8 Best Great Dane Puppy Foods with Our 2020 Most Affordable Pick


There is a reason they call it the Great Dane – your Great Dane puppy is going to grow up into a giant! The Great Dane is one of the biggest dog breeds out there and, though you might not guess it from his size, he is also one of the gentlest dogs you’ll come across.

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If you’re lucky enough to bring home a Great Dane puppy, make sure you do everything you can to keep him healthy. Due to their size, Great Danes have a shorter lifespan than many other breeds, so it’s up to you to extend that lifespan as much as possible.

The best thing you can do for your Great Dane puppy is feed him a high-quality puppy food that will support his growth and development without making him grow too fast. Excessive growth in large- and giant-breed puppies can increase the risk for musculoskeletal issues down the line, so keep reading to learn about your Great Dane puppy’s dietary requirements and to see our recommendations for the 8 best Great Dane puppy foods.

What is the Best Puppy Food for Great Danes?

Great Dane Puppy Diet Requirements

We’ve been feeding our Great Dane pacific stream since we brought her home. Great product. – Danemom @ Chewy.com

All dogs require a balance of protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals in their diet. Every breed of dog has the same basic nutritional needs, but there are some variations based on size and breed. For example, giant breeds like your Great Dane puppy may need a diet that is lower in calories than smaller breeds because you need to control their growth.

So, what should you look for in a high-quality Great Dane puppy food?

First and foremost, look for a puppy food from a high-quality brand. The best puppy food for Great Danes use quality animal proteins like poultry, meat, and fish – look for one that uses one of these ingredients as the main ingredient. The recommended protein content for Great Dane puppies is no more than 26% crude protein. When it comes to carbohydrates, they should come from digestible sources. Some dogs can digest whole grains while others require a grain-free diet. Unfortunately, you may not know what your Great Dane puppy can tolerate until you try.

In addition to animal protein and digestible carbohydrates, your Great Dane puppy needs healthy fats in his diet. The best fats come from animal sources like chicken fat and salmon oil, so look for products that contain one of these as the main source of fat or a blend of other healthy fats like flaxseed or canola oil. The recommended fat content for Great Dane puppies is no more than 16% crude fat. You’ll also want a product with vitamin and mineral supplements, though fresh fruits and veggies which provide natural sources for key nutrients are preferable.

Not only do you need to make sure that your Great Dane puppy gets the nutrients he needs, but also the calories. Calories are simply a unit of energy and your Great Dane puppy needs a lot of it! On average, dogs need about 30 calories per pound of bodyweight but those needs could be higher for puppies. Keep in mind, however, that you want to keep your Great Dane puppy from growing too quickly, so look for a product formulated for large- or giant-breed puppies with a moderate calorie content then follow the feeding instructions.

The best Great Dane puppy will be made with high-quality animal proteins and healthy fats, but not so much of either of these that it causes him to grow too quickly. Your best bet for feeding your puppy is to choose a large- or giant-breed puppy formula for his first 12 months. Here are our picks for the 8 best Great Dane puppy foods:

Overall Best Great Dane Puppy Food

Nutro Wholesome Essentials Lamb & Rice Large Breed Puppy Formula

A high-quality diet for a Great Dane puppy should be rich in real animal protein and healthy fat but still digestible and nutritionally balanced – this Nutro Wholesome Essentials Lamb & Rice Large Breed Puppy Formula fits the bill. Made with deboned lamb as the primary ingredient, this formula is protein-rich but still stays within the 26% recommended range. Chicken meal provides a natural source of glucosamine and chondroitin for joint support, and chicken fat provides essential fatty acids for energy as well as skin and coat health. This formula is supplemented with chelated minerals and vitamins to ensure nutritional balance and it is free from GMO ingredients as well as artificial additives.

  • Pros: Deboned lamb as the first ingredient, digestible carbohydrates, rich in essential fatty acids, chelated minerals, glucosamine and chondroitin for joint support, 26% crude protein and 15% fat
  • Cons: Some dogs are sensitive to chicken ingredients, no probiotics

Our Most Popular Pick

Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Grain-Free Puppy Food

The Taste of the Wild brand is known for using high-quality meats in all of their recipes. This particular recipe features salmon and ocean fish, making it a good choice for dogs who are sensitive to chicken or beef ingredients. This recipe is completely grain-free, made with digestible carbohydrates like sweet potatoes and peas, plus it is rich in healthy animal fats like salmon oil. Overall, this Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Grain-Free Puppy Food is nutritionally balanced with the help from chelated minerals and vitamin supplements, with the added benefit of probiotics. It is a little high in protein at 27%, but it is well within the recommended range for fat and calories.

