I have the utmost respect for my veterinarians, Kent Wisecup DVM,
Rob Rich DVM and Nathan Rich DVM of Country Acre Animal Clinic,
in NewCastle, Indiana. Without their efforts and knowledge I could
not have been a successful dog breeder for 40 years.
Over the years, I have come to understand that many vets, like
physicians, are not trained in nutrition, other than the mandatory
few credits of general nutrition, that they are required to take
in school. This is not enough knowledge to know how to judge a good
commercial food from a poor one, how to decipher a label, balance
an unbalanced diet, or how to feed a large or giant breed of dog.
Unfortunately, vets rely on nutritional information give to them
by dog food company sales representatives from Hills Science Diet
or Iams. The sales reps, are the ones who are responsible for teaching
our vets about nutrition (rather, how to sell their products), which
is not nutritional education at all, it is simply marketing.
I have been a university professor for 34 years and know that
taking only one or two classes in a subject (especially small animal
nutrition) is not enough knowledge to be making recommendations
that effect the life long wellness of my animals. And then to think
the nutritional information given to your vet is actually given
by a dog food sales person makes this even more scary and very deceiving
to the public, because the pet's owners put their complete faith
in the veterinarians.
No, this is not good enough. It is because of this fact
that this website andFeed Programshave
become so valuable to owners and breeders of the large and giant
breeds. This is a place for them to go get practical, common sense
nutritional information, based in 40 years of experience raising
giant breeds, doing feed trials and scientific research on how to
raise a large breed dog. We know this works....champion after champion,
litter after litter, with no growth problems, no reproduction problems
and greater longevity tells us, these programs work.
WARNING: When storing your pet's food,
store it in the bag itself, then slip the bag down into a plastic
or metal container with a lid. DO NOT DUMP THE FOOD INTO THE CONTAINER
DIRECTLY. The fats in the food can cause cancer causing chemicals
out of the metal or plastic into the food itself. It is safe if
left in the bag it came in.
A Lean Machine
~ Do not let your puppy get too heavy during the growth stages.
They should be well covered, but lean until their bones set at
2 years. The last rib should be slightly visible from 3 - 6 months
in particular and NO forced
exercise, jogging or road-work,
until the dogs are 2 year old and the bones are set. Puppies are
just that until at least 18 months of age, when dealing with the
giant breeds. They are fragile and need supervised free exercise
in a fenced in area or daily walks with you. The key is moderation
and common sense in raising these "exotic" animals.
The amount of food calories is directly related to the amount
of exercise the animal gets per day. See the Amount to Feed Chart
NO FREE CHOICE FEEDING.
(leaving food down all the time) or I will take your first born
child! Some dogs over consume, some pick all day long and don't
ever get hungry enough to consume the proper amount of nutrition
~Elevate your dog's food and water as they grow it is just more
comfortable for them and no, it does NOT cause bloat . Stress
is the trigger for bloat, and an unbalance in the pH of the gut,
due to stress and/or overuse of antibiotics without replenishing
the gut with beneficial bacteria (Probiotics) can be one of the
primary causes of bloat and systemic yeast over growth in the gut is a major factor in bloat. (Bloat.)
(MINERALS) OR VITAMIN SUPPLEMENTS
or I will break your fingers. The
only exception to this rule are the things I suggest in thePuppy Feed Program
Heartworm/Flea Preventative. ~
I use a combination Heartworm/flea preventative for my Great Danes, Pugs, Collie and Sheltie, it is called Trefexis.
Great Danes a cross between a sighthound and a Mastiff (hundreds
of years ago) and I have found they are just as sensitive to drugs as my Collies & Shelties.
Interceptor is what we used to use, then the company folded, so now the same substance is used in Comfortis (fleas/tick only) and in Trefexis (Heartworm and flea/tick combo). I feel of this better for Danes and Collie/Sheltie types than Heartguard or Ivermectin, and it takes
care of other worms except tapes. I never use a chemical flea spray on my dogs,
because some the have very bad reactions to the pyrethrums
in the spray, causing neurological damage. I do have two natural flea products I LOVE.
"Vets Best" is the name and all the products from the shampoo to the Home Spray Flea and Tick Shampoo, Spray and Hotspot foam, they are the same ingredients.
I buy the large 32 oz HOME SPAY and use it on bedding and on the dogs as well. The pump handle is much easier to use for the large dog rather than the 16 ounce little squirt bottle. This is an all natural product and it smells like peppermint and cloves and it takes care of ticks and mosquitos too, plus it is safe to be around.
