Great Dane owners would attest to the gentle yet playful personality of the breed. Their majestic size is proportional to their huge hearts. These towering pooches can weigh a minimum of a hundred pounds. Often feared by the unfamiliar, these easygoing furry friend loves to be around people and kids.
The Great Dane’s powerful size comes with high demand for nutrition. They need the right formula to fuel their gigantic bodies, especially during their growing-up years. We have compiled the best dog food for Great Danes, so you’ll have a guide in shopping for your pet’s nourishment.
Here is a quick summary of the top options we chose:
|Holistic Select Natural Dry Dog Food, Large & Giant Breed Adult Recipe||An adult formula with probiotics, fiber, and digestive enzymes for a healthy gut. Contains omega fatty acids, calcium, phosphorus, and glucosamine for bones and joints.||4.8|
|Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Natural Adult Large Breed Dry Dog Food||A recipe ideal for senior dogs due to its glucosamine and chondroitin content. Offers vitamins and minerals, plus fiber for good digestion.||4.7|
|Royal Canin Giant Puppy Dry Dog Food||A giant puppy formula for puppies up to 8 months old. With calcium, phosphorus, vitamins, and antioxidants. Plus, prebiotics and highly digestible proteins for the gut.||4.7|
|Eukanuba Puppy Large Breed Dry Dog Food||A puppy formula with DHA for brain development. Contains calcium and phosphorus for bone health. Plus, good quality protein and carbohydrates for your pup’s energy needs.||4.7|
|Taste of the Wild Grain Free Premium Dry Dog Food Sierra Mountain||Grain-free dry dog food with lamb as its primary ingredient. Contains probiotics and prebiotics for your dog’s stomach. Has superfood for nutrients and omega fatty acids for skin and coat.||4.7|
|Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food Large Breed Adult||A dog food for senior dogs six years old and up. Contains glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health. Plus, omega fatty acids and vitamin E for healthy skin and coat||4.6|
|Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Natural Adult Wet Dog Food||Pate-style dog food that can be fed in three ways. This adult wet food contains proteins from chicken and healthy carbohydrates for your pup’s energy needs.||4.6|
|Wellness Complete Health Large Breed Dry Dog Food with Grains||A premium adult dry dog food for large breeds. Contains high-quality protein and easily digestible whole grains for your dog’s caloric needs. Has calcium and phosphorus.||4.6|
|Purina Pro Plan Giant Breed Dry Dog Food for Hip & Joint Care||An adult dry dog food formula focused on hip and joint care with its glucosamine and chondroitin contents. Large kibbles contain high-level of protein and prebiotics for digestive health.||4.5|
|Canidae All Life Stages Premium Wet Dog Food For All Stages||A versatile canned wet dog food for all ages. Contains probiotics for gut health. Also has vitamins and minerals for healthy joints, skin, and coats.||4.3|
1. Holistic Select Natural Dry Dog Food, Large & Giant Breed Adult Recipe
Are you looking for dog food to help prevent bloat and other digestive issues for your Great Dane? Holistic Select Natural Dry Dog Food, Large & Giant Breed Adult Recipe is our pick. It is specifically formulated for the needs of large-sized dogs like your Great Dane. It boasts probiotic and fiber contents that help ease bloating. At the same time, these maximize nutrient consumption.
This adult recipe offers high-quality protein from chicken, paired with oatmeal for fiber. It also contains calcium and phosphorus for your dog’s bones. Plus, antioxidants and vitamins, like glucosamine, to support his joints. The omega fatty acids in this formula help maintain his shiny coat. Be cautious in feeding dogs with allergies as this contains chicken which can trigger sensitivities. Also, the kibbles of this dog food are not large enough for big dogs.
- Contains probiotics, fiber, and digestive enzymes for a healthy gut
- Has omega fatty acids for a shiny coat
- Has calcium, phosphorus, and glucosamine for bones and joints
- Contains chicken which may trigger sensitivities
- Kibbles are smaller than other dog food brands meant for large dogs
- Kibbles also expand a lot with water which may cause bloat in some dogs
2. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Natural Adult Large Breed Dry Dog Food
You might need to feed your Great Dane with senior dog food sooner than you think. Large breeds live shorter life spans, so it’s better to start them with senior food earlier. We recommend Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Natural Adult Large Breed Dry Dog Food. This recipe boasts glucosamine and chondroitin that will take care of your pup’s joints. It contains 20% protein from quality deboned chicken. This is perfect for lean muscle maintenance.
