Puppy Care

 

 

How To Feed Your Great Dane (How you feed your Dane is important. Smaller meals more often, elevating food, and limiting activity before and after eating are recommended to avoid bloat and the possibility of stomach torsion.)

1.  Feed your Dane 2 times a day ( even smaller meals 3-4 times a day for puppies) rather than 1 large meal per day.

2. Limit high activity, like running, jumping, vigorous play, for at least 30 minutes before feeding and 1 - 2 hours after. For nervous Danes, crating before and after meals is calming.

3. Elevate feed to shoulder height.  There are raised feeders that can be purchased for Great Danes, we sell ours to benefit rescue here. Custom heights for any size dog available at your request.  Buying a feeder is not required!  Simply placing the food on a low table, chair, bed, etc... will elevate their food.

4. Do not free feed, meaning to have food available at all times for Danes to graze on, this could cause a Dane to overfill their stomach and lead to bloat and possible stomach torsion.

5. Do not soak food. Some recommend soaking a Danes food in water to avoid bloat, we do not. If you have a small pup or toothless senior and need to soak food for them to chew, that is one thing, but pre-expanding kibble with water then feeding it to your Dane to avoid bloat symptoms is ineffective. Better to keep the meals small.

 

What To Feed Your Great Dane
What you feed your Dane is as important as how. More than a list of approved foods to stick to Heartland Great Dane Rescue encourages you to learn what to look for in a high quality kibble.  Pet food manufacturers change formulas, names, prices, ingredients all the time. What is good today may not be good tomorrow.

Top 3 things to remember...

1.  Feed your Dane a high quality ADULT dog food.  Foods right for Great Danes should have approximately 23% protein and close to 12% fat or less. 

2. Puppy food should NEVER be fed to a Great Dane, even as a puppy. Great Dane puppies grow for 2 years, and if fed puppy food or growth formula foods your puppy will grow too fast. Expedited growth causes numerous joint and bone problems in pups. 

3. Danes do not need as much food as you think. 2 cups a feeding, 2 feedings a day is a good place to start. If your Dane is still hungry increase a half a cup at a time. Danes are very prone to Bloat, a condition that often leads to stomach torsion.  This is a very serious, often fatal, medical condition in which the stomach actually flips over on itself. Feeding smaller meals of easily digestible ingredients found in high quality kibble recipes as opposed to larger amounts of  fillers, and low quality additives found in most supermarket brands is recommended as the first step in avoiding this dangerous condition.

How to tell the good from the bad?
Price?
Well if you are paying $15.00 per 40 lbs of food can quality nutrition be expected? Nope.  BUT It’s not just about spending money, even high dollar brands can include many fillers and low quality, even harmful additives. We have picked two foods in the medium price range of $25.00 for 40 lb bag to compare. One is high quality the other is not.   Luckily, the kibble bags themselves hold the key information you need to make a good choice. Once you know what to look for, you can pick a high quality food, in a price range you choose, and know what is going into your Great Dane.

Reading Kibble Labels
GUARANTEED ANALYSIS 
 What it can tell you…

This is on the side or back of a kibble bag and it’s a rundown of the percentages of  basic nutrition in the kibble.  This is where you should go first to determine if the food you want to buy is right for your Great Dane. There are a lot of percentages listed, they can come into play when a Great Dane is ill or aged. For now, we will concentrate on just two, Crude Protein and Crude Fat.

Crude Protein should be around 23% for your Great Dane. Lower is better. Great Danes are not high action dogs, they have low metabolic function, too much protein can cause health issues with bones, and heart. Especially for the first 2 years.  Any food that has High Protein, Hi-Pro, or Pro in the name could be too high in protein for a Dane. Check the Crude Protein numbers to make sure.

Agitation, high activity, failure to focus, separation anxiety can all be due to a high protein diet in any dog breed. If your Dane is having issues with these problems a lower protein food can help.
 

*A Note about Puppies and Protein.
Puppy food is extremely high in protein, other dog breeds may need it for their short growth period, but Dane Pups grow for a full 2 years so they do not. Slow, steady growth with a low protein ADULT dog food evens out growth spurts, lowering the chances of many bone and joint issues like, HOD and Pano.  Your puppy will get to its full size, slow and steady, with good health on an adult formula kibble.

