'Gentle Giants' are what Great Danes are known as among those who own or love the breed. However, their towering structure often leaves people intimidated, due to which myths about the breed abound. The only reason a well-trained Great Dane should not be around children is that they might get knocked down because of the dog's size and exuberant show of affection. Another such misnomer is 'bigger the dog lesser the care'. Great Danes require as much care, if not more than most other breeds.
Like all other breeds, get your puppy vaccinated in time, and thereafter ensure he/she gets the booster shots at the right time.
Danes are a fast growing dog breed, and thus, a Great Dane puppy requires to be fed more often than most other pups. Thus, rapid growth often translates into skeletal problems during adulthood, such as hip dysplasia and wobblers syndrome. Therefore, a proper balanced diet is a must, to minimize the chances of these ailments setting in. Some vets have suggested that one should try to slow down the growth rate of the pup between 2 - 8 months of age to prevent it developing bone related problems later. To most pet lovers, starving a growing pup would amount to cruelty. However, the quantity of food need not be decreased, only the protein content should be reduced to a maximum of 25%. It is best to follow your vets instructions on the subject. A Dane pup also requires extra natural calcium in its food; however, calcium supplements are advised against. Vitamin C is also important for a growing dog.
Being a big dog, a it does require additional space to move around. While the dog will manage to make itself comfortable even in a small house, and would coil up at your feet or on a not-so-big sofa, nonetheless, space is still a requirement. Otherwise, you will find him banging in to things, especially in the corridors. If you have a yard, the height of the fence would have to be raised to prevent him from jumping over. Great Danes are very susceptible to colds, and thus, it is not advisable to leave your dog outdoors, especially during the nights.
This is a big dog, and an equally big eater, so be prepared for an increased grocery bill. One should be prepared to feed him at least 4 to 6 cup helpings twice a day. The food itself must be good quality dog food, with 25% protein and adequate fiber (about 4%).
Its size will be enough reason for fear in the neighborhood. However, you can expect this to abate when they see how friendly and gentle your dog really is. If a he is not trained well, he can turn into quite a terror, which is why training should start early. As a pup, socialize your pet with other pups, and also teach him not to jump and knock down kids or adults.
He should be exercised at least twice a day, including one run. Unless properly exercised, he is likely to develop bone and joint problems earlier than other dogs.
A Great Dane is not too fond of water, so giving him a bath can be quite an ordeal. Luckily, because of his short coat, frequent bathing may not be needed. The coat should be brushed a minimum of once every 3 to 4 days. Grooming is fairly hassle free, and may only be time-consuming because of their sheer size!
Understand the medical problems that Great Danes are prone too, in particular those related to the bones. They are also very prone to catching colds, so ensure you put a coat on your dog when you take him out in the winters. There is a condition known as HOD, which is life-threatening, and is known to affect those between the age group of 3 to 8 months. The symptoms are high fever and inflammation of the joints. If you find your pup lethargic and with a fever, immediately take him to the vet.
A Great Dane requires a lot of time and affection, so be sure that you have plenty of both before you decide to own one. It has a short lifespan of only 8 - 10 years, but those can be great years of unforgettable companionship.