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Grael Italian Greyhounds

Grael Italian Greyhounds. Champion lines

Caring for an Italian greyhound; a breeder's experience

What to get


Stuff I recommend 

Cozy Cave dog bed - a big favorite in my house. We have several. The cheapest 

place I've found is When you first receive it, take the inner pillow out 

and cover with a plastic bag. Then put it back in and if your puppy messes on the 

dog bed, you will only have to wash the outer cover. 

28 inch long airline style kennel - It's plenty spacious for even the biggest Iggy. 

Also, when traveling, your dog is always safer in a crate. This is the one exception 

where ALL my dogs- no matter what age - get locked in a crate. If you are in an accident a dog becomes a projectile in the car if not safely crated. This is 

dangerous for the dog and dangerous for you. Also, if you are in need of 

emergency assistance, they need to be able to quickly and easily get a hold of your pet. If it is in a crate there is no danger of a scared dog biting someone or running into traffic. They can also easily get your pet to a vet if necessary. Crates are the safest place for a dog in the car. The airline style provides more of a den feeling than the wire crates. I do not close the door of a crate on a puppy until it is at least a year old and really not at all for my dogs except: 

1. In the car. 

2. While eating 

3. At a dog show. 

I prefer to enclose my dogs in exercise pens. It creates a 4 ft x 4 ft space for the puppy. Make sure you have a wire top for it and lots of snap clips. Under it can get messy so I go to a flooring place and ask for a 5 ft x 5 ft remnant of vinyl and use that under it. Then think of it in 2 ft x 2 ft quarters like a clock. 

From 12 to 3 o'clock put the litter box. From 

3 to 6 o'clock put a water bowl and food.

From 6 to 9 o'clock put a few toys for a play area. 

And from 9 to 12 o'clock put a crate with the door removed and a nice fluffy bed inside. You may want to add a small blanket too as IGs like to burrow. 


Training- Clicker and clicker training books by Karen Pryor. Training should ALWAYS be  positive. Negative training just doesn't work for these dogs. They will shut down and refuse to do anything if you use punishment. Praise praise praise!!! 

This is especially true of house training! Here is a great guide for house training 

I 100% agree with Vicki's her method of using an exercise pen with a top and a 

crate with no door while you are gone. Little guys just aren't made to be locked in a small crate very long. You can put a litter box in there and have a head start. I like to keep mine using a litter box even though they also go outdoors because these dogs are creatures of comfort and given the choice between peeing in the rain or on 

your carpet, they will always choose the carpet. 

And while we are talking about accidents in the house, let's talk about cleaners. 

When a dog uses the bathroom in the house you must thoroughly clean that area or the dog will go back to it repeatedly. Bleach is the best cleaner but I recognize that it is not always practical. I recommend XO Plus. You can get it on Amazon. It is an enzymatic cleaner that will get rid of the stain and the smell. Be careful with this stuff though. It dilutes 1:10. I used it full strength on a wall where a male had 

marked and it took the paint right off the wall!!


Grooming and healthcare for Italian Greyhounds

Grooming- Grooming is minimal. They need a bath 2-3 times a year with a good oatmeal shampoo. They generally don't hold a doggy odor and are very clean. If you have a male, invest in baby wipes. He will pee on his stomach and front legs. Just a quick clean up with a baby wipe when he finishes will take care of the problem but he may need more frequent baths. 

An important but often overlooked part of grooming is brushing teeth. IGs, like 

many toy dogs, need their teeth brushed daily or they risk tooth and gum disease which can also lead to heart disease and infections. 

Dentals at the vet every 1-2 

years are the second biggest expense after leg breaks and, while not all can be avoided, many can. 

Toenails are another important part of grooming. These should be clipped or 

sanded weekly. I prefer to use the sanding drum on the cordless dremel. Used on low speed, you can get the dogs nails very short and maintain comfort. Many IGs have clear nails which makes it easy to see the quick. But, even if they don't, if you 

start young, you will see the hook over portion of the nail that has to be trimmed as opposed to the quick which is thicker. It is very obvious on puppies. 

