The short, smooth coat requires little maintenance.
The Whippet is a natural athlete and needs regular exercise. As with any breed it is also important that the Whippet has proper nutrition, vaccinations, and regular veterinary visits. Whippets are particularly well adapted for human companionship and make excellent house dogs.
Depending on the size of your dog as an adult you are going to want to feed them a formula that will cater to their unique digestive needs through the various phases of their life. Many dog food companies have breed-specific formulas for small, medium, large and giant breeds.
The Whippet is a medium breed and has a lifespan of 12 to 15 years. What you feed your dog is an individual choice, but working with your veterinarian and/or breeder will be the best way to determine frequency of meals as a puppy and the best adult diet to increase his longevity. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.
Grooming can be a wonderful bonding experience for you and your pet. Their strong fast-growing nails should be trimmed regularly with a nail clipper or grinder to avoid overgrowth, splitting and cracking. Whippet ears are not prone to infections, and generally stay clean and dry on their own. Dental care is a must, and a combination of brushing their teeth and providing chew objects that scrape tartar off back molars can greatly reduce the need for dental cleanings under anesthesia. Anesthesia sensitivities in sighthound breeds like the Whippet generally take the form of a somewhat heightened sensitivity due to their low amount of body fat, but generally the breed does well under anesthesia, especially if being treated by a veterinarian with experience with sighthound breeds.
As sprinters, adequate exercise could take the form of several vigorous retrieving sessions a week with ball or flying disc, regular walks, or play sessions with another dog in a safely fenced area. Always keep your Whippet on lead when not in a fenced area. Organized activities, such as lure coursing and agility, can provide another healthful outlet for Whippet exercise, but make sure you bring your Whippet into these sports at a healthy weight, and with reasonable fitness, to reduce the risk of injuries during competition. Owners who compete in the many athletic pursuits open to the Whippet breed are generally quite careful to keep their Whippets trim and provide regular exercise at the gallop, walk, and trot.
Like any dog, special attention needs to be paid to certain conditions which can develop over the lifetime of the Whippet. The Whippet frame is not well suited to carrying excessive weight. While young Whippets may appear gangly and have difficulty keeping their ribs covered when they are in their period of rapid growth, a mature adult should not appear ribby, but should have 2-4 visible vertebrae and the hipbones should not appear sunk into dimples of fat. A Whippet at a healthy weight will likely appear “skinny” to those accustomed to heavier-bodied, less fleet breeds, but maintaining your Whippet at the correct weight through lifelong portion control will extend its life and avoid many of the orthopedic problems that are both painful, and expensive, to repair. But like all breeds there may be some health issues, like cardiac disease, deafness and eye disease.
Some dogs may be faced with these health challenges in their lives, but the majority of Whippets are healthy dogs. Working with a responsible breeder, those wishing to own a Whippet can gain the education they need to know about specific health concerns within the breed. Good breeders utilize genetic testing of their breeding stock to reduce the likelihood of disease in their puppies.