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Best Dog Food for Great Danes – Adult, Puppy & Seniors – Complete Guide

Choosing the best dog food for Great Danes can be a challenge. A good Great Dane diet can be tricky to get right first time.

With so many food types – dry, wet, organic, budget, puppy, cold-pressed – making the right choice of Great Dane dog food requirements involves both research and experimentation.

This guide will walk you through the types of foods, why they are important and give our recommendations of the best types for your giant breed.

Best Great Dane Dog Food – Summary Table

ListingFood TypeDog Food NameAvailable Online
1Best Premium Food🏆 Orijen Adult Original, 11.4kgBuy Online
2Best Premium Puppy FoodOrijen Puppy LargeBuy Online
3Best Puppy Food for Great DaneAcana Puppy Large BreedBuy Online
4Best Premium Food for AllergiesAATU Duck [UK & Europe] / Acana Singles Limited Ingredient [USA & Canada]Buy Online
5Best Medium-Range Dog FoodBarking Heads Dry [UK & Europe] / Wellness Core Natural Grain-Free [USA & Canada]Buy Online
6Best Budget Dog FoodHarringtons Hypoallergenic [UK & Europe] / Taste of the Wild [USA & Canada]Buy Online
7Best Cold-Pressed / Freeze-Dried Dog FoodForthglade 100% Natural [UK & Europe] / Stella & Chewy’s [USA & Canada]Buy Online
8Best Air-Dried Dog FoodZiwiPeak Daily ChickenBuy Online

How much food does a Great Dane eat?

As with many things around Great Danes, the answer will often be it depends. The first thing this depends on is the age and size of the Dane in question.

Minimum weight for male Great Danes over 18 months of age is 54kg (120lbs), and for female Danes, it is 46 kgs (100 lbs).

Compare that to the record holder for the tallest living dog, who weighs 89kg (196lbs) and reaches 3 ft 4.75 in (103.5 cm) in height; it is easy to understand that amount of food depends on each dog.

How Much Dog Food Does Great Dane Eat

On average, Great Dane dietary needs are around 2500 calories per day to maintain a healthy condition.

More active ones can easily have requirements of over 3000 calories a day, while seniors and very lazy Danes will need less than the average Dane.

The guidelines on food packagings are a great starting point.

The best course of action is to read the instructions from the manufacturer carefully and monitor your dog’s weight and behaviour.

Following that, the amount of food should be adjusted to reach or maintain optimum weight and peak conditioning.

Great Danes are seen mainly as Gentle Giants and couch potatoes, but that isn’t always the case.

Our current two Danes couldn’t be more different from each other.

One would be happy to spend his entire life snoozing on the sofa, while the other one prefers zooming about in the park and playing with all her friends.

They are not the same size either, so the starting amounts were different for both.

With that in mind, the lazy one gets slightly less food for his size, while the active one gets a bit more food for her size. Between the two, they eat close to 1500 grams of their current dry food per day.

A dog in an ideal condition will have ribs, spine and hip bones which are easily felt. You might be able to see them when your Great Dane is stretching or playing, though they shouldn’t be on display.

The last two ribs are okay to be visible even when resting. A distinct waist should be visible from above, with a tucked abdomen.

Finally, the quality of the food can make a big difference in the amount of food you should feed your dog. Dry food which is high in meat usually has more calories in smaller quantities of food.

Higher meat content can mean that quality dog foods are more expensive than some supermarket brands, but it evens out a bit due to the difference in the amount of food you’re feeding. Not to mention your pup’s health, immune system and behaviour will benefit from being fed a good quality diet.

Puppy food for a Great Dane

How much does Great Dane Puppy Eat Both of our Great Danes are adults now, but if you have a puppy or a senior dog, your starting points will be different.

Not only that, but the ingredients might need to be different as well.

There are some things you need to watch out for when picking the perfect food for feeding your Great Dane puppy.

