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Last Updated on March 19, 2023
Did you know that a raw diet provides a high amount of protein, especially for large dog breed such as the Great Dane? And it might also be the solution to a plethora of problems your dog has right now. When you switch to raw diet, problems like coat problems, or skin issue, and ear infections can be prevented.
Continue reading below to find out how to feed your Great Dane raw food like an expert!
What is a raw diet?
As the term suggests, raw diet includes feeding dogs raw, uncooked food.
It usually consists of organ meat, muscle meat, raw bone, fresh fruits that are safe for dogs, vegetables, raw eggs and even dairy products such as yogurt.
Feeding raw diet to Great Danes could be simple, provided you adhere to the basic rules. Furthermore, switching to a raw diet should be done gradually and not immediately.
Why raw diet?
Raw diet is has a lot of advantages for your Great Dane. But primarily, it provides a balanced diet for your dog over time, since you feed them a variety of different foods.
Which means, the diet is more nutritious and beneficial than other food options for your Great Dane.
What are the benefits of Great Dane raw diet?
A Great Dane raw diet holds more benefits in comparison with a diet that consists of kibble. This is because the contents of raw diet are mainly proteins.
Testimonials and real life experiences of raw diet from Great Dane fur parents show the benefits of this type of diet. Here are a few of the numerous health advantages dog owners found while feeding their dogs raw food:
- Immune system boost
- Shiny and healthier coats
- Clean teeth and a fresh breath
- Less allergies
- Smaller stools
In addition to above mentioned benefits, a aw diet can help prevent or minimize bloating in Great Danes. This is because the diet promotes a healthy gut and better digestion.
Common types of raw diet
Raw diet involves using the most common raw diet types: Prey Model Raw and the Biologically Appropriate Raw Foods (BARF) model to feed your Great Dane.
Prey Model Raw
This type of Great Dane raw diet eliminates processed food in the dog’s diet. It is a type of diet where you only feed your Great Dane whole prey without any vegetables or fruits.
The Prey Model Raw offers a more natural way of eating for your dog. It mimics how their ancestors and wild cousins eat. And it is divided into two feeding types:
- Whole Prey Model Raw Feeding: With this feeding method, you can feed your Great Dane with common small prey like rabbits and small rodents. The concept of this method is to feed the whole prey, from head to tail, to your dog as a complete meal.
- Franken Prey Feeding: This feeding method is the opposite of the Whole Prey Model. Instead of feeding whole prey animals to your Great Dane, you follow a ratio guideline of a variety of raw ingredients.
If you’re going to use the Franken Prey Model Raw diet feeding, then the following ratio should be followed:
- 75-80% muscle meat
- 5% liver
- 5% other organs
- 10% bones
- 0-5% animal-based insoluble fiber
Biologically Appropriate Raw Foods (BARF) Model
BARF is the most popular type of raw diet. It also eliminates processed food in the dog’s diet. However, unlike the Prey Raw Model, it consists of raw meat, vegetables and fruits.
This popular raw diet model provides many benefits for a complete balanced raw diet because of the presence of vegetables, seeds and fruits.
For the BARF diet, the the ideal distribution of food for Great Danes is as follows:
- 70% muscle meat
- 10% bone
- 5% liver
- 5% other organs
- 7% vegetables
- 2% seeds and nuts
- 1% fruits
How to choose raw diet ingredients
The Great Dane raw diet must have a variety of food options. You have to do your research about the type of ingredients in order to make sure the ingredients are healthy and safe for your Great Dane. See the following below:
1. Muscle meat
Raw muscle meat is an excellent source of protein for your dog. When choosing muscle meat for your Great Dane, make sure not to give them ground meat. This is because ground meat has high potential of bacterial presence.
Furthermore, when preparing the meat, it’s best to serve the meat in big cuts. Because this can either cause a blockage or bloating in a Great Dane.
There is a wide range of organ meat to include in a Great Dane raw diet. The most important one, which is the liver, should take about 5% of your ingredients.
Other organs you can add to the diet includes kidney, brain, pancreas, lungs and spleen.
Bones provide calcium for your Great Dane. However, regardless of a dog’s size or breed, feeding large and irregular shaped bones to dogs like a T bone is a no no. You should feed them bones like chicken wings, necks and feet.
Furthermore, it is also recommended to prepare the bones in portions. For example, for chicken wings, it would be best to divide them into three portions: the drumette, wingette, and the wing tip.
If bones are not enough or if you’re looking to mix things up, whole eggs (including the shells) are excellent source of proteins as well.
There is a plethora of vegetable choices for a raw diet. However, you should look for options that are not toxic to dogs but are also rich in carbohydrates, phytonutrients, are low glycemic or starchy.
5. Seeds & Nuts
Like vegetables, you should choose seeds and nuts that are not toxic to dogs. And they should provide essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals.
Fruits added on a raw diet should be safe for dogs. When choosing the right fruits, choose the ones that are rich in antioxidants, soluble and insoluble fibers.
Fruits, especially those rich in fiber, can improve or maintain a healthy gut for a Great Dane.
How to switch to raw diet for my Great Dane?
When transitioning to a raw diet, there are two approaches you can try: Rapid switch and Gradual Switch.
