Nail Clipping – It’s Important!

Do your hound’s nails look like this???  What is wrong with this picture?   Did you know that overgrown nails can be hazardous to your hound’s health?  Overgrown nails may cause your hound’s toes to splay.  This can adversely affect his gait, and can actually cause many other serious medical problems.  The nails force the dog to rock back on his foot and carry his rear legs much farther forward under his body.  Many times dogs get injured while running in their yards and some of those injuries can be attributed to the dog over-compensating because of overgrown nails.  Neglecting regular nail trimming and maintenance may even lead to early arthritis, crippling, and broken bones. (Remember, greyhounds have more delicate bones than other breeds of dogs.)

 The main reason people do not keep up with regular nail trimming is because they are afraid that they might hurt their dog.  People shy away from trimming with hand clippers because they can remove too much nail (causing pain and bleeding), not enough nail, or cause the nail to splinter and have rough edges. These sharp edges can scratch your skin and snag your carpeting and clothing.  But neglecting nails is even more hurtful in the long run.  Long sharp nails are more likely to get caught on things which can rip the nail from the dog’s foot.  This will result in a lot of needless pain for the dog and pain in your wallet.  Having to take a dog to a groomer often enough to keep the nails trimmed can be expensive and time consuming.  The best option would be to learn how to do the trimming and keep practicing until you feel comfortable.

 Some people cannot get their hound to be quiet and still long enough to do any nail trimming.  Here’s where patience and persistence pays off.  When we try to calm our hounds by crooning and petting, we inadvertently send the message that it’s OK to panic and be difficult.  The best way to handle squirmy and whining dog is to take charge and clip one or two nails at a time (as quickly and safely as possible) and then praise the dog for being good.  Keep this up until you can do all of the nails on one paw, then move on to the next.  You might even want to start by doing one or two nails a day and only remove the very tip of the nail.  That way you are working too quickly for the dog to react.  You can always perfect your clipping once your dog gets comfortable with being touched. Remember, if you allow your hound to control the situation, your dog will never be willing to cooperate and nail trimming time will be a job that will always be dreaded (by dog and person).

 If your dog’s nails have been neglected over a long period of time, they may seem very long even after they have been cut.  That might be because the quicks have been allowed to become overgrown too.  The quicks are the vein inside the toenails and the part that bleeds if you cut the nail too short.  You can solve this problem.  The quicks can be made to recede over time by cutting the nails frequently over the course of a month.   Then, once you have gotten the quicks to recede, it will be easy to keep the nails short all the time.  If you noticed when you adopted your greyhound, they most likely had very short nails!  That’s because they are kept very short at the track for racing.  The quicks have receded way back in the nail from frequent trimming.  This is actually the way your dog’s nails should look all the time for optimum health.

How short should your hound’s nails be? A good rule of thumb is that the nails should not touch the floor when the dog is standing (see photo left). If you hear clicking when the dog walks you need to get the nails shorter.  Although it sounds like a daunting job, if you clip often over the course of a month, you can get your dog’s nails short enough that you can do regular trimming without much effort after that.

 If all else fails and you just do not want to use the nail clippers, you might want to try a grinder.  These small battery motorized tools can be bought at most pet stores or hardware stores (a dremel tool).  The tool has an attachment that looks like sandpaper that is actually a stone.  It will grind the nail down much like the way we file our own nails.  This is relatively painless and many dogs don’t seem to mind the sound because the tools operate quietly.

 If you choose to try one of these tools, just remember to use short strokes on each nail, work slowly, and keep the nails from heating up.  You do not want to set the grinder down on one nail for too long.  It will burn!  Also, most dogs won’t react as badly if you hit the quick doing the light short strokes as you can monitor your progress better.  This is a great option for dogs that have black nails.  There are a lot of sources on line that provide good instructions for grinding.

 If all else fails and you have a “screamer” that will not allow you to touch his/her paws (some greyhounds actually HATE having their feet touched), then a groomer might be your best bet.  Pet stores like Petsmart and Petco are inexpensive and the groomers there work very efficiently.  If you take your hound for a nail trim, remember to take a copy of his/her rabies certificate which is required in most grooming establishments.  They will keep it on file for you.  The cost is between $8-10.  Considering the cost of vet bills stemming from poor nail care, this may be the best money you spend on your dog!

