General Care

General Care for your Great Dane

When you rehome a Great Dane of any age, the following advice will help you to settle the dog into their new abode with consideration.

If you buy a Great Dane puppy from a breeder it should have in its ‘suitcase’...

  • A diet sheet advising from current age up to adulthood.
  • A Veterinary document listing the puppy’s inoculations, worming programme, and microchip registration.
  • Information on how to look after your puppy i.e. food, exercise, bedding and worming, and general care including a list of ‘Do’s and Don’ts’.
  • A comfort blanket and a list of his/her like and dislikes.
  • The contact telephone number of the breeder, also the address.
  • A Pedigree.

Now you are home...

Useful Tips

The trade secrets of looking after a Great Dane.


  • Always ensure that your Great Dane is Micro-chipped. It is the law and the only proof of ownership for any animal.
  • Always ensure your Vet has experience in the care of a Great Dane.
  • Always take your Great Dane to the Vet in an emergency, not a home visit.
  • Always insure your Great Dane with a reputable Insurance Company; Third Party Liability in the case of an accident and to cover expensive Veterinary bills.
  • Always remember to worm your Great Dane, particularly a scavenger. There are natural control products which NGDR recommends (VERM-X). Or use medication from your Vet.
  • Always leave fresh water available which is easily accessible.
  • Always put your Great Dane’s feed and water bowl just below shoulder height.
  • Always ensure the Great Dane has shade and ventilation in, and outside the home.
  • Always ensure the Great Dane has a padded large bed to stretch out on, to save calluses forming on the elbows.
  • Always remember to clip your Great Dane’s nails, carefully, if they become too long, they can cause the dog much pain. If you are not brave enough to clip them,  your Vet will happily oblige. Alternatively try filing when your Great Dane is tired.
  • Always remember to groom your Great Dane daily, a short coat is no excuse! The brushing stimulates natural oils which give a shine to the coat; besides, Great Danes love the attention!
  • Always exercise your Great Dane before its meal, allowing 1½ hours resting time, before feeding.
  • Always leave another 1½ – 2 hours resting time after feeding, before any exercise is resumed.
  • Always ensure that each meal is prepared fresh; if soaked, ensure that no heat (sunshine, or Aga) or flies etc. can affect the food.
  • Always feed twice or three times daily, so as not to overload the stomach and invite the possibility of BLOAT!
  • Always ensure that food, human or dog, is never left available so the dog can help themselves!
  • Always oversee multi dogs when it’s feed time to ensure no fights, and no thieving.


  • Never feed raw eggs, uncooked egg white can cause a Biotin Deficiency. One cooked egg per day is an excellent protein source. It is utilised 100% by the dog, but do restrict it to no more than one per day.
  • Never feed chocolate, dark, milk or white, all are toxic to dogs.
  • Never feed pork, grapes, or raisins they too are toxic.
  • Never allow a dog to eat salt dough decorations (Xmas tree); the concentration of salt could kill.
  • Never use dog flea treatment on cats as it is poisonous to them.
  • Never give cooked bones, they become brittle when cooked and can splinter. Only  give large raw beef or lamb marrow bones; always monitor whilst they are chewing; separate multi dogs for safety!
  • Never give a dog any human medication unless directed to do so by by your Vet.
  • Never let children torment your dog; make sure there is a quiet place away from the children’s play area. If they should play together, be on hand in case the dog gets too frisky! Or the children!
  • Never play rough and tumble games, you may lose!
  • Never leave your dog’s coat wet after a bath or walking in the rain.
  • Never presume everybody likes big dogs. Prevent unnecessary frights for little dogs and humans!
  • Never leave a dog in a vehicle for any length of time, whether cold, warm, or hot, summer or winter.
  • Never leave a dog in a vehicle without ventilation, even in winter a vehicle could get warm and oppressive.
  • If you should find a dog left in a vehicle in distress, panting frantically, dribbling thick saliva, possibly defecating loosely and very distressed, then THE DOG MUST BE EXTRICATED FROM THE VEHICLE.
    If you cannot find the owner of the dog and vehicle and time is of the essence, call the Police and RSPCA to notify them of the situation, and call a vet as the dog will need treatment.


It is an offence to break into someone else’s vehicle!
However, this dog must be extricated and instantly immersed in a cold tub of water, hosed down, or wrapped in a cold wet towel. Cooled down in a river or stream, but be careful of a strong current, the dog could be dragged away, also the very cold water could cause shock to the dog’s system.


Feeding and Feeding Problems

Many a saga has been written about the eating habits of Great Danes. Suffice to say a good daily routine is your best policy. Make it and stick to it!


  • Two meals daily; breakfast and tea, or slip in a lunch.
  • Do remember, the total daily quantity is divided by 2 or 3, not double or treble what the Great Dane should sensibly eat.
  • Do remember to put the bowl in a stand just below shoulder height.
  • Fresh water should always be available, left out of the sunlight.
  • There are many different foods on the market, dried complete meal, raw minced tripe, raw chicken, wholemeal biscuit, all shapes, colours and size biscuits, kibble, organic foods, vegetarian foods, or a complete raw diet.
  • It is up to you which path you wish to follow.
  • NGDR feeds raw minced tripe and a wholemeal biscuit to our Rescued Great Danes; in some instances we will feed an organic dried feed with raw minced tripe.