The obvious one being protein and fat levels, make sure that the proteins are primarily from meat sources, and that meat is listed as the first ingredient.

If it isn’t, move on to a different type of food. In addition to protein, calcium levels should be between 1.2-1.6 and phosphorus levels 1.0 for a Great Dane puppy diet. These levels provide the correct balance for your pup’s growth.

The amount of food will be quite high, but with puppies, this is usually split into 3 or 4 meals per day.

It is generally acceptable to feed your puppy four meals a day until around four months of age when you can reduce it to 3 meals per day. Many Great Dane owners keep them on three meals for the rest of their life.

One of the reasons is the sheer size of the meals and fear of bloat. You should be able to go down to 2 meals per day from around 8-9 months of age.

We would not recommend feeding just one meal per day though; it’s considered not safe for giant breeds. Of course, some individuals might be happy with only one meal, but most dogs are better off on at least two meals per day during adulthood.

We’ve included a few Great Dane puppy food reviews in this article.

While we’re talking about the number of meals per day, we strongly advise against free feeding. Dogs are not grazing animals. Mealtimes are essential for many reasons not covered in this article, but the two main ones are:

1 – meal times create consistency, routine, and an opportunity for bonding
2 – bloat risk is higher as you won’t know when is it safe to exercise your doga

Dog Food for Senior Great Danes

Dog Food for Senior Great Danes As your Great Dane gets older, many of their needs change accordingly, including the food. We witness a lot of Danes still going strong and having the zoomies, but it is crucial to keep an eye on them and adjust accordingly.

Most of the premium foods are suitable for all ages and do not have a specific diet for seniors.

If your Dane is slowing down and prefers to sleep on the couch, keep an eye on the fat and carb contents though.

Senior food, in theory, is meant to be low in fat, to help maintain a healthy weight with less active dogs.

Just like humans, the extra weight will put more pressure on the old bones and joints, so either cutting down on the amount of food or changing to a low-fat diet will help your Dane stay fit and healthy for many more years.

Note that many of the life-stage specific foods have the same content as the others. A lot of food labelling is just smart marketing. Ingredients are key to choosing the right diet regardless of the age of your Great Dane.

For those Danes with health-related problems that require a special diet, it is best to consult a veterinary professional or a qualified canine nutritionist.

Finally, if your Dane finds themselves a bit stiff and sore, look into adding a joint supplement to their diet, such as Lintbells YuMove supplement. There are lots of supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin that can be added to the Great Danes diet which can help with mobility issues, arthritis and hip dysplasia. As with any canine health issues, always consult a veterinary expert.

Types of Great Dane Dog Food

dog bones, puppy, pet, great dane There are lots of options when it comes to dog food; it is difficult to know where even to start, let alone what to choose.

From dry extruded to DIY raw, one is spoilt for choice.

It’s not necessarily a good thing, so we aim to help you with your choice.

Our focus here will be dry food; be it extruded, baked, cold-pressed, air-dried, or freeze-dried.

Non-honourable mention goes to muesli type; from our experience, there doesn’t appear to be one which is of good enough quality to feed any dog, let alone the Apollo of dogs.

Dry extruded is probably the most commonly seen type of dry dog food. It is your standard kibble and can come in various shapes and sizes.

Kibble is very convenient and relatively inexpensive, so no surprises that it’s so popular. The thing to note is that if it comes in various colours, it needs to go in the bin, and not in your dog’s bowl.

Baked food looks similar to the above, but the process is different. It’s quite literally, food baked in an oven.

Types of Great Dane Dog Food It emerged as a better alternative to extruded kibble, due to lower temperatures, thus, in theory, retaining more of the goodness from the food.

The problem is that gluten has been a critical ingredient in baked foods for a long time, so we would highly recommend reading the labels before opting for baked foods.

Cold-pressed food is a reasonably new entry to the market, at least in Europe.

