If you are the lucky owner of a Great Dane, you are already aware that you have one of the tallest yet gentlest pups in the world.
These wonderful family companions require high-quality, complete, balanced food to fuel their massive bodies, meet their energy needs, and keep the potential health issues plaguing this beautiful breed away.
Here are some general guidelines about choosing the best dog food for Great Danes, as well as our top picks for the wet and dry dog foods rated as the most suitable for these majestic dogs.
10 Best Dog Foods For Great Danes
Best For Adult Great Danes: Holistic Select Large & Giant Breed Adult Dry Dog Food
- The first 5 ingredients are: chicken meal, rice, oatmeal, oats, and chicken fat
- Guaranteed Analysis: 24% minimum crude protein, 13% minimum crude fat, and 4% maximum crude fiber
- Caloric Content: 453 kcal per cup
- Type of food: dry dog food for large and giant breeds, sensitive digestion, gluten-free, pea-free, for digestive health, hip and joint support, and dental and breath care
- Life stage: adult dogs
Our top selection is this specialized dry dog food for large and giant dog breeds by Holistic Select.
The size of the kibble is large enough to promote slower eating and chewing, thus reducing the risk of bloat in Great Danes.
The formula is created to provide highly digestible nutrition to giant dogs without overeating, gaining too much weight, or suffering from digestive upsets.
It doesn’t contain peas or gluten and has digestive enzymes, making it perfect for pups with intolerances or sensitive stomachs.
The guaranteed analysis shows that tise dry dog food contains 24% min crude protein and 13% min crude fat, which is an appropriate ratio for a healthy adult Great Dane.
The main protein source is chicken meal, which is paired with oats that provide dogs with healthy fiber.The included omega-3 fatty acids help keep your dog’s coat shiny and its skin healthy.
It also has added glucosamine and chondroitin for cartilage protection and healthy joints, as well as the recommended quantity and ratio of phosphorus (1% minimum) and calcium (1.3% minimum) for bone development and health.
This excellent kibble has added probiotics for a healthy gut and immune system.
The inclusion of taurine reduces the risk of heart problems such as canine dilated cardiomyopathy.
It is made in the United States from carefully sourced ingredients from the United States and abroad and is sold in 30-pound bags.
Related: Best Dog Food for Large Breeds
Best For Great Dane Puppies: Eukanuba Puppy Large Breed Dry Dog Food
- The first 5 ingredients are: chicken, chicken by-product meal, corn, wheat, and chicken fat
- Guaranteed Analysis: 26% minimum crude protein, 14% minimum crude fat, 3.7% maximum fiber
- Caloric Content: 357 kcal per cup
- Type of food: dry food for puppies from large or giant breeds expected to grow over 55 lbs., gentle digestion, muscle and brain growth, and health support and immune system support
- Life stage: puppies up to 15 months of age
This premium-quality dry food for puppies from large and giant breeds is an excellent choice for your young Great Dane.
The high-protein food has real chicken as its primary protein source for healthy muscle growth. It also contains healthy fats and carbs, which provide the highly concentrated energy that every giant breed puppy needs.
The kibble contains DHA, which promotes the healthy brain development of your growing puppy.
It contains 1.08% minimum calcium and 0.94% minimum phosphorus to promote the bone and joint health of the rapidly growing giant puppy.
The food is made of carefully sourced and traced ingredients from the USA, Europe, and New Zealand.
You can buy it in bags of 4.5, 15, 16, 28, 30, and 33 lbs.
Related: Best Large Breed Puppy Foods – 2023
Best For Senior Great Danes: Hill’s Science Diet Adult 6+ Large Breed Dry Dog Food
- The first 5 ingredients are: chicken meal, cracked pearled barley, brewer’s rice, whole grain wheat, and whole grain corn
- Guaranteed Analysis: 15.5% min. crude protein, 10.5% min. crude fat, and 4% max. crude fiber
- Caloric Content: 353 kcal per cup
- Type of food: dry dog food for dogs aged 6+ from large and giant breeds, promoting digestive health
- Life stage: senior dogs aged 6 years or more
This Hill’s Science Diet dry dog food contains only 353 kcal per cup and is appropriate for Great Danes aged 6 years and up.
