We've been trying to find a nice way to tell you, so we held a meeting and decided it was time for an intervention. So here it is: Your Sighthound is fat.
I know this comes as a terrible shock—and it doesn’t mean your Greyhound or Saluki or Borzoi isn’t beautiful and sweet and well-loved. It does, however, mean that your dog has a 50 percent greater chance of developing cancer. Yes, that’s right, cancer. The big C. And if that doesn’t scare you straight (or your dog skinny) your dog is also at risk for other health problems ranging from severe joint pain to heart and kidney issues.
How did this happen, you might ask. Well, quite naturally it seems. You didn’t make your Sighthound fat because you didn’t care—you made it fat because you cared too much. When you picked up your Greyhound from the track or your Galgo from the airport he was very, very thin. It broke your heart and you made it your mission to put weight on him. You’ve succeeded a bit too well.
The problem is your Sighthound is not a lab. Take a look at the picture below.
A fat Greyhound looks just like a thin lab (with an unusually pointy noise and severe narcolepsy). If this was your first Sighthound and you’d only ever seen “normal” dogs before, then the “fresh from the track or shelter” thinness was very alarming. It may have also been alarming to your friends and neighbors who, upon meeting your new dog, repeatedly admonished you to “feed that dog!”
Well, shame on you for giving in to peer pressure! If your Sighthound has gained more than five pounds since he or she came to your home, you need to take a step back—literally, back away from the dog—and take a good look. How many ribs can you see? From across the room you should be able to see the first three. Can you see his hip pins? On some Sighthounds you can even see their vertebrae—gasp!--and that's totally okay. If you have a Borzoi or an Afghan, take a look the next time you're giving them a bath. How much dog--exactly--is there under all of that hair?
When you have come to grips with the emotional trauma of realizing that your Sighthound is, in fact, fat . . . the time has come to un-fattify your dog. (Yes, we’re sure that’s a word.) Keep in mind that it is often a good idea to consult your veterinarian before any diet changes. We’ll have a future post with dieting tips (for your dog, not you) and a discussion of food options.
Until then, happy dieting!