Great Danes and the Great Danger

May 17, 2010

Chelsea, the Great Dane came to stay with me this weekend while “mom” went biking. Having had experience with other Danes, I was not worried, until Chelsea decided to stand on my chest freezer (she is a BIG dog) and eat the food for the other dogs. I had talked with “mom” about her diet and the risks of bloat.  It wasn’t until she ate the wrong food that I realized how quickly a Dane can die while in a pet sitter’s care.  That is a heavy responsibility!  Dog care is not for the faint of heart (or lacking education or insurance).

The tendency of giant pure-bred dogs to develop and suffer (and die) from bloat is deceptive, considering how substantial the dog appears. Bloat is a life threatening issue that steals almost as many pet lives as cancer.  This is a fragile breed, with a short lifespan and many health issues.  Vigilant observation and careful feeding will help a professional dog sitter (or dog owner) maintain the health of a Great Dane.  Here is a list of symptoms of bloat and some initial triage for a Dane’s care:

Signs of bloat:

  1. Pacing, restlessness, panting and salivating.
  2. Unproductive attempts to vomit (every 10-20 minutes).
  3. Abdomen exhibits fullness and beginning to enlarge. (Siefried Zahn D.V.M 2010)

These are early phase symptoms and a quick check can determine condition.  However, this may be deceiving as bloat may not progress slowly through phases. It is helpful to know how to:

  1. Check gum color
  2. Check heart rate
  3. Observe abdominal distention

Normal color of gums is pink to red and heart rate for an adult dog should be 60-80 bpm.  Abdomen should remain flat and not distended.

If bloat is suspected, do not wait; contact a veterinarian familiar with bloat immediately (Sienfried Zahn 2010).

For more information about bloat or the care of Great Danes, contact your vet or see http://www.hmgdc.org.

Marjorie Leon

Fetch Pet Care of the Grand Valley

970-314-5564

grandvalley@fetchpetcare.com

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