As with any other breed, Great Danes need to be groomed on a regular basis to make sure their coats and skin are kept in top condition, bearing in mind that the breed is known to suffer from flea allergic dermatitis. They also need to be given a regular daily exercise to ensure they remain fit and healthy. On top of this, they need to be fed good quality food that meets all their nutritional needs throughout their lives.
Caring for a Great Dane puppy
Great Dane puppies are boisterous and full of life which means it’s essential for homes and gardens to be puppy-proofed well in advance of their arrival. A responsible breeder would have well socialized their puppies which always leads to more outgoing, confident and friendly dogs right from the word go. With this said, any puppy is going to feel vulnerable when they leave their mother and littermates which must be taken into account. The longer a puppy can remain with their mother, the better although it should never be for too long either.
It’s best to pick a puppy up when people are going to be around for the first week or so which is the time needed for a puppy to settle in. Puppy-proofing the home and garden mean putting away any tools and other implements that a boisterous puppy might injure themselves on. Electric wires and cables must be put out of their reach because puppies love chewing on things. Toxic plants should be removed from flowerbeds and the home too.
Puppies need to sleep a lot to grow and develop as they should which means setting up a quiet area that’s not too out of the way means they can retreat to it when they want to nap and it’s important not to disturb them when they are sleeping. It’s also a good idea to keep “playtime” nice and calm inside the house and to have a more active “playtime” outside in the garden which means puppies quickly learn to be less boisterous when they are inside.
The documentation a breeder provides for a puppy must have all the details of their worming date and the product used as well as the information relating to their microchip. It is essential for puppies to be wormed again keeping to a schedule which is as follows:
- Puppies should be wormed at 6 months old
- They need to be wormed again when they are 8 months old
- Puppies should be wormed when they are 10 months old
- They need to be wormed when they are 12 months old
Things you’ll need for your puppy
There are certain items that new owners need to already have in the home prior to bringing a new puppy home. It’s often a good idea to restrict how much space a puppy plays in more especially when you can’t keep an eye on what they get up to bearing in mind that puppies are often quite boisterous which means investing in puppy gates or a large enough playpen that allows a Dane puppy the room to express themselves while keeping them safe too. The items needed are, therefore, as follows:
- Good quality puppy or baby gates to fit on doors
- A good well-made, robust playpen that’s large enough for a puppy to play in so they can really express themselves as puppies like to do
- Lots of well-made toys which must include good quality chews suitable for puppies to gnaw on, bearing in mind that a puppy will start teething anything from when they are 3 to 8 months old
- Good quality feed and water bowls which ideally should be ceramic rather than plastic or metal
- A grooming glove
- A slicker brush or soft bristle brush
- Dog specific toothpaste and a toothbrush
- Scissors with rounded ends
- Nail clippers
- Puppy shampoo and conditioner which must be specifically formulated for use on dogs
- A well-made dog collar or harness
- A couple of strong dog leads
- A well-made dog bed that’s not too small or too big
- A well-made dog crate for use in the car and in the home, that’s large enough for a puppy to move around in
- Baby blankets to put in your puppy’s crate and in their beds for when they want to nap or go to sleep at night
Keeping the noise down
All puppies are sensitive to noise including Great Dane puppies. It’s important to keep the noise levels down when a new puppy arrives in the home. TVs and music should not be played too loud which could end up stressing a small puppy out.
Keeping vet appointments
As previously mentioned, Dane puppies would have been given their first vaccinations by the breeders, but they must have their follow up shots which are up to their new owners to organize. The vaccination schedule for puppies is as follows:
- 10 -12 weeks old, bearing in mind that a puppy would not have full protection straight away, but would only be fully protected 2 weeks after they have had their second vaccination
When it comes to boosters, it’s best to discuss these with a vet because there is a lot of debate about whether a dog really needs them after a certain time. However, if a dog ever needed to go into kennels, their vaccinations would need to be
What about older Great Danes when they reach their senior years?
Older Danes need lots of special care because as they reach their golden years, they are more at risk of developing certain health concerns. Physically, a dog’s muzzle may start to go grey, but there will be other noticeable changes too which includes the following:
- Coats become coarser
- A loss of muscle tone
- Great Danes can either become overweight or underweight
- They have reduced strength and stamina
- Older dogs have difficulty regulating their body temperature
- They often develop arthritis
- Immune systems do not work as efficiently as they once did which means dogs are more susceptible to infections
- Older dogs change mentally too which means their response time tends to be slower as such they develop the following:
- They respond less to external stimuli due to impaired vision or hearing
- They tend to be a little pickier about their food
- They have a lower pain threshold
- Become intolerant of any change
- Often an older dog can feel disorientated
Living with a Great Dane in their golden years means taking on a few more responsibilities, but these are easily managed and should include taking a look at their diet, the amount of exercise they are given, how often their dog beds need changing and keeping an eye on the condition of their teeth.
Older Danes need to be fed a good quality diet that meets their needs at this stage of their lives all the while keeping a close eye on a dog’s weight. A rough feeding guide for older Great Danes is as follows bearing in mind they should be fed highly digestible food that does not contain any additives:
- Protein content should be anything from 14 – 21%
- Fat content should be less than 10%
- Fiber content should be less than 4%
- Calcium content should be 0.5 – 0.8%
- Phosphorous content should be 0.4 – 0.7%
- Sodium content should be 0.2 – 0.4%
Older Great Danes don’t need to be given the same amount of daily exercise as a younger dog, but they still need the right amount of physical activity to maintain muscle tone and to prevent a dog from putting on too much weight. All dogs need access to fresh clean water and this is especially true of older dogs when they reach their golden years because they are more at risk of developing kidney disorders.