Top 10 Best Dog Food For Great Danes (2020 Buying Guide)

Mike PowellEdited by: Mike Powell
Abby TexasReviewed by: Abby Texas

Last Update:

If you’re the pet parent of a giant breed dog, you will know that these enormous pooches have some quite specific dietary requirements that differ from smaller breeds.

This means that choosing the best dog food for Great Danes is an extremely important part of looking after one and making sure they live their best, healthiest life possible.

The best dog foods for Great Danes may be surprising to you, but this list covers everything you need to know.

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Ranked #1
Ranked #2
Ranked #3
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Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food, Large Breed, 26-Pound Bag
DIAMOND NATURALS Dry Food for Adult Dogs, Large Breed 60+ Chicken Formula, 40 Pound Bag, 40 lb (838_40_DBD)
Merrick Grain Free Dry Puppy Food Recipes
Rating
Our Rating 90 / 100
Our Rating 90 / 100
Our Rating 89 / 100
Pro 1
Good protein and fat content for active Great Danes
Perfect protein and fat counts for Great Danes
Great calcium and phosphorus levels, as well as added glucosamine to start strengthening joints from a young age
Pro 2
High-quality ingredient list to improve immune system
Has joint-strengthening supplements included
Protein and fat levels are ideal for young Great Danes
Best For Active Great Danes
Rank
Ranked #1
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Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food, Large Breed, 26-Pound Bag
Rating
Our Rating 90 / 100
Pro 1
Good protein and fat content for active Great Danes
Pro 2
High-quality ingredient list to improve immune system
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Best Value For Money
Rank
Ranked #2
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DIAMOND NATURALS Dry Food for Adult Dogs, Large Breed 60+ Chicken Formula, 40 Pound Bag, 40 lb (838_40_DBD)
Rating
Our Rating 90 / 100
Pro 1
Perfect protein and fat counts for Great Danes
Pro 2
Has joint-strengthening supplements included
Custom Button
Best For Puppies
Rank
Ranked #3
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Merrick Grain Free Dry Puppy Food Recipes
Rating
Our Rating 89 / 100
Pro 1
Great calcium and phosphorus levels, as well as added glucosamine to start strengthening joints from a young age
Pro 2
Protein and fat levels are ideal for young Great Danes
Custom Button
Sources researched
33
Sources researched
Customer reviews
22,000
Customer reviews
Hours spent testing
35
Hours spent testing
Products tested
10
Products tested

Best Dog Food For Great Danes

1. Wellness Core Large Breed Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food

Best For Active Great Danes: Good protein and fat content

Overall Rating90%
Calorie Count85%
Calcium/Phosphorus Ratio85%
Glucosamine & Chondroitin95%
Protein & Fat Content95%
Affordability85%

PROS

  • Good protein and fat content for active Great Danes
  • Contains a decent amount of glucosamine and chondroitin
  • High-quality ingredient list to improve immune system
  • High Omega fatty acids

CONS

  • Contains chicken (some of their other recipes don’t, but all the large breed specific formulas do)
  • This food is a little pricey compared to others

This is our top pick for the best dog food for active Great Danes. 34% protein is right in the zone for healthy adults who get plenty of exercise. 12% fat is perfect for pups who are high-energy, and it comes from some great sources too.

No matter your Great Dane’s size or age, this dry dog food is packed with quality, all-natural ingredients and good levels of fatty acids to build strength and a tough immune system in your pet.

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Premium Quality Ingredients 

The ingredient list kicks off with chicken, chicken meal, and turkey meal, which are three fantastic protein sources. These are followed by peas and potatoes, which will give your Great Dane sustained energy as the day goes.

Further down the list are sweet potatoes, kale, blueberries, and a few more fruits and vegetables that will dose your pooch with antioxidants and vitamins and minerals.

Chicken fat and ground flaxseed are premium fat sources. Although this food does have chicken in it, if your pooch is young, healthy, and full of energy, they should have no problems tolerating it. 

Your Giant’s Joints 

The calcium/phosphorus ratio is something that’s important to know as it helps build strong bones without making them brittle, which is important in the best dog foods for Great Danes and other giant and large breeds.

This dry dog food has a great ratio, and also contains high levels of glucosamine and chondroitin, which will go a long way towards helping keep your Great Dane’s joints healthy and strong.

