Best Dog Food for Great Danes - Comparison and Reviews

Becky - author

Author: Becky Roberts
Last Updated: November 2019​

Category: Best Dog Foods

Great Dane sitting on couchThe mighty Great Dane towers over most dogs with the perfect combination of poise and strength. It is a pleasure to be a pet parent to this majestic breed. They are total people-pleasers, always full of boundless energy, and keen on making their owners happy, making for an excellent family pet.

Adult Great Danes weigh on average of 110 to 175 pounds, and so their food needs are quite high. Great Danes are also at risk of contracting various health ailments. These include cardiomyopathy, hypothyroidism, gastric torsion, cancer, and Wobbler syndrome.

Their massive size and vulnerability call for keen attention when selecting their food. The best dog food for Great Danes should provide 2,500 to 3,500 calories per day, with sufficient nutrients for optimal health.

To help you find just that, we’ll break down the top five experts recommend dog foods for your giant furry friend to keep them happy and healthy.

Best Dog Foods for Great Dane 2019 - Reviews

1. Purina Pro Plan Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food & Wet Dog Food

  • Protein: 26%
  • Fats: 12%
  • Fiber: 4.5%
  • Calorie Content: 398kcal/cup

Purina Pro Plan Dog Food is ideal for large dogs like Great Danes weighing well over 100 pounds. It is made high-quality proteins like real chicken, which is the first ingredient on the label.

This premium dog food contains Omega-3 fatty acids, glucosamine, and EPA that help strengthen your dog’s health and support its mobility. It also has natural prebiotic fiber acquired from wheat bran to facilitate smooth digestion.

Give your dog ten days to transition fully to Purina Pro.

Purina Pro Plan High Protein Giant Breed Dry Dog Food, FOCUS Giant Breed Formula - 34 lb. Bag

Pros

  • Helps keep your dog’s weight in check since fat levels are optimized
  • Leads to the development of healthy bones because it contains calcium
  • For a shiny and healthy coat, this dog food won’t disappoint
  • Affordably priced

Cons

  • Your dog might experience diarrhea in the initial stages of consuming this dog food

2. Eukanuba Adult Dry Dog Food for Great Danes

  • Protein: 29%
  • Fats: 17%
  • Fiber: 4.44%
  • Calorie Content: 349 kcal/cup

Eukanuba has breed-specific dog food for Great Danes that are 15 months and older and weigh over 55lbs. It is made with real cuts of chicken and contains vitamin E and DHA that help to support healthy brain function.

This dog food has a 3D Denta-Defense formulation that reduces tartar and keeps gums and teeth healthy. It is optimized with the appropriate levels of carbs and fats to give your Great Dane the energy it needs to maintain an active lifestyle.

Additionally, this food had glucosamine and chondroitin, micronutrients that keep joints your large dog’s bones healthy. It also has sufficient protein for lean muscle development, contains whole grain sorghum and barley as constituent carbohydrates, and has a blend of prebiotic and natural fiber that aids in digestion.

Eukanuba Adult Large Breed Dry Dog Food, 33 lb. bag

Pros

  • Your solution for agile joints and lean muscle in your dog
  • Keeps your dog active and energy-filled
  • Increases brain function in your dog, especially in senior Great Danes
  • Does your dog have a sensitive stomach? Well, this food is excellent as it won’t irritate your dog’s digestive tract
  • Good for your dog’s teeth and gums

Cons

  • Corn and wheat ingredients may trigger allergies in your dog
  • The presence of meat, chicken and beef by-products is undesirable
  • Quite pricy

3. Diamond Naturals Adult Premium Dry Dog Food 

  • Protein: 23%
  • Fats: 13%
  • Fiber: 5.7%
  • Calorie Content: 368kcal/cup

Diamond Naturals is tailor-made for large dog breeds. The careful balance of proteins, carbohydrates, and vitamins help your dog attain optimal health.

As the name implies, it is purely natural and free from added colors, flavors, and preservatives. It also has no corn, wheat, or filler ingredients and contains antioxidants for immune support and health. The real chicken supplies ample quality protein to your dog, and the calorie-controlled formulation keeps them in a healthy weight range, preventing obesity.

Diamond Naturals Adult Large Breed Real Meat Recipe Premium Dry Dog Food With Real Cage Free Chicken 40Lb

Pros

  • Has enough carbs to sustain your active Dane
  • Affordable dog food that won’t stretch your finances to the limit
  • Useful for maintaining your dog’s weight at optimum levels
  • Yes, it’s entirely natural. That’s a plus!

Cons

  • Contains salt, which is not highly recommended for dog food
  • Most of its protein is not animal-based, which is the best protein source for dogs
  • Wheat is present in this dog food and as an allergen is not recommended for pups

4. Purina Pro Plan Dry Puppy Food

  • Protein: 28%
  • Fats: 13%
  • Fiber: 6%
  • Calorie Content: 382kcal/cup

This renowned brand of dog food is specially formulated for large breed puppies that will weigh more than 50 pounds at maturity. Real animal protein constitutes the main ingredient of small-sized crunchy kibble, ideal for a natural chewing action in your puppy.