It is formulated especially for senior large dog breeds and contains glucosamine and chondroitin to protect and lubricate the cartilage and thus prevent hip and joint pain and mobility issues.
The food has omega-6 fatty acids, which will ensure that your pup’s coat is shiny and beautiful and that its skin is healthy and hydrated.
It is also fortified with Vitamins C and E, which are powerful antioxidants that will help keep your dog’s immune system and kidneys healthy.
The added taurine helps promote the heart health of your senior dog.
The dry dog food is made in the USA and complies with the AAFCO guidelines for complete and balanced nutrition for large-breed senior dogs.
There are no added artificial flavors, preservatives, or colors in the food.
You can also buy it in a Chicken and Brown Rice flavor, which is another excellent low-protein but nutrient-rich option that contains no corn, soy, or wheat for your senior Great Dane.
The kibble is sold in bags of 15 or 30 pounds.
Related: Best Senior Dog Food Reviews – 2023
Premium Dog Food For Great Danes: Wellness Large Breed Complete Health Adult
- The first 5 ingredients are: deboned chicken, chicken meal, ground brown rice, barley, and peas
- Guaranteed Analysis: 26% minimum crude protein, 12% minimum fat, and 5% maximum fiber
- Caloric Content: 340 kcal per cup
- Type of food: natural dry dog food for complete health support for adult large breed dogs; no wheat, soy, or corn
- Life stage: adult
This complete and balanced dry dog food by Wellness is specifically formulated to suit the nutritional needs of adult large-breed dogs and to keep them healthy, fit, and happy.
Its primary protein source and the first ingredient is high-quality, real deboned chicken. And the other natural ingredients include fresh meat, spinach, blueberries, flaxseed, carrots, and other superfoods that are nutrient-rich and loaded with antioxidants.
The kibble contains guaranteed levels of chondroitin and glucosamine to help keep the joints of your Great Dane healthy and pain-free.
There are added probiotics that will help promote your dog’s gut health and Vitamins A, C, and E to help boost its immune system and eye health.
The kibble contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for a healthy coat and skin.
And the added calcium (1.2% minimum) and phosphorus (0.8%) help ensure that the bones and teeth of the dog are strong and healthy.
It also contains taurine for a healthy heart.
Wellness dry dog food is made in the United States from the finest ingredients, with no GMOs, fillers, meat byproducts, or artificial preservatives.
There is no corn, soy, or wheat in the food; only whole grains such as barley, brown rice, and oats, which are superb sources of carbohydrates for a large and energetic adult pup.
Some dog parents claim that it can help reduce flatulence and digestive issues in large and giant dogs.
The high-quality dry dog food is sold in bags of 15 or 30 lbs.
Budget Pick: Diamond Naturals Large Breed Dry Dog Food
- The first 5 ingredients are: real cage-free chicken, chicken meal, whole grain brown rice, cracked pearled barley, and ground white rice
- Guaranteed Analysis: 23% minimum crude protein, 13% minimum crude fat, and 3.5% maximum fiber
- Caloric Content: 397 kcal per cup
- Type of food: dry dog food for large breed adult dogs; immune, digestive, skin, and coat health and support; no wheat, soy, or corn
- Life stage: adult
This dry dog food by Diamond is offered at an affordable price, given the high quality and value offered.
It is made for adult dogs of large breeds, and the first ingredient and main source of protein is real chicken that has never been in a cage.
The food is made of natural superfoods such as blueberries, kale, and coconut, which are sources of selenium, taurine, zinc, L-carnitine, and vitamins A and C, which are essential nutrients for your dog’s health and well-being.
The omega 3 and 6 fatty acids will ensure that your Great Dane has a beautiful, shiny coat and healthy skin.
The kibble has 1.1% minimum calcium and 0.9% minimum phosphorus for healthy bones and teeth.
It has glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, which are very important for the bones, cartilage, and joints of your Great Dane.
Each serving has prebiotics and probiotics to keep your dog’s digestive and immune systems healthy and to make sure it is healthy and happy overall.
No wheat, corn, soy, or artificial flavors or ingredients are used for making this dry dog food at the family-owned company in the USA.
You can also buy it in a Lamb Meal and Rice flavor.
The food is available in 40 lbs. bags.