Another product I like is by NaturVet - No Flea Carpet Crystals which is basically boric acid - it is safe and I have not found it to stain, clump or ruin even expensive oriential rugs. I have the gal the cleans on Monday sprinkle it in my dog office, family room and dog crate room and let it set about an hour while she is doing other things, then sweep it up. Here is the great t hing..if you have fleas, leave this stuff in your sweeper bag or canister because any fleas that would get swept up will die. No need to empty it until it is full, because it it will kill any bug sucked up into the sweeper, yet is safe for you to walk on, lay on. It is not a powder so it does not gum up your carpet, it's a very fine, but heavy crystal so it does not float around the air and cause breathing issues.
~ Watch the amount of "treats" you give your puppy,
the calories add up. treat into several pieces instead of feeding
5 a day. Use carrots, a slice of apple, or a couple of berries
as treats. This will not disrupt the balance of the diet nor add
too many calories to the diet, which is important for growing
dogs and geriatric animals. The treats my dogs love are Krunchity Munchity Salmon/blueberry & cranberry Puffs, which also add some good Omegas to their diet. I designed these for a company and they have just been the biggest hit.
If you want to make you own, here are some healthy
treat suggestions at the website.
~ Allow your puppy a safe, non stressful environment to eat in.
I feed in a crate. Allow 10 minutes, if they do not eat in that
time remove the food and throw it out. They will not starve, do
not try to beg them to eat. You are developing a bad habit if you
entice them into eating. Do not let them linger or be distracted.
My dogs eat in less than 10 minutes. If they don't I know something
is wrong, (in season, false pregnancy, pyometria, tummy ache). Monitoring
their food this way is an excellent way of telling when they are
not feeling well. Young females will often go off their feed during
hormonal changes and likewise young. Males from 12 - 22 months.
They are often lean, this is because their body has not fully developed
yet they have long legs. They are the equivalent to a teenager so
be patient. They do not reach their full growth until 3 years and
for some dogs they will be 4.
FEEDING IS NOT ACCEPTABLE. YOU ARE ASKING FOR BLOAT/TORSION
BECAUSE IT IS VERY STRESSFUL, AND STRESS IS A TRIGGER AS WELL
AS THE FOOD THAT IS CONSUMED, IS DONE SO WITHOUT THE BENEFIT OF
ADEQUATE AMOUNTS OF HYDROCHLORIC ACID AVAILABLE TO THE GUT, WHICH
WOULD NORMALLY BE GENERATED WHEN AN ANIMAL EATS ON THEIR OWN.
Force feeding is extremely stressful
on the animal, and does not allow for hydrochloric acid/digestive
juices to kick in and digest food properly. Remember "stress"
is the trigger for bloat and force feeding a dog means you are stressing
this animal OR the animal is already stressed and therefore it does
not want to eat. No matter what is the situation, this is the right
conditions for bloat. Next time you force feed a dog, think how
it would feel if you were not hungry, and someone stood there and
shoved food down your throat.
NEVER SOAK or microwave dog
food, soaking a food does not prevent
bloat, that is a myth and not based in any science. Soaking/cooking
this destroys the nutrients and probiotics sprayed on the outside
of the kibble and destroying these can cause a nutritional imbalance,
suppressed immune systems and actually serious deficiencies in a
Feed and Relax
~ Do not allow lots of running and exercise for 1-2 hours after
a meal. This will aid in digestion. This has nothing to do with
bloat. It is just common sense, you would not eat a big meal then
go out and jog......ugh!! That would feel awful. Well the same for
your dog. Also, young growing puppies should not be running up and
down a full flight of steps several times a day. This is very hard
on their shoulder joints and can cause serious injury.
keep lots of fresh water available outside and inside so the animal
knows there is water around, and is less apt to over-consume being
worried it won't be there at some point. Some breeders withhold
water to house break a dog. This is cruel and ignorant. It sets
up bad drinking habits (gorging) and bladder infections, potential
dehydration which can cause muscle cramping. (and what is the largest
muscle in the body?- the heart). I know of a whole litter of 5 week
old puppies who died because the breeder was trying to keep their
area clean and presentable for buyers, so she kept withholding their
water. How would you like to not be able to get a drink when you
Again use common sense. If they
are playing hard and start drinking, monitor them; tell them "hey,
take it easy," just a little and when they have calmed down
they can have a little more.......just like a horse, you don't water
a horse until it has cooled down. I don't leave water in a crate
with a puppy during the nighttime when they are sleeping, they always
spill it. But during the day they have it available all the time,
clean fresh non-slobber water.
Amount to feed:
This will be discussed per individual puppy or I have a chart in
the Blackwatch Puppy
Feed Program at this website. This is a guide for moderate
protein/fat/calorie foods. A high protein/fat/calorie food does
not mean a bigger animal. It may mean your puppy will develop nutritionally
caused bone diseases (HOD, OCD or Pano).
NOTE: puppies 7-9 weeks of age may be able to get their heads through the bars of a Collossal crate do I do not recommend in using one until they are 10 weeks or older. I do not leave collars on the dogs while in the house or outside in case they are "breakway collars". Especially if they are apt to play with other dogs. They can get strangled in an instant.
