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Best Dog Food for Great Danes

great dane

This is our review of the best dog food for Great Danes in 2020.

Great Danes are gentle giants with a heart that matches their massive size.

This breed needs careful nutrition to support them as they slowly grow to their mature weight. The best dog foods for Great Danes feature formulas explicitly designed for giant dogs.

I always had a soft spot for big lovable dogs as a veterinary technician. And now, I’ve researched the best dog food for Great Danes to help you give your companion the nutrition he deserves.

I found that Holistic Select Giant Breed Dog Food is the best overall option for feeding Great Danes.

But your gigantic friend can have unique needs. So, I’ve included some of the best brands for every Great Dane.

Let’s get started.

Our Best Dog Foods for Great Danes

Best Dog Food for Great Danes Reviews

All dog foods included on this list meet the standard AAFCO nutrient profile guidelines for dogs. [1] Always consult with your veterinarian before making changes to your dog’s diet.

Holistic Select Giant Breed Dog Food

Holistic Select Giant Breed Adult Chicken
  • First 5 Ingredients: Chicken Meal, Rice, Oatmeal, Oats, Chicken Fat
  • Key feature: Specialized nutrition for giant breeds
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 24% Crude Protein, 14% Crude Fat, 4% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 453 kcal/cup
  • Type of Product: Sensitive Digestion, Pea-Free, Gluten Free
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Best for: Overall

This formula features a moderate 24% protein content from chicken meal. Average protein levels are ideal for maintaining muscles in large bodies without contributing to excess weight. [2]

An optimal 14% fat content provides healthy omega-3 fatty acids that support a healthy coat. Low fat content also helps limit the risks of obesity. [3]

Controlling weight and growth is critical because a Great Dane’s giant body can place additional stress on his joints. Added glucosamine and antioxidants may help manage joint discomfort in your pup.

Bloat is another common health issue in Great Danes. [4] This condition involves the stomach overextending with gas when dogs overeat in one meal.

The digestive support and probiotics in this food maximize nutrient absorption so your dog can eat smaller meals.

Great Dane owners find that this food is suitable for dogs with sensitive digestion. However, the kibble size is not as large as other giant breed dog foods.




Royal Canin Giant Puppy Dog Food

Royal Canin Giant Puppy
  • First 5 Ingredients: Chicken By-Product Meal, Brewers Rice, Wheat Gluten, Brewers Rice Flour, Corn
  • Key feature: Promotes healthy bones and digestion in growing giant puppies
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 32% Crude Protein, 12% Crude Fat, 3.4% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 341 kcal/cup
  • Type of Product: Puppy Food
  • Life Stage: Growth
  • Best for: Great Dane Puppies

Great Dane puppies should eat a diet explicitly formulated for giant breeds, like Royal Canin’s Giant Puppy Food.

Giant breed puppies need careful nutrition that promotes steady growth. Rapid growth can cause developmental disorders. [5]

This dog food is high in protein to support muscle development in growing dogs. But its lower caloric content ensures that the 32% protein content of this food does not cause puppies to grow too quickly.

Balanced energy content and adequate minerals promote proper bone mineralization. And healthy fiber sources like beet pulp support the sensitive digestive systems of young Great Danes.

Pet parents notice steady growth in puppies who eat this formula. However, this dog food may not be suitable for dogs sensitive to gluten.




Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Large Breed Senior Dog Food

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Large Breed Senior Chicken
  • First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Brown Rice, Barley, Oatmeal, Chicken Meal
  • Key feature: Antioxidant-rich formula helps keep senior dogs active
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 20% Crude Protein, 10% Crude Fat, 7% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 344 kcal/cup
  • Type of Product: No Corn, No Wheat, No Soy
  • Life Stage: Senior
  • Best for: Senior Great Danes

This large breed dog food supports elderly Great Danes with specialized ingredients for muscle maintenance and immune health.

Giant breeds have shorter life spans, so owners should consider feeding a senior food sooner than smaller dogs.

I own a giant breed and began feeding her a senior food after her sixth birthday.

A lower 20% protein content from high-quality sources like deboned chicken is appropriate for older dogs. L-Carnitine helps promote lean muscle maintenance. And whole-grain carbohydrates provide energy to keep your senior active. [6]

Antioxidants like vitamin E help protect tissue from damage associated with aging. And glucosamine helps manage joint disease in elderly dogs.

