Caring for a Great Dane is an incredible experience but you may have problems locating the ideal food for your massive friend. Numerous companies produce dog food and treats, but fewer meals are designed for extra-large breeds. Great Dane adults require more calories than most breeds to support their giant frames, but their food should also include vitamins and minerals to maintain healthy joints.
We examined the best wet, dry, and fresh foods for Great Danes and compiled a list with in-depth reviews to help you determine the right brand for your dog.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
The 10 Best Dog Foods for Great Danes
1. Nom Nom – Best Overall
|Food type:||Fresh food service|
|Size:||Personalized by calorie requirement|
|Calories:||563 – 672 kcal/pound (1,239 – 1,479 kcal/kilogram)|
|Crude Protein:||7 – 10% (Beef recipe 34.7% as dry matter)|
Nom Nom offers premium, healthy meals delivered to your door every month, and it won our award for the best overall dog food for Great Danes. You can choose from four recipes and two treats for your canine, and if you have a cat, Nom Nom offers their nutritious Chicken Cuisine. The company’s featured meals for dogs include Beef Mash, Pork Potluck, Turkey Fare, and Chicken Cuisine. They also have turkey jerky and beef jerky treats.
Nom Nom offers more customization options than its competitors and allows you to create a personalized health profile for your pet. Several companies provide a customer portal for entering health information, but Nom Nom’s system even customizes the portion size according to your dog’s age and weight. A veterinary scientist formulates the meals, and all Nom Nom recipes are cooked in human-grade facilities. The costs of the meal plans vary depending on your pet’s size, but Nom Nom is more affordable than other fresh food services. The only drawback is the limited recipe options.
2. Purina Pro Plan Specialized Giant Breed Adult Dog Food – Best Value
|Calories:||1,721 kcal/pound (3,787 kcal/kilogram)|
|Crude Protein:||26% (29.5% as dry matter)|
Feeding a giant creature that requires 10 cups or more of dry food every day can get expensive, but you can depend on Purina Pro Plan Specialized Giant Breed Adult Dog Food to keep your dog healthy for a reasonable price. Pro Plan won our best dog food for the money award, and it impressed us with its wholesome recipe that uses chicken as the primary protein source.
It uses wheat bran as a natural fiber, and glucosamine and omega-3 fatty acids to support joint health and mobility. Pro Plan is specifically designed for dogs over 100 pounds, and it’s a wise choice for Great Dane owners. We could not find any problems with Pro Plan, and large dog owners were happy with the kibble, but the wheat content in the recipe is not suitable for canines with grain allergies.
3. Spot + Tango – Premium Choice
|Food type:||Fresh food service|
|Size:||Personalized for each dog|
|Calories:||1,363 – 2,158 kcal/pound (3,000 – 4,749 kcal/kilogram)|
|Crude Protein:||8 – 29.68% (Salmon recipe 29% as dry matter)|
Spot and Tango is a premium fresh food service that offers three fresh meals and three Unkibble™ (dry) recipes. Its fresh options include Turkey & Red Quinoa, Beef & Millet, and Lamb & Brown Rice. If your Great Dane prefers the crunch of dry food, you can try Duck & Salmon, Beef & Barley, and Chicken & Brown Rice. Unlike most dry food producers, Spot and Tango uses fresh ingredients dried at a low temperature to retain nutrients and moisture.
Unkibble™ meals are cheaper than fresh recipes, but the total cost of a subscription depends on your dog’s specific needs and size. Customers love Spot and Tango’s monthly service, and dogs enjoy the meat-heavy recipes. Our only complaint is the price of feeding large dogs. All fresh food companies are expensive, but Spot and Tango costs more than its competitors.
4. Royal Canin Giant Puppy Dry Dog Food – Best for Puppies
|Calories:||1,616 kcal/pound (3,556 kcal/kilogram)|
|Crude Protein:||32% (35.5% as dry matter)|
Standard puppy food can fill your Great Dane’s belly, but it’s not designed to support the breed’s rapid development and slow maturity. Great Danes can reach adulthood at 15 months, but most dogs take 2 years to fully mature. With Royal Canin Giant Puppy Dry Dog Food, you can feed your big pup a nutritious meal containing 32% crude protein and 12% crude fat. The formula includes calcium, chondroitin, and glucosamine to support quickly growing joints, and it uses psyllium seed husk to promote healthy digestion and solid stools. Vital to proper skeletal growth of giant breeds is the calcium and phosphorus ratio. This is all taken care of for you in this food.
