Great Dane Puppy Care Guide
with Helpful Tips

by Ken Alden

It's hard not to love Great Dane puppies when they come waddling toward you on their oversized feet. But puppies don't stay little forever. And now that you've set your heart on a Great Dane, you want to know what your new friend will need.

Great Dane Puppy Care Guide...Some Basics

Great Dane puppies weigh around 30–45 pounds (13.6–20.4kg) and are 17–23 inches (43–58.5cm) tall at 12 weeks. They typically sleep 18–20 hours a day, eat 3–5 cups of food at three months old, and enjoy <15-minute walks. A well-balanced diet for large breeds is a must.

That said, keeping a Great Dane is a big undertaking. To help you on your journey, here are some tips for caring for your new Great Dane puppy until they’re a healthy and well-adjusted adult.

Pro-tip: Ever try lifting a Great Dane? Their weight can hurt not only your back but their joints when they hop down from cars, sofas or even your bed. To protect your back and theirs check out the best Mastiff ramps on now.

Great Dane puppy care guide

What To Expect With a Great Dane Puppy

Great Dane puppies are active, intelligent, and curious. The only thing more destructive than a playful, smart, curious, and bored puppy that weighs 45 pounds (20kg) is a 90 pound (40kg) puppy.

Chew toys will help keep your Great Dane puppy occupied while you’re busy. Great Dane puppies love chewing. Of course, you’d much rather see yours gnawing a Tikaton Indestructible Dog Chew Toy than your laptop charger or new shoes.

You’ll also need a crate for your new puppy. The MidWest Homes for Pets XXL Ginormous Dog Crate will give your Great Dane a safe place for the rest of their life.  

You may feel guilty about locking your furry companion in a cage. But a properly crate-trained dog sees the crate as a secure, calm place. Crates can also be a valuable part of house-breaking — and you want your Great Dane housebroken as soon as possible! 

Great Dane Puppy Development Stages

The earliest you should separate a Great Dane puppy from its mother is eight weeks old when the puppy weighs somewhere between 18–26 lbs(8–12kg) and stands between 13–18 inches (33–46cm) at the shoulder. 

Many breeders won’t sell puppies until they’re at least 12 weeks old. If that’s the case, your puppy probably weighs between 30–45 lbs (13.6–20.4kg) and stands between 17–23 inches (43–58.5cm) tall. 

That's a pretty big growth spurt! 

And your Great Dane puppy isn't even done growing yet. Three months from now, your 6-month-old Great Dane puppy will weigh closer to 70–105 pounds (31.75–47.62kg) and stand between 26–33 inches (66–84cm) tall. 

Your 12-month-old Great Dane puppy will be at nearly their full adult height at 29–36 inches (74–92cm). They’ll put on weight for another year or so until they reach their typical adult weight of 110–145 pounds (50–66kg) for a female and 145–170 pounds (66–77kg) for a male.

But just because they’re adult-sized doesn't mean your year-old Great Dane will stop acting like a puppy. Great Dane bodies grow at an astonishing rate, but a Great Dane's brain takes time to catch up.  

Until he’s two to three years old, your Great Dane will be a little dog in a big dog's body, with all the clumsiness and puppy misbehavior that implies.

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!

Great Dane Puppy Sleep Habits

Once your Great Dane puppy gets accustomed to the new living quarters, they’ll spend most of their day sleeping.  

Until they’re three months old, Great Dane puppies spend between 18 and 20 hours of their day asleep. From then on, your Great Dane will sleep between 12 and 14 hours each day. And as they grow older, Great Danes will begin sleeping even more. 

Since your Great Dane puppy spends so much time napping, why not provide the best dog bed you can? The Nononfish Great Dane Dog Bed may be a bit much for your 8-week-old puppy, but they’ll grow into it quickly enough.  

