The 9 Best Dog Foods for Great Danes

By Kevin Myers | 2020 Update

So you own a Great Dane? Paw-some!

You are a lucky pet owner because, despite their overwhelming size, these gentle giants are one of the best dog breeds to have as a family pet as they make a loving, confident and highly devoted hound.

You may have brought them home as a tiny little pup, but soon they’re going to outgrow your lap and become this majestic giant that jumps, spins, leaps, bounces, and gallops around the house.

Being the unique breed that they are, they have specific needs when it comes to the right nutrition and exercise. Just like other large and giant breeds, Great Danes are prone to health problems and can have a limited lifespan. As an owner, it is your responsibility to make sure this big, beautiful dog lives a wonderful and fulfilling life.

Therefore, learning how and what to feed a Great Dane is a must to ensure you provide your pooch with nutrition that keeps them happy and healthy.

Here I have reviewed the top dog foods for Great Danes for you to consider, including some commonly asked questions along with a detailed buyer’s guide.

Let’s dig in!

The Best Dog Foods for Great Danes

1. Nutro Ultra — Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Whole Brown Rice, 4. Brewers Rice, 5. Whole Grain Oatmeal

The holistic food blend is specially designed for large breed adult dogs and is perfect for your Great Dane. The recipe contains an ideal combination of supreme-quality lean protein, natural and antioxidant-rich vegetables and fruits, healthy oils, and rich whole grains to provide your dog the nutrition he deserves. The perfect mix of natural and holistic ingredients ensures optimal levels of amino acids and flavors that your dog can’t resist.

Most large breed dog requires more than one source of lean protein, and it is no different for Great Danes. The recipe is prepared from three lean animal-based protein sources, including pasture-fed lamb, farm-raised chicken, and salmon, and includes everything your pooch needs to build strong and lean muscles. It also contains naturally sourced chondroitin and glucosamine to provide the building blocks for a dog’s health. Free from wheat, corn, soy, and pea, the recipe is prepared under expert guidance keeping your pet’s best health concerns in mind. I highly recommend it!


2. Blue Buffalo — Life Protection Formula Large Breed Adult Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Chicken, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Brown Rice, 4. Oatmeal, 5. Barley

I love this formula by Blue Buffalo for my Great Dane. The savory and nutrient-rich recipe is also a favorite meal for most large breed dogs. The recipe is prepared from chicken and brown rice and formulated for large and giant breed adult dogs. It contains appropriate amounts of protein and other essential nutrients to ensure your Great Dane stays healthy and energized. In addition to helping your dog maintain lean muscles, the formula also contains naturally sourced chondroitin and glucosamine for joint health and muscle strength. The added minerals and vitamins help to maintain healthy teeth and bones.

This food is an excellent combination of high-quality ingredients like deboned chicken, brown rice, oatmeal, chicken meal, and barley, and also includes LifeSource Bits to offer your Dane the benefits of antioxidants. The recipe maintains its quality by eliminating common allergens and fillers like corn, soy, wheat, and other by-product meals. The palatable formula is quite hit with Great Danes and makes feeding your hyper hound easier.


3. Royal Canin — Great Dane Adult Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken Fat, 2. Chicken By-Product Meal, 3. Tapioca, 4. Brewers Rice, 5. Corn

If you are looking for 100% complete and balanced nutrition for your Great Dane, this formula is an excellent choice. This recipe is crafted specifically for Great Danes and includes all the essential nutrition your big dog needs. The crunchy kibble has a delicious flavor that encourages your dog to fuel up without overstressing their stomach.

The selective protein in this formulation meets the requirement for extensive energy your big fur baby requires for staying active. Also, the added DHA and EPA levels promote joint and bone health while the fibers in the formula support robust digestive performance. The recipe also includes liver-enriched inhibitory protein for optimum health.