Cold-pressed food is made at a low temperature very quickly, and the food dissolves from the outside, rather than expand like extruded kibble. This is often regarded as a helping hand to avoid bloating in dogs.

Bloat is a common issue in Great Danes, according to some sources Great Danes have a risk as high as 42% of bloating during their lifetime.

Unfortunately, as there is no consensus on the causes of GDV, or how to prevent it, we would err on the side of caution with that claim.

We don’t think cold-pressed food would hurt your dog but don’t go running with them 5 minutes after their meal thinking the type of food made it safe to do so. You still need to follow all the safety advice when it comes to your dog’s health.

Air-dried food, along with freeze-dried food is on the costly end of the food market.

Types of Great Dane Dog Food Team the pricing up with the size of a Great Dane, and you might start feeling a bit dizzy from just looking at the numbers.

This is not to say that both of those options are not amazing.

Freeze-drying and air-drying both work by eliminating the moisture required for bacteria to grow.

Doing this prevents the meat in the dog food to go bad.

Raw ingredients are frozen, then placed in a strong vacuum. The specialist machine turns the moisture in the food from ice to vapour. Freeze-dried foods often require rehydration before serving.

With air-drying, raw food for Great Dane ingredients are placed into drying equipment, where hot air is circulated, and the moisture slowly evaporates from the food.

One of the best-air-dried food brands is ZiwiPeak from New Zealand. Their food is so good; we use as high value treats for our dogs. It is as close to fresh as possible, without being inconvenient. It’s fit for human consumption too, though we’re not ready to recommend it to humans just yet.

Freeze-drying is more commonly used for treats. The reason for this might be the requirement for specialist equipment, thus rendering it too expensive for mass food production.

What to Look for in Great Dane Food

The food we provide for our Danes represents the building blocks by which they maintain a calm, confident and adjusted way to deal with life. Guaranteeing ideal wellbeing for the mind and gut is the best thing you can do to keep your pooch feeling tip-top.

What to Look for in Great Dane Food Protein, first and foremost in all foods is your starting point. Protein should be primarily from meat sources and listed as the first ingredient.

Vegetable protein is not bad, but it’s just not as beneficial for dogs. Avoid meat meals, because ingredients in those are often unclear, and meat can be of deficient quality.

Very high levels of protein can be too costly for some dogs, at least in the beginning. Keeping to lean meats will also help your Dane stay a healthy weight.

An essential amino acid for dogs which can only be supplied by diet is Tryptophan. Tryptophan enables the production of serotonin. Low serotonin levels are inadequate even for humans and have been linked with aggression in dogs, and many other animals.

Foods which fit well into the above criteria are poultry, salmon, eggs, and many more. If you have a specific behavioural issue, you should consult a modern behaviourist or a veterinary behaviourist. They will be able to guide you in the direction of the best food that will improve the gut health of your Dane, and lead you onto a stress-free path.

What Dog Food To Avoid

Without a doubt, the first thing you’ll hear from people is to avoid grains. We agree that you should always aim for a grain-free, gluten-free diet.

What Dog Food To Avoid However, whole grains such as brown rice, are not all that bad and can help with your dog’s digestive system.

As long as it’s not the top ingredient in the food, whole grain rice shouldn’t immediately discourage you from a specific brand.

Corn and wheat gluten is the big enemy and generally accepted as a completely unnecessary filler in dog foods.

Dogs can’t digest them, and they’re increasingly a common cause for all sorts of unpleasant allergic reactions.

Food dyes only exist to attract owners. Dog don’t see the same colours as we do and don’t care about the colour of their food in the same way.

There are claims that some food dyes have been linked to allergic reactions, behaviour problems, and cancers – however, it is worth researching more on this as opinion varies and evidence in some areas is thin.

Ethoxyquin is used as a preservative in many budget foods, but it was initially herbicide and should be avoided.

Propylene Glycol is typically found in antifreeze, but some companies thought it would be useful in dog food too.

