Feeding & Growth


1-jez-litter-day-1.jpg Dane Litter, day one

Great Danes are born at roughly 2 pounds. By 12 months, they are 30 inches tall or more, bigger than most adult dogs. That super fast growth has lots of potential problems. (See the HOD, Dysplasia pages under this heading).

Typically, American bred Danes will grow up before filling out: they will be all legs and ribs, looking lanky and thin for a solid year. You want to be able to see the ribs when they stand and move around. They put on an average of 5 pounds and 1″ a week during growth spurts  the first six months. Some more, some less depending on their genetics. They grow FAST!

Keeping Dane puppies on the lean side is much easier on their fragile, growing joints, so resist the urge to feed them until they’re round and soft! Your Dane pup will be a bony looking thing! That’s okay, they grow out of it. At 12-18 months old they will fill out in the muscle department if left unneutered.

If a male is neutered before sexual maturity, a male will not really fill out as much. A male neutered young will often grow very tall and weedy looking from the lack of testosterone. Sometimes it’s hard to tell a male from a female. I’m downright ideological about neutering and spaying, but I do wait until at least 12 months old to neuter, 18 mo is better.

That means I have to correct my boys for trying to mark, hump, or other unwanted male behavior. But if a male is giving me ridiculous amounts of behavioral trouble, I will neuter him before a year. Sometimes you’ll bring home a really hard headed and dominant male, and neutering is a good option if you aren’t willing or prepared to deal with such stubbornness. Spaying young doesn’t seem to make any real difference in growth.

Whenever your spay or neuter is up to you, but please, please do it! Walk through the pound or look at the overwhelming numbers of rescued dogs, and realize that there are way too many puppies out there already. And most of them will be put to sleep. Don’t add to the problem!

I think of Great Danes, Irish Wolfhounds, Scottish Deerhounds, and other very tall dogs as “super giants”. There is a substantial difference in height between a Dane and a St. Bernard. The “super giants” have a terrifically fast rate of bone growth, which is why they are so vulnerable to bone and joint problems.

One of the best sites I’ve found for these orthopedic problems (that doesn’t glaze your eyes over from the medical terminology) is www.greatdanelady.com, so I highly recommend checking out that site.

Nutritionally, Danes are very delicate. So finding a food that has a relatively low protein level of 23% or so, and a safe ratio of calcium and phosphorous is a serious business. I need to bust a run-away myth here: The orthopedic growth problems are not caused by protein, but by the minerals naturally present in meats!! This has been documented by vet studies since the 1970′s.

protein builds muscle, not bone. Studies have proven that the amount of protein does not directly affect bone growth, or the bone and joint deformities we worry about,  in Great Danes. This doesn’t mean you should think the high protein, grain free diets becoming popular are safe for a growing Dane pup though. Many of them have dangerously high mineral contents, the real cause of nutrition based skeletal disorders.

https://www.msu.edu/~silvar/hips.htm,

http://www.chromadane.com/NUTRITIONMICHEL.htm

http://siriusdog.com/the-truth-about-vitamin-c

Excess protien can affect a Dane by 1) causing diarrhea, and packing on more weight than their growing bones can bear up under. This can obviously cause joint problems both as a pup and later in life too. And 2) the more actual meat in a food the higher the mineral levels go. Red meats in particular has high calcium and phosphorus levels.

This is where the protien percentages started getting blamed. It’s not splitting hairs though, because a higher protien food with low minerals is perfectly safe. As a rule of thumb, though, limit the protien levels to around 24%. Some dogs handle up to 28% just fine so long as the amount of calcium and phosphorus  that causes bone and joint problems remains low enough.

A study by the Department of Clinical Sciences of Companion Animals in the Netherlands specifically tested the calcium absorption of Great Dane puppies, and found that pups fed a diet very high or very low in calcium absorbed excessive percentages of minerals, even after the dietary calcium and phosphorus was restricted later.

That makes minerals a deciding factor in the health of your Dane pup. If the puppy begins to absorb too much calcium, they will continue to absorb too much the rest of their lives. That is the term “malabsorbtion”, and it is strongly related to HOD, Panosteitis, and other growth problems.

A  0.9-1% calcium and 0.7-0.8% phosphorus is thought to be ideal, which can change. I don’t feed pups a food with more than 1.2% calcium/0.9% phosphorus because it is getting high enough above that to increase the risks. I’ve had a dog that developed nutritional HOD from a food supposedly designed for Danes, and it was horrible, so I don’t follow claims–I look at the nutritional analysis!! Especially if your pup is knuckled over, has splayed feet, or has family members with orthopedic problems already.

NEVER EVER SUPPLEMENT WITH VITAMINS OR MINERALS. That includes vitamin C. You’re asking for trouble, because growth disorders are vitamin and mineral based 9 times out of 10. There is some new evidence that supplementing vitamin D3 can lower the absorption of calcium, which might prove useful in future studies at reducing the effects of HOD, dysplasia and PANO but that isn’t known just yet. Things like probiotics after antibiotics do not provide minerals or vitamims, so they are not a problem. The same with digestive enzymes, or colostrum when needed.

AND NEVER EVER UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES TRY TO FORCE GROWTH IN A GREAT DANE. You will not get a bigger dog than the genes say he or she will become, but you do greatly increase the risk of deformity and even death. Don’t worry, you’ll still have the biggest dog on the block, that’s for sure.

When looking at a food bag, if you see grains, or meat by-products near the top of the list, realize the protien will most likely be from indigestible parts, making the protien listing inaccurate as far as the protien your puppy absorbs. Never feed a Dane a grocery store puppy food. Exceptions to the puppy food rule are natural/holistic foods like Eagle Pack,  or Innova that have an acceptable ratio of minerals.

The first year of life is the most important for their life long health. Some skeletal problems won’t show up until they are older, like Wobbler’s disease or early onset arthritis, but they are often created in the puppy’s first year by too much or too little nutrients.

Lots of Danes have done well on both commercial and holistic/natural foods. I can’t list them all of course, but here are a few to consider if you’re shopping for a Dane food. My Kenai’s breeder uses Purina Pro Plan, as do lots of show breeders. Eagle Pack premium or holistic (good for allergy prone dogs), Innova large breed(the EVO food is far too high in protien for a normal puppy though good for dogs with pancreatic insufficiency), Chicken Soup for the Dog Lover’s Soul, Canidae, and Blue are some good natural foods.

Sensitive tummies I am told, to better with fish based foods.The natural foods do cost more, but use less per serving, so it balances out fairly average. And the stools are smaller since more of the food is absorbed instead of passed through.

NOTE: if you wish to feed raw to your danes, than please please please, find a mentor who has successfully fed raw to Danes. I’m not ‘dissing the raw feeding crowd since I’ve done it myself, but you shouldn’t just give it try on your own since you’ve inadvertantly increased your beloved puppy’s risks of problems if you don’t get the nutrition right. The nutritional balance for giants is a tricky thing and they are not dogs to “experiment” on. Their growth and development is different than smaller breeds–no room for trial and error. So have an expert to rely upon!

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121 Comments

  1. Kathy

     /  April 19, 2008

    My 1 year 3 month old harlequin has a hygroma that wont go away..tried padding it draining it etc,..been 6 months and its now the size of a tennis ball..any ideas??

    Reply
  2. poor pup! The standard treatment you know is protecting the joint when they lay down. Thick soft bedding, keeping the weight down, and padding is the usual stuff. There is a site, http://www.dogleggs.com that has a vet recommended product to put over the joint and help it heal up. Might be worth trying, since draining it can cause infection sometimes.

