Top 5 Best Dog Foods For Great Danes [2021 Buyer’s Guide]

How To Feed Your Great Dane

Our Top 4 Food Choices For Adult Great Danes


Last update on 2019-01-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Great Danes are considered the gentle giants of the dog world. These gentle, but humongous creatures – most range between 100-200 lb – are also known as the German mastiff. In part, because of their large size, this dog breed has very specific needs in terms of exercise and nutrition to keep them healthy and happy.

If you are the lucky owner of the world’s largest lap dog or are considering adopting one, you need to be vigilant in how you feed your pup and monitor how much physical activity it gets. So, what does that mean exactly? Well, let’s take a look.

Special Dogs, Special Needs

Great Danes are a large breed and have specialty needs when it comes to exercise, especially Great Dane puppies as it is actually a rather fragile breed despite its imposing physical size. While most medium sized breeds require 45 minutes to an hour of exercise a day, this will prove excessive for a giant breed like a Great Dane.

Great Danes are heavy and prone to injury if you allow them to run themselves to the point of exhaustion. They can also get hurt if allowed to play roughly with other dogs, especially if allowed to wrestle with breeds of a similar size but have been blessed with a more powerful and athletic build.

Great Danes are also at higher risk of heart disease, which is another reason not to allow them to fatigue themselves through excessive cardiovascular activity. Of course, Great Danes still require exercise, but more moderate forms of exercise are appropriate for this breed.

Great Danes also have a slower metabolism than other dog breeds. It seems logical that, being a pet parent to this massive mutt you would be feeding them massive amounts of food. So, why don’t we feed them that way?

Great Danes slow metabolism means that they are not using up as much energy per pound of body weight. This fact, coupled with their predisposition to heart problems, means it is important to feed them a moderate diet and food that is specially formulated for giant breeds.

Food Facts – What Your Great Danes Food Should Be Made Of

In terms of nutrition, because they have a slower metabolism, it is important that you choose high-quality dog food for your huge hound. Like all dog food, food for Great Danes should have the highest amount protein, then fat and then fiber. For a Great Dane, however, these levels should be slightly lower than they are for the general pooch population.

For an adult Great Dane, you should aim for “23% protein and 12% fat”. This is a little on the low size for most dog food, so you will want to make sure that both the protein and fat sources are healthy and high quality and that the remainder of the nutrient in the food isn’t made up of empty carbs or fillers.

An important note on feeding Great Danes that is unrelated to nutrition: break up your pup’s feedings into as many small meals as possible and do not allow exercise after meals.

With their deep chests, Great Danes are particularly prone to gastric dilatation and volvulus, also known as bloat. Bloat is a serious, life-threatening emergency that seems to be caused by dogs wolfing down large amounts of food quickly and exercising after eating.

Feeding Your Big Baby

OK, so now you might be wondering if the same is true for Great Dane puppies. After all, puppies are resilient and need calories to support their growth and strengthen bones, right? In fact, it is even more important to feed and exercise your Great Dane with moderation.

Great Danes grow quickly. While most puppies reach their full size within a year, Great Dane pups continue growing well into their first year and will continue to grow girth-wise after that. A Great Dane puppy’s food should not exceed 26% protein and 16% fat.

If your Great Dane puppy consumes too many calories while it is young, you may quite literally overgrow him. This is a term that is used to describe a puppy whose body is growing too quickly for its skeleton to support.

For obvious reasons, this is very dangerous for a dog breed that is prone to joint injuries, hip dysplasia, and Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy or HOD, which is a serious swelling of the bones that is extremely painful and can cause lameness.

To avoid these sorts of problems for your sweet puppy, we recommend feeding your dog CANIDAE Life Stages Dry Dog Food for Puppies, Adults & Seniors.

Canidae All Life Stages Large Breed Puppy Food Made With Duck Meal, Brown Rice & Lentils, 30 Lbs
  • Optimum Protein From Duck Meal + Calcium & Phosphorous
  • Premium Ingredients: No Corn, Wheat, Or Soy

Last update on 2019-01-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This dog food is appropriate for dogs of all life stages, which means that you may not think switching your puppy’s food is necessary, as it gets older. This dog food is healthy but contains moderate percentages of protein (22%) and fat (13%).

This nutritionally dense dog food contains no harmful fillers such as corn wheat and soy, with the carbohydrate sources being healthy lentils and brown rice instead. The Canidae Lifestages is made with duck meal instead of chicken, which is a benefit as chicken is a common dog allergy.