Best Great Dane Specific Dog Food: Royal Canin Health Nutrition Great Dane Adult
- The first 5 ingredients are: chicken fat, chicken by-product meal, tapioca, brewer’s rice, and corn.
- Guaranteed analysis: protein content is 21% minimum, crude fat is 23%, and crude fiber is 4.2% maximum.
- Caloric Content: 390 kcal per cup
- Type of food: breed-specific dry dog food for Great Danes, high energy, digestive, and hip and joint health support
- Life stage: adult
This is a breed-specific kibble for Great Danes formulated by leading nutritional experts to meet the needs of your dog. It is suitable for adult pups aged 2 years or more.
The kibble has a shape, texture, and size designed for easy picking up and chewing and for slowing down eating, thus reducing the risk of bloating or other problems.
There are added digestible proteins and fibers that help promote healthy digestion.
It also contains glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health and preventing mobility problems.
It has DHA and EPA, which are also beneficial for the bones and joints, the coat, the skin, the heart, and the brain of your pup.
It is sold in 30-pound bags and is available in a variety of tailored options for over 60 dog breeds.
Best Wet Dog Food: Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Canned Dog Food
- The first 5 ingredients are: whitefish, fish broth, turkey broth, water, turkey, and turkey liver
- Guaranteed Analysis: crude protein is 8% minimum, the crude fat is 4% minimum, the fiber is 1% maximum, and the moisture is 82% maximum
- Caloric Content: 364 kcal per one 13.2-oz can
- Type of food: wet dog food, grain-free, chicken free
- Life stage: adult
Wet dog food is generally more palatable to dogs, making it an excellent option for picky eaters or sick dogs that refuse to eat and drink.
This one by Taste of the Wild contains real salmon, whitefish, and turkey as its primary protein sources for healthy and strong muscles.
The Salmon in Gravy Pacific Stream wet food contains all of the essential minerals and vitamins your Great Dane needs, all from natural ingredients like peas, blueberries, sweet potatoes, and raspberries.
It includes natural prebiotic fiber and is highly digestible.
One 13.2-oz can of food contains 364 kcal and can be used as a topper for your dog’s kibble, mixed with its regular food, or used as a primary food for your Great Dane.
The delicious wet dog food is chicken-free and grain-free, suitable for dogs with allergies or intolerances.
You can also buy this food in the Southwest Canyon Beef in Gravy flavor.
Related: Top 21 Best Wet Dog Foods 2023
Best Food For Great Dane with Allergies: Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Lamb & Brown Rice
- The first 5 ingredients are: lamb, lamb meal, brown rice, brewers rice, and rice bran
- Guaranteed Analysis: 22% min crude protein, 12% min crude fat, and 4% max fiber
- Caloric Content: 370 kcal per cup
- Type of food: limited ingredient diet dry dog food for large breeds, sensitive digestion, no soy, wheat, or corn
- Life stage: adult
This is a limited-ingredient diet dry dog food with a single animal protein source, which is lamb, making it an excellent option for Great Danes with allergies or sensitivities to chicken, poultry, or other ingredients.
It comes in a Large Breed Bites recipe, with a size and texture that help slow down your dog’s eating and prompt your four-legged companion to chew more rather than swallow the food, thus preventing the risk of bloat or choking and promoting dental hygiene.
The primary protein is lamb, which is a superb source of amino acids for strong and healthy muscles.
The added, wholesome brown rice is an excellent source of fiber, which helps promote a healthy digestive system.
This high-quality dry dog food doesn’t contain gluten, soy, by-product meal, fillers, or artificial colors and flavors.
The kibble contains 1.2% calcium and 1% phosphorus for healthy bones and teeth.
It also has healthy omega fatty acids that help boost the coat, skin, brain, and heart health of the dog.
There is added taurine, which helps reduce the risk of DCM and heart issues.
The premium food is sold in bags of 12 or 26 pounds, and you can also buy it in a chicken and brown rice flavor.
