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:
- Pacing, restlessness, panting and salivating.
- Unproductive attempts to vomit (every 10-20 minutes).
- 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:
- Check gum color
- Check heart rate
- 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.
Fetch Pet Care of the Grand Valley