The Great Dane is a gentle giant known for his confident, loving, and devoted personality.
Although they have a magnificent, imposing stature, these dogs are still rated to be one of the best around kids, despite their large size
Like any pet, these beautiful dogs require good care, including providing them with a well-balanced and healthy diet.
Keep reading to discover the best food for your Great Dane.
Table of Contents
Top 6 Picks for Best Dog Food for Great Danes in 2021
|Dog Food Recipes||Our Rating|
|Best Overall||Gentle Giants Canine Nutrition Chicken Dry Dog Food
|Best for Great Dane puppies||Orijen Puppy Large Dry Food Recipe
|Best for Adult Great Danes||Gentle Giants Canine Nutrition Chicken Dry Dog Food
|Best for Senior Great Danes||Nutro Ultra Grain-Free Senior Pate Wet Food
|Best Budget Food for Great Danes||Eukanuba Adult Dry Dog Food Chicken – Large Breed
|Best Grain-Free Food for Great Danes||Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Grain-Free Canned Food
The best dog food brands for Great Danes by stages
As a giant breed, Great Danes need food that assists them with their slow-growing needs. The feeding requirements of your dog will also change as your dog grows.
While Great Danes weigh just two pounds (1 kg) at birth, they can quickly grow to a 100 pound (45 kg) monster in no time at all.
Thus it is essential to choose a food that has been specifically crafted for the stage of your dog’s life, taking into account their lifestyle, development, and energy levels.
Best puppy foods for Great Danes
Although even big as puppies, young Great Danes have similar needs to other breeds when small.
They need food formulated to support their active, hyper personality while providing essential supplements for development.
With muscles and bones developing rapidly, they also need plenty of calories.
1. Wellness Complete Health Natural Puppy Recipe Canned Food
Our Rating: 4
First 3 Ingredients: Chicken Broth, Chicken, Chicken Liver
A natural, canned wet food packed with protein and vegetables to cater to puppies’ growing needs.
- Full of nutrient-rich ingredients to build a robust immune system
- Pate-style wet food for easy digestion and ensure puppy eats well
- Full of antioxidants and amino acids for a solid foundation
- Formulated by nutritionists and veterinarians
- Some dogs got an upset tummy on this diet
- Some users complained that the food does not offer good value for money as the cans were not full
2. Orijen Puppy Large Dry Food Recipe
Our Rating: 4.5
First 3 Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Deboned Turkey, Flounder
A biologically appropriate diet for large breed puppies packed full of natural protein.
- Puppy formula made using 85 percent animal ingredients, including free-range chicken and turkey, wild-caught fish, and cage-free eggs
- Kibble is coated in freeze-dried liver to make it as appealing as possible for puppies
- Naturally rich in vitamins and minerals
- Very expensive compared to similar brands
- Some owners complained of digestive issues when their pet was on this diet
Best dog food for Great Dane adults
Although Great Danes reach a large size in only a few months, they take about three or four years to reach full maturity. When your dog reaches the adult stage, it’s essential to consider its lifestyle.
Some Great Danes will be bouncy balls of energy, accompanying you on walks and hikes, while others prefer a more sedentary lifestyle.
Their lifestyle will influence which is the best food for your dog in particular.
1. Gentle Giants Canine Nutrition Chicken Dry Dog Food
Our Rating: 4.5
First 3 Ingredients: Chicken Meal, Pearled Barley, Brown Rice
Kibble large breed formula made from a natural blend of whole grains and real protein.
- Specifically made for dogs with sensitive stomachs
- Packed full of non-GMO fruits and vegetables
- Contains New Zealand green mussels, which add glucosamine and chondroitin for healthy joints, bone strength, and reduced inflammation
- Suitable for any life stage
- Full of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, as well as prebiotics and probiotics for easy digestion
- Large breed pet owners may find the size of the kibble too small
- Some dogs only ate a few bites of this food
2. Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Grain-Free Canned Food
Our Rating: 5
First 3 Ingredients: Lamb, Lamb Meal, Sweet Potatoes
Easily digestible grain-free quality dog food formulated with pasture-raised lamb.
