Your Purebred Puppy, Honest Advice About Dogs and Dog Breeds

Sensible advice for raising your Great Dane puppy so he lives a long healthy life and seldom needs to visit the vet. Learn about the most common health problems and issues in Great Danes, the best dog food diet for feeding Great Dane puppies and adult dogs, the truth about vaccinations, spaying and neutering, and natural health care.


11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, my best-selling dog health book

Great Dane dog breed

Great Dane Health Problems and Raising a Great Dane Puppy to be Healthy

By Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2014

Quiz – How Long Will Your Dog Live?
How To Raise a Healthy Dog
Feeding the Best Dog Food
Feeding the 2nd Best Dog Food
Vaccinations: Needed or Not?
Are You Sure Your Vet Is Good?

The most common health problems in Great Danes:

This gentle giant is prone to so many health problems it's hard to know where to begin. Here are the three health issues that are responsible for the most deaths in Great Danes:

  • Bloat is the number one killer of Great Danes. In fact, of all breeds, the Great Dane is the most likely breed to develop this deadly gastrointestinal syndrome – 1 of every 2 Great Danes is expected to suffer bloat during its lifetime.
  • Of all breeds, the Great Dane is the second most likely to develop a deadly heart disease called cardiomyopathy. Other life-threatening (or life-shortening) heart diseases in Danes include subaortic stenosis, valve diseases, patent ductus arteriosus, and others.
  • The third deadly disease that claims the lives of many Great Danes is cancer, especially osteosarcoma (bone cancer).

As you might expect from looking at the big square head perched on the l-o-o-o-ng neck, and the heavy body supported by slender legs and knobby knees, orthopedic problems are common in Great Danes.

  • Of all breeds, the Great Dane is the most likely to develop the serious neck vertebrae disease called Wobbler's syndrome.
  • The Orthopedic Foundation of America evaluated the hip X-rays of over 9400 Great Danes and found that 12% had hip dysplasia.
  • Other orthopedic diseases in Great Danes include elbow dysplasia, osteochondritis, hypertrophic osteodystrophy, luxating patella, and panosteitis.

The most serious eye disease in Great Danes is cataracts, which can appear before 2 years old and can result in blindness. Eyelid abnormalities (ectropion and entropion) and cherry eye are fairly common, and glaucoma and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) can also occur.

Hypothyroidism and Addison's disease, both of which are disorders of the hormonal/ endocrine system, are concerns in the breed. According to the Michigan State University Thyroid Database, up to 17% of Great Danes have low thyroid levels.

Skin diseases include allergies (which cause itchy skin), pyoderma (folliculitis and the more severe furunculosis), demodectic mange in Great Dane puppies, elbow hygroma, zinc-responsive dermatosis, lick granuloma, calcinosis, and in blue Danes, color dilution alopecia.

In addition to cancerous growths, non-tumorous skin growths occur regularly on Great Danes.

Other health issues in Great Danes include epilepsy, blood-clotting disease (von Willebrand's), megaesophagus, cystinuria, and in harlequin Danes, inherited deafness.


Can you prevent health problems from happening to YOUR Great Dane?

Yes, often you can.

  1. Some health problems are genetic, which means inherited from parents. Genetic health issues are common in Great Danes today because of unwise breeding practices. My book, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, shows you how to find a Great Dane puppy who is genetically healthy.
  2. Other health problems are environmental – caused by the way you raise your dog. My best-selling dog health book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy shows you how to prevent environmental health problems by raising your Great Dane puppy (or adult dog) in all the right ways.

Here are my dog health tips for raising a healthy Great Dane puppy or adult dog:

Dog lifespan quiz How Long Will Your Dog Live? – Take This Quiz!
Based on your dog's breed and how you're raising him, this personalized quiz will help you understand how long your dog might live – and most importantly, how you can increase his life expectancy.


Obedience instructor and author Michele Welton Dog Health Care – The Sensible Way
Read my advice on daily health care so your Great Dane lives a long, healthy life and seldom needs to see the vet.


Real homemade dog food The Best Dog Food For Feeding Your Great Dane
The best diet for feeding your Great Dane is real food. Real chicken, turkey, beef, bison, venison, fish....This is not "people food" and I'll tell you why.


Natural dog foods for your Great Dane. The Second-Best Dog Food For Your Great Dane
If you can't feed homemade dog food, here are your next-best choices.


Information on booster shots for your Great Dane. Vaccinations and Booster Shots: Needed or Not?
How many vaccinations does your Great Dane puppy really need? Does your adult Great Dane need yearly booster shots? The vaccination guidelines have changed. Find out what many vets aren't telling you.


Information on choosing the best vet for your Great Dane. The Type of Veterinarian I Recommend
Is your veterinarian really the best choice for your dog? Learn about the differences between vets who practice conventional, holistic, and alternative veterinary medicine.


Information on spaying your Great Dane. Spaying Your Female Dog: Pros and Cons
Advantages and disadvantages of spaying your female Great Dane.


Information on neutering your male dog. Neutering Your Male Dog: Pros and Cons
Advantages and disadvantages of neutering your male dog.