It’s particularly important for Great Danes who spend a lot of time getting some kind of exercise to be getting some joint-strengthening supplements in, so we can recommend this food not only for its ingredients, but also for its supplements.

2. Diamond Naturals Adult Large Breed Dry Dog Food

Best Value For Money: Very affordable for its quality

Overall Rating90%
Calorie Count95%
Calcium/Phosphorus Ratio90%
Glucosamine & Chondroitin90%
Protein & Fat Content90%
Affordability95%

PROS

  • Very affordable for its quality
  • Perfect protein and fat counts for Great Danes
  • Has joint-strengthening supplements included
  • Also contains L-carnitine for weight maintenance

CONS

  • Contains no real meat – meat meal is still a decent ingredient but real meat always wins

The best dog food for these big guys and girls needs to give them all the nutrients they need and still keep your bank balance healthy. This food will fulfill both those purposes.

The calorie count is perfect for this chilled out giant breed, and the fat and protein numbers are right where they should be to keep your lanky big fellow healthy and full.

It does contain grains, but they’re the good kind (brown rice, barley, and oatmeal) and should be quite easy for a Great Dane to digest.

This is one of the best dog foods for both dog and human!

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Low Price For High-Quality Ingredients 

Even though this dry dog food doesn’t have any real meat ingredients, they do well with lamb meal as the main protein source. Brown rice, barley, oatmeal, and sorghum are good quality grains and are gluten-free, which helps immensely when it comes to dogs like Great Danes with sensitive dispositions.

What’s nice about this dry dog food is that they don’t just stop at the grains – further down the list you’ll find superfoods like kale, chia seeds, pumpkin, carrots, quinoa, blueberries, and oranges. These have fantastic antioxidant properties, nice Omega fatty acids, and add a really good splash of vitamins too. 

Benefits For Giants 

Not only does this benefit giant and large breed parents by helping out their pockets, but there are also some giant-specific things that have been added to benefit your Great Dane. Joint-fortifying supplements such as glucosamine are not often seen in such an affordable dry dog food, so that’s a huge bonus.

The calcium/phosphorus levels are perfect to keep your sleek giant’s bones strong, and L-carnitine is an awesome addition as it helps regulate weight and metabolism, which is very helpful when it comes to breeds that are slim and tall like Great Danes.

3. Merrick Grain Free Puppy Dry Dog Food Recipe

Best For Great Dane Puppies: Formulated specifically for puppies

Overall Rating89%
Calorie Count90%
Calcium/Phosphorus Ratio95%
Glucosamine & Chondroitin88%
Protein & Fat Content90%
Affordability85%

PROS

  • Formulated specifically for puppies
  • Great calcium and phosphorus levels, as well as added glucosamine to start strengthening joints from a young age
  • Protein and fat levels are ideal for young Great Danes
  • The beef flavour is entirely chicken-free

CONS

  • Not much variety in flavours
  • Slightly pricier than others

Growing Great Danes have similar nutritional needs to adult Great Danes, but they also need some extras that adult dogs can do without.

This dry dog food has everything a developing Great Dane puppy needs to grow up in the healthiest way possible – a superb ingredient list, muscle-building proteins, energy-sustaining carbs, joint-fortifying supplements, and fatty acids for healthy brain and eye development.

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Made For Puppies 

The ingredients are of the highest quality, and it’s perfect to start your Great Dane puppy off in life with the best. The combination of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, and fatty acids will give your little big guy just the right mix to help him grow at a good pace and keep him strong as his bones and muscles develop.

It’s grain-free, too, so you won’t even need to consider whether or not your fluff is sensitive to them. 

Supplements Added  

Glucosamine and chondroitin are, as you will know by now, essential additions for pups who need some help keeping bones and joints stable. It’s as essential to avoid hip dysplasia in pups as it is in adult dogs.

The fatty acids DHA and EPA are present, as they should be in a great puppy food, and the calcium/phosphorus ratio is perfect to help your Great Dane’s bones grow at the optimal pace and not become brittle.

