Health : the great dane growth

Small baby dane will be big

At birth, the weight of a great dane puppy is on average of 400 to 600g. This weight increases by about 50g per day throughout the first month.

Adult, the puppy will weigh about 60kg for a female and 80kg for a male (or more depending on size).

A great dane is built with time. It develops its skeleton on a relatively long period ranging up to 24 months, with an extremely rapid phase on the 6-8 first months.

A delicate growth

The great dane is a dog which grows quikly in the beginning of its life. So it's important to check the growth and to give a well adapted food. Well feed a puppy during its growth is very important for its health.

The quality, quantity and composition of the food for a great dane puppy are very important factors to ensure a normal growth of bones. A puppy is particularly sensitive to excesses or deficiencies.

Unless you know the exact composition of its food, which can easily be complicated and be an origin of errors, it's preferable to opt for a high quality industrial food specially made for puppies.

The role of calcium

Calcium provided by the food is essential for a perfect bone growth.

Not enough calcium or excessive amounts of phosphorus can generate malformed or brittle bones. But too much calcium can also generate deformities in bones and joints.

The role of proteins

Protein provides the necessary energy for the growth of the body and for the muscle development. The energy needs of a dog vary greatly depending on its size and its activities.

Too much proteins will make the puppy grow faster. This will also increase quickly its weight and muscle mass. But it is not good to increase quickly the weight of a puppy, because at this stage a growing skeleton and its joints are fragile. And the risk of distortions in this case is high.

Diseases due to a bad food

Bone diseases occur particularly in dogs of giant breeds such as great dane. They may be significantly due to factor food.

A bad food during the growth phase of the puppy can have disastrous consequences on the formation of the skeleton of the animal.

Great dane skeleton
© Hermann Dittrich

It's possible to encounter the following problems :

Hip dysplasia
It's a distortion of the hip joint. The femoral head can come out of the joint when the dog walks.
Wobbler Syndrome
It's a distortion of cervical vertebrae, which compresses the spinal cord.
Osteochondrosis of the shoulder
It's a disease of the cartilage covering the bones inside the shoulder joint.
Ununited processus anconeus
It's an abnormal development of the elbow joint. A small piece of bone, called anconeal process, does not merge with the rest of the ulna.
It's an inflammation of bones in young growing dogs due to an excess of calcium in the diet.
Hypervitaminosis A and D
It's an abnormal development of the skeleton due to an excess of vitamins in the diet.
Secondary hyperparathyroidism
It's a thinning and weakness of bones usually caused by a diet rich in phosphorus and relatively low in calcium.
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