sleeves and put a drawstring or elastic in the waist so that it doesn't hang down loose. Maybe invest in some "Jammies" for your furry friend!