The greyhound is a type of hunting dog primarily bred for racing and running down small game. These dogs have a deep chest, long legs, and very slim build that allows them to achieve extreme speeds while running. Their specialised nature, and the fact that many pet greyhounds are retired racers, means that feeding a greyhound is a little different than feeding an ordinary dog.
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Racing greyhounds usually receive a very high protein diet--28 per cent or more--to help them maintain high performance. According to Fast Friends Greyhound Rescue, track greyhounds often receive 6 to 8 cups of high quality dry food per day, plus 0.454 to 0.907 Kilogram of fresh meat and cooked vegetables. Track greyhounds also frequently receive vitamin and mineral supplementation.
Retired or pet-only greyhounds need less food and lower protein levels than animals which are still on the track. According to the Irish Greyhound Board, a pet greyhound should have a high quality kibble with 18 to 20 per cent protein, supplemented with vegetable oil, dry porridge, yoghurt and small pieces of meat. This lower protein diet is less damaging to the kidneys and liver.
Retired racing dogs may have trouble adapting to their new diet after a life of large, high protein meals. Owners should take care not to leave food on the counter or table and should secure garbage cans tightly. Greyhounds may also initially show nervousness, sloppiness or overeating behaviour at mealtimes if they're used to competing for food.
While most greyhounds have sound digestion, they may suffer from problems when under stress. Flatulence and diarrhoea are both common in animals which have recently been through a dietary or environmental change. Moving, a new food, getting another pet or any other change may cause a greyhound to have loose stools or colitis. Some owners recommend a yoghurt supplement to relieve flatulence and other digestive problems. Table scraps as treats may also cause digestive trouble.
Greyhounds are eager feeders and often beg for treats. It can be easy to overfeed the naturally slim animals. At an ideal weight, a greyhound should have faintly visible ribs that are easy to feel through the coat. Overweight greyhounds are at risk for a number of health problems, and may die early. Underweight greyhounds may develop behavioural problems.
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