Puppies require meals with more protein than adults, and Royal Canin contains the ideal balance of protein, fat, and fiber for growing giants. However, it has more corn and wheat than some competitors.
5. Holistic Select Large & Giant Breed Adult Health Chicken Meal
|Calories:||1,729 kcal/pound (3,804 kcal/kilogram)|
|Crude Protein:||24% (26.6% as dry matter)|
Holistic Select Large and Giant Breed Adult Health Chicken Meal is formulated to support extra-large canines. It’s loaded with a healthy combination of probiotics, prebiotics, dietary fiber, and digestive enzymes to maintain a healthy digestive and immune system.
With large breeds in mind, Holistic Health provides balanced nutrition with 24% crude protein and 14% crude fat. Great Danes often suffer from digestive problems and loose stools, but several customers mentioned that Holistic Select improved their dog’s bowel movements. Although most dogs seem to like the flavor, the kibble is too small for some dogs. Holistic Select has several age-related dry meals with different sized kibble for young and old dogs, but its Health Chicken kibble is more appropriate for Great Dane puppies.
6. Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Chicken Dinner
|Size:||5-ounce cans (12 pack)|
|Calories:||570 kcal/pounds (1,254 kcal/kilogram)|
|Crude Protein:||5% (38.6% dry matter)|
Blue Buffalo’s Homestyle Recipe Chicken Dinner has wholesome components with chicken and chicken liver as the primary ingredients. Some of the other ingredients include sweet potatoes, brown rice, blueberries, cranberries, oatmeal, and flaxseed. It does not contain corn, soy, wheat, artificial colors, or preservatives.
Most customers and their canines were happy with the Chicken Dinner, but although the recipe claims to be formulated for multiple breeds, it’s not as suited for giant breeds as an adult weighing over 100 pounds would need ten cans a day, but competing brands require fewer portions.
7. Hill’s Prescription Diet w/d Multi Benefit
|Size:||5-ounce cans (12 pack)|
|Calories:||(259 kcal/pound) 569 kilocalories/kilogram, 201 kcal/can|
|Crude Protein:||2% (20% on dry matter basis)|
Large dogs, especially those living indoors, often suffer from obesity. With Hill’s Prescription Diet w/d Multi-Benefit, you can keep your pet’s fat and calorie intake limited to prevent weight gain and other medical issues. Unlike the other brands on our list, Hill’s requires a recommendation from a veterinarian.
It contains chicken and pork liver as the primary proteins, and it’s supplemented with antioxidants for a healthy immune system. A prescription diet can help dogs with urinary tract problems and digestive problems, but it’s much more expensive than other wet food brands. Great Danes weighing over 100 pounds will need to eat at least eight cans every day so ask your vet if you can combine with W/D dry kibble too.
8. Nutro Natural Choice Healthy Weight Large Breed
|Calories:||1,386 kcal/pounds (3,049 kcal/kilogram)|
|Crude Protein:||22% (24.4% as dry matter)|
If you prefer using a weight management brand that does not require a veterinarian’s approval, you can try Nutro Natural Choice Healthy Weight Large Breed. It’s more affordable than most premium dry brands, and it’s packed with all-natural ingredients like chicken, whole grain brown rice, split peas, chia seed, dried coconut, and rice bran. You’re unlikely to find another low-calorie meal in its price range with so many wholesome ingredients. Several dog owners were impressed that Nutro helped their big dogs lose weight, but others were disappointed by the small size of the kibble. Some picky dogs were not fond of Nutro’s flavor.
9. Instinct Raw Boost Grain-Free Recipe
|Calories:||1,977 kcal/pound (4,351 kilocalories/kilogram)|
|Crude Protein:||36% (38.4% as dry matter)|
Unlike other raw meals for dogs, you do not have to store Instinct Raw Boost Grain-Free Recipe in the fridge. It combines protein-rich dry kibble with freeze-dried pieces of raw meat. It includes high levels of omega fatty acids for healthy coats and skin, antioxidants for immune health, and a probiotic mixture to keep the digestive system on track. It’s composed of all-natural ingredients and contains no corn, wheat, artificial colors, or preservatives. Dogs seem to love the flavor of Instinct Raw, but it may be too expensive for average dog owners. Competing brands offer larger bags for the same price, and Instinct is too high in fat for large dogs with weight or pancreatitis issues.