This food is excellent for weaning the Great Dane puppy and is enriched with fish oil fatty acids like DHA necessary for brain development and enhanced vision.

It also contains decent amounts of glucosamine that help in the proper brain development for your adorable pup. For 3-week old puppies, administer small portions as frequently as possible. After two months, you can then begin to develop a strict feeding schedule.

Purina Pro Plan Large Breed Dry Puppy Food, FOCUS Chicken & Rice Formula - 34 lb. Bag

Pros

  • Carb levels are adequate to give your pup the strength and energy they need to grow and play
  • Antioxidants aid in supporting the immune system
  • Puppy-sized kibble
  • Suitable for the brain development of your dog

Cons

  • Some pups experience diarrhea and vomiting after starting this food
  • Contains grain, a known allergen
  • Low taurine levels—taurine helps with the prevention of heart diseases

5. Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food for Senior Great Danes

  • Proteins: 20%
  • Fats: 5.5%
  • Fiber: 14%
  • Calorie Content: 239kcal/cup

This blend of dog food is entirely natural, easily digestible, and specially formulated to support the energy requirements of senior Great Danes. It contains antioxidants in the form of Vitamin C and Vitamin E, which boost immunity and promote good health.

It is also enriched with minerals that enhance the heart and kidney health of Great Danes, as well as glucosamine and chondroitin for improved joint and bone health.

Hill's Science Diet Dry Dog Food, Adult 6+ for Senior Dogs, Large Breeds, Chicken Meal, Barley & Brown Rice Recipe, 33 lb Bag

Pros

  • Balanced nutrition that supports the health of your dog’s skin and coat
  • Contains antioxidants for immune health support
  • Entirely natural dog food with no additives, preservatives, and flavor enhancers
  • Ideal for pregnant and lactating dogs
  • Dramatically improves the joint health of your pet

Cons

  • Contains gluten, which increases the risk of bone disease and cancer
  • Slightly expensive

How to Choose the Best Dog Food for Great Danes

As mentioned earlier, you have to tread carefully when looking for the most suitable dog food for your Great Dane. AAFCO guidelines go a long way to guide in you on which ingredients are useful or harmful to your dog.

Here is a quick buying guide that will come in handy to help you make an informed decision when getting dog food for your Dane.

Great Dane

Things to Consider When Buying Food for Your Great Dane

Related: Best Large Breed Dog Foods

Nutritional Needs of Great Danes

Proteins

The recommended protein levels for Great Dane dog foods are 23%. Proteins are necessary for your dog’s growth development and prevent diseases such as Wobbler’s Syndrome and Pano. Proteins also promote the development of lean muscle.

Animal protein always trumps plant protein, as plant protein does not contain the ten amino acids found in animal protein, which aid in growth.

Carbohydrates

Great Danes require carbs, but they should be regulated to prevent excessive weight gain. Too many carbs can also result in inflammation and cancer.

Carbohydrate sources in your dog’s food should be from digestible sources only. To limit carbs, avoid grains like wheat and corn since they are filler ingredients, and some dogs are allergic to them.

Fats

Fat content in dog food should range between 12% and 15% depending on the activity level of your dog. This amount is enough to maintain a healthy and shiny coat, as well as aid in the growth of new cells in injured Danes and puppies.

Vitamins and Minerals

Danes require vitamins as much as humans do. Vitamin A is essential for cell development and growth. Vitamin B assists in body metabolism, while Vitamin C helps in proper immune system function. Vitamin D is vital for bone development, and Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant.

Minerals are also of great value to your Dane. Sodium, potassium, and chloride are essential for the proper functioning of muscles and the nervous system.

Fiber

Fiber-rich foods like vegetables are essential in your dog’s diet. They enable smooth digestion and preventing constipation, as well as gastric torsion.

Life Stages of Your Great Dane

Puppies should nurse from their mothers for the first 3 to 4 weeks after birth. Just as in humans, the immune capabilities in mother’s milk gives puppies the ability to fight diseases.

A 4-8 week a Dane puppy should be given solid food without regulating meal frequency. After this, put your puppy on a feeding schedule of 10 – 12 cups of food daily distributed over three meals.

Puppies need more carbohydrates because of their physical activity. Ensure that their food has around 20% of protein for the proper development of muscles at this early stage.

Adult Great Danes requires protein for muscle development. Go slow on the carbs at this stage because your dog’s weight needs to be controlled. You don’t want your dog to develop obesity and all the problems that come with it. Ensure that your dog food has enough minerals like chondroitin and glucosamine for joint and bone health support.

Senior Danes have very different nutritional needs as they begin to experience muscle depreciation and loss of joint and bone health.

They are also not as capable of as much physical activity as they were when they were younger. For this reason, you need to tone down on the carbs, increase protein levels for muscle health, and ensure antioxidants and micronutrients are present in sufficient quantities to support immune health.

