Are you worried about what you should be feeding your Great Dane?
Your Great Dane is going to grow fast. Don’t worry, there is no need to go crazy worrying about all kinds of supplements and special foods. There are a few things you need to know about feeding your Great Dane. I break down everything you need to know in this guide.
The good news is that Great Dane nutrition is pretty straight forward.
The Most Important Thing About Feeding a Great Dane
I love giant breeds, especially Great Danes. (I also have a soft spot in my heart from a Neapolitan Mastiff we owned.) . Great Danes have a winning combination of looks and personality. But, there are a few very important nutrition guidelines you need to understand to keep them healthy and happy.
Most Important Thing You Need To Know – Do not overfeed a Great Dane.
You will not want to free feed them either, they are prone to putting on weight. I have poured through every study I can find on Great Dane nutrition and giant breed nutrition. What you feed them will not matter if they are overweight! Please, make sure you get this dialed in. Here is a great article from The Great Dane Lady with recommendations on how much to feed a Great Dane.
The Other Most Important Things To Know About The Best Food For Great Danes
How Much Protein?
I found a great study that measured the effects protein has on Great Dane puppies. You can review it here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1941203
The short story is they fed Great Dane puppies diets with low, moderate, and high protein. There was no effect on skeletal development or calcium metabolism. So what do I recommend? Feed your Great Dane a good food with a mixture of quality ingredients. Especially look at the first 5 ingredients. Don’t worry too much about the protein. 13% to 26% protein is fine, most brands hit this.
How Much Calcium?
You should not be supplementing with Calcium. I found this study that shows the dangers for Great Danes.
The dogs fed a high calcium diet without a proportionally high phosphorus intake became hypercalcemic and hypophosphatemic. This led to severe disturbances in skeletal development, growth, and mineralization which were typical for rickets.
Many Great Dane owners think this is helpful to support the fast-growing bones of the breed. They are wrong. The excess Calcium actually caused many problems. Please do not supplement with Calcium. Also, you need to watch the Calcium: Phosphorus ratio.
What about the Calcium/Phosphorus Ratio?
You will not want foods that are high in Calcium. It is also important that the manufacturer balances Calcium with Phosphorus.
It is okay if the Calcium is a little higher than the Phosphorus, but make sure the ratio is less than 1.5.
How do you calculate this?
(Calcium %) divided by (Phosphorus %) = ratio. For example, if the Calcium is 0.5% and the Phosphorus is 1%, then the ration is 0.5. This would be good.
The Best Food for Great Danes
Editor’s Choice – Best dog Food for Great Danes
- For mature dogs weighing 50 pounds or more
- Features triple proteins, which help maintain solid muscle - whether working or playing.
- Calcium and phosphorus levels have been adjusted for dogs that have reached their full size.
This is a fourth generation family owned company and plant. They have a great holistic line with an excellent AIB rating. There has never been a recall.
They manufacture their own food. Ann onsite laboratory tests each production run. These people put safety first.
I found the ingredient list to be outstanding. And they have adjusted the Calcium and Phosphorus levels with giant breeds in mind.
The reviews on Amazon aren’t as high as some others I recommend. But this is the food most recommended by The Great Dane Lady.
Editors Choice – Best Puppy Food For Great Danes
- Essential vitamins and chelated minerals are combined to provide them with a complete, satisfying meal.
- Only Top of the Line Ingredients used
- Made in the USA
This is our pick for puppies as well. You really can’t go wrong with this food.
Customer’s Favorite – Best Great Dane Food
- Size: 30 Lbs
- Chicken & Rice Formula
- Real Chicken And Carefully Selected #1 Ingredients
- Providing A High Quality Protein To Maintain Muscle Mass & Strength In Large Dogs
This is a family owned company and they own their own manufacturing plant. In 2019, they opened a $70 million facility in Perham, MN.
- 23% protein,
- 0.5 Calcium/Phosphorus ratio (1/2% Calcium, 1% Phosphorus)
Here is a customer review.
I have a small Great Dane and my brother has two large Great Danes. We feed all three dogs this food. He went through a few different brands with his first dog and this was the only one recommended by vets that didn’t upset the dog’s stomach. Although it is on the expensive side, you only have to feed a big dog about 4 cups a day.
When I adopted my dog, I was told she occasionally vomited up her food. They said they had tried a few different brands, but it kept happening. I started her on this food, and she has not had an upset stomach once. The pieces are also much larger to encourage the dog to chew and clean their teeth. The plaque on my dog’s teeth has gone down since I adopted her.
All around, this is the perfect food for big dogs!
Best Premium Dog Food For Great Danes
- Balanced proteins and fats to support an active lifestyle
- Omega oils to promote skin and coat health
- Antioxidants to support increased immunity
Family owned, and very high-quality products made in Canada. the ingredient list is as good as you will find in dog food.
The first ingredients are de-boned turkey, whole dried eggs, potatoes, and peas. The protein and calcium amounts are acceptable. There are other added goodies like Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids. Plus they have added probiotics.
This is the best food for Great Danes. It is expensive though. Here is some feedback from a customer:
I purchased this product after reading a study done on 1,000 different dog foods. I believe there were 10 that made the list and this is one of them. My dog (who is usually picky) scarfs it down during meal time. He poops less, eats less, and his coat seems to be getting healthier (softer and shiny) I would definitely recommend this dog food to other dog owners! Especially if you’re overseas like I am and are looking for a healthier, more nutrient rich food for your doggo.
Here is the guaranteed analysis and the ingredient list. The short version is:
- 27% protein
- 32% fat
- 1.375 Calcium/Phosphorus ratio
Best Value Dog Food for Great Danes
- One (1) 34 lb. Bag - Purina Pro Plan FOCUS Giant Breed Formula Chicken Adult Dry Dog Food
- Made with high-quality protein, including real chicken as the #1 ingredient
- Formulated for giant-breed adult dogs weighing over 100 pounds
- Glucosamine and EPA, an omega-3 fatty acid, help to support your big dog's joint health and mobility
- 26% protein and 12% fat in every serving help to maintain your dog's ideal weight and body condition
I prefer to recommend foods from family-owned companies. Purina does not fit the bill. But not everyone can afford $60 for a 30-pound bag of dog food for a hungry Great Dane.
If you are on a budget, you should consider Purina Pro Plan Giant Breed or Large Breed. The first five ingredients are decent for the price point. Also, the protein and Calcium are within the acceptable ranges.
- 26% protein
- 1.25 Calcium/Phosphorus Ratio –
Here is a review from a customer.
I made a mistake on my order, so I wound up giving my sister the Purina adult dog food for her golden retriever. Her dog loved it. I bought the puppy Pro Plan for my lab puppy at a local pet store. There were other dog foods to choose from but my puppy loves the taste and I like her shiny coat and healthy looking new teeth she’s getting.
We love our Giant Breeds. Feed them good food. All of the foods recommended are acceptable. It’s really a question of budget.
By spending extra money, you are getting better ingredients and higher safety standards. But your dog will be okay using the Pro Plan.