4. Purina ONE — SmartBlend Large Breed Adult Formula Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Rice Flour, 3. Chicken By-Product Meal, 4. Corn Gluten Meal, 5. Whole Grain Wheat

Provide excellent nourishment to your Great Dane with nutrition specially designed for them. The unique diet has excellent flavor – thanks to the kibble combined with meaty morsels for extra protein.

The premium-quality dry food helps your dog maintain their ideal health and supports healthy bones and joint health with a natural source of glucosamine. The unique formulation also boasts a dual-defense system with zinc, selenium, vitamin A, and vitamin E to keep your big hound’s coat and skin shiny and healthy. It also helps maintain a more robust immune system.


5. Instinct by Nature’s Variety — Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Recipe with Real Turkey Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Turkey Meal, 2. Peas, 3. Turkey, 4. Tapioca, 5. Canola Oil

Provide your Great Dane a nutritionally balanced diet supplemented with DHA and omega fatty acids for healthy development and growth.

This grain-free recipe is an excellent option for dogs with food sensitivities as the limited-ingredient formula contains a single animal protein and only one vegetable. This way, you can control what you feed your dog and still offer a flavorful but highly digestible food.


6. Holistic Select — Large & Giant Breed Adult Health Chicken Meal & Oatmeal Recipe Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken Meal, 2. Rice, 3. Oatmeal, 1. Oats, 5. Chicken Fat

With a variety of high-quality proteins, this formula is ideal for large and giant breed dogs. The recipe includes a variety of healthy vegetables and proteins, including papaya and pumpkin, to offer nutrition with great flavors and glucosamine to support joint health. This interesting combination of ingredients also aids in the utilization and absorption of vital nutrients to keep your Great Dane healthy.

7. Royal Canin — Size Health Nutrition Giant Adult Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken By-Product Meal, 2. Brewers Rice, 3. Chicken Fat, 4. Brown Rice, 5. Corn Gluten Meal

Your dog needs a diet that ensures excellent mobility and great joint health. This particular variety by the Royal Canin is an exceptional combination of high-quality nutrients that reduces the risk of bone and joint issues. The appropriate levels of calcium, chondroitin, glucosamine, and DHA support joint health. At the same time, other essential nutrients such as digestible proteins and fibers give your big fella the nutrition he needs for excellent health.


8. Eukanuba — Large Breed Puppy Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Chicken By-Product Meal, 3. Corn, 4. Wheat, 5. Chicken Fat

Your Great Dane puppy needs proper nutrition to grow into a giant dog. This blend by Eukanuba is an excellent choice to give your puppy the nutritional support it needs for active growth and energy during puppyhood. The recipe includes high-quality animal protein and optimal levels of DHA, phosphorous, calcium, and optimized carbs and fats to help your little fluff ball turn into a big and strong dog. It is recommended for puppies up to 15 months old.


9. Hill’s Science Diet — Adult Large Breed Chicken & Barley Recipe Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Cracked Pearled Barley, 3. Whole Grain Wheat, 4. Whole Grain Corn, 5. Whole Grain Sorghum

With real chicken as the primary ingredient, the highly-digestible formula is a tasty meal for your big hound that needs complete and balanced nutrition for optimal health. This recipe by Hill’s Science Diet includes clinically proven antioxidants such as vitamin C and E to support your pooch’s strong immunity and great health. The scientifically formulated recipe is an excellent option for your large breed dog with nutrition perfectly tailored to their specific needs.


Related:

Great Danes Dog Food FAQs

Is a grain-free diet better for my Great Dane?

For Great Danes, a balanced diet is crucial. When it comes to grains, the focus should be on quality instead of whether they should or should not eat grains. Most dogs, regardless of their breed, can have a hard time digesting low-quality grain. Also, a grain-free option is better for dogs with stomach and digestion issues, and in that case, you should avoid soy, corn, wheat, and other grains in their diet. Other than that, you can serve a grain-inclusive diet to your dog, but make sure you stick to high-quality, certified organic grains.

Do I need to take special diet considerations for my Great Dane before choosing my dog’s food?

