CONGRATULATIONS on your purchase of a Great Dane puppy. I hope that this puppy will bring you many years of joy and companionship. I would like to take this opportunity to provide you with some guidelines and tips which I have learned through trial and error over the years. I ask that you keep in touch throughout your puppy's lifetime (even if it is only a Christmas card). Feedback from my puppy buyers is an invaluable resource in my breeding program. I have experienced many of the trials and tribulations which you will go through getting your puppy to adulthood and can offer you many solutions. Below I have listed some of the very basics, but I strongly encourage you to call with any questions you may have.
FEEDING: We are what we eat!!! This is never more true than to a growing Great Dane puppy. Because of the dramatic growth rate of a Great Dane puppy, his food requirements must be of high quality and correct balance. I recommend feeding Eagle Pack Natural or any of the other premium dog kibbles that do not have a protein higher than 23%. Eagle Pack foods are easily accessible and can be delivered to your home. For information about Eagle Pack and their products please visit www.greatdanelady.com I STRONGLY RECOMMEND THAT YOU FEED YOUR PUPPY THIS FOOD UNTIL ADULTHOOD.
Your puppy's stools and appearance is your guide to feeding. If your puppy looks thin, feed him more, if he looks chunky, feed him less. If your puppy has loose stools and has been tested negative for worms, cutting his food back a little, can tighten the stool up tremendously.
Always feed two times a day no matter what age your dog is. His food bowl should be placed on an elevated stand, preferably chest high.
I add one 500mg Vitamin C pill to each meal. This is very important for your dog from puppy hood, through adulthood and old age.
I also add 1 tbsp. of Flaxseed Oil to each meal. I do not recommend "free feeding" (keeping food available all the time); this can lead to a finicky dog which is very frustrating. If the puppy turns his nose up at the food, take it away and do not offer it again until the next feeding time. You can increase your dog's love of his food by adding a spoonful of canned dog food. If your dog has really become a picky eater and there is no apparent medical reason for it, fasting can sometimes get their attention. To fast a dog, you would skip one meal - don't even offer your dog the meal.
In the event of an upset stomach: For diarrhea, we recommend Imodium for children given after each loose stool until firm again. For vomiting or gas, I recommend that you keep on hand liquid Phazyme. This can be purchased at K-mart or Wal Mart. It is also available in soft gels at most grocery stores. Phazyme can be life saving, if given to your dog at the beginning of a bloat episode (see information provided on bloat and torsion located on www.greatdanelady.com )
Coats: Great Danes are by nature very clean animals and it is not hard to keep them clean and healthy. I recommend a bath no more than once a month. Coats should be brushed at least once a week with a rubber curry brush or zoom groom located at Petsmart. Regular coat grooming will keep down the fluff flying around your house!!!
Ears: Should be kept clean. During the regular bath, I clean the ears with Betadine solution sprinkled on a warm, damp cloth. Be sure to wipe the Betadine solution completely out of the ear after cleaning. I will show you how to tape your puppy's ears so that they will ultimately be correct and beautiful. Getting cropped ears to stand is an exercise in patience, which can be very rewarding when they finally stand.
Teeth: Should be brushed once or twice a month. I use a warm wet towel dipped in Hydrogen Peroxide and then rubbed on the teeth and gums. You can also use baking soda.
Toenails: Should be kept short using a scissor type dog nail clipper. This should be done once a month. Short toenails are much less destructive than long ones and much better for your puppy's feet. I find that giving the puppy special treats during nail clipping (can be a two person job) can make the experience a much happier one for the puppy.
Fleas and ticks: I recommend that if you must use Frontline that it should only be given if you have a flea problem not as a preventative. Remember these products are toxins.
Internal parasites: Your dog should be checked once a year for the presence of any intestinal parasites and should be on heartworm preventative.
If you desire to have your dog spayed or neutered, I recommend that you wait until the dog is mature. In females, this is after her first season. In males, it is usually after 12-14 mos. The reason for this is that sexual maturity in dogs is a signal for the growth plates to close, consequently if you take away that trigger, you may get abnormal growth and your dog will be out of proportion.
HOUSING YOUR PUPPY: A Great Dane sized crate (48"Lx36"Hx24"W) is a must especially with a puppy. Your puppy should sleep in his crate, this will encourage house breaking and will eliminate chewing and destruction of items that do not belong to your puppy.
BEDDING: Your puppy should be allowed to sleep on a very soft surface; either foam or some type of padded bed. This helps soften the blow to the joints thus preventing calluses on the elbows and the development of water on the elbows (hygromas). Goodwill and thrift stores have great deals on second hand quilts which can be used for bedding.
TRAINING: I recommend that you enroll your puppy in some sort of training classes. Most dog training schools now offer obedience in conjunction with some sort of agility training which is absolutely wonderful for puppies (and adults). It teaches confidence and agility and promotes a real strong bond between you and your puppy.
VACCINES: I am providing some information regarding vaccines for dogs. There is a lot of controversy as to the need for yearly vaccines and the damage that multiple vaccines cause to a puppy's immune system. You should read the information enclosed and discuss same with your veterinarian. I do not recommend that your dog not be immunized, but the 7 in 1 vaccine may not be the way to go. If your vet is not open minded about this subject, you should seek a vet who is. Remember it is your dog and your money. You should always ask questions of your vet and use your own judgment as to whether a second opinion should be sought. Please keep in mind that you should call in the event of any illness. Chances are I've seen it before and can help get it fixed. There are a number of alternative therapies (i.e. homeopathy, herbal, acupuncture, etc.) which are sometimes much more effective, less invasive and less expensive.
I wish you many years of happiness and companionship with your dog. Please keep in mind that you can call or e-mail me anytime with any questions. I would also appreciate being kept informed on the puppy's progress and development at all life stages (Christmas cards are great for this). As I have said before, it is your feedback that lets me know what I should and shouldn't do in our breeding program.
Thank you to fellow reputable Great Dane breeders for the sharing of information.