- Contains probiotics to prevent bloat, help with digestion and boost the immune system
- Contains zinc, omega fatty acids, and vitamins and minerals
- Offers natural antioxidants from fruits and vegetables
- Some dogs got sick on this food
- One owner complained that their dog was very thirsty on this food
3. Holistic Select Large & Giant Breed Adult Health Chicken Meal & Oatmeal Recipe Dry Dog Food
Our Rating: 4
First 3 Ingredients: Chicken Meal, Rice, Oatmeal
Formula for large and giant dog breeds with plenty of protein and healthy vegetables.
- Offers a unique combination of probiotics, fiber, and enzymes for digestive health
- Packed with omega-three fatty acids for healthy skin and coat
- Some reviewers complained the kibble was too small and often crushed in the bag
- Expensive when compared to other brands
4. AvoDerm Natural Chicken & Rice Formula Canned Food
Our Rating: 4
First 3 Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Broth, Chicken Liver
Premium canned wet dog food packed full of real chicken, omega-rich avocados, and whole grains.
- Crafted for all life stages
- Wheat, corn, and soy free
- Caused vomiting and diarrhea with some dogs
- It caused some dogs to itch and develop a rash
5. Taste of the Wild Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
Our Rating: 4.5
First 3 Ingredients: Water Buffalo, Lamb Meal, Chicken Meal
A high-quality protein-rich diet designed to resemble what your dog may have once eaten in the wild.
- It contains real protein from lamb, chicken, and water buffalo
- Contains natural antioxidants from fruits and veggies
- Grain-free formula suitable for senior dogs, weaning pups, and dogs with food allergies
- Includes a proprietary strain probiotic for digestive health
- It can take a while for dogs to get used to the taste of this food
- Some dogs had loose stool when on this food
6. Wellness Core Natural Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
Our Rating: 4
First 3 Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal
Dry kibble formulated explicitly for large and giant dog breeds with a high level of protein to build strong muscles.
- Contains Chondroitin and Glucosamine for strengthening your dog’s joints
- Packed with vitamins and minerals as well as calcium and phosphorus
- Contains prebiotics to prevent bloating
- Some dogs simply won’t eat this food
- Some pet owners complained of the high price of this food
7. Hill’s Science Diet Large Breed Dry Dog Food
Our Rating: 4.5
First 3 Ingredients: Chicken, Cracked Pearled Barley, Whole Grain Wheat
Scientifically formulated dry dog food for large breed dogs with chicken as the first ingredient.
- Includes amino acids in its formula, which are the building blocks of healthy development
- Includes Chondroitin and Glucosamine to assist with mobility and joint health
- Highly-digestible, flavor-filled recipe
- Not for dogs with food allergies to wheat and corn
- Some reviewers complained the kibble was too small for large dogs
8. Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain Free Natural Adult Large Breed Dry Dog Food
Our Rating: 5
First 3 Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Potatoes
100% grain and gluten-free kibble that is specially designed for large dogs and features real chicken as the main ingredient.
- Infused with microorganisms that aid digestion and boost immunity
- Free of poultry by-product meals, corn, wheat, and soy
- Includes Blue Buffalo’s LifeSource Bits, a selection of antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins to boost health and wellness
- A lower percentage of protein than other foods
- Some reviewers complained their dog was very itchy on this diet
9. Eukanuba Adult Dry Dog Food Chicken – Large Breed
Our Rating: 4.5
First 3 Ingredients: Chicken, Corn, Chicken By-Product Meal
Well-balanced dog food for large breed dogs.
- Includes added Chondroitin and Glucosamine to improve your dog’s mobility
- Contains DHA and vitamin E for brain development and a healthy immune system
- Includes 3D DentaDefense to reduce tartar buildup
- Plenty of natural fiber and prebiotics for easy digestion
- Contains corn as the second ingredient, so it may not be suitable for pets with food allergies
- Some reviewers complained their dog’s coat was lackluster while on this food
10. Wellness Large Breed Complete Health Adult Deboned Chicken & Brown Rice
Our Rating: 4
First 3 Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Ground Brown Rice
Specially formulated food to provide large dogs with whole-body nutritional support, with chicken as the main ingredient.