    Reply
  3. shelby

     /  April 24, 2008

    I just got my first great dane 3 days ago (she’s a 6 week old harlequin named Aspen) and I did a lot of research before picking her out. The information out there is pretty overwhelming. The breeder had her on purina one puppy food but the protein was really high (28%)and had brewers rice and corn in the 1st 3 ingredients, so yesterday i went to petsmart and got Authority (harvest baked adult chicken formula) the protein is 25% and 12% fat and 4% fiber..it’s free of by-products,corn or brewers rice.Here’s the first 4 ingredients: Chicken, Whole Ground Wheat, Whole Ground Barley, Chicken Meal.Anyone that i asked for a reccomendation (including a vet) recommended puppy foods, but i dont think that’s right. Anyways, I just want to know if I’m going to be helping her by switching to this food. She has also had loose stools with the puppy food. Do you have any advice??? I’m also very concerned about bloat. Are there any precautions that you think would actually help? eg. raised food bowls, ect. Thank You!!

    Reply
    • Rugers daddy

       /  June 2, 2009

      Definately elevated food bowls set to shoulder height,and 1 hr rest after eating,keep your kid bloat free and good luck,i recommend holistic dog foods and not from China snacks chews etc.

      Reply
    • Betty

       /  September 29, 2009

      I have a 7 month great dane…we went thru all sorts of drama when it came to feeding her, what she liked, what every other website recomends, so forth and so on….Bottom line, she’s been on Authoriy for Large breed puppies for about 3 months, we add ground beef or chicken…any left over protein from dinner. She is healthy, her coat is shiny and she is a very happy dog.

      Reply
    • jenny

       /  October 12, 2009

      we feed our great dane royal canine…. this brand is made espcially for giant breed dog and pups. Our great dane is 3 months old and loves the food we give him.

      we feed him junior for pups under 45 pds. I hope this helps.

      Reply
      • rachael

         /  January 4, 2014

        Royal Canin has some good ingredients BUT it’s made by 4 diff manufacturers in 4 diff countries. Also their breed specific foods are a marketing scheme. Compare the chihuahua and doxin food, same ingredients.

    • jackie

       /  February 16, 2012

      if you did a lot of research … then why would you bring home a puppy that wasn’t AT LEAST 8 weeks old and for a dane it is better that they are 10 to 12 weeks……? the food Authority will work fine as long as she tolerates it…(no soft stools) for bloat… you can have her stomach tacked when you have her spayed (at about 12-18) months….. that is about it… also it tends to run in lines so did you ask how many dogs in her line had ever bloated…. not just mom dad and grands but width of pedigree too….. best of luck to you…

      Reply
      • Stomach tacking is not 100%. I work in a Veterinary hospital and it’s never a guarantee it’s gonna prevent bloat, sometimes it can become a waste of money so it’s not a highly recommended thing to do. The biggest way to prevent any bloating is by far not having your Dane do any extreme exercise, go outside, play with other dogs, etc until they have finished eating for about 30 to 45 minutes. 8 weeks is usually fine for a Great Dane puppy to go home especially for ANY other breed. That’s normal range for a puppy to go home. I have more concerns when they get them at 5 or 6 weeks. I personally don’t care for Purina but Simply Nourish has done wonders for our Dane and by far my favorite dog food product, all the Vets give it a thumbs up. I know Blue is okay but that onion powder in their dogs foods is toxic to dogs so beware.

  4. Sarah

     /  November 8, 2008

    I just brought home my third great dane…and she’s unique in every way but beyond frustrating in one. I cannot get her to eat. I’ve tried chicken broth, warm water, diced up sausage, moist puppy and dog foods, cottage cheese, and cheerios mixed in with her kibble. Nothing is working. I get to her to eat about 1 cup of food on a good day. Is there anything I haven’t tried? Her stools are solid. She drinks plenty of water. And I’m assured she doesn’t have a parasite or anything else.

    Reply
    • Rugers daddy

       /  June 2, 2009

      Try some cooked grd chuck and brown or white rice or cook some chicken thighs with rice and mix that in the kibble,i recommend Blue Buffalo or Innova as safe China free pet foods.

      Reply
    • jenny

       /  October 12, 2009

      sometimes it takes a while for great danes to get comfortable in a new enviorment… giver your new pup time to adjust. if you present food to your dane and it wont eat, then take it away. A dog should be hungry when it is time to eat. in time she will eat her food. Also, be consistent with what you feed her. changing her diet often will result in an inconsistent eating pattern

      Reply
    • Jennifer

       /  February 11, 2013

      I went through the same drama with my 8 month old Great Dane. I settled on Blue Buffalo Natural Fish and Oatmeal because several websites said that Great Danes can have very sensitive stomachs and fish seems to help with that. He was also being picky at times as well because he seemed like he was holding out for his treats vs his food. So I stopped the treats, and then started just feeding him three times a day. According to “The Great Dane Lady”, Great Danes can go through phases also…take for example in the winter time, they might eat less because its cold outside and they aren’t getting as much exercise as usual and in the summer time, they will do the same. You have to just be aware of your Dane and there moods, sort of like children. When they go through a growth spurt, it will seem like they can’t eat enough and then it tappers off.
      I wish you luck! I was worried about my Dane and then I was told that sometimes there just picky and you have to do the tough love effect. Put the food out, wait 10-15 minutes and then put it up but make sure that they see you have put food out. Eventually they will get hungry and eat. I would also have to say to make sure that they are not sick before you do the tough love because that may also be a cause for not eating. Mine was picky :-)

      Reply
  5. Big Dawg

     /  February 19, 2009

    Great site. Any additional info is appreciated. I have a 12 week Dane puppy who was totally knuckled over from week 9.5 for 10 days. 2 vets, 2 xrays and an incorrect HOD diagnosis later, they wrapped his legs thinking it’s muscular. He never had pain, ate great, good attitude. 4 days of wraps and a switch to Eagle Pack, his legs are straight. Now, he still has a tough time walking on those front legs. Really tough. Went to an orthopedist who says that it is indeed muscular, the bones look good. By wrapping, we may have fixed the knuckling, but allowed for the other muscles to get weak etc.. he suggests no wraps, keep him as active as possible, nutrition to slow growth, physical therapy, and time. Any other ideas? Thanks..

    Reply
    • Sounds like you got a good vet there. I hate wrapping puppy legs and refuse to do it for that very reason. Physical therapy and massage is great for building muscle strength: the only thing I’d avoid until the muscles are getting better is any kind of jarring on the front legs like coming down tall stairs alot, heavy running times, or letting him jump off of stuff.
      Swimming is a really good exercise. If you’ve got a tub big enough for a 12 week old, give’r a try. If not, let him walk around in a tub of water that comes part way up his legs. Hopefully he’ll take to the water, or at least try hard to get out! Try to make that a big treat time and he’ll like it better.
      Another thing is encouraging him to push against your hand or a wall with his front feet. Most of my guys have always liked trying to shove me off my couch! Grin. They also learn early that curling their toes around a toy or bone makes it harder for me to steal. I just very slowly move it away from them while they’re enjoying it, and they use their front paws. For guys that give it up easy, I make silly noises and play sounds so they know it’s a game.
      When you’re on the floor with him, roll him around into strange positions as you play. Especially up against a couch or the wall so he has to use his legs to right himself, and give him lots of rewards for it. That’s used alot believe it or not with stroke patients, who need to relearn how to move. We used it with BB getting him to walk again after his leg surgery.

      Lisa

      Reply
  6. melanie

     /  March 6, 2009

    HI! We have had our merle (Cooper) for a month now. He is 5 months old. He is great, but like everyone else, I am having issues with food. He came on Purina kibble and we changed him to Blue Buffalo large breed puppy. The protwin is at 28% though. There seems to be 2 camps on the protein opion and I am thoroughly confused …I am so worried about damaging my puppy. I know the food is good, but worry the contents are going to cause him trouble. I had him on 1cup 3X per day but have just raised to 2cups 3X per day because I think it was too low. His knuckles seem large to me, but he doesn’t complain and walks fine. Maybe after reading all the bad things that can happen, I am starting to see things. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    Reply
    • Deb M

       /  July 4, 2010

      Years ago, we had a Dane who, at about 4 months of age, started walking like he was drunk…especially in the rear end. Very long story short, we had him on a popular high end dog food that had a high level (28%) of protein.

