The Ultimate Great Dane Feeding Chart

17 mins read

Looking for a Great Dane feeding chart with some awesome food information? You’ve come to the right place! In this blog post, we will discuss the best way to feed your Great Dane.

It is important to make sure that your Great Dane gets the right nutrients in order to stay healthy and happy.

We will go over how much food to give your Great Dane, as well as what types of food are best for them.

So, whether you are a first-time Great Dane owner or just looking for more information on Great Dane feeding, read on for our top tips!

Great Dane Feeding Chart


As you know, Great Dane Puppies are large breed dogs that need a specific diet to ensure they grow at a healthy rate. A healthy diet can help prevent devastating orthopedic growth disorders (such as knuckling) and will help make sure that they don’t put on too much weight too fast.

When looking purely at volume to weight, Great Dane Pups typically eat more than an adult Great Dane, so it’s important to find food that meets their specific nutritional needs.

Large breed puppy dog food is generally higher in calories and protein than regular puppy food, and it often contains added DHA for brain health.

Up-to-date science and nutritional studies, as well as modern kibble formulations indicate that many large-breed puppy dog foods are actually appropriate to feed a Great Dane Puppy.

So yes, you can now choose a puppy OR an adult formula, depending on the company!

Great Dane Puppies typically start eating solid dog food at around 4-6 weeks of age.

If you have any questions about what kind of dog food is best for your Great Dane Puppy to eat, read our blog post HERE or continue below (we’ve included recommendations for our favorites).

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Most Dane pups will need to eat between 3 and 12 cups of large breed puppy food each day. The actual amount depends on their activity level and the food you choose! We outline more of this below.

Great Dane Feeding Chart
Photo credit to @mako.the.dane


You can reference our Great Dane feeding chart below to gauge the amount you will need to feed your Great Dane puppy.

When choosing a Dog food for your Great Dane, we like to see the following:

-A meat and/or meat meals in the first ingredients

-Grain inclusive

-No artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives

-Ideally meets WSAVA Guidelines, established as a baseline of standards for dog food companies to follow. WSAVA is a non-profit organization that only provides recommendations, not endorsements.

For more helpful information about canine nutrition and manufacturer practices, search for your brand at the Pet Nutrition Alliance! They’ve established a database that answers important and relevant questions for each company that you might choose from.

In the meanwhile, we are including our list of favorite foods to feed a Great Dane below!

Great Dane Feeding Chart
Photo credit to @mako.the.dane
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The World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) is a non-profit organization that provides common-sense recommendations. Surprisingly, many kibble manufacturers do not meet these guidelines!

  1. The company employs a DACVN or board-certified Veterinary Nutritionist, and that person is there to formulate and test the diets.
  2. They utilize AAFCO feeding trials to prove their formulations in real life (not just on paper).
  3. The company participates in scientific research and contributes to peer-reviewed studies.
  4. They own and operate their own facilities (no co-packing) and have strict supply chain protocols, sourcing ethics, sourcing protocols and quality control.
  5. The food has a nutrition adequacy statement from AAFCO.

    Interesting in reading the recommendations in further detail? You can read their helpful .PDF below:

‘NO RECALLS’ is NOT a good indication that you’ve found a quality food company!

Recalls can actually show that a company is willing to put quality control and your dog’s safety above their marketing.

Be suspicious of any company with ‘no recalls’, and of small companies (like Blue Buffalo) with too many.


Click on any brand to view. These brands meet our criteria:

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When your Great Dane is 14-24 months old, it’s time to transition to an adult formula. Click below to see our favorites.

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As the owner of a large breed puppy, you may be wondering why Great Danes have such particular food requirements!

Great Dane Puppy Food is specially formulated to meet the needs of large breeds during their crucial first year of life. The explosive growth of these dogs is something that requires care, and the nutrition behind it is a lot of science!

Puppy food is higher in calories and protein than regular puppy food, helping to support your pup’s rapid growth. Too much protein and too many calories is not a good thing, however, too few are not good either.

A professionally formulated puppy food will have balanced phosphorus and calcium levels and will have been AAFCO tested proving that the formulation is appropriate for the growth of large (70+lb) dogs.

Balanced protein, calcium, and phosphorus ratios are important for keeping growth slow and reducing the risk of painful orthopedic disorders such as knuckling and panosteitis.


Protein at or below 28%

Calcium at or below 1.4%

Phosphorous should be slightly below the calcium

Fat lower than 18%

AAFCO Statement that says: [Pet Food Name] is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles for growth/all life stages including growth of large-size dogs (70 lbs or more as an adult).

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Some Great Dane owners rely on kibble brands from companies such as Fromm, Zignature, Nutro, Victor, Nulo, 4Health, Farmina, Solid Gold, Taste of the Wild, Life’s Abundance, Earthborn, Honest Kitchen, Canine Caviar, Acana, Orijen, Gentle Giants, Diamond Natural’s and Costco/Kirklands.