Great Danes Health Conditions and Special Dietary Needs

Bone and Joint Health

For bone and joint health, give your Dane foods rich in Vitamin D. Micronutrients like chondroitin and glucosamine are also recommended for healthy joints and bones. This diet will prevent your dog from suffering from such ailments as hip and elbow dysplasia as well as arthritis.

Healthy Skin and Coat

For a healthy coat and skin, foods rich in Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, help, and count as good fats. Regulate the presence of other fats to prevent obesity since Danes do not have thick coats.

Digestive Health

Fiber-rich foods like vegetables greatly ease the digestion process, especially for Danes that have sensitive stomachs.

Adding fiber in your dog’s diet will help to avoid or alleviate gastric torsion, a painful and life-threatening condition that affects Danes. Their stomachs fill up with fluid and gas due to poor digestion, so fiber and a tight feeding schedule are imperative.

Food Allergies

If you suspect that your dog is allergic to some foods, consult your vet for further advice. Allergies may show up as constant diarrhea or rashes on the body. As much as possible, avoid grain-based formulas since many Danes are allergic to grain.

Related: Best Grain-Free Dog Food

Weight Management

It is crucial to keep the weight of your Dane manageable and healthy. Keep fats and carbs at a bare minimum to prevent obesity through weight control dog foods. A proper diet can also go a long way in avoiding or suppressing various health conditions that place your Dane at risk.

Wobbler’s Syndrome is one such condition. It manifests as instability of the cervical vertebrae causing dogs to ‘wobble.’ This condition develops due to injury, genetics, metabolism, weight pressure, or nutritional reasons. Regulate the levels of calcium in your dog’s food to reduce the likelihood of this disease.

Immune and Endocrine Health

The most common cancers Danes suffer include osteosarcomas (disease of the bone) and lymphomas. You’ll need to ensure that there is enough vitamin D in your dog’s food to aid in proper bone development; this will reduce the chances of osteosarcoma occurring.

Lymphoma occurs when cells grow abnormally and become malignant. Vitamin A-rich foods are handy as they work to ensure the proper growth and development of cells.

Another hormonal condition that afflicts Great Danes is hypothyroidism. This disease is characterized by unexplained weight gain, hair loss, a dry coat, and coarse skin.

It occurs when the thyroid gland fails to function correctly and thus cannot produce thyroxin, which regulates the metabolic rate of the dog’s body. Give your Dane dog food rich in iodine or iodine supplements to help manage this condition.

Heart Health

Cardiomyopathy, which Great Danes are susceptible to, is a disease that affects the heart muscles and eventually causes an enlargement. To improve your Great Dane’s heart health, give him a diet that is abundant Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, and low in fats.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How Much Food Should I Feed a Great Dane Puppy?

For puppies between the ages of 6 and 8 months, experts recommend feeding 8 to 10 cups of food for males and 3 to 6 cups for females daily. This amount of food should be divided into three separate meals throughout the day to prevent the animals from overindulging in one sitting and suffering from gas.

Between 8 to 12 months of age, males consume 8 to 6 cups of food and females 5 to 8 cups of food daily.

Carb levels should be high when Danes are puppies to give them ample energy for play and growth. However, keep calcium and protein levels low as if these nutrient levels are high, that could be catastrophic to the brittle bones of the young developing pup.

Once your Dane is between 12 and 24 months, they could do with 8 cups of food if female and 9 to 15 cups of food if male.

How Much Food Should I Give My Adult Great Dane?

A less active Great Dane should eat about 2,500 calories per day, while a very busy Dane can consume up to 3,500 calories per day. Ensure that the dog food has at least 23% proteins and 12% fats, and give your dog 8 to 10 cups for food daily.

You can apportion these meals over two to three feeding times per day, as long as you put your dog on a fixed feeding schedule.

When Should Great Danes Switch from Puppy Food to Dog Food?

Danes are not considered adults until after 18 months of age. After your dog attains this age range, feel free to wean them off puppy food. It is not advisable to transition your dog before they are fully mature. Adult dog food has higher levels of Vitamin D and protein that may not augur well with the skeletal system of the pup.

Can I Give My Dane Home Cooked Food?

Home-cooked food is perfectly okay to give to your dog but consult with your vet or vet nutritionist for proper guidance first. You don’t want to give your pet food that does not contain all the nutrients they need.

Your pet nutritionist can guide you in creating the best recipe to prepare home-made food for your dog so that you don’t just feed your dog with empty calories.

Can I Give My Great Dane Raw Food?

Theoretically, you can, but you must use the raw food calculator to determine the exact amount of food to give. For puppies, raw food should be roughly 10% of their total body weight per day, while for adults, raw food should be 1% of total body weight per day.

Dogs can eat raw meat and vegetables safely. At all costs do not offer your Great Dane garlic, grapes, chocolate, macadamia nuts, or peaches, as these foods can be poisonous to your dog.

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