Best Dog Food for Great Danes: Five Great Options For 2018

Learning how to choose the best dog food for Great Dane is vitally important for owners of these unique pets.

Grey Great Dane lying down in front of white background

Great Danes are giant dogs with giant appetites, meaning they need plenty of calories throughout the day to sustain them. However, beyond mere calorie count, owners need to ensure the calories consumed by their Great Danes contain proper nutrients for their dogs to thrive.

Quick Comparison: Top Brands for Great Danes in 2018

Dog FoodQualityOur Rating
Eagle Pack Natural Dry Dog FoodA
Hi-Tek Naturals Grain Free Lamb Meal and Sweet Potato Formula Dry Dog FoodA-
Wellness Naturals Large Breed Dog FoodA-
Purina Pro Plan Dry Dog FoodA-
Holistic Select Large & Giant Breed Puppy Dog FoodA-

* click on the product name to be taken to Amazon where you can check the current price and read customer reviews.

Later in this article, we’ll provide in-depth reviews of each of the products listed above. But first, let’s go over some nutrition basics for your Great Dane.

What’s the Recommended Calorie Intake for Great Danes?

In comparison to smaller dogs, canines that fall under the “giant” category require increased calorie intake to maintain good health.

The optimal amount of calories is typically based on a dog’s weight. Many Great Danes average over 100 pounds.  At this size, a 2,000 calorie diet is recommended. In other words, giant dogs should consume approximately 20 calories per pound of their weight each day.

However, the recommended rate of caloric intake changes depending on a dog’s level of activity. Dogs that are extremely active require more calories than dogs that are less active.

The recommended rate also changes depending on the season. For example, lower calorie intake is usually recommended in the dead of summer and winter when dogs spend less time outside, and therefore exercise and burn calories less frequently.

Great Danes Informations

Nutritional Guidelines for Great Danes

Diets for canines should be formulated for size, age, breed, energy level, and more. Here’s some basic information what you should know.

Dogs of all Ages

The American Kennel Club discusses important health considerations for your Great Dane. For example, limit the number of table scraps you feed your dog. Many human foods do not offer the nutrients your dog needs, plus certain human foods can be lethal, such as garlic, macadamia nuts, and dark chocolate.

In addition, Great Danes are especially prone to digestive issues and bloat, so owners should take extra care to restrict their pet’s access to human food consumption.

Adult Dogs

Great Danes need more than a high amount of calories. The nutritive value of calories is also key. Dogs of this size have special dietary requirements that owners need to understand.

Take protein and fat for example. According to the American Association of Feed Control Officials, Great Danes should consume a minimum of 18% protein and 5% fat as adults. However, better quality dog foods will exceed these amounts. We listed some of the best dog food for Great Danes below. 

Puppies

In order to prevent orthopedic problems such as hip-dysplasia, Great Dane puppies need slow, continuous growth. A diet designed for large-breed puppies or food for adult dogs is recommended. For example, ProPlan Large Breed Puppy food or Holistic Select Large and Giant Breed Puppy Health both offer the right nutrition for Great Danes puppies.

Their diet shouldn’t overemphasize protein, fat, and calorie levels. According to the American Association of Feed Control Officials, Great Danes should consume food comprising a minimum of  22% protein and 8% fat as puppies.

Guidelines for Great Danes

Common Health Problems With Great Danes and How to Prevent Them

Great Danes are prone to numerous health problems, particularly with their bones and overall growth.

Panosteitis

Panosteitis is one common health problem, causing severe inflammation in the leg bone, particularly in growing puppies. Although a proper diet and pain medication can help speed recovery and ease discomfort, panosteitis is a self-limiting disease that cures itself spontaneously, usually within two years.

Hip Dysplasia

This inherited condition results from an improperly formed hip joint. Typically, there is a tight fit between the socket and femoral head (ball), dogs with this condition suffer from a joint that is too loose causing pain. Hip dysplasia is a common health problem for Great Danes, though, at the current time, prevention and a cure for this condition are limited.

Bloating and Gastric Issues

As already mentioned, other common health problems for Great Danes are bloating and gastric torsion, both of which can cause extreme discomfort and potentially life-threatening health complications for your pooch. Fortunately, there are a variety of precautions owners can take to help their dogs prevent bloat.

  • Owners should ensure their Great Danes avoid exercise before and after eating. Exercising too close to meals can distend their stomachs.
  • In addition, according to saveadane.org, placing food and water dishes in elevated feeders on the floor helps Great Danes digest properly. Plus, positioning food and water dishes at a greater height puts less stress on these tall dogs since they don’t have to bend down too far.

 

Feeding Guidelines for Great Danes By Age

Since Great Danes grow quickly and need particular nutrients at each growth stage, owners should carefully monitor the food intake of their Great Dane puppies. Great Danes will grow much faster than intended if owners feed them too much protein, causing serious health issues.

Image of daily feeding for Great Dane

According to Canine Nutritional Consultant, Linda Arndt, Great Dane puppies should eat small meals spread throughout the day. They only need a few cups of food three times daily. Then as the dog’s age, owners can give them more food but with less frequency.

