Do you want to adopt a Whippet? It’s estimated that in the UK alone, 33% of households have a dog. Sadly, an increasing number of dogs find their way into rescue homes and sanctuaries. So for anyone wanting to give a dog a forever home, it’s natural to consider adoption.
If you want to share your life with the “poor man’s racehorse”, the idea of Whippet adoption certainly has some benefits over taking a puppy from a breeder.
However… although adopting any dog can be a hugely rewarding act, there are some things you should consider before you adopt a Whippet, just to make sure you fully understand what you’re taking on.
The following is a discussion of 6 things you really ought to consider before you decide on taking a Whippet for adoption.
Table of Contents
- You’ll Have Responsibilities When You Adopt a Whippet
- The Whippet Temperament
- Bonding With An Adopted Whippet
- When You Adopt a Whippet, Consider Other Pets
- You’re Going to Need Things… Whippety Things!
- Planning for When You Adopt a Whippet
- Related Posts
You’ll Have Responsibilities When You Adopt a Whippet
Becoming a dog owner comes with substantial responsibilities. Regardless of whether you take a puppy or adopt a Whippet of any age, you must be prepared to give.
Dogs require regular exercise and grooming. The amount of time you’ll have to commit to this will depend on the breed.
Whippets need exercise of around an hour each day… preferably off the lead. You’ll likely need to be able to play with them too: play provides mental stimulation and helps you to bond too.
Although Whippets don’t shed much compared to some other breeds, Whippets still need regular grooming. They’re perhaps not as demanding to groom as some other breeds, but they still require a spring clean once in a while to keep your house clean and reduce dander: Whippets are not 100% hypoallergenic… no dog is!
Adopting a Whippet will likely not cost as much to home as buying a Whippet puppy. However, providing a suitable level of care once they’re at home with you requires investment.
Food, veterinary bills, insurance, toys and other Whippet specific products cost money. This needn’t break the bank, but it’s something you must factor. If you opt not to pay for pet insurance, bear in mind that Whippets can get themselves into scrapes and unexpected veterinary bills can be very expensive!
Finally, if you adopt a Whippet you’ll lose some of your ability to be spontaneous. Sudden trips away without your Whippet require planning: you’ll need someone to take care of your little friend.
Furthermore, although Whippets can be left alone for short periods, it’s unfair to leave them alone at home for more than 4 to 5 hours. Whippets can be a little independent in terms of their will, but they don’t cope well with loneliness.
The Whippet Temperament
Whippets are extremely loving and affectionate with their families. They can be a little reserved with new people initially, but once they’ve vetted you, they’ll be a friend for life!
Whippets are also fun loving and enjoy playing enormously. Assuming you spend time stimulating them through play and regularly exercising them, they’ll remain happy.
As with any dog, Whippets need exercise… a dog that doesn’t get the exercise it needs may become unhappy and destructive. Aside from the emotional benefits, exercise also helps to maintain a healthy weight (canine obesity is an increasing problem) and maximise a Whippet’s lifespan.
If you adopt a whippet, you may inherit a dog that is a little more reserved than is usual for the general Whippet temperament.
Of course not all rescue Whippets will have had an unpleasant life and you’d likely know some of their history before you adopt. However, some may have had a challenging life and some others may have very specific needs.
As a consequence, you may need to be sensitive to an adopted Whippet’s particular requirements.
Bonding With An Adopted Whippet
The temptation to bond with an adopted Whippet as quickly as possible will be difficult to resist. You may want to pick up, cuddle and stroke your Whippet constantly but this is often unsettling for adopted pets.
A new home environment may be extremely overwhelming and may take a while to get used to. Coping with well-intentioned over-petting on top, may be simply too much to cope with.
The more sensitive approach to bringing an adopted Whippet into a new home is to take things slowly. Let your Whippet become accustomed its new environment in its own time and give it plenty of space.
Simply spending time in the same room and being quiet or speaking very calmly and gently will help an adopted Whippet to feel safe. Once your Whippet feels more confident in its surroundings, you can begin to build the relationship we all crave with our dogs.
Let your Whippet get to know you gradually and you can begin to gently stroke it. Over time your Whippet will feel comfortable with you touching its head, ears, tummy, feet and tails… and will see grooming as a pleasurable experience.
Reaching a point where your adopted Whippet feels confident and begins to bond, may take a while and require patience. However, over time it will result in a solid relationship.
When You Adopt a Whippet, Consider Other Pets
In terms of other pets, Whippets can live happily under the same roof with others. That said, other pets can also create potential problems.
Whippets are Sighthounds, which means they have a natural instinct to chase things… in fact it’s one of the things Whippets were bred for. While this doesn’t necessarily mean that Whippets and other pets you may have can’t live together, it does mean you have to take care.
If you train from a puppy and socialise Whippets properly, this makes pet cohabitation easier. However, if you adopt a Whippet as an adult dog from a rescue shelter, pet cohabitation may be more of a challenge that requires very attentive training.
A word of warning though. The Sighthound urge to run after things is strong, even in socialised Whippets. I’d advise against leaving any Whippet (adopted or otherwise) alone with other pets, especially cats: Whippets and cats can be difficult to keep together in my experience.
You’re Going to Need Things… Whippety Things!
I’ve touched on this a little above, and it also goes without saying somewhat: you’re going to need things to make Whippet adoption run smoothly.
Aside from pet insurance that will save you a small fortune if something untoward happens, you’ll need a bunch of accessories to make your Whippet’s new life comfortable.
You can find a bunch of suggestions for items you might need in my Whippet owner’s start kit guide. I’ve also recently published an interview with Amber, the owner of an adopted Whiphund (Whippet Dachshund mix), in which she lists items she has found to be useful.
Planning for When You Adopt a Whippet
When you adopt a Whippet you’ll want to ensure you start off on the right foot. You should never adopt any pet (especially a dog) if you won’t then be around during the first few weeks of its new home life.
Do you have a holiday planned around the same time as adopting? Reschedule it. Will you need to be away from home for long periods? Maybe think about restructuring your days so you can be available to keep your Whippet company while he or she adjusts to its adopted home.
Most rescue dogs can feel very anxious moving to a new home and you not being available won’t help. If you’re going to adopt a Whippet, plan to be at home until they’re comfortable with their new life and the new routines it brings.
Many dog rescue centres are bursting at the seams with dogs that need a loving home. If you’re considering getting a dog, it of course makes sense to think about adoption.
Providing a home for a rescue dog can be extremely rewarding but of course it sometimes comes with challenges over and above the responsibilities of raising a dog from puppyhood.
If you’re dead set on Whippets as a breed, and you’re willing to take a rescue dog, you may have to wait to adopt a Whippet, given your local rescue centre may not have one that needs rehoming.
However, if you do want a rescue dog, are prepared to wait and can commit to the responsibility of dog ownership, Whippet adoption might just be the best thing you ever did!
Did you adopt a Whippet? Are you thinking about Whippet adoption? Please tell me your stories in the comments section at the bottom of this page.
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