If you wish to ask our advice


There is nothing worse than a poor feeder, nothing more calculated to send the sanest of dog lovers round the twist.

It is frustrating and worrying not to mention wasteful. The tale of ‘The Problem Feeder’ is well told, and most breeders have heard it a hundred times, even if you have not had it poured down the phone to you before, I am sure it will ring a few bells!

Read more below…

'The Problem Feeder'

By kind permission of Elaine Hyde.

The puppy is quite normal, a happy bouncing little soul that eats quite well during the first weeks (after the initial new home blues), then at around 16 weeks usually when he is cutting the first teeth, he goes off his food, doesn’t want his milk and thinks his usual diet is YUK! The owners are worried, (after all this is going to be a Great Dane). “If he doesn’t eat enough, he won’t grow”, and so they change his food to their idea of a more tempting dish. “Perhaps he didn’t like the old stuff; I wouldn’t like to eat the same old thing every day”.

Now for a day or two the new food is wonderful, and he eats it as if there is no tomorrow, then he turns his nose up at it. Menu number 2 hits the dust and something else must be tried. “It worked last time; he must be a canine gourmet”. Menu 3, however, only lasts one feed and Menu 4 is hardly even sniffed at. By now almost every waking moment is taken up with the poor dog’s dietary intake and feeding times are a nightmare of “will he/won’t he”. 

They sprinkle cheese, gravy, suet etc over the bowl, hand feed him, scatter it on the floor because sometimes “he cleans up the mess”. But nothing pleases him and all the time he seems to get thinner.

It can be solved but it would have been easier not to have got there in the first place. Remember, dogs are just like us, sometimes they are starving hungry and other times they are just not interested.

Nothing you do will make a dog with a small appetite turn into a mobile dustbin!

Perhaps when they are teething, when it is very hot, bitches when they are 5 or 6 weeks after a season, dogs, when the bitch down the road is more ‘interesting’ than usual. Also, some are greedier than others by nature, and some are genetically designed not to be roly-poly fat during their growing period or young adulthood. Nothing you do will make a dog with a small appetite turn into a mobile dustbin!

He may have periods of ‘off’ days all through his growing period or longer, and these are the times that if you ‘tempt’ and ‘push’ him to eat more than he wants, you create a mental feeding block that starts by being fussy and ends up baulking at any food whatsoever. You can, in fact, so worry a young dog that the sight of a feeding bowl is enough to make him tremble.

It is interesting, and no surprise, to note that 9 out of 10 problem feeders are owned by people who want to show their dog; and here lies the clue. The more important it is for the dog to look right (i.e. show ring sleek), the more likely they are to be worried when the dog is finicky and slowly develops a problem as described above.

Find out what the dog’s parents were like when they were young. If the Sire (now a beautiful rounded show dog) was a skinny tin-ribs type when he was a teenager, you may be bashing your head against a brick wall to get weight on to his tin-ribs son/daughter. Do not worry about him he will get there in the end. Whatever you might think he won’t starve himself to death.

Now on to the dog who is already a problem feeder

Perhaps there are other ‘answers’ but this is the one I know that does work, I have used it myself and advised others too and if you really want to, you can solve the problem.

To start with you must be feeding a well-balanced and palatable food; even hungry dogs will not eat sour or stale food that has been hanging around for days (in and out of the fridge). If you do not have another dog that is a gannet you must be prepared to throw food away sometimes.

  • Have set feeding times and stick to them.
  • Prepare half of his usual food in a clean bowl and push it to one side of the bowl so he can see the bottom is visible (he can see there is not much in there).
  • Put it down for him and do not watch him, get on with the washing-up or something.
  • Give him about five minutes or until he goes away from the bowl and then take it away completely, out of sight.
  • Do not offer him any food until the next scheduled feeding time (incidentally some dogs will only feed once a day even as five-month old puppies).
  • Harden your heart, do not give him anything no matter how starving he looks, or how longingly he eyes your dinner or how “I’m sure he’ll eat it now” you feel.
  • At the next feeding time do exactly the same, half of his meal freshly prepared, clean bowl etc.
  • Remember five minutes, no more, even if he looks like coming to eat it as you take it away.
    For some dogs, this treatment works in two days, in others it can take nearly a week and it is much harder on you than it is the dog. It will work because he will eventually realise that you mean business and he will get really hungry. When he finishes his half ration on two consecutive occasions, you can steadily give him more but never go back to leaving food down, tempting or handfeeding.
    He will get back to square one faster than you can say Pedigree Chum. It does work, I promise you; more by your own attitude to the dog’s feeding habits than the whims of his appetite. I will tell you the following to illustrate that. 

On arrival into N.G.D.R.