It is recommended that adult Great Danes eat bigger meals twice a day. They should consume 8 to 10 cups of food daily, equaling 4 to 5 cups per meal.

 

Editor’s Choice – Top Dog Food for Great Danes

Now that you have a better understanding of your Great Dane’s caloric and nutritional needs, let’s review the best dog food for Great Danes! Below are our reviews for the top five dog food brands that meet the special nutritional needs of this breed.

1. Eagle Pack Natural Dry Dog Food

Eagle Pack Natural Dry Large Breed Dog Food, Chicken & Pork, 30-Pound Bag

Eagle Pack Natural Dry Dog Food offers a large breed formula in a 30-pound bag. This dog food brand offers large pieces of kibble that are easy for bigger dogs to eat. Eagle Pack also offers a single protein source and contains many antioxidants and nutrients that will keep your dog’s digestive system healthy.

What We Like

  • Provides the right balance of protein, fats, carbohydrates, antioxidants omega fatty acids, to support the needs of large and giant dog breeds
  • Offers antioxidants and vitamins which supports the immune system
  • Made in the USA with no corn, fillers, wheat, by-products, artificial colors, flavors or preservatives
  • Glucosamine hydrochloride helps maintain joint health, with calcium and phosphorus to support strong bones

What We Don’t Like

  • The kibble size is standard, some very large dog owners would prefer a larger kibble size

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2. Hi-Tek Naturals Grain Free Lamb Meal and Sweet Potato Formula Dry Dog Food

Hi-Tek Naturals Grain Free Lamb Meal and Sweet Potato Formula Dry Dog Food, 15 Pounds

 

Hi-Tek Naturals is a grain-free dog food option without unnecessary or harmful ingredients. This dog food brand only contains natural, healthy ingredients that will keep your Great Dane full and satisfied.

What We Like

  • Formulated without any corn, soy, wheat, or rice
  • 100% grain free with a balance of vitamins and minerals
  • The recipe contains lamb meal, sweet potatoes, pork meal, duck meal and salmon meal, rich in antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins
  • Many customers report their dogs have glossier coats and firm, compact stools

What We Don’t Like

  • Pricey compared to brands of similar sizes

 

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3. Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Dog Food

Wellness Large Breed Adult Health Dry Dog - 15 pound bag.

Wellness brand offers a complete health option for large breeds. The food comes in larger size bites that are better for big dogs. This brand also contains grains and fiber that help with digestive health.

What We Like

  • Larger kibble size made with chicken with regulated calories for healthy growth
  • To support your Great Dane’s joints and large hips, this recipe has added glucosamine and chondroitin
  • Contains natural ingredients with no wheat, corn, soy, meat by-products, artificial flavors, colors or preservatives
  • Contains more protein than standard dog food recipes to support increased muscle mass for a larger dog such as the Great Dane

What We Don’t Like

  • Pricier option

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 Best Dog Food for Active Great Dane

4. Purina Pro Plan Sport Dry Dog Food

 

Purina Pro Plan SPORT All Life Stages Performance 30/20 Formula Dry Dog Food - (1) 37.5 lb. Bag

Does your Great Dane like to play hard? Purina Pro Plan Sport brand offers dog food that focuses on dogs of all ages including working dogs, canine athletes, or any active dog. 

It contains valuable nutrients for giant breeds and helps support joint health. This formula promotes strength and endurance with 30% protein to build muscle and 20% fat for energy. 

What We Like

  • DHA and EPA omega-3 and 6 fatty acids and glucosamine are added to support joint health and maximum mobility
  • Contains 30% protein and 20% fat to help fuel metabolic needs and maintain lean muscle for your active Great Dane
  • Contains pre-biotic fiber
  • Features real chicken as the #1 ingredient
  • NO wheat, soy, or added artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives

What We Don’t Like

  • This recipe did not agree with all dogs. A few had an allergic reaction to the formula

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Best dog food for a Great Dane Puppy

5. Holistic Select Large and Giant Breed Puppy Health

Holistic Select Natural Dry Dog Food, Large & Giant Breed Puppy Recipe, 30-Pound Bag

Start your big puppy off right with the best dog food for Great Dane puppies. Holistic Select Large & Giant Breed Puppy Health Lamb Meal & Oatmeal Recipe is formulated with a unique Digestive Health Support System, including active probiotics, healthy fiber, and digestive enzymes. It works to improve your puppies total health and digestive system. 

What We Like

  • Formulated for large and giant dog breed puppies
  • Contains active probiotics and digestive enzymes to help support the absorption and utilization of nutrients
  • Larger-size kibble
  • Includes salmon oil which helps support healthy brain and eye development
  • Contains a proper balance of oatmeal, brown rice and quinoa to provide healthy energy to play and grow
  • Optimal levels of protein & fat support your puppy’s healthy growth & muscle development

What We Don’t Like

  • Some puppies did not care for the taste of this formula.

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In Summary

Great Danes have a large appetite and need plenty of food to accommodate their size, but they also need proper nutrition. The five dog food brands above are solid choices for maintaining the health of your Great Dane, so give each one a try and see what works best for you and your pet!