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Great Danes are gentle giants. Underneath its majestic posture is a confident, loving, and highly devoted hound that makes it one of the best dogs to have around kids. Nutrition is such a very important aspect of caring for a Great Dane. For this giant breed, growing slower than other breeds is the key. As such it is important to carefully consider the food you’re going to give them. We’ve asked animal nutrition experts on what this breed of dog really needs. Using the information given to us, we’ve been able to identify 5 of the best dog foods for Great Danes that pet parents of the breed also use.
It really is easy to see why a lot of Great Dane-lovers choose the Taste of the Wild Sierra Mountain Grain Free High Protein Natural Dry Dog Food for their pets. With pasture-raised lamb forming the core of its formulation, the Sierra Mountain is an easily digestible treat that is simply perfect for your gentle giant. TOTW’s K9 probiotics is especially designed for dogs so your Great Dane is sure to boost its immune system as well as establish healthier digestion while also preventing bloating.
It doesn’t come with joint-friendly nutraceuticals, though. But with the addition of omega essential fatty acids, zinc, selenium, and other minerals and vitamins, you can bet your dog will grow to be as healthy as it should be. At the very least, the combination of nutrients can help prevent some of the more common medical problems that are known to affect Great Danes like gastric torsion, cardiomyopathy, and even osteosarcoma.
Formulated specifically for large and giant breeds, the Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Large Breed Dry Dog Food is a great choice for your Great Dane especially if your veterinarian has recommended high protein diet to help build its muscles. The Wellness CORE has the highest minimum protein in this list yet still manages to control its calorie content. It contains the nutraceuticals glucosamine and chondroitin which are beneficial in strengthening your dog’s joints. Calcium and phosphorus are also added as well as other minerals and vitamins to augment the physiologic benefits of such ingredients.
It may not have as many beneficial microorganisms as the TOTW Sierra Mountain, but it sure is good to know that your dog’s digestion, immunity, coat, skin, cardiovascular, and nervous system functioning will be at their peak performance. It’s got prebiotics, too to make sure your dog’s healthy gut flora get the best nutrition they need and help prevent bloating.
Hill’s Science Diet’s Large Breed Dry Dog Food is definitely not for Great Danes that are quite sensitive to wheat and corn as these two grains are inherently included in the formulation’s first 5 ingredients. But if you’re not really a firm believer of canine gluten allergies, then this HSD product is for your pet. The HSD Large Breed has the lowest crude protein content in this list, but this should not alarm you since it is still within the ideal protein recommendations for dogs of this breed.
Moreover, it adds amino acids into its formulation so your dog is guaranteed to have the necessary building blocks in needs for optimum development. The HSD Large Breed also comes with glucosamine and chondroitin, making sure your pet’s joints are kept at their prime to help support the ever-growing weight of your dog. Vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients are also included.
With a minimum crude protein of only 22%, you’d think that Blue Buffalo’s Freedom Grain-Free Large Breed Dry Dog Food is not good for your Great Dane. On the contrary, it has one of the most ideal proportions of proteins and fats. It is also infused with beneficial microorganisms to help your gentle giant attain optimum digestion and boost its immunity to go with its EPA and other essential fatty acids.
Unfortunately, there’s no indication as to the estimated amount of probiotics. Regardless, the combination of bone- and joint- beneficial nutrients can help ensure optimum physical mobility for your Great Dane. The delicious chicken flavor should also help your pet get all the right nutrients it needs as it will surely love the taste.
Eukanuba is one of those brands that don’t necessary believe in the canine gluten myth. If you do, too, then its Adult Large Breed Dry Dog Food formulation is perfect for your Great Dane. It has the right amounts of calories, proteins, and fats to go with its essential fatty acids, beta-carotene, vitamin E, and a whole lot more. As we have already mentioned, it contains corn meal as one of its 5 first ingredients, although you can feel more secure about the use of chicken as its principal ingredient.
The addition of chondroitin and glucosamine should also help ensure optimum mobility for your reserved giant. At least, your Great Dane will not really have any problems carrying its weight considering that this breed is especially prone to the development of hip dysplasia and even osteosarcoma.
Calorie content: 316 per cup
Minimum percentage protein: 23
Minimum percentage fat: 13
First 5 ingredients: chicken, ground whole grain sorghum, corn meal, ground whole grain barley, and chicken byproduct meal
With essential fatty acids, chondroitin, glucosamine, l-carnitine, calcium, vitamin E, and beta-carotene
If you have a Great Dane or you’re seriously considering on getting one it is crucial that you pick the best nutrition for your pet. To help you better understand the unique nutritional requirements of this breed of dog, we’ve prepared this buying guide especially for you.
How Much Food Do I Feed My Great Dane?
Great Danes are considered giant breeds. As such, they are known to have one of the fastest growth rates among dogs. They can reach their full adult weight of about 140 to 175 pounds for males and 110 to 140 pounds for females as well as their height of between 30 and 32 inches for males and 28 and 30 inches for female in just a matter of 3 years. When compared to other breeds, this is exceptionally fast from puppyhood.
The key here is to help your Great Dane develop slowly. Allowing it to grow too fast can lead to a host of problems. Their bones and joints should grow together with their muscle mass. Additionally, Great Danes are known for bloating so you really have to be cautious about how you feed them.