Its carbohydrate content offers a good source of energy for your active pooch. With its antioxidants and vitamins, like vitamin E, you provide protection from the effects of aging. Plus, 7% fiber which aids good digestion. But, this dog food contains chicken which may cause rashes and other signs of allergies in sensitive dogs. Some reviews from large breed owners also reported incidents of diarrhea as a result of changing to this brand.
- Contains glucosamine and chondroitin for joints support
- Has a good balance of protein and carbohydrates to maintain lean muscles
- Has vitamins and minerals from fruits and veggies
- Sensitive dogs may react to certain allergens in this dog food and cause diarrhea
- Not grain-free
3. Royal Canin Giant Puppy Dry Dog Food
Specifically formulated for giant puppies, Royal Canin Giant Puppy Dry Dog Food boasts balanced nutrition for optimal growth. The kibbles designed for giant puppies’ jaws are packed with calcium and phosphorus for their growing bones. The vitamins and antioxidants offer immune support for your pup.
This dry dog food is intended for large breed puppies up to eight months of age. The low-calorie formula ensures your pup will have a steady growth. Growing rapidly can cause developmental disorders. Healthy digestion is also promoted due to its highly digestible proteins and prebiotic content. However, this dog food is not recommended for puppies sensitive to gluten. Those with chicken allergies should stay away from this recipe.
- Contains calcium and phosphorus for bone health
- A low-calorie formula for steady puppy growth
- With highly digestible proteins and prebiotics for digestion
- Chicken ingredients may cause hives in allergic dogs
- Contains grains and gluten
4. Eukanuba Puppy Large Breed Dry Dog Food
Looking for puppy food offering nutrients for your pup’s brain? We suggest Eukanuba Puppy Large Breed Dry Dog Food. This formula boasts DHA for brain development making your pup smarter. Plus, it has calcium and phosphorus to support his bones while growing. This dog food is recommended for puppies up to 15 months old.
Fuel your active puppy with the proteins from chicken in this dog food. Healthy fats and carbohydrates also help in promoting their growth. But, the primary ingredient for this recipe is chicken which may cause allergies. Some dog owners also reported diarrhea from switching to this dog food.
- Contains DHA for brain development in puppies
- Has calcium and phosphorus for bone health
- Balanced nutrition from quality protein, fats, and carbohydrates
- Can cause diarrhea to sensitive puppies
- Picky dogs may not like the flavor
- Chicken ingredients may also cause allergies
5. Hill's Science Diet Dry Dog Food Large Breed Adult
Another good option for your senior Great Dane is Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food Large Breed Adult. This formulation is designed for senior large breeds from six years and up. It offers glucosamine and chondroitin for your furry pal’s healthy joints. Plus omega fatty acids and vitamin E for healthy skin and shiny coat.
This chicken, barley, and rice recipe boast an easy-to-digest formula with balanced nutrition for your senior dog. Its minerals help support vital organs like the heart, kidneys, and bladder. However, this dog food may not be the choice of some picky eaters due to its strong odor. It’s also not for those with sensitive stomachs due to the lack of ingredients intended for digestive health.
- Contains glucosamine and chondroitin for senior dogs’ joints
- Has omega fatty acids and vitamin E for a shiny coat
- An easy-to-digest formula for nutrient absorption
- Contains chicken, a common allergen
- Contains corn and soy
- No probiotics or prebiotics
6. Purina Pro Plan Giant Breed Dry Dog Food for Hip & Joint Care
Giant breeds like the Great Dane need extra nourishment for their joints to carry their heavy weight. Condition your pet’s hips, joints, and muscles with Purina Pro Plan Giant Breed Dry Dog Food for Hip & Joint Care. Packed with glucosamine and omega-3 acid, EPA for ease of mobility and healthy joints.
The absorption of nutrients boosts their immune system with the help of live probiotics. Plus, natural prebiotics nurtures their gut health. Their coats will continue to shine with this formula’s vitamin A and omega fatty acids. The large kibbles contain a good balance of protein and fats to help maintain their ideal weight. However, this recipe contains grains and chicken ingredients that can trigger allergies.
- Contains glucosamine and EPA for mobility
- Has vitamin A and omega fatty acids for a shiny coat
- Has probiotics for absorption and prebiotics for digestive health
- Large kibbles
- Chicken/other allergens in the ingredients may cause vomiting, diarrhea, or hives
- Not grain-free
7. Canidae All Life Stages Premium Wet Dog Food for All Breeds
Do you have adult dogs and puppies at home and you’re hunting for wet dog food for all of them? Then you got your answer, with Canidae All Life Stages Premium Wet Dog Food for All Breeds. This tasty canned wet dog food contains chicken, chicken liver, and brown rice.