It is enriched with probiotics to protect your dog’s gut healthy and formulated with important omegas to keep its skin healthy, shiny and soft. Omegas are also beneficial to bone and joint health, which is a great perk when picking a food for your Great Dane pup. This enhanced formula also includes glucosamine and chondroitin. Each kibble is also enriched with an antioxidant punch to protect your dog’s immune system.

The Bottom Line? Although relatively expensive, this dog food is a high-quality, U.S. product that has appropriate levels of protein and fat, as well as vitamins and minerals that help support your Great Dane puppy into a healthy and happy gentle giant.

  • High-quality ingredients
  • Lower in protein and fat than a standard dog food
  • Soy, wheat, and corn-free
  • Enriched with probiotics
  • Enriches with omegas, glucosamine, and chondroitin to help support healthy joint development
  • Fairly expensive, especially for a dog breed that consumes large amounts of food

With a dog food like the Canidae above, the timing of transition from puppy food to adult food is less important, since this particular dog food brand is quite balanced and is suitable for all life stages. However, puppy food is generally much higher in fat than regular dog food, which, again, for a breed like the Great Dane can be quite dangerous.

Most Great Dane owners, in fact, recommend that you never feed your Great Dane puppy actual puppy food, as it is too high in fat and protein.

As a general rule, you can feed a puppy a dog food formula designed for puppies “until their growth plates have sealed” usually between 1 and 2 years. With a Great Dane, however, you will want to either feed an all stages formula dog food from the beginning or switch your dog to adult food around 7-8 months to prevent overgrowth.

Again, an adult Great Dane, like any other pooch, needs protein, fat, and fiber in that order to thrive physically. However, it may need a little less than some of its smaller, more energetic canine companions. An adult Great Dane’s food should contain around 23% protein and 12% fat and you should pick a dog food with high-quality ingredients and perhaps some joint support for optimal Great Dane health. Below, we will profile the best dog foods for a happy, healthy Dane.

The Best Dog Food for Great Danes

1. Taste of the Wild Dry Dog Food

Taste Of The Wild Grain Free Premium Dry Dog Food Sierra Mountain - Lamb
  • A taste of the wild with ROASTED LAMB; REAL LAMB is the #1 ingredient; optimal amino acid profile, PROTEIN rich for LEAN, STRONG MUSCLES
  • Premium ingredients with added vitamins & minerals; fruits and vegetables as SUPERFOODS for hard-working ANTIOXIDANTS; fatty acid blend for SKIN & COAT

Last update on 2019-01-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Taste of the Wild dog food series is designed to mimic the types of foods that your pup would be eating if it were wild. This quality, inexpensive dog food brand is made up of real roasted meats and vegetables. It is high-fiber and comes in a variety of flavors to add a bit of excitement to your dog’s diet.

The Taste of the Wild dog food is free of harmful additives such as corn, soy, and wheat. A dog would never eat these things in his natural environment, so why put them in its dog food! At 25% protein and 15% fat, it is a little high in protein and fat to be perfect the perfect food for a Great Dane, but the sources of proteins and fat are high quality.

This high-quality dog food is packed with antioxidants for a healthy immune system. It also contains important omega acids for a sleek, shiny coat and to help support joint health.

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Great Dane’s are prone to gastrointestinal issues and this high fiber formula is perfect for a sensitive tummy or a picky pet.

The bottom line? This dog food consists of what your pet would be eating if it were a wild animal. It is healthy, contains high-quality ingredients and will help with tummy and joint issues, both common Great Dane problems.

  • Inexpensive
  • Corn, soy, and wheat-free
  • Contains antioxidants and omegas
  • Ideal for a pet prone to digestive issues
  • A little higher in protein and fat than we would like

2. Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain-Free Recipe for Dogs

Blue Buffalo Large Breed Freedom Grain Free Chicken Recipe Dry Dog Food, 24-Pound
  • Contains One (1) 24-Lb Bag Of Blue Freedom Grain Free Adult Large Breed Dry Dog Food, Chicken
  • Always Features Real Meat As The 1St Ingredient.

Last update on 2019-01-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This high-quality dog food formula developed for large breeds is perfectly nutritionally-valued for a Great Dane with a 22% protein and 12% fat makeup. This formula is also Great Dane-approved containing important omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, as well as glucosamine and chondroitin to help support longevity in your pup’s joints.

It also contains taurine, an amino acid important in maintaining heart health.

The kibbles are shaped to help control tartar. This dog food includes the protection of LifeSource bits, designed to pack a nutritional punch with a precise blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

This food is also gluten-free and free of common canine allergens such as chicken. It also contains no fillers like corn, wheat or soy.

