you read information on the internet, use your experience, logic
and common sense to evaluate the information provided. So many
breeders and owners think they know what’s best for these dogs.
They like to see their ideas and opinions in print or hear
themselves talk. It’s difficult for me to seriously consider
someone’s feeding advice if their experience with danes doesn’t
exceed twenty years. Some feeding programs can actually be
dangerous, so put your brain to work. Incorrect feeding,
timing of feeding in relation to exercise, and/or a sudden
change in food can contribute to the development of bloat and/or
Credentials: We have raised great danes since 1970. We
have had well over 100 litters. Since 1980, we have maintained
a dozen or more of our own danes at all times. The average life
span for the breed is supposed to be seven to eight years. The
average life span of our danes is 10-13 years.
food for a great dane is quite a controversial topic. Some
breeders link their feeding instructions to their guarantee, and
you can void their guarantee by deviating from their feeding
instructions. With this information in mind, we are not going
to attempt to tell you what to feed your dane. We are simply
going to tell you what and how we feed our danes.
Food: Our danes’ basic diet is their kibble. Once they
pass five or six weeks of age, they are fed moistened kibble
twice a day for the remainder of their lives.
Feeding: Free feeding means leaving dry kibble down at all
times and letting the dogs decide for themselves when and how
much to eat. We do not allow our puppy buyers to free fed for
several reasons. Danes carry an abundance of water in their
lips when they drink, and this can dribble out onto their dry
food causing it to sour. Consumption of sour food can cause
torsion. Also, if you free feed, you lose a valuable tool for
keeping up with your dog’s health. Each dog will develop its
own eating pattern. Some eat all of each meal; some eat all of
one meal and part of the other; some skip every third or fourth
meal. Any marked deviation from a particular dog’s eating
pattern should sound an alarm. The dane should be observed for
a while to insure that nothing is physically wrong.
Change: If you are feeding
kibble and decide to change brands, you should never change
brands of kibble suddenly, as a sudden change in kibble can
result in the development of bloat and/or torsion. If you
want to switch kibbles, do so over a three or four day period.
First day, ¾ regular kibble and ¼ new brand of kibble; second
day, ½ regular kibble and ½ new kibble; third day, ¼ regular
kibble and ¾ new kibble; fourth day, all new brand of kibble.
in Relation to Mealtime: Your dane should never be exercised or bred for an hour to an
hour and a half after his/her last meal.
Kibble Brands: We wean our pups on Iams Lamb and Rice
Adult Formula in the red bag. It’s appropriately low in
protein. We feed our pups Iams Lamb and Rice Adult
kibble for their first six or eight months. After that we feed
either Buckeye Professional Kennel Formula or Pedigree
Mealtime Small Bites. For danes who tend to be chunky, we
use Pedigree. For danes who are energetic or who tend to be
average to a little thin, we feed Buckeye.
Food: Now, for the rest of the story.
We feed our danes
snacks and supplements that include everything we eat except foods that cause a
significant gas build up in people. Here are just a few
examples of what we feed our danes: cooked meats, cooked eggs,
cooked vegetables, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, salad, fruit,
casseroles, popcorn, desserts, chocolate, cottage cheese,
cereal, cookies, crackers, nuts, bacon grease, oils, candies,
etc. If fed in moderation, they can eat all of the above
plus foods like spaghetti and mac and cheese.
From Feeding People Food: Feeding our danes people food has
provided many bonuses over the years. Each of our danes has
their own favorite foods. Some prefer meats and cheeses; other
like the high carb foods like mac & cheese or potato; one likes
tossed salad; and some like sweets. Should a dane ever get
seriously ill, chances are VERY GOOD that he/she will not
readily eat kibble. That’s when we bring out the big guns like
spaghetti with sauce, cheese, salt, etc. or ice cream or
whatever foods the particular dane prefers. When a dane is
really feeling ill or healing from surgery, he/she will often
eat people food days before he/she will eat kibble. Also, we
enjoy training and we like to bait our dogs. They seem to bait
better for people food…big surprise!
Moderation Is The Key To Feeding People Food: Adult danes
weigh about the same as we do, so type of treats and/or
supplements and the amount of the people food given is
determined by their fitness level. If they are chubby, we lay
off of the fattening stuff. If they are active and trim, they
can have a moderate amount of anything on the list. We do not
give our danes people food at every meal because they will stop
eating their kibble. The kibble provides a healthy, well
balanced base for them. We give our danes treats when we have
left overs; if we’re having a birthday party; on special
holidays; when a female dane has just had a litter; or when a
dane is ill.
If we are
working with an under weight dog, a seriously ill dog or a dog
recouping from an illness or surgery, we feed people food as
often as possible.
Chocolate Kill Dogs? I’ve heard but have not verified that
only baker’s chocolate is dangerous for canines. I know from
well over thirty years of experience that regular chocolate like
chocolate ice cream, frozen yogurt, chocolate candy, chocolate
cake, etc. in moderation will not hurt danes or poodles.
Most of ours love it. Our pups get to lick Tootsie Rolls before
they even taste kibble. An adult dane is the equivalent of an
adult person, and a pup is the equivalent of a child. All of
our danes eat chocolate for their entire lives.
Treats: Our danes are not allowed to have any
rawhide; cow hooves; pig ears; etc. They are not allowed
to chew chicken, turkey, lamb, or pork bones. The only bones
permitted are beef shank and or knuckle bones because they do
Food Related Practices or Diets I Do Not Recommend
Some breeders like to fast their danes one day a week. The
reason most of these breeders give for fasting is that “in the
wild dogs fast”. Folks, our danes are not in the wild. They
are in our homes. Dogs in the wild generally fast because
either they did not make a kill or they did make a kill and
totally stuffed themselves, and are, therefore, not hungry. Our
danes don’t stuff themselves because we control their portions,
nor do they kill their own food, so they DO NOT need to fast
(except just before having a surgical procedure).
Since our danes do not kill their own food, they are not
accustomed to eating tainted meat, as they would be if they were
on their own in the wild. Therefore, you should not feed raw
meat to your danes. Raw meat can contain bacteria that the
danes no longer tolerate well.
DIET: People frequently ask me what I think of the BARF
diet. My response is, “Not Much”. Remember, I’ve told you what
and how we feed our danes, and our average life span is 10-13
A dog with
health problems or allergies may require a very special diet
that is appropriate for his/her condition. If your dane has a
problem that might require a special diet, you would probably do
well to discuss your danes needs with your vet and your dane’s