Are Great Danes
Prone to Health Problems?

And What Are Those Issues?

by Ken Alden

Are Great Danes prone to health problems? If so, what are they?

Great Danes commonly suffer from or are more susceptible to…

  • Bloat, also known as gastric dilatation and volvulus, or GDV
  • Bone and skin cancers which are leading causes of death
  • Ear infections due to floppy ears
  • Hip Dysplasia like other large breeds
  • Diarrhea due to their sensitive stomachs especially in puppies

In this article, we will discuss the health issues that dogs commonly suffer from and the rates at which Great Danes are affected. We will also explain the costs associated with diagnosing and treating these conditions and offer some insight into the need for health insurance for your Great Dane.

Please be advised that the owners and writers on this website are not veterinarians. If your dog displays any health issues shown on this page or otherwise please contact your veterinarian for medical advice and treatment.

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Are Great Danes prone to health problems?

Are Great Danes Prone to Allergies?

Allergies used to be less common in dogs, but today they're a growing problem. Great Danes are especially prone to allergic reactions on their skin, or "atopy." Suspect a skin allergy if your dog rubs its face or licks its paws a lot or often gets ear infections. 

If your Great Dane has allergies, you may be asked to feed a special diet or give your dog allergy medications. If the problem persists, you will likely be referred to a canine dermatologist. 

Are Great Danes Prone to Arthritis?

All large dogs are susceptible to arthritis. The form of arthritis that's most common in Great Danes is osteoarthritis, caused by joints wearing down over time. If your dog has arthritis, it will be managed with medications and supplements.

Are Great Danes Prone to Bloat?

When asking are Great Danes prone to health problems bloat can be a problem with all large dog breeds. Bloat, which happens when gas builds up in the stomach, is a serious problem among Great Danes as well. In fact, it kills more Great Danes than any other condition. It's so common that breeders recommend a preventative surgery called prophylactic gastropexy ("preventative tack") to stop the stomach twisting—one of the most serious bloat complications. 

great dane health problems

Since bloat is such a problem with Great Danes we've written a whole article about it which is worth a read. Be sure to check this article all about it here.

Are Great Danes Prone to Bone Cancer?

Bone cancer, or osteosarcoma, is a frequent problem in Great Danes. It's most common when your dog reaches middle age and tends to be an aggressive form of cancer. If you notice your Dane seems to have leg pain or is limping, make a vet appointment as soon as possible.

Are Great Danes Prone to Cancer?

Danes are more likely to develop certain cancers than are other breeds. They are at higher risk for bone, skin, organ, and blood cancer. Bone and skin cancers are two of the leading causes of death in Great Danes. Your vet will screen your dog regularly to watch for the development of cancer.

Are Great Danes Prone to Cherry Eye?

Cherry eye, a condition where a dog's third eyelid (in the corner of the eye) becomes swollen and red, resembling a cherry, is not as common in Great Danes as it is in some other breeds, but it does sometimes occur. When this happens, surgery is almost always needed. 

Are Great Danes Prone to Cysts?

Large-breed dogs like Great Danes are at risk for developing cysts in their bones when they are young. These cysts are benign, but they can cause lameness and eventually lead to a bone fracture. An x-ray and biopsy are needed for diagnosis, and if your Great Dane has bone cysts, they will be surgically removed.

Danes are also predisposed to an eye condition where cysts develop in the iris. This condition develops in older dogs and can lead to some loss of vision. If your Great Dane develops iris cysts, you may be referred to a canine eye specialist.

Just what are those lumps and bumps on your Great Dane? Find out here

Are Great Danes Prone to Diarrhea?

Unfortunately, Great Danes have sensitive stomachs. They are more likely to get diarrhea than many other breeds, especially when they're puppies. In most cases, the cause is nothing to worry about, however. It can be treated at home with plenty of water and small meals of bland food. If your dog's stool is tarry, or if your dog is vomiting, seems unusually tired, and has stomach pain or bloating, you should contact your vet.

Pro-tip: Great Dane anxiety, aggression, destructive chewing, jumping up, fearfulness, and other behaviors can be controlled with the right training program.

Here’s a great course that addresses these issues along with many other dog training basics: Check it out now!

Are Great Danes Prone to Ear Infections?

All dogs are susceptible to ear infections. Because of its floppy ears, your Dane is more susceptible than some other breeds. Watch for frequent head shaking, pawing at the ears redness, or odor. are great danes prone to health problems

Are Great Danes Prone to Heart Attacks?

Great Danes are at risk of having congenital heart disease. This means that they may be born with a heart problem. Congenital heart disease can affect several different parts of the heart and sometimes requires surgery.

Great Danes are prone to cardiomyopathy. This causes enlargement of the heart itself. They are also more likely than most breeds to develop tricuspid valve disease. When this heart valve isn't working right, part of your dog's heart can fail.

Are Great Danes Prone to Hip Dysplasia?