Crude Fat should be around 12% for your Great Dane. Not all foods you consider will have this level of fat so you may have to go with up to 15% but try max out there.  The higher the fat content the more likelihood of loose stool. Danes need fat. They do not maintain a constant fatty layer under their skin like other dog breeds and their coats are thinner. So they need a steady fat content  just to regulate their temperature. They also burn a higher percentage of fat than other dogs, so for good brain health do not skimp on the fat.

 

INGREDIENTS LIST -- What it can tell you…

The ingredients list is also on the sides or back of the bag.

Ingredients are listed according to weight and quantity.  The first ingredient is what most of the kibble in the bag is made of.  If the first ingredient is a grain or NOT a recognizable meat source to you, STOP!  Try another food. Grain being the first ingredient means your looking at a grain based food. Grain based foods are simply ground, boiled plants sprayed with vegetable oil or rendered meat fat. For Great Danes, a protein ( meat based diet) is best.  Your dane is not a Vegan even if you might be.

Example of low quality kibble ingredient list:

INGREDIENTS:

Ground Whole Corn, Meat and Bone Meal, Corn Gluten Meal, Chicken By-product Meal, Animal Fat (preserved with BHA/BHT), Natural Poultry Flavor, Wheat Flour, Chicken, Rice, Dried Whole Peas, Wheat Mill Run, Dried Beet Pulp, Wheat Gluten, Salt, Carrot Powder, Potassium Chloride, Vegetable Oil (Source of Linoleic Acid), Caramel Color, Vitamins (Choline Chloride, dl-Alpha Tocopherol Acetate [Source of Vitamin E], L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate [Source of Vitamin C*], Vitamin A Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate [Vitamin B1], Biotin, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement [Vitamin B2], Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement), Minerals (Zinc Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Potassium Iodide), Added FD&C and Lake Colors (Yellow 6, Blue 2, Red 40, Yellow 5).

Corn, Chicken, Rice, Peas.

At first glance this all this looks like a meal we might eat. But an ingredients list can be a little tricky in its wording.  A pet food manufacturer does not have to specify what animal or plant parts they use or even the animal it came from.

We read, Corn and visions of corn kernels or corn on the cob come to mind, but for an ingredient to be called corn in pet food it only has to be on the plant. Meaning, it could be the husks, stem, roots, or just the cob. Kernels do not have to be included. The same holds true for any other plants used in manufacturing pet food. Wheat, Rice, Oats, etc. Whole Ground Corn, could mean the entire plant as well.   Corn Gluten Meal is ground corn kernels and is the 3rd ingredient. As said before, this is a grain based food, and not a good choice for your Great Dane, but even if it was wouldn't you want the Corn Meal ( the most nutritious portion of the plant) and not the stems, husks, and cob to be the first ingredient?

**A note about Corn

Corn is cheap, plentiful food. Fine for people. Its a source of food allergies in dogs, itchy ears, flaky skin, balding, loose and larger stool production, smelly gas. Its way too sweet! Some dogs get hyper eating it, and some get overweight, but are still malnourished since corn does not have the protein of meat and bone as carnivores require. A dangerous side effect of corn on Great Danes is increased fermentation of corn as opposed to other grains, producing more gas in stomach and intestines during digestion. This could lead to bloat. Heartland Great Dane Rescue, Inc doesn't approve of corn in any form in a Great Dane Diet for these reasons.

Back to the ingredients...

When we read “Chicken” we think cuts of meat and bone, but it could be any part… feet, feathers, beaks, heads, etc. If we see “Beef, or Lamb” and think meat and bone, but it could mean, hooves, fur, ears, etc.  You get the idea? It can also mean any quantity of these parts.  If  lamb heads are all that is available that  day then that is all that goes into the mix. Get it?  The words ”by-product”  also indicates  these less desirable animal parts, but can also refer to blood, or the rendered fat.

Notice ingredient 2 "Meat and Bone Meal" This means any combo of animals can be used. If you are paying for a high quality kibble, you should know what animal meat and bone are being used.

High quality kibble makers tell you more.

If you see Chicken Meal, Lamb Meal, Beef Meal, Fish Meal, Pork Meal etc. this means meat and bone from those actual animals have been used exclusively.  This is a higher quality kibble because meat and bone are more digestible and contain readily accessible nutrition. Fur, feathers, hooves and beaks do not.

FILLERS  --   Leftovers from Human food production.

Beet Pulp, Corn Husks, Potato Pulp or Skins, Chicory Pulp,  VegetablePulp or Gum, Yam Pulp, Inulin (Chicory Extract)  Tomato Pumice, etc. All kibble has fillers, look for them down low on the ingredients list to indicate a higher quality kibble. If they are in the first 10 ingredents, STOP! Try reading another food bag.
 

