Do you own a Great Dane or you’re thinking of adopting one, then you should know all there is to know about their feeding and care. Despite the huge size of Great Danes, they are known as gentle giants as they are loving, devoted, and confident.
These gentle giants weigh between 100 to 200 lb, and they are also called the German Mastiff. Because of their large size, they need specific needs when it concerns nutrition and exercise to maintain their health and happiness.
You may have brought back a cute little puppy, but very soon, they would outgrow your lap and become a giant that jumps and plays around the house. Because they are a unique breed, they have specific needs and are prone to health problems just like any other large breed, and they can have a limited lifespan. As an owner of a Great Dane, it is your job to ensure they live a fulfilling and wonderful life.
It’s for this reason that it’s important to know what to feed your Great Dane to ensure they are getting the nutrition they need. We have reviewed the best dog foods for Great Danes and provided you with a buying guide to help you make the best choice.
BUYER’S GUIDE FOR THE BEST DOG FOOD FOR GREAT DANES
As a new owner of a Great Dane, you might be wondering if you could be a responsible owner and provide your dog with a great diet that helps them maintain a happy and healthy life. If you love your dog and want to make sure he stays healthy, then it should be easy for you to keep up.
The information we will be providing below will help you understand the unique diet restrictions that your Great Dane needs. The information will allow you to make an informed decision.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT FEEDING A GREAT DANE
Before you can choose the best food product for your Great Dane, you have to understand their dietary requirements in order to feed them exactly what they need. Knowing the right portion sizes, potential allergies, and calorific requirements will help you make the best decision. Ensure you lookout for high-quality ingredients such as whole meats, vegetables, fruit, and whole grains. The first five ingredients are the most important as they show where most of the macronutrients are being sourced.
The portion size is one factor that cannot be overlooked. If you thought because Great Danes are a large breed, they need to be fed huge amounts of food; then you would be wrong. Their caloric requirement is higher than that of a small or medium-sized dog, but you need to avoid overfeeding them as too many calories can lead to obesity which comes with other health issues along the line. An adult Great Dane requires 2500 to 3000 calories per day.
FACTORS TO NOTE BEFORE DECIDING THE RIGHT CALORIE INTAKE FOR YOUR DOG
Providing your Great Dane with the right food and the required amount depends greatly on their life stage and size. Great Danes are usually around 2 lbs at birth, but they grow to reach 100 lbs in little time. Below are factors you should take into thought.
Even though Great Dane puppies are quite big for their age, they are hyper and incredibly playful, so they need more calories to get the energy they need to keep up. They need food high in calories at their growing stage to get all the energy they need for growth and development. Provide them with food and keep their calorie intake within 250 to 300 kcal daily.
Level of Activity
Great Danes can either be active or sedentary. Ensure you take note of this factor when determining whether to put your dog on a high-calorie diet or not. A cup of dog food will be between 350 to 450 calories, and the number of cups you give your dog depends on how they are. If you have a Great Dane that is active and enjoys exercising, then it would be best to provide them with food with a high-calorie content and the opposite if your dog isn’t all that active. Even though you are paying attention to the calories, your dog takes, ensure they are provided with the appropriate level of nutrition.
Weight, Size, and Height
Your dog’s weight, size, and height are the physical characteristics that would help you determine the amount of food that’s suitable for your dog.
NUTRIENTS NEEDED BY A GREAT DANE
Great Danes need more nutrients compared to others. We will list out all the nutrients they need and how important they are in your dog’s overall health.
High-Quality Fat and Protein
A good quality dog food for Great Danes has to contain high-quality protein and fat. Your dog depends on you to provide all the needed nutrients, so make sure they get their protein and fat from natural, healthy, and reliable ingredients. Protein and fat are essential macronutrients that your Great Dane needs, and that’s why you can’t compromise when it comes to providing them with the best option. When selecting dog food for your Great Dane, make sure you pay close attention to the macronutrient content.
