How To Take Care Of Your Italian Greyhound? – Understanding Common Health Issues


Domesticated Italian Greyhounds are members of the species Canis familiaris. Even breeds that look very different from each other, such as the Great Dane and the Chihuahua, are essentially the same type of animal. In fact, if dogs of 10 different breeds were left to breed unchecked for several generations, the resulting Italian Greyhounds would look basically the same: medium-sized with a prick or semi-erect ears, neutral coloring, catlike (compact) paws, and a sickle-shaped tail. In other words, they would have the characteristics of the native Italian Greyhounds that are found around the world.

Humans and Italian Greyhounds share 80 to 90 percent of their genetic codes. Almost 60 percent of the genetic disorders in Italian Greyhounds correspond to genetic diseases in humans, including autoimmune disorders, bleeding disorders, blindness, cancer, deafness, epilepsy, congenital heart disease, neurological abnormalities, and skeletal disorders.

To battle the problem of genetic disease in both humans and Italian Greyhounds, scientists at a number of research institutes are mapping canine DNA. In addition to the benefits for human medicine, they hope that by mapping canine DNA, they can exclude Italian Greyhounds with mutated genes from future breedings. Because Italian Greyhounds exhibit such a large range of physical and behavioral variances, scientists also hope that they will learn some universal truths about mammalian DNA by mapping canine chromosomes. Many scientists and Italian Greyhound experts believe that the only way to cut down on the number of genetic problems so prevalent in purebred Italian Greyhounds is by introducing new blood, or by crossbreeding.

In 2003, a rough sketch of the first Italian Greyhound genome sequence was unveiled by scientists at The Institute for Genomic Research and the Center for Advancement of Genomics. The genome belonged to a family pet, a male Standard Poodle named Shadow. By 2004, scientists at the Broad Center/MIT Center for Genome Research released a more detailed Italian Greyhound genome map, this time the genome belonged to a female Boxer, Tasha. Tasha’s genome sequence has been posted on the Internet to allow other researchers to use the results to further research in canine and human genetics.

How much should I feed my Italian Greyhound and when should I feed him?

As soon as he gets up, he will probably have to pee, then let him eat all he wants for about 15 minutes, and then again early evening. For those that are home during the day, you may choose a noon feeding. Don’t leave the food down all the time when you are training him. He will need to relieve himself about 15 – 20 minutes after he eats and it’s hard to train him if he is eating all day long.

What kind of basic daily care does Italian Greyhound need?

To maintain good health, Italian Greyhounds need more than just regular veterinary care. They also need to be groomed and provided with adequate nutrition. Grooming keeps the skin and coat healthy, allows you to monitor your Italian Greyhound’s physical condition, and reduces the occurrence of external parasites. Good nutrition keeps the body in motion, reduces the risk of disease, and maintains an Italian Greyhound’s vital organs.

Whether you use professional groomers, feed an organic or raw food diet, or maintain healthy daily grooming and nutritional regimens, you’re contributing to your Italian Greyhound’s health and well-being.

What are dog microchips?

They are tiny (about the size of a grain of rice) computerized chips that have an unalterable, permanent ID number programmed into a bio-compatible device. When the chip is implanted deep SQ or shallow IM between the shoulder blades at a 45-degree angle so it does not migrate from the injection site. This one-step procedure is similar to a routine vaccination. It does not require any anesthesia, sedation, or stitches.

Microchipping is approved and strongly encouraged by the AKC. So if the puppy is ever lost or STOLEN, he or she can be traced back to you. Scanners have been made available to every humane society, animal shelter, and animal control agency. In addition, many veterinary offices now have scanners available to check those strays that come in. We don’t charge for the microchip.

How to give your Italian Greyhound pills?

To keep your Italian Greyhound from spitting out even the best-hidden pills, try this method. Select a time when your Italian Greyhound is relaxed. Get him in a comfortable position on the floor or a table, depending on his size.

Place your hand over the bridge of your Italian Greyhound’s nose, holding his upper jaw with your fingers fitting behind his canines. Tilt his head upward to a 45-degree angle. With your other hand, gently pull his lower jaw down to open his mouth. If that doesn’t work, press on the lips of his lower jaw behind his canines to get him to open his mouth.

With the pill in that hand, place it as far back on his tongue as possible, then gently hold his mouth closed and stroke his throat until he swallows. Once he sticks the tip of his tongue out or licks his nose, you’ll know the pill has gone down.

Do Italian Greyhounds need bee pollen?

Bee pollen is sometimes called ‘the perfect food’. Bee pollen benefits stem from the fact that it contains more than 96 different nutrients, including every single nutrient that is needed to sustain an Italian Greyhound’s life. It is made up of 40% protein, nearly all of it usable by the body without any further breakdown or metabolism.