The recipe can be offered to puppies, adult dogs, and even senior dogs. It can be fed as a treat or as a dry food topper. It boasts antioxidants and probiotics for a healthy digestive system. Vitamins and minerals also target the joints, skin, and coats of your dogs. But, this formula is not grain-free. Plus, its chicken content may cause allergies in sensitive dogs. Feeding plain wet food may cause loose bowels in your dog.
- For all life stages
- Contains essential nutrients for joints, skin, and coat
- Has probiotics and antioxidants for digestive health
- Picky eaters may not like the flavor
- Chicken components may cause an allergic reaction
- Not grain-free
- If consistently fed on its own without dry food, it may cause diarrhea
8. Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Natural Adult Wet Dog Food
Delight in the versatility of Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Natural Adult Wet Dog Food. Your pooch will love to have it as a treat, as a meal on its own, or mixed with his favorite dry dog food. This natural homestyle blend boasts vitamins from fruits and vegetables.
This pate-style dog food contains high-quality deboned chicken. Good carbohydrates from barley, brown rice, and sweet potatoes, fuel your pup’s active routines. However, this is not recommended for sensitive dogs due to its chicken flavor. It also contains grains. Be wary of frequent feeding of wet food as it may cause loose bowels.
- Three ways of feeding: as a treat, as a meal, or as a dry food topper
- It contains vitamins from fruits and vegetables
- Naturally sourced, no wheat, soy, or corn content
- Fat contents tend to solidify and clump on top of the wet food
- It contains chicken and is not grain-free
- Constant feeding of wet food may cause diarrhea
9. Wellness Complete Health Large Breed Dry Dog Food with Grains
Fuel your Great Dane’s active energy level with Wellness Complete Health Large Breed Dry Dog Food with Grains. It is packed with premium quality protein from deboned chicken. And paired with carbohydrates from easily digestible whole grains like barley and brown rice. Plus, oats for fiber.
It has calcium and phosphorus for the bones. Plus, glucosamine for joints and taurine for heart health. Probiotics help manage your dog’s bloat and stomach gas. However, because chicken is the primary ingredient, it may cause allergic reactions in some dogs. It is also not a grain-free formula.
- Premium quality protein
- Calcium and phosphorus for bone health
- Taurine for the heart and glucosamine for the joints
- Probiotics for stomach gas
- Some ingredients may cause gastrointestinal problems in some dogs
- Contains grains
- Contains allergens like chicken
10. Taste Of The Wild Grain Free Premium Dry Dog Food Sierra Mountain
Satisfy your Great Dane’s palate without worrying about grains with Taste of the Wild Grain Free Premium Dry Dog Food Sierra Mountain. Not only does this offer a grain-free formula, but it also boasts a taste roasted lamb flavor. Your dog’s stomach will be taken care of good bacteria from the probiotics and prebiotics content of this food.
This made it to the list of best dog foods for Great Danes because of its high-quality proteins and superfood content. Not only that, it offers omega fatty acids too for your dog’s skin and coat. The vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in this dog food boost your pup’s immune system for overall wellness. Although it has no chicken, it contains eggs, so be careful with allergic pooches.
- Premium quality protein from roasted lamb
- Grain-free recipe
- Fruits and superfoods for nutrients
- Probiotics and prebiotics for the gut
- Contains eggs which may also cause allergies
- Dogs with heart issues need to consult the vet with this grain-free dog food
- High in fat compared to others in the list
11. NUTRO NATURAL CHOICE Healthy Weight Adult Dry Dog Food
Looking for a Great Dane dog food that can help lose weight? NUTRO NATURAL CHOICE Healthy Weight Adult Dry Dog Food is our bet. Its custom blend of protein and fiber helps your pooch shed excess weight. This natural fiber is also paired with antioxidants to take care of your pup’s digestion.
The high-quality protein from chicken in every kibble is intended for adult dogs one year and up. Contains no soy, wheat, or corn products. However, it has chicken ingredients which can cause triggers in dogs with allergies.
- Good source of protein from chicken
- Whole grains and fiber for digestion and weight loss
- Antioxidants for the immune system
- May cause swelling and itching to dogs allergic to chicken
- Some dogs had diarrhea due to certain ingredients
- Not grain-free
12. Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet Large-Breed Adult Dry Dog Food
Next up in our list of the best food for Great Danes is Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet Large-Breed Adult Dry Dog Food. Although the label says limited ingredients, this dog food has a lot of nutrients to offer. It boasts good quality protein and amino acids from lamb. It has natural fiber for digestion from whole grain rice. Plus, it has taurine for a healthy heart.