4. Gentle Giants Natural Dry Dog Food

Best For Great Dane Seniors: Easy to digest

Overall Rating90%
Calorie Count90%
Calcium/Phosphorus Ratio80%
Glucosamine & Chondroitin95%
Protein & Fat Content90%
Affordability90%

PROS

  • Although it says for all breeds, these were formulated with big dogs in mind
  • Made with antioxidant-rich vegetables and fruits to boost immune system
  • Good glucosamine levels
  • Decent calorie count for seniors

CONS

  • No real meat
  • The calcium/phosphorus ratio is not specified on the label

Gentle Giants dry dog food was created specifically for giant breeds, as you should be able to tell by its name.

It meets the AAFCO standards for all life stages, so it would be all right for your Great Dane no matter their age, but we’ve chosen to review it for seniors specifically as the protein and fat counts work well for older dogs and it contains a nice amount of joint-strengthening stuff.

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Meat Meal For Easy Digestion 

There is no real meat in this recipe, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing as it makes for easier digestion, especially for senior Great Dane tummies. Chicken meal and fish meal feature in this food, which are two really good products.

Chicken fat and flaxseed make up the fat content (9%) and fatty acids, which is right in the area it should be for seniors who may not be so active anymore and don’t need much fat to metabolize into energy. It also contains plenty of healthy fruits and veg, which have been dried for healthier preservation. 

Useful For Giants 

The selling point of this dry dog food is that the dogs who eat it seem to live much longer than the average for giant breeds. It has been formulated to provide only natural ingredients, with multiple proteins and a blend of fruits, vegetables, and grains as carbohydrates.

New Zealand Green Mussel provides glucosamine and is known as a highly nutritious source. Chelated minerals, probiotics, prebiotics, and a good amount of Omega fatty acids make this an excellent option for senior Great Danes. 

5. Taste Of The Wild Grain Free Real Meat Recipe Canned Stew

Best Wet Food For Great Danes: Made of quality ingredients 

Overall Rating88%
Calorie Count90%
Calcium/Phosphorus Ratio85%
Glucosamine & Chondroitin90%
Protein & Fat Content85%
Affordability90%

PROS

  • High moisture content
  • Nice calorie count for Great Danes
  • Various flavours available
  • No carrageenan in this dog food

CONS

  • Not the cheapest food

There are many reasons to keep a good quality wet dog food stashed away – your pup might need encouragement to eat their kibble, you might want to feed them a high-calorie snack between meals, or it could be used as a training incentive.

Whatever you choose to use it for, though, we don’t recommend feeding it to your pup instead of dry dog food. This one is a great option for whatever you need it for and will add a good bit of extra nutrients to your Great Dane’s meal.

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Added Moisture 

One of the greatest things about a wet or canned dog food is that it has a very high moisture content. While your Great Dane should be drinking plenty of water during the day, it can be helpful to have a little bit of extra moisture added, and wet food is a sneaky way to do that.

Dehydration can cause some serious health issues, so adding a bit of this food to your pet’s dry kibble will help. It’s not meant to replace water though – just to help up the level a tiny bit. 

6. Earthborn Holistic Hip & Joint EarthBites

Best Treat For Great Danes: Made of quality ingredients

Overall Rating88.75%
Calorie Count90%
Calcium/Phosphorus Ratio90%
Glucosamine & Chondroitin90%
Protein & Fat Content90%
Affordability85%

PROS

  • Specifically formulated to fortify joints
  • Low calorie (6 calories per treat)
  • Contain L-Carnitine
  • Sweetened with honey – no sugar

CONS

  • Only one flavour available in the hip & joint variety

Treats are an important part of a dog’s diet, and choosing high-quality ones that are going to contribute positively to your pup’s health is almost as essential as what dog food you choose.

You’ll most likely be feeding these to your pet in between meals, and for Great Danes, it’s great to have a treat that’s delicious and healthy but doesn’t add too much by way of calories. These little bites from Earthborn Holistic are just that – healthy, joint-strengthening, tasty, and low-calorie.

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High-Protein and Fat 

Treats often have a lower protein content as they are considered to be just a little tease-taste between your dog’s main meals. These ones, however, contain a lovely 20% protein in each treat, and 9% fat which is super for giant breeds.

They’re only 6 calories per treat, which means you can toss your Dane quite a few of these as the day goes and not worry about them overdoing it on their calories. 