  • Pros: Real fish as the first ingredient, digestible grain-free carbohydrates, healthy omega fatty acids, probiotics for healthy digestion, chelated minerals for improved absorption, nutritionally balanced
  • Cons: A little high in protein, first source of fat is plant-based, some plant protein (pea protein)

Our Most Affordable Pick

Simply Nourish Chicken & Brown Rice Large Breed Puppy Recipe

If you want to feed your Great Dane puppy a recipe made with quality ingredients but you don’t want to spend a fortune, Simply Nourish Chicken & Brown Rice Large Breed Puppy Recipe is a very affordable option. This recipe features deboned chicken and chicken meal as the top two ingredients so you can be sure it is rich in protein. It doesn’t go over the 26% mark, however, and it contains 13% fat which comes from both canola oil and salmon oil. This recipe features digestible carbohydrates like brown rice and oatmeal with beneficial supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin for healthy bones and joints.

  • Pros: Affordable price, real meat as the first two ingredients, digestible carbohydrates, within the recommended range for protein and fat, joint-supporting supplements
  • Cons: Some dogs are sensitive to chicken ingredients, no chelated minerals or probiotics, main source of fat is plant-based (canola oil)

Our Pick for Great Dane Puppy with Sensitive Stomach

Holistic Select Large & Giant Breed Puppy Food

If your Great Dane puppy has a sensitive stomach, you may need to be careful about what you feed him – you’ll need to make sure he only eats high-quality sources of animal protein and easy-to-digest carbohydrates. This Holistic Select Large& Giant Breed Puppy food is made with lamb meal as the first ingredient with ground brown and white rice for digestible carbohydrates. This recipe also features healthy animal-based fats like chicken fat and menhaden fish oil with beneficial supplements like dried fermentation products for probiotic support. This recipe is also nutritionally balanced with the help of chelated minerals, not to mention plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.

  • Pros: Novel protein sources, free from many common allergens, carbohydrates, beneficial supplements, probiotics for healthy digestion, chelated minerals, 23% protein and 12% fat, fresh fruits and veggies
  • Cons: Some dogs are sensitive to chicken ingredients, not grain-free, some plant protein (alfalfa meal)

Our Pick for Great Dane Puppy Allergies

Natural Balance LID Lamb & Brown Rice Puppy

Many dogs have food allergies and it can be difficult when your puppy is already allergic to common puppy food ingredients. If you’re looking for a high-quality puppy recipe that will meet your Great Dane puppy’s needs but is free from ingredients that will trigger his allergies, a limited ingredient formula like this Natural Balance LID Lamb & Brown Rice Puppy Recipe might work well. It features deboned lamb and lamb meal as the primary proteins with digestible carbohydrates like brown rice. It is made with a limited number of main ingredients and contains beneficial supplements like chelated minerals and probiotics for digestive support.

  • Pros: Single source of animal protein, blend of healthy fats, limited number of main ingredients, 22.5% protein and 11% fat, beneficial supplements, probiotics for healthy digestions
  • Cons: Not grain-free, contains plant protein (pea protein), first source of fat is plant-based (canola oil)

Another 3 More Top-Rated Great Dane Puppy Foods

If the four recipes above don’t seem like the right fit for your Great Dane puppy, don’t worry! There are plenty of other great options out there that you can try – here are three more to consider:

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Chicken & Brown Rice Large Breed Puppy Recipe

Blue Buffalo offers a wide variety of size-specific formulas and this Blue Buffalo Life Protection Chicken & Brown Rice Large Breed Puppy Recipe would be a good option for your Great Dane puppy. This recipe features deboned chicken and chicken meal as the primary ingredients with digestible carbohydrates like brown rice and oatmeal. It is rich in essential fatty acids and omega fatty acids, plus it is supplemented with chelated minerals and probiotics.

