A Giant Among Us: Life with a Great Dane

Adding a Great Dane to your family is a serious decision. Owning a Dane takes planning, discipline, and time. Having a Great Dane can be wonderful and very enjoyable if the proper care is taken.

Great Danes are giant dogs with loving, playful temperaments. They require adequate attention and an educated owner. Although Great Danes are usually mild tempered animals, they could be potentially dangerous, even during play, simply due to their size. Training at a young age is crucial to insure a well mannered adult. Danes need to be trained not to jump on or lean against people, and any signs of aggression should not be taken lightly. Danes learn most effectively from positive reinforcement, force is not recommended. Great Danes are typically wonderful family dogs and make surprisingly good house dogs.

Danes should always be fed quality dog food. Food should be meat based, crude protein should be no less than 26 percent, crude fat no less than 20 percent, and it is important that the fiber content is 4 percent or less. It is no secret that Great Danes are very large animals, so it should come as no surprise that they are hearty eaters. You need to plan on feeding your dog 3 to 6 cups of food twice a day. Food and water dishes need to be elevated for your dog, due to their height. Exercise is imperative for a Great Dane. One long walk a day is crucial for good health. Be extra cautious with your Dane Puppy, however. Dane puppies grow quickly, and dogs under one year of age are prone to bone injuries during this time. To aid in your Great Dane’s comfort, it is important to purchase a large, soft bed for him, otherwise, you may find him in yours! For the health of your dogs paws, and for the safety of your own feet, your dog’s nails should be trimmed every two to three weeks. Most Danes enjoy having their coat brushed frequently, but a Danes short coat stays relatively clean and will only need to be washed when necessary. Washing your Dane can be quite an undertaking, and professional assistance may be worth considering.

Educate yourself about the health problems that Danes are often plagued with. Great Danes will likely require vet attention, especially in their older years, and proper planning is necessary to insure your ability to care for your dog. Great Danes are prone to hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, tumors, bloat, heart disease, and Von Willebrand’s disease (a bleeding disorder). Sadly, Great Danes do not have a very long life expectancy. Typically, a Dane’s lifespan is approximately six years, although many are living ten to twelve years. Plan financially for your Danes veterinary care, and be sure to have exams frequently, and vaccinate on schedule. Above all, give your gentle giant loads of love and affection and enjoy and appreciate every day you are given with him.

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