When asking are Great Danes prone to health problems, like other large breeds, Great Danes are also prone to developing hip dysplasia. This means that their hip socket and the ball of bone at the top of their leg bone don't fit together exactly right. Hip dysplasia can eventually cause mobility problems as serious arthritis develops in the joint. Treating hip dysplasia consists of medications, therapy, and sometimes surgery. 

We've written an in-depth article on the topic of hip dysplasia click here to read more.

Are Great Danes Prone to Seizures?

Great Danes are not particularly prone to epilepsy, which is the most frequent cause of seizures. Just as with any dog, a Great Dane may have a seizure as a consequence of another illness, but the risk of this is low.

Are Great Danes Prone to Skin Conditions?

Besides skin cancer and the allergic condition known as atopy, there are a couple more skin conditions to watch for in the Great Dane. All dogs can have tiny mites living in their hair follicles, but Danes can develop lesions and secondary infections from large numbers of these mites. Your Great Dane may also develop a blistering infection of the skin on the bottom of the feet, called pododermatitis.

Are Great Danes Prone to UTI?

Danes are not one of the breeds that are particularly at risk of getting urinary tract infections (UTI). Of course, it can happen and is more likely to happen in older dogs, especially females, because of their shorter urethras. Make an appointment with your vet if your dog is urinating more frequently, has cloudy or bloody urine, or seems to be in pain when urinating.

Synopsis: Diseases Great Danes Are Prone To...

Great Danes are most susceptible to bloat, bone and skin cancers, and heart problems. They also commonly suffer from blood and organ cancers, arthritis, and hip dysplasia, and Danes may have frequent ear infections and diarrhea, allergies, cysts, and various skin conditions. 

Great Dane Health Risks and Medical Costs

Because Danes are affected by some serious health problems, the national breed club recommends that all Great Danes be screened for hip dysplasia and have their eyes, thyroid, and hearts checked regularly by a vet. Regular screening for cancers is also wise.

It's also a good idea to give your Great Dane glucosamine and chondroitin supplements to help prevent or treat arthritis and hip dysplasia. These can be purchased from your veterinarian, or you can choose to buy them yourself:

Zuke's Hip Action with Glucosamine and Chondroitin: These beef-flavored chews are from trusted brand Zukes, so you can trust that their contents are safe for your Dane.

Nupro Joint Support + Glucosamine: This powdered supplement from the well-known Nupro brand can be mixed into your dog's food.

In Clover Connectin Hip and Joint Supplement for Dogs: In Clover's supplement adds hyaluronic acid and herbs to add power to its glucosamine and chondroitin formula.

See the chart below for information about the average cost of treating the various conditions that may affect your Great Dane. 

Pro-tip: Great Dane's (and their owners) love dog crates…and for good reasons. Crates keep dogs from mischief while you're away, are perfect for house training, for traveling by car, and provide the dog a place to de-stress. Check out the best Mastiff crates on now.





 Bone Cancer


 Cherry eye



 Ear infections

 Heart attacks

 Hip dysplasia


 Skin issues


Risk Of Developing















Approximate Cost To
Diagnose And Treat 

  $260 for testing & $150-300 per year for meds

  $300-600 per year for medications


  $1,000 for testing plus $9,000 for treatment

  $1,000-$2,000 for testing plus
  $3,000-10,000 for treatment


  $700 for testing and $3000 for treatment

  wide variation, depending on cause and severity






  $100-200 for testing and $275 for medication

Great Dane Health Insurance: Should I Consider It?

A Great Dane is a smart, even-tempered, and loyal companion. But as with most large breeds, owning a Dane means taking on responsibility for vet bills that can be higher than average. You may be advised to get your dog a surgery to prevent stomach twisting in case of bloat. Your dog may need allergy medications or supplements to prevent bone and joint issues.

Should your beloved companion develop a serious health issue like bloat, hip dysplasia, or cancer, you will need to pay for a lot of veterinary care very suddenly. Bills for this kind of care can run many thousands of dollars. 

For these reasons, Great Dane owners especially should consider dog health insurance. This is a smart way to manage the costs associated with owning a large-breed dog. In exchange for a small monthly or annual premium, owners with insurance are protected against large financial shocks. 

See our helpful review of the top 3 pet insurance companies for the best coverage at the best price should you choose this route.

Are Great Danes Prone To Health Problems?...Final Thoughts

Great Danes, like all large breed dogs, are prone to developing several health issues. Bloat, bone and skin cancers, and heart problems, are the most frequent—and are each very serious. Many of the conditions that Great Danes are susceptible to require urgent and expensive veterinary care. If you own a Great Dane, pet insurance is a wise way to protect yourself against sudden financial shocks.

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About Author

About the Author...

Ken Alden, a dedicated Mastiff owner for over eight years, is acclaimed for his expertise in care, grooming, and training. Read more About Me and my dog Shadow.

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