Hip & Joint Strengthening Properties 

Another thing that most treats don’t do is serve much purpose health-wise. These ones do, though – they’re packed full of glucosamine, chondroitin, fatty acids, and L-carnitine to keep your Great Dane’s joints and immune system in prime condition.

They’re a little like medicinal supplements in treat form, because they contain so much more good stuff than most of the treats out there. If you’re looking for the perfect treat for your Great Dane, these fall right in with your dog’s nutritional needs.

7. American Journey Beef & Potato Grain Free Dry Dog Food

Premium Option: High protein and fat levels

Overall Rating88%
Calorie Count90%
Calcium/Phosphorus Ratio90%
Glucosamine & Chondroitin90%
Protein & Fat Content85%
Affordability85%

PROS

  • Completely grain-free to limit the chances of food allergies or sensitivities
  • High protein and fat levels make this great for active dogs
  • Slow-burning vegetables for sustained energy
  • Contains glucosamine and DHA fatty acids

CONS

  • There is chicken fat in the non-chicken flavours

This dry dog food from American Journey contains all the good stuff for your Great Dane and none of the artificial, non-nutritious, or allergy-inducing stuff. It’s fairly limited in its ingredient list, which means each one is chosen for its contribution to the health-promoting properties of this dog food.

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Slow-Burning Carbs for Energy 

Sweet potatoes and chickpeas are amazing veggies as they are slowly metabolized by the body, meaning they provide energy over a prolonged period of time. The calorie count is also quite decent for Great Danes. Blueberries, carrots, and dried kelp give a nice shot of antioxidants and vitamins. 

8. Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain Free Adult Large Breed Dry Dog Food

Best With Chicken: Optimal protein and fat count

Overall Rating84%
Calorie Count85%
Calcium/Phosphorus Ratio85%
Glucosamine & Chondroitin85%
Protein & Fat Content85%
Affordability80%

PROS

  • Optimal protein and fat counts for Great Danes
  • Added glucosamine and chondroitin to keep those big joints tough
  • L-carnitine for aiding digestion and regulating energy levels
  • Contains Blue’s LifeSource Bits, an antioxidant, vitamin, and mineral mix

CONS

  • Chicken may not be tolerated by all dogs

Chicken is one of the ingredients that Great Danes can be intolerant of, but that doesn’t mean all of them will be. If your Great Dane can handle his chicken, this food from Blue Buffalo is a super one for his daily meal. There is a chicken flavor, and the others are lamb and beef.

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Chicken As A Food Intolerance 

Not all Great Danes are going to be affected by food sensitivities or intolerances. If your pet can eat most foods without having a bad reaction, you have no need to worry about feeding them chicken.

Although it is wise to be aware that they may develop intolerances as they age, young, active Great Danes should have no problem with chicken. If yours does, however, you would be better off choosing another food on this list. 

Great Additions For Great Danes 

The calcium/phosphorus ratio here is great, so your Great Danes bones should be fortified and able to hold their large frames. Glucosamine and chondroitin are essential additions for these big pups, and L-carnitine is a super inclusion as it helps regulate energy levels and maintain a healthy weight and metabolism, as well as helping with liver and brain health. 

The special LifeSource Bits are Blue’s unique formula and have been put together by animal nutritionists, so they’re guaranteed to be chock full of the highest quality vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fatty acids to keep your Great Dane’s immune system functioning at its best.

Although this is specified as a large breed dry dog food, it’s pretty perfect for these big pups.

9. Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food

Best Low-Protein Food For Great Danes: For dogs on a low-protein diet

Overall Rating80%
Calorie Count85%
Calcium/Phosphorus Ratio80%
Glucosamine & Chondroitin70%
Protein & Fat Content85%
Affordability85%

PROS

  • Good protein number for Great Danes on a low-protein diet
  • Contains plenty of chelated minerals which help absorption
  • Fewer than 10 ingredients, which leaves little room for food sensitivities

CONS

  • No added glucosamine
  • Slightly lower calcium and phosphorus numbers than other dog foods

If your Great Dane has problems with their kidneys or liver, a low-protein diet is the best way to take some pressure off their body and help manage their health better. Although Great Danes already need less protein than the average dog of their size, it can be hard to find even lower protein dog foods for those who need less.

This food just hits 20% protein while keeping a good fat count, which makes it an excellent choice for Great Danes with kidney or liver issues. 