Stay away from foods using this ingredient to reduce moisture, and find something better for your dog.

Finally, although it’s nice if the label lists meat as the first ingredient, be wary of foods which use by-products or describe the component as meat meal.

Transparency should not be that difficult. Simply saying meat meal, or chicken meal is not enough information to allow you to make an informed choice for your dog.

If your dog has special dietary requirements or health problems which require food adjustments, be sure to consult with your veterinarian before switching diets.

Best Premium Dog Food for a Great Dane

1. 🏆 Orijen Adult Original, 11.4kg [UK]

For USA and Canada – CLICK HERE

UK and Europe Link:

Source Origin: Orijen – Made in Canada

Orijen Adult Original Food, 11.4 kg This recipe consists of free-run chicken and turkey, nest-laid eggs and fish.

Orijen is suitable for dogs of all breeds and life stages.

Containing 85% of meat, two-thirds of Orijen meats are fresh (refrigerated, no preservatives) or raw (flash-frozen, no preservatives), including the top 10 meat ingredients.

One-third of meats are air-dried at 90°C from fresh chicken, turkey and fish to create a concentrated source of richly nourishing protein.

Although it might not be budget-friendly, this is a high-quality diet. Both in terms of ingredients, and in terms of the preparation technique.

2. Orijen Puppy Large, 11.4kg

For USA and Canada – CLICK HERE

UK and Europe Link:

We find that many good Great Dane breeders approve regular adult food for puppies, and puppy food can often be unfit for giant breeds. Still, Orijen seems to have done a good job at keeping the appropriate levels of ingredients to suit large breed puppies. We found this to be one of the best dog foods for a Great Dane puppy we’ve tried.

The ingredients are very similar to the above mention adult food.

Best Puppy Food for Great Dane

3. Acana Puppy Large Breed, 11.4kg

For USA and Canada – CLICK HERE

UK and Europe Link:

Acana BR50111 Dog Food for Puppy Large Breed, 11.4 kg Acana – Made in Canada

We move on to the best food for a Great Dane puppy.

Large breed puppies are best fed a high-meat diet with a good amount of proteins to develop muscles, yet low in carbs and calories to maintain healthy body weight and reduces stress on developing joints and bones.

Acana Puppy Large Breed is free of grains and fast carbs.

Acana is a brand of food made by the same company as Orijen.

With slightly less meat than Orijen Original at 70%, it is still among the top foods on the market. It shares a similar list of ingredients too, with free-range chicken, nest-laid eggs and fish.

Acana is Orijen’s take on affordable food, it’s not precisely budget food, but at a reasonable price, it is a fantastic choice of Great Dane puppy food.

Best Premium Food for Great Danes with Allergies

4. AATU Duck 10kg [UK and Europe]

AATU 80/20 Dry Dog Food, Duck, High Protein, Grain Free Recipe, No Artificial Ingredients, 10 kgFinding the best dog food for Great Danes with sensitive stomachs and allergies can involve a little trial and error.

AATU prides itself as an ethical, independently owned British company. They provide a unique high protein diet with most of the flavours having a single source of protein.

Each flavour has at least 80% of meat or fish and is enriched with various fruits and vegetables.

In addition to being a single protein diet, it is also completely gluten-free, grain-free, white potato free, and contains no artificial colours, flavours and preservatives, or genetically modified ingredients.

AATU is handcrafted in small batch recipes, with a bespoke combination of 8 vegetables, eight fruits, eight herbs and eight botanicals & spices.

AATU uses fresh and raw meats which are pre-cooked using a select method to promote efficient digestion.

Their duck recipe proved to be very successful with one of our allergy-prone dogs. Duck is one of the less common allergens. With AATU being a single-source protein diet, it is easy to keep your dog happy and avoid triggering allergic reactions.

Other flavours to choose from include free-run chicken, turkey, salmon & herring, and shellfish. Keep in mind that the fish recipes are not from a single source of protein, so be sure to read the label before ordering.