Not just that, it offers vitamins and minerals too. The kibbles of this dry dog food are large, which is ideal for your Great Dane’s jaw. This means he’ll chew the food slowly while the kibbles clean his teeth too. Although this formula boasts it’s gluten-free, it is not grain-free because of its rice content.
- Amino acids from lamb
- Has taurine for heart health
- Fiber from whole grain rice
- Large dry kibbles that help clean the teeth
- Although it is gluten-free, it is not grain-free
- New formulation causing diarrhea and vomiting in some dogs
13. Purina ONE Natural Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food
Power your pup’s energy needs with Purina ONE Natural Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food. This blend of dry kibbles and meaty morsels is designed for large dog breeds. Your Great Dane’s joints will be in good shape with the glucosamine ingredient of this recipe. Plus, omega fatty acids help him keep his skin and coat healthy.
The protein from premium chicken helps your pooch build strong, lean muscles. Vitamins and minerals also help keep his immune system healthy. However, since this is chicken flavored, it contains chicken byproducts. It also has soy, wheat, and corn. Thus, this is not a good pick for sensitive dogs.
- High-quality protein from chicken for strong muscles
- Has glucosamine for joint health and omega fatty acids for skin and coat
- Dry kibbles and meaty morsels blend
- Has a strong smell that dogs may not like
- Contains chicken and chicken byproducts
- Contains soy, wheat, and corn
14. Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Natural Dry Dog Food by Nature's Variety
Hunting for the best dog food for Great Danes with sensitive stomachs? Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Natural Dry Dog Food by Nature’s Variety is your best bet. It is free of chicken, eggs, dairy, potato, sweet potato, corn, wheat, soy, fish, beef, chickpeas, grains, preservatives, and artificial colors. This recipe contains cage-free turkey as its primary source of protein intended for dogs with allergies.
Your dogs will love its flavor because of its raw coated kibbles. This dog food is easy to digest so your Great Dane will not have stomach issues. This formula is based on one protein and one vegetable, so you can control your pet’s food sensitivities. However, this dog food is not specified for large breeds only, but for all breeds. So, the kibbles might not be the ideal size for your Great Dane’s mouth.
- One protein and one vegetable formula
- Free of allergens perfect for allergic dogs
- Has DHA and omega fatty acids
- Applicable to all breeds, not just for large dogs
- More expensive than the other brands
15. Best Breed Large Breed Dog Diet
For the last spot, we included Best Breed Large Breed Dog Diet. This veterinarian-developed dog food is packed with the nutrition needed by large dogs like your Great Dane. Naturally sourced chicken, fish, and eggs offer essential amino acids for your pooch. Digestive health is well taken care of with its fiber-rich ingredients, plus prebiotics and probiotics for nutrient absorption.
Add up the glucosamine and chondroitin from the New Zealand green-lipped sea mussel. Your pup will have enough support for his joints. Whole grains and natural ingredients provide the vitamins and minerals your Great Dane needs. However, this formula may not be suitable for those with allergies due to its chicken and egg contents.
- Mixed protein sources from chicken and fish
- Has glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health
- Has fiber, prebiotics, and probiotics for gut health
- Natural sources for holistic nutrition
- Contains chicken and eggs which may trigger allergies
- Picky dogs may not like the smell or flavor of this dog food
Nutritional Needs of Great Danes
Now that we shared with you our picks for the best dog food for Great Danes, let’s tackle the necessary components for their diet. You’ll notice most of these are mentioned repeatedly in different dog food brands we have included. Let’s find out why:
Fiber is an important part of your Great Dane’s food. It helps in the proper digestion of food in his stomach. Even if you choose the best dog food for your Great Dane, if not digested properly, his body will not absorb the key nutrients. So make sure to check the fiber content of your pup’s diet for nutrient absorption.
Carbohydrates fuel your dog’s energy needs. Since Great Danes are active dogs, they will need easily digestible carbohydrates. Check for whole grains in the ingredients list. Grain-free options are also available for sensitive dogs. Watch out for unhealthy carbs because they can cause weight gain.
Moderate Amount of Protein
Protein is the source of amino acids for your dog’s growth. A moderate amount of protein is recommended for Great Danes. Make sure the protein content of his dog food is around 24%. Too much protein can cause rapid growth resulting in developmental issues.
Healthy fats such as omega fatty acids and fish oil help maintain healthy skin and coat. However, to avoid obesity and unhealthy weight gain, ensure your Great Dane’s dog food doesn’t contain excessive fats. The ideal fat content should not be over 20%.