This formula does not contain any corn, wheat, or soy. And a high 7% fiber content helps promote healthy digestion. So owners find this formula ideal for sensitive seniors.




Purina Pro Plan Focus Giant Breed Dog Food

Purina Pro Plan Focus Adult Giant Breed Chicken
  • First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Brewer’s Rice, Corn Gluten Meal, Oatmeal, Whole Grain Wheat
  • Key feature: Budget-friendly formula with meat as the first ingredient
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 26% Crude Protein, 12% Crude Fat, 4.5% Crude Fiber, 12% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 383 kcal/cup
  • Type of Product: High Protein, Weight Control
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Best for: Budget Great Dane Food

The specialized formula of this Giant Breed dog food supports the unique needs of dogs over 100 pounds. Unlike other budget options, this dog food features real chicken as the first ingredient.

A 26% protein content is ideal for Great Danes. And a low 12% fat content helps limit calories that could cause weight gain in larger dogs. This protein to fat ratio promotes healthy lean muscle in Great Danes.

Dog owners share that this food helps keep their large pups in excellent condition.

The large kibble pieces of this dog food also help prevent dogs from bolting their food. A slower eating pace is essential for reducing the risks of bloat.




Wellness Complete Health Large Breed Dog Food

Wellness Large Breed Complete Health Adult Chicken
  • First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Ground Brown Rice, Barley, Peas
  • Key feature: Whole food formula that supports the entire body
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 26% Crude Protein, 12% Crude Fat, 5% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 340 kcal/cup
  • Type of Product: No Corn, No Wheat, No Soy
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Best for: Premium Great Dane Food

This dog food features specialized ingredients that address every aspect of your Great Dane’s health.

The whole foods formula helps build lean muscle with a 26% crude protein content from premium chicken.

Whole grains such as brown rice, barley, and oats provide digestible carbohydrates for active large dogs. And the caloric content of 340 kcal/cup offers enough energy for large breeds without promoting weight gain.

High concentrations of calcium and phosphorus promote strong bones that can support giant skeletons. [7]

Great Danes are famous for flatulence. But owners also noticed that their dog’s gas smells less offensive when fed this product.




 Taste of the Wild Grain-Free Canned Dog Food

Taste of the Wild High Prairie Canned Bison
  • First 5 Ingredients: Beef, Lamb Broth, Beef Broth, Vegetable Broth, Lamb Liver
  • Key feature: Wet food formula with premium animal proteins
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 8% Crude Protein, 3.5% Crude Fat, 1.0% Crude Fiber, 82% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 322 kcal/cup
  • Type of Product: Grain-Free, Chicken-Free
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Best for: Wet Food for Great Danes

This dog food from Taste of the Wild is a grain-free wet food with nutrient-rich ingredients ideal for Great Danes. The formula features several sources of lean animal protein. Real meat ingredients include beef, lamb, and venison.

An 82% moisture content makes the protein and fat percentages of this wet food deceptively low. But this recipe still meets your Great Dane’s nutritional requirements.

Wet food is an excellent choice for fussy eaters. Owners often find that their Great Danes prefer this food to dry alternatives.

Whole food ingredients provide nutrient-dense sources of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. The inclusion of organ meat boosts also boosts Vitamin A content. [8]

Potatoes and peas enable this grain-free formula to meet your dog’s energy requirements with sources of complex carbohydrates.




Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Large Breed Dog Food

Natural Balance LID Large Breed Lamb
  • First 5 Ingredients: Lamb, Brown Rice, Lamb Meal, Brewers Rice, Rice Bran
  • Key feature: Gluten-free limited ingredient formula
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 23% Crude Protein, 14% Crude Fat, 4% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 355 kcal/cup
  • Type of Product: Sensitive Digestion, No Corn, No Wheat, No Soy, Limited Ingredient Diet, Pea-Free, Chicken Free
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Best for: Great Danes with Allergies

Selecting a limited ingredient diet for your Great Dane with allergies is critical for managing allergic reactions.

This dog food is grain-inclusive but gluten-free to meet your big dog’s energy requirements while limiting common allergens.

