Great Danes are one of the largest dog breeds, but they also have one of the shortest life expectancies. A Great Dane Lifespan is extremely short, but that doesn’t stop this breed from getting lots of love. Despite their size, Great Danes are loving and gentle, so they make great companions. Therefore, even though you won’t spend a lifetime with your Great Dane, having one of these massive dogs in your life is definitely worth it.
How Long Do Great Danes Live?
Unfortunately, Great Danes only live to be 6 to 8 years old. Some even pass away before they reach 5. Therefore, the median lifespan of a Great Dane is approximately 6.5 years old. It’s possible for Great Danes to live beyond 8 years old, and sometimes even to 10 years old, but it’s very rare.
The oldest Great Dane who ever lived has not been documented. However, Freddy the world’s tallest dog is currently the oldest living Great Dane too. He recently turned 8 years old, and his Great Dane sister is only a few minutes younger than him. So, it’s possible for Great Danes to live long, happy lives when receiving the right care.
Why is a Great Dane Lifespan So Short?
In general, large dogs don’t live as long as smaller dogs, and Great Danes help prove that. In fact, Great Danes are about as big as dogs get, weighing anywhere from 100 to 200 pounds. Plus, they’re incredibly tall, usually standing just under 3 feet when on all fours.
As it turns out, big dogs often come with big health problems too. Great Danes often don’t live long because they are prone to so many life-threatening health concerns. Oftentimes, there’s no cure for these tragic conditions.
One of the most common health conditions for Great Danes is bloat. Bloat occurs when a dog’s stomach twists and cuts off the blood supply. This happens when too much air is accumulated in your dog’s stomach, but it’s unclear exactly how this happens. In many cases, bloat is fatal for a dog. Dogs that have had bloat before are prone to get it again, so vets might recommend a procedure to prevent this.
Great Danes can also have heart problems, such as cardiomyopathy. These dogs have big hearts, both physically and metaphorically, so it can cause problems for them. This disease causes a Great Dane’s heart to become enlarged, which could eventually lead to heart failure. Unfortunately, the exact cause of this condition is unknown.
Like other large breeds, Great Danes are also prone to joint and bone problems, such as hip dysplasia and osteoarthritis. These conditions worsen as your Great Dane ages, and since they become seniors at an earlier age, it’s more likely that they’ll get them earlier on. Over time, their joints might slowly deteriorate. If the pain becomes too much for your dog to handle, it might be time to say goodbye.
How to Lengthen a Great Dane Lifespan
It’s sad that Great Danes are not one of the longest living dog breeds, but luckily, there are ways you can help them live longer. Here are a few tips to ensure that your Great Dane lives the happiest, healthiest life possible.
Feed Them a Healthy Diet
All dogs thrive when fed a healthier diet, so Great Danes are no different. Since they are so big, they eat a lot of food each day. Even so, it’s possible for you to feed them too much. Therefore, you should adjust your Great Dane’s serving sizes based on their lifestyle. If your dog is extremely active, it’s fine to feed them a normal serving size or even larger portions if necessary. However, if your Great Dane lounges around all day, you’ll likely want to serve them less than the recommended serving size.
Since feeding a Great Dane is so expensive, many dog parents look for the most affordable food. Kibble is the cheapest type of dog food, and the most inexpensive kibble brands are cheap for a reason. Dry dog food is processed food, and many cheap brands are low-quality and full of artificial filler ingredients. So, paying more for food is worth it for your dog in the long run. Affordable dry dog food can keep them alive, but they need food with high meat percentages and lots of nutrients in order to thrive.
If possible, try to serve them wet food, homemade food, or even a fresh food diet to ensure that they get the most beneficial meals possible. However, if you’re on a budget, just make sure you read the ingredient list closely when choosing dry dog food. If you find any questionable ingredients in the formula, you should try to find something healthier.
Give Them Regular Exercise
Great Danes love to nap and cuddle up on the couch, but it’s important that they don’t become too lazy. Big dogs always need plenty of exercise, so your Great Dane should get between 30 and 60 minutes of exercise each day. This can consist of running around the yard, going for walks, intense playtime, or any other type of exercise you can think of. If you get your Great Dane as a puppy, it’s extremely important that you get them used to an exercise routine while they’re still young.
However, as Great Danes get older, their joints can become more painful and uncomfortable. If you notice your senior Great Dane resisting exercise or having painful reactions to movements, it’s a good idea to take it easy on the exercise. Otherwise, you could end up hurting their joints even more.
Supplements are great for keeping your dog healthy, especially when you know your breed is prone to serious health problems. Joint supplements are a great choice for your Great Dane because they can help reduce your dog’s joint pain. While most people only consider joint supplements for senior dogs, you should actually start using them sooner for your Great Dane. Great Danes are seniors at around 5 years old, so you should talk to your vet about starting them on a chewable supplement before they even reach that age.
Visit the Vet Regularly
The most important part of keeping a dog healthy is visiting the vet for regular checkups. During checkups, vets can get a closer look at your dog in order to tell you if something is wrong. When your Great Dane is young, you should only take them in for yearly checkups, but once they reach about 5 years old, you should consider taking them in twice a year. This can ensure that you catch any major health problems before it’s too late.
While you’re at the vet, you should also make sure you get enough heartworm and flea preventatives for your dog. These health concerns might seem insignificant in comparison to the other major health problems that Great Danes are prone to, but they can still be extremely harmful. After all, it’s a good idea to protect your Great Dane from health problems in as many ways as possible.
A Great Dane lifespan is very short, but a good dog parent can still make the most of it. If anything, their short life expectancy should encourage you to focus on your dog’s health as much as possible. Keeping your dog happy and healthy might seem like a lot of work at first, but it’ll definitely be worth it in the end.