Everything You NEED TO KNOW About The GREAT DANE!
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Temperament We’ll start with temperament. It is no surprise when I tell you that Great Dane’s are known as gentle giants. That is the alure of having a dog as big, or even bigger, than yourself! They make beautiful additions to the family, their peaceful disposition and relentless attempts at being a lap dog will just make them a joy to be around! Who could have a bad day when your 60kg Great Dane is desperate to share your spot on the sofa?? But don’t be fooled for their lazy appearance, they still need at least an hours exercise per day. Jogging is one of the best training to do with these dogs as human walking can be too slow to truly give them suitable aerobic exercise. Be wary not to let them bound about too much before they fully mature. I’ll explain a bit more about this in a few minutes. They’re very people orientated and will even go so far as to defending your home and family should they feel they need to! And that will be the few times they will bark, they don’t tend to bark for the sake of it. But you can expect them to be vocal with sassy back chat by grumbling, which will come from a good natured place I promise! Health To begin with, let us explore hip and elbow dysplasia. Great Dane’s and other medium to large breeds commonly suffer from this disorder. It comes from the joints in the hips and elbows not fitting together harmoniously. If left untreated, it can cause arthritis and even lameness. As I previously mentioned, it is important that for the first couple years of their lives, Great Dane pups shouldn’t be allowed to charge about, jump on and off the sofa, charge up the stairs ect. And as hard as that may be, it can help prevent any future joint problems. Whilst this is a hereditary issue, meaning that preventing it is to ensure that any breeding bitches and studs get full hip and elbow scores before being mated, owners still need to be aware and do their bit to prevent unnecessary suffering. If you should notice your Great Dane becoming stiff, sore, or reluctant to get up ect, it is always best to get them seen by your vet! Another major concern I will share with you is GDV, or bloat. The symptoms are that the stomach will flip upside down in the chest due to a build-up of gas. Once it does flip, it is a time critical issue. When the stomach flips, it starts to restrict blood flow, which can very quickly cause your dog to go into shock. A way in which you can help prevent this from happening is to slow feed your dog. This will stop them swallowing excess air if they are allowed to quickly wolf down their food! Elevating food and water bowls can help prevent a Great Dane from swallowing air into their stomach. For a wet or raw diet, you may even want to look into slow feeder bowls, they are extremely effective. But for a dry diet, large kong wobblers are brilliant for their brains and their stomachs! Diet Now, I won’t be telling you exactly what type of food you should be giving you Great Dane, instead I’ll be highlighting the key aspects that should be included. You can then make your own mind up how best to provide that for your Great Dane. Despite its impressive size, a Great Dane doesn’t necessarily need mountains of food! You just need to make sure it’s of good quality and contains the correct calories for their size and activity level. The structure you want to go for is high protein, moderate fat, low carbs and moderate calories. Great Danes have a fairly slow metabolism. When looking for suitable food for your dog, you want there to be little to no by-products. So you want to check for real protein sources such as lean muscle, fish, seeds ect. Dogs are carnivores by nature, you want their food to include animal proteins wherever possible. Essential fats are another key part of their diet, key word being essential. The fats you want to be aware of in your Great Dane’s diet is omega 3 and 6. A fish based diet of either salmon, mackerel or sardines would give your dog an abundance of these fats. But for a less smelly option, pork, beef, hemp and flax seeds are also good option. As they get older, it may be worth adding extra Omega 3 into their diet to help ease the movement in their joints. Much like humans when they reach a certain age! Now to the non-essential aspect of their diet; carbs. You want to stay away from starchy carbs, for example, rice or potatoes. These are less digestible and can be high in sugar. And try to include little to no grains to reduce the chance of bloating. Instead try them with blueberries, apples, carrots, bananas, pumpkin seeds or almonds, to name a few. To keep their carbohydrate intake low, use their favourite option as training treats. Lastly, vitamins and minerals. If you choose a more raw based diet, a lot of the protein, fat and carb sources I have mentioned contain a varied combination of what a Boston needs. But if you instead decide on looking for a ready made kibble or wet food. I’ll tell you the ones to look out for! The vitamins to include are D, E and B1, which can be found in good protein and carbohydrate sources. Don’t worry too much about vitamin C, whilst it’s good to include it, dogs are clever enough to manufacture it themselves! For minerals, you want to look for magnesium, selenium, phosphorous, manganese, sulphur and iodine. Again, these can be found in the forementioned protein, carb and essential fat sources. Now, this can sound over-whelming, we aim to educate and guide all types of dog owners here at Fenrir. So we recommend to always consult a vet or registered canine nutritionist if you have concerns or queries. Overview Let’s recap, there was a lot of information in there! A Great Dane is a gentle giant, that will make it their mission to be your cuddly lapdog. They will quickly become a beloved member of the family, giving vocal sass that will keep everyone entertained for as long as they’re with you. You may find that they only have a few good years in them suitable to joining you on park runs so you’ll have to ensure you quickly become aware of your dog and their own limits. But with good nutrition and supplements, you can have a Great Dane causing daily laughs for up to 8-10 years! That’s a lot of laughs!