General Great Dane Care
When you acquire a Great Dane he will soon become a member of your family. Each Dane has his or her own personality of course, but there are definite traits of the breed which include, sitting on your lap and leaning against you. These are examples of the way in which they make it their business to get your attention, just in case you forget they are around! In short, your Dane will just want to be with you, as much as possible, and will prefer the company of others be they human or K9, rather than being left on his own.
Exercise is important for the physical and mental well being of your Dane, but the amount and type of exercise required will depend to a great extent on the age and condition of your Dane. In the first year of a young Danes life exercise should be closely controlled while those bones are still growing, if allowed to gallop about all day long, they could easily cause themselves an injury.
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Once fully grown, the Great Dane can cope with a fair amount of exercise but will fit in to whatever routine fits your life style. Please remember the more exercise you give your Dane the more food you will need to give him to keep him in good condition. It may be advisable to take your new friend to dog training classes, but each Dane has individual needs in this area.
You may well have been advised about several different types of food that are best for a Great Dane. We highly recommend "Royal Canin" Complete Food from the "Giant Range". The Giant Adult has been developed with Danes in mind and we have experienced a huge decrease in the number of cases of Bloat (Gastric Torsion) that we see each year.
All our Danes are reared and fed on this food with superb results. This food is fed dry and contains a fully balanced diet. Many Danes are sensitive to 'E' numbers and colorants, which tend to be found in the cheaper complete foods. Maize can lead to hyper-activity, and this is commonly found in the flaked foods.
All Danes should be fed twice a day when adult or even three small meals a day as they become older. Puppies will need to be fed more frequently when young. The Dane should be fed at his own chest height, to avoid him having to bend down to eat. This is bad for digestion as well as uncomfortable and possibly damaging to those shoulder joints. Free access to clean water is essential and this too should be at chest height.
Do not free feed your Dane. Free feeding is when food is left in their bowl all day allowing them to eat whenever they want. Free feeding is inappropriate for a variety of reasons:
- Portion control. Some dogs will over consume, some will pick all day long and don't ever get hungry enough to consume the proper amount of nutrition necessary
- Food motivation. It is like having a full buffet in your house, stocked with food 24 hours-a-day. When you think of it this way, it’s not hard to understand why dogs that are free-fed tend to be sluggish, lethargic, and passionless about their food. In a dog's life food is the number one motivation. A dog with no passion for food is an unhappy dog. A dog should have an unbridled passion for food. They need to look forward to their next meal with anticipation and excitement. This creates the foundation for a well-tempered, happy pet
- Bloat prevention. Quite simply if you do not know when your dog has eaten you do not know when it is safe to walk them. As part of your daily routine to help prevent bloat your dog should not be walked until at least two hours after a meal or at least one hour before a meal
- Pack leadership (see Love is not enough). In the canine world, the pack leader controls the food. Your dog only knows you are in charge of the food if you bring it to them. Having a feeding schedule teaches your dog that they need to rely on you, thus reinforcing your position as pack leader
Hopefully your Great Dane will be blessed with a long and trouble free life, but should he need to see the vet this could prove to be very expensive, therefore we highly recommend that you take out pet insurance as soon as you get your Dane.
The Great Dane will also require an annual booster, and if he goes to kennels for holidays, it is advisable to have him vaccinated against Kennel cough. This lasts for approximately 8 months.
It is advisable to worm you Great Dane twice a year but this is something that your vet can advise you on, and will depend on the life style of the dog and the type of wormers used.
It is the law that every Dog should wear an identity tag at all times, but in addition to this, if he is not already micro-chipped we would recommend that you discuss this with your vet.
Being short haired it is not common for the Danes to suffer with fleas, but there are some excellent preparations available from your vet to prevent such a problem occurring.
General Care, Bedding, Etc
The older Great Dane will enjoy the comfort of a nice bean bag or doggy type mattress to stretch out on, but please be warned the youngsters take great pleasure in emptying the beans and stuffing all over the house! Therefore an old blanket or quilt will suffice for the young chewers amongst us!
Laminate flooring ( unless they have extensive non-slip rugs ) is not suitable for a Dane. Whilst looking nice and easy to keep clean it can prove very dangerous for big dogs and cause serious leg injuries.
Toys will need to be of the stronger type, Kongs and Activity Balls are popular, as are Tugger Ropes.
Most Danes enjoy a good grooming with a soft brush, and will from time to time need their ears cleaning and their nails cutting. If you are not sure about performing these tasks your veterinary nurse will be able to help.
Teeth can be brushed but if your Dane is not to keen on this, then keep him supplied with suitable chews, which will help.
We hope these notes have given you a better insight to owning and caring for a Great Dane.
Should you decide to adopt one of our Danes, we will be happy to advise you on the specific needs of your particular dog.