The Great Dane Care Guide

Throughout all of recorded history, humans have sought animal companionship, and for thousands of years now, different breeds of dogs have filled this human need. One such breed of dog is the Great Dane.

How Long do Great Danes Live? 

If some ancient drawings on Egyptian and Babylonian artifacts are anything to go by, Great Danes have been in people's lives from as early as 3000 BC. Ironically, however, this is not an indication of the breed's longevity. 

On the contrary, this large gentle giant breed of dog has a comparatively short life. This is because it is a scientific fact, that large dogs seem to age faster than smaller ones. According to Cornelia Kraus, an evolutionary biologist and researcher, possibly because large breeds like Great Danes grow faster than smaller breeds they age at an accelerated pace. 

Similarly, another researcher, Dr. Silvan, also found a correlation between the breed of a dog and its age at death. Consequently, while it was believed that Great Danes live between eight-to-10 years, Dr. Silvan's study of 169,000 dead dogs has since concluded that Great Danes only live up to an average age of 9.63 years. In predicting the lifespan of Great Danes, the dog's body size was the most important variable. 

Since the Great Dane's body size was such an important variable factor in determining its average age, just how big do Great Danes get, anyway?

How Big Do Great Danes Get? 

Anyone familiar with the Canis familiaris, a.k.a the domestic dog will attest, dog breeds, like most species, come in an array of different shapes and sizes. In the case of Great Danes, males often stand at an average of 30-to-34 inches tall and weigh 120-to-200lbs. Females, on the other hand, are usually 28-to-32 inches tall and weigh 100-to-130lbs. 

Sleek, athletic and muscular in appearance, are the Great Danes' bodies. Their size has been known to present some problems for both their surroundings and, ultimately, their owners. For this reason, early obedience training classes are advisable before they become too big and uncontrollable. 

Big, brave and beautiful as Great Danes are, what were they initially bred for anyway?

What are Great Danes Bred For? 

The Great Dane was developed from Mastiff-type dogs-one of the most ancient types of dogs, by it being crossed with the Irish Wolfhound and/or the Irish Greyhound. Like most dogs that have been around for millennia, Great Danes were originally bred to hunt wild boars. It is for this reason that Great Danes were originally called Boar Hounds and had their ears cropped to prevent boar tasks from tearing them from their heads.

Eventually, however, - thanks to French and German dog breeders, the Great Dane's ferociousness, initially meant for tracking down boars, was bred out of the breed. 

Today, despite the size and killer power bark of a guard dog,  the Great Dane has mellowed into the breed of dog we all so adore and almost wish could live forever. 

Given just how adorable this breed is, any tips for Great Dane care? We at Cornucopia Pet Foods surely do.

12 Tips for Great Dane Care

At Cornucopia we believe what a dog eats, its health and well-being will significantly determine for how long you will have it around. As such, we have compiled a guide of 12 tips for Great Dane care to assist you to enable your dog to live a higher, longer quality of life by following them.

1) Diet

At Cornucopia Pet Foods, we strongly believe that, just as you are what you eat, so too are your dog's nutritional needs. Despite you being what you eat though, our advice to you is never to feed your dog the same processed food that you may eat. It might lead to infection and illness. For this reason, our licensed and practicing veteran veterinarian has been actively creating the appropriate Cornucopia food for pets for over 50 years so that your Great Dane has the proper food designed for large breeds such as yours.

Large breeds like Great Danes benefit from Cornucopia Pet Foods joint supplements. In addition to buying your Great Dane's dietary needs from us, also feel free to consult with our resident and/or nutritionist for dietary recommendations. Otherwise, feed Great Dane pups at most thrice daily and older Danes at least twice.

2) Clean Drinking Water

Great Danes also tend to fall prey to parasites such as fleas, ticks, hookworms, round worms, heartworms and whipworms, some of which can be found in unclean drinking water. Ensuring and providing your Great Dane with clean drinking water reduces the chances of it suffering from discomfort, pain and even death as a result of waterborne and parasitic diseases.

3) Dental Hygiene

Like your best human friend or relative, your Great Dane also requires special care, which you must provide. After your Great Dave has eaten Cornucopia's food designed for large breeds, such as your dog, attend to its dental care, just as you do yours. Great Danes are prone to dental abnormalities. Brush your dog's teeth daily to remove gum disease and bad breath. If not daily, then at least two-to-three times a week to remove bacteria and tartar accumulation.

4) Exercise=Weight Control

Great Danes need at best a large yard to run around in. If not, then a long walk at least once a day. An adult needs 30-60 minutes of daily exercise depending on their age and activity levels. In this regard, Great Dane puppies and adolescents need roughly 90 minutes of daily exercise. Wait to take them jogging until they are between 18 and 24 months. This will help them maintain their ideal body weight.

5)Trim Nails

When you are back from your walk, trim your Great Dane's nails-but not too far/deep. Dogs' toenails blood vessels in them, going too far or deep, could cause profuse bleeding leading to death. Know that the nails of your Dane have grown too big when they start clicking the floor. Trim their nails at least once or twice a month. 

6) Weekly Examinations

Great Danes are susceptible to illness and disease. As the owner of such a dog, you need to vigilantly examine and check his ears weekly for any odd signs of infections such as swelling or any unusual color indicating infection.

 Thereafter, use cotton balls dampened in gentle, ph-balanced ear cleaner to prevent infections. Also, check the body for any sores, rashes, and inflammation in the mouth, eyes, and feet for any early signs of potential health problems.

Owners of Great Danes should also be on the lookout for any abnormal physical and behavioural signs such as ear discharge, difficulty urinating, aggression and head shaking. If observed, seek medical attention immediately because delayed action may lead to the death of the dog.

7) Preventative Medication (Vaccinate)

Great Danes are easily vulnerable to bacterial and viral infections such as parvo, rabies and distemper. All of these are easily preventable by vaccinating your Great Dane. Take precautions to protect your Dane.

8) Routine Medical Care

As the owner of a Great Dane, routinely schedule medical care and check-ups for your canine companion. Have your veterinarian help you draw up a wellness plan and evaluate your dog for potential risks by conducting routine blood and dog testing for health conditions that shorten their lives. 

9)  Avoid In-breeding-Spray/Neuter

Research has shown that breeds with lower inbreeding coefficients have a higher breed lifespan. Always ask for the health history or track the breeding lines of your male and female Great Danes. Spray or neuter to decrease chances of inbreeding or as a way of addressing diseases/cancers your dog might develop.  

10) Grooming

Like any dog, Great Danes need to keep a good coat. This can be achieved by regularly brushing the coat of your Great Dane with a firm bristle brush.

11) Bedding

Great Danes are easily attacked by a lot of aches and pains such as arthritis, swollen joints and calluses. Providing your Great Dane with soft bedding not only eases the pain, it at times prevents joint problems. 

12) Keep warm

Great Danes should not be kept outside in very cold climes. Knit or buy them a dog fleece coat or sweater to keep them warm, especially in winter.

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