Most answers are strictly my opinions and beliefs based on raising my own Danes. I try to provide helpful information whenever possible. Always ask your Vet for a 2nd opinion. (One who has experience with Danes or Large Breeds) because a Great Dane is not your "average" dog.
I wanted to let you in on a new product I have been using for Fleas, worms & heartworm prevention. It is called TRIFEXIS, and I love it! It is very affordable compared to a flea prevention and a separate heartworm prevention and it is a great tasting beef flavored biscuit so it doesn't leave a oily residue that has to dry. Mine always rubbed it all over the furniture or floor or if done outside rolled in the grass. And it has worked wonders on the fleas.
General Information About the Great Dane
Great Danes are a giant breed and, therefore, have potential for health problems not normally encountered in an average dog. Their average life span is supposed to be eleven to thirteen years, but has declined to an average of about seven years. The short life span is partially due to their extreme size and partially due to the fact that many owners are unaware of simple steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of life-threatening health problems.
the number one PREMATURE KILLER of Danes is torsion. Bloat
is a gas build up in the stomach. If not relieved immediately, bloat
can progress and torsion can result. Torsion occurs when the stomach
and/or spleen flips, and, without immediate surgery by a surgeon
experienced in torsion surgery, it is usually fatal. Even with
surgery, the mortality rate is extremely high. Improper feeding,
improper timing of exercise, a sudden change in the diet, and stress
are just some of the factors that can contribute to the development
of bloat and/or torsion. THIS CAN HAPPEN TO ANYONE! We lost our Chronic to this. I highly recommend stomach tacking as a precaution. This may never happen to you, but it is definitely better to be safe than have to grieve over a much loved fur kid.
*BEFORE GOING TO YOUR VET*
Always call your vet before you go in for any routine or non-emergency visit. Ask the receptionist if any parvo or corona dogs have come in that day or are in the clinic receiving treatment. If the answer is yes, change your appointment to another day or utilize another vet.
Carry your puppy into the office and keep him on your lap. Do not let him down on the floor or on the vets furniture. When he is old enough to walk on a leash, always keep him on the sidewalk and do not let him stray to the grass as sick animals eliminate on it and grass cannot be cleaned like sidewalks.
Do not allow your veterinarian to administer a vaccine beyond what is necessary. Your puppy will go home with his/ her first vaccination. Rabies should be given over 9 months of age.
*ANESTHESIA AND TRANQUILIZERS WITH X-RAYS OR SURGERY*
If your Dane ever has to be anesthetized or tranquilized for any reason, including an ear crop, neutering, etc., please inform your vet each and every time that Great Danes are extremely sensitive to both and that one fourth to one third of the recommended dose for the Danes weight is generally enough. If they start with one half or more of the recommended dose for the Danes weight, your Danes life may be at risk!
SPAYING & NEUTERING * I have been asked this often and wanted to add it for you *
When to spay/neuter: Generally this should be done when your Dane puppy is 12 months.
The older the dog, the more able it will be to withstand the anesthesia.
You will hear many ideas about spaying neutering. All I can do is tell you my experience with this and what I tell my puppy buyers. When males are neutered too young, before their hormones are full tilt, they do not gain the muscle that an adult male should have and look like a gangly puppy their whole life. I do not recommend neutering a male until at least 12 months of age.
As for females and spaying, there are two thoughts on this....one says to spay early so they do not develop breast cancer. In working with breeders, this is a rarity. But what is common, very common when you spay a bitch before she comes into season the first time, they almost always have are problems with incontinence and this is very hard to deal with.
This is also regulated by hormones and if they do not have the appropriate hormones present, they will dribble or wet the bed a night, even as a young female. SO......I tell my puppy buyers to let them be at least 12 months of age before they spay, again so their hormones are in gear. If they have a season before this, then you simply have to make arrangements for boarding them so they don't get breed.
When the girls come in season, give them Chlorophyll tablets daily, give a human dose but double dose it daily during the time they are in season (all 21 days). This will cut down on the odor, but NEVER leave them unattended at any time for the 3 weeks they are in season. NEVER!!
