How To Make A Great Dane’s Life Better
9 January, 2012

If you have a Great Dane, you probably know that they do not live as long as other dogs.  They are great pets and you can still have a wonderful, rewarding life with them.   You do know up front that it will not be forever, but there are many things you can do to help their lives.

Many of the health problems that are inherent with Great Danes are due to its large size, though some problems also have a genetic component. These health problems make the average life span of a Great Dane somewhere around six to seven years. Knowing about these common health problems can help you dramatically improve the quality of your Great Dane’s life.


PUPPY ACTIVITY

Try to limit your Great Dane puppy’s activity during the first year. Great Danes are actually quite fragile during this stage of life and are prone to orthopedic problems in particular as their bodies grow.   You can walk with them but don’t take them for runs as young puppies.


WATCH OUT FOR PAIN THRESHOLD/ LUMPS ON LEGS

Look out for a bone disease called hypertrophic osteodystrophy between the ages of four and seven months. Hypertrophic osteodystrophy is an orthopedic condition that can sometimes occur during the rapid bone growth of Great Dane puppies. Symptoms to look out for include severe pain and a rising temperature.

I can be a great pet!

Watch out for lumps that may appear on the legs of your Great Dane puppy; these are symptoms of a condition called Panosteitis. These lumps are another result of rapid bone growth and result from inflammation, which is manageable with anti-inflammatory medication.

KEEP AN EYE ON HIS JOINTS/ WALKING

Watch your Great Dane for potential joint problems. The symptoms of hip dysplasia, for instance, are lameness in the rear legs and an abnormal walking.  An X-rays can further diagnose the problem, and medications can help slow the progression, provided the problem is caught early enough.

CHECK FOR SWELLING IN THE ABDOMEN

Watch for bloat, which is one of the most serious health conditions from which a Great Dane can suffer.  Look for symptoms such as swelling in the abdomen, abdominal pain, excessive saliva and rapid breathing. The risk of bloat can be lessened by not giving your Great Dane too much water when he’s exercising, using an elevated dog feeder and providing multiple, smaller meals throughout the day. If you think that your dog has swelling, go to a veterinarian immediately, as the condition is life threatening.

MAKE ROUTINE TRIPS TO THE VETERINARIAN

Make regular trips to the veterinarian for checkups. A veterinarian will be better able to spot the early signs of the many different potential health problems of Great Danes.

While Great Danes can be a lot of work, they are worth it if you have patience and keep an eye on their health.

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