Whippets are not considered high energy level dogs. Once past their puppy stages they are very content to hang out on the sofa and watch TV with their owner. However this is a breed that needs CONSISTANT EXERCISE! Adult Whippets need an hour walk at least 4-6 times a week. An energetic whippet puppy may need more exercise then this. Whippets are bred to run fast sprints and most Whippets really enjoy running. Owners need to find a safe fenced field for whippets to run sprints. This area needs to be several acres large and should be done at least 2-3 times a week along with their walk routine. Baseball fields, community school fields and dog parks are all good running areas that are typically fully fenced. Backyards are not large enough for these sprint sessions and dogs are often bored with the common backyard environment.
Having a backyard does not mean a dog is well exercised. Dogs need physical and mental stimulation of walking and running in new, larger environment. If you want that happy content Whippet on the couch you will need to fulfill their running and exercise needs. Chewing, hyperness, destructiveness, barking, separation anxiety, and fence jumping can all be caused by lack of exercise and boredom. Whippets are intelligent dogs and need an outlet for there running energy. If the owner does not provide sufficient exercise, Whippets will make up their own mental and physical stimulation, which may not be pleasing to the owner.
The best exercise you could give a whippet would be a race practice at the local sighthound club. These are fun informal events that allow whippets to poor the speed in a safe environment. There is NO betting or gabbling involved with whippet racing. This is a hobby sport that promotes good exercise for whippets. At a race practice you can choose to run a dog singly or with a competitor if both are seasoned racers. Check out our local Utah race group for practice information. Reata Whippets Sprint Practice
Whippets do best on Higher protein kibble or RAW diets. Broccoli, celery, spinach, carrots can also be added for additional nutrition.
If you decide to feed a kibble, you will want to look at the ingredients. A quality meat kibble is recommended for active dogs. You want meat to be the first ingredient on the bag. A lot of dog foods have corn as a base, which can be hard for dogs to digest. Look for foods that contains brown rice or potato instead of corn. The food also should contain about 30% protein. Whippet owners may have to go to specialty shops to buy a better food. You should also expect to pay more for this quality food. I would NOT recommend buying any dog food from the grocery store. These typically contain lots of dye and indigestible products. It’s true that they are cheaper, but the quality is very low and these foods contain a lot of fillers. Dogs will eat more of the cheep food compared to a high quality food. You will notice less poop clean up if you invest in quality foods.
A good site for dog kibble information is http://www.dogfoodanalysis.com/ This web site is good at letting you know about the fillers and Chemicals in dog foods. Their rating system is based on protein content. So their rating system wouldn't work for all breeds such as extra large breeds are not supposed to have a real high protein. But they do break down what the ingredients are and how they are used. Some of the ingredients in dog food are controversial and banned from human food. Look up your food and you will be surprised at what you find.
The RAW diet is more work but the benefits are excellent. A raw diet consists food like: raw meat, rice, a variety of veggies and vitamins. If you choose to do the RAW diet, discuss a program with your veterinarian and do as much research as possible. There are supplements and nutritional needs that need to be added to the RAW diet in order to be successful. Feeding RAW diets can reduce dog’s allergies; increase activity level, less doggy odor, easier backyard cleanup and better weight control.
It’s also better to feed a whippet after exercise. The fast running motion may cause a Whippet to vomit up a large meal. Free feeding whippet’s is not recommended. They typically become picky eaters or will overeat if the food is left out all day. Measure and Feed whippets their food twice a day. Feed according to your Whippets size. Small whippets may only eat 1 cup of kibble a day. Large whippets can eat up to 3 cups of food a day. Split up meals so that they eat once in the morning and once at night. Pick up any bowls with leftovers after the feeding session is done.
Watch your Whippets weight. Fat whippets are not happy whippets. They will suffer from health problems if you let them put too much weight on. They are athletes and do not have the body build to be fat. It’s ok to see ribs and hip points on a whippet. Young active whippets tend to be leaner then older whippets. As long as a Whippet is eating a good quality diet, measured for their size, twice a day, they are ok to look lean. Some whippets may have a thinner build compared to others.
Before changing your whippet’s diet, discuss options with your veterinarian. Each dog varies in his or her dietary needs. A good veterinarian will be able to discuss good health feeding options that are best suited for your whippet.
Whippets generally like to be clean dogs. They have very short tight coats and shed very minimally. One bath a month is typically all that is needed. Use a good mild dog shampoo. You can also use a conditioner to help with any skin dryness. Oatmeal shampoos and conditioners work well for dry coats or skin. Never use human shampoos on Whippets. These typically are stronger and may cause skin irritations or allergic reactions.
After their baths Whippets typically run around the house like mad, so blow-drying is not necessary. Give them a good wipe down with a towel and they typically air dry in about 10 minutes. Whippets are known as "Wash and Go" dogs since there is little grooming involved. Use a hound brush or rubber brush to loosen any dead hair. A Whippet coats don’t shed much but you will notice more shedding around seasonal changes or after baths.
Trim a whippet’s toenails regularly. Proper toenail length on a whippet is important. A whippet with long toenails is in danger of toe sprains, ripped or broken nails.
Whippets and Whether
Whippets are indoor dogs and are not recommended our outdoor kennel life. They want to be near their families. Whippets do not do well being left outside in cold or hot conditions. Their short coats are not good in cold temperatures and will get hypothermia if left out in the cold too long. White whippets with fair, pink skin can also sunburn on a sunny day.
If you live somewhere that’s cold a whippet coat is a necessity. Look for a good quality coat that will keep them warm, not just look good. There are many online specialty stores that make whippet coats. These are specifically made for whippet anatomy and fit much better then the large box store varieties. Check out the Shopping Link for whippet coat suggestions.
Choke chains or prong collars should never be used on Whippets. These collars could seriously injure their neck! Whippets do best with a specialized collar called Martingales. These are designed to keep the collar from slipping off the neck of narrow headed dogs. The collar collapses in the back and tightens on the dog’s neck when the leash is pulled on. This collar is a must if you have whippets. They also make martingales in different widths from 1” to 2”. This is a personal choice and you may need to test out on your dog to see which width is most comfortable. These collars are not always sold at your local pet store. They can be purchased on several online stores and even e-bay. Check your local dog shows for martingales. Also see the Shopping Link page for Martingale store suggestions.