- Includes calcium and phosphorus for the healthy growth of bones and teeth
- Includes Yucca Schidigera extract, which reduces the smell of stool
- No corn, wheat, or soy
- It contains essential omega fatty acids, antioxidants, glucosamine, probiotics, and taurine
- Some reviewers complained that the price is not always consistent
- Some picky eaters did not want to touch this food
11. Diamond Naturals Large Breed Adult Chicken & Rice
Our Rating: 4
First 3 Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Whole Grain Brown Rice
Dry dog food for large breeds’ overall health with real protein, whole grains, and superfoods.
- Packed with omega fatty acids for healthy skin and a shiny coat
- Well-balanced nutrition formula for building strong, lean muscles
- It contains nutrient-rich ingredients like coconut and kale and a proprietary probiotic blend for digestive health
- Contains no corn, wheat, fillers, artificial flavors, additives, or colors
- Some dogs were plagued by itchiness and even hair loss on this diet
- Some dogs simply avoided this food and seemed not to like the taste
12. Health Extension Large Bites Chicken & Brown Rice
Our Rating: 4
First 3 Ingredients: Organic Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Ground Brown Rice
Holistically nutritious dry dog food specifically formulated for large breed puppy and adult dogs.
- Includes organic, free-range chicken as the main ingredient
- Full of wholesome ingredients such as brown rice, oatmeal, flaxseeds, menhaden fish, and lamb
- Designed to build a healthy immune system through the inclusion of superfoods like ginger, coconut oil, green tea extract, apple cider vinegar, and New Zealand mussel
- Free of meat by-products, fillers, corn, wheat, and soy
- Some pet owners complained the kibble was too small
- Some people complained that the food had a rancid smell
13. Purina ONE SmartBlend Large Breed Adult Formula Dry Dog Food
Our Rating: 4.5
First 3 Ingredients: Chicken, Rice Flour, Chicken By-Product Meal
Balanced dry kibble explicitly designed for large breed dogs with real chicken as the main ingredient.
- Contains natural sources of Glucosamine for healthy bones and joint health
- It contains Zinc, Selenium, vitamin A, and vitamin E for a healthy immune system and healthy skin and coat
- Crunchy kibble designed to clean the teeth
- Some pet owners complained that they couldn’t get their dogs to eat this pet food
- It contains meat by-product meal, and some owners complained of visible hairs in the food
14. Royal Canin Great Dane Adult Dry Dog Food
Our Rating: 4
First 3 Ingredients: Chicken Fat, Chicken By-Product Meal, Tapioca
Balanced and complete nutrition developed explicitly for Great Danes over the age of 24 months.
- Crunchy kibble provides excellent flavor while being sensitive on the stomach
- Selective liver-enriched protein formula for sustained energy in this large breed
- Added DHA and EPA for joint and bone health
- Contains meat by-product meal as the second ingredient
Best dog food for Great Dane seniors
Great Danes reach their senior years around seven years old. Elderly Great Danes can tend towards obesity due to decreased activity levels, and so it is vital to manage your dog’s weight carefully in these years.
Obesity can lead to several diseases, including osteochondrosis, dysplasia, heart failure, diabetes, and osteoarthritis.
1. Victor Senior Healthy Weight Dry Food
Our Rating: 4.5
First 3 Ingredients: Beef Meal, Whole Grain Brown Rice, Whole Grain Millet
Multi-protein dry dog food specially formulated for aging dogs in need of a nutrient-rich diet.
- Contains glucosamine and chondroitin for long-term joint health
- Contains quality beef, chicken, and fish for sustained energy
- Formulated for less active pups while still providing plenty of vitamins, minerals, omega fatty acids, and amino acids
- Made with gluten-free grains
- Some dogs seemed to hate the smell and taste
2. Nutro Ultra Grain-Free Senior Pate Wet Food
Our Rating: 4.5
First 3 Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Liver, Chicken Broth
Nutritious and delicious protein-rich recipe for senior dogs with real chicken, lamb, and salmon.
