Most common health problems in Greyhounds, plus health care and feeding.


My Complete Health Care Program for your Greyhound

If you want to AVOID health problems in your Greyhound, you'll find my health care program very valuable.

It's called "11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy."

Raise your dog the RIGHT way, feed him the RIGHT food, give him the RIGHT vaccinations, avoid unnecessary veterinary expenses, and help him live a longer, happier, and more comfortable life.

If your Greyhound already HAS a health problem, I'm sorry to hear that. You should immediately begin my health care program, and you may be able to restore his good health – or at least make him much more comfortable. Let me help!

My best-selling dog health book


Greyhound dog breed

Greyhound Health Care & Feeding

By Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2017


Quick list of Greyhound health problems

Cancer, especially bone cancer, claims the lives of many, many Greyhounds.

Just as dangerous is an emergency gastrointestinal syndrome called bloat, which can kill a Greyhound within a few hours.

Serious eye diseases can lead to blindness, and heart disease is a concern in the breed.

Most pet Greyhounds are ex-racing dogs who can suffer special health problems associated with their past racing environment – tick-borne diseases, protozoal infections, lyme disease, worms, dental disease, osteoarthritis, and intervertebral disk disease.

Chronic allergies cause itchy skin in Greyhounds. Their bony elbows can develop thick calluses, and their footpads are prone to forming hard "corns."

Because of their low body fat, Greyhounds are extra sensitive to anesthetics and require an experienced vet who will follow a special sighthound anesthesia protocol.

Greyhounds are instinctive chasers, so they're especially vulnerable to being killed by a car. This is not an off-leash breed.

Musculoskeletal injuries (fractures, pulled muscles or ligaments, broken toes, paw injuries, etc.) are common when Greyhounds romp, jump, and play.

Greyhounds have little or no insulation and cannot tolerate cold weather. Put a sweater on them when the temperature dips below 40 degrees.

(See more health problems below.)


Preventing health problems

Some health problems are inherited. For example, if both parents of your Greyhound have certificates proving they were tested and cleared of hereditary eye diseases and heart disease, your Greyhound has less risk of developing those conditions. Unfortunately, racing dogs aren't tested for such issues – those breeders are simply interested in speed.

Other health problems can be prevented, or partially prevented, by the ways you raise your dog. If you're serious about doing everything you can for your Greyhound, my best-selling book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, shows you how to raise your Greyhound puppy (or adult dog) in all the right ways. It will help you be your dog's health care champion!


Here are my dog health tips for raising a healthy Greyhound puppy or adult dog:

Obedience instructor and author Michele Welton Dog Health Care – The Sensible Way
Read my advice on daily health care so your Greyhound lives a long, healthy life and seldom needs to see the vet.


Real homemade dog food The Best Dog Food For Feeding Your Greyhound
Food is the #1 foundation for good health. The best diet for feeding your dog is real food. Real chicken, turkey, beef, fish....these are not just "people foods" and I'll tell you why.


Natural dog foods for your Greyhound. The Second-Best Dog Food For Your Greyhound
If you can't feed homemade dog food, here are your next-best choices.


Information on booster shots for your Greyhound. Vaccinations and Booster Shots: Needed or Not?
How many vaccinations does your Greyhound puppy really need? Does your adult Greyhound need yearly booster shots? The vaccination guidelines have changed! Find out what some vets aren't telling you.


Information on spaying your Greyhound. Spaying Your Female Dog: Pros and Cons
Advantages and disadvantages of spaying your female dog.


Information on neutering your male dog. Neutering Your Male Dog: Pros and Cons
Advantages and disadvantages of neutering your male dog.


Information on choosing the best vet for your Greyhound. The Type of Veterinarian I Recommend
Is your veterinarian really the best choice for your dog? Learn about the differences between vets who practice conventional, holistic, and alternative veterinary medicine.


Assisi Loop Assisi Loop Review: How I Helped Treat Inflammation and Pain
Does your dog suffer from arthritis, hip dysplasia, disk disease, colitis, a skin wound? My honest review of a veterinary device you can use at home to help reduce inflammation and pain.


Complete list of Greyhound health problems

Cancer, especially bone cancer (osteosarcoma), claims the lives of many Greyhounds.

As with all deep-chested breeds, Greyhounds are at higher-than-normal risk for the emergency gastrointestinal syndrome called bloat.

Allergies cause itchy skin and can lead to bacterial skin infections (pyoderma). Aging Greyhounds are prone to hair loss on their thighs. The Greyhound's elbow is thin-skinned and bony, making it vulernable to elbow hygroma. Greyhound footpads are prone to forming hard "corns" (digital keratoma).

Serious eye diseases include pannus, cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy (as early as 12 months), and vitreous degeneration (can lead to retinal detachment).

Several heart diseases are a concern in the breed.

Most pet Greyhounds today are ex-racing dogs and may suffer special health problems associated with their racing lifestyle:

  • tick-borne diseases (Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Lyme disease)
  • intestinal bacterial infections (e-coli, salmonella, and campylobacter)
  • protozoal infections (giardia and coccidia)
  • worms
  • dental disease
  • early osteoarthritis from racing injuries
  • general alopecia (hair loss), caused by constant rubbing against the metal bars in their small cages
  • vasculopathy, a potentially fatal disease where small blood vessels become blocked, producing swollen hind legs, skin ulcers, and sometimes kidney disease

In terms of orthopedic diseases, osteochondritis has been reported in Greyhounds, and hip dysplasia does occur, but the rate is low. The Orthopedic Foundation of America evaluated the hip X-rays of 350 Greyhounds and found 3% dysplastic. Yet osteoarthritis and intervertebral disk disease are quite common in Greyhounds because of the stress put on their joints and vertebrae from racing.

Other health issues in Greyhounds include epilepsy, blood-clotting diseases (von Willebrand's and hemophilia A), chronic kidney disease, hypothyroidism, inflammatory bowel disease, and megaesophagus.

Because of their low body fat, all sighthounds are extra sensitive to anesthetics and require an experienced vet who will follow a special Greyhound Anesthesia Protocol.

All sighthounds REQUIRE open space to run. A Greyhound who can't stretch his legs and gallop off-leash, for just a few minutes each day, will not develop proper muscle tone for good health.

Musculoskeletal injuries (fractures, pulled muscles or ligaments, broken toes, paw injuries, etc.) are common when slender-legged sighthounds race about.

Greyhounds have little or no insulation and cannot tolerate cold weather. Put a sweater on them when the temperature dips below 40 degrees.


To help you train and care for your dog

book cover To learn more about training your dog to be calm and well-behaved, my dog training book is Teach Your Dog 100 English Words. It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your dog to listen to you and do whatever you ask.

book cover My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a good-tempered, healthy dog.

book cover My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, shows you how to help your dog live a longer life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.