When greyhounds aren’t running around the oval, they spend time at their home kennel. Wondering what exactly life entails at a greyhound kennel, we have gathered a general schedule of day-to-day activities for trainers, kennel staff, and the beloved greyhounds.
A greyhound trainer’s day typically begins bright and early around 6:00 am. Starting off the day, the kennel caretakers let the greyhounds stretch out and run around in large pens. The kennel staff will use this time to clean and disinfect the kennel and the crates that the greyhounds live in. This generally takes around 45-60 minutes, giving the greyhounds plenty of time to play. After the kennel and crates have been disinfected, the greyhounds are then put back in their crates to enjoy their freshly cleaned homes. These pups love their kennel spaces; it’s where they feel most comfortable and relaxed to sleep and rest. Some greyhounds love their crate so much that they prefer to spend most of their time in their home. Husker Magic, captain of the All-America Team, greets her kennel mates for about 10 minutes of their play time before she is wanting to head back to her crate for blanket snuggles.
Once the pups are back in their crates, the trainer and helper will take the greyhounds who need exercise out to a “sprint path” to run. A “sprint path” is exactly how it sounds- a path utilized for greyhounds to sprint for racing practice, conditioning, and other various reasons. Greyhounds are typically “sprinted” every other day between races. When the greyhounds have completed their sprints, they are weighed and groomed.
After grooming, the trainer will prepare and mix the greyhounds’ food. While food may differ from kennel to kennel, in general each pup’s meal consists of 1 ½ pounds of meat, 1 pound of meal, corn oil, and a vitamin. Sometimes the trainer will include fruits or a stew as well as honey for flavor. This is mixed together in a very large bowl with water to help with consistency. The greyhounds who are not racing eat a full meal and those who are racing receive a snack, which is half the portion size of the meal. After eating, the pups enjoy more time outside before heading back to their kennel to relax and nap.
Greyhounds who are racing that day are taken to the track kennel where they wait till it’s their turn to race. Once a greyhound has raced, a caretaker will “cool them out.” This means the greyhounds are cooled down and walked. There are many different ways a trainer can cool down a greyhound: dip tanks, hoses, walk through tanks, etc. This helps relax the racing greyhound’s muscles and cools down their body temperature after the exertion of racing.
After the day’s racers have run, they are taken back to the kennel and fed. All of the greyhounds are then turned out again for 30-45 minutes to stretch out and play. The pup’s racing that night are then taken to the track kennel for their races. After the night’s races have ran, all the greyhounds are let outside for one more romp before heading back to their crates for bed. Once the pups are put up for the night, the kennel is locked up and the caretakers head home.
Playing, sprinting, and resting are all a part of the kennel life for a racing greyhound. While the schedule we have outlined may slightly differ between locations, each kennel has a strict regimen they follow to help keep the pups happy, healthy, and race ready. Tons of care and love from the trainers, kennel staff, and owners allow the greyhounds to race at their full potential.
We would like to thank Catherine D’arcy from D’arcy Kennels for providing kennel life information for us to utilize. Check out her “Day in the Life of a Racing Greyhound” from a greyhound’s perspective.