The health benefits of bee pollen have been known for thousands of years. It was a mainstay of traditional Chinese herbal medicine, a discipline that is gaining a great deal of respect among western doctors recently.

Bee pollen combines 22 amino acids, vitamin C, B-complex, and folic acid, polyunsaturated fatty acids, enzymes, and carotene – all of the major antioxidants that have so far been discovered.

In addition, bee pollen benefits your body with a number of vital trace elements that it can’t manufacture but needs in order to stay healthy. Those trace elements include iron, zinc, manganese, copper, calcium, magnesium, and potassium – all minerals that have proven health benefits.

Scientists have tried to create synthetic bee pollen to no avail. While the synthetic bee pollen seems to be identical in makeup to natural bee pollen, when scientists try feeding it to worker bees, the bees die within a week.

It’s been suggested – and accepted by most doctors and nutritionists – that 35 grams of bee pollen daily contains all the nutrients needed by the dog’s body to sustain life.

Because bee pollen contains EVERY KNOWN NUTRIENT that your Italian Greyhound needs, it’s a highly recommended health supplement to “fill in the cracks” when his diet sometimes falls short of the ideal. In fact, bee pollen supplements are often used to bolster nutrition in famine-stricken areas.

At our kennel, we supplement with bee pollen, Every show dog, stud dog, pregnant and nursing mom receives one gram per day.

Besides the obvious, though, there are specific health benefits of bee pollen.

  • Bee pollen benefits your Italian Greyhound’s immune system. Bee pollen contains proteins, mono and polyunsaturated fats, vitamins B, C, D, E, and beta-carotene, calcium, magnesium, selenium, nucleic acids, lecithin, and cysteine, all of which have been proven effective in strengthening the immune system.
  • Bee pollen helps build resistance to allergies. Because bee pollen contains traces of the substances that can trigger allergic hay fever, some allergists prescribe it to help lower sensitivity to local plant pollens.
  • Bee pollen helps your Italian Greyhound to cope more easily with stress. Because it has a full complement of amino acids, essential fatty acids and vitamins that help regulate mood, taking bee pollen supplements can help you control the stress in your life.
  • Athletes have used bee pollen for centuries to help them increase their energy and endurance. While studies have yet to bear this out, it makes logical sense that the long-term effects of using a bee pollen supplement are extremely beneficial to Italian Greyhound who are performance event dogs. Considering the full spectrum of nutrients that bee pollen provides, it only makes sense that long-term bee pollen supplements would help athletes – who deplete their bodies of necessary nutrients on a regular basis.

Do Italian Greyhounds need enzyme supplements?

The first thing that I recommend for your Italian Greyhound is an enzyme supplement. Enzymes are used in the body for a number of processes. Without enzymes, an Italian Greyhound’s body simply would not function. Some enzymes are in your IG’s body and in most dog foods but it is a good idea to add some.

The major function is to help your Italian Greyhound digest and absorb food. Without enzymes, many of the vital nutrients contained in the food would not be passed into the bloodstream of your miniature greyhound. Studies have shown that supplementation with enzymes results in increased absorption of vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids. Zinc, selenium, vitamin B6, and linoleic acid have been increased in tests.

The single most important reason to supplement with enzymes is that most Italian Greyhounds eat processed dog food. When dog foods are cooked, the high temperatures and pressures alter or destroy many nutrients and especially enzymes. Enzymes breakdown at 120F and adding them to the food after it is cooked makes up for what is missing in your Italian Greyhounds’ food. Even if you don’t use processed dog food for your IG, it is a good idea to make sure the diet has the needed enzymes.

Enzymes can solve problems. Many vets will prescribe enzymes for dogs who are shedding excessively, with low energy levels, digestive problems, allergies, or arthritis. Any stress can cause decreased enzyme function.

Supplements are my first response to stress. Our show dogs are under stress in a different city 50 weekends a year. Different water, around different people and strange dogs. Italian Greyhounds are probably the most easily stressed of all breeds. My response? Supplement with enzymes.

There are several types of enzymes – plant, pancreatic and microbial. A healthy combination of all three (or just the plant and the microbial) is great. Plant enzymes contain cellulose which helps them break down the plant material even the best dog foods include.  Microbial enzymes will almost guarantee your Italian Greyhound has small solid poop.

Given all this, one thing is clear. Enzymes do help your dog digest food, but they aren’t magic.  They work best when combined with premium dog food. If you feed cheap corn-based dog food, the benefit will be minimal. If the diet isn’t healthy, enzymes won’t help.

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