I have experienced & seen so many health issues with Great Danes that I made it a priority many years ago to research ways to help improve this wonderful giant breed. I have made many modifications to the diet and care of my own Danes until I finally found what REALLY works for both longevity and overall great health with my breeding program.
I began my research by looking abroad. It is proven that the Europeans breed with only the highest of standards. Starting at the beginning, they have a "Breeding Warden" that has to actually witness the breeding & whelping process of all bitches to ensure correct documentation. They also use only premium (human grade) ingredients when feeding & supplementing. On average, European Danes live approx. 4 years longer than their American cousins with less health issues throughout their life time. It is also because of this reason that I prefer to breed American & European lines together as part of my breeding program.
You may have heard of the BARF (Biologically Appropriate Raw Foods or Bones And Raw Foods) Diet. This diet originated abroad and is not a new concept for the Europeans. The European Danes that are fed BARF have a stronger immune system, less allergies and skin problems, and a longer lifespan.
With the BARF diet, raw meat and organs are by far the most important ingredient in your Danes diet; up to 85%! Your Dane will digest approx 90-95% of any meat so you won't see much of it in their feces afterward. Of high interest will be the guts / organs & the liver. Liver is a very valuable organ to feed, but not too much. Liver is very important as it contains large amounts of nutrients you won't find in muscle meats. Just be sure to not base more than 1 meal a week with it as it also contains some waste products. Liver is very rich in Vitamin A.
Kidneys also have alot of nutritional value. They lie between Liver and muscle meat.
If you have cooked meat as leftovers from your meal, its ok to feed it to your Dane, however do not let it become the main source of meat for your Dane. Do NOT feed your Dane pre-made hamburger patties or sliced sandwich meats as these are generally pumped with unhealthy preservative chemicals which are not good for your Dane.
Next is Beef. Try to stay away from Pork or Veal as pigs are normally raised on kibble feed not pasture feeding and so there isn't as much value in these.
Chicken is good, but not the greatest in value for the same reasons as pork and veal. If you use chicken, your Dane will love chicken wings, backs, and necks.
The best source of raw meat are wildlife game animals such as deer, elk, moose.
Other great meat sources are lamb, goat, rabbit, turkey, duck, goose, ostrich, & emu.
Vegetables, if served right are also good for your Dane. Dogs can not digest whole pieces very well. In the wild, the normal vegetables that a dog will receive are found in the stomach of its prey. This means the vegetable are already partially digested. To duplicate this, grind the vegetables to a complete mush. I suggest broccoli, yams, turnips, rutabagas, zucchini, green beans, cauliflower, cucumber, carrots, pumpkin, lettuce, cabbage, beets, cantaloupe, apples, pears, and peas. Do NOT feed onions, garlic, tomatoes, raisins, grapes, or the peels of any tropical fruits.
Along with their meats and vegetables, your Dane will also need a few other items for a complete balanced meal:
A fellow local BARFer, Nicole Lavorgna, supplied us with some information on a local vendor that was selling for roughly $0.40 / lb. Call Fells Point Meat at (410) 539-5600. Ask for Leo!
For More info visit: http://www.barfaustralia.com/#
If you still have to feed your Dane a regular kibble diet, then there are still a few guidelines that must be followed. 1st, please make sure the food has 23% protein or less. This is VERY important. Read the bag!!! Just because a food says that it is for Large Breed Puppies, it does not necessary mean it is good for your growing Dane. Also make sure that grains and corn are not the 1st ingredients on the ingredient list. There are only 3 kibble brands that I reccomend.
Some breeders will swear by Eagle Pack, however I have had several cases of knuckling over while using Eagle Pack. Several other puppy owners also still wanted to try using Eagle Pack and had serious growth issues with their Danes including Pano and HOD. Once the Danes were switched back to Solid Gold their problems made an immediate turn for the better. I go with experience and with what works for our Danes so this may not be the case for all Danes, however, it is what I suggest you feed if you buy one of our puppies.
We use our own mixture of probiotics (digestive enzymes), SeaMeal, Steamed Bonemeal, Glucosimine, MSM, Ester-C, kelp, & bee pollen. We also give our Danes 500mg of Vitamin C.
Another good supplement is Hylasport and can be found at www.pupsup.com. This information was supplied to us by Bogey's mom Liz who claims that it works wonders with Bogey!
Chicken Yogurt Pups