Now happily rehomed

A lesson learned

Years ago, I was showing a promising young puppy who I always felt should be a bit fatter! She never had a big appetite and I simply couldn’t bear seeing her thin or missing meals so I did all the things I have mentioned in the 2nd paragraph of this article, and ended up not just hand feeding her but force feeding her!

Yes, I am not a bit proud of it, it was dreadful, and I was in tears over her many times. This went on until she got her Championship at about 2½ years old (a long time to stuff food down a dog). I told her on the way back from the show that she needn’t eat now, it didn’t matter if she looked like a hat-rack she need never go to a show again (it just shows you how up-tight I was about her).

Anyway, that night and from then on, she was given the ‘five minutes and no more’ treatment. It worked like magic. No, of course she did not turn into a gannet overnight, but she ate her meals at the proper times with no coaxing. She seemed to know that there was no tension anymore; she even got to the stage where I had to diet her to reduce her waistline. She is an old retired lady now, but I will never forget the lesson I learned, and I would never do it again.

Problem feeders are made not born. The more you worry the worse they get. If you have never known the frustration of a poor feeder you are very lucky indeed.

Happy mealtimes!


General advice about exercising your Great Dane, from ‘toddler’ to ‘senior citizen’.


  • A Great Dane of any age should be exercised before or after any meals; 1½ hours before a meal and leaving 1½ – 2 hours resting time after a meal before any exercise is resumed. 
  • If you think about it, you wouldn’t go on a 5-mile hike after eating roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, nor could you sit down to a 3-course meal the second you finish the London marathon! 
  • One of the main reasons why this routine is followed, is to reduce the risk of Bloat. Read more about Bloat…
  • Ensure you fit a comfortable collar, one that does not cut into the neck but has a ‘check’ chain section to enable control.
  • Remember to attach a disc to the collar stating micro-chipped and mobile phone numbers.
  • If you are unable to have full control of the dog when out walking, then try using a head collar, ‘Dogmatic’ works very well.
  • Great Danes vary in the amount of exercise they want. 
  • Some ‘teenage’ Great Danes will happily go for many miles on a steady walk, others can become plodders. 
  • Steadily build up the amount of exercise you give your Great Dane each day, and keep to the same amount. As a Great Dane gets older the length of exercise reduces; always observe how the dog is feeling before continuing a ‘usual’ walk, i.e. too fast, too far, too crowded, too noisy, too hot, too cold, and too long?

Behavioural Problems

Some will have such peculiar quirks, that you’re left wondering whether in AREA 51 more than the odd alien, or two, landed to scare the human race!

Bless them!

If you take the time to watch their ‘body language’, for instance; if they begin to shake or growl at a certain noise, try and work out why that should cause them such worry. Reassure them that they are safe and there is no need to be afraid.

We have many, many years of experience with Great Danes who have had all sorts of problems, we would be incredibly happy to help you; and if we can’t we’ll know someone who can.

We would love to be able to help

General Police Information

The following questions are to be found on the Police Website
It is advisable to go online and read the full answers, so that you are quite clear on the law regarding dogs.

Here is a sample of FAQ's

Q21:   There is a dog in a vehicle that appears hot and distressed, what should I do?

ANSWER: It is not advisable to force entry to the vehicle yourself.  Your first step should be to call the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999 to inform them of the details namely, the condition of the dog, the registration number and location of the vehicle.

Q23:   My pet has been attacked by a dog can the Police do anything?

ANSWER: It depends on the circumstance but there have been decisions in the past by courts and authorities to suggest that it is the nature of a dog to kill and wound small animals.

Q248:   I have lost my dog, what do I do?

ANSWER: Most dogs do return of their own free will…

NOTE: The police no longer have responsibility for stray dogs.

Q434:   I have knocked over an animal do I have to report it?

ANSWER: Some animals do not come within the definition of animal within the Road Traffic Act 1988…

Q524: What happens if my pet dog bites an intruder in my house?

ANSWER:  This will depend on the exact circumstances of the incident.  The following should be used as a guide only for scenarios as each case will be considered individually.

Q661:   Does my dog have to wear a collar with my name and address on it?

ANSWER:  Yes, the law states that every dog whilst on a highway or in a public place must wear a collar with the name of the owner on it.

Lost Dog?

Is an internet based dog registration scheme which actively helps you locate your dog.

Useful Links

Camrosa Ointment

Camrosa Ointment stops itching, soothes the skin, promotes the natural healing of open wounds and sores, and encourages hair to grow back once the skin has healed.


Verm-X works to create an environment in the gut and digestive system that is able to eradicate and expel intestinal challenges. Unlike some pharmaceutical products that act with a purging effect, Verm-X is very gentle.

Pet Plus

 PETPlus is a whole food supplement which promotes and maintains whole body health.


Dog Lost

Dog Lost is an internet based dog registration scheme which actively helps you locate your dog.


Provides free veterinary services for the pets of needy owners in the UK.


Voted ‘Most Innovative Dog Collar Manufacturers 2019’.