Adoption Handbook


Before your greyhound comes home… Study!

Purchase a copy of Adopting the Racing Greyhound by Cynthia Branigan or Retired Racing Greyhounds for Dummies by Lee Livingood. Read these books and keep them close by when you bring your Greyhound home.

The Adjustment Period

Recognizing the adjustment period and managing it successfully is an important part of any Greyhound adoption. It must be remembered that being a companion instead of a racer involves a dramatic change in your dog’s routine and he must be given time to adjust to his new surroundings. In this regard, a quiet Greyhound may become fretful, a good eater reluctant to eat, a clean Greyhound may have an “accident.” Your love, patience and understanding will help your Greyhound through this adjustment period which may last from a few days to a few weeks.


Your Greyhound was housed in a large crate at the track and was let out in the pen four times a day to relieve himself. He is used to getting up between 7:00 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. and going out right away. To avoid accidents in the house, we recommend you keep him on his schedule initially and gradually get him used to sleeping in later if necessary.

If your dog has an accident in the house a verbal reprimand is usually enough (the dog must be caught in the act for this to work). Then take him outside and praise him when he relieves himself. DO-NOT hit your dog or put his nose in the “accident” as your dog will respond more quickly to kindness. Clean the spot immediately and rinse the area with an odor neutralizing solution (vinegar and water does not do the trick). This will neutralize the odor and discourage him from going in that spot again.

If your dog is a male he will lift his leg in a few places around the house to mark his new territory. Watch him carefully and try to catch him before he does it. Again, a verbal reprimand is sufficient. This is part of his adjustment period and usually only lasts a day or two.

Walk your dog as often as possible the first few days. This will teach him where he is supposed to “go” and will also help relieve the tension of being in new surroundings. We highly recommend the use of a crate during the adjustment/housebreaking period for a non-housebroken dog. It is what they’re used to. Crates to house a Greyhound should be 27″ wide x 40″ deep x 30″ high. When you leave the dog alone, put him in his crate and you won’t have to worry about coming home to any “accidents.” By the way, some Greyhounds are shy about relieving themselves while on a leash. Either let them go in a fully fenced area or be patient while they get used to it. For your information, the R.D.R.P. has crates to rent.


Provide your Greyhound with a very soft bed or thick quilt or comforter. Greyhounds have no padding on their elbows and can develop sores and/or a fluid condition if forced to sleep on a hard surface. Greyhounds love to sleep in the same room as you. Being near you is comforting to them and allows them to bond with you more quickly. If you insist on your Greyhound sleeping elsewhere, you may be in for many sleepless nights so be prepared!


A Greyhound’s diet consists of three to four cups of premium dog food per day depending on your brand. We feed Fromm at the Adoption Center, but any high-quality food is good. Avoid “supermarket” brands such as Gravy Train, Butcher’s Blend, or the semi-moist foods such as Gaines Burger, etc., as they tend to have little to no nutritional value.  Retired racers do not need high protein dog food so get a food for regular adult maintenance. Boiled white rice, pure pumpkin or cooked pasta added to the food can help control loose stools.

Veterinary Care

Your dog will have been given the appropriate inoculations but booster shots need to be repeated yearly. Your dog’s teeth will also need cleaning by a vet as the soft diet at the track causes tartar buildup. In time, this can lead to gum disease, tooth loss or a systemic infection. Your Greyhound will have had his or her teeth cleaned at the time it was spayed or neutered, but depending on the dog, this may need to be redone periodically.

Your Greyhound has tested negative for heartworm. Year round heartworm prevention is a must in Florida. You should, however, take a fecal sample to your vet so he can check for parasites. Droncit tablets are best for tapeworms and Panacur powder is best for hookworms, whipworms, or roundworms. Never use the dewormer called Task as Greyhounds react adversely to it.

Greyhounds are extremely sensitive to anesthesia and require only a fraction of the amount used on other dogs. We strongly recommend that you find a veterinarian who uses Isoflurane Gasas an anesthesia. Also, make sure you give your vet our literature called “Research in Greyhound Anesthesia.” If you choose to use our veterinarian for the spay/neuter, you will not have to worry about these risks, since our veterinarian treats hundreds of Greyhounds in his practice.

Greyhounds are also sensitive to many flea preparations. They cannot tolerate flea collars. Flea sprays or shampoos should be made of natural ingredients such as pyrethrins and should be safe for use on puppies or kittens. Flea preventatives such as Frontline, Top Spot, Program and Advantage are all available from your veterinarian and are convenient and safe for use on your Greyhound. Adverse reactions to certain chemicals can cause convulsions, permanent liver damage or even death!

Greyhounds are strictly indoor dogs. If left outside in winter or summer they may die from exposure. Greyhounds also need to wear coats if they are outside for more than a few minutes and the temperature is below 32 degrees. Indoors means inside the house, not in the garage or on the lanai.


Greyhounds are extremely sensitive animals that cannot be disciplined roughly. A stern tone of voice is all that is needed to get a Greyhound to understand what you expect of him. The wrong disciplinary tactics will only teach your dog to be afraid of you.


The First Seven Days

adopting_a_rescue_dogAdopting a Shelter Dog – the First Seven Days, a FREE E-Book by Dr. Susan Wright and Misty Weaver (made available to RDRP, compliments of the authors)

A cool resource on adoption that might be helpful to you and your family as you bring a new dog into your lives.

The authors interviewed a lot of shelter personnel and heard that a big problem is helping less experienced dog owners get started on the right foot with their adoption. They wanted to try and do something to help, so they recently wrote a book, “Adopting A Shelter Dog – The First Seven Days.”