      His symptoms were very similar to wobblers, so a local vet did x-rays, a myleogram, and we did a video of him moving. The local vet suggested immediate surgery. However, we sent all the info to a board certified neurologist in another state to review and he called us and told us that he could not stress strongly enough that this puppy did NOT need surgery and he did NOT have wobblers!

      He had us transition this puppy over to a senior dog food (that was about 14% protein) for 6 weeks and put him on a anti-inflamitory medication for 10 days. We also restricted his play for 6 weeks with a crate.

      During that 6 weeks, our boy slowly came back to normal!

      What the doctor said was that the high level of protein had caused a ligament in the puppy’s neck to grow out of proportion to the rest of the neck and that ligament put pressure on the spine which put pressure on the spinal cored and mimicked the symptoms of Wobblers.

      So… personally… we have always kept our puppies on a high quality adult dog food in the 21 – 23% protein range since then.

      The only precaution I’ll say about low protein, is that you need to be careful of using lamb products to keep protein low as lamb doesn’t have all the amino acids in it that Dane puppies need to grown strong hearts and organs. So, I stay away from Lamb with our puppies.

      Deb

      Reply
    • Jennifer

       /  February 11, 2013

      I was told to never feed a Great Dane Puppy food and my Dane hated the puppy foods for Large Breed Puppies. So I went to a dog food that would be easy on the stomach, the joints, and his overall growth. I heard nothing but good things for Blue Buffalo Natural Fish and Oatmeal. My Dane has been eating very well (his appetite came back) after we did the conversion from Innova Large Breed Puppy to the Blue Buffalo. He’s happy, I’m Happy ;-)

      Reply
  7. Jennie

     /  March 22, 2009

    The Blue Buffalo Large Breed Puppy food lists calcium at 1.2 and phosphorus at .95. That seems to be in the o.k. range for Dane pups, but near the very top.

    Your puppy should be lean. You should definitely be able to see the last rib when he is standing. Doubling his food intake suddenly doesn’t seem like a good plan to me. If I were worried about him not getting enough food, I’d go up much more slowly, increasing the total food per day by not more than one cup per day and leaving it at that level for a few days before increasing again.

    Reply
  8. The style of writing is quite familiar to me. Did you write guest posts for other bloggers?

    Reply
  9. I noticed that this is not the first time you mention the topic. Why have you decided to touch it again?

    Reply
  10. Rugers daddy

     /  June 2, 2009

    My European Great Dane male is 5 months old 81 lbs 28 inches at the withers and im thinking about giving him adult food with less protein(23%) i think hes growing too rapid and i want slow it down.Im feeding him Blue Buffalo large breed puppy food.His dad was 190lbs 38 inches at the withers.is this a good idea to cut back on the protein?

    Reply
  11. Betty

     /  June 26, 2009

    WE have a 3 month great dane. She was eating Eagle pack puppy food for Giant breed puppies and was doing fine. A week ago she started having diarrhea, so i put her on white rice and ground chuck. Her stool is better, but now she refuses to eat her kibble unless I add the rice. Is there any reason I can’t add a little rice to her daily meals?

    Reply
  12. Kayla

     /  September 23, 2009

    Hello,
    My 13 week old Great Dane puppy seems to have issues with food as I see many have. We are in the process of switching him to Canidae from Diamond Naturals lamb&rice(he had pudding poo on this) What was strange about the whole thing is that every morning when he woke up he would generally have a normal firm stool but as the day progressed it got softer and softer. When we put him on boiled rice&chicken his stool firmed right up. Any ideas as to why that might be? So far switching to the Canidae has gone reasonably well, still a softer stool here and there but for the most part pretty solid. I’m just afraid of it turning to mush again and that there might be some serious underlying problem. He is going through a growth spurt now and he seems so skinny, how do I determine how many cups to feed him? I have so many questions this being our first Dane, please help!

    Reply
    • Betty

       /  September 29, 2009

      We had the same problem with our great dane. After several Vet visits found nothing wrong with her, we decided to give her Authority for large breed puppies with 1/3 can of Blue Buffalo. After a few days her stool went back to normal. We also give her left overs from dinner and on Sundays we treat her to a sirlion steak dinner. She is know 7 months old and VERY happy. She loves ice cream after a long run and peanut butter cookies! These sites are very helpful and a great reference tool, but it’s like having childern….you can get the best advise from experts, but you now your cild…they are all unique. Once your Vet rules out any illness, you’ll know what’s best for your dog.

      Reply
  13. Judibatt

     /  November 22, 2009

    Your line about raw feeding being a ‘fad’ is totally off. Dogs are wolves, wolves have been eating a certain way for centuries. Kibble food has been around commercially for about 60-70 years. Which one sounds like a fad? Yes, you need to research the steps, but it is not rocket science. Raw food ranges from about 16% – 22% protein. Danes should stay around 21%. The 28% you mentioned is WAY to high. Only in kibble is that a problem. Since your posted was originally posted, the ‘Great Dane Lady’ has changed her mind regarding her food of choice and feeding methods. Funny, nature has not changed what is best.

    Reply
  14. About feeding and growth. Layla, my six month old Service Dog trainee, last month went on a really huge growth spurt. I was feeding what her breeder recommended, which was Diamond Giant Breed puppy lamb and rice. But the protein was pretty high. I think 28%. She began limping on her front legs first. Then it would be fine the next day. Then a day or two later, one of her back legs would limp. One day, she couldn’t put any weight on it at all. Alarmed, went to the vet, and she diagnosed panosteitus (Pano). I have some med’s for her if she gets bad. But changed her food to Nutra Nuggets Lamb and rice and since then no limping although sometimes I can tell she is a bit stiff at first when out playing with her best friend. So, I don’t give her meds, which makes me nervous about causing liver problems. But no more major attacks. I didn’t see anything about Pano on your site. I used to breed/show German Shepherds about a million years ago, and the pups would get Pano about one day before a show! lol. But they grew out of it. The vet assures me that she will grow out of this. Frankly I would worry bout HD, except for the limping on her front legs. They are nice and straight, nor curvatures. I have attempted to keep her skinny, although I think she could be thinner. The vet said she was fine. There are pics, recent ones from the side with her standing on my website (MySpace–her own site:) that show her weight and condition. Was wondering if you could take a peek and let me know if she is too fat? She is now 28 1/4th inches at the shoulder and about 70 lbs. Do Danes get pano? I thought it was something German Shepherds got. But, this is my first Dane puppy. My other two Danes I got from rescues as adults. Thanks in advance for any reply to this.

    Reply
  15. Maybe you have by chance thought of placing even more videos to any web page blogposts to help keep the viewers alot more ideas? I suggest I basically see along the entire content page created by yours and the idea most likely was fairly good although because Im more a visual learner

    Reply
  16. Kayla

     /  March 2, 2010

    We always hear so much about being careful of a growing Danes protein and fat intake but no one mentions what is a proper percentage for an adult Dane. If an adult Dane can have higher percentages at what age can it be increased? I ask because it seems as though a higher protein diet would be closer to a “natural” canine diet.

    Reply
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    Reply
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  20. wolfcat

     /  November 5, 2010

    I see a few comments on here about anti protein etc. Has anyone fed their GD a high protein high calcium phosphorous diet with normal results? I know some people feed their GD RAW with normal results and that’s high protein. I also have done days of research and most of the issues with GDs seems to be from high calcium and high phosphorous. I haven’t seen any real studies with real figures against protein. The only reasonable explanation is weight. If that’s the issues then how did great danes survive so long when dog food used to just be mostly meat and bone scraps? Wouldn’t all history records list them as deformed? I have my GD on Wellness CORE until I get some real information against it.

    Also, how much wet food counteracts dry food nutrients? Wet food isn’t as nutritious so it seems it would change everything.

    And if dogs eat more of food with less nutrients then wouldn’t they still be getting the same amount of protein, phosphorous, and calcium along with all the extra bad for them calories?