PRESERVATIVES Keep fats from going racid.

Chemical preservatives sprayed on the packaging or added to the food can shorten your pets life. Look for safer preservatives ( like vitamin C or E) and a best buy date or expiration date to indicate freshness.

Avoid kibbles with the toxic preservatives below.

Toxic Preservatives
(Ethoxyquin, BHA butylated hydroxyanisol, BHT Hydroxytoluene, Propylene Glycol)

Ethoxyquin
Promotes kidney carcinogenesis (meaning literally, the creation of cancer). Significantly increased incidence of stomach tumors. Enhanced bladder carcinogenesis. Ethoxyquin is listed and identified as a hazardous chemical by OSHA. It has a rating of 3 on a scale of 1 to 6, with 6 being super toxic requiring less than 7 drops to cause death. When manufactured by Monsanto, the containers are marked with the word POISON. Monsanto makes no representations and will not be responsible for damages of any nature whatsoever. The Department of Agriculture lists and controls Ethoxyquin as a pesticide.

BHA

Enhance stomach and urinary bladder carcinogenesis. Causes squamous-cell carcinomas in stomachs. (Cancers of this type are among the most lethal and fastest acting, the swiftest effects being seen among animals with light colored fur.)

BHT

Promoted urinary bladder carcinogenesis. Could be a promoter of thyroid carcinogenesis. Studies have noted that BHA and other antioxidants, particularly Propyl Gallate showed additional effects in inducing stomach hyperplasia and cytotoxicity

Propylene Glycol

According to Dr. Wendell Belfield, DVM, practicing veterinarian for some 26 years, both BHA and BHT are known to cause liver and kidney dysfunction and are banned in some European countries. He adds that ethoxyquin is suspected of causing cancer and that propylene glycol (a pet food ingredient closely related to anti-freeze) causes destruction of red blood cells.

Safer Preservatives

These preservatives are safer and provide nutrition for your pet needs.

Asorbic Acid ( Vitamin C)

Alpha Tocopheryl (Vitamin E)

aka d - or dl -alpha tocopheryl acetate, d - or dl -alpha tocopherol, and d - or dl -alpha tocopheryl acid succinate.
 

FOOD COLORING For our eyes not our pets.

Food coloring is added to many kibble recipes to appeal to our sense of feeding food that looks like meat or just looks good in general.  Our pets couldn’t care less. Avoid them whenever possible, many food colorings are petroleum by-products left over from the distillation of fuels. Thoughts on these chemicals vary widely from being cancer causing agents to being harmless. The FDA does not monitor or limit the use of coloring additives in pet food, but does in human foods. So that should tell you something. High quality kibble makers limit or avoid the use of colorings all together. Caramel Color is simply overcooked (burned) sugar and water. Even so, its unnecessary.

Now that you know better what to look for, See below an example of a high quality kibble ingredients list.

Ingredients :

Lamb meal, whole grain brown rice, cracked pearled barley, millet, egg product, chicken fat (preserved with mixed), rice bran, beet pulp, flaxseed, natural flavor, potassium chloride, salt, choline chloride, vitamin E supplement, iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, copper proteinate, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide, thiamine mononitrate, manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, ascorbic acid, vitamin A supplement, biotin, calcium pantothenate, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin, vitamin D supplement, folic acid.

And the low quality one again for side by side comparison.

INGREDIENTS:

Ground Whole Corn, Meat and Bone Meal, Corn Gluten Meal, Chicken By-product Meal, Animal Fat (preserved with BHA/BHT), Natural Poultry Flavor, Wheat Flour, Chicken, Rice, Dried Whole Peas, Wheat Mill Run, Dried Beet Pulp, Wheat Gluten, Salt, Carrot Powder, Potassium Chloride, Vegetable Oil (Source of Linoleic Acid), Caramel Color, Vitamins (Choline Chloride, dl-Alpha Tocopherol Acetate [Source of Vitamin E], L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate [Source of Vitamin C*], Vitamin A Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate [Vitamin B1], Biotin, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement [Vitamin B2], Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement), Minerals (Zinc Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Potassium Iodide), Added FD&C and Lake Colors (Yellow 6, Blue 2, Red 40, Yellow 5).

 

To "grade" your current dog food 

 


 

 


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