Real animal meats are the best protein sources, and it’s best to rely on the same sources for the fat content. A good Great Dane diet includes ingredients such as venison, chicken, beef, and lamb. If you see weird ingredients that you don’t know, such as by-products of protein or lard for fat or pork fat, then you would know that it’s not the best choice for your Great Dane.
It is important that you include a variety of vegetables in your Great Dane’s diet. You could simply opt to feed it to them raw for extra vitamins, but it’s also good to look for food options that contain wholesome vegetables as it’s a great way to add rich vitamins to your dog’s diet. Vegetables add numerous vitamins to your dog’s diet, such as vitamin A in carrots, E in tomatoes, and K and C in spinach. You can supplement your dog’s food with a variety.
It is important that you keep an eye out for fillers. These ingredients are mainly added to your dog’s food to increase the kibble’s shelf life but have no nutritional value. It’s for this reason that they should be limited or completely eliminated from the dog food. Carbohydrate filler such as corn gluten meal should be exempted from any Great Dane’s food. Some dogs are allergic to gluten and wheat products, so it might be best to opt for grain-free and gluten-free dog food.
Essential Vitamins and Minerals
Great Dane’s require essential vitamins and minerals in their diet. Having these elements present in their diet enriches the formulas and helps improve their bone and joint health.
Great Danes are susceptible to many health issues, including a type of cardiomyopathy, so they could benefit from a diet rich in antioxidants as it could help minimize the concern of your dog developing this illness while supporting your dog’s digestive health by reducing any inflammation.
Naturally Colored, Preserved, and Flavored
The best Great Dane foods contain strictly natural ingredients and can be stored without artificial additives. Ensure you opt for foods naturally preserved without any artificial flavors or colors.
A main health concern for Great Dane’s is bloating, so they would benefit from a diet rich in probiotics as it will improve digestion and minimize bloating. Probiotics also help to improve your dog’s immune system and prevent them from developing life-threatening diseases.
THE AMOUNT OF FOOD TO FEED YOUR GREAT DANE
Great Dane’s are a large breed, but they also have the greatest growth rate. However, it is sad to say that the quicker your dog grows, the quicker they are to develop health issues. To reduce this occurrence, it is important that their bones, muscles, and joints grow at the same pace. Like we mentioned before, Great Danes are prone to bloating, so it is vital that you watch what you feed them. Instead of wondering how much you can feed your Great Dane, you can go through our extensive calculation.
An 8 to 11-week old Great Dane should be fed two to four cups that can be divided into three small meals. 12 to 15 weeks; three to five cups divided between two meals. 16 to 19 weeks; four to six cups divided between two meals. 20 to 23 weeks; five to seven cups divided between two meals. 24 to 27 weeks; six to eight cups divided between two meals. 28 to 35 weeks; six to nine cups divided between three meals, nine months to 1 year; seven to ten cups divided into three meals.
Adult males can be fed eight to fourteen cups depending on their activity level and size, while an adult female can be fed six to nine cups depending on size and activity level.
COMMON HEALTH PROBLEMS FOR GREAT DANES
Great Danes are the largest dogs, but they are not immune to health issues. We have listed some health issues that are common in great Dane’s, along with their symptoms.
Hip Dysplasia and Joint Problems
Great Danes are large, so they tend to be heavier, which puts extra stress on their bones and joints. The pressure then places unnecessary strain on the hip joint, and this eventually leads to hip dysplasia.
In simple terms, gastric torsion is known as bloat. It can cause the stomach to twist and stop blood circulation. It is an emergency that requires immediate treatment. Great Danes are at high risk of developing gastric torsion, and it can be fatal.
Because Great Danes have a faster rate of growth, it can cause painful bones and put strain on connective tissue as well. Sometimes the cause might be extra nutrition, especially proteins. Protein is necessary, but when it is given in excess, it can harm your dog’s health.
This condition is when the size of the heart double, causing the walls of the heart to thin, which affects how the heart pumps and leads to oxygenation problems.
