Top 5 mistakes great dane owners make

Great Danes are a wonderful dog to own. They make great companions and definitely live up to the phrase “gentle giant.” If you are lucky enough to share your life with a Dane, then you want to give them the best life possible. Chances are, you’ve received lots of advice about the breed from fellow Great Dane admirers. However, we often forget tips or tricks people tell us as life goes on and we get busy. The following are 5 mistakes Great Dane owners make that can affect their dog’s health and well-being.

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#1 – Not Getting Hips Tested Early

Like most larger breeds, hip dysplasia is common in Danes. Many owners wait until their dog is showing signs of the disease before getting them checked out. However, an orthopedic vet can tell from even a young age how good your Dane’s hips are and what the future may hold. It’s better to find out early that your Great Dane is going to have hip problems. Then, you and your vet can make decisions about what he can and cannot do to limit pain later in life (for example, can he safely do agility?) and supplements, exercises, etc. to help strengthen his hips.

#2 – Not Knowing The Signs Of Bloat

Bloat is the #1 killer of Great Danes – did you know that? Despite this, many Dane owners are unsure what bloat is, its symptoms, or how to prevent it. Bloat is when your dog’s stomach distends and rotates (twists). This cuts off the blood supply to parts of the body and shuts down the digestive system. Knowing as much as you can about bloat could mean the difference between life and death.

#3 – Improper Feeding

Aside from slowing down your Dane to help prevent bloat, large breeds need to be fed carefully. Especially as puppies, you do not want them to grow too fast or get too much protein. Make sure you talk to a vet that is familiar with large breed nutrition. Improper nutrition can cause all sorts of health issues with your Great Dane.

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#4 – Giving Your Dane Human Medications Without A Vet’s Approval

This can result in a hefty vet bill and even the loss of your Great Dane. In fact, over-the-counter human medications is #1 on the ASPCA’s top list of toxins and human prescription medications is #2, according to cases handled by their Animal Poison Control Center. While many of these are accidental poisonings, it’s important to remember human medication is dangerous to your Dane and you should not be giving it her unless directed by a vet.

#5 – Too much, too early

Along with feeding, the other thing Dane owners have to worry about is what they are asking their young or older Danes to do. If you’ve owned another breed of dog, you’ve probably been told that after they’ve stopped growing – around 9 months or so – your dog is free to do anything. So you may think your new Great Dane is the same. But Danes take a lot longer to develop and during that time you need to be careful about how much exercise they get and what type. This means no jumping, hard running or long, steep hikes. Same goes for senior Danes. They will live longer, happier, and healthier lives if you are sensitive to the limitation those big bodies put on your best friend.

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