The average life span of a Great Dane is 6-8 years. To me, that never made any sense. Why would a small breed dog live longer than a large? For the past 13 years I have done extensive research in an attempt to find an answer to this.  My conclusion is not a surprise, it makes total sense. Dogs need the food they are designed for. Altering this compromises their health severely. The larger the dog is - the more it is affected by unhealthy food. The so called “dog food” sold by many different manufacturers are in reality not suitable for a dog’s digestive system and do not supply them with enough nutrients to sustain a healthy long life. This is in particular damaging to large and giant breed dogs since they require more nutritious food than smaller breed dogs. Since large breed dogs eat more, they also get more of the bad food and less of the good. Dogs are carnivores. There is not doubt about this. Some do not agree but that is based on lack of knowledge in my opinion. I’m not going to prove this since I know the majority of dog owners accept this fact. If you do not agree, my approach to extending the lifespan of large and giant breed dogs will be hard to accept. A carnivore diet is based mainly on raw meats and bones and some organ meats. There are many books written about raw feeding. I have read most of them. The problem I find with the majority is that they complicate the raw feeding to a degree that many find it too difficulty to follow. I have no problem with the ones that manage to follow these instructions but I believe feeding raw can be very simple so I wrote a tiny book called “Feeding Raw - made simple” (Currently in revision) I have feed my Great Danes this way since 2000. Every year my dogs undergo a full medical check-up. Each year with no exception they have been 100% healthy. I currently have two Great Danes one is 5 years old and one is 6 months old (Feb 2012). I wanted to wait 10 years before I published my simplified version of raw feeding. Testing them on a breed like Great Danes that is known to live short lives would tell me if I was on the right track. I have made small refinements during this time, mostly when it comes to supplements. The way I feed, most of the nutrients comes from a simple meat, organ and bones diet. The supplements are to complete the nutritional requirements. Together they fulfill a dogs nutritional needs to sustain a strong immune system that protects against diseases and promote healthy bones and joints.  

Why do large breed dogs die so early?

How to extend the life of a large breed dog

My goal is to double the average lifespan of a Great Dane. My approach work well for all large breed dogs. There are two things you need to do.  1. Feed raw natural food. I have developed a very easy to follow meal plan and you can get everything in your local grocery store 2. Add a few supplements. The supplements are meant to ensure that your dog gets all the nutrients he/she needs.
My 13 year old Rex, is struggling with severe weakness in his hind legs and can hardly walk. I rescued him at age 4 and he was already diagnose with hip and joint problems from sleeping inside a garage on a cold cement floor for most of his life. He could not run when I got him. I was told by my vet that he probably only had a few years left. It blows everyone’s mind that he has reached that age of 13. I switched Rex to raw food the day I got him. His improvements were amazing. A month later he started running again and he had many years of happy pain free living. Unfortunately the past has now caught up to him and it is soon time to let him go. Other than his joint issues he is healthy as a young Dane. All is organs, hearing and eye sight are all great. So letting him go is not an easy decision.
For those of you that are new to raw food and to those that are skeptical please read this article about the many myths about feeding raw food to dogs.
Well, like I mentioned I have studied and practiced raw feeding for over 13 years. I rescue Great Danes and currently have 2 Danes, Odin 8 months (Dec 2012) and Camelot is 5 1/2. I was born in Norway and grew up in an area with many farms. I noticed early that farmers gave their dogs raw meats from chicken, cows and pigs. Several of these dogs reached ages into their late teens. And these were larger breeds like German Shepherds  and Norwegian Elk Hounds.  Sometimes hole live chicken was given to the dogs. Reindeer and and Moose meat were also a common source of food. When I started feeding my dogs raw food in 2000, most people thought I was crazy. They really freaked out when I fed them chicken wings. Explaining that raw bones are soft to dogs and harmless did not change many. I was and still are amazed how many are misinformed in this area. The most common misconceptions are: Bones are dangerous to dogs Salmonella can make a dog sick Dogs have changed over time and adopted to more human like foods Dogs are omnivores not carnivores  Raw meat and bones makes dogs aggressive Raw feeding is too complicated

What made me such an expert?

The Odin Project

Odin is a 12 week old Great Dane (8-2011) that has been on raw the day I got him. My goal with Odin is to reach the age of 16. I will document every meal through these years. more
Help Needed!
If anyone with good writing and grammar skills would like to volunteer a few hours to help me correct my English I would greatly appreciate it. I’m a Norwegian and still struggling with getting this right.
Take part in this project If you have an interest in spreading the awareness of the many benefits of feeding raw please consider participate in this project. I accept all dogs of any size and age. more
On October 18th 2011 I made the heavy decision to put Rex down. He could no longer walk or stand. This is the hardest choice I ever had to make. I’m normally against putting an animal down, but in this case I’m sure I made the right decision. This picture is taken just minutes before he passed. Rest in peace my dear friend. You’re the kindest Great Dane I ever had. You never barked at anyone and always let everyone pet you. I’ll miss the grunting noises you made when I scratched your ears. I loved that sound. And you gave the best hugs! I will never forget you Rex.  You proved to me over and over again that raw natural foods are what you and all dogs were meant to eat. You’re my inspiration and the driving force to keep going for another 12 years. Thank you Rex!
I agree with the last point. Raw feeding has been made complicated by some. People following the barf Model often have a hard time keeping up with it. The Prey Model is much simpler and I have modified this even more for people that like to feed their dogs from a bowl. How I feed
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Iím in the middle of a 24 year study and research into extending the life of giant breed dogs

Large and Giant Breed Dogs

Can Grow Old!

Amazing Rex

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Odin
Camelot II
KNOWLEDGE BASEQuestions about Raw Feeding. How to get started. Plus more
My goal is to double the current life expectancy of giant breeds like Great Danes
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If you feed raw you’re welcome to participate in this project. 
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