This breed requires the pet owners to take their diet considerations into account before heading out to pick the best dog foods for Great Danes. The key is to plan out your hunt with the following factors in mind:

  • The right amount of caloric intake
  • Careful monitoring
  • Appropriate level of exercise
  • Weight considerations
  • Health aspects

You will learn more about each of these aspects later in this article.

Can my Great Dane have a sensitive stomach?

Since every dog is different, concerns regarding a Great Dane’s stomach sensitivity may be valid. However, if your dog is one of them, the symptoms are pretty evident including vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, blood in stool, nausea, excessive gas, and hypersalivation. Often, these sensitivities are related to your dog’s diet, so if you want to fix this issue, you must pay closer attention to what you are feeding your Great Dane. Also, make sure you visit a vet.

What should I feed my Great Dane if he has a sensitive stomach?

Once diagnosed, you might want to switch to a healthier diet option to avoid stressing your dog’s sensitive stomach. A grain-free diet is a good option since it does not include hard-to-digest grains. Similarly, a limited-ingredient diet is also a great idea because you can keep a check on all the ingredients you are feeding your dog. You can also seek assistance from a vet to further tailor your Great Dane’s diet if he has a sensitive stomach.

Is regular flatulence common for Great Danes?

Flatulence is quite common in dogs, including the Great Dane. The frequency, however, could signal problems in the food. If your dog farts a lot, the food could be spoiled. Also, diets that are rich in fats, milk products, and spicy piquant foods can contribute to flatulence in Great Danes.

Is Great Dane a large breed dog or a giant breed dog?

Being one of the largest dog breeds in the world, they definitely merit the tag of being a giant or an extra-large breed dog.

How much should I feed my Great Dane dog?

It is essential to calculate this based on your dog’s weight and activity level. Instead of focusing on the amount of food, it is best to calculate the calories you must feed your Great Dane and feed accordingly. Typically, an active adult dog would consume between 2500 and 3000 calories in a day. Further discussion on calculating the calories are discussed in detail later in this article.

How many times should I feed my Great Dane dog?

Once you have calculated the number of calories you should feed your Great Dane, you can divide the food into several meals during the day. Usually, this falls between 8 and 15 cups for adult dogs in a day.

When should I switch my Great Dane from puppy food to adult food?

Great Danes are considered adults at 15 months of age. You can switch their puppy food to an adult version soon after.

How much exercise do Great Danes need?

While the dog prefers an indoor environment, they do require a long walk at least once a day. If you have a large yard, allowing them to play around is equally good. Generally, puppies and adolescents must get about 90 minutes of exercise daily while an adult would suffice with 30 to 60 minutes of daily exercise.

Are Great Danes easy to train?

The gentle giants are affectionate and playful dogs and are one of the best breeds to have as a family pet. Also, they are considered comparatively easier to train but sometimes can be a little stubborn.

What are the possible health issues that Great Danes are susceptible to?

The large dog is naturally more prone to joint and bone problems. But unfortunately, that’s not all. There are many other possible health issues this dog breed is susceptible to, and the most common ones are:

  • Bloat and torsion
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Arthritis
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Dilated cardiomyopathy
  • Wobbler syndrome
  • Entropion
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Ectropion
  • Cherry eye

How much protein should I feed my Great Dane pup?

The recommended protein content in a Great Dane pup’s diet should not exceed 26%.

Can Great Danes eat eggs?

Eggs are great as they offer digestible protein to the dog. Even if your Great Dane has a digestive issue, feeding eggs is a great way to give them a protein boost.

What food should I never feed my Great Dane?

Avoid feeding the following food to your Great Dane and protect them from potential health issues:

  • Avocados
  • Table scraps – especially the fatty ones
  • Liquor, wine, or any food cooked with alcohol
  • Onions and garlic
  • Chocolates, coffee, and other stimulants
  • Dairy
  • Raisins and grapes

Great Danes Dog Food Buyer’s Guide

Are you wondering if you could be a responsible pet parent and give your precious Great Dane a paw-some diet to help them lead a healthy, happy life?

