In our Western culture, it’s not exactly a secret that we tend to take anything to do with our pets very seriously. We call them our “fur kids”, we celebrate their birthdays, we primp and preen to jog them around a ring for the world to see – we’re a little bit obsessed. In some cases, though, that kind of obsession ends up working for the dog, and for greyhounds, I call these little things “necessories”, or necessary accessories.
“Necessories” are the little things that you just can’t do without when you own a greyhound. I’m not talking about the typical accessories either – tools like nail clippers, raised feeders, and other things shared amongst dogdom itself. I’m talking about the kinds of accessories that will occasionally get you weird looks or coos of admiration. Let’s get down to it!
Sweaters. If you happen to live somewhere that doesn’t get snow, you probably will not need these, unless the weather is abnormally cool. For the rest of us, though, there are sweaters. As greyhounds have paper thin skin and very little body fat, they are unable to withstand cold temperatures, and a warm, well-made sweater will help keep your hound happy while he goes about his daily jaunt.
Booties, or pad wax. Coming off the track, greyhounds sometimes have difficulty adjusting to harsh asphalt, so a pad wax can help protect your hound’s pads while you slowly acclimate him to his new surroundings. In the winter, nothing suits like good booties for keeping salt and ice out of tender feet. Note that some of the more generic booties generally don’t fit the greyhound’s slender wrists and hare feet, so the House recommends asking other greyhound people what they buy (if purchasing online), or trying them on (if going brick-and-mortar).
Martingale collar. While these collars can occasionally spook those not used to seeing them (particularly the chain option), they are a must-have for anyone with a sighthound. Unlike a choke chain, these collars will release when your dog is relaxed, yet will tighten if your dog pulls. They are not designed to be uncomfortably tight (as in the case of a choke or prong, neither of which can ever be used on a greyhound), but they are designed to prevent your dog from slipping his collar and bolting into traffic. Due to the way the neck and head of a greyhound are built, martingales are the only safe option for day-to-day walks and activities.
Raised feeder. While still something of a debatable necessory, I am personally a fan – and in favour – of raised feeders. This contraption has two holders (one for food and one for water) and an adjustable scale so that you can set it at your dog’s proper height (some of the better ones also have clips to help keep bowls from being flipped by those hounds who eat with gusto). As greyhounds are so tall, they frequently find bowls placed on the ground a bit tough to reach, and while some “pharaoh” to eat, I generally prefer a raised feeder for comfort.
Last but not least, a soft, portable bed. I usually just use a simple crate pad when I’m out and about, though there are vendors selling fancy foldaway beds. As mentioned earlier, greyhounds have very little body fat, which can make laying down on hard surfaces uncomfortable – if not downright painful – for them. Many a greyhound owner has had to offer a sheepish smile as they lay out a cushion for their hound to recline upon, much to the bewilderment of company.