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The bottom line? This food is a great buy for a Great Dane owner. It is appropriate for dogs prone to bowel issues and allergies. It also contains special LifeSource bits that are packed with healthful ingredients. It is perfectly nutritionally balanced for a large breed dog, containing appropriate levels of protein and fats and provides additional support where your big baby needs it: its heart and his joints.

  • No corn, wheat or soy
  • Balanced in terms of fat and protein content
  • Extra support for heart and joints
  • Controls tartar
  • No chicken
  • Gluten-free
  • Pricey
  • Some dogs do not like the LifeSource bits

3. Earthborn Holistic Dog Food, Natural Flavor

Earthborn Holistic Coastal Catch Grain Free Dry Dog Food, 28 Lb.
  • Grain-Free, Gluten-Free, 28 Lb. Resealable Bag
  • Herring And Salmon Meals, Rich In Omega Fatty Acids, Help Maintain Overall Good Health

Last update on 2019-01-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This dog food from Earthborn Hollistics is grain and gluten-free and contains no harmful additives. Although it is higher than our guidelines recommend in protein and fat, this food contains lean and healthy fish-based protein sources. It also contains real roasted fruits and vegetables and healthy sources of carbohydrates.

This food is also enriched with antioxidants such as blueberries and cranberries and is formulated to help maintain a healthy weight.

This dog food promotes the growth of lean and healthy muscles. It also contains taurine to encourage long-term heart health. This Earthborn Hollistics product also contains omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. These are essential for a healthy coat as well as for joint support.

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Finally, Earthborn Hollistics is a brand you can trust. All ingredients that can be sourced in the USA are and this brand has no history of recalls.

The bottom line? You can trust Earthborn Hollistics with your dog’s health. This food is made of high-quality, fish-based protein sources, enriched with antioxidants and helps maintain joint and heart health. It is free of harmful additives and common canine allergens.

  • High-quality sources of lean, fish-based protein
  • Rich in anti-oxidants
  • Supports heart and joint health
  • Free of harmful additives, gluten and common dog allergens
  • A little high in protein and fat for a Great Dane

4. Nature’s Variety Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Grain Free Turkey Meal Formula Natural Dry Dog Food By Nature'S Variety, 25.3 Lb. Bag
  • Formulated For Dogs With Food Sensitives - Made With One Animal Protein Source And No Grain Or Gluten
  • Contains The Fewest, Most Essential, Easily Digestible Ingredients

Last update on 2019-01-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This dog food brand prides itself on creating the most nutritious food possible with the most simple of ingredients. This food is gluten-free and well as free of common allergens such as chicken.

This formula is appropriate for a pet with a sensitive stomach as it contains easily digestible ingredients for dogs. This food is also appropriate for dogs with food sensitivities or allergies.

Although it is higher in protein and fat than we would recommend for a Great Dane, this food contains important omega fatty acids to help promote a healthy coat and support joint health. It is also coated with green tea extract to promote health, as well as improve aroma and taste for your pup.

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The bottom line? This food is a great option for a dog with lots of sensitivities or simply a very picky eater. This formula helps to maintain a healthy weight and is gluten free to mimic the way a dog eats in its natural environment. It is also a simple formula, with Nature’s Variety priding itself on creating a wholesome and nutritious food with the least amount of extra ingredients possible.

  • Free of common allergens and gluten
  • Appropriate for a pet with a sensitive stomach
  • Supports joint health
  • Maintains a healthy weight
  • Higher in protein and fat than usually recommended for a Great Dane
  • Expensive

In conclusion, all of these foods are fantastic options for feeding your Great Dane. We are partial to the Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain Free recipe, because this dog food formula not only helps maintain heart and joint health, but it also has optimum protein and fat levels to help your large breed thrive.

It is also free of harmful additive, gluten and common allergens and will help keep your pups teeth clean. However, for a dog with severe allergies or a pet parent on a little bit of a budget, all of these foods are great options for keeping your huge hound happy and healthy for the entirety of its life.

5 thoughts on “Top 5 Best Dog Foods For Great Danes [2021 Buyer’s Guide]”

  1. I have a 6 month old puppy great Dane so he should be on CANIDAE All Life Stages Large Breed Puppy Food Made With Duck Meal, Brown Rice & Lentils, 30 lbs or is it the blue freedom I don’t mind the expense of it I want the best for him.