Search for your brand at the Pet Nutrition Alliance, below:

Many of those brands we’ve listed are NOT formulated by on-staff veterinary nutritionists. Some of them are co-packed (not manufactured in-house). None of those brands participate in ongoing University-level health research or peer-reviewed studies to advance their formulations AND the community’s knowledge and understanding of canine nutrition and giant-breed health.

If those things are important to you, choose the science-backed brands that we’ve shared above. Pro Plan, for example, is recommended by veterinarians and a solid majority of the top breeders in the U.S.


While there are many brands to avoid, these brands are absolutely on the ‘do not fly’ list:

Gentle Giants

Life’s Abundance

Grain-Free Boutique Kibbles

What about Dog Food Advisor?

Many people turn to the ‘Dog Food Advisor’ blog to make decisions about what food to feed. While this blog provides some interesting analysis about certain kibbles, it’s important to note that the blog is run by a dentist…NOT a Veterinarian or a Canine Nutritionist with any kind of legitimate, commonly accepted credentials.

If you are looking for a nutrition blog that uses science and actual research, not marketing and theories, visit PETFOODOLOGY! It’s run by Tufts University and has many helpful topics.

Great Dane Feeding Chart


Young Great Danes should eat three to four small meals per day, rather than one large meal. Encourage slow eating to reduce bloat risk.

Most quality Great Dane food will indicate a rough estimate based on age or weight, which is a good baseline for determining how much food daily will be required.

Your Great Dane puppy is going to eat a lot of food! New Great Dane owners may be alarmed at the intake but shouldn’t be.

While it’s true that too much kibble can actually cause a Great Dane puppy to experience gastrointestinal distress (and loose stools), too little kibble can hamper energy as well as good muscle and bone development.

A Great Dane Puppy should never be overfed to encourage fast and explosive growth! Too much nutrition can lead to knuckling, HOD, Panosteitis, and poor overall structure.

When looking at a Great Dane feeding chart (see below) to determine how much to offer your 12 week old Great Dane puppy, it’s important to remember that the information is simply a guideline. Good feeding practices involve intuition and close monitoring!

We recommend referencing our Great Dane puppy growth chart for more information on actual growth!

If you have any questions about how much food to feed your Great Dane puppy, please consult your veterinarian, read the feeding chart on your kibble bag, and reference our Great Dane feeding chart below.

Puppies under 12 weeksFree-feed2-4 cups/day
Puppies 12-24 weeks old3x/day3-6 cups/day
Puppies 24 + weeks (6 months) or older2x/day5-10 cups/day
Puppies 12-18 months2x/day6-12 cups/day


When it comes to Great Dane puppies, how you feed them is just as important as what you feed them.

Puppies have small stomachs and need to eat several small meals throughout the day, rather than one large meal. They will also need frequent potty breaks as their digestive systems are still very immature.

We recommend that your Great Dane eats from a using stainless steel bowl. These are easy to sanitize and can help prevent puppy acne!

Frequent smaller meals can help prevent bloat, a potentially deadly condition that can occur in large and giant breeds.


Another way to feed your Great Dane is to offer their pre-rationed kibble and toppers as training treats!

Keep them in a treat pouch (this is our favorite one) and use them throughout the day to reward your dog for doing things that you like.

Engaging with you, sitting, laying down, and coming when called are great ways to encourage positive behaviors!

Our Great Dane feeding chart below can help you determine how much to feed your Great Dane puppy over the course of a day. Read on!


Adult Great Danes still require dedication to their nutrition.

As an adult, your Great Dane will need quality dog food that is rich in animal protein to maintain lean muscle mass. Transition to a comparable adult formula between 14-24 months.

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The addition of fiber and fresh food toppers can help reduce bloat, too!

We love Olewo’ Carrots (rehydrated) which are great for your dog’s stomach and overall gut health. 1 TBSP of dried Olewo Carrots will make over a half cup of fresh carrots to mix in with the kibble you feed your Great Dane. Olewo Carrots work BETTER than pumpkin and are easier to store, too!



We also like Dr. Harvey’s for easy, healthy fiber & fresh food toppers! While some of these are technically made to be served as a whole meal with raw meat, they actually make a great ‘topper’ (less than 10% of all intake) for kibble and well-balanced raw diets.

Rehydrate a scoop or two of this with water! Dogs love it and the bag lasts a long time, too.

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Grain-inclusive formulas are typically best for Great Dane, as they are less likely to be filled with peas, potatoes, and pea protein that can throw off the balance of important amino acids. These amino acids, including taurine, are necessary for heart health.

(Read our blog post on grain-free dog foods and Great Dane feeding here. This information is important for all dog owners and all dog breeds, too!)