This is bone cancer. Great Danes can develop cancer in any part of their body.
If your dog starts showing uncommon behavior or has obvious symptoms, then it would be best to seek professional help.
INGREDIENTS TO AVOID FEEDING YOUR GREAT DANE
We have emphasized how important it is to feed your Great Dane a proper diet, but some foods can be harmful to your dog.
- Tea and coffee
- Table scraps or leftover food, especially over-seasoned food or food with high-fat content
- Beer, wine, liquor, or any food cooked with alcohol
- Candies or chewing gums
- Onions and garlic
- Cocoas and chocolate
- Salty food and salt
- Raisins and grapes
- Peaches, persimmons, and plums
- Macadamia nuts
- Sugar, sugary foods, and sugary drinks
With all the information provided above, it should be easy for you to determine what your Great Dane needs and provide accordingly. We have made a list of the best dog food for Great Danes to make things much easier. Let’s take a look.
The Best Dog Food For Great Danes Are Reviewed Below
Below is a comprehensive list of the best dog food for Great Danes. Having these important information will allow you to choose the best dog food to help your gentle giant lead a healthy life.
Taste of the Wild Dry Dog Food With Roasted Lamb
Taste of the Wild makes dogs food that mimics the kind of food your dog would usually eat in the wild. It is made from high quality ingredients that include roasted meats and vegetables. It is rich in fiber and comes in different varieties to add excitement to your dog’s daily feeding routine.
This dog food is free from any harmful additive such as soy, corn, and wheat. Dogs won’t eat those in the wild, so there isn’t any need to add that to their food. This dog food has a protein content of 25% and a fat content of 15%, which makes it perfect for a Great Dane. You can rest assured that the sources of protein and fat are high quality. The main ingredient in this dog food is real lamb.
Taste of the Wild dog food is packed full of antioxidants that help maintain a healthy immune system. It also has important omega fatty acids for a shiny and sleek coat and also to help support proper joint health.
Great Danes are prone to developing gastrointestinal problems, so that they can benefit a lot from this high fiber formula, and it’s also suitable for picky eaters and dogs with sensitive stomachs.
- Contains real lamb
- 25% protein
- It contains K9 strain proprietary probiotics
- Made in the USA
- Formulated without grain, wheat, corn, and artificial colors or flavor
- Brand: Taste of the Wild Dry Dog Food
- Model: 9569
- Weight: 28 Pounds
- Dimensions: 5 * 17 * 23 inches
- It is affordable
- It doesn’t contain soy, corn, or wheat
- It contains antioxidants and omega fatty acids
- It is suitable for pets with digestive issues
- Its protein and fat content is a bit higher than we like
Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain Free Natural Dry Dog Food
Blue Buffalo makes high-quality dog food that was specially formulated for large breeds; it contains 22% protein and 12% fat. This formula also contains omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids along with chondroitin and glucosamine to help support proper joint health. It also contains taurine, which is an amino acid that helps to maintain heart health.
The dry food is shaped in a way that helps control tartar. It also contains the protection of LifeSource Bits that are designed to give your dog a nourishing blend of vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals.
This kibble is free of gluten and any other common canine allergens. It doesn’t contain any fillers such as wheat, corn, or soy. This dog food is suitable for dogs prone to allergies and bowel issues. It also contains the appropriate fat and protein levels and provides extra support for the joints and heart.
- It contains real chicken
- It contains glucosamine and chondroitin
- Made with all-natural ingredients
- It contains no artificial flavors and colors
- Brand: Blue Buffalo
- Model: 800409
- Weight: 24.24 Pounds
- Dimensions: 24.5 * 15.5 * 4 inches
- It doesn’t contain any wheat, corn, or soy
- It helps control tartar
- It has a balanced protein and fat content
- It provides extra support for the heart and joints
- It’s gluten-free
- It is quite expensive
- Some dogs dislike the LifeSource bits
Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Turkey Meal Formula Natural Dry Dog Food
Nature’s Variety prides itself on making the most nutritious meals with simple ingredients. This dog food is gluten-free and free of common allergies. The formula used to make this dog food makes it suitable for dogs with sensitive stomachs because it contains easy-to-digest ingredients. It is also ideal for dogs with allergies.
