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Whippet

March 28th, 2010

WhippetWhippets are very active dogs descending from Northern England. Physically, they look like a small greyhound. They’re medium sized dogs, with an average weight of 25 pounds and an average height of 20 inches. You can find a whippet in virtually every color: red, fawn, brindle, blue, black, white or cream. Most whippets have some sort of markings (spots or stripes) as well.

Exercise is vital to the health of a whippet. They are anatomically designed for running quickly, so taking them to a dog park to work off some of their energy is a great idea. Whippets are extremely intelligent and learn quickly, making them a popular breed to use in dog agility competitions. They’re also one of the fastest breeds of dogs on earth which is why they’re so frequently used in sighthound racing and flyball.

A whippet can be kept as an indoor or outdoor dog,however their thin coat will not keep them warm during cold winters. Provide them with a cozy doghouse filled with straw or a blanket to help combat the cold. If at all possible, they should be allowed inside if the temperature drops below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Whippets can jump quite high, so it’s important to properly enclose them so they don’t runaway. A fence less than 5 feet high could potentially be jumped by a whippet.

As indoor dogs, they have a very mild temperament and can easily be trained to stay off furniture. Whippets are known for being very easy to housebreak. They’re quite calm and quiet, making them suitable to even be kept in an apartment. They have a natural love for people, and they will most likely be happiest kept inside with people. Their mild manner makes them great dogs to be kept around children. If raised around a cat from the time they’re a puppy, they will get along fine. However, whippets were bred to hunt small animals and that instinct makes them feel the need to capture any stray cat they may see outside or squirrel.

It’s imperative to make sure that an indoor whippet is taken outside daily for exercise. This exercise can be in the form of running around a big fenced in yard, or taking a walk around the block. Whippets enjoy having their own little doggy bed to cuddle up in and they will spend a significant amount of time lounging around and sleeping. A specific place for them to sleep also helps keep them from jumping on furniture.

A proper diet is very important to a healthy whippet. The dog food you choose should be high in protein and low in fat, because whippets are very lean, muscular dogs. Don’t just pick the first bag of dog food you find, read the ingredients and understand what they are. Anything labeled as a by product or preservative in the ingredients is unnecessary and non-nutritious. Tocopherols are the only preservatives that can actually be beneficial because they’re made of vitamin E. Other ingredients to avoid include beef tallow, BHA, BHT, cane mallases, and Ethoxyquin.

All natural dog food is best. Lamb and chicken are typically good, low-fat sources of protein in dry dog food. Wheat and dairy products are unnecessary fillers in dry dog food, and some dogs have allergies to those things. Make sure your dry dog food also contains lots of veggies for nutrients and vitamins. In fact, fresh vegetables like carrots and peas are good for dogs. Puppies should be fed a puppy chow, which may be labeled as “growth formula.” Read the ingredients carefully. Some brands of puppy chow are much too high in fat and lack vitamins needed by puppies. The same dos and don’ts apply to wet/moist dog food. Veterinarians often agree that it’s beneficial to make your own dog food if you have the time. Fresh, cooked chicken and turkey are beneficial to whippets because of all the protein they contain, and a variety of vegetables can be fed to dogs. Avoid garlic and onions if you choose to make your own food.

A mistake many dog owners make is leaving out a never ending supply of food. This increases the likelihood that your dog will become obese, and for a lean, active dog such as the whippet this is bad. Instead, offer your dog a cup of dry food twice a day and a serving of moist food once a day, or mixed in with the dry dog food. If you’re making your own food, your whippet should consume three servings of protein (chicken, turkey, etc.) and 2 servings of veggies (carrots, broccoli, peas, celery, spinach, ) and 2 servings of starch (potatoes, oatmeal). Supplementing your dog’s diet with vitamins is also a good idea, and talking to your vet can give you an idea of which kind would be best for your specific dog.

As far as grooming goes, whippets have no special requirements compared to other dogs. Trim their toe nails, brush their coats and teeth and bathe them when needed. Make sure to regularly worm your whippet and keep vaccinations up. Because they have to go outside to exercise, it’s a good idea to use a flea and tick preventive treatment

Whippets are a particularly healthy breed of dog, and they have few health concerns. Some of the most prevalent problems in whippets are bone and joint disorders. These disorder tend to occur naturally with age, but providing a proper diet can help delay their onset. Whippets are also known to develop eye problems such as cataracts and often the cause is genetic. Whippets should also never look fat, and if your whippet does, it needs to be getting more exercise. An obese whippet will have a shorter life span and won’t be able to play as much as it would like to. It’s advised to purchase your whippet from a private breeder, not a pet store, to ensure that your whippet is healthy and has come from a good background.