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Low Protein, Average Fat 

With 20% protein and 10% fat, this dry dog food goes easy on the kidneys but still provides enough fat to be burned as energy. There is one animal protein source and a couple of plant protein additions, and salmon oil, flaxseed and canola oil make up the fats and fatty acids.

Chelated minerals are always great for making the digestive process easier but they’re an even better addition for dogs who have health issues and need things to flow as easily as possible. 

10. Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Grain Free Dry Dog Food

Best For Great Danes With Food Intolerances: Very limited ingredient

Overall Rating79%
Calorie Count85%
Calcium/Phosphorus Ratio70%
Glucosamine & Chondroitin70%
Protein & Fat Content85%
Affordability85%

PROS

  • Very limited ingredient, which is super for Great Danes who are prone to dog food allergies or intolerances
  • Plenty of added vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and amino acids
  • No grains, chicken, dairy, or other common allergens

CONS

  • Higher in calories than most on this list (but this can be worked around by how much you feed your pet)
  • Doesn’t contain glucosamine or chondroitin

The Instinct Limited Ingredient Range consists of a single animal protein and a single vegetable, leaving very little room for food allergies or intolerances while still providing enough nutrients for your dog to thrive. It’s devoid of grains, dairy, eggs, chicken, potatoes, corn, wheat, soy, and artificial ingredients.

No matter what your Great Dane’s disposition, this is a great option for them. You don’t need to wait until your pet displays signs of food intolerances either – you can feed them this from the start and know they’re getting high-quality, all-natural ingredients

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Avoids Common Food Allergens 

Most limited ingredient dog foods do a good job of lowering the amount of things on their list, but still end up using ingredients that can be problematic for some dogs. This dry dog food, however, avoids nearly all the most common intolerable foods, including chicken, beef, fish, dairy, eggs, grains, potatoes, and sweet potatoes.

They also avoid the more obvious low-quality things like wheat, corn, and soy, as well as artificial stuff, so this is really the healthiest of healthy dog foods for Great Danes who are fussy eaters

No Joint-Strengthening Supplements 

The downside of this dog food is that they are limited in terms of their added supplements too. There is no glucosamine, chondroitin, or L-carnitine in this one, which is not the end of the world but it does mean that it falls behind other foods in that department. You’ll need to add a joint supplement to your Great Dane’s daily meal.


Testing Protocol & Criteria Used For Evaluation

Criteria 1 – Calorie Count

Because Great Danes are giant breeds, their metabolisms are a little slower than smaller dogs or even a large breed. Also, because they’re very lanky dogs, any extra weight on them can be a problem as it puts pressure on their bones and joints and increases the risk of hip dysplasia. 

The best dog food for a Great Dane will have a lower calorie count, so your Great Dane can get a decent, filling meal but not overeat and gain weight. The average, moderately active Dane will need around 200 calories per day, while a more highly energetic one will need closer to 3000. Puppies will need between 2500 and 3000 a day.

These will need to be spread over a couple of meals, so we’ve tried to stick to foods for Great Danes with calories in the lower to mid-300s unless otherwise specified. This depends on your Dane though – you can use this calorie calculator to work out what would be best for your big guy or girl.

Criteria 2 – Calcium/Phosphorus Ratio

Too much calcium in your Great Dane’s diet can cause their bones to become a little too brittle to support their bodies properly, which can lead to problems that can be painful and dangerous for your pet. AAFCO recommends between 2 and 4.5 grams of calcium per 1000 calories, so you’ll most likely need to do some calculating when checking the calcium content of foods. 

Going hand-in-hand with calcium is phosphorus, and these two minerals should be found in a particular ratio. This ratio in the best dog foods for Great Danes should be 1:1 to 2:1 – anything other than that will result in a deficiency of one or the other after prolonged use. This problem is particularly prevalent in a large breed or giants.

Criteria 3 – Glucosamine & Chondroitin

These two things have a very specific property that is highly beneficial for Great Danes – that is, they help strengthen and lubricate joints, which is crucial for giant dogs who are prone to hip dysplasia. 

You should see this on the ingredient list when looking for the best dog food for a Great Dane. Great Danes are pretty lanky, so they don’t have as much weight on their joints as some other giants, but they’ve still got quite a bit of weight behind them, even if they’re of average size and weight. 