Even though this dog food has a higher protein and fat content than we would recommend for a Great Dane, it also contains omega fatty acids that help promote a healthy and shiny coat while supporting joint health. The kibble is coated with green tea extracts, which promotes health while improving the taste and aroma. The formula helps your dog to maintain a healthy weight, and it mimics the food your dog would eat in its natural habitat.
- Made with a single animal source
- Grain and gluten-free
- It contains healthy omega fatty acids
- It contains easily digestible ingredients
- Uses unique green tea extract coating
- Brand: Nature’s Variety
- Model: 769949653158
- Weight: 25.3 Pounds
- Dimensions: 25 * 15 * 4.25 inches
- Supports joint health
- It helps to maintain a healthy weight
- Free of common allergens and gluten
- It is suitable for dogs with sensitive stomachs
- It is expensive
- It has a higher protein and fat content than is usually recommended for Great Danes
Nutro Ultra Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food
This dog food blend is made specifically for large breed dogs, so it’s perfect for Great Danes. It contains the right combination of high-quality lean protein, antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, rich whole grains, and healthy oils that provide your dog with all the needed nutrition. It is the perfect combination of holistic and natural ingredients that provides your dog with optimal levels of flavors and amino acids that your dog won’t be able to resist.
The majority of large breeds need more than one source of protein, and the same goes for Great Danes. This dog food is made with three lean animal-based protein sources: salmon, pasture fed lamb and farm raised chicken and every other nutrient that your dog needs to gain strong and lean muscles. It also contains natural sources of glucosamine and chondroitin, which help your dog maintain a healthy life. The recipe is free of soy, pea, wheat, and corn; it is made under the guidance of experts to ensure your dog gets the best.
- It contains a combination of three proteins sourced from chicken, almond, and salmon
- Formulated for large breed dogs
- Made with no soy, chicken by-product, or corn
- Brand: Nutro
- Model: 10162702
- Weight: 30 Pounds
- Dimensions: 23 * 16.5 * 6 inches
- It contains all the essential nutrients needed by your dog
- It supports proper joint health
- It helps to maintain a healthy and shiny coat
- It’s a bit pricy
Holistic Select Natural Dry Dog Food Large & Giant Breed Adult
This dog food is specifically formulated for giant dog breeds; it has a mixture of natural ingredients, prebiotics, digestive enzymes, probiotics, and natural fibers that supports your dog’s digestive health. It is formulated in larger kibble sizes to make it easier for your dog to eat.
It is made in the USA and follows strict quality rules and the Holistic Select Guarante also backs it. You’ll be getting high-quality ingredients along with real protein sources such as chicken. It doesn’t contain any artificial flavors, dyes, preservatives, or meat by-products.
Most customers that gave this dog food to their Great Danes loved that the formula is centered around good digestive health.
- Contains optimal levels of protein, prebiotics, and probiotics
- It contains minerals to promote healthy hips and joints
- Supports whole-body health
- Made in the USA
- Made with natural ingredients
- Brand: Holistic Select
- Model: 24943
- Weight: 30 Pounds
- Dimensions: 30.47 * 15 * 6 inches
- Its formula promotes good digestive health
- Its kibble size is a bit larger
- It comes in a variety of flavors
- It’s packed full of vitamins, nutrients, and probiotics
- It is made specifically to support hip and joints
- The kibble has a slightly greasy feel
- The price has slowly increased during the past year
- The packaging quality has reduced over the years
Hill's Science Diet Dry Dog Food, Large Breed Adult Senior
This dog food is for large breed seniors, and it comes in four different flavors and three sizes. The formula contains high amounts of chondroitin and glucosamine to support healthy joints and bones as your dog grows old.