- It contains no artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, or GMO ingredients
- Made with high-quality ingredients directly sourced from farmers
- It can be used to top up kibble
- Some owners complained the consistency was too dry
Best dog food for Great Danes with health issues
Due to a Great Dane’s large size, these dogs can suffer from various health issues as they get older.
This is caused by increased pressure on the dog’s muscular-skeletal structure and heart health as they get older.
Choosing a dog food for Great Danes with health problems
Great Danes’ common health issues include joint problems and hip dysplasia brought on by the stress that large breeds place on their joints and bones.
Also, Great Danes are susceptible to Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy due to their increased rate of growth. Food brands with Chondroitin and Glucosamine can help to prevent mobility issues in your dog.
Bloat or gastric torsion is also a common issue in large or giant breeds.
Foods packed full of fiber and light on wheat can help reduce this ailment, as can avoiding any exercise or activity after feeding your dog.
Great Danes are also susceptible to developing cancers, particularly osteosarcoma, which affects the bones. Foods rich in calcium and phosphorus could help to avoid this particular disease.
Can my Great Dane have a sensitive stomach?
Some Great Danes can have a sensitive stomach. A sensitive stomach’s symptoms can include vomiting, diarrhea, a loss of appetite, nausea, flatulence, drooling a lot, or even blood in the stool.
While it is always advisable to visit your vet if your dog displays any of these symptoms, avoiding wheat and gluten products can help aid the digestive health of these dogs.
You should also put your dog on a limited ingredient diet to assess what particular foods are causing these issues with your pet.
Great Dane nutritional requirement: What kind of diet is best for a Great Dane?
Try not to always gravitate towards well-known brands with high advertising fees that spend a lot of money getting their name out there. These brands might not always have your dog’s best interests at heart.
It’s essential to understand your dog’s specific dietary requirements before deciding on the best food for them.
The recommended protein content that should be included in your Great Dane’s diet is not more than 26%.
Alongside animal protein, a well-balanced diet will have a good fat content, which typically comes from the primary protein source, such as chicken fat or fish oils.
Your dog’s diet also needs to include complex carbs that sustain energy levels. Just watch out for fillers, which can cause your dog’s blood sugar levels to spike without providing any real nutritional value.
Your Great Dane’s diet also needs to include plenty of fruits and vegetables. Spinach is a fantastic source of Vitamin K and C, while carrots provide Vitamin A, and Vitamin E can be found in tomatoes.
Vegetables also offer additional flavor to your dog’s food.
Ingredients to avoid when feeding your Great Dane
Some ingredients should always be avoided when feeding your Great Dane. These ingredients can be poisonous to dogs and can even be fatal. They include:
- Any food cooked with alcohol
- Onions and garlic
- Chocolates, coffee, and other stimulants
- Any food that contains xylitol
- Chewing gum or candy
- Macadamia nuts and walnuts
- Plums and peaches
- Salty and sugary drinks and snacks
Should my Great Dane eat a grain-free diet?
A well-balanced diet is crucial for the health of your pet. While many dogs can have trouble digesting grains, this is usually the case with low-quality, overly refined grains and not whole grains.
Wheat, corn, and soy are best avoided, but brown rice and barley can be an excellent source of energy-giving carbohydrates for your pup.
Dogs with overly sensitive stomachs, however, can benefit from a grain and gluten-free diet. That said, many vets do not recommend grain-free diets due to their link with dilated cardiomyopathy in dogs.
Should you give your Great Dane dry kibbles, wet food, raw diet, or homemade?
There are various types of dog food, including kibble, canned or wet dog food, a raw food diet, or home-cooked meals.
Kibble is obviously the least expensive and most convenient diet for Great Danes, but these dogs can benefit from a range of diets, and wet and dry food can even be varied or mixed to avoid monotony.
Wet food is best kept a minimum, however, to prevent excessive weight gain. A staple diet of wet food can also be a costly way to feed your dog.
Remember that not all foods are created equally.
While most commercial foods need to meet the nutritional requirements established by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).
Foreign brands, raw food, and homemade dog food might not meet these strict requirements.
Raw food diets can provide your dog with organic, natural ingredients, similar to what your dog’s ancestors would have eaten in the wild.