We’ve made an effort to review dog foods for Great Danes that contain both of these. Some foods may contain only glucosamine, but we’ve specified if that’s the case.

Criteria 4 – Protein Content & Fat Content

Although it may seem logical that giant dogs would need a higher protein content due to their size, this is not so for Great Danes. Because they are so slim and lean, they actually need less protein than you may think. 

The best dog food for these big guys should contain 18% protein minimum for an adult Great Dane, but 23% is optimal for healthy muscle growth but minimal weight gain. 25% is a great number for growing puppies. Animal proteins are always best, and contain the most amino acids your Great Dane will need to keep his body healthy. Meat by-products should be avoided, though. 

Fats are concentrated sources of energy that are very useful for your pooch. Don’t think more fat equals a more overweight Great Dane! As long as your pet is active, they’ll convert that fat into energy very nicely. Great Danes should eat a food containing between 8 and 12% fat at the minimum. 

We’ve stuck to foods that fall within these protein and fat numbers and that use primarily healthy animal sources. 

Criteria 5 – Affordability

Feeding an enormous, hungry animal is no mean feat! These pups can eat up to 5 cups of food in one meal, so a bag of kibble tends to not last as long as they do with smaller breeds. While affordability is an important consideration no matter what dog breed you own or how much you earn, it’s something you’re far more likely to think about if you’re going through a couple of bags a month feeding your furry friend. 

We’ve added this criterion to give you a good idea of cost at a glance, so you can compare and make a decision that works best for both you and your pet. After all, while this is mostly about choosing the right food to keep your dog healthy, your mood affects your pooch far more than you realise – so a happy owner will also make for a happier pup!


Questions & Answers

How do the nutritional requirements of a giant breed differ from those of a large breed dog?

Don’t think that just because giant breeds are bigger than other dogs they need more of everything in their food.

They tend to need fewer calories because their metabolisms are slower than others. They also need joint-strengthening supplements to reduce the chances of hip dysplasia and other joint problems.

Puppies need a great calcium/phosphorus ratio to make sure they don’t grow too quickly and put extra pressure on their bones.

Despite popular belief, they also don’t need a whole lot of protein. Around 23% is adequate for these big fellows.

It can be hard to find a food made for these types of giant dog breed. An adult large breed food should provide all the necessary nutrients needed for the best dog foods for Great Danes.

How much food does a Great Dane need on a daily basis?

A healthy, active Great Dane who is getting plenty of exercise will need to eat around 3000 calories a day to keep his energy levels where they should be. Seniors and less active Danes should go for around 2500 calories a day, and puppies can eat between 2500 and 3500, depending on how bouncy and energy-expending they are. 

The amount of cups or scoops of food you feed your Dane will depend on how many calories are in one cup of food. If your active pup’s food contains 300 calories per cup, they’ll need 10 cups a day, which would most likely be split between 2 meals, making it 5 cups per meal. This depends on a good few things, though – your Great Dane’s appetite, activity level, and whether or not you want to give them a few treats during the day. 

If you want to feed your pooch some treats between meals, you’ll need to give them slightly fewer calories during their mealtimes to make space for a couple of snacks. Be aware of the calorie count of treats too, to make sure you don’t go overboard and give them too many calories.

What are the essential ingredients that I should look for in the best dog food for Great Danes?

Great Danes, like all pets, need wholesome, all-natural ingredients in their food of choice. It may be easier to find a large breed dog food than one specifically for giants.

Animal proteins and fats are the best ingredients to ensure your Dane is getting all the necessary amino acids. A healthy, real meat source that is identified is essential, and meat meals are also acceptable protein sources. Plant protein is not advised, because it doesn’t quite offer the same nutrients as animal sources. 

Fats are essential to provide energy, and should also be from animal sources. Salmon oil, chicken fat, pork fat, and so on, are fantastic ingredients. Other fat sources that are good quality include flaxseed and canola oil. 

Carbohydrates aren’t usually found on the guaranteed analysis list, but it’s imperative that these are complex, slowly-digesting ingredients that are all-natural. This means fruits and vegetables, and gluten-free grains such as millet, oatmeal, brown rice, and barley. 