Lamb is the single protein source of this formula. Using a single source of protein limits the risk of new allergies developing. 

This formula does not include chicken, a common ingredient and allergen. [9] A simple recipe helps avoid other common food sensitivities in Great Danes. 

The kibble is also specifically designed for large breeds. The size encourages proper chewing while a coarse texture helps clean teeth.

Most dog owners have success switching sensitive dogs onto this diet. But if your Great Dane suffers from grain allergies, you should consider a grain-free option.




Royal Canin Great Dane Adult Dog Food

Royal Canin Great Dane Adult
  • First 5 Ingredients: Chicken Fat, Chicken By-Product Meal, Tapioca, Brewers Rice, Corn
  • Key feature: Breed-specific formula explicitly designed for Great Danes
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 21% Crude Protein, 23% Crude Fat, 4.2% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 390 kcal/cup
  • Type of Product: Breed-Specific
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Best for: Breed-Specific Dog Food for Great Danes

Breed-specific nutrition goes beyond the basic needs of giant breeds to address the specific concerns of Great Danes. The kibble size is the largest of any food on this list, specifically designed for one of the world’s largest breeds.

This formula features a 21% protein content from chicken.

A high-fat content provides a precise mix of EPA and DHA. These omega fatty acids are healthy alternatives to other sources of fat. They promote coat, brain, and heart health. [10]

This food provides optimal energy levels for Great Danes over 24 months. The calories and nutrient levels are ideal for adults. But they may not be suitable for growing puppies.

While the large kibble size encourages big dogs to eat slowly, some owners worry that their dog may not chew it properly.




Hill’s Science Diet Healthy Mobility Large Breed Dog Food

Hill's Science Diet Adult Healthy Mobility Large Breed Chicken
  • First 5 Ingredients: Chicken Meal, Brewers Rice, Whole Grain Sorghum, Brown Rice, Whole Grain Wheat
  • Key Feature: Specialty diet supports joint health in large and giant breeds
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 28% Crude Protein, 12% Crude Fat, 3% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 367 kcal/cup
  • Type of Product: Mobility Diet
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Best For: Great Danes with Joint Problems

This formula’s 28% protein content comes from chicken meal. It includes several whole-grain ingredients to provide safe sources of energy for large dogs.

Fish oil offers high levels of omega-3 fatty acids to help reduce joint inflammation. [11] These healthy fats help reduce inflammation in irritated joints.

A concentrated level of glucosamine and chondroitin provide the building blocks of healthy cartilage. These ingredients are critical for improving comfort in dogs suffering from joint disease. [12]

Extra vitamins E and C act as antioxidants to help protect joints from free radical damage. [13]

Most dogs fed this formula experience increased mobility after 30 days of use. Some owners are concerned about the large kibble size. But the more prominent pieces are ideal for Great Danes.




Nutro Wholesome Essentials Healthy Weight Large Breed Dog Food

Nutro-Wholesome-Essentials-Healthy-Weight-Large-Breed-Adult-Chicken
  • First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Whole Brown Rice, Brewers Rice, Split Peas
  • Key Feature: Non-GMO weight control formula for large breeds
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 22% Crude Protein, 10% Crude Fat, 12% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 239 kcal/cup
  • Type of Product: Weight Control, No Corn, No Wheat, No Soy, Non-GMO
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Best For: Weight Management for Great Danes

Real chicken is the first ingredient of this food and contributes to a 24% protein content.

Nutrient-rich ingredients allow this formula to meet the nutritional needs of your Great Dane without excess calories.

A low 239 kcal/cup caloric content helps promote weight loss. Lean proteins and complex carbohydrates provide energy, while extra fiber keeps your pup full.

Most overweight large dogs also suffer from joint problems. The inclusion of glucosamine in this recipe helps ease discomfort associated with the extra stress of additional pounds.

Most owners report successful weight loss when feeding this product correctly. But, some dogs do not like the taste.




great dane eating

Guide to Buying Dog Food for Great Danes

Great Danes are big, impressive dogs. But their large size means they have unique nutritional requirements. Understanding how to select the best dog food for your giant four-legged friend is vital. 

Nutritional Requirements

Like all dogs, Great Danes need a diet that offers a balanced ratio of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.