Still, these diets are often not controlled by regulatory boards, so one must be extra careful when it comes to harmful bacteria.
Fruits and vegetables your Great Dane can and cannot eat
Some fruits and vegetables provide a fantastic source of fiber and carbohydrates to your dog, while others can lead to flatulence or possibly even be toxic.
Here are some fruits and veggies your Great Dane can eat:
- Sweet potatoes
These fruits and vegetables should be avoided in your dog’s diet:
A homemade recipe you can try for your Great Dane
It’s no secret dogs love human food, and a homestyle recipe can be the ideal choice for your pet.
This allows you to have full control of your dog’s diet while providing your dog with natural and organic ingredients, without the expense of a bought raw diet.
Feeding your dog at home requires an adequate level of diligence to ensure your dog’s nutritional needs are being catered for in ingredients and portion size.
Homemade food can also be a more expensive choice than kibble.
The key to good homemade dog food is choosing a delicious lean protein, such as chicken, turkey, or fish.
Eggs are also an excellent source of protein for dogs, even for Great Danes with sensitive stomachs.
Here is an easy homemade recipe for your Great Dane:
- 1 1/2 cups brown rice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 pounds ground turkey or chicken
- 3 cups chopped spinach
- 2 shredded carrots
- 1 shredded zucchini
- 1/2 cup peas
- Cook the rice and set it aside
- Heat oil in a large pot and add the ground meat. Cook until browned
- Mix in the vegetables and rice until the vegetables have softened slightly
- Cool completely before serving
Great Dane feeding chart
A giant dog breed, Great Danes have one of the fastest growth rates of any breeds. However, due to this, these dogs are prone to developing several health issues.
Portion size thus needs to be carefully considered with this large breed.
While obviously, a Great Dane’s calorie content should be higher than smaller breeds, with these dogs requiring between 2,500 and 3,000 calories each day.
You need to control the amount of food you give your dog to prevent overfeeding and weight gain.
This feeding chart will assist you in this regard:
|Dog’s age||Number of cups||Meal split|
|8-11 weeks||2-4 cups||3 small meals|
|12-15 weeks||3-5 cups||2 meals|
|16-19 weeks||4-6 cups||2 meals|
|20-23 weeks||5-7 cups||2 meals|
|24-27 weeks||6-8 cups||2 meals|
|28-35 weeks||6-9 cups||3 meals|
|9 months – 1-year-old||7-10 cups||3 meals|
|Adult||7-14 cups||2 meals|
Transition: How to switch from puppy to adult dog food?
You can start the transition from puppy to adult food when your Great Dane is around 15 to 18 months old.
It is advisable not to transition your dog before this as he will not be fully mature, and the high levels of protein and Vitamin D in adult food may not be suitable for your puppy.
The transition process should be done slowly and smoothly on a gradual basis over between 5 days and two weeks.
The longer you stretch the process, gradually substituting the old puppy food with the new adult food a little bit at a time, the smoother the process will be and the less likely you are to upset your dog’s stomach.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Do Great Danes need supplements?
Dog foods should contain a range of supplements that are beneficial to your dog’s health.
Glucosamine and chondroitin help promote joint health, while Taurine and L-carnitine keep your dog heart-healthy.
Antioxidants and amino acids assist with the development and support the immune system’s functioning.
DHA and omega fatty acids are also common supplements found in dog food. These assist with brain and eye development.
Probiotics are also sometimes added to food to help with digestive issues in large dogs.
The best dog treats for Great Danes
Raw vegetables and fruits make great treats for Great Danes. These can include:
Bones filled with peanut butter, cheese, bacon, or beef also make a great dog treat or chew toy.
It will provide endless hours of fun for your dog as he attempts to lick all that delicious goodness from the inside of the bone.
What makes dog food good for Great Danes?
If you love your dog, you should never compromise on providing them with the best diet possible.
The right dog food will help ward off disease, keep your dog fit and healthy and ultimately improve longevity.
Before switching over to any new dog food, it’s advisable to speak to your vet, who can provide you with information regarding the correct diet for your dog’s size, body weight, and condition.