~Your puppy should not be crated more than 6 hours at time during
the course of a daytime, and less is better. They should have
a very large crate, one that an adult male can stand up and turn
around in. I prefer the Midwest
Co. "colossal" crate over the "Dane crate"
size. This is their den, and never punish and then put them in
a crate; it should be their safe place. Their crate should be
in a place where there is family activity so they don't feel they
are being punished. If your puppy is crated during bedtime, and
in the day time, 12 hours of his day is spent in a crate. If you
purchase a puppy from me you will be required to have a colossal
crate.You must keep that in mind
when feeding. The amount of calories consumed and the amount burned
off in the course of a day is directly related to the amount you
need to feed (see chart below). For strong bones they need normal
moderate exercise in order to develop the proper muscle to support
As for bedding..never use carpet in a
crate, in fact do not have any throw rugs made from continuos
loop carpeting because they are interested in the glue in rugs
and if they start chewing a continuos loop carpeting strings of
fiber entangle in their intestines. Likewise NO STRING TOYS!!
Fleece pads work best for crates, if they urinate on them it goes
to the bottom and the dogs stay dry. I use single layer fleece
for puppies, fold or layer it and it's easy to wash and dry.
Kuranda beds are greatest and most Great Dane breeders use them. I highly recommend starting the puppies
when they are young, cover them with a fleece bed in the winter,
danes like fluff - and in the summer when hot you do not need
anything on them. They make a great outside porch bed too or take it to the boarding kennel you use, so they are up off the concrete.
Kuranda Bed are the best! Make
the investment, it not only last a lifetime, it will save you
so much money from having to purchase new dog beds all of the
time. Here are the reasons you should get one. They are a"Chewproof"
designs for kennels, shelters and chewing puppies. Soft, off the
floor comfort that lasts for years. Easy to clean and deodorize
and replacement parts, if needed are available.
For Fleece beds, I like
the ones Kuranda makes and they also make some to go into the dane crate. So you can get one to go on top of the industrial strength bed as well as for their crate.
They are substantial enough the dogs are very comfortable. Be sure to never use
carpet for bedding or crates, they are attracted to the glue and
a continuous loop carpet, if the eat it, it can cause their bowls
to strangle. No cedar, pine bedding it causes skin irratations.. Some of my fleecy beds are 10 years old, and they wash up
great in the washer.
Use no detergent, Carpet Fresh, Lysol,
fabric softener or anything that is a pine derivative when cleaning
your bedding . You are asking for contact allergies and respiratory
problems. Wash bedding in a mild solution of bleach, it will dissipate
when dry, leaving no residue.
Use a 2% solution of OxE-Dropsfor cleaning crates (1 teaspoon + 1 cup water) Use only
dog shampoo due to the pH of the dogs coat, nothing else
for a bath.
not play tug of war games, no chasing games or wrestling on the
floor games with your dog.
These are all dominance games that will
only encourage the dog to challenge you at some point in their
development. Use common sense, do not act like a dog when playing
with your dog, act like the human who is the leader of the pack.
No rowdy behavior is allowed in the house, that is for outside
with games of chasing after a stick or a ball.
DO NOT LET YOUR
DANE JUMP UP AND PUT THEIR FEET ON YOUR SHOULDERS!Some people think this is
cute, experienced Dane owners realize this is terribly
damaging to the fragile joints of a dog and can cause permanent
orthopedic damage. The surgery costs for repair are enough that
you will have to get a second mortgage on your home.
if you allow them to jump, then the next person they try this
with could be an elderly person or a child, and that could result
in someone getting hurt. Plan on an additional million dollar
insurance rider on your policy, if you do not train your puppy
to be a good citizen. I always require puppy obedience classes
for my puppy buyers.
pig ears, cow hooves, raw hide of any kind, string toys, booda
bones or cooked bones or Greenies
-and absolutely no tennis balls. These are all things that can
kill you dog.
Why No Rawhide?
First, the majority are processed
with lye, something your dog does not need in his/her stomach. Also,
they are not digestible and can lay in the stomach or intestines
and not pass through, causing an obstruction or causing pathogenic
bacteria to grow which equals BLOAT. We do not need to encourage
bad bacteria in animals that are prone to bloat and gastric torsion.
They are also a very serious choking hazard. So to be on the safe
side, for nutritional and safety reasons, I will suggest something
other than rawhide chewies.
No pig ears/snouts/cow snouts and cow hooves?
There are two reasons for not using these,
Salmonella (bad bacteria) and the fact that the ears/snouts will
splinter and can puncture an intestine and the same is for the
cow hooves. Frequently, vets are removing them because they cause
NO - and I mean NO Greenies!! These
things have killed dogs due to choking and they are full of gluten
which causes dogs to have major skin problems and allergies.