10. Zignature Kangaroo Limited Ingredient Formula Grain-Free
|Crude Protein:||28% (28.8% as dry matter)|
If your Great Dane is sensitive to poultry or beef, you can try Zignature Kangaroo Limited Ingredient Formula Grain-Free. Zignature is an unusual player in a crowded field of pet food producers because its featured protein is kangaroo meat, and dogs seem to enjoy the flavor. Compared to other meats used in dog food, kangaroo is higher in vitamin B and rich in omega fatty acids and iron. Zignature is also beneficial to dogs with other allergies; it does not contain corn, wheat, soy, dairy, or chicken.
Although customers were pleased with the kangaroo formula, some complained that the kibble was too big. Premium brands always cost more than standard dog meals, but Zignature would be higher on our list if it was not so expensive. However, kangaroo meat is more costly to import and process than chicken or beef.
Choosing the ideal food is especially important for Great Danes, and you can examine these tips to help you decide which brand is perfect for your big pup.
Great Dane Diets
Although they’re gigantic, Great Danes are not as active as other breeds and do not require as much protein as a working dog or racing breed like the Greyhound. According to PetMD, pet food companies have exploited the myth that dogs are obligate carnivores like cats that require high-protein diets to function. Great Danes, like all dogs, are omnivores. Unlike other large breeds, Great Danes’ bones take years to develop, and a protein-rich diet that typically has more calories can cause them to become overweight. An overweight Great Dane is more susceptible to joint and bone problems due to its large size.
Puppy food for Great Danes should have slightly more protein than adult food, but you must be careful to monitor the dog’s weight as it grows to ensure the higher protein does not lead to excessive weight gain. If you examine the nutritional information from Royal Canin’s Giant Puppy Dry Dog Food (#4), you’ll notice that the crude protein is listed as 32%. That’s ideal for a puppy but too high for an everyday meal for adults. Of vital importance to growing giant breed dogs is the calcium and phosphate ratio which must be controlled to avoid developmental bone problems.
Adults and Seniors
After 15 to 18 months, Great Danes can transition to adult food with lower fat and protein. Most of the giant breed food we reviewed had crude protein levels between 22% to 26% and 12% to 16% crude fat content. In their senior years, Great Danes require more vitamins and minerals for aging joints and fewer calories than adults. When shopping for dog food, the life stage of the brand is just as important as the ingredients. Feeding a senior dog the same diet as a puppy can adversely affect the animal’s health and vice versa.
Types of Dog Food
New brands and styles of dog food are released every year, but which type is best for Great Danes? The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) certifies brands that are nutritionally balanced according to life stage. Some dog foods are certified balanced and complete and therefore can be fed every day. Others are for supplemental feeding only, make sure to check the labels.
Dry food used to be less expensive than premium wet food, but now, some high-quality kibble is priced as high as fresh food from delivery services. Although the high-end brands can stretch your budget, they have some advantages over wet food. The crunchy kibble helps reduce tartar and plaque buildup, and it has a longer shelf life after being opened than fresh and wet meals. The dry brands on our list are not loaded with unnecessary fillers or preservatives, but they’re generally higher in protein and fat than wet food.
Some wet meals are not as nutrient-dense as kibble, but they contain up to 70% more moisture than dry brands. High-moisture food keeps your pup hydrated, and most dogs prefer the taste and texture of wet food. However, you can provide your Great Dane with a combination of both types instead of relying solely on wet or dry.
By mixing the two for morning and evening feedings, your pet will get all the benefits without the disadvantages. If your canine is not accustomed to eating kibble, you can introduce it gradually by increasing the portion in small increments each day. After 7 to 10 days, you can try a half and half combination of kibble and wet food.
Fresh Food Delivery
Although we were impressed with the premium kibble and wet food on our list, the fresh food services won us over with the customization options. Nom Nom and Spot + Tango allow pet owners to enter health and nutritional information about their pets to ensure the animals receive the ideal amounts of protein, fat, carbohydrates, and fiber.
As your dog ages, you can modify the recipes to address medical issues and age-specific dietary needs. As a Great Dane owner, you have more control over its diet when working with a fresh food service. However, a Great Dane will consume more calories than other large breeds, and you have to be prepared to pay a steep price for monthly deliveries.
Our reviews included the best dog food brands for Great Danes, but our top pick was Nom Nom. We liked the natural ingredients in its recipes sourced from local farms and the impressive customer portal that lets you adjust the portioning and nutritional content of the meals. Our best value selection was Purina Pro Plan Specialized Giant Breed Adult Dog Food. It has the ideal combination of protein, fat, and carbohydrates for giant breeds, and it’s less expensive than most premium products on the market.
Featured Image Credit: muroPhotographer, Shutterstock