A rapid switch is done immediately. So, if your Great Dane is eating kibble today, it should start eating raw food tomorrow. This method requires less effort. However, your dog might get diarrhea or digestive distress due to the sudden change.
Usually, this method is best suited for puppies and young dogs rather than adult dogs.
A gradual switch takes longer and more effort on your part. And the gradual switch can be from a week to two weeks. But it all depends on your Great Dane’s age, weight and activity level.
With this method, you feed your Great Dane both types of food separately: kibble and raw food. And then you gradually decrease the amount of kibble and increase the raw food everyday until their diet only consists of raw food.
A gradual switch is recommended because there are less chances of your Great Dane getting an upset stomach. Furthermore, you will learn more of your dog’s preference and allergies.
Your Great Dane’s poop is the signal
To check on either your Great Dane is doing well with the raw diet feed or not, the dog’s poop can be a signal. This is the most basic and accurate way of analyzing raw diet’s effect on your canine.
- If early in the process the poop is too soft, cut back on the amount of raw food and increase it at a more gradual pace.
- If dog’s poop is too dry or somewhat hard, then you must decrease bone intake and increase organ meat.
After the transition, if your dog has smaller and firm stool, then that means the transition to raw diet is successful.
How much raw food should you feed your Great Dane?
Generally, daily raw food should be about 2% to 5% of a dog’s body weight (in lbs). But it will vary depending on the dog’s activity levels and age.
Here’s how to determine how much raw food your Great Dane should be eating:
- Working and extremely active dogs (5%): These include farm dogs, herding dogs and police dogs.
- Active dogs (3% to 4%): These are dogs that get moderate to energetic play and gets 30 to 60 minute walks per day.
- Sedentary and senior dogs (2%): These are dogs that have very little play or walks daily. And these are usually senior dogs.
The raw food can be given in the form of various meals or given at once. But it is suggested to divide it to two meals a day.
Raw diet for Great Dane puppies
Generally, the raw feeding guideline for puppies is 10% of their weight. They will have to eat more than adults since they are still growing.
As mentioned above, a rapid switch to raw feeding for puppies is a lot easier. But be more careful with the ingredients used while feeding them raw food. For example, meat that has ground up bones mixed in it is not ideal for puppies because they can choke on it.
Supplements are not mandatory along with raw diet on daily basis. But you can add the following supplements on your Great Dane’s raw diet meal: Vitamin C, E, and Glucosamine.
Cost of Great Dane raw diet
Location, a distributor, ingredients and preparation – these are the factors you need to consider when switching to a Great Dane raw diet.
On average, feeding a dog as big as a Great Dane can cost about $5 to $10 a day with raw diet, which is $150 to $300 a month. However, to save on the average cost, fur parents who have been feeding their dogs raw diet look for local butchers or suppliers and buy meat in bulk.
You might spend more on food, but if your Great Dane highly benefits from the diet and becomes healthier, other expenses like a trip to the vet will be lessened.
The myths of Great Dane raw diet
Many Great Dane parents get worried or nervous when they hear the concept of raw diet. If you are one of them, continue reading below to clear your mind on all the raw diet myths!
1. Microbial presence
Generally, Great Dane owners are worried about the consumption of raw meat for their canines. And one of the main reasons is that raw meat can contain bacteria.
That is true, of course. However, this can only happen if raw meat is handled incorrectly and placed in an contaminated environment. Furthermore, a dog’s digestive system can do well against bacteria. Dogs have highly efficient stomachs that have glands to secrete strong acid of pH 1.
Here are a few reminders to help help you prepare raw meat for your Great Dane:
- Keep your raw meat handling ways constant. Maintain the same level of hygiene as you do when choosing, buying and preparing your own food.
- Wash your hands often while preparing or handling the meat.
- Used utensils, and all places in contact with the meat must be cleaned regularly.
- Do not let the meat out in open places for longer period of time as it would increase the risk of contamination by microbes.
After applying all possible hygienic conditions on raw meat, you can feed it to your Great Dane without any fret.
Another great concern for Great Dane parents when it comes to raw feeding is bones. So, can you feed your Great Dane raw bones? The answer is a big ‘yes’. The dogs can eat bones quite well but to be more accurate, raw uncooked bones.
Raw bones are softer and more chewable, hence are easily digestible. Whereas cooked bones are rigid and cannot be digested. Such bones might get stuck in your dog’s mouth, teeth, or worse, stomach.
Furthermore, remember to feed raw bones that are appropriate for the size of your dog. Weight-bearing or recreation bones like marrow bone, for example, are not suitable for consumption. And this is because of the following reasons:
- They are higher in fats your dog can get sick.
- The texture of bone is harder than other bones and they can damage your dog’s teeth.
- They can be dangerous and constipation and in extreme cases, intestinal blockage.
If you’re looking for the best bones to feed to you Great Danes on a raw diet, try the following:
- Frames (chicken and rabbit)
- Brisket (lamb and beef)
- Tails (ox, kangaroo)
- Crocodile bones
- Fish frames and heads
Raw diet is the most natural feeding option for you Great Dane. But it takes effort and a lot of effort on your part. Make sure to do your research and handle raw food safely. After all, an improper and unbalanced diet can affect your Great Dane’s growth.