Racing greyhounds are dogs that have lived under controlled conditions from day one. What and when they are fed is highly monitored, but that doesn't mean that a racing greyhound's diet is bland. Whereas a basic dry kibble diet may work for a nonracer, racing dogs are raised on a diet consisting of meats, carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables along with a high-protein kibble diet.
For greyhounds that are racing and competing, a diet composed of 28 to 30 per cent protein, 15 per cent fat and 5 per cent fibre is recommended. Years ago, most greyhounds ate a diet that consisted of a raw meat base; however, since the development of high-protein kibbles, meats such as fish, eggs and poultry are added to supplement protein requirements along with cooked vegetables for vitamins and fibre. Generally, four to six cups of high-protein kibble a day supplemented with meats and cooked vegetables will provide your racing greyhound with excellent nutrition.
Kibble formulas can be purchased from your veterinarian or from pet food supply stores. Because greyhounds require a great deal of energy for their level of activity, just any store-bought kibble will not provide the protein requirements for a healthy racer. When selecting a kibble for your racing greyhound, read the ingredient label before you buy it. Do not purchase foods that have byproducts, meal, or corn among the first few ingredients.
People Food for Your Racing Hound
Most pet owners will advise you not to feed your pet anything but kibble, which means no people food. However, this is where racing greyhounds differ from household pets. From the time racing greyhounds are able to eat on their own, they are fed a diet of what we call people food. When feeding your racer, there are many choices for supplementing his basic kibble diet, including fish, poultry, eggs and milk.
Vegetables and Complex Carbohydrates
Along with a high-protein diet, cooked vegetables and brown rice naturally supplement vitamins, minerals, fibre and carbohydrates. Vegetables such as cooked carrots, peas and lentils are beneficial to your racing hound, too. Cooked brown rice, cooked pasta, wheat and oats are good sources of complex carbohydrates, which are healthy energy sources. Simple carbohydrates, which are sugar-based, burn up quickly and are generally not healthy for your pet.
Fats and Nutritional Supplements
Racing greyhounds require a great deal of energy, and some of that energy needs to come from fats. Fats are found in high-quality kibble because they are necessary in the digestion of fat-soluble vitamins; they are also needed for good coat quality. Also, nutritional supplements can help provide your racer with a balanced diet by filling in the gaps where extra nutrition is needed. Nutritional supplements can be purchased from your veterinarian or from a pet supply store.
Treats are beneficial in training and rewarding your greyhound racer for a job well done. However, always choose treats low in dyes and sugars. Treats come in two forms--natural and store bought--and should not make up the majority of your racing dog's diet. Natural treats that are good for your racer and provide extra nutrients are bananas, apricots, applesauce, vanilla ice cream and spinach. Manufactured treats that are given to greyhound racers should be natural; dog biscuits, American raw hide treats and even marshmallows can be offered from time to time.