Also NEVER spay a female during any of her estrus period. That means when she is coming into season, when she is IN season, and for the two months after! During those two (2) months after, her hormones could be raging which causes a false pregnancy. In her mind she is pregnant! They will often nest and have milk, as well as carry around a toy as if it were a puppy. During this 3+ month time period of total estrus (before, during, after), they should not have surgery done, UNLESS it is pyometria infection (uterine infection) or other life threatening reasons. They are very susceptible to bleeding to death (DIC) during surgery, if it is done at a time when her hormones are fluctuating. So plan your spay dates very carefully.
*DO NOT FEED YOUNG PUPPIES ANY FOOD WITH MORE THAN 26% PROTEIN*
feeding is of critical importance. There is no readily available dog
food formulated especially for giant breeds. Many foods feature
puppy, maintenance, less active, and high protein formulas, but are
formulated for the average dog. Since most puppy formulas are
high protein, you should not feed puppy food unless it is 26% or less Protein. I NEVER feed my Danes Puppy food at all! From day 1 of mush they eat adult dog food.Check
the label, but most are 24% to 32% protein. We now use Iams proactive health mini chunks for our puppies and Diamond Large breed adult, Chicken & Rice. I also want to stress that to high of a protein level can also cause serious issues such as canine hip
displaysia (CHD), panosteitis (pano), osteochondrosis dessicans, and
wobblers syndrome as well as kidney problems. If your vet is not familiar with Large Breeds or Danes, It can cost you hundreds if not thousands of dollars for him to (possibly) find that you are feeding to high of a protein diet.
Put your Dane on heartworm preventative at three months of age and give the medication year round, no matter what climate you live in! If you prefer not to give daily medication, a monthly wormer is available. Do not miss medication! Do not discontinue medication during winter months.
let me stress again, your dogs health and well being is dependent
upon receiving this preventative year round with no interruptions.
*FEED TWICE A DAY OR FREE FEED. NEVER FEED A DANE ONLY ONCE A DAY!!!*
Prior to six months of age, don't use snacks high in protein. Acceptable snacks include but are not limited to: cottage cheese, cheese, bacon drippings, gravy, vegetables, fruit, yogurt, cooked meats, or canned food.
prefer to feed our pups 3-4 times daily & adults we let free feed., as a drastic change in your Danes
eating habits can be your first indicator of a potential problem. If
you are not free feeding, your Dane must be fed twice a day. Proper
feeding can substantially reduce the risk of bloat and torsion! I have also found that free feeding reduces your chances of bloat/torsion because they are grazing all day, so they are not gulping it down at feeding time. I also use elevated feeding & watering. A plastic storage container (which comes in many colors) works as 2 purposes for me. 1st as a storage container for your dog food and 2nd as a elevated feeder.
*NEVER LEAVE MOISTENED KIBBLE DOWN FOR VERY LONG*
Never leave moistened kibble down for more than 15 minutes or so. Moistened kibble sours quickly outside in the summer and will also sour at room temperature. Sour food can contribute to the development of bloat and/or torsion.
*NEVER CHANGE BRANDS OF DOG FOOD SUDDENLY! TAKE A FEW DAYS.*
A sudden change of food can result in a case of bloat and/or torsion. If you want to change kibble, do so over a few days. The first day, feed old brand food and ½ new brand food. The second day, feed half new brand kibble and half old brand kibble. The third day, feed ½ new brand kibble and ½ old brand kibble. The fourth day, feed all new brand kibble.
*DO NOT ALLOW EXCESSIVE WATER CONSUMPTION WITH MEALS OR IMMEDIATELY AFTER MEALS*
Consumption of a small amount of water with meals or immediately after meals is normal. Excessive water consumption with or immediately after meals can contribute to a bloat and/or torsion problem. If your Dane attempts to consume an excessive amount of water with or immediately after meals, limit his or her water intake to about eight ounces for an hour after meals. One hour after meals, you can allow free consumption of water.
With the exception of possible controlled water intake within an hour of eating, always have plenty of clean, fresh water available for your Dane.
*KEEP YOUR DANE CALM FOR ONE TO ONE AND ONE HALF HOURS AFTER MEALS*
IF AT ALL POSSIBLE...Excessive exercise immediately after meals can contribute to the development of bloat and/or torsion. This is very important!!
