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With our giant, fast-growing breed certain aspects of nutrition come into play. When feeding a Dane, considerations should be given to the style of feeding, for example raw diet, canned, or kibble. Great Dane with elevated feeding dishes. Nutritional quality of the food you choose and protein/fat levels are very important. We believe high quality premium natural dog foods, or raw foods are the best choice.


Let’s not overlook the basics: the use of an elevated dog feeder lessens the risk of many digestive issues. Since Danes face such a high risk for bloat, quiet time before and after meals is essential!



Rapid Growth Requires Special Care


Great Danes are capable of amazing growth! They will grow like weeds for the first 8 months and continue to grow rapidly the first 24 months. It is crucial to “grow them slow;” slow, steady growth is the key to proper development! Light and lean is the general rule of thumb until about 2 years of age. Don’t try for the biggest Dane in town, you will run into problems. Your Great Dane will grow naturally and reach its full potential around 3 years of age. Proper protein levels are a must when feeding a Great Danes. This will help avoid possible health problems such as Wobblers Syndrome and Panosteitis (Pano). Most knowledgeable Dane owners will agree, feeding Great Danes a premium dog food with protein levels no greater than 24% and fat levels between 12% to 14% is the key to proper development. A note of caution: the protein and fat levels of most brand puppy foods are way too high for a growing Dane. Feeding Great Danes puppy food, even large breed formulas, can have serious consequences and should be avoided.


The Truth about Commercial Dog Food


For most of us, our furry friends are family members. So ask yourself this question: when preparing a meal for yourself or your family would you put dinner on the table that consisted of fillers, beet pulp, corn meal and other non-nutritional garbage? Certainly we want our family to eat nutritiously, stay in shape, live long and stay healthy. Our canine companions should have the same opportunity.


Yet most dog foods that line the shelves of your grocery contain a lot of fillers and other junk. Typically, the first five ingredients are a good indication of the food’s quality. The first three ingredients are the primary protein sources. Are there meats listed in the important first three spots? If not, your dog is not getting protein from meat. With grocery store brands, this is sad, but so often true.


If your dog is suffering from dry skin, allergies, shedding, dull coat, lack of energy and so on, you should consider a natural premium dog food. Your dog’s nutrition plays a vital role in its health and longevity.


Raw Diet


An interesting option: recently many health-minded dog owners have chosen a raw diet for feeding their dogs. BARF–bones and raw food or biologically appropriate raw food–has increased in popularity for feeding Great Danes. The premise is that any dog is descended from the Wolf. Wild carnivores kill and eat their pray; they do not cook or add anything to their meals, but simply eat it bones and all.


Raw feeding is controversial, and many Veterinarians object all together. Some advantages of a feeding Great Danes a raw dog diet are you can prepare the meal at home with ease, your pet will produce less waste, all the yummy bones will improve your pet’s dental health, and you can be assured your dog is eating healthy, just like its ancestors. However, not all dogs will accept raw foods; others may take a while to acquire the taste. Like always, make the switch to a new diet slowly, this will cause minimal stress on your dog’s digestive system, thus avoiding any potential problems: loose stool, diarrhea, vomiting, etc.


From time to time during its life, your Great Dane may require nutritional supplements, even while feeding a premium dog food. Every dog is different, and some may need help with shedding, joint health, digestion or other issues. Rest assured, feeding Great Danes a premium dog food or raw diet is the best choice for your cherished companion. Our volunteers are happy to share their recommendations and experiences, so feel free to contact us if you have questions. At the very least, one of our volunteers can probably guide you to additional resources.

Written by Maria Bux

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