  • Pros: Deboned chicken as main ingredient, digestible carbohydrates, rich in healthy fats, 26% protein and 15% fat, supplemented with chelated minerals and probiotics
  • Cons: Some dogs are sensitive to chicken ingredients, contains some plant protein (pea protein)

Nutro MAX Large Breed Puppy Recipe

If you’re looking for a large-breed puppy recipe made with only wholesome and natural ingredients, this Nutro MAX Large-Breed Puppy recipe may be a good choice. It features chicken meal as the main ingredient which is a highly concentrated source of protein. It also contains whole-grains like oatmeal and sorghum with chicken fat as a nutritious source of essential fatty acids. This recipe is also supplemented with chelated minerals and vitamins for nutritional balance. You’ll also be glad to know that this formula is free from by-products, artificial additives, and low-quality fillers like corn, wheat, and soy ingredients. Your puppy will love it.

  • Pros: Concentrated source of animal protein, whole grains, rich in essential fatty acids, chelated minerals, nutritionally balanced
  • Cons: Some dogs are sensitive to chicken ingredients, contains some plant protein (alfalfa meal)

Nutro ULTRA Large-Breed Puppy Recipe

This Nutro ULTRA Large-Breed Puppy Recipe features both fresh chicken and chicken meal as the primary ingredients so you can be sure it is rich in quality animal protein. It does not, however, go over the recommended 26% and it contains 13% crude fat. This recipe features whole brown rice and whole grain oatmeal for digestible carbohydrates with plenty of healthy fat and beneficial supplements. Chicken meal provides a natural source of glucosamine and chondroitin for joint support and chelated minerals ensure nutritional balance. You’ll also be glad to know that, in addition to containing beneficial ingredients, this recipe does NOT contain harmful ones like artificial additives.

  • Pros: Chicken and chicken meal as main ingredients, digestible whole-grain carbohydrates, 26% protein and 13% fat, glucosamine and chondroitin for joint support, chelated minerals
  • Cons: Some dogs are sensitive to chicken ingredients, contains some plant protein (pea protein)

Our Great Dane Puppy Feeding Guide – Frequently Asked Questions

As you can tell from the name, the Great Dane is one of the biggest dog breeds out there. While your Great Dane puppy may eventually grow to weigh anywhere between 100 and 200 pounds, it will take him a while to get there. In the meantime, you need to feed him a high-quality diet that meets all of his nutritional needs. Once you’ve followed our advice above to select a quality Great Dane puppy food, follow these tips for feeding your puppy:

  • How Much Should I Feed a Great Dane Puppy? -The amount of food you offer your Great Dane puppy will vary depending on the calorie content of the recipe you choose. Not all dog foods are created equal, so you’ll need to feed him less of a high-calorie food than you would of a low- to moderate-calorie food. Generally speaking, you’ll be feeding your Great Dane puppy between 4 and 8 cups of food during his first 6 to 8 months then scale it up to 6 to 10 cups when he reaches 8 months of age. The best way to determine how much to feed your puppy is to follow the feeding recommendations on the pet food package according to your puppy’s weight. You’ll also want to keep an eye on his body condition and make adjustments if needed. For example, if your puppy is too skinny, you may want to feed him more but if he starts to develop a belly, feed him a little less.
  • How Many Times Should a Great Dane Puppy Eat a Day? Your Great Dane puppy needs a steady supply of energy to fuel his growth and development, but you want to avoid feeding him too much. Overfeeding large- and giant-breed puppies can make them grow too quickly which puts excess strain on their bones and joints, putting them at a higher risk for musculoskeletal issues as adults. You should follow the feeding recommendations on your Great Dane puppy food and offer your puppy two or three meals a day.
  • How Long Should I Feed a Great Dane Puppy Food? – Most veterinarians recommend feeding puppies a puppy formula until they reach 12 months of age. What you need to know about your Great Dane puppy, however, is that he may not reach his adult size until 18 to 24 months of age. Even so, many puppy formulas are too high in protein for giant breeds so you should switch your Great Dane puppy to a high-quality adult food once he reaches 12 months of age and keep an eye on his growth and development.

Now that you know everything you need to know about feeding your Great Dane puppy, you’re ready to go shopping! Take what you’ve learned here to pick out the best Great Dane puppy food and, if you still need help getting started, try one of the recipes we recommend above.

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