Most common health problems in Great Danes, plus health care and feeding.

My Complete Health Care Program for your Great Dane

If you want to AVOID health problems in your Great Dane, you'll find my health care program very valuable.

It's called "11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy."

Raise your dog the RIGHT way, feed him the RIGHT food, give him the RIGHT vaccinations, avoid unnecessary veterinary expenses, and help him live a longer, happier, and more comfortable life.

If your Great Dane already HAS a health problem, I'm sorry to hear that. You should immediately begin my health care program, and you may be able to restore his good health – or at least make him much more comfortable. Let me help!

Dog books written by Michele Welton

Great Dane dog breed

Great Dane Health Care & Feeding

By Michele Welton

Quick list of Great Dane health problems

Let's start with the top three diseases that kill Great Danes:

The Great Dane is the most likely of all breeds to develop an emergency gastrointestinal syndrome called bloat, which can kill a dog within hours.

The Great Dane is the second most likely of all breeds to develop a deadly heart disease called cardiomyopathy, which also kills quickly.

The third common fatal disease in Great Danes is cancer, especially bone cancer. Many, many Great Danes suffer bone cancer and require leg amputations, which only slows the cancer for awhile.

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. The Great Dane is the most likely of all breeds to develop a serious disease of their neck vertebrae with the odd but descriptive name of Wobbler's syndrome.

Then there is hip dysplasia (13% rate in Danes), which causes pain and lameness that can be crippling.

Several eye diseases occur in Great Danes, including hereditary cataracts that appear in young Danes and end in blindness.

An array of skin problem can make your dog miserable, including itchy allergies, bacterial infections, and mange.

Not to mention epilepsy, thyroid disease, blood-clotting disease, urinary disease....

(See more health problems below.)

Preventing health problems

Some health problems are inherited. For example, if both parents of your Great Dane have certificates proving they were tested and cleared of hereditary eye diseases, heart disease, hip dysplasia, and thyroid disease, your Great Dane has less risk of developing those conditions.

Other health problems can be prevented, or partially prevented, by the ways you raise your dog. If you're serious about doing everything you can for your Great Dane, my best-selling book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, shows you how to raise your Great Dane puppy (or adult dog) in all the right ways. It will help you be your dog's health care champion!

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

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
Food is the #1 foundation for good health. The best diet for feeding your dog is real food. Real chicken, turkey, beef, fish....these are not just "people foods" and I'll tell you why.

Natural dog foods for your Great Dane. Kibble or Canned Dog Food – Almost As Good As Homemade?
Are you looking for the best dry kibble or canned dog food?

NomNomNow homemade dog food service Feed Homemade Dog Food Without Needing To Make It
Would you like to feed your dog homemade, but think you don't have the time or skill to make it? I have the solution for you....

Pet insurance Should You Buy Pet Insurance? An Honest Review
My advice on the pros and cons of pet insurance, and the best pet insurance company I've found.

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 some vets aren't telling you.

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

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

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.

Assisi Loop Assisi Loop Review: How I Helped Treat Inflammation and Pain
Does your dog suffer from arthritis, hip dysplasia, disk disease, colitis, a skin wound? My honest review of a veterinary device you can use at home to help reduce inflammation and pain.

Complete list of Great Dane health problems

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 relatively skinny legs and knobby knees, orthopedic problems are common in Great Danes.

  • Of all breeds, the Great Dane is the most likely to develop a serious neck vertebrae disease called Wobbler's syndrome.
  • The Orthopedic Foundation of America evaluated the hip X-rays of over 14,000 Great Danes and found that 13% (bad) had hip dysplasia. Of 3000 elbow X-rays, 4% (not too bad) had elbow 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 20% 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.

To help you train and care for your dog

dog training videos Dog training videos. Sometimes it's easier to train your puppy (or adult dog) when you can see the correct training techniques in action.

The problem is that most dog training videos on the internet are worthless, because they use the wrong training method. I recommend these dog training videos that are based on respect and leadership.

book cover My puppy training book is Respect Training For Puppies: 30 seconds to a calm, polite, well-behaved puppy. For puppies 2 to 18 months old, this highly-acclaimed training program is based on respect. Your puppy will learn the 21 skills that all great family dogs need to know.

book cover My dog training book for adult dogs is Teach Your Dog 100 English Words. It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your dog to listen to you and do what you say.

book cover Do the 11 Things in my dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, and your dog will live a longer, healthier life and seldom need to visit the vet.

book cover My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a good-tempered, healthy family companion.