The Great Dane is often called the world’s largest dog breed. They are a giant breed of dog that can weigh up to 200 pounds. But with that size comes a big appetite! So how much does a Great Dane eat, on average? And what do they eat?
HOW MUCH DOES A GREAT DANE EAT?
The average Great Dane will eat about four to eight cups of food per day. This amount can vary depending on the age, weight, and activity level of your dog.
Puppies and young dogs will generally eat more than adult dogs. And active dogs will usually eat more than less active dogs.
Giant breeds not only eat a lot of food daily, but they require a specific, nutrient dense diet to support their giant breed body.
Pet parents should know how much to feed their Great Danes, and also what type of ingredients are required for a proper diet.
GREAT DANE FEEDING CHART
If you have a Great Dane puppy, it can feel stressful to know if you are giving them enough food or how much to feed them.
Large breeds require a lot of food, but many do not need quite as much as dog owners think they need.
Keeping a Great Dane feeding chart on hand is helpful to know how much to feed in the general ballpark.
We suggest keeping in the general guidelines of the following Great Dane feeding chart:
*Note that these are general guidelines and you should always speak with your veterinarian about specific feeding recommendations for your dog.
You can check out the entire Great Dane Feeding Chart here.
|Adult Great Dane Weight||Adult Great Dane Cups of Food|
|60-80 lbs||four to five cups|
|80-100 lbs||five to six cups|
|100-120 lbs||six to seven cups|
|120-140 lbs||seven to eight cups|
|140-160 lbs||seven to eight cups|
|160-180 lbs||eight to nine cups|
Puppies will eat more frequently than adults. If your Great Dane is full grown, this Great Dane food chart should work as an average of how many cups a day of dry food they might consume. Some might eat more, and some might eat less.
You should always base your Great Danes diet off of how they look.
If your adult Great Dane is less active, you should lower the amount of your dog’s food as you very easily CAN give a Great Dane too much food. If they are an extremely active Great Dane, you might find that they are hungry. Give them a half cup more until you find what works for your dog’s eating habits.
Male Great Danes will typically eat more than a female Great Dane.
It takes time to learn how much to feed your specific Great Dane, but the rule of thumb is to never overfeed your Great Dane. You can always feed a Great Dane more food, but it is much harder to make big dogs lose weight once they have gained it.
Your Great Dane puppy should be on a large breed puppy food.
When it comes to Great Dane feeding, it is very important that your Great Dane eats the right food.
Large dogs need dog foods that support their growth, with not too many calories.
Many pet parents have been told not to feed puppy food, however that is an outdated practice.
Veterinary guidance suggests that many dog food companies are formulating Great Dane puppy formulas exactly correct for your Great Dane to grow slowly into a healthy big dog.
Some large breed adult Great Dane food has too many calories for your Great Dane puppy.
Check out our resources for how much to feed as well as what is the best dog food to give your Great Dane puppy.
CREATING A GOOD FEEDING SCHEDULE
If you are following a Great Dane feeding chart, working to get the best dog food you can for your Great Dane puppy and doing your best to make sure to keep your dog healthy, you are probably already on your way to making a Great Dane feeding schedule.
Since the Great Dane breed is predisposed to bloat, it is helpful to keep them on a schedule.
Large breed dogs should be fed small, frequent meals on a consistent feeding schedule.
Not only will this help with their digestion, but will also help you to better monitor their food intake.
A general rule of thumb is to divide the total daily recommended amount of food by the number of meals you plan to feed your dog.
For example, if your adult Great Dane needs six cups of dry food per day and you plan to feed them three times per day, each meal should be two cups of food.
If you are ever unsure about your Great Dane’s eating habits or how much to feed them, please consult with your veterinarian. They will be able to help you create a feeding schedule and offer guidance on how much food is appropriate for your dog.
OBESITY IN GREAT DANES
So many people give their Great Dane WAY too much food.
Your Great Dane should eat dependent on how much exercise they receive.
If you cannot see the ribs of your Great Dane, they are probably overweight.
Adult Great Danes should have an hour of exercise a day, and puppies should have several shorter sessions of playtime throughout the day.
A good rule of thumb is that a dog’s energy output should exceed their intake.
If you are unsure if your Great Dane is at a healthy weight, check their rib line. You should be able to take your hand and feel the ribs on your Dane pup.
This does not mean that your Great Dane is ‘too thin’.
WHEN TO SWITCH FROM PUPPY FOOD TO ADULT FOOD
Your Great Dane puppy has growth plates in the long bones of their legs.
These growth plates are what will eventually turn into the Dane’s adult bones.
You want to be very careful not to put too much stress on these growth plates by overfeeding your Great Dane puppy or over exercising your Great Dane puppy.
What forms of exercise are best for a Great Dane?
The general rule of thumb is to switch your Great Dane pup to an adult food once they reach 100% of their expected full grown weight, which happens at the age of 2.