Well, the answer is – of course, you can! If you love your pooch and can’t compromise on his diet, surely you can feed your little one with responsibility and ensure your dog stays healthy.

The information we share here will help you understand the unique diet considerations of your mighty gentle giant and assist you in making a wise decision when picking up the best dog foods for Great Danes. Let’s get started.

Everything You Need to Know About Feeding a Great Dane

Before you start shortlisting the best food products for your Great Dane, it is important to understand their specific dietary requirements to feed them exactly what they need. Having a better idea of potential allergies, portion sizes, calorific requirements, and other aspects will help you make a decision.

Here’s something you need to know.

Understanding Portion Size

Portion size is a significant factor that shouldn’t be overlooked. If you assumed that it is common for an adult Great Dane to be fed mountains of food, you are wrong. While their caloric requirement is more than the small or medium-sized dogs, you need to avoid overfeeding, as too many calories could lead to obesity and other health issues down the line.

For calories, adult and healthy Great Danes require 2500 to 3000 calories per day.

Things to Consider before Deciding Your Dog’s Calorie Intake

Feeding your Great Dane can significantly vary depending on their life-stage and size. Around 2lbs at birth, this gentle giant can grow up to weigh above 100 lbs in no time.

Here are some factors to consider.

Life Stage

Great Dane puppies, despite their big size, are very playful and hyper and therefore require more energy in the form of calories to keep up. At this stage, they require food with high caloric content for all the necessary energy they need for development and growth. Give them food and aim for calories between 2500 and 300 kcal daily.

Activity Level

Some Great Danes are active while others can be sedentary. Make sure you take this factor into account as it will determine whether your dog requires a high caloric diet or not. A cup will be between 350 and 450 calories and how many cups you need to feed your pooch depends on their activity level. If your dogs are active and exercise more, you can give them food with a little higher calorie profile and vice versa. While paying attention to the calories, don’t forget to ensure your dog’s also getting optimal levels of nutrition.

General Weight, Height, and Size

The weight, height, and size of your dog are the physical characteristics that would determine the amount of food that’s healthy for your dog.

How Much Food Do I Feed My Great Dane?

Great Danes are not only giant dogs but also have the fastest growth rate. Unfortunately, the quicker your dog grows, the quicker they could develop health problems. The key is to ensure their muscles, bones, and joints grow at the same rate. Moreover, Great Danes are also susceptible to bloating problem, so you need to be very cautious about feeding them.

You can avoid the extensive calculation by checking out this rundown we have calculated for you. So how much should you feed your Great Dane? Let’s find out!

  • 8 – 11 weeks old – two to four cups (can be divided into three small meals)
  • 12 – 15 weeks old – three to five cups (can be divided into two meals)
  • 16 – 19 weeks old – four to six cups (can be divided into two meals)
  • 20 – 23 weeks old – five to seven cups (can be divided into two meals)
  • 24 – 27 weeks old – six to eight cups (can be divided into two meals)
  • 28 – 35 weeks old – six to nine cups ( can be divided into three meals)
  • 9 months – 1-year old – seven to ten cups (divided into three meals)
  • Adults (male) – eight to fourteen cups depending on size and activity level
  • Adults (female) – six to nine cups depending on size and activity level

Great Danes and Common Health Concerns

Great Danes are the dog-world giants but unfortunately are not immune to health problems. I have listed some common health problems and their symptoms.

Joint Problems and Hip Dysplasia – Large dogs are heavier, which puts additional stress on their bones and joints. The pressure can put unnecessary strain on the hip joint and eventually cause hip dysplasia.

Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy – Since these dogs have a faster rate of growth, it can lead to painful bones and puts a lot of stress on connective tissue as well. Sometimes, giving extra nutrition can also be the culprit, especially proteins. As necessary as this nutrient is, overfeeding can be harmful to your pooch’s health.

