A Word About Growth In Large/Giant Breed Puppies
I have found over that past 20 years, feeding the Blackwatch Feed Program for Puppies, that our Great Danes grow at a more appropriate rate and they are often less than 30 and 28 inches at the shoulder at 6 months of age.
This has never been a problem for us, in the long run, because they reach their genetic potential at a slower and even growth rate. This "even growth" provides the muscle development to support the bone mass of the animal making them more sound and agile. Since bone cancer, specifically in the joints, is one of the top killers in this breed, it is my opinion that slow, even growth is critical to potentially avoiding any orthopedic disease or cancer problems down the road.
So the moral is: Pet puppy owners - BE PATIENT and stop measuring and guessing how big your dog will be when grown. You cant force an acorn to be an oak tree over night. For show people, let them be puppies first, you can finish them when the time is right - focus on training, manners and socialization.
To show you that size is not determined by how tall they are at 6 months of age, take a look at our 2002 National Specialty Winners - Winners Dog and Winners Bitch and Best in Furturity now (37" and 35") and neither of them came up to the height standard of 30 and 28 inches at 6 months of age as recommended in the Great Dane Standard.
YOUR PUPPY SHOULD NOT BE KEPT ON CONCRETE, TILE OR WOOD FLOORS WHERE THERE IS NO SURFACE FOR THEM TO GRIP WITH THEIR TOES AND USE THEIR MUSCLES, LIGAMENTS AND TENDONS PROPERLY.
SLICK SURFACES CONTRIBUTE TO BOWING IN AND KNUCKLING OVER. PUT DOWN RUBBER BACKED THROW RUGS (NO FRINGE AND NO CONTINUOUS LOOP (in case they chew it- you do not want them to get it twisted in thier intestines!!) BUT YOU CAN WASH THEM, YET THE DOGS HAVE A SURFACE TO WALK ON FOR PROPER DEVELOPMENT!
The Blackwatch Feed Programs for all breeds, ages and sizes have been used by top breeders and owners here and abroad for over 40 years. The basis for these programs revolves around my CORE 4 Philosophy of Wellness, which I have written and lectured about for many years. Time has shown us that this concept of feeding our pets works because it promotes wellness and longevity in all breeds. The nutritional products I use or suggest, are either of my own nutritional design, or products I use for my own animals. I try not to recommend companies that are unethical in their business practices, and only support the smaller family owned retailers and manufacturers where quality means something because their name is on the label and reputation is on the line.
The information at this website is not to be used in lieu of veterinarian advice, diagnoses or treatment.
- All Breeds & Sizes
1.DOG FOODS - I will provide you with a list of approved foods in the following catagories: holistic dry, holistic grain free, dehydrated and raw foods, so you have options to pick from for your dogs. My preference is something from the Precise pet foods. You can locate a retailer by going to the Precise website www.precisepet.com
I do not recommend as a complete diet for your puppy, any grain free or raw diets, regardless of brand, for large breed growth. Not until they are 8-10 months old or 3/4 of their normal size, just to be on the safe side. No feed trials have been done on large/giant breeds on the grain free or raw diets to date, so I will not recommend them.
We KNOW we can raise them on a quality holistic kibble with a 10% raw component, if you wish, and have no problems, but not a totally raw or grain free diet, please!!
Now let's talk about the important of 4 nutrients in the form of my CORE 4 Kits for Wellness. These supplements not only promote life long wellness but the boost immune function and give your dog that added back up insurance for serious health issues. All dogs are different and genetics comes into play but at this point 40 yrs in dogs, I have never lost one to cancer and I have owned other breeds besides Great Danes.
2. BLACKWATCH CORE 4 SUPPLEMENT KITS - All Size/Ages & Breeds
There are several CORE 4 Supplement Kits to choose from for your puppy or adult or depending on your pet's special needs. These kits are based on my CORE 4 Philosophy of Wellness. If you have problems making a decision on which one works or fits your lifestyle and budget call 1-765-284-8288.
Regardless of which BLACKWATCH CORE 4 Kit you choose, and there are several that are suitable, all my kits contain 4 important nutrients missing or not viable in most commercial foods. Since 75-80% the immune system is located in the gut, it is critical to keep the digestive tract of the dog working properly by giving additional beneficial bacteria (probiotics) that I know works on a daily basis.
And feeding digestive enzymes daily which takes the load off the pancreas, helping to prevent diabetes later in life. Digestive enzymes are normally made by the body, provided the dog/cat/human has accesss to fresh whole real foods. But most do not so this is why supplementing them is so important to wellness and hopefully to extending longevity.
Next we must add real sprouted whole foods in the form of dietary enzymes (not digestive enzymes) which provides "living food" to your pet in a simple granular powder or chewable pet treat. The results is a reduction in inflammation and a cleansing of any toxins down to a cellular level, plus I have found helps to prevent vaccine reactions. Is your pet on heartworm or flea preparation? As long as they are on Dietary Enzymes, their body will be detoxified from toxins, drugs and medications.
So it is important that we add these dietary enzymes back into our pets and our own diets. They are anti-aging and very helpful when going through stress or serious disease like cancer.