5. Acana Singles Limited Ingredient Duck & Pear [USA and Canada]

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Acana once again takes the spotlight, this time with its limited ingredient dry food.

ACANA Singles Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food, Duck & Pear, Biologically Appropriate & Grain Free Coming in at 60% of meat, 40% vegetables and botanicals, it is also completely gluten-free, grain-free, free from potato, and tapioca; all common fillers in dog foods today.

It contains no artificial colours, flavours and preservatives, or genetically modified ingredients.

Their duck recipe proves to be very successful with allergy-prone dogs. Duck is one of the less common allergens among the meat proteins.

With Acana Singles being a single-source protein diet, it is easy to keep your dog happy and avoid triggering allergic reactions.

Other flavours to choose from include: Beef & Pumpkin, Lamb & Apple, Pork & Squash, Turkey & Greens, and Beef.

Best Medium-Range Great Dane Dog Food

6. Barking Heads Dry Dog Food [UK and Europe]

Barking Heads – Made in the UK

Barking Heads Dry Dog Food - Bowl Lickin' Chicken - 100% Natural Chicken with No Artificial Flavours, Good for Healthy Digestion and Joint Health, 12 kg Barking Heads Bowl Lickin’ Chicken is made with 100% natural free-run chicken.

It is made to aid healthy digestion and contains ingredients which are linked to joint support.

It is free from artificial colours, flavours & preservatives, but it does contain rice.

We mentioned previously that overall it is best to avoid rice. However, brown rice is not a terrible ingredient.

Meat is still the first ingredient, and the percentage of rice is pretty low, so we have no problems recommending this food as a good option for your slobbery friend.

Other flavours to choose from include beef, lamb, salmon, turkey, and many more.

Some of these are less likely to cause an allergic reaction in your dog, but they are not single-source protein foods, so read the label carefully before committing to this food.

7. Wellness Core Natural Grain-Free Dry Dog Food [USA and Canada]

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Wellness Core Turkey & Chicken is made in the USA and contains only premium, natural ingredients

It is free from artificial colours, flavours & preservatives, and completely free from grains.

Although the second ingredient is turkey meal, and the third one is a chicken meal, the first ingredient is deboned turkey. The company guarantees no meat by-products, so we have no problem recommending it as a good option for your slobbery friend.

Other flavours to choose from include wild game, lamb, whitefish, and many more.

Some of these are less likely to cause an allergic reaction in your dog, but they are not single-source protein foods, so read the label carefully before committing to this food.

Best Budget Great Dane Dog Food

8. Harringtons Grain Free Hypoallergenic, 15 kg [UK and Europe]

There aren’t many budget foods with high meat content, unfortunately, especially not ones that avoid wheat.

Made in the UK, Harringtons manages to achieve a decent score across multiple consumer sites, and with many dogs. It has over 30% of meat, and meat is listed as the first ingredient.

This complete food contains no artificial colours or flavours, no dairy, no soya and no added wheat.

The downside is that the food information is not very transparent, and it is difficult to tell what exactly is in the food. It’s not of high quality, but it is a huge improvement on the regular Harringtons food, and it is effortless on the wallet.

9. Taste of the Wild High Prairie [USA & Canada]

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Taste of the Wild is a natural grain-free food made in the USA. Despite some of the unclear labelling, it is a high-end food at an affordable price.

Most importantly, meat is the first ingredient, in this case, buffalo. The second ingredient is lamb meal, which isn’t as transparent as we’d like it to be.

The third ingredient listed is a chicken meal, again not enough transparency, but further, down the list, there’s bison, beef, venison, and some fish. This food contains a minimum of 60% of meat, so we can’t complain too much.

Even though some of the labelling is unclear, it is a good-quality food at an affordable price.

