Different breeds of animals have different dietary (and other) needs. Therefore, when we decide to adopt a pup, it is important to do some research on the breed we wish to adopt. Although this is not mandatory, it can greatly assist us in taking the best possible care of our beloved fur baby.
When adopting a Great Dane, there are a number of important factors and “rules” that one should be aware of and adhere to, in order to ensure their optimum level of health and happiness. Some of the important things which you should be aware of, include the following:
- If your pup does not want to eat on the very first day, be patient and remember that he or she has to get used to their new environment. Relocating (and being taken away from their mother) can be very stressful for them.
- Great Dane puppies should be fed at least three times a day, plus a last feed (which should mainly be a snack i.e. dog biscuits or Great Dane bites) late evening, as this will ensure that they settle down for the night, otherwise they tend to become very restless in the early hours of the morning.
- One should not leave their food out all day, as feeding time is in actual fact a special time to bond with your fur baby. This is also an excellent way of establishing a routine, which is vital for Great Dane’s.
- The portion of food should be in correlation to the puppy’s age and weight. Thus, you should adapt the potion size as your puppy grows. It is also very important not to overfeed. Therefore, follow the portion guide on the label or consult your Veterinarian.
- Their food should be placed on a raised platform and by the time a puppy reaches twelve weeks, the bowl should not be lower than the shoulder. (App. the height of a cold drink crate). It is important for them to slightly stretch so their front legs are straight and aligned under the shoulders.
- Great Dane’s can be house trained. Taking them out immediately after a meal and after they wake up, quickly helps them to learn where they are allowed to “do their business”.
- If you train your pup to sleep on his or her blanket, he or she will lay down wherever you place the blanket, even as an adult.
- A Great Dane’s growth takes place at a tiring rate and rest is therefore vitally important. Thus, you should never disturb your pup whilst he or she is asleep. Instead, wait until they are awake and ready to play.
- A Great Dane puppy’s ear placement is perfectly correct. It is therefore of the utmost importance NOT to play with and/or pull their ears. Playing with or pulling their ears can manipulate and miss-align the soft cartilage in the ears. This can cause misplacement and cause the ears not to set correctly.
- Although exercise is important, you should NEVER over exercise your Great Dane pup. They should not be forced to run, until they are eighteen months old. They should also not be allowed to jump up, onto or against beds, couches and other objects and if on your bed, you should rather lift them off. They should also not run up or down stairs. In order to ensure healthy skeletal development, their joints, bones and ligaments should be carefully taken care of. Any detrimental exercise whilst they are young, will be amplified when they are adults. The best exercise for a Great Dane pup, is sleep!
- Great Dane’s may be regarded as the biggest coach potatoes and lap dogs. So, do not be surprised that they love comfort!
- You should be aware of Bloat, Torsion (Gastro Dilatation) and heart disease, as large breeds are more susceptible to this.
What is Bloat?
The technical term for bloat is “Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus” and after cancer, this is the second leading killer of dogs. However, many people do not seem to know much about it. Larger breeds such as Great Danes, Dobermans and German Shepherds are more susceptible to bloat.
Bloat occurs when there is an abnormal build-up of air, fluid and/or foam in the stomach. This results in the stomach swelling and rotating 90 to 360 degrees, between the fixed attachments (at the oesophagus) and the upper intestines (duodenum). When the stomach twists, it traps air, food and/or water in the stomach; which results in an obstruction of veins in the abdomen. This ultimately leads to low blood pressure, shock and damage to the internal organs and can be fatal to a dog.
It is of the utmost importance to know your pup and to know which symptoms to look out for, as this can save your pup’s life.
What are the Symptoms of Bloat?
Some of the most common symptoms include the following:
- Bloated abdomen
- Substantial restlessness and anxiety
- When your pup is not him or her usual self
- When your pup appears “hunched up”
- When your pup shows visible signs of weakness – unable to stand
- Unsuccessful attempts to vomit (every five to twenty minutes)
- Foamy mucous around the mouth
- When the gums appear pale
- Excessive drooling
- Inability to defecate
- Rapid or heavy panting
- Excessive drinking
- A weak pulse
If you notice any of these symptoms, it is extremely important to take your pup to your local Veterinarian immediately.
Bloat can be caused by a number of things, such as stress, rapid eating, , dry food, exercise before meals, gas-producing foods, citric acid (as a preservative in food) drinking too much water before or after meals and it may also be hereditary, to mention a few.
There is good news though, as there are steps you can take as a loving pet parent, to prevent your beloved pup from falling victim to bloat. You can ensure that they experience very little to no stress, do not exercise your dog for several hours before or after meals. When you switch dog foods, ensure to do so gradually. Ensure that the food includes fiber and is of high quality. Ensure a fresh water supply at all times, except for immediately before and after meals. Reduce carbohydrates and do not allow rapid eating.
Remember that Great Danes have a friendly and outgoing temperament and will bring any loving pet parent a great amount of love and joy!
Love, The PetsWell Team