What Is the Best Dog Food for a Great Dane?

The Great Dane is a giant breed of dog and is known as one of the tallest dogs in the world. Their laid back natures mean they make gentle, friendly companion dogs, provided their owners can give them enough space!

Great Danes were originally bred as hunting dogs in Europe in the Middle Ages, their great size an advantage in hunting large animals like bear, wild boar and deer. Weighing upwards of 100-120lbs Great Danes do need plenty of food, but like other giant breeds their slower metabolism means they use less energy per pound than smaller dogs.

The best dog food for a Great Dane pup is one that is formulated especially for giant breed puppies and provides the optimum balance of nutrients for peak health. Eating the right diet as a puppy can help prevent musculo-skeletal and joint issues in later life, issues that this breed is susceptible to. As adults, Great Danes can be prone to hip dysplasia and arthritis, which are believed to be linked to rapid growth. Puppies can also be affected by Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy (HOD) and Pano (Panosteitis), so it is important to encourage a slow rate of growth. Puppy food for giant breeds contains lower amounts of protein and fat, and a healthy balance of calcium and phosphorous.

Great Dane

Like all dogs, Great Danes need to get sufficient high quality protein and fat from their diet. However, a lot of commercial dog food contains higher percentages of protein and fat than the amounts recommended for Great Danes, so owners whose dogs require a low fat or low protein dog food should always read the nutritional content before buying a new recipe.

Owners should also be aware that the healthiest wet and dry dog foods are those that contain top quality protein and recognizable fat sources, such as fish oil and chicken fat. A whole meat, organ meat or meat meal should be top of the ingredients list. It is advisable to check the ingredients of the cheapest dog foods as inexpensive brands are more likely to contain cheap fillers with low nutritional value in order to keep the cost down. As a general rule, the more natural ingredients and the fewer artificial additives in a kibble or canned dog food the better, and there are many affordable dog foods that fulfil these criteria.

As in other large, deep-chested breeds, bloat is a risk for Great Danes and can be fatal if not treated by a vet immediately. Many experts recommend Great Danes are fed several small meals a day in place of one or two larger meals, and suggest owners can also feed snacks in between meals if necessary, as going too long without food can increase the risk of the stomach filling with air or gas. It is also advisable to avoid feeding a Great Dane immediately prior to or directly after exercise, as again, this can increase the risk of bloat.

Some Great Danes may show symptoms of skin allergies or food sensitivities, such as a sensitive stomach or itchy skin, although this is not something that is particularly common in the breed. Many owners find that switching to a grain free dog food, or one free from common allergens like wheat, corn, soy and dairy, leads to improvements in these conditions. However, owners should remember to read the packaging to make sure the percentages of protein and fat are suitable for Great Danes.