Best Cold-Pressed Dog Food

10. Forthglade 100% Natural Dog Food – Made in the UK

Forthglade grain-free dry food was voted the top cold pressed dog food by Dogs Monthly magazine.

It is suitable for all ages and comes in grain-free recipes. Forthglade’s cold-pressed food is hypoallergenic and wheat free and is available in chicken or duck.

Your Great Dane can easily enjoy it as a complete meal or mixed up with some of Forthglade’s range of wet food.

11. Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Raw Chicken Meal [USA & Canada]

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Stella & Chewy's Freeze-Dried Raw Chewy's Chicken Meal Mixers Dog Food Topper, 18 oz. Bag It’s unlikely you’ll be looking to feed Stella & Chewy’s like a complete diet, which is why it’s marketed as a meal topper anyway. It’s great for picky eaters or those who need a bit of encouragement to finish their meal.

Made in the USA, it contains responsibly-sourced chicken, organs and bones, plus organic vegetables and fruits.

Freeze-drying raw ingredients make Stella & Chewy’s food, so it’s as close to natural nutrition with the added benefit of convenience. On top of that, it doesn’t require rehydration like many raw foods so that you can scoop and serve.

Best Air-Dried Great Dane Dog Food

12. ZiwiPeak – Made in New Zealand

As we mentioned previously, air-dried food is quite expensive.

ZiwiPeak is undoubtedly one of the more expensive foods on the market in general, regardless of the type, and an enormous bag is 4kg. The largest pack might not even last ten days for some Danes.

However, with that in mind, if you can afford to buy it, do add it to your dog’s diet, even if it’s just as a treat, it will make them very happy.

Special Mentions

We wanted to give a special mention to a brand of wet food, which we’ve noticed is most often used as a top-up for Great Danes. Humans like to believe that dogs need a variety of textures and flavours.

Whether that’s true or not, one can’t deny the fact that dogs do enjoy a bit of tasty wet food on top of their usual dinner.

13. Forthglade Complete Grain Free Wet Food [UK & Europe]

Forthglade 100 Percent Natural Dog Food Grain Free Complete Wet Dog Food Variety Pack, 395 g, Pack of 12 Our personal experience with Forthglade’s wet food range is very positive.

If anything, it had helped deal with upset stomachs in the past and allowed us to maintain a healthy weight on our female Great Dane when she was unwell and wouldn’t eat anything other than a bit of Forthglade.

The wet food recipes come in two options; with brown rice or grain-free, and both are equally as good.

Brown rice is a whole grain, and we found that it can help some dogs with binding their stools.

This might not work for all, so if you have any concerns about your dog’s gut health, stick to the grain-free option to be safe.

14. Nutro Wild Frontier Vital Prey Wet Dog Food [USA & Canada]

BUY ON AMAZON

 

Wild Frontier Vital Prey Wet Dog Food Stews Variety Pack: Chicken & Liver Stew, Beef & Liver Stew, 12.5 Ounce Cans, Pack Of 12 If you want to add something to your dog’s dry food to top it up or add a different texture, Nutro’s wet food is an excellent addition at a reasonable price.

There are multiple flavours, but we would suggest trying Chicken & Liver, and Beef & Liver to start with.

You can get this combination in a 12 can pack, which saves you money too.

Nutro’s food is grain-free, and it also has no soy, and no artificial flavours or preservatives.

Summary

We hope this guide helped you choose the best dog food for your Great Dane. Depending on their age, temperament and physical health – there are plenty of considerations. With enough research, you should find the perfect diet for your dog.

For more articles on dog food, check out our food section as well as our health section. Don’t forget to follow the conversation on our Facebook page.

Great Dane

Not Danish, Dane is the other half of Collar & Harness. Having worked in the technology sector for many years - he now immerses himself in all things dogs. Writes about subjects ranging from dog food to canine psychology with a little bit of pup technology thrown in. Dane has been writing for nearly 15 years on the topics he loves. Lives in London.

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