These dogs DO shed. Nothing like a lab or golden retriever but I do tend to see hair on my computer screen now and then. It's really not very much but I don't want you to think that they don't shed. 

There are a variety of problems that "run" in IGs. Mostly Immune Mediated 

problems, some cancers, patella problems, pra, leggs-perthes. If you'd like a full list go to

I've been lucky that my dogs have been mostly healthy but only a liar would tell 

you there's no problems in their lines. I do health tests to be sure I am only 

breeding the healthiest dogs and I never breed before 2 yrs old so that many genetic conditions have a chance to show up. I also encourage my puppy buyers to keep in touch with me so I can learn about the health of those puppies as they grow up. 

Vets: please look for vets that follow AAHA (American Animal Hospital Association)

guidelines regarding vaccinations. 

Vaccinations - I believe in a minimal vaccination schedule. Puppies are vaccinated with a 5 way vaccine at 8 weeks while with me. They need 2 more vaccinations at 10-12 and 14-16 weeks. They then need a rabies vaccine at least 2 weeks later. Never should more than one vaccine be given at a time. One year later the dog should be given a 5 way booster and rabies booster once again, at least 2 weeks 

apart. Then repeat every three years or rabies as allowed by law. There is no reason to vaccinate more often. Lepto shots should never be given to IGs as they have a high risk for adverse reaction. Bordatella shots are not appropriate. They are higher risk than getting Kennel Cough. 

Kennel Cough is like a cold in humans, easily treated and self limiting. Your individual risk vs benefits regarding the Lyme vaccine should be discussed with your vet. 

Spay/Neuter – evidence shows that early spay/neuter of dogs greatly and 

Negatively affects their health. They need to reach maturity before being

altered in order to achieve best health. For IGs that means females should have their first heat cycle (usually around 1 year) and males should be about a year old. 

Sighthounds (Italian Greyhounds are the smallest sighthound breed) have very low body fat which causes other complications. You need to familiarize yourself with which kinds of anesthesia are safe for sighthounds and realize that blood count numbers may be different. 

Drugs and interactions-

•   Never use thiobarbituates including Biotal, Surital, or Pentothal.


•   Acepromazine is a safe and reliable preanesthetic tranquilizer in the greyhound. 


•   Diazepam and Ketamine combination or Telazole are safe IV anesthetic drugs to use for intubation. 


•   Isoflurane is the gas anesthetic of choice. It is exceptionally safe and recovery is rapid.  

Flea and tick prevention – “Normal” flea and tick products can be extremely dangerous to 

Greyhounds.  GEM recommends Frontline (spray or drops) and Advantage (drops). Frontline is also effective on ticks. Recent studies have shown Advantage to be more effective than Frontline, but Frontline is still an excellent product.  Be sure to follow directions provided with these products carefully.  Frontline and/or Advantage should be available from your 

vet or from various veterinary supply catalogs, both printed and online.  

DO NOT USE FLEA COLLARS! Flea collars contain chemicals, which go directly into a greyhound’s blood stream and can cause serious health problems and possibly death.  NEVER FLEA DIP your greyhound!

Capstar is a flea pill you can get from your vet.  Using that in conjunction with Frontline will solve an immediate flea problem.  Capstar begins killing immediately and continues to kill the 

fleas for 24 hours.  That is just about the time you need for Frontline to kick in, which is 36 hours.

You should discuss Heartworm preventative with your vet. 

Leashes, collars, and harnesses - A properly fitted martingale will keep an IG from backing out of the collar but won't truly choke the dog. I recommend investing in a nice set from once your dog is full grown. Until then, check on and search "IG martingale dog collar ". You should find a variety of affordable options. Avoid choke chains and very slim collars, they can damage the 

long fine neck of an IG. At least 1 inch in width, 1.5 - 2" is better. I do not recommend a collar to be worn at all times. It can get caught in a fence or in another dogs mouth while playing and easily twisted until your dog is choked. This happened while I was not home to my first dog. I found her hanging by her collar on the fence. It's heartbreaking. If you want to or are required to keep tags on your dog, consider a harness. I highly recommend harness vests by Linda. Search it on Facebook and 

you will see. They cannot back out of these harnesses but if they get caught on something they won't hurt the dog. 