It also contains a combination of vitamins A and C, antioxidants, amino acids, and other easily digestible ingredients that are gentle on your dog’s stomach. It is made with all-natural ingredients and contains no artificial colors, dyes, flavors, or preservatives, so you can rest assured that your dog gets a healthy and balanced diet with each meal.
This dog food is made to support your dog’s digestive system, skeletal system, and immune system, thanks to its natural blend of ingredients.
- A combination of easily digestible ingredients that support energy level
- Natural sources of glucosamine and chondroitin to support joint health
- It contains a balanced set of minerals to promote kidney and heart health
- Omega 6 fatty acids and vitamin E nourishes dog’s skin and coat
- Made in the USA
- Brand: Hill’s Science Diet
- Model: 2044
- Weight: 33 Pounds
- Dimensions: 20.38 * 16 * 6.75 inches
- The formula contains glucosamine and chondroitin for better joint health
- It is available in different sizes and flavor
- It is a natural formula that contains vitamins, antioxidants, and easily digestible ingredients
- It may have a greasy feel when you first open the bag
- It is a bit more expensive than other dog food choices
- It takes a bit longer for dogs to transition to it
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Natural Adult Large Breed Healthy Weight Dry Dog Food
This dog food was made specially for overweight large breed dogs to help them lose weight safely. It comes in four different sizes and several flavor combinations that your dog can try.
It is made with real meat as the first and main ingredient, and it is then followed by L-Carnitine that helps promote lean and healthy muscle growth, vitamins, glucosamine for healthy bones, minerals, and LifeSource Bits. Your dog will get all the necessary antioxidants without the extra calories to help them safely lose excess weight.
Most pet parents loved the fact that it contains all the nutrients needed by their dog without having any excess calories.
- It contains real meat, whole grains, veggies, and fruits
- Made with reduced calories
- Contains no chicken by-product, corn, soy, wheat, artificial flavors, or preservatives
- Brand: Blue Buffalo
- Model: 800245
- Weight: 30 Pounds
- Dimensions: 25 * 16 * 5 inches
- It comes with a lower protein count
- It is full of lean proteins, glucosamine, and antioxidants for a healthy weight
- It comes in different flavors and sizes
- It has a strong, fishy odor
- The kibble tends to be crumbly
- The kibble sizes may be too small for your large dog to eat comfortably
Buying Guide Questions
Below are answers to some FAQs.
Do Great Danes need special food?
Great Danes need between 2,500 to 3,000 calories per day. The best diet to provide them is one high in protein and moderate in fat.
Do Great Danes eat more than other dogs?
Great Dnes tend to eat more food than the average dog, but that doesn’t mean they eat as much food as you imagine.
Do Great Danes get attached to one person?
Like most dog breeds, even though your Great Dane might love every member of the family, he is prone to developing a special bond with a particular person.
What human food can Great Danes eat?
Great Danes can eat some human food, including bread, salmon, spinach, eggs, turkey, chicken, broccoli, and green beans.
Why you shouldn’t get a Great Dane?
One reason why you may not want to get a Great Dane is because they are prone to having serious health issues such as heart disease and joint problems.
Are male or female Great Danes better?
Most people find female Great Danes easier to train than their male counterparts. It’s mostly because of their calmer nature and better focus.
What owning a Great Dane says about you?
Owning a Great Dane says a lot about a person, but it mostly says that you aren’t afraid to accept a challenge.
When it comes to choosing the right dog food for your pet, understanding their current health status and nutritional needs is vital. The products we reviewed are the best available options out there when it concerns their nutrient content and quality of ingredients used. However, it is important that you seek the advice of your vet before changing your dog’s diet.
The information in the buying guide will help you make the right choice regarding what dog food best suits your Great Dane, but it will also help you shortlist some products and select the best one depending on your dog’s dietary needs.
We took our time to include options for every taste and need to make it easier to raise a happy and healthy Great Dane.