Best Dog Food For Picky Eaters: Purina ONE Natural Large Breed
- The first 5 ingredients are: chicken, rice flour, chicken by-product meal, corn gluten meal, and whole grain wheat
- Guaranteed Analysis: 26% min crude protein, 12% min crude fat, and 4.5% max fiber
- Caloric Content: 320 kcal per cup
- Type of food: high-protein dry dog food for large and giant dog breeds, providing muscle care and immune support
- Life stage: adult
This high-protein dry dog food is specifically made for energetic adult large-breed dogs like Great Danes.
It includes meaty morsels from real chicken, and crunchy bites, making it highly palatable and suitable for fussy eaters.
The dry dog food by Purina ONE contains four natural antioxidant sources: vitamins C and E, selenium, and zinc, for a strong immune system and the shiny coat of your four-legged friend.
It contains 0.8% phosphorus and 1% calcium for healthy teeth and bones, as well as glucosamine to keep your pup’s joints as healthy as possible for as long as possible.
The food is highly digestible and contains zero filler, so you can feed your pup less food and yet provide it with a complete and balanced diet without the risk of gaining extra weight.
Its main animal protein is real chicken, which is a superb source of amino acids for the dog’s healthy muscles and heart.
The omega fatty acids, minerals, and vitamins will help keep your pup’s coat and skin healthy and ensure its overall well-being from the nose to the end of the tail.
The tasty dry dog food is sold in bags of 7.4, 15, 16.5, 31.1, and 40 lbs.
Best Great Dane Food For Joint Health: Hill’s Science Diet Adult Healthy Mobility Large Breed
- The first 5 ingredients are chicken meal, brewer’s rice, whole grain sorghum, brown rice, and whole grain wheat.
- Guaranteed Analysis: 17 to 28% min protein, a crude fat content of 12% min, and 3% max crude fiber
- Caloric Content: 367 kcal per cup
- Type of food: hip and joint and healthy mobility support, and digestive health dry dog food for large breeds
- Life stage: adult
Hill’s Science Diet Healthy Mobility dry dog food for large breeds is created to help reduce painful inflammations of your pup’s joints and resolve mobility issues, which, unfortunately, are quite common among Great Danes.
The kibble is made of ingredients that provide a well-balanced combination of essential vitamins, minerals, and omega fatty acids in the food, which will ensure that your dog is healthy, looks good, and stays fit and pain-free.
It contains chicken meal as a first ingredient, which is an excellent source of glucosamine and chondroitin for healthy bones and joint cartilage and improved mobility.
The added fish oil is a superb source of EPA for better joint health of your Great Dane and reducing any painful joint inflammations.
The kibble is offered in 30-lb. bags and is big in size, making it perfect for giant dogs like Great Danes.
Related: Best Dog Food For Joint Health
Nutritional Needs of Great Danes
The Great Danes are the tallest dogs in the world, followed by the Irish Wolfhounds. But with an impressive height of 28 to 32 inches by the shoulders and a weight of 110 to 175 lbs., this majestic pup has some very specific nutritional needs.
Here are the nutrients to look for when selecting your pet’s dog food and diet.
Moderate Amount of Protein
Protein is the number one essential nutrient for dogs, and they depend on the amino acids to grow their muscles and have the energy they need.
During puppyhood, it is recommended that the proteins be in low to moderate amounts rather than in high amounts. The main reason is that too much protein in your giant breed puppy’s diet can cause it to grow and bulk up too rapidly, leading to skeletal and other developmental problems.
Instead of selecting a high-protein dog food, you should choose a complete and balanced puppy, adult, or senior dog food for large dogs that has up to or around 24% of crude protein.
The impressive weight of the Great Danes is one of the main reasons for the various health issues common among this breed’s dogs.
So, keeping your pup at a healthy weight can significantly reduce the risk of developing joint problems, mobility problems, obesity, diabetes, heart problems, and others.
Fat itself is healthy and essential, but only in the recommended amounts and types. Too much can quickly lead to unwanted and unhealthy weight gain and other problems, such as pancreatitis.
Your Great Dane is a big dog with significant energy needs. This is why getting enough carbohydrates in its daily diet is essential. Carbs are also superb sources of vital minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients for your pup.
When possible, select a dog food with digestible carbohydrates, such as whole grains, peas, carrots, spinach, barley, potatoes, or others.
Choose one with wholesome veggies, fruits, and grains as ingredients rather than processed and refined ones.