    Reply
  21. Leanne

     /  January 5, 2011

    Hi there i have a almost 9 week old dane and the information out htere in regards to feeding is sooo confusing. Our breeder told us to feed him Supercoat Adult food which he is on and is doing really well though my vet said he shouldnt be fed n adult food and he should be on a Giant Breed Puppy food but all the ones Ive found have too much protein in it. At the moment hes on 1 cup of kibble with 2 golf size balls of raw mince for breakfast, 1 cup of kibble with yoghurt for lunch and then the same as brekky for dinner. Is this ok ? He seems to be doing well, looks very healthy and is not under or over weight.

    Reply
  22. Shane

     /  February 14, 2011

    my dog Goku just had his first birthday this last week, ive been feeding him solid gold wolf king, and Ivet mixed 50/50 after doing as much research as i could bought a dog and loved him like a son ever since. ive never had any problems with him healthwise. he comes from a champion bloodline and as a pedigree to go with it. this week i noticed him limping slightly with his front left leg when he gets up from laying around. in the last two days hes not been eating is normal amount of food. seems to be lying around a bit more that normal. ive watched videos to see if its wobblers, and im paranoid of all the dane prone illnesses. hes 12 months approximately 120 lbs. looks lean

    ive played with his leg i.e. rubbed it, moved it around. doesn’t seem to be a problem for him.

    after he walks around a bit it seems to go away. he still goes out some and plays in the yard, im considering a vet visit.

    Reply
  23. Amy

     /  September 27, 2011

    Hi :)

    I have a 22 month old Black (Boston, my big baby boy) named Thunder and he is my first Dane. Oh man am I in love with this amazing creature. I was told before I got him that “once you have a DAne you”ll never want another breed dog again” and they were right. I cant imagine not having him. I had a rotti named Clyde that passed a week b4 Thunder was ready to come home, he was only 7 and I miss him terribly, I always imagine how Thunder and CLyde would have played.

    Anyway, got a little side tracekd there lol ,Thunder is so loving and follows me everywhere (I have MS so I am home most of the time) and has to be touching at all times lol. It cracks me up I love how affectionate he is. We have a queen size bed and he sleeps in the middle lol. The only problem we are having with him is that he has TERRIBLE food Allergies, no chicken and no beef. Unfortunlty I have always cooked for thunder, he only had kibble mixed with his chicken, veg and rice because the vet said there are benefits to the kibble. Well, I am having the worst time finding food he will eat. He HATES canned food, he thinks is disgusting, no matter how I try to fix it up, he refuses to eat it. I always mix carrots and apples (and whatever other fresh fish, vegs and fruit I have that are ok for dogs to eat) with it and he will pick them out of the kibble. The weird thing is if I feed him the kibble like treats he gobbles them up.

    Do you have any food suggestions? People keep telling me to leave the food out and when he is hungrey enough, he will eat it. But none of them have had a Dane before and after the first 24 hours of him not eating it, I start to give in and mix the fish, fruits and vegis (something that I cant really affors to do). Any info you have to offer would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks
    Amy

    Reply
  24. Kyrie Smith

     /  September 27, 2011

    Any animal will eat when they get hungry enough. I have 2 danes. Just make sure it is a high quality kibble like blue buffalo or wellness anti allergy kibble. When you spoil them like that and always give in they are going to keep nitpicking until you stop giving them all those extras. Maybe wean him off by mixing in less and less of those until there’s nothing.

    Reply
  25. Amy

     /  September 27, 2011

    Hi Kyrie (beautiful name btw),

    Thanks, the weaningis a good idea, Ive never had a dog with food allergies before so I have been having such a hard time with it. I feel so bad for him when we are eating and he cant have it, especially chicken lol.

    The sad part is the vet for almost a year (we are in the country) kept telling us he just had puppy pimples and they would go away. She would prescribe antibiotics and anti-bacterial cleansers, Iwould wash his face aftere very meal and everytime he came in from playtime but the bumps would just come back. So I took him down into the city wher an old friend works as a vet tech and they told me that he had these allergies. I couldnt for the life of me understand how a rural vet would continue to tell us that they were puppy pimples for almost a year, especially after I found out how commen this allergy issue is. I cant help but think that if I would have known earlier that it would have been easier to change over his food becauae he was so much younger, not to mention how ong he had to deal with it, poor poochy.

    The vet never said no lamb, but reccomended only game type meats, like duck, bison and fish. I’ll try the weaning as well as try to not feel to bad when he is being stubborn and picky. HIs little face(well not little but lol) looks up at me lik emommy weres my yummys was I bad lol.

    Anyway thanks
    Amy

    Reply
  26. Kyrie Smith

     /  September 27, 2011

    lol, vets and doctors are only human. They make a lot of bad calls. We thought our dogs (our irish wolfhound and one of our danes) had worms and when they didn’t we found out that it was feeding them Wellness Large Breed puppy food that was giving them the runs and our dane puppy hadn’t grown in at least 2 months which is really abnormal. After we switched foods she shot up and a guy we made friends with at the dog park with an unrelated dane had the same issue and thought he’d bought a bad batch and they sent him a coupon for another free bag and that didn’t fix it and he actually got an allergy test and found out his dog was allergic to like 20 different things. I don’t think any dogs actually get pimples from puberty, it’s always bacteria from a dirty dish or an allergy. He may have had dogs confused with cats?

    Reply
  27. Amy

     /  September 27, 2011

    lol, i think your right, he is one big kitty. Two months is a long time to not grow for a dane. Thunder has not grown too much in the last couple moths, but he is 22 months old, they dont grow to much more after 18 months from what I understand. However he has quite a bit of skin to still grow into Your friends poor dog, 20 different allergies, thats ruff on anyone but sometimes i really think its worse on animals. I would love to esee a pic of your babies, Iove Wolfhounds too, thery’re so cute!

    I was cleaning my Thundes feet and they are definatly gettig better. We bought some natural oatmeal and berry dog treats and I have a new Fish and Sweetpotato kibble we’re trying in the morning. Ill let ya know how it goes. Have a good night

    Reply
  28. Nick

     /  December 5, 2011

    I got a one year old Great Dane female. Her hind legs are not exactly straight. She was kept in a cage with another Female. The legs are not straight when she is standing. And what shall i feed her???

    Reply
  29. Jarami Cornelius

     /  December 7, 2011

    I found this post extremey helpful since I myself am a first time great dane owner. My dane Harley is 1.5 years old, But here is my question… I know for a fact that my Merle is eating like he should on the recommended diet, but why does he look like he’s not eating enough? He is 165 pounds but it jus looks like his ribs show a little too much! Any insight on this would be greatly appreciated.

    Reply
  30. Leanne

     /  December 7, 2011

    Jarami

    I have a 1 yr old mantle dane adn he was being fed what we were told to feed him adn he always looked like he was abit underfed, so what we did was to give him 1-2 tablespoons of Mundella full fat natural yoghurt in with his brekky, it can help to fatten them up abit adn is alo good for their tummies. Each dog is different so maybe he just needs a little more than usual :-)

    Reply
  31. Kyrie Smith

     /  December 7, 2011

    Nick, talk to a vet.

    Jarami, he may still be slowly growing. (does he put on any weight between being thin) He may have an allergy to something in his food. (how does his stool look) He may have parasites. (have a vet check that) Yogurt in small amounts or a can of pumpkin a day might help?

    Reply
  32. Heather

     /  December 14, 2011

    The Breeder we just got our Great Dane from told us to feed it a scoop of Purina Puppy Chow with hot water add in a small scoop of Canned Pedigree chicken as well as a scoop of cottage cheese. After reading your feeding & growth section I am very concerned that we are feeding him wrong. We have had our pup for 1 week; he is 9 weeks old.

    Reply
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    Reply
  34. Kyrie Smith

     /  December 27, 2011

    I have a comment that’s been awaiting moderation since September 27, 2011 at 10:49 pm… Is it even showing up on the thread?

    Reply
  35. certainly like your website but you need to test the spelling on quite a few of your posts. Several of them are rife with spelling problems and I find it very bothersome to tell the truth nevertheless I’ll certainly come back again.

