RCÉ is monitoring the progress of the extreme hot weather forecast for the coming days and has given consideration to the care and welfare needs of racing greyhounds and overall racing schedules. At this point RCÉ wishes to advise of the following:
Further notice will be issued regarding rescheduling of any relevant race meetings
Other racing schedules during the week will operate as normal. These may be subject to some local discretion regarding timings.
Arrangements are being made at tracks to ensure that additional water points are made available and full ventilation in kennels. Owners and trainers are reminded of the importance of good ventilation in transportation arrangements for greyhounds and ensuring that adequate water and other supports are available for all greyhounds. Please review the attached advisory from RCÉ in relation to ‘caring for the greyhound in hot weather’.
RCÉ will review the position on a daily basis in light of up to date weather forecast.
RCÉ NOTICE FOR CARING FOR GREYHOUNDS IN HOT WEATHER
Hot weather can cause ‘Heat Stress’ in greyhounds. High humidity will increase
the risk. A greyhound loses heat mainly by evaporating water from moisture
from the lungs, airway and mouth by panting. Heat loss also occurs to a much
lesser extent via the skin and through the excretion of urine , faeces and saliva.
These methods of controlling body temperatures in dogs are normally very
efficient but if outside temperatures are too high then the main heat control
mechanism of panting is not sufficient to keep the dog’s body temperature
within the normal range 38-39* Cent.
As detailed in RCÉ’s Code of Practice in the Care & Welfare of the Greyhound,
the owner/trainer of a greyhound is responsible for the animal’s welfare. The
principles which underpin best welfare practice apply at all times but some
take on a greater urgency during hot weather, these principles being ‘Freedom
from thirst, discomfort, pain, distress and the freedom to express normal
MINIMISING THE POSSIBILITY OF HEAT STRESS.
• Always ensure your dog has access to fresh drinking water. It is best to
fix the water container to a fence or kennel wall at a height that allows
the dog to drink but not paddle/splash in it. Ice blocks may be added to
• Note that in controlling their body temperature by panting, greyhounds
lose water, not electrolytes. Giving additional electrolytes in water/food
to a greyhound that is dehydrating through heat stress is dangerous as
it creates some metabolic imbalances (potassium and sodium salt
levels) which have the potential to compromise the function of vital
organs like heart, kidney and brain.
• Ensure there is as much air movement through your kennels as is
• Ensure that the kennels are adequately shaded at all times of the day,
using a curtain/cloth shade.
• Consider leaving wet towels/blankets in kennels for dogs to lie on.
• Where possible, cool the roofs of kennels by hosing them.
• Allow dogs to have access to sheltered areas in paddocks/runs.
• Exercise dogs in the cool of the morning or late evenings.
• Avoid disrupting the dogs’ normal routine as this may cause distress.
• Check greyhounds regularly during the day, paying particular attention
to any new intakes or apprehensive greyhounds.
Keep you greyhound stress free in hot weather. Think ---
- VENTILATION, WATER, SHADE.
Transporting a greyhound during hot weather can be high risk unless the
vehicle is air conditioned or can be adequately ventilated.
• Keep trailer/vehicle open in a cool shady area before travelling
• Ensure greyhound is well hydrated before travelling.
• Air conditioned (best) or well-ventilated vehicle.
• Keep travel time to a minimum.
• Break the journey to check your dogs.
• Park vehicle in the shade. Never leave dogs in vehicles parked in the
• Carry sufficient water and ice, allowing for any delays.
AT THE TRACK.
On arrival at a track, remove greyhounds immediately from the vehicle. Give
immediate access to water. It may be advisable sponge/spray the dog with
cool water around the head, neck and underneath front and back legs. Report
any signs of heat stress to the stewards / vet on duty. Signs of heat stress can
vary from excessive panting, drooling, staggering/cramping to seizure and
collapse. Do not give oral electrolytes to a heat stressed dog.
• Dogs should be weighed in and placed in the kennels as soon as is
• Where possible, tracks without air conditioners should maximise airflow
through kennels using large fans.
• The time spent parading or at presentations should be minimised.
• No presentation should be made before a dog is allowed to drink and
• Track vets and stewards should be extra vigilant during hot spells, when
monitoring dogs for signs of heat stress.
POST RACE TRAVEL.
Owners/trainers should ensure that after racing, dogs are immediately cooled
down (hosed), given access to drinking water and where possible placed in a
cool kennel, before travelling home from the track. Be extra vigilant and
prevent onset of heat stress by doing regular checks on dogs and breaking the
journey. On arrival at home, hose the dog as necessary to cool him. Provide
fresh cold water to drink and be satisfied that when the dog is placed in the
home kennel that he is not showing any of the signs of heat stress.