Rainbow Bridge – WVs Cannelton (Doogie)

August 9, 2002 – February 22, 2013

We are sorry to report that a special Craiger’s List greyhound has passed on.  Doogie, adopted by Brian and Bruce, was diagnosed with osteocaroma some time ago and was going through chemotherapy treatments and doing well.  But the cancer took Doogie suddenly.  He was with Brian and Bruce when he died.

Doogie was placed on Craiger’s List at the age of nine when his adopter in Ohio could no longer take care of him and wanted to find him another good home. She kept Doogie in her home until the right adopter came along. Only the best adopter would be good enough for Doogie. Brian and Bruce saw Doogie on Craiger’s List and they contacted Doogie’s adopter.  Doogie found the very best home he could possibly find and his previous adopter knew without a doubt that he was in good hands.  Brian and Bruce kept in touch with Doogie’s previous adopter as long as they had him.

We couldn’t ask for better adopters for Doogie because we are sure that he had everything he needed.  Brian and Bruce have no limits when it comes to looking out for their dogs.  We are sad that Doogie could not have more time with his adopters.  But we know that he was greatly loved, respected and cherished.

Rest in loving peace Doogie.

A Sweet Day at SweetFrog!

We’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of our volunteers for making our latest fund raising project such a greyt success!  In particular, we’d like to thank Ashley Lake for this fundraising idea.  Ashley not only worked out the details for the project, but she traveled all over the Martinsburg area handing out coupons and telling everyone about our group.  She handed out over 600 coupons!  We think that most of the county knew about the fund raiser thanks to Ashley.

We won’t have a total figure for awhile in terms of what this fund raiser earned during the day that customers bought yogurt desserts, but private donations also were collected and totalled $105.

We are so proud of the many volunteers who make our organization such a success.  Roooos to all of you!


Rainbow Bridge – Rustyslastchance (Rusty)

August 28, 2002 – February 10, 2013

We are sad to report the loss of another FFGR, Inc. greyhound.  Rusty was adopted by Terence and Charmetra in October 2006.  Rusty made a wonderful addition to their growing family and remained a cherished family member all of his life.

Rusty became ill at the beginning of February and went downhill.  He passed on to the Rainbow Bridge February 10.  He was ten and a half years old.  Although it is sad to lose a dog like Rusty, we know that he had a wonderful home from the day he was adopted.  People like Terence and Charmetra are the reason we love working to find good homes for greyhounds.  It’s because the dogs are loved and well cared for throughout their lives and when they get ill, their family is with them until the end.

Fly with the angels Rusty.


February – National Pet Dental Care Month

Did you know?………..February is National Pet Dental Health Month. 

 Does your hound have bad breath? Is the hair along the muzzle discolored and stiff (this is from bacteria)? Has your hound’s eating habits changed? Do you notice any pawing at the face?

 Your hound may have dirty teeth! Check for tartar buildup on teeth, red and bleeding gums, and/or swollen gums and a reluctance to allow you to open the mouth.  Retired racers often have dirty teeth. Some of it is genetic but often it is because the food at the racing kennels is soft and tarter builds up fast. Tartar is produced when mucus (called plaque) builds up and hardens on the teeth. If it is not removed through good dental care, once this tartar gets hardened and established, it can only come off through a thorough professional (and expensive!) teeth cleaning by your veterinarian.

 Most adoption group (ours included) have a newly retired greyhound’s teeth cleaned during the spay/neuter process (so the dog only has to be anesthetized once).  Why is it important for your hound to have clean teeth? Did you know that oral disease is the most frequently diagnosed health problem for pets? Poor dental care can result in periodontal disease which is severe and irreversible. It causes red, bleeding and swollen gums, pain, and eventually can lead to tooth loss and severe infections. The gums have a rich blood supply and when an infection begins, it can easily be passed on to other parts of the body and make the hound seriously ill. It can also  permanently damage the heart because the infection can lodge in the valves of the heart.

 Prevention is the best medicine. Brushing your hound’s teeth once or twice weekly is the best preventative measure; there are lots of tooth pastes on the market for dogs. DO NOT use products designed for humans as they contain enzymes or other chemicals that might make your hound sick. There are also oral cleansing wipes, gels and sprays available if your hound objects too strongly to tooth brushing.

 Feeding dry food and hard biscuits and bully sticks can also help break off tartar. Be careful of the dog treats you give a greyhound; some may cause more harm than good. Some people advocate using raw turkey necks and bones, but if your hound has a food allergy or sensitive stomach, you might want to consult with your vet before adding new foods to his/her diet. Watch those teeth! It could save your hound pain and you money! 