Gastric Torsion – Known as bloat in simple words, gastric torsion can cause the stomach to twist and halt blood circulation. It is a veterinary emergency that needs immediate treatment. It can be fatal, and Great Danes are at high risk of gastric torsion.

Dilated Cardiomyopathy – This is a condition where the size of the heart increases, thinning the walls of the heart, which affects pumping capacity and cause oxygenation problems.

Osteosarcoma – Osteosarcoma is bone cancer. Great Danes are also susceptible to developing cancer in other body parts.

It is best to seek professional assistance if you notice any uncommon behavior or obvious symptom in your dog.

Best Food Ingredients for Great Danes

Great Danes require certain nutrients more than the other.

High-Quality Protein and Fat

An excellent Great Dane food must have high-quality protein and fat. And since your precious pooch depends on you for nutrients, make sure their protein and fats come from healthy, natural, reliable, and ideally possible sourced ingredients. These are essential macronutrients for Great Danes, and that’s where you cannot compromise. When looking for the best dog foods for Great Danes, you need to pay special attention to these macronutrient content.

When it comes to protein, the best sources are real animal meats. Similarly, you need to rely on the same sources for the fat content too. The best Great Dane diet options include ingredients such as chicken, venison, lamb, and beef. If you see an ingredient on the label that confuses you – such as by-products for protein or pork fat or lard for fat, that’s not a very good option for your Great Dane.

Limited-to-No Carbohydrate Fillers

Another major factor that you need to watch out for is the fillers. These conventional filler ingredients are a must ingredient to structure the kibble for a better shelf-life but don’t contribute to your dog’s health. Therefore, it is best if these ingredients are limited or eliminated from the formulation. Carb fillers, such as corn gluten meal, should be avoided in a Great Dane’s food. Some dogs can be sensitive to wheat and gluten products. In that case, pick a grain-free and gluten-free option to ensure you are choosing the best form of diet for your pooch.

V for Vegetables

It is essential to include a variety of vegetables in a Dane’s diet. While you can feed them raw as a snack for added vitamins, looking for food options with wholesome vegetables in the recipe is also a great way to supplement your dog’s food with rich vitamins. From vitamin A in carrots, K and C in spinach, D, and E in tomato, you can add a variety to your Great Dane’s diet and do them a much-appreciated favor.

Essential Minerals and Vitamins

Your Great Dane’s diet requires essential minerals and vitamins as these bonus elements enrich the formula and help with joint and bone health.

Naturally Preserved, Colored, and Flavored

The best foods for Great Danes contain only natural ingredients and store well without artificial additives. Choose foods naturally preserved without artificial colors or flavors.

Antioxidant-Rich Ingredients

Since Great Danes are susceptible to many health problems, including a type of cardiomyopathy, a diet rich in antioxidants is excellent for minimizing these concerns while also supporting your dog’s digestive health by reducing inflammatory processes.

Probiotics

Bloating is a significant health concern for this breed, and therefore, a diet that’s rich in probiotics can help improve digestion by minimizing bloating. Probiotics also help improve immune system functioning and help prevent life-threatening diseases.

Ingredients to Avoid Feeding a Great Dane

We can’t emphasize enough that you should feed your gentle giant a proper diet. Any of the following foods can be detrimental to their health.

  • Avocados
  • Table scraps or leftover food, especially with high-fat content or heavily seasoned
  • Liquor, beer, wine, or any food cooked using alcohol
  • Onions and garlic in any form
  • Tea and coffee
  • Cocoas and chocolate
  • Chewing gums or candies
  • Raisins and grapes
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Salt and salty foods
  • Sugar, sugary drinks, and sugary foods
  • Peaches, plums, and persimmons

More Food Options for Great Danes

10. Taste of the Wild — Sierra Mountain Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Offer your big hound the nourishment he deserves with a holistic and balanced diet offered by Taste of the Wild brand. The crunch kibble is formulated with handpicked high-quality ingredients and loaded with novel proteins extracted from lamb as the primary ingredient. The grain-free recipe includes a variety of other supreme-quality ingredients, including sweet potatoes and peas, to help your pooch keep up with the energy they need to stay healthy and active.