    • Thanks for connecting to Please keep in mind that I, Claudia Bensimoun, do not write any of the blogs or reviews on this website, nor have I in the past. I only answer the comments section.
      Here’s what to look out for when choosing a puppy dog food formula:

      • Opt for dog foods that are tested using the AAFCO feeding trials, instead of by formulation.
      • Opt for the nutritional adequacy statement that is required on all pet food labels.
      • This label provides answers to three most important questions about your pet food.
      • If it’s complete and balanced
      • What life stage is it intended for? (Puppy, senior, lactating…)
      • How the claims on the label are substantiated?

      Since all dogs and their dietary requirements are different, and each dog food manufacturer has different products, it is too difficult to rank order and name any specific brand specifically as being the best. The most important thing to do is to feed puppies puppy food, and to be sure to feed a large breed puppy like the Great Dane a large breed puppy diet.Feed a diet that your pup does best on. Each puppy is an individual that will have specific needs.For pups, opt for guaranteed calcium and phosphorus levels. This aids in the healthy development of teeth and bones.Also a puppy formula that is free of steroids and hormones is best for your puppy.! Hope this helps!

  2. Thank you for the info. I had a great Dane for 11 and a half years and was feeding him blue buffalo kibble and Merrick chunky with gravy canned food. After his passing I decided on another Dane and at 8 weeks old I still worried about what to feed him. Browsing the aisles of Petco just reading labels I decided on the Blue Buffalo Freedom kibble. It is very comforting seeing this brand on your list and at the top of it. I’m not feeding him canned food yet as it seems to be really lacking in protein and nutrients and more of a “treat” I top his kibble with. Right now I don’t want him to fill up on anything not beneficial to his growth…except some rewarding training treats! Thanks again for your reviews, it makes me feel that much better that I made a good decision and gave me options if he doesn’t like it (Not a problem now).

  3. We have 2 Danes, 4 and 6 years, and have been feeding them dry Fromm for most of that time. It was recommended by another Dane owner and seems to be fine. Only issue is it’s hard to find at times. Any thoughts on Fromm? Our Vet recommends that we get the girls skinn but other than that she was not concerned about food brands.

    • Thanks for connecting to Please keep in mind that I, Claudia Bensimoun, do not write any of the blogs or reviews on this website, nor have I in the past. I only answer the comments section.
      Fromm is an awesome dog food.

      Every dog is different, and some brands will be better suited for certain dogs.When it comes to dog foods, understanding your pet’s current health and nutritional needs is paramount. And always remember to ask your veterinarian for advice before changing your dog’s diet. Look for dog foods that do not contribute to plaque build up, and that do not contain sugars, salt, or added preservatives.If your dog has digestive issues, look for formulas that contain probiotics.Glucosamine and chondroitin are also great for older dogs with hip problems.

      The best dog foods are made with the simplest and most nutritious ingredients. Look for high-quality ingredients such as whole meats, fruits, vegetables, and grains, and take heed of the different macronutrients like proteins, fats, and carbs. Providing Fido with the most appropriate diet that is healthy and beneficial to his life stage will help give your dog a long and healthy life.AAFCO model regulations and the federal feed laws stipulate that all pet food labels need to list all the ingredients in their formulas in descending order, according to the weight of each ingredient listed. With that said, it’s easy to see where the most important sources of calories and proteins are coming from – the first five ingredients listed. The first ingredient is the one ingredient that is present in the highest amount. Here are some pointers:

      •Feed a diet from a well-known, reputable company. Contact them with any questions of concern.
      •The labels on any diet should meet the levels established by the AAFCO Control Officials or feeding trials.
      •All dog food formulas should have the following statement “Animal Feeding tests using the AAFCO procedures substantiate that “Brand X” provides completed and balanced nutrition for growth (or maintenance.)
      •Feed puppies puppy food, and be sure to feed a large breed puppy a large breed puppy formula.
      •Feeding a small dog diet to large breed puppies can cause large breed puppies to grow too quickly, and can lead to serious growth abnormalities and “growing pains.”
      •There is no “best diet.” Dogs are individuals. A diet that works for one dog may not be the best for another. Age, energy level and individual medical concerns play a large role for each patient.
      •The recommended guidelines on bags often contain more calories than dogs need. Unless it is a very energetic (and intact) animal, he usually recommends feeding the lower end of the recommendation.
      •Feed a complete and balanced food for the appropriate life stage of the pet.

      Finally always consult with your veterinarian for advice before switching dog food formulas.

      For my article on Rooibos tea for dogs, visit:
      For my article about how doga and pilates can benefit active dogs, visit:

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