Moderate Protein

Most Great Danes do best on a diet with moderate protein. Look for formulas with a crude protein percentage of around 24%.

Dogs depend on protein as a primary source of energy in their diet. But too much protein can cause Great Danes to beef up too much or grow too quickly.  Rapid growth can result in abnormal skeletal development.

Low Fats

Obesity can be a severe problem for Great Danes and other large breeds. Their size places additional stress on their bones and makes them susceptible to joint issues.

The best dog foods for this breed do not exceed 20% fat content. But fish oil and other sources of healthy fatty acids can help improve coat and heart health.

Digestible Carbohydrates

Choose a dog food that includes whole grains. These ingredients provide energy in the form of easily-digestible carbohydrates. Grain-free alternatives can also meet energy requirements with carbohydrates in the form of potatoes or peas.

Big dogs need a lot of energy. But be careful to avoid feeding too many filler carbs. Refined carbohydrates can easily contribute to weight gain.

Fiber

Fiber is not a primary energy source for dogs. But it helps nourish the healthy bacteria that live in your pup’s gut.


Make sure you feed a dog food that includes insoluble and soluble fibers. These ingredients will help enhance nutrient absorption. This will make sure that your Great Dane can use the nutrition provided by his diet.

Vitamins and Minerals

Giant breeds need to consume a diet that meets their daily requirements for vitamins and minerals. Puppies are especially vulnerable to deficiencies that can impact their long-term health.

Great Danes may not reach their full size until their fourth birthday. Essential minerals like calcium and phosphorus will ensure that they can grow into healthy adults. Deficiencies in these minerals can cause developmental bone diseases.

Any dog food you consider should meet AAFCO’s nutrient profile guidelines for dogs.

Antioxidants

Antioxidants like vitamin E and C help protect body tissues from damage by free radicals. Fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of these nutrients.

Eating a diet rich in antioxidants can boost your Great Dane’s immune health by reducing inflammation. This helps combat several health issues, including joint discomfort and heart disease.

Probiotics

Bloat is one of the most common health issues that impact this breed. Probiotics provide good bacteria that can limit the risks of this ailment by improving digestion.

Good bacteria help break down food and regulate bowel movements. This reduces the chance of excess gas accumulating in the stomach and causing bloat.

Joint Friendly Ingredients

Great Danes can reach a mature weight of up to 200 pounds. All that weight places additional stress on their bones and joints.

Nearly every Great Dane can benefit from a food that includes chondroprotective ingredients. Glucosamine is a common ingredient that helps protect joint cartilage. Look for a formula that provides extra support to help your pup feel his best.

great dane

How to Choose Dog Food for Great Danes

The best dog food for your dog will vary depending on his age, activity level, and special needs.

Caloric Needs

Great Danes need adequate energy levels to support their large size. But many of these gentle giants are content to spend all day on the couch.

Most Great Danes need between 2500 and 3500 calories per day. This may seem like a lot compared to smaller breeds, but these pups have a lot more body mass to fuel.

Lifestages

Your Great Dane will spend the first three to four years of his life growing to his full gigantic size. During puppyhood, proper nutrition is essential to prevent your pet from growing too fast.

Puppies have higher protein requirements to support muscle development. But they should not eat high-carbohydrate foods that could cause excess growth.

Adult Great Danes need enough food to support their mature weight of 140-170 pounds. They should also eat low-fat diets to limit the risks of weight gain.

Senior Great Danes have lower protein requirements. And many older giant breeds suffer from joint diseases. So the best senior foods provide significant nutritional support to ease joint discomfort.

Activity Level

Originally bred as working dogs, most Great Danes are now beloved family pets. Caloric needs vary significantly depending on their activity level.

Active Great Danes require high-calorie diets to support their energy needs. But too many calories can cause a sedentary Dane to gain too much weight.

Kibble Size

Great Danes have giant mouths to match the rest of their body. Most kibble is small enough for them to bolt down easily.

Choosing a dog food with a large kibble size will promote proper chewing. This can help limit the risks of choke and bloating.

How Much Food Do Great Danes Need?

The amount of food your Great Dane needs will change as he ages. But spitting his food up into multiple meals a day to prevent bloating is vital at any age.