MAINTENANCE LEVEL CORE 4 KITS:
There are several CORE 4 Kits and they are life long programs maintenance programs for your pet wellnes and longevity. Every single day of my pet's life, they are given these 4 components to try and avoid debilitating diseases in the future. Nothing in life is a guarantee, but I have feed enough dogs in 40 years to know that these supplements do work and they have tremendous value for extending life. If you are not needing a specific kit for a particular health issue, (cancer, diabetes etc), there are numerous maintenance level CORE 4 Kits to choose from to fill the needs for your pet. Here is a list of those kits
3. FOOD OPTIONS FOR VARIETY - To add some variety to your dogs life, use a holistic canned food or a dehydrated RAW meat diet because it is balanced in calcium and phosphorus as well as tested for pathogens and parasites, unlike what you get from the store. I like to use Honest Kitchen Dehydrated Raw Foods, this allows me to use a component of raw along with my Precise kibble and it includes fruits, veggies and botanicals. I like the Embark, but they have several others that work (Force, Thrive, Keen, etc). so you can rotate for variety and sounder nutritional practices. If you are into feeding a totally raw diet or raw with your kibble the brand I use and recommend is Darwins - and the ship it right to your door. Again, Please do not feed growing large and giant breeds a totally raw diet until they are past their drastic growth stages - 10 months. 4 lbs of dehydrated raw makes up to 17# of wet food!
Other options, use wholesome human foods such as yogurt, buttermilk, kefir, cottage (not daily), scrambled eggs, berries, melons, peaches, apples, banana, tomato, broccoli, cauliflower, squash, sweet potato (not for dogs with yeast issues), green beans, peas, zucchini are all things your dogs can have with their daily food. Pulverizing veggies helps them to digest it better or lightly steam them is an option. Mine love homemade veggie soup and it's great as a filler for dogs with weight issues. Garlic is ok to use as well as avacado meat (not the skin or pit!!)
Linda's Very Veggie Soup For Variety or Weight Loss - 2 large cans of Organic chicken or beef broth - (low sodium for heart or elderly dogs- or homemade). Add LOTS of veggies - carrots, green beans, wax beans, peas, carrots, kale, zucchini, squash, tomatoes, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and couple cloves of garlic and Celtic Sea Salt (only this type). The idea is to use this as the filler so you want it to be hearty and filling.
Warning: NO raw onions, grapes, raisins, chocolate or macadamia nuts. Keep sugar free gum and candy out of access to your pets because they have Xylotil sweetner in them which can kill your pet.
First Choice Naturals Inc. (www.firstchoicenaturals.com)
FCN was founded by Dr. Eugene Wagner over 20+ years ago and the only store where you can get all the supplements and Kits the Great Dane Lady has developed or products she uses herself. Now many of the top breeders here and abroad use her supplements and feed programs with tremendous success. Now her feed programs are used world wide so it is important to provide "one stop shopping" breeders, pet owners and her puppy buyers. Her Blackwatch Feed Programs are now are used world wide and FCN ships all all over the world. Call for info if you live overseas and want products shipped or you can email as well.
CORE 4 Kits for - Puppys and Adults
CORE 4 Kits for Specific Health Issues: Yeast Infection, Giardia, Seizures, allergies, HOD, OCD, Pano, Wobblers, Dysplasia, Bowing/Knuckling, Cancer, etc.
Precise Pet Foods - What I feed my dogs.
NutriSource - PurVita - Planet Organics Pet Foods - my back up diet
My List of Better Foods
Darwins Raw Diet
Raw Food Options
Diets for Dogs With Specific Health Needs
I do not have a problem with a meat based diet that uses quality whole grains for their carbohydrate componennt, as long as it is low or no gluten and with fiber intact such as whole brown rice and oats. NO wheat, corn or soy!!
Puppy Guidelines - How to Raise A Puppy - (print out)
Puppy- Demodectic Mange, Vaginitis, Puppy Acne, Bladder Infections
Importance of a Crate and Crate Training
How To Tape Cropped Ears AND Should I Crop My Puppy
When to Spay and Neuter
Surgery and Anesthesia Info for Giant Breeds
HOD Growth Problems
Researh show that senior dogs, just like senior people actually have higher nutritional requirements than regular adult dogs. Puppies under 8 weeks and Seniors need more of several vitamin and minerals but more importantly they need more protein. Most senior diets are low in protein and very low in fat which makes for lost muscle mass (remember the heart is a muscle), and their rear ends break down and they can't get up and move. If a senior dog has been on a good holistic food an one of my CORE 4 Kits through out their life, they often do nneed a joint supplement especially the medium sized breeds. Low fat in the form of Omega 3's causes less the brain to be slower in response and can cause pet depression or anxiety. What we want in a senior diet for anything 10 lbs - 200 lbs is a MODERATE PROTEIN 24-26% AND A MODERATE FAT 11-14% if we go below 10% the coats really suffer too. I designed the first nutritionally correct senior pet food Eagle Pack Senior (when it was owned by the Cocoqut Family) and the new and award winning Precise Holistic Complete Senior Dog Food, the first on the market with the correct protein and fat needs to keep old dogs vital, lean and living longer.
