Food & Health

We'd like to share our 25 years of Great Dane breeding experience with you in order to help your puppy have a long, healthy life. Here you'll find a few suggestions for raising your Great Dane. Two factors play an important role in your puppy's life until he reaches maturity – limited exercise and the right diet!
Please contact us first if at any time in your dog's life you have questions about his health or rearing.
Barbara Mosch-Schlösser & Team

Welcome home!

Today you are taking your new family member home, or he's arriving at your house. This is exhausting for your puppy. Many dogs are laid-back about a move to a new home, but every dog reacts differently. Some are just plain tired and want to sleep all the time. Others get wound up like small children.
Give your pet a few days to adjust. It's a stressful situation for him. As you know, stress can have a negative effect on the immune system. It's not unusual for your puppy to have diarrhea or a little cold. Continue to feed him his normal diet. A visit to the vet is usually only necessary in urgent cases.
His new life in your family is not only new but also exciting for your puppy. Nevertheless, you will want to quickly establish the rules for your future life together.

Food

One of the most important topics of Great Dane breeding is the rearing of this large breed. It should be clear that with this breed's enormous rate of growth, sticking to a strict diet in the first ten months is critical. Feeding too much or too little during this time can lead to irreparable skeletal damage.
B.A.R.F. (in German 'Biologisches Artgerechtes Rohes Futter') is known in English as Raw Feeding. Although different people interpret BARF differently, we understand BARF only to mean “raw feeding”, nothing more, nothing less. Easy-to-digest proteins, the kind found in meat, play an important role in dog nourishment. Grains, too, play a role and are not harmful since the dog's system is able to break down and utilize them. Should you, however, prefer the BARF method, it's easier to do than you think.
The meat should be fed in large pieces or on the bone because chewing is also an important part of your dog's dental care. You can feed 100% BARF. Or you can mix raw meat and dry food. In this case we recommend a diet consisting of 2/3 meat and 1/3 dry food. Feeding this way eliminates the measuring and giving of additional vitamins and minerals since the dry food contains those your dog needs. Never mix the dry food with water – this causes the food to swell which can lead to a bloated/twisted stomach! Regardless of which method you choose, you should feed your dog twice daily. There are two reasons for this. First, each portion is smaller and won't fill your dog's stomach as much. Second, this reduces the chance of bloated/twisted stomach.

Example of a BARF feeding:
70% marbled meat, 20% bones, 10% sides (vegetables and fruit or powder and pellets)
Ingredients for a healthy diet:
Meat/bones
Beef: lean meat, heart, spleen, kidney, rumen/omasum, liver, fauces, head meat, all bones (especially the softer)
Lamb: same as for beef, however no stomach
Chicken: whole chicken (neck, back, only raw)
Eggs: raw with shell
Innards: only once or twice a week
Liver 200-300g (for a 30kg dog)
Rumen/Omasum: once or twice a week
Pork: only well-cooked!
Vegetables
Fish oil, safflower oil, olive oil, flaxseed oil, borage oil, evening primrose oil– alternating
Supplementing with carrot pellets, for example Olewo or grated carrot, instead of the sides
Supplementing with minerals, vitamins and trace elements, for example Brockmans Zwergmarke, instead of the sides. Our recommendation for the dosage of Brockmans Zwergmarke:
8 weeks to 4 months 1xdaily half a teaspoon
4 months to 1 year 1xdaily 2 teaspoons
1 year and older 1xweekly 1 teaspoon
In general, we recommend feeding your dog a variety of foods in order to get his digestive system accustomed to them.

Amount of food:
While your puppy is growing he eats more. Therefore, give him food as long as he eats. When he is full, he will stop eating even if there is still food in his bowl. This could be up to 4kg of meat per day. The amount depends on age, the weather or mood of your dog.
His daily food intake will stabilize when he reaches maturity.
Until six months of age, we recommend feeding your puppy three times a day and thereafter twice a day. And to reduce the risk of bloated/twisted stomach, keep your dog indoors or in his kennel for three hours after he has eaten– no jumping or romping around. And don't leave uneaten food in his bowl; that only leads to bad eating habits.


Exercise:
Even as puppies, Great Danes are big and heavy dogs. You might think that big dogs need a lot of exercise. But too much exercise is not good for your puppy. In the beginning, 10 minutes of walking per day is enough. It is sufficient to go outside, let him do his business and then go back inside. That may sound hard, but your puppy's soft, growing bones are already carrying a lot of weight.
Too much exercise or romping during the growing phase (months 3-7) can lead to flimsy front legs, hip problems and often pain.
To minimize the chance of damage to his soft, growing bones, keep his daily time outside limited to 30 minutes.
In months 10-12 this time outside can be increased to 60 minutes per day. We recommend multiple, short walks as opposed to one longer one.
Long hikes or training with a bicycle in the first year can lead to permanent joint damage. Remember, this wouldn't be good for a young child either! Even going up and down stairs too often can be damaging.
Even when your dog is older, avoid exercise and training when the weather is hot or humid. This can quickly lead to circulatory problems.

Experience with veterinarians who have little experience with Great Danes:
Unfortunately, there are many vets who are unexperienced or unsure of themselves when dealing with large breeds in the growing phase.

NO alarming signs are:

- elevated temperature up to 39.0 degrees Celsius
- bloodwork values are not comparable with adult dogs
- no hip or skeletal X-rays during the growing phase, this often leads to a wrong diagnosis. X-rays are only accurate once a female has reached the age of 15 months (for males 18 months).

We are always here for you! Please contact us if you have any questions.