Vitamins & Minerals
The huge size of the Great Danes also means a higher demand for vitamins and minerals. Calcium and phosphorus are essential for their bones, especially for growing up puppies. A lack of vitamins can cause deficiencies and in turn, result in developmental problems.
Great Danes are known to have stomach issues such as bloat. Probiotics will help in the breakdown of food in his tummy. The good bacteria also regulate his bowel movement. This means a less gassy stomach for your pooch.
Things to Consider Before Buying Dog Food For Great Danes
Aside from checking the nutrient contents when choosing the dog food for your Great Dane, you also need to consider other factors. The nourishment needed by your pet varies depending on his age, activity level, and preference. Here are our tips before you buy the best Great Dane dog food:
Amount of Calories
Great Danes require between 2500-3000 calories daily. This may seem a lot, but they carry 140-pound bodies, or even more. Large breed dogs need enough calories to function and do their daily activities.
Although Great Danes are considered active working dogs, most of the time they are now living a sedentary life at home. You are the best person to gauge your dog’s activity level based on the routines you do daily. Plan his caloric intake according to the activities he does every day to avoid weight gain.
Proper chewing is necessary to avoid bloat. But, if the kibbles are small, your Great Dane will likely gobble down the food as fast as he can without even chewing it. So, choose a dog food with large kibbles that match his big mouth.
Different life stages mean different nutritional needs. Great Dane puppies continue to grow their full adult size until they are four. They need high protein diets to support their growth but low carbohydrates to avoid rapid growth.
Adult Great Danes require enough calories for their massive weights. But, too much fat in their diet can cause excessive weight gain.
Senior Great Danes need dog food with joint support and low-protein.
Weight & Height
Aside from their age, you need to measure their weight and height to know their ideal dog food. Check the labels on the dog food for the specific weight the formula is intended for. Knowing their correct size will guide you in the right food portions to avoid overfeeding.
Common Health Issues of Great Danes
Great Danes are known to be gentle giants with strong, active bodies. But, they are not exempted from predisposed health concerns. Because of their huge size, certain parts of their bodies are likely to develop problems are they grow old. Here are the most common ones:
Bone and Joint Problems
Great Danes are heavy dogs, and their weight puts extra pressure on their hips and joints. That is why keeping them at an ideal weight is a must. Prolonged stress on their hip joints can result in hip dysplasia.
Endocrine Health and Immunity
Great Danes are at risk of developing thyroid and adrenal gland disorders. Hypothyroidism is a common health problem that can be avoided with enough amounts of iodine in the diet. Great Danes also tend to develop certain cancers like bone cancer and cancer of the lymphatic system. Choosing a dog food with vitamin A and D will help prevent these illnesses.
Gastric Torsion and Bloat
What we simply know as bloat can be fatal to Great Danes. Gastric torsion is the stomach twisting, causing extreme pain and stoppage of blood circulation. It can cause tissues to die. Gastric torsion is considered an emergency and needs urgent treatment. Great Danes are at high risk of this disease.
Great Danes are also prone to enlargement of the heart called Dilated Cardiomyopathy. This condition causes the heart’s walls to get thinner, affecting its pumping ability and oxygen concentration in the body.
Great Dane Dog Food: FAQ
Let’s go through the frequently asked questions about the best dog food for Great Danes:
The best dog foods for Great Danes are those formulated for large breeds. The nutrient needs of the Great Danes vary depending on several factors. So, check your dog’s age, activity level, size, sensitivities, and taste preference to determine the best dog food.
Eight-week-old Great Dane puppies should start with 2 to 4 cups, gradually increasing to 7 to 10 cups in their first year. This should be divided into three meals a day. Male adults can be fed 8 to 14 cups a day while female adults from 6 to 9 cups daily. This may vary according to their size and activity level.
Great Danes need dog food specially designed for large breeds with large-sized kibbles for proper chewing. Some Great Danes with food sensitivities or medical conditions may need special diets prescribed by the vet, just like any breed.
We included grain-free options in our list above for you to choose from. The necessity of feeding your Great Dane grain-free dog food depends on his nutrient needs, taste preference, and health conditions. Whether grain-free options are better or not is still up for more studies.
Great Danes should eat three equal portions of dog food daily. Make sure to consider their size and activity level for the amount of dog food to avoid overfeeding.
Great Danes are prone to gas and bloat. In this context, yes, they have sensitive stomachs. So, choose a dog food with probiotics and fiber that will aid in proper digestion of their food.
Taking care of a gigantic Great Dane means gaining some knowledge about their breed. But, don’t worry, with the list of best Great Dane dog food we shared, you have more than enough options to choose from. You’ll surely provide the best nourishment and love for your gentle and elegant giant at home.