What is the Best Diet for a Great Dane Puppy?
Animal file: Great Dane
Feeding is a major factor when considering adoption of a Great Dane puppy. While their diet will be similar to dogs of others breeds when young, adult Great Danes will grow to be massive. This is not to say that Great Dane puppies will eat the same as any other dog. A giant-sized dog's development will need to factor diet into its various stages, so we need to be careful we are feeding them enough. The type and quality of the food is also vital.
In this AnimalWised article we ask what is the best diet for a Great Dane puppy? We answer by showing you what food they should eat, how much you should give them and how this may change as they become adult dogs.
Great Dane growth chart
While the tallest dog breed is the Irish Wolfhound, the Great Dane comes in a close second. When we factor in weight and size, they are undoubtedly one of the world's largest dog breeds. In just a short time, a Great Dane can reach a considerable weight, putting extra strain on their bones and joints.
Such rapid development in Great Danes means we need to take special care with their diet, especially during the puppy stage. Since the first few months of any dog's life are so important, serving the right type and amount of food is essential for ensuring optimal health.
It should also be noted that feeding of the dog will vary according to its stage in life. The nutritional requirements of a Great Dane puppy is not the same of that as either an adult or senior dog of the same breed. The health status of the individual dog will also be important as health conditions can require dietary changes.
A Great Dane puppy will weigh somewhere between 1 and 2 lbs at birth, but this will shoot up to between 5 and 8 lbs after 1 month. After a year, the Great Dane can be expected to weigh anywhere between 95 and 140 lbs. While many dog breeds will reach their maximum size around the one year mark, giant sized breeds usually take a little longer.
Great Danes may take between 18 months and 3 years to reach their full size, with males usually developing a little more slowly than females. At their full size, an adult male Great Dane can weigh up to 170 lbs and measure up to 36" at the withers. Adult female Great Danes will hit a maximum weight of around 145 lbs and a height of up to 34".
Types of food for Great Danes
As with any other breed, there are different types of food you can feed a Great Dane. The most common will be a commercially available dog food which comes in either canned wet food or dry kibble. Increasingly, dog guardians are looking toward homemade food and alternative diets to feed their pets. All can be valid as long as their dietary needs and nutritional requirements are met.
The calorific intake of an adult Great Dane is very high at around 2,480 kilocal/day in males and 1,940 kilocal/day in females. But how to know what is the best food for a Great Dane? Below we asses the pros and cons of each type:
- Homemade food: this type of diet can be advantageous since it offers us the chance to select ingredients we know to be of high quality. Homemade food is generally well-accepted by dogs and it can be good for the dog's coat and general health. However, it is very expensive for any dog, especially for a giant-sized breed. Also, we need to be positive we have the right balance of nutrition and we may need to supplement certain nutrients such as taurine and vitamin D.
- Raw or BARF diets: this is a type of homemade food which doesn't require any cooking when preparing. Some, however, do lightly brown meat and fish before serving to avoid bacterial transmission. The main advantage is the same as before, except it may require less preparation. However, it also suffers the same negatives.
- Commercial dry feed: this type of food is perhaps the easiest way to feed a domestic dog. When they are ‘nutritionally complete’, they should contain all of the essential nutrients they need to stay healthy. They also provide different formulae for different types of dog, e.g. senior dogs or those with kidney failure. It is generally a cheaper option. The main problem involves the quality of the ingredients. Many will use cheap and processed materials which are not as nutritious.
- Commercial wet dog food: usually better prepared than dry feed, wet dog food comes in cans or pouches. It is usually nutritionally very good as well as being particularly tasty for the dog. It has a high protein content, but also tends to have more fat than other types of dog food. It is also relatively expensive, especially if eaten for every meal.
Each dog guardian is free to choose the type of food they want to provide for their dog. However, any dog's diet should be first discussed with a veterinarian to determine their specific health needs.
How much to feed Great Dane puppies and adult dogs
The size of a Great Dane will affect how much the dog will need to be fed. This goes for both puppies and adult dogs. By looking at the growth chart of the puppies, we can see that their dog's age and weight will not always be uniform.
How much to feed a Great Dane puppy
Puppies need to be fed constantly, especially newborn puppies. Following the correct feeding guidelines, we can best ensure proper growth and avoid general health problems.
Puppies form the age of 2 to 3 months will need to feed 4 times a day, those between 4 and 5 months can reduce their feeding times to 3 times a day and they should be able to eat portions of food twice a day from the age of 6 months onward. This is the amount of portions per day a healthy adult dog should expect to eat.
The amount of food per age of the puppy has been estimated below. These are approximate and have been calculated according to the quantities of various products. These portions will vary depending on the type of food you give them. For example, if you only feed them wet food, the calorie content will ne higher and their amount may need to be reduced.
- 2 months: 410 g males, 350 g females
- 3 months: 520 g males, 430 g females
- 4 months: 615 g males, 500 g females
- 5 months: 755 g males, 580 g females
- 6-7 months: 860 g males, 600 g females
- 8-18 months: 890 g males, 610 g females
How much to feed an adult Great Dane
At around 18 to 20 months, the Great Dane is considered to be a young adult. Their caloric needs will be slightly reduced. Here follows an estimation of how much food a Great Dane adult should eat per day based on their weight:
- 45 kg: 500 g
- 50 kg: 550 g
- 55 kg: 590 g
- 60 kg: 520 g
- 65 kg: 650 g
- 70 kg: 585 g
- 75 kg: 720 g
- 80 kg: 775 g
- 85 kg: 800 g
- 90 kg: 860 g
Don't forget that the Great Dane must always have fresh and abundant water at its disposal. This is essential to stay hydrated and a dog of this size can drink a lot of water very quickly. We recommend that you use quality bowls made from metal or ceramic. Clean them regularly to avoid the accumulation of dirt and bacteria.
Food related care for Great Danes
As we have already mentioned, the Great Dane is a dog that needs to take care of its joints and bones since it is susceptible to suffer from ailments typical of its size, such as hip dysplasia. In addition, being overweight could lead to other problems. It is important to control their weight and not let them eat to excess.
Choosing a diet that favours the care of muscle mass and bone structure is also very beneficial. It is even advisable to consider the use of supplements in the case of offering homemade diets, always in consultation with a vet.
Due to their morphology, gastric torsion is another problem that can affect the Great Dane breed in particular. Avoid feeding it before going for a walk or any strenuous exercise. We can detect this ailment if we observe nausea, swollen abdomen and difficulty in breathing. It will be considered a veterinary emergency, so take them to a veterinarian immediately.
If you want to read similar articles to What is the Best Diet for a Great Dane Puppy?, we recommend you visit our Healthy diets category.
1. WSAVA. (n.d.). Calorie Needs for a Healthy Adult Dog in Ideal Condition. https://wsava.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Calorie-Needs-for-Healthy-Adult-Dogs-French.pdf
2. FCI. (2012). Great Dane (Deutsche Dogge). http://www.fci.be/Nomenclature/Standards/235g02-en.pdf