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  37. Hi,
    I have a 18 month old mantle boy and we feed him what we are supposed to with quality holistic select food in the lamb recipe and he looks underweight with his ribs being very visable. We have mixed cooked rice into his diet to keep at his stools good as at time he was having very loose stool at times. we were curious if anyone has had a similar situation and any advice?

    Reply
  38. sorry for typos

    Reply
  39. akhil

     /  April 5, 2012

    i had a great dane puppy named “olly” ,she moreover itching herself although she is only 1 month baby ,please suggest me something………what is it?//

    Reply
    • sounds like a food or other allergy. Is she being weaned yet? You might look to see if there is corn or grains in the food. If her allergy is pollens or something you need to get her to the vet. Best to go to the vet with her

      Reply
  40. Mandi Baker

     /  April 25, 2012

    I want to get my son a Great Dane he is ADHD/ODD.. Just dont know if this kind would be right he loves these dogs!!!

    Reply
    • Danes are good loving dogs, and their gentleness, sensitivity makes them excellent for kids. They just need to raised to be calm because of their size, and be well socialized. I’m not sure of your child’s age or severity, so you would want to talk in depth to treatment experts and experienced breeders to find the right temperment for your needs.

      Reply
  41. Kyrie Smith

     /  April 25, 2012

    My dogs cost me at least $3500 each a year not including vet costs so don’t buy one if you don’t have money to throw away and a good savings cushion for emergencies. They also take a LOT of time, attention, socialization, training, have tons of accidents, chew up everything, and drool to boot. Your son should be just as fine with a smaller and less expensive pet.

    Reply
  42. Erasmus Olivier

     /  May 2, 2012

    I bought a Great Dane pup. But the pup is very small and under weight. I Raised enough Pups so I know I can get his weight back but will he still become a big Dane? They were 11 pups in the litter and he was the smallest.

    Reply
  43. Erasmus Olivier

     /  May 2, 2012

    P.S. He is realy small for 9 weeks old.

    Reply
    • he might be just as large as his littermates when grown, he might not be. It’s hard to say if he is smaller because of malnutrition or he’s simply the litter’s runt. Just feed him normally, not trying to force growth or anything, and you’ll know fairly soon if he simply wasn’t getting enough nutrition to hold size with the rest of the litter. Good luck, and let me know how he does?

      Reply
  44. ratan

     /  July 8, 2012

    hi i have took a great dane pupply of 40 days and please tell me how to feed it, wt to feed, how many times a day

    Reply
  45. i have 1 month great dane pup .he z very week and not able to walk properly ,i thing his legs are leg ,he just had 15 days of mother feed so now wat can i do to recover him .

    Reply
    • kid kawi

       /  August 23, 2012

      hey i have a great dane named damian he is 8 weeks of age today,his front legs are not in any pain and he runs and plays like a normal pup but at the joints they seem a little larger then normal,i was told to not worry about them cause he will soon grow into it and it will look normal again.should i be worried?

      Reply
      • I wouldn’t worry just yet, since they do grow quickly and the joint is only slightly larger with no pain. many pups this age are really knobby and funny looking. If it’s not seeming more normal in a week, the feet start to splay or knuckle over, or there is any lethargy and pain, I would get a good orthopedic exam to be sure.

  46. Chris

     /  August 23, 2012

    I am currently in the process of trying to adopt a Dane baby. He’s 6 months old and was malnourished when the rescue received him. In the last month he has since almost doubled his weight to be 40some pounds (indicating he was only about 20/25 pounds at 5 months). I am concerned with his growth and possible medical issues he may be destine to have. I have not yet met this boy and I know once I do, nothing will matter but to be fair to all, I want to go into this with my eyes wide open. Any suggestions on what I should be looking for or asking to determine any future health issues?

    Reply
    • you’d definitely want to get a vet appt as soon as you get him and have him thoroughly checked over: blood work to check kidney and liver function (sorta pricey), a CBC blood test (inexpensive), and the clinical ortho, neuralby the vet exams at very least. If you can afford a set of xrays, I’d suggest it.
      I imagine if he was malnourished, then behavior issues from possible abuse and lack of socialization might turn up.Or it might not.
      Malnutrition can have no long term effects or huge ones from underdevelped brains (memory problems, difficulty learning) to osteoporosis tooth loss or ricketts, poor immune system ability to fight off skin or systemic infections.
      you may be fortunate and have no long term issues arise at all, but like you said “eyes wide open”. A rescued or puppy mill puppy can have gigantic vet bills over the course of their lives. I’ve had it cost me as much as $10K a year, and as little as any other Dane. Good luck and got my fingers crossed for ya. let me know when you get him and the vet has checked him out?

      Reply
  47. Thanh Burnette

     /  October 4, 2012

    Dog foods should be as natural and organic possible because it is more healthy compared to synthetic based dog foods. ,*;’.

    Regards
    http://www.foodsupplementdigest.com/vitamin-d3-deficiency/

    Reply
  48. Rachel

     /  October 13, 2012

    I have a four month old Dane lab mix. His dad was dane so he really looks nothing like a lab. i have been doing so much research cant give him puppy food cant do this or that. i have him on pedigree large breed but idk if thats good enough for him. and im not sure what to be feeding him per day. he is 37 lbs at four months. my other problem i jkust took him to the vet after about 15 minutes of walking he starts to limp. althrough i was told puppy pains i went ot the vet anyways. he said puppy pains and gave me a multivitamin to give him but now im seeing you cannot give Danes vitamins. i want to do whats best for my pup but with the internet everyone has different opnions and heeeellppp!!!! :) thank you

    Reply
    • There’s all kinds of do’s and don’ts all over the web, so I understand how confusing it is. Most vets have very very little training on nutrition, and even fewer understand the special needs of giant breeds. That’s why I wrote the page–citing the best experts in the field of veterinary nutrition specifically for giants. Even on Dane groups and breeders, there’s tons of really dangerous dumb info, so I wanted to cut through the “this always worked for me” stuff.
      The Pedigree Large Breed (not puppy, but adult food) is okay for danes, in terms of the minerals, protien etc. The added vitamins are definitely not a good idea. Too much nutrition is a way bigger problem for dogs in general. The “puppy pains” if that is what he has, is called PANO, which indicates he’s absorbing way too much calcium and phosphorus. I’d be surprised if the Pedigree is causing it, unless you are feeding way more than the bag recommends for his weight.
      His limping could also be a sign of several other things besides PANO, as both Danes and labs are predisposed to hip dysplasia, which is something you’d want to know if he has if it’s mostly his back legs affected. It’s also possible he has injured muscles, or if he jumps off of things alot, he could also have small microfractures in his leg bones from the jumping or excessive running. Even reactions to vaccinations can cause pain and bone disorders. So my first suggestion is to see an ORTHOPEDIC vet for some x-rays if you can afford it.
      Xrays reveal a wide variety of skeletal problems and can rule out alot of things too. The food he’s on is fine if you’re following the feed amount guidelines, imo. But if you are still concerned about the food and want to change, there are other options with slightly better analysis for giant breeds, and one I’d suggest is Innova Large breed, either the puppy or adult formulas are safe and balanced. http://www.innovapet.com/products/941
      Please let me know how things go and what the orthopedist says? –Lisa

      Reply
  49. rachel

     /  October 14, 2012

    Thank u so much. Well I had bin.on puppy food and just switched him.over to adult so maybe the puppy food had too many minerals. Its his front left no yelping he plays like crazy just limps he did.have a bad reaction to a vaccine a few weeks ago but.they didn’t put it in his leg. I really appreciate your help first time sane owner sometimes it can.be hard!

    Reply
  50. Judieann valentine

     /  November 13, 2012

    I totally disagree with the comment about neutering before one to one and a half years.
    It will not stunt their growth . My veterinarian
    has access to new clinical research that proves early neutering between 4-6 months
    helps the long bones grow. I had always believed the old theory too but she changed
    my mind. My pup is 6 months old, 125 pounds and stands 32 inches tall. He was neutered at 5 months.