How Much Should You Feed a Great Dane Puppy?

Your Great Dane puppy’s weight will change significantly over time. Choose a suitable puppy food and adjust his serving as he grows. Be sure to split your puppy’s food into 3 – 4 meals per day.

Great Dane Puppy AgeDaily Food Amount
8 – 11 Weeks2 – 4 Cups
12 – 15 Weeks3 – 5 Cups
16 – 19 Weeks4 – 6 Cups
20 – 23 Weeks5 – 7 Cups
24 – 27 Weeks6 – 8 Cups
28 – 35 Weeks6 – 9 Cups
9 Months – 1 Year7 – 10 Cups

How Much Should You Feed a Great Dane Adult?

The food you select for an average Great Dane should provide around 350-450 calories per cup.

Female dogs generally require less than male dogs. Split your adult Great Dane’s food into at least two meals per day.

Great Dane GenderDaily Food Amount
Female6 – 9 Cups
Male8 – 14 Cups

How Much Should You Feed a Great Dane Senior?

Senior Great Danes can eat a similar amount as adult Danes. Select a food formulated for elderly dogs and feed at least two meals per day.

Be sure to monitor your dog’s weight as he ages carefully and reduce his food as necessary.

great dane eating

Health Issues and Diet

Unfortunately, a predisposition to several health issues accompanies the Great Dane’s giant size. Work with your veterinarian to develop a diet that best addresses your dog’s unique needs.

Bloat and Gastric Torsion

Bloat was the most common emergency we treated Great Danes for in the veterinary hospital. It is a scary condition that can have serious consequences. But diet can play an essential role in managing the risk of this condition.

Gastric torsion causes the stomach to twist when overextended. This blocks blood circulation, which can be fatal. [14] Splitting your Great Dane’s food into multiple meals per day will help prevent this condition. Large kibble size can also help slow down your pup when eating.

Joint Problems and Hip Dysplasia

The Great Dane’s large size places excess strain on their bones and joints. Weight management is a crucial aspect of reducing the risks of joint disease.

Great Dane’s with joint disease can benefit from food that includes glucosamine. This ingredient helps ease joint discomfort.

Puppies who grow too quickly can develop hip dysplasia. This skeletal disease involves a malformation of the hip joint that can cause arthritis. [15] A balanced diet is crucial for preventing developmental disorders in growing Danes.

Heart Issues

Great Danes can suffer from dilated cardiomyopathy. This disease occurs when the heart enlarges, resulting in a reduced pumping capacity.

Adequate taurine levels in the diet are vital for heart health. Omega-3 fatty acids also help promote a healthy heart.

Immune and Endocrine Health

Common cancers that impact Great Danes include osteosarcomas and lymphomas. Osteosarcomas are bone cancers. Feeding adequate amounts of vitamin D will help reduce the chances of this disease. [16]

The abnormal growth of malignant cells causes lymphoma. Vitamin A can help encourage proper cell development. [17]

Great Danes can also suffer from hypothyroidism. This endocrine disorder results when your dog’s thyroid gland fails. [18] Dog foods that provide iodine can help manage the unexplained weight gain associated with this disease.

FAQs

Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about feeding Great Danes.

Is a Grain-Free Diet Better for Great Danes?

These giant dogs can do well on grain-inclusive and grain-free diets. Quality grains provide a valuable energy source, but grain-free diets can help digestive issues.

Do Great Danes Have Sensitive Stomachs?

Great Danes have a reputation for having a sensitive stomach. Consider feeding your dog a limited-ingredient diet that may eliminate the cause of his intolerance.

Is Flatulence Common in Great Danes?

This impressively large breed can have some impressively stinky farts. But abnormal gassiness could be a sign that your dog has a food intolerance.

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

Although Great Danes continue growing for a long time, they are considered adults at 15 months. You can switch to adult food when your Great Dane is around two years old.

The Verdict

Great Danes are massive dogs with significant nutritional needs.

The best dog foods for this breed support healthy growth and weight management. Holistic Select Giant Breed Dog Food‘s specialized nutrition for giant breeds makes it the best overall choice for your Great Dane.

These gentle giants give you unconditional love. Give them the best food.

Talk to your veterinarian today about how to design the best diet for your sizable four-legged

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