*TOYS AND CHEWABLES*
Do not allow you Dane to play with or chew old shoes!!! Who is to determine what is an old shoe and what is a good shoe? Shoes are off limits.
your Danes ONLY Raw beef shank and/or knuckle
bones. They dont splinter they chip. Other bones can choke
your Dane. Do not ever feed cooked pork or chicken bones. We let our
guys have a couple of carrots or apples a day, and a beef shank bone
with the knuckles attached. Your grocer may be willing to provide
them. We bake ours for just a while so they do not get extremely
slimy. They LOVE stuffed animals (make sure they have no eyes, etc). But be prepared to see a pillow fight setting within about 10 minutes. =) I really like "Kong" brand toys for our Danes, they are harder to tear up...some even last months. Wubba's (by Kong) are their favorite.
This is a heavy breed and they have a tendency to plop when they go from a standing position to lying down. Always provide a soft surface for them to do so. If they are allowed to lay on hard surfaces continuously, they could develop fluid filled areas on their elbows called hygromas that sometimes require draining and can be quiet painful.
Many vets want to give Dane pups calcium supplements. Calcium supplements are only not necessary, but too much calcium can be harmful. Vitamin C is recommended at 500 mg per day until 7 months then 1000 mg per day.
DO NOT ALLOW YOUR DANE TO GET GROSSLY OVER-WEIGHT!! Do not confuse large with fat. Excessive weight can result in a fatal heart attack. So, once again, please do not confuse large with fat. You should be able to easily feel your Danes ribs. The ribs should not be readily visible.
If you keep your adult Dane outside year round, during the summer, you should be able to see faint rib "ripples", not protruding ribs. During the winter, the ribs should be well covered but easily felt. This means a 10-15 pound adjustment from summer to winter and again from winter to summer. The weight adjustments should be made slowly over a three-month period. If your Dane is a house dog, a constant weight should be maintained. Remember, you should be able to easily feel the ribs, but they should not protrude.
Never leave a Dane in a fenced yard when you are not home unless the gate is LOCKED. Leaving a Dane in the yard with an unlocked gate is asking for trouble. A child could open the gate to play with your Dane and accidentally let the Dane out. Your Dane could be hit by a car, get lost, be picked up by someone, etc. There are individuals who steal purebred dogs. Locking your gate will make theft more difficult, especially as the Dane matures, and will generally avoid unnecessary problems.
Never leave a choke collar on a Dane, and never leave any collar on an unattended puppy. If a pups collar gets caught on something, the pup will panic and can choke itself. We've known of several cases of adult dogs who, while playing with another dog, got their choke collars entangled; could not get the collars untangled; and choked to death.
Put your Dane on heartworm preventative at three months and give the medication year round. If you prefer not to give daily medication, a monthly de-wormer is available. Do not miss medication! Do not discontinue medication during winter months.
Most Danes will require de-worming a couple of times a year, so have your Dane checked every four to six months by taking a stool sample to your vet and asking him/her to check for parasites. If you observe blood in your Danes stool, or you can't seem to keep him/her in good weight, although food consumption is good, check for worms.
Distemper, parvo and rabies (unless your Dane had the 3 year shot) are boostered annually. Keep accurate records of your Danes immunizations.
Most Danes do not require a vast amount of exercise. Walking with you is great. They can play fetch and retrieve a ball, but Great Danes are so large that all unnecessary stress to their skeletal system should be avoided, especially for their first two years. As most jogging is done on concrete, Danes are not good candidates for jogging partners. Jogging is very hard on their hips and can destroy a sound set of hips. Our Danes love to swim and there is probably no better exercise for a Dane since swimming is low impact and works all muscle groups.
If you raise your Dane as you would a child with love, discipline, rules, and praise, you will have a super pet. These guys are not dumb animals. They are intelligent, often stubborn dont sell them short! They are capable of every emotion that you experience. When you are having a bad day, your Dane may be smarter than you are. Do not allow a puppy to do anything that you would not want a 150 pound Dane doing!!
If you have a problem with your Dane, never hesitate to call us.
Never fail to call us if you need advice or suggestions with a physical problem, a medical problem, or a behavior problem. We are always willing to call you back. Remember, we can not be expected to help if we are unaware of the problem. If a problem exists, we need to know about it immediately in order to provide meaningful input for its resolution.