Fiber is needed in a dog’s diet in order to help promote its gut health and improve its digestion.
Pick dog food that includes both soluble and insoluble fibers. They are essential for improving the health of the bacteria in the gut and boosting the digestion and absorption of nutrients.
Vitamins & Minerals
Most dogs that eat food that complies with the nutrition guidelines by the AAFCO for a complete and balanced diet receive all of the essential vitamins, minerals, and other micronutrients they need to be well and healthy.
So, unless they have health issues or deficiencies, it is not recommended to provide them with additional nutritional supplements.
Great Danes, like other giant dog breeds, have specific mineral needs, especially phosphorus and calcium. These minerals are essential for the healthy development and growth of the puppy’s and dog’s bones and skeleton. If dog food doesn’t have enough of these two minerals or has the wrong amount of them, it can cause serious growth problems.
This is why we recommend that you choose a dog food that is formulated for large or giant-breed puppies when selecting the best food for your Great Dane puppy.
Look for dog food that contains 1% to a maximum of 1.5% calcium and about 1-1.5 times lower amount of phosphorus.
In other words, the food should have 1% calcium and 0.67 to 1% phosphorus.
Or, at the higher range, it may contain 1.5% calcium and 1-1.5% phosphorus.
Probiotics are essential for the healthy gut flora and your pup’s immune system and well-being.
Probiotics and prebiotics can improve digestion and absorption of nutrients and promote regular bowel movements in your dog. This reduces the possibility of air and gas accumulating in the stomach and causing life-threatening bloat.
Hip dysplasia and other joint problems are among the most common health issues in this giant breed’s dogs. This is due to their large size, weight, and rapid growth.
This is why it is important to provide your pup with joint-supporting macronutrients like glucosamine and chondroitin, which act as lubricants and help prevent the damage and disintegration of the bones’ cartilage, leading to joint pain and mobility issues.
How to Choose Dog Food for Great Danes
Here are the factors to keep in mind when selecting the best food for your Great Dane:
All dogs have different nutritional needs when they are puppies, adults, and seniors.
Since Great Danes grow so rapidly when they are young and they continue growing up to the age of about four, they need special puppy food for large and giant breeds. The goal of dog parents is to control this growth so that the puppy grows up healthy and well.
The food they require is high in proteins but low in carbohydrates, slowing growth slightly to protect their skeletal system and bones from gaining too much mass too quickly.
Adult Great Danes need a lot of calories to support their weight, but dog food with too much fat or fillers can lead to excessive weight gain and obesity. This can harm the pup’s bones, joints, and health.
In their senior years, these giant dogs need to eat lower-protein food that contains ingredients and supplements for joint support.
Your Great Dane needs to get enough calories to support its gigantic size. On average, an adult dog of this breed will need to eat between 2,500 to 3,500 calories a day.
The exact amount depends on whether your dog is active or prefers to spend most of the time on the couch.
Weight & Height
It would be best if you fed your pup enough calories to meet its weight. Make sure to weigh your four-legged companion regularly and speak to your veterinarian to ensure that you are feeding it the right portion size and providing it with enough calories.
The best way to go is to opt for dog food that is formulated for large or giant dog breeds. Some commercial dog foods are breed-specific, so you can choose a dog food for Great Danes.
While Great Danes used to be hunting and working dogs, today they are predominantly family companions. Many of them are quite sedentary and can even be considered couch potatoes.
If your dog loves exercising, long walks, and running, then it will need to eat more calories than if it prefers to sleep during most of the day.
It is recommended to choose kibble, which is made for large and giant dog breeds, because its size is usually bigger than regular dry dog food.
This will ensure that your pup chews the food before swallowing it, reducing the risk of choking or gastric torsion.
How Much Food Do I Feed My Great Dane?
Here is the average number of cups of dry food per day you should feed your Great Dane in all of its life stages.
- 8-11 weeks of age – 2-4 cups divided into 3 meals
- 12-15 weeks of age – 3-5 cups divided into 2 meals
- 16-19 weeks of age – 4-6 cups divided into 2 meals
- 20-23 weeks of age – 5-7 cups divided into 2 meals
- 24-27 weeks of age – 6-8 cups divided into 2 meals
- 28-35 weeks of age – 6-9 cups divided into 3 meals
- 9 – 12 months of age – 7-10 cups divided into 3 meals
- Adults over 1 year (male) – 8-14 cups divided into 3 meals
- Adults over 1 year (female) – 6-9 cups divided into 3 meals
- Senior dogs – the same as adults, but choose dog food that is suitable for their life stage
Keep in mind that each cup of food should contain about 350-450 calories.