    Reply
    • neutering early does NOT stunt, it has the opposite effect: elongating the bone growth, and reducing muscle mass. Judieann is absolutely right. It is becoming preferred to wait until 1 year old at least, and often recommended to wait until 2 years.

      Reply
  51. Ali

     /  December 1, 2012

    I have a 1year old brindle Dane called Ceasar. He is fed the giant puppy feed by royal canine in delhi (India) and he is 31″ tall and weighs 55kgs with a length of 36″ from the shoulder to the tail bone. Do you think he is going in the right direction.

    Reply
  52. `josh

     /  December 4, 2012

    I have a 21 month old blue and I want to switch her to the same dog food as my lab but want to wait till she is the full 2 yrs old, My question is when can you stop worrying about the amount of protein in the food.

    Reply
    • the calories, protien, and mineral content is a life long concern for Danes, though it is most worrisome in puppies. Just check the bag and make sure the food is within the “safe” range her whole life.

      Reply
  53. czar

     /  December 19, 2012

    my dane is 1 month old wat food should i give

    Reply
  54. Colette

     /  December 29, 2012

    I want to make everyone aware about the health side effects of neutering large purebred dogs. I have had the blessing of 5 Great Danes in my life. I had to have my last one put down this last August at age 5 years. He got Osteosarcoma on his head it blinded him and grew to the size of a baseball. I had him neutered as a puppy before he was one year old, I was told “it makes better behaved dogs” and “reduces the risk of cancer”. I found out just the opposite after my research.
    Many large giant breeds are at high risk for the development of osteosarcoma, but the prevalence is particularly high in Scottish Deerhounds, Greyhounds, Rottweilers and Great Danes. Neutering significantly increases the risk of osteosarcoma development. Researchers at Purdue University, participating in a study of osteosarcoma found the risk of bone cancer is 65% higher for castrated males and 34% higher for spayed females. The probability of developing bone cancer was higher both in females spayed at less than one year of age, as well as males castrated when they were less than a year old, compared with animals that were not spayed or neutered. Apparently, sex hormones are protective. The hormones that they produce protect their bodies from cancer, when taken away especially at a young age leaves them wide open for cancer, bone cancer specifically! It breaks my heart to know this now after the fact. I have a new baby Great Dane pup, I will not be getting neutered, if I do it will be later in his life after he is over 2 years of age at least from everything I have found out.
    I am all for now allowing over breeding of dogs, but not at the expense of the dog getting cancer and dying for it!

    Reply
    • very good point! I’ll go look up the study and reference it when I edit and update the blog. Thank you for mentioning it: I had heard of the risk increase but couldn’t seem to find any specific studies–now I know where to go look!
      I’m also very sorry for the loss of your dear love to cancer. My condolescences to you and your family
      –Lisa

      Reply
  55. Colette

     /  December 29, 2012

    Lisa, Thank you so much for your condolences. This is very concerning issue to me since I found out the statistics. I have met other people since my Zeus passed away who also had purebred large dogs neutered before one year of age,(one had gotten their dog at a shelter and was forced to do so) the other was a beautiful Samoyed Husky,both of theirs also had died of bone cancer.This is just in my small community, so I know it’s prevalent. Doing a blog on this issue would be very educational to tell others this huge risk. I looked up “neutering/spaying known causes of cancer in large pure breed dogs”, and found this and a lot of other research, the recent studies blow me away!

    I am so glad I found your Great Dane page! Lots of good info on here!
    ~ Colette

    Reply
  56. spencer upton

     /  December 31, 2012

    I have my first great dane, hes black with white on his left toes and a spot on his chest, he is now 14 weeks old and weighs 35 lbs. I feed him a mixture of ians larde breed puppy food and sience diet for large breed pups, his name is ike an d he is so smsrt I absolutely love him, I take him every three weeks to the vet since I got him becouse hes in the middle of his shots, he just got his second set, I have done a lot of reading about them and I have seen chart after chart on them and so far he seems to be right where he needs to be, when I first got him he was 8 weeks old and full of worms and boney with a swollen belly but after lots of medicine the vet says he is doing great, the one thing he does that bothers me is his water drinking habits, I have yet to find a chart to tell me how much per day he should be drinking, from reading and the vet I understand that eating and drinking too fast can make there stomack role, well I don’t have a problem with his eating but he drinks a lot of water, not just throughout the day but at one time, the vet told me to take his water bowl up but im wondering if the shots may be dehydrating him or what could be making hin so thirsty, so I was trying to figure out about how much he needs a day and see how he drinks that throughout the day and if I have to take it up and put it down periodically throughout the day, any suggestions?

    Reply
    • I usually judge the amount of water by the color and freqency of his urine–if it’s not awfully clear, I’d let him have water as often as he wants.
      Lots of medicines can dehydrate dogs, though I’d not heard that of vaccines. Is he still getting womers or other medicines?
      If his urine is too clear, then you’ll need to take up his water and sorta schedule his drinking. The worry about bloating and his stomach twisting–that generally doesn’t happen as young as he is.
      If you’re concerned about how much he gets at one time, just put half a bowl or so down and give him an hour or so before giving more. Then if his urine is still very clear, reduce to half a bowl every 2-3 hours and see if that helps.
      He’s a lucky puppy, to have someone that takes such good care of him! –Lisa

      Reply
      • spencer upton

         /  January 1, 2013

        His urine is very clear, I started just giving him a little about every hour so we will see, when I told u his food my auto correct messed me up, im giving him a mix of iams puppy food for large breeds mixed with science diet, is that ok, and one more thing I do is put 1 1/2 tablespoon of vinigear to a 2 liter bodle of water and that’s what I water him with, I learned it will keep flees and ticks off of him, so far it seems to be working although the vets say its just a coincidence, and no, his this last check up came up clean, no worms, hes a very healthy baby boy

      • ah, I’m so glad he’s all healthy now–you’re a great “mom” to him!

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    Reply
  58. Dee

     /  March 3, 2013

    With the exception of one dog all my dogs in the past 20 years were kept full. Neither produced litters. To me there are more risks, trying to correct the dog by S&N. Like the raw I’m pleased that proven tests are done. Of course the average dog owner is not educated or responsible enough. Which is why when they ask me about my dogs. I tell them at least wait a year 2 would better.

    As far as food I feed them raw. While I do have picky eaters they won’t starve themselves.

    Reply
  59. cassie

     /  April 25, 2013

    I have a 7 week old great dane named maggie I am currently feeding her blue buffalo wilderness for puppies. I feed her 3 times a day and her belly looks bloated while shes eating but goes back down shortly after she eats. She is going to the bathroom normally and doesnt act like it hurts or bothers her. Should I change her food? Any advice will be appreciated.

    Reply
    • as young as 7 weeks you’d expect a bit of a fat belly, so I wouldn’t worry about that. As long as the mineral and protein levels are within safe ranges (puppy foods are often too high in both so check), and her stools are good, I wouldn’t see any need to change her food.

      Reply
  60. Robin Knappe

     /  May 22, 2013

    I have a 2 year old male Great Dane that weights 150lbs. He has recently changed his eating habits. He only eats in the morning 1-2 days a week and when he does it is very little. At night all he wants to do is eat. He will empty his bowl and bark looking for more. I know he should have @6 cups of dry food a day, but is it safe to give him it all at one time?

    Reply
  61. well, it’s usually best not to feed one huge meal a day to reduce the risk of bloat, but alot of dogs change their eating habits during summer. You could feed him twice in the evening, a few hours apart if you would like and still reduce the bloat risk. If he won’t do that, then you could try feeding it all at once, watching for too much burping and/or farting afterwards.