Martingale Collar Primer

When we place a greyhound in a new adoptive home, the dog will be wearing a new Martingale collar.  This type of collar may be unfamiliar to a first time greyhound adopter.  We do a lot of training to make sure that all adopters understand why greyhounds must wear this type of collar.  We also educate people about making sure that the collars are properly fitted and we warn people about the possible hazards associated with their use.

 A greyhound’s head is smaller than his neck.  This means that a greyhound can back out of a regular buckle-type collar.  Although regular “choke” collars might work, they are made out of a metal chain which can do harm to the delicate greyhound neck.  The Martingale collar is a “humane choke collar” because it is made from webbing and other softer materials that will tighten appropriately around the neck but not harm the throat and skin.

 It is very important to know how to use the Martingale collar.  If it is not used properly, it can be downright dangerous to your greyhound.

 There are many types of Martingale collars and just as many people making them.  One can do an internet search on greyhound Martingale collars and be amazed at how many varieties and styles are available to buy. They may be as cheap as a few dollars and as expensive as a few hundred dollars.  Many are made by using metal and/or plastic hardware which can be adjusted in many different ways (depending on who you are buying from).  But the most important information to remember when buying a Martingale collar is to make sure that it is sturdy, that it is the right size to fit your greyhound’s neck properly and that you know how to use it correctly.

 Here are some important tips when you buy your greyhound a new collar:

 1.  Your new Martingale collar should come with a set of instructions for proper adjustment/use.  If not, you should inspect the collar and try to loosen and tighten it by working with the hardware.  Never put the collar on the greyhound’s head first!!  Make sure you know how to loosen and tighten it first before trying it on your greyhound.  If you force the collar on the dog and it is too tight, your greyhound will not be happy!  And, you may not be able to get it back off if you do not know how to loosen it.

 2.  Before placing the collar on the greyhound, loosen it to its maximum diameter first.  Then when you put the collar on, you should know how to tighten it to a snug fit (not too tight and not too loose).  The collar should rest in the middle of the neck and you should be able to slide a finger under it without much resistance.  Again, do not place the collar on the greyhound until you are sure that you know exactly how to loosen and tighten the collar properly.

 3.  All collars are made with a loop that holds a D-ring that is used for attaching the leash.  DO NOT put any tags on this D-ring!  If your hound gets the tags caught on anything, he can choke to death because he will panic and pull the collar tight.  Some collars come with a safety breakaway D-ring.  Use this ring for tags only.  If your new collar does not have a safety D-ring, then place the tags on the collar’s hardware.  That way, if the tag gets caught, the greyhound stands a chance of pulling the collar off its head.

4.  If your new collar comes with a safety D-ring and you are walking your dog, please remember to use the large D-ring on the loop of the collar for the leash.  If you mistake the safety D-ring for the larger D-ring, your dog might pull the smaller D-ring out of the collar and get away (remember, the safety D-ring is meant to break away from the collar if pulled).

5.  Always make sure that your greyhound’s collar is properly adjusted (see photo below) before going on walks every time.  A collar might loosen on its own just from normal wear.  Never take the chance that your greyhound can slip out of his collar because it has become too loose.

 6.  When crating your greyhound, it is wise to remove the martingale collar.  That way it won’t be possible for the hardware or collar to get stuck anywhere in the crate.

 7.  Some adopters do not use a martingale collar when their greyhound is in the home.  If you choose not to use the collar in the home, make sure that your greyhound is wearing some form of identification in case he/she escapes.  Like martingale collars, there are many types of “tag” collars that can be purchased that will hold I.D. tags.  An internet search (or talking with other adopters) can lead you to the type of tag collar that will work best for you and your hound.

 8.  Always be vigilant about inspecting your hound’s collar.   Some of the fancier collars may not be as sturdy as the collars made with strong webbing.  A collar that is frayed may break.  If you are going to be leash walking your greyhound several times a day, you may want to purchase a strong collar for the walks and save the fancier collar for special occasions.

 9.  If you are an adopter and you need a new collar for your greyhound(s) and cannot afford to buy one, please call us and we will be glad to give you a collar.  We want all of our adopted hounds to be safe.

Here is an illustration on proper collar adjustment.  We hope that this article is helpful and will provide the information you need to keep your hound safe.