11. Iams — ProActive Health Adult Large Breed Dry Dog Food

This brand does absolute justice to its name and offers proactive health to your large breed dog. This recipe is designed for adult, large-breed dogs and is formulated with an excellent nutrient profile to provide the nutrition your dog needs to stay active and thrive. The protein-rich diet is prepared from high-quality ingredients, including chicken and eggs for protein and helps your dog build strong muscles and keep up with excellent heart health. Also rich in prebiotics, the diet promotes healthy digestion to prevent digestive issues in big dogs.


12. Nutro — Wholesome Essentials Large Breed Adult Farm-Raised Chicken

The holistic recipe is loaded with wholesome nutrients to keep your large breed adult dog in great shape. This simple diet contains high-quality farm-raised chicken, sweet potatoes, brown rice, and is an excellent source of essential nutrients for your pup. The formula has no fillers, by-products, or unnecessary ingredients.


13. Blue Buffalo Wilderness — Rocky Mountain Recipe with Red Meat Large Breed Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Formulated with essential supplementation such as chondroitin and glucosamine for joint health, this diet option by Blue Buffalo Wilderness is an excellent food for large breed dogs. The grain-free diet includes multiple sources of protein, including venison, beef, and lamb, to help absorb the maximum amount of nutrition for optimal health. It is a good alternative to raw food diets and also includes essential omega fatty acids to help your dog feel and look great from inside out.


14. Nutro Max — Large Breed Adult Recipe with Farm-Raised Chicken Dry Dog Food

Crafted for large-breed dogs, this recipe by Nutro Max has the finest combination of ingredients to provide excellent nutrition to your Great Dane. This recipe contains farm-raised chicken and a variety of whole grains and is free from soy, wheat, corn, and by-product meal to ensure your dog consumes the best available nutrition. This recipe prepared by the experts uses only natural ingredients to meet the nutritional requirements pup.


15. Purina Pro Plan — Focus Puppy Large Breed Formula Dry Dog Food

This large-breed puppy formula provides just the right nutrition that your precious pup needs. The recipe depends on high-quality chicken for protein content and keeps your little one lean, trim, and toned as your puppy grows into its adult frame. The recipe also includes complex carbohydrates extracted from rice to keep your pup active and playful all day long. With Omega-6 fatty acids supplementation, the diet helps to keep your dog’s skin healthy and promotes a beautiful, shiny coat.


16. Earthborn Holistic — Great Plains Feast Grain-Free Natural Dry Dog Food

The grain-free diet by Earthborn Holistic uses bison meal as an excellent and lean source of protein and is also rich in amino acids. The key ingredients in this formulation offer all the essential nutrients that work as building blocks to keep your dog happy and healthy. Promote optimal growth and sustenance by helping your dog establish a strong foundation with a balanced and complete meal rich in clinically proven antioxidants.


17. Eagle Pack — Large & Giant Breed Adult Dry Dog Food

Keep your Dane healthy and strengthen his immune system by offering him a diet rich in essential minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. The recipe is ideal for dogs weighing over 50 pounds and provides nutrition to keeps them on the move. With excellent sources of protein, carbs, fats, and essential fatty acids, the formula also includes glucosamine to support joint health.


Final Thoughts

The products reviewed in this article may not be 100% perfect but they are the best ones available out there, keeping their nutrient content and quality of ingredients in mind. The information shared here will not only help you make an excellent decision regarding the best dog foods for Great Danes but will also help you shortlist your options and pick the best one according to the specific dietary preferences of your pooch.

I have included something for every need and taste to make it easier for you to bring up a healthy, happy Great Dane. Feel free to speak to us if you have further queries regarding supplements or food products for your dog.

Happy pooch parenting!