    Reply
  62. Kiersten

     /  June 12, 2013

    We have a 8 week old great dane puppy and we are so stressed about feeding him the right food! We also have a lab/weimaraner and he is 14 weeks old. Right now we are on Ideal balance adult large breed and the great dane has no problem, the lab has gotten really sick. We had him on Blue buffalo large greed puppy and immediately switched him to Ideal (which i know we should of done gradually) but i dont want to buy two different types of foods. So my main questions are:
    1. Do I feed the great dane puppy Large breed puppy food, Giant breed puppy food, or Large breed adult food at this point in time?
    2. Can the lab/weimaraner be on the same type of food being that he is older but different growth situation. PLEASEE HELP! THERE ARE SO MANY THEORIES OUT THERE.

    Reply
  63. Okay, I checked out the Blue puppy food, and it’s on the high end of safe for minerals/protien etc. But still in the safe range for your Dane. So long as he doesn’t start bowing his legs or something, there’s no reason you couldn’t go back to it. If you need to switch back to Blue Buffalo for the lab, that’s just fine for the Dane too! It’s okay that they are in different life stages and on the same food. <3

    Reply
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  65. Susan

     /  June 25, 2013

    I have an 17 week old male great dane pup. When I brought him home he was on Pro Pac large breed puppy. Doing great on this food but I couldn’t buy this food where I live, so I had to switch foods. I have two other danes which I was feeding grain free 4 health beef, which said puppies can eat so I started the transition which he seemed to like. With-in days I noticed bumps on his head and neck and very few on his body. Took him to the vet and he said it was staph infection and put him on ampicillian for 2 weeks. After about 4-5 days on the antibiotic I noticed no change, so I took him off the grain free and fed him his pro pac what I had left. Still dealing with bumps, but not as bad. I then had to decide a new food to try so I researched and tried Wellness Large Breed Puppy Super 5 Mix, but he started scratching. So after a week on this I switched to Fromm Large Breed Puppy Gold Nutrition. He has been eating this for almost two weeks doing good. His coat seemed to be almost clear from bumps. Then the other day I added a little Fromm can Salmon and Chicken patte, which he really enjoyed, but now he has bumps some pus filled all over his back and is very agitated like he is itchy. Do you think he could be having an allergy to pea or pea protein? The grain free food had pea protein, and the Fromm can food has pea in the ingredients. I am at my wits end, and not sure what is best for him. I have my older danes on 4 Health Large Breed, not grain free and they are doing great. Up until 4 months ago I always fed Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin and Stomach, and they did fine good stools, etc. But when I realized what is in their food I switched to 4 Health and they love it. I have used the Eagle Pac in the past and they were very gassy and had very loose stools. I have been told that feeding grain free in puppies isn’t so good. My pups stool is semi firm, but tends to get looser through the day. This food doesn’t give calcium % or amount of phosphorus %? What do you think of Fromm, and is this an appropriate food for him? The more I read and research the more confused I’m getting. Please help……

    Reply
  66. Oh my, you got lots of troubles there! First thing, I’d talk to the vet again about a different antibiotic: clearly it’s not doing the trick, and a two week course of anything may not be enough. Also it may be a resistant skin staph or have opportunistic yeast growth in it too. There are topical creams as well to treat skin infections, and you may need both oral and topical. Also, try to disinfect everything in the house, via steam cleaning, hydrogen peroxide etc. That can reduce the bacterial colonies he comes in contact with.
    As for the food, it is amazingly confusing the information about canine nutrition, most of it isn’t true too. I’m glad you’re concerned, and wondering about allergies as well, since some ingredient is likely worsening his skin problems. It could well be peas or who knows what with all the ingredients in commercial dog food, some of which aren’t listed.
    I would suggest a couple things to try: a product called Nzymes, talked about on the greatdanelady.com website. It can work wonders for dogs with allergies and skin problems, be it from food, or grass, or whatever.
    Then I would try to find an organic pre-made raw diet for a time, such as Bravo or Nature’s variety. Many dogs with allergies or health issues improve considerably with raw. It is expensive, and if it’s too much, you might hit a farmer’s market or packing plant looking for grass fed organic meat sources if you can afford it. Even for the short term, until his skin etc has cleared up.
    That’s where I would start, and I hope this doesn’t turn into a long frustrating journey for you both!! Let us know how he does!

    Reply
  67. Susan

     /  June 27, 2013

    Thank you for your input, and I will let you know how he is doing. Could too much pumpkin give him loose stools?

    Reply
  68. it might, but not likely since it really is fiber to bulk up a stool. It never helped my last two boys at all, but they had (auto immune) inflammatory bowel from tick diseases. A short term option you could try is a cycle of few days with and few days without Slippery Elm Bark to curb the die-in-the-rears so he doesn’t get dehydrated on you. Poor little guy, give him a hug from me

    Reply
  69. Michelle

     /  August 7, 2013

    We have seven month old great dane. We are feeding her zignature grain free food. She seems to be doing well but now I have read that grain free food is not good for growing danes.

    Reply
  70. New owner

     /  August 24, 2013

    Hi… Am also incredibly confused about the diet issue and so want to do the right thing by our lovely pup. Our vet who has raised Great Danes has recommended royal canin giant puppy food because it had the right type of protein even though it looks high at 34% ??? The calcium / phosperous levels are within safe guidelines. What’s your opinion on this? Many thanks :)

    Reply
  71. Rachael

     /  September 19, 2013

    For the love of god please don’t feed innova to anything living! They have had 3 salmonella recalls within weeks of each other this year alone! Even Petco and petsmart have stopped carrying it! I’m a pet food nutritionist, all your nutrition info is great except the innova stuff.

    PS the term “holistic” means nothing according to AFFCO, if that’s on the bag it’s usually just a marketing scheme, if it’s actually holistic it will have the USDA mark on the bag, and even then they could have approved 1 ingredient and slapped the seal on the bag.

    Reply
  72. Hey, I had trouble finding an email address. Can you email me back so I can ask you a question?
    –Shaye
    shayewalsh1@gmail.com

    Reply
  73. murli

     /  November 21, 2013

    sir,im from india n i had 5yrs old g.dane namd sandy,2 yrs back i taken her for male dane for crossing,upto then sandy was very good but after crossing the health problems began for her mostly the fungus problem,upto now it was not cure,bad smel is coming at her,hair is removing from skin,pls gv me suggestion for her health,pls sir

    Reply
  74. JULIA

     /  December 11, 2013

    I have just adopted a Blue Merle Dane. She has just turned 6 months old. I am how many cups I should be feeding her daily. she is currently eating 5 cups a day, and drinking plenty of water, with healthy stool. She is eating Large Breed Puppy SIMPLY NOURISH -26% and deboned chicken as first product, also, contains: brown rice, dried spinach, dried sweet potato, flax seed, dried pumpkin, dried blueberries, salmon oil and dried chicory root.

    Reply
  75. Stacie

     /  December 13, 2013

    Hello i was wondering if you could please help
    My friend has a 2 yr old dane and he is skinny to the bone, it doesnt matter what she feeds him it goes straight through he has also been wormed

    Reply
  76. Kara

     /  January 4, 2014

    Hi, we are lucky to have a 10 1/2yr old Great Dane named River. Unfortunately he was diagnosed with heart “problems” in November. We are cherishing every extra day we get with him. My issue is that he is now on 4 heart medications & they affect his appetite, he was never a food driven dog to start with. He has always eaten a high quality food since he was able to eat kibble. Now I find if he would eat a cup of Kibble N’ Bits or McD’s cheese burger I’d be elated (I know don’t yell at me)!
    Any ideas on what we can try to stimulate his appetite aside from the normal, chicken, liver, ground meats, broths, rice, eggs, yogurt, oatmeal, canned food etc. we’ve tried all of those. The only idea the vet has is to lower one of his medications (Sotalol) which we are concerned to do as he is responding so well to the medication combo currently & the ONLY drawback to the med’s since his diagnosis is his appetite. He is still bright eyed, playful and his normal personality he just has less energy and sleeps more due to his heart working so hard. I know he needs to eat to keep up his energy and strength, he is normally 170lbs at 32″ (always been a broad big boy) since his diagnosis he has lost 9lbs. I appreciate any advise & I am planning to check out some Blue Buffalo tomorrow, if nothing else just having an ear is helpful. He is my & my husbands heart & we have always wanted him to be as happy and healthy as possible, his comfort and quality of life is above all else. I thank you for your time & any advise you may be able to provide.