Leashes: I would advise that you plan to use a harness and a collar. You need two leashes in that case - one for the collar and one for the harness. That way if one breaks or slips off your hand, you have the second one. 

I'm going to pause here to talk about losing your grip on your dog. First, you need to start teaching a "come" command on Day 1 and never stop working on it. The reward for successfully completing that command is always the very best treat 

(pull out the steak!), the special toy that only gets used on special occasions, and the highest praise. This should be the most fun command ever for your dog and do not EVER call a dog to you to punish her. I have given you a head start on this. Every time I feed puppies I call “puppy, puppy, puppy!” If you continue this practice, they will

associate that phrase with food time and come to you when you say it. 

Should the unthinkable happen and she is loose on the streets, do one of two things: either plop on your butt to get to her level or jog backwards while facing her then in both situations, call her in the most fun voice you can. Keep talking to her and DO NOT CHASE! These dogs can run up to 35 mph. You will not win a game of chase and it will spook them into running wild. If you must follow, do it at a slow pace, talking to her all the time. 

Now, back to leashes. I hate flexi leashes. You cannot easily control your dog with them and they teach a dog to pull on the leash. Chain is hard on the hands. I suggest either leather (wonderful but expensive) or fabric at least 1/2 inch wide and between 4 and 5 ft long.

Pajamas- why does my dog need pajamas? Because you chose a small 

Sighthound. They have very little body fat and chill easily. Anything below 70 is 

chilly to them and below 50 is torturous! If you search for Italian greyhound pajamas you will find a whole range of choices. I suggest keeping it very inexpensive until your puppy is full grown. 

Food: I feed ProPlan Focus Puppy Chicken and Rice. I will give you some to go home with. If you wish to change foods this can be mixed with their new food for transitioning them over. 

A word of caution: Grain Free diets and diets high in legume and potato protiens have been linked to heart disease  Not much is understood about the correlation yet so I would avoid them until further research 

I HIGHLY recommend you use 2 supplements. The first is RAW goats milk. It's wonderful for its probiotic features and what it does for the skin and coat. I get mine from a local farmer but both Answers and Primal make it for dogs. Any goats 

milk packaged for human consumption is not raw. I feed each dog 1/8 cup per day 

(a coffee scoop). Do not feed more or your dog will be fat!

The second supplement I suggest is Organic Coconut Oil. I get large tubs from 

Costco. It has medium chain triglycerides which are great for brain function. It has 

anti fungal, anti bacterial and anti inflammatory properties. If the dog has a skin 

problem, wipe some on. Also, if their gums look bad, push it into their gums after 

brushing and it can help heal gum disease. I give 1/2 teaspoon each day mixed in 

her food. 

Water: I use a replendish water bowl with filter. I suggest you use some kind of 

filtered or distilled water. 

Litter box and litter: for litter I use pine shavings. For a litter box I suggest you 

continue with what your puppy is used to which is a 24 in by 24 in rabbit dropping 

pan from Tractor Supply. The edges are 3 or 4 inches high which is easy for a young 


Boots: boots require some training but are a great idea any time your IG may be 

stepping on cold ground or ground that has been treated with chemicals. Otherwise

you need to carefully clean your dogs paws when they have walked on treated

sidewalks and roads. 

Expenses: Leg breaks happen. They are most common in Italian Greyhounds

under 2 years old but can happen any time.  Fixing a broken leg can run from 

$1800 up to $5000 plus. I suggest you consider pet insurance. You can get as simple (covers

accidents with reasonable deductable) or fancy (covers accidents and well visits with low 

deductable) as you like or your wallet allows. 

Finally, please check out . The rescue store has tons of 

wonderful stuff and benefits rescued IGs year round. They do tons of great work 

helping our Iggy friends.