Italian Greyhound Grooming

Grooming an Italian Greyhound needs a little in most of the aspects, and a lot in a few areas. Brushing and bathing tend to be on the easy end whereas nail, ear, and skin care often require a lot of work and preventive supervision. These small, lithe, and fast dogs are built for speed rather than ruggedness, and so you have to keep a close eye on them to make sure that any debris collected while running or tiny, seemingly insignificant injuries are groomed out or quickly attended to prevent big problems with their coat and all that.

Italian Greyhound Coat Care

While there are some aspects of Italian Greyhound grooming that require close and constant care, coat brushing is not really one of them.

You do need to do a weekly brushing, however. The small, rarely shedding hairs won't mat, won't be messy, and don't need much more than a once-over with a slicker brush to be done. There's no need to take him to a groomer unless he gets real muddy from running free and you don't feel like giving him a bath. Bathing, it should be noted, only needs to be done when he gets noticeably dirty, or twice a year of that doesn't occur. On the other hand, the thin, small, fine hairs do little to protect this breed's delicate skin, so there are some serious issues to not having to groom a lot.

Perhaps the hardest part of grooming an Italian Greyhound is catching him so you can groom him!

Other Care

The Italian Greyhound has few grooming and health needs. In most breeds, there are a fair amount or even a lot of areas that need to be overseen. With the Iggy, the lack of maintenance required in most the other areas is taken up by two characteristics that require loads of daily attention: their teeth and their nails.

Between the two, nail care is the easiest — in a relative sense. If you walk your Italian Greyhound daily and allow him to walk on concrete or some other hard, abrasive surface, you should have few worries about keeping his nails trimmed. If not, however, you will need to keep an eye on those nails. If you hear them clicking when he walks, it's time to trim. Failing to do so will eventually cause serious bone, muscle, and joint pain from the pushback cause by the nails not letting the paws and legs work the way they should.

Italian Greyhound teeth are the biggest concern with Iggys. Toy breeds are notorious for their problematic teeth, and this miniaturized dog is among the worst of the worst when it comes to dental concerns. Gum disease and its inflammation, in particular, is the worst aspect of this problem. This complication was even noted as far back as 1993 in that year's Italian Greyhound Club of America (IGCA) Health Survey.

Because of this, you need to learn how to brush your Iggy's teeth. This means a slow, gentle, and patient finger-brushing when he is a puppy. This helps him get used to this intimate, almost invasive activity. You also need to have a good doggy dental plan, a nest egg (in case something goes wrong despite all your care), and the ability to absorb that possible bite scenario if he simply doesn't feel like getting his teeth brushed one day!

You can't use human toothpaste, and this is absolute. Meat-flavored toothpaste is good, and there are many on the market. Some Iggy-owners prefer unflavored toothpastes, and using just one may not be enough. It's best if you alternate, say, between an antibacterial agent-filled oral solution like Enzadent and a canine toothpaste such as MaxiGuard.

If all this is too much, it may be that an Italian Greyhound and his many dental needs is best for someone else.