It is advisable to feed your pup several smaller meals per day rather than one big one. This will ensure that it has adequately distributed energy and reduce the risk of suffering from life-threatening bloat.
Also, keep a close eye on your older dog’s weight and adjust its meals and portions as needed to keep it from getting too fat.
Common Health Issues of Great Danes
Unfortunately, Great Danes are predisposed to a variety of health issues, mainly due to their large size and weight.
Luckily, there are ways to reduce the risks of your dog developing such problems by choosing the right dog food and feeding it the right amount during its different life stages.
Bone and Joint Problems
Due to their massive weight, Great Danes are at high risk of suffering from various hip, joint, and bone problems throughout their lives.
When puppies grow too fast, they can get hip dysplasia or other problems with their bones and joints, which can lead to developmental disorders.
Great Danes are also prone to Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy, which can be caused by a diet that is very high in proteins.
This is why a suitable and balanced diet is crucial for puppies, adults, and senior dogs of this breed alike.
Endocrine Health and Immunity
These majestic pups are prone to developing adrenal gland or thyroid disorders, such as hypothyroidism. It can be avoided by feeding your dog food that contains sufficient amounts of iodine.
Unfortunately, these dogs are also at a higher risk of developing lymphomas, osteosarcomas, or other types of cancer. You can lower this risk by feeding your four-legged companion food that contains enough vitamins A and D.
Gastric Torsion and Bloat
Bloat is a life-threatening condition that is especially common among deep-chested dogs, including Great Danes.
It is caused by gas or air filling the stomach, leading to the organ twisting around itself and then to the blockage of the blood flow to the vital organs of the animal.
This condition requires emergency veterinary care and usually surgery, or it can lead to the rapid death of the animal.
To minimize the risk of bloat, divide your pup’s food into several smaller meals spread throughout the day.
Also, use elevated dog bowls so your dog can eat and drink water without bending down.
And avoid feeding your pup right before or right after vigorous exercise.
The dogs of this giant breed are more prone to developing Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM).
This condition was recently popularized by the concerns of some that grain-free dog foods could be causing it. But the studies and FDA investigations have found no hard evidence that it is the grain-free foods themselves or the higher concentration of ingredients like peas, potatoes, or lentils that are causing it.
It is widely considered that the lack of taurine in the dog’s diet increases the risk of this serious heart condition.
So, make sure that your Great Dane consumes enough taurine with its food. Healthy omega-3 fatty acids are also good for the heart.
If you are concerned about the potential link between grain-free dog foods and DCM, you can switch to feeding your pup grain-inclusive food for peace of mind.
What kind of food is best for Great Danes?
The best food is one that is specifically formulated for large or giant dog breeds and for your pup’s age, weight, activity level, and overall health.
How often should you feed a Great Dane?
It is advisable to divide your dog’s daily food into three equal portions and feed it several times a day instead of feeding it a single large meal once a day.
This will reduce the risk of bloat and keep your pup energetic and happy throughout the day.
Do Great Danes Have Sensitive Stomachs?
Yes, the dogs from this breed are more prone to stomach sensitivities and problems such as excessive gas, bloat, vomiting, diarrhea, food intolerances, allergies, and other digestive issues.
When Should Great Danes Switch from Puppy Food to Adult Food?
Great Danes continue growing to reach their full size up until they are 4 years old. But they are considered puppies until about 15 months of age. So, after that, you can switch to suitable dog food for adult large or giant dog breeds.
Is a Grain-Free Diet Better for Great Danes?
Unless your pup has an intolerance or allergy to a particular grain, eating grain-inclusive dog food is perfectly fine.
Some dog parents are worried about the potential link between grain-free food and DCM, so they prefer feeding their Great Danes grain-inclusive foods.
But what kind of food you choose for your dog depends on its specific nutritional needs, any potential sensitivities or health issues it has, and its taste.