How To Lengthen Your Great Dane’s Lifespan

how to lengthen great dane's lifespan

Last Updated on February 24, 2021

As widely loved as the Great Dane is, another well-known fact to every Great Dane paw-rent is that they don’t have a long lifespan. If you have one of these gentle giants, you may wonder why Great Danes die early. Keep reading to learn more and tips on how to lengthen your Great Dane’s lifespan.

As with any species, proper care is vital for lengthening the lifespan of your Great Dane. From the time they are first born to later in life, you can ensure the healthiest and happiest life with good nutrition, vet care, and regular exercise.

Big, bold, and beautiful, the Great Dane is famous for being one of the largest and most lovable dog breeds. Also known as the German Mastiff, these “large and in charge” bundles of energy were used long ago for hunting purposes.

Most Great Dane’s reach weights between 100 and 200 pounds and can be on average 28-32 inches tall. Clearly, not a small dog.

What Is The Average Lifespan Of A Great Dane?

Really, the only bad thing about having a Great Dane is that they don’t usually reach double digits. For a number of reasons, this extra large and in charge dog breed has a shorter lifespan than others.

The average lifespan of a Great Dane ranges from 8-10 years. This is not as short as the English Mastiff for instance, but still, a relatively short lifespan, compared to many other dog breeds like terriers and even Australian Shepherds.  

great dane laying on blanket

Why Do Great Danes Have Such A Short Life Span?

As we’ve mentioned, most giant dog breeds have a shorter lifespan. Other breeds that see a shorter lifespan include the Irish Wolfhound, English Mastiff, and Saint Bernard. When it comes to why they don’t live as long, many factors can be at fault.

Here are the 5 biggest reasons behind the short lifespan of the Great Dane breed:

1.     Cardiomyopathy

Cardiomyopathy is the most frequent cause of death across the entire Great Dane breed. In short, it is an enlargement of the muscles in the heart, which eventually causes heart failure.

2.     Canine Obesity:

In the US, over half the dogs aged 5 and up are overweight. It’s clearly more common in older dogs because they are typically less active. The Great Dane is a slenderly built dog, and is meant to remain that way.

3.     Thyroid Issues

Thyroid issues like hyperthyroidism are very common in Great Danes. Typically, issues like this can be caught early with regular bloodwork and then treated with medication. This is why regular vet visits are essential.

4.     Joint and Bone Diseases

Because of their size, osteoarthritis and hip dysplasia are very common in large breeds like the Great Dane, German Shepherd, and Golden Retriever breeds. These problems become even worse if your Great Dane also happens to be overweight.

5. Bloat

Bloat is the simple term for gastric dilatation-volvulus or GDV. In every case, this is a medical emergency that is often fatal. Larger dogs with deep chests (like Great Danes) tend to be affected more often than small ones.

One way to possibly improve your Great Dane’s lifespan is to discuss the option of a procedure called gastropexy (tacking) to help prevent bloat. Your veterinarian can determine the risks vs benefits of a procedure like this.

how to lengthen your great dane's lifespan - black, white gray great dane

How Can I Lengthen My Great Dane’s Lifespan?

The most common questions facing all pet owners, especially those of a shorter lifespan are, “How do I make them live longer?” and “Is there anything I can do to increase their lifespan?” 

Unfortunately, there is no magic pill to make your fur baby live longer, but there are steps you can take to keep your Great Dane healthier for longer. And, as you know, a healthier pup is much more likely to live longer!

Providing a Healthy Diet

Feed your pup high-quality dog foods that contain all the vitamins and nutrients. But it’s not just the quality of food, but the amount of food you feed your dog as well. Since they’re prone to easy weight gain, it’s important that you limit treats and never overfeed your Great Dane.

Also, as he grows and gets older, your dog’s dietary needs will change, which means the food you give him must change with it. Consult your vet for the proper food for your Great Dane through all of his life stages.  

Keeping Active:

Having a healthy exercise routine isn’t just important for you, it’s vital for your dog as well! As a working breed, Great Danes have a high energy level that they have to manage.

Plus, regular exercise also helps keep your Great Dane’s weight down and does keep their joints in better condition. The key to keeping fit is to move, no matter how old you or your fur baby are!

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Bone and Joint Health

You can help your Great Dane support his bone and joint health through adult and senior dog supplements. Supplements like glucosamine, calcium, vitamin C, and antioxidants are all great for keeping your pup happy and healthy throughout his entire lifespan.

If your dog doesn’t like taking pills, some flavored chews and treats have the supplements right in them. That way, there won’t be a struggle to get your dog to get the vitamins he needs.

Regular Checkups and Bloodwork

Take your pup to the vet for regular wellness exams, including bloodwork. If you can catch something right off the bat, then there’s a much better chance of it being easily treated.

Also, make sure that your dog gets all his necessary vaccinations. There are enough risks already, without rabies or parvovirus being involved.

Ensuring Good Pedigree:

The exception to this is if you’ve adopted your pup.  Obviously, it’s not likely that a dog that came from a shelter will have any papers.

When you’re looking to buy a Great Dane puppy or any dog for that matter, you have to make sure you’re purchasing from a responsible and reputable breeder. An AKC registered breeder will have records that detail your puppy’s lineage, listing any kind of health conditions he may be prone to because of his ancestors.


The Great Dane is a large and lovable breed that is very good with children, making them great family dogs. Honestly, the Great Dane is an embodiment of the saying, “Only the good die young”, as they won’t usually live past ten.  

These gentle giants are beautiful, loving, affectionate, docile, and make amazing family pets.

Like many other giant breeds, they are also prone to many diseases and conditions that affect their quality of life, as well as their lifespan.  But, if you catch them early and use preventative measures to combat these issues, you have a chance at improving the lifespan of your Great Dane.

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