GOOD TOY CHOICES
Nothing in life is a guarantee and these are
only suggestions of toys we have used with no problem. Use common
sense and always keep an eye out for potential problems, kids
and dogs will do the darnest things....
Keep safe toys around so they are not
eating furniture and your best shoes. The pet toy industry is
not regulated so there are many things out there available to
pets, which are a serious health hazard. My toy preference is
the Busy Buddy
Line of toys which comes from the same place as the Fleecy
Fleece toys, Gumma Bones (the largest
ones) Kongs are all suitable make sure the size matches the dog
so they can't swollow them. I have found my dogs like nothing
better than fleece
toys, especially those that hang and have long legs,
tails or appendages because it feels to them like they are carrying
around something that is dead, the closest thing to dead prey.
Again the Busy
Buddy Line of toys is a good choice. They also have a
great line of fleecy toys, the kind that dangle (like road kill)
are the kind my dogs love best to carry around the house. They
are so proud of their dead, dangling fleecy toy!!
NO TENNIS BALLS FOR GREAT DANES OR MASTIFFS...ACTUALLY ANY LARGE DOG, THEY CAN BECOME LODGE IN THE THROAT.
Collars and Leads
My personal preference
is aleather latigo lead that
is 6 ' long- these are less apt to cause rope burns like
nylon leads, which I have, but there is more control with a leather
latigo lead - I'ts fun to have pretty matching collars and leads,
as long as your dog is well mannered and in a familiar situation.
If they get spooked, give me a leather latigo lead any day. Always
walk your dog with the loop over your whole hand so they can not
get away if they bolt. I get my collars and leads from West
Coast Pet Supply.
I do not recommend keeping any collars on the dog while at
home because they can catch them on somehting and strangle themselves.
All to often two dogs playing together will get caught on the
other dogs collar and can pull teeth out or strangle the other
dog --this happens all to often. Fortunately there is a great
line of collars called Break-
Away collars. Please use only these collars for saftey
reasons. NO choke chains please!
I will NEVER recommend
a Flexi-lead for my dogs again, after having one snap and a dear
friend almost had her fingers cut off with one of these leads,
when her Great Dane got spooked and bolted. She ended up with
a terrible rope burn and laserations from the cord on the flexi-lead.
It does not get my vote!!!
Two drugs you should avoid with Great
Danes (this can apply to other breeds) are the Sulfonamide Antibiotics
(Ditrim, Primor, Bactrim,TMZ, Tribrissin, TMP/SDZ etc.) and Keflex
Antibiotic (Cefa-Tabs, Cephalexin). The two are not related but
can be a problem for this breed so it is important to know what
the adverse reactions are just in case.
I will not use any Sulfonamide
drugs. If I have to use Keflex, which is a good broad spectrum antibiotic,
I watch very carefully for any kind of reaction. The symptoms from
antibiotic reactions are like HOD (fever, achy joints (polyarthritis)
swelling of joints, animals in pain, lack of mobility, depression
and anorexia.) If this occurs, it can happen from 24 hours up to
2 weeks. Depends on the animal. It is treated with Dexamethsone,
and stop the antibiotic.
This is a controversial issue and for
us, we use the Dr.
Jean Dodd's vaccine recommendations and back up the system
with 4 in 1 Probiotics (with Vitamin C in it) and the Nzymes product
(chewable or granular) which the combination of these two can
help prevent vaccine reactions.
We do not give Corona, Lyme or Giardia
vaccines. If you are in an area of the country with a big Lyme
disease problem, do NOT to combine the Lyme vaccine with any
Likewise your rabies. Later is better,
because the immune system is starting to build and can handle
these vaccines better, especially if one at a time.
Personally, I would never allow
a Rabies at the same time as the other shots, and this will often
mean a battle with the vet. In many states the law states it must
be done at 12 weeks, so the decision is between you and your vet.
All multivalent vaccines, when given together
are compromising the immune system on your dog, so you and your
vet have to determine what is best to do. Here is an option I
provide for my puppy buyers.
These are things you need to know about and are common in
is a protozoa, and it is an enormous problem that goes unnoticed
by owners and vets. Giardia is a waterborne protozoa (parasite,
but not a worm) which is very difficult to detect. Anytime you have
a dog that will not gain weight, is on/off their feed or with intermittent
loose stools or diarrhea, you should automatically treat for Giardia
first, before you start looking for other health problems such as
All three of these health problems are generally seen in young
puppies and are really a "red flag" that something greater
is going with the immune system. These opportunistic conditions
are due to your puppy having a weak or underdeveloped immune system,
which is very natural from 3 - 7 months of age, particularly in
the large and giant breeds. These are not genetic conditions,
but are based in diet and environmental factors. So in this article,
rather than treating the symptoms, we look deeper at the cause
and how to treat and feed for repair and prevention of these conditions.