Additional ingredients you should be looking for on the guaranteed analysis list are glucosamine, chondroitin, calcium, phosphorus, DHA (especially for puppies), and Omega fatty acids. 

What ingredients should I avoid feeding my Great Dane?

Great Danes can suffer from sensitive tummies, and grains like wheat, corn, and soy should be avoided. These are more difficult to digest, and so you should avoid feeding them to your Dane for his own comfort and health. 

Chicken is another common allergen for these big fluffs. While not all of them are going to react badly to it, it may be best to avoid feeding them a chicken-flavoured food, or a kibble containing chicken fat or other ingredients. 

Anything artificial can also cause digestive upset. This includes artificial colours, flavours, and preservatives, so if you spot any questionable ingredients on the list, it’s best to steer clear. 

It’s also a good idea to avoid feeding your giant breed a general adult dog food, as these usually don’t contain the extras that giant breeds need to live a healthy life. Some large breed dry dog food make great options, but we’ve also gone through a few of them above so you can see which are great quality. In general, though, if you can find a food aimed at giant breeds that contains all the important ingredients here, that would be your best choice.

What are some common health concerns that Great Danes suffer from?

These big guys and girls can suffer from food allergies and intolerances, so it’s really quite important to pay attention to their diet to alleviate these as much as possible. 

There are various other diseases and disorders that these giants can be prone to. Gastric torsion is a particularly dangerous one, and is basically a twisted stomach or intestine due to bloating. It’s the number one killer of giant breeds, unfortunately. It’s very important to be aware of the signs and symptoms, therefore, as the only way to fix this problem is emergency surgery. 

These tall, lanky pups can also suffer from joint problems, such as knee and hip dysplasia. This is one of the reasons glucosamine and chondroitin are such great ingredients in a dog food for giant breeds – it helps limit the chances of your pet suffering from this condition. Arthritis is another bone and joint disorder that can affect these pooches. 

Giant puppies can also be susceptible to developing something called hypertrophic osteodystrophy, which is when the pup’s bones grow too rapidly and cause pain due to them exerting pressure on the tissues around them. This usually affects puppies and is outgrown when the rest of your pup catches up in the growth department, but it’s a painful condition to suffer from. Making sure to feed your growing puppy the right amounts is essential to keep the chances of this condition at a minimum. 

Other things to be on the lookout for include hypothyroidism, Wobbler syndrome, DCM, and osteosarcoma. 

What distinguishes the top puppy food for Great Danes from other puppy foods?

Great Dane puppies need specific nutrients from the start, to make sure they grow up healthy, strong, and with the best start. 

The best dog food for a Great Dane puppy will have some specific traits. It will contain a high-quality animal protein source right up front of the ingredient list, and may contain more than one. There will be healthy carbohydrates – the best dog foods will contain fruits and vegetables, or gluten-free grains (brown rice, oatmeal, or barley – no wheat, soy, or corn). There should be multiple healthy fat sources, preferably at least one animal source. 

A Great Dane puppy food should also show DHA on the label, for healthy development. EPA is another fatty acid that is helpful, and glucosamine and chondroitin are a must. The calcium/phosphorus ratio should be close to 1:1, and an additional fact that is very helpful is that the kibble size should be on the bigger side. This helps decrease chances of eating too fast and being susceptible to bloat. 

Make sure not to simply choose any food that says “puppy” on the packaging – not all puppy foods contain the nutrients and supplements necessary for these big little pets to grow as they should. You should be prepared to feed your pooch a puppy formula until about the age of 15 months. 

Can I give my Great Dane puppy more food to make her grow faster?

This is never a good idea, but even less so for giant puppies. As you will have read above, Great Dane puppies can suffer from something called hypertrophic osteodystrophy, which is what happens when your little guy or girl’s bones grow too quickly for the rest of their body. In addition to causing your beloved fluff a lot of pain, this can lead to other complications down the line. 

Feeding your puppy more than they need can also cause their calcium levels to rise too much, making their bones too brittle. When they get bigger, this can be dangerous as their bones aren’t strong enough to support their big bodies, even though these pooches are leaner than most giants. 

We highly recommend that you stick to the recommended guidelines for feeding your Great Dane puppy and don’t try to add to it. You won’t be helping your pet out at all – in fact, you’ll be contributing to possible health problems.