I feed my adults 2 times a day, puppies 3-4 times depending on age and by 16 weeks they should be on 2 times a day feedings.
I use filtered water on each dogs food, for large dogs 1/3- 1/2 cup of water with 3-4 tablespoons of holistic Precise canned meat or Honest Kitchen Dehydrated raw. You want the food moist, but not floating and sloppy (this is for large/giant breeds, reduce amount for smaller breeds accordingly). Do not microwave, soak or use hot or very warm water on your kibble. It will destroy the integrity of the friendly yogurt type cultures and the fragile vitamins/minerals and amino acids on the food.
Commercial foods need to be fed with moisture so dogs don't over consume water after a meal, and so the kibble does not pull moisture from the dogs system in order to break down properly. Use "tepid" temperature water never hot or warm and never soak your food as it breaks down and destroys nutrients. Mix up and feed immediately. If they have loose stools, you may be using too much meat or water than necessary. Adjust that before you panic and think they are sick.
It is very important to NEVER withhold water from your dog. This can lead to over consumption and bladder infections. Use common sense, do not let them drink excessively after exercise or dinner. Like a horse, let them cool down and then drink. I have found if I have water available in several places, they never overdo it since they know it is available to them when they need it. That way they drink less amounts of water, but more frequently.
Withholding water for fear of bloat is a myth. Stress is the cause and bloat/torsion is the response. It is much more complicated that simply saying water is the cause of bloat.
Dogs with special dietary needs can use one of the Special CORE 4 Kits or have a program specifically designed for your pets.
(See my article on Bloat and Torsion for details)
(See On My Soapbox)
If you own a giant breed or one prone to heart problems it is recommended that you use the highest quality protein food and supplement with these components. These are nutritional substances from food sources and do not conflict with medications or each other and are good to use for heart disease. FeedProgram for Heart Support
Read this: Does My Vet Understand Nutrition?
There are several articles and photos of vaccine reactions at this website. You need to know how to prevent vaccine reactions, because vaccine reactions in some breeds will kill your dog in a slow agonizing death known as Immune Mediated Response, which is always misdiagnosed as HOD. So, here is info:
Prevention of Vaccine Reactions
The AAHA recommended schedule for vaccination
Dr. Jean Dodd's Vaccine Protocols
Vaccine Reaction Photographs
Based on information gained from the National Bone Survey, I do not recommend using Sulfonamide* antibiotics to my puppy buyers because these drugs can cause serious side-effects like sloughing of skin and internal bleeding and HOD-like symptoms including;fever, aching joints, swollen joints, lack of mobility, depression and anorexia. The following antibiotics are sulfonamides.
Another commonly used, potentially troublesome antibiotics is Cephalexin (Keflex, Cefa-Tabs). This can also produces the same symptoms as HOD (fever,swollen/hot joints, immobility, anorexia) even in adult dogs. I will use Chephalexin, but with a watchful eye and if the dog starts acting lethargic and achy, we stop the antibiotic, since they are sensitive to it. Call the vet for an alternative antibiotic and make sure you are using a good Probiotic product to keep the digestive tract functioning properly.
I will not use Sulfonamides drugs on my dogs. A reaction can happen from 24 hours - 2 weeks of being on an antibiotic. If there is a reaction, my vet recommends Dexamethsone/Azium and discontinue use or antibiotic.
* Research references on Sulfonamides
For Collie/Sheltie/Aussie and Sighthound Owners (could effect some Great Danes)
For those people who own Collies, Shelties, Sighthounds, Aussies, Border Collies, any breeds with Collie background or mixed breeds with any of these dogs in them, it is critical that you know there are certain medications your dogs CAN'T take. Do not leave it up to your vet to know this..YOU must print this out and know it - it is a matter of life or death.
These dogs have a sensitivity to Ivermectin (Heartguard Heartworm medication. Only use Interceptor heart worm preventative. Other related drugs you can not use on these breeds or there will be neurological damage.
Other related drugs you can NOT use:
Metronidazole (which is used for diarrhea and giardia)
Ivermectin - Heart Guard
There are many different types of drugs that have been reported to cause problems in Collies, ranging from over-the-counter antidiarrheal agents like Imodium® to antiparasitic and chemotherapy agents. It is likely this list will grow to include more drugs as our research progresses.
Drugs that have been documented, or are strongly suspected to cause problems in dogs with the MDR1 mutation:
Ivermectin (antiparasitic agent)
Loperamide (Imodium®; over-the-counter antidiarrheal agent)
Doxorubicin (anticancer agent)
Vincristine (anticancer agent)
Vinblastine (anticancer agent)
Cyclosporin (immunosuppressive agent)
Digoxin (heart drug)
Butorphanol (pain control)
Potential Problem Drugs
The following drugs may potentially cause problems when given to dogs that have the mutation. Biochemical studies have shown that this gene has the potential to act on over 50 different drugs.
Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine
Veterinary Clinical Pharmacology Laboratory
PO Box 2280
Pullman, WA 99165-2280