If you want to spend a bit more, the PetFusion Ultimate Dog Bed will provide your Great Dane with a lifetime of sound sleep. The thick cushions and foam support will provide security for your puppy and, years later, will help your elderly Great Dane rest their aching bones. great dane puppy care guide

Great Dane Puppy Vaccination and Vet Schedule

Here’s an AKC-recommended puppy vaccination schedule, which may vary depending on your veterinarian: 

  • Between 6-8 weeks, your Great Dane puppy should have received vaccinations for distemper and parainfluenza. If they didn’t receive those vaccinations, they need them on their first vet visit.
  • At 10-12 weeks, your puppy should receive its first DHPP vaccination to protect against distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, and parvovirus.
  • At 16-18 weeks, your puppy will need a rabies shot and their second DHPP vaccination.
  • At 12-16 months, your puppy gets another rabies and DHPP shot.

After that, your adult Great Dane will need DHPP booster shots every 1-2 years and rabies shots every 1-3 years. Up-to-date vaccinations aren't just good for your Great Dane. They’re also required by law in most states.

How Much Exercise Do Great Dane Puppies Need?

Too much exercise can be bad for your Great Dane puppy. Because their bones are growing so quickly, young Great Danes are prone to sprains and strains if they overexert themselves. You should never walk a very young Great Dane puppy for longer than 10 to 15 minutes. 

You also should never exercise with your Great Dane for at least one hour after feeding. 

That’s because Great Danes are prone to gastric torsion or bloat. If Great Danes become too active after eating, their stomachs can become twisted. Bloat is extremely painful, and even with immediate attention, between 25% and 40% of all cases of bloat are fatal.

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.

Feeding Your Great Dane Puppy

Your Great Dane puppy's appetite will grow as quickly as they do.

  • A 3-month-old Great Dane typically eats 3–5 cups (0.7–1.1kg) of food a day.
  • A 6-month-old Great Dane eats 6–8 cups (1.4–1.8kg) a day. 
  • At 9 months, your Great Dane puppy will be eating adult meals of 7–10 cups (1.6–2.3kg) a day.  

To avoid bloat, try to feed your Great Dane twice a day. Giving your Great Dane puppy time to digest their meals will help ensure their tummies stay healthy and untwisted.  

If your puppy leaves food in the dish, decrease the size of each portion by 1/2 cup (125g) at the next feeding. Regularly scheduled, portion-controlled meals can prevent obesity and help your Great Dane puppy avoid diabetes, arthritis, and heart issues.

Great Dane Puppy Food Requirements

Large and giant breed puppies — dogs expected to weigh 70 pounds (32kg) or more as adults — have different dietary requirements than small or medium-sized breeds.   

Though their bones are growing at a mind-boggling rate, Great Dane puppies need less calcium per calorie than a smaller dog. In fact, too much calcium in a Great Dane puppy's meal can lead to skeletal problems, arthritis, joint issues, and hip dysplasia. 

Food formulated for large puppies has lower calcium levels. This food helps ensure your little giant gets just the right amount of nutrients required for healthy growth.  

Pet food for Great Dane or other large puppies should have no more than 4.5% calcium. Other foods can contain as much as 6.25%, enough to cause bone issues in Great Danes. great dane puppy care guide
To ensure your Great Dane puppy has the best chance of becoming a healthy adult dog, here are two of the best large breed puppy foods available. 

If your Great Dane puppy likes the food, this may only take a few days. More finicky puppies may take as long as two weeks to become accustomed to their new diet.

ORIJEN Puppy Dry Dog Food for Large Breeds

This food contains 38% animal protein, while some dry dog foods contain as little as 18%. And while it is expensive, Orijen dog food is calorie- and nutrient-dense. That means your Great Dane puppy will feel full despite eating less food!

Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Large Breed Puppy Food

This food contains 29% animal protein and antioxidants, vitamins, and probiotics. Salmon contains DHA, which helps your Great Dane puppy's brain development.

Note: Be advised that a reviewer's idea of best puppy food may not align with your Great Dane puppy's ideas on best puppy food. Mix a bit of the new food with the blend you currently use and gradually increase the ratio. 

Great Dane Puppy Care Guide...Final Thoughts

Great Danes are enormous, and keeping a Great Dane can be a tremendous responsibility. These pointers will help your big bundle of love to become a colossal — and healthy — love bundle. Good luck! 

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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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