So how much should you feed your Great Dane? Here’s a rundown of how much you can give your dog. Keep in mind to give your dog the lower limit of the range if it is female; the middle-high range if you have a male.
8 to 11 weeks old – 2 to 4 cups daily, divided into 3 meals
12 to 15 weeks old – 3 to 5 cups daily, divided into 2 meals
16 to 19 weeks old – 4 to 6 cups daily, divided into 2 meals
20 to 23 weeks old – 5 to 7 cups daily, divided into 2 meals
24 to 27 weeks old – 6 to 8 cups daily, divided into 2 meals
28 to 35 weeks old – 6 to 9 cups daily, divided into 2 meals
9 months to 1 year old – 7 to 10 cups daily, divided into 2 meals
Adults – 8 to 14 cups daily for males and 6 to 9 cups daily for females, divided into 2 meals
What are the Nutritional Needs of Great Danes?
It is easy to think that Great Danes will have the same nutrient needs as any other dog breed, except that they will need sufficiently larger amounts of dog food per serving. On the contrary, while other breeds will require high protein diets, this and a few other ‘unusual’ nutrient requirements are specific to Great Danes. Here are the nutrients your gentle giant needs.
Moderate to Low Protein
Great Danes should not receive more than 24% proteins in its diet. Although we did find some literature saying that these dogs should get at least 23% of proteins, the reason for a low to moderately-low protein diet is quite understandable.
Since protein is basically used for building tissues especially the muscles, beefing up your Great Dane with substantially more proteins especially in its first 18 months can lead to significant weight issues, not because of the fat or excess carbs in its diet, but rather because of an increase in lean muscle mass. While this can be seen as greatly beneficial, muscles typically weigh more than fats. As you can already imagine, the gigantic size of your Great Dane doesn’t really favor having extra weight although they do weigh up to 175 pounds for males.
Too much weight can put a strain on your dog’s still-developing bones and joints. It is also one of the most common causes of hip dysplasia in these dogs. That is why experts recommend to go slow on the proteins. Keep in mind that Great Danes will need to grow slowly but surely so that their bodies will be able to accommodate the growing strain and stress exerted by their developing and growing organs.
The ideal fat percentage for a Great Dane diet is between 12% and 20%, although some would say it should not exceed 14%.
Great Danes are originally bred to hunt wild boars as well as guardians of their respective families. While the AKC classifies it as a working dog, the UKC categorizes it as a guardian dog. The important thing to understand is that Great Danes don’t actually have high energy levels. In fact, they won’t mind lying all day long on their doggie beds, making them perfect for apartment-dwellers. That being said, you should be cautious on the number of calories as giving it too much can lead to hyperglycemia and diabetes.
Best Food Ingredients for Great Danes
Given that Great Danes are extra-large breeds, they will require certain nutrients more than any other.
Great Danes are very prone to bloating. That is why they need easily digestible proteins to help minimize the incidence of bloating. If the dog food contains carbs, it is also crucial that it is easily digestible as well.
Joint-friendly Nutraceuticals and Minerals
We cannot help but emphasize the importance of calcium and phosphorus as well as glucosamine and chondroitin in ensuring healthier and stronger bones and joints. This is crucial especially if you do decide to give your pet high protein diet that can accelerate the growth of its muscles, leading to substantially heavier weight than what the bones and joints can safely accommodate.
One of the major issues facing Great Danes is a certain type of cardiomyopathy. Giving antioxidants can help minimize this concern while also aiding in the establishment of healthier digestion and reduction of inflammatory processes.
These are essential in helping prevent bloating by improving the digestion of food molecules present in your dog’s gut. These also help improve immune system functioning considering that this breed of dog is prone to a certain type of cancer.
They may be giants in the dog world, but Great Danes are not immune to health problems. Here are some of the health problems that you really need to watch out for.
This is the natural consequence of frequent bloating. It is considered a veterinary emergency as the stomach abnormally twists onto itself, severely cutting off circulation. There are no medications for gastric torsion. Only prompt and definitive surgery can help save your Great Dane. It is known as the number 1 killer of these gentle giants.
This is one of the reasons why Great Dane puppies need to grow at a much slower rate. This is to help prevent unnecessary strain on the hip joint.
In dilated cardiomyopathy, the size of the heart grows but the relative thickness of the muscles of the heart grows thinner. This leads to insufficient pumping capacity of the heart causing oxygenation problems to the rest of the body.
The bones of the Great Dane puppy grow at an unusually faster rate than normal, leading to painful bones because of the pressure exerted on the surrounding tissues. Again, the culprit is giving the dog more nutrients, especially proteins, than what is absolutely necessary.
This is cancer of the bones, although Great Danes are also known to develop cancer in other body parts. Osteosarcoma is very common, though.
Great Danes also have a propensity for Wobbler syndrome, hypothyroidism, arthritis, and elbow dysplasia as well as a handful of other problems seen in giant dogs.
One of the most common mistakes of newbie Great Dane pet parents is that they tend to overfeed their dogs, thinking that it needs to grow as big as possible. Sadly, this exposes the Great Dane to a host of problems. With these 5 best dog foods for Great Danes, helping your pet achieve its optimum is now made easier.