So, you should let your Great Dane puppy eat puppy food until they are 24 months and then you can switch them to adult Great Dane formula.
WHY WON’T MY GREAT DANE PUPPY EAT?
Sometimes, if your Great Dane puppy will not eat, it is actually your fault.
When we find that our puppy refuses to eat, we usually offer them more food.
This perpetuates the problem. If you constantly give your Great Dane puppy ‘bigger and better’, they will begin to hold out for what they want. In other words, a bowl of regular dog food will begin to look boring to them.
If your Great Dane puppy refuses to eat, they are probably not hungry.
Avoid giving them anything ‘fun’ on top of their dog food. This is a vicious cycle.
Although tempting, it can become an issue with Great Dane puppies.
Read more about how to handle a picky Great Dane puppy here.
MY GREAT DANE IS ALWAYS STARVING
If you have a Great Dane that is constantly starving, you might need to add some healthy fat into its diet.
Healthy fats might consist of:
- Fish oil and omegas
- Coconut oil
These are just a few examples of healthy fats that you could add into your Great Dane’s diet. Adding these healthy fats will help to fill them up and keep their coat shiny and healthy.
GIVING SUPPLEMENTS TO A GREAT DANE
If your Great Dane eats a balanced diet, there is not all too much need for a ton of supplementation.
However, every Great Dane should be given a few items of additional support.
Depending on their age, different items are needed.
GREAT DANE PUPPIES AND SUPPLEMENTS
A Great Dane puppy should be given Buffered Esther Vitamin C to prevent Knuckling. Knuckling happens when a puppy’s bones haven’t yet strengthened and they fall over on their ‘pinky’ side.
You can learn more about this condition here.
Great Dane puppies can also be given fish oil. Fish oil is a great fat for a Great Dane puppy because it helps with brain development and protects their joints.
ADULT GREAT DANE SUPPLEMENTS
As your Great Dane enters into adulthood, you might want to consider giving them a glucosamine supplement to help with any joint pain that they may experience. This is especially important if your Great Dane is showing any distress of their joints.
Additionally, it is very important to give your great dane a gut support. Choose a probiotic like this FortiFlora.
RED FLAGS FOR GREAT DANE DOG FOOD
Great Danes eat a lot of food. You want to make sure you are feeding the right food.
Red flags when Great Dane feeding include:
- Grain free kibble
- Kibble that is not formulated for large breed dogs
- Feeding an adult Great Dane large breed puppy food or vice versa
- ‘Popular’ food with buzzwords or marketing schemes (read more here)
- Kibble brands that lack research, canine education, studies, or science
- Feeding a raw diet to a Great Dane puppy CAN be very challenging and should be done under the consult of a nutritionist. Raw food is very hard to balance and a Great Dane puppy NEEDS a balanced diet.
WHAT IS THE FOOD BILL GOING TO BE FOR MY GREAT DANE?
A Great Dane can cost anywhere from $70- $200 to feed per month.
This, of course, depends on the quality of food you are feeding and if you are supplementing.
The best way to find out is to speak with your veterinarian or a canine nutritionist.
They will be able to help formulate a plan that is tailored specifically for your dog.
Remember, every dog is different and not all dogs will need the same things.
ADDING WET FOOD INTO A GREAT DANE DIET
Since every Great Dane carries the risk of bloating, adding wet food is always beneficial.
When you add wet food or raw food onto your Great Danes meal, make sure to include those calories into the amount you are feeding your Great Dane.
RAW FOOD DIET FOR A GREAT DANE
If you are choosing to go with Raw Feeding for Great Dane feeding, it can be an excellent choice for your dog.
Your dog’s stomach might tolerate raw food better than dry. A balanced premade like this one offers the security of having your meal balanced.
If you are a new raw feeder, you should either choose a balanced raw product or seek the counsel of a certified nutritionist. Raw feeding can be very challenging when you are beginning.
Do not ever begin a Great Dane puppy on raw feeding by yourself. You must feed a Great Dane puppy a complete and balanced diet while they are growing. If your Great Dane eats an unbalanced raw diet, they will experience a tremendous amount of issues.
CHOOSING TO FREE FEED YOUR GREAT DANE
Some people like to ‘free feed’ a Great Dane. If so, make sure they are eating slow and not eating too much. You can use slow feeders, even when ‘free feeding’.
If you want to leave food out all day instead of feeding them two meals or three meals a day, that is fine. However, you should still be intentional about how many cups a day you are giving to your Great Danes.
You should always know how much you feed a Great Dane in a specific day, even if you are choosing to leave the food out all day long.
Monitoring your Great Danes intake can help you keep track of their weight and keep them thin and healthy.
Great Danes are one of the most popular dog breeds in America. But before you bring home your very own, you should be prepared and know how to best feed a Great Dane.