    Reply
  77. karen haring

     /  January 9, 2014

    Should his ribs be showing…I am going to try Blue Buffalo for my great Dane Named Duke…I have only had him for 2 months now…He is 3 years old and he is so obedient and calm…my concern is his ribs are showing and I did get him of a Vet Nurse in Victoria…he is a very settled male and he is ever so gentle towards me…we are the best of friends

    Reply
  78. rachael

     /  January 9, 2014

    Blue buffalo is ok as long as you dont go with wilderness bc its way too high of protein for such a low activity dog

    Reply
  79. Peggy Ballance

     /  February 14, 2014

    At what age does a danes stomack stop growing? Vet wants to do the gastroplexy now at 4 months old, but I feel he is to young.

    Reply
  80. Susan

     /  February 14, 2014

    Don’t do it! If a vet recommends a surgery that could never be necessary, run to a new vet. It is never a good idea. As a owner of Great Danes myself for over 25 years, I have never had any issues with bloat. I have a 5 year old neutered male, whom when I wanted to schedule him for the neutering surgery my vet recommended me to do the bloat surgery as preventative issues…..So as I listened to him and realized that he was making feel that if I loved my dog than I would choose to do this bloat surgery along with his neutering. So I did. What a huge mistake! They cut his belly from his penis to his rib cage, a very big incision, on top of that he ended up with a very serious UTI, which they will charge more money to treat that issue. To make things worse, after the surgery he then tells me that he can still bloat, but his stomach just can’t twist! Really! So today I have a 5 year old male dane with a very gassy stomach. Literally you can hear the gas gurgling in his belly from across the room. He will calm down with long walks, and Pepcid Ac. So I tell you unless it is emergency surgery, don’t do it! Just use common sense, never let them eat and then run, or get overheated and drink an abundance of water. Research ways to naturally prevent it and you will be happier and so will your puppy! I have an 11 month old puppy, and I informed my new vet that if they were going to recommend this bloat surgery when I get ready to have him neutered, that I will not do it! Please get on the computer and research bloat surgery, I wish I would have before I chose to put my dog through an unnecessary major surgery!

    Reply
  81. Regan McBurney

     /  March 5, 2014

    We recently did an allergy panel on our 7 month male dane and found allergies to a number of foods found in most dry food. Our vet is suggesting we cook up food for him which I am willing to do but he also says we have to give supplements. You say NO to supplements so now I am concerned as I have heard that any home prepared foods will require supplements. Any suggestions when all he can have is salmon, turkey, venison, rice, spinach, squash and sweet potato essentially.

    Reply
    • Definitely no venison, Great Danes have sensitive stomachs and it will cause horrible diherra. Salmon is great for their stomachs and coat, but you can also try Simply Nourish Salmon flavored dog food! It works wonders for our Great Danes and it’s great for dog who have horrible allergies and gives the greatest shiny looking coat.Their wet food is amazing as well but a little pricey. Simply Nourish you will find is at Petsmart, the dog food is reasonable and you will only find that dog food brand just at Petsmart. My Veterinarians love the brand. Get glucosamine pills because Great Danes are big dogs so they require extra joint supplements.

      Reply
    • Not all danes have sensitive stomachs (mine have eaten a whole deer before), but since yours clearly do I would first recommend trying to find a food without any of the foods your dog is allergic to. Store bought foods do have supplements, you just need to find a similar balance at home if it does come down to that point.

      Reply
      • Generally yes any Veterinarian would tell you Great Danes have sensitive stomachs. Everyone single one I owned has a sensitive stomach. Some are more then others obviously but you can’t just feed the dog poor dog food. I don’t understand why you would feed a Dane a whole deer in the first place anyway.
        It’s always good to try and mix wet and dry food together to give that extra protein that is mostly destroyed when the dry dog food was cooked in the process.

  82. Peggy, their stomach stops growing when they do which is 2-3 years of age. There is no evidence of a need to wait this long for this surgery. I would not recommend spaying/neutering a dane so young though as that does raise health risks quite a bit. Danes should not be fixed until at least 1-2 years of age. Kudos for wanting to get the surgery done. about 50% of great danes bloat in their lifetime. This surgery does not prevent bloat, as mentioned above, but the fact that it prevents the stomach from twisting is what saves lives. The twisting is what generally kills the dog because it cuts off blood flow and causes all of the tissue below the twist to die due to lack of blood flow which is painful and irreversible. Preventing the twist exponentially raises the dane’s chances for survival.

    Reply
  83. Tonia S

     /  April 16, 2014

    I have a 4 and a half old great dane pup. My vet had told me to get him switched over to adult food. But every time I try to switch he gets the craps like runny stuff. I didn’t even add a lot of the adult food into his puppy. I’m thinking I need to stay on the large breed puppy cause his system is regular when he’s on puppy food. I don’t know what to do

    Reply
    • Tonia, wow for a Veterarian to recommend that is shocking!! You most definitely do not want to do that! Adult dog foods for Great Danes puppies have to many nutrients for their young bodies and they breakdown causing the stomach upset. most importantly all Great Danes have sensitive stomachs! So you have to be careful what brand of dog food you feed them as well. I recommend large breed puppy food. I also recommended that for my mother as well to get the same thing her for her 4 month old dane by feeding the puppy large breed puppy food by simply nourish. She loves it for her Dane and it has extra little supplements that are good for the joints in large breeds. Also, when your dane hits a year old. Try and get glucosamine pills at petsmart for cheaper. It’s good for the joints and can help a ton sense a lot of Danes are prone to hip dysplasia and other related problems. Definitely never ever feed a dane adult dog food. That was surprising to hear a Veterarian to recommend that. Hope this helps!

      Reply
    • Veterinarians generally know very little about large breed dogs. If your dog is having this reaction then it is likely allergic to something in the new food. Running an allergy panel would be handy. Puppy food is harmless as long as it is a high quality LARGE BREED puppy food. Vets don’t seem to understand the difference. Regular puppy food is what is harmful to giant dogs because they contain excess calcium and phosphorus.

      Reply
      • Depends the Veterinarian because we know the difference, you can’t stereotype like that. Allergies are usually caused by chicken, beef, and other meats. Fish is the best option for when a dog has allergies usually. High quality large breed dog food is always the best option and stay away from raw diets for a Dane.

  84. Nicole Brooks

     /  April 16, 2014

    I wanted to know your thoughts on Diamond Naturals Lg Breed Adult Chicken for one of my Great Danes. She is 4 1/2 healthy and weighs around 115. My other dane is over weight so I’m feeding him Innova the weight Mangement. So I’m looking for the decent food for daisy. Please let me your thoughts.

    Reply
    • Diamonds Naturals seems to be a really good brand. As long as you get large breed, you should be fine. Simply Nourish Weight management is really good and so is Simply Nourish Large breed dog food. It has amazing supplements in the dog food itself that are good for large breeds but if you want to try Diamonds Naturals that should be a good brand to try.

      Reply
      • That is a 4 star food, Nicole. High quality.

        bmcalinden29 – Actually, allergies are caused by genetics. This is why allergies tend to run in families whether dog or human. I also said veterinarians generally know very little. This statement is extremely accurate when you run a statewide dane group and see the misinformation that veterinarians give people based on things they know about dogs in general versus what we all know to be true for danes as an individual breed. Vet schools do not specialize in dog breeds, they simple tell them about things that dogs usually have in common. Giant breeds are a very specialized zone. Raw diets are perfectly fine for a dane. There are many well known show breeders who raise amazing dogs on raw diets. Fish is no less of an allergy trigger than any other protein:
        http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=2+2082&aid=143
        The goal is to isolate the allergens and then pick a food that doesn’t have them.

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