Adding taurine or grains to grain-free kibble doesn’t solve a problem that originated with poor kibble formulation to begin with.

Great Dane Feeding Chart


Great Danes can suffer from joint problems. We recommend the addition of fish oil and Dasaquin or Green Lipped mussel, especially if your kibble food does not include these supplements in the ingredients list.

Big dogs benefit from the addition of these, and probiotics for their health.

See our list of recommended supplements here:

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As any pet owner knows, feeding your animal the right food is important for their health. Great Danes are no exception.

While they can certainly survive on a diet of kibble, they will also thrive on a raw food diet.

This diet should consist of organs, meaty bones, and muscle meat. For balancing a raw diet, we recommend the site and/or working with a Veterinary Nutritionist.

This is a great option for dogs that have food allergies and intolerances!

Adult Great Danes need to consume about 2% of their body weight in raw food every day. A Great Dane Puppy may need to eat more than this, 3-4% of their body weight (which, keep in mind, is constantly changing).

While this may seem like a lot for a dog, it’s actually not that difficult to achieve if you plan ahead and feed them 2-3 meals per day.

It’s important to note that adult Danes will need less raw food by percentage than a growing Great Dane puppy will.

When choosing to feed raw to your Great Dane Puppy, balance is exceptionally important. We recommend starting young Great Danes on a highly-tested and well-regarded kibble diet (such as Purina Pro Plan Large Breed puppy) instead if you are not very well-versed in raw feeding!


A properly formulated raw food diet is fully balanced and complete. You must choose a professionally formulated option or provide the following in a specific ratio (use Perfectly Rawsome as your guide) when pursuing this option for your Great Dane.

A Great Dane will do best on a raw diet that is made up of:

-Organ meat (liver, kidney, spleen, pancreas)

-Meaty bones (chicken necks, chicken backs, turkey Necks)

-Muscle meat

Unlike kibble diets, which require advanced formulation knowledge and Doctoral degrees to maintain nutrients and balance during the mixing, baking, and extrusion process, raw diets are much more simple to formulate correctly.

However, an unbalanced raw diet is unsafe and unhealthy!

Raw feeding is not for everyone! It requires dedication, education, and research.

We recommend learning a lot about raw feeding before attempting it, especially with a puppy!

Great Dane Feeding Chart


Commercially prepared Freeze-dried or frozen raw diets are an excellent way to feed your Great Dane a healthy diet without all the hassle of balancing the meals yourself.

Frozen raw diets are best served thawed or slightly thawed, and can be found at your local natural pet grocer.

Freeze-dried raw food for Great Danes is typically made with high-quality ingredients and may or may not contain grains. (Read here for more information about grain-free diets in Great Danes).

Simply offer it dry (like kibble) or add warm water and let sit for a few minutes, then serve.


Did you know that Great Danes can have bones if they are uncooked? Raw chicken necks, chicken paws, and turkey wings are excellent sources of bone. Your dog will crunch them up and digest them as-is.

This will clean their teeth and firm up stools, too! Make sure that you are properly balancing raw meals over the course of several days. Too much bone or too little bone is not a good thing.

If your dog has never been introduced to raw, whole foods with bone, go slowly and ask lots of questions in the raw-feeding community before getting started!

We recommend that you always consult with your veterinarian before making any changes to your dog’s diet, especially if they are currently on a kibble diet.


Raw food can be provided as a topper or supplement to a well-balanced commercial kibble diet! We highly recommend offering fresh foods or raw as toppers to help reduce bloat risk vs. feeding a dry diet alone.

If the raw food is balanced, you can offer more than 10% of the diet as raw. If it is unbalanced, keep the amount under 10%.

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Great Dane Feeding Chart


Home-cooked diets are rarely healthy and can be exceedingly difficult to get right.

Balance It is a great website for determining if you are formulating your home-cooked diet for your Great Dane correctly. Test your recipe over there!

You’ll likely find that the very common homemade Great Dane food diet consisting of ground meat, rice, and veggies is horribly unbalanced.

What your Great Dane eats will affect their health, and unfortunately, most home cooks have little to no credible background in canine nutrition! An unbalanced home-cooked diet may be missing key nutrients, proteins, and amino acids that are necessary for a long and robust life.

Great Dane dogs are particularly susceptible to health issues of the heart and bones; an incorrectly formulated home-cooked diet for a Great Dane can be exceptionally dangerous.


That’s not to say that it cannot be done! As a matter of fact, with the help of a board-certified Veterinary Nutritionist and the website listed above (Balance It) you can take full control over what your dog eats.

Great Dane feeding feels complicated but it doesn’t have to be!

If you want to offer food that is similar to a home-cooked diet, we highly recommend looking into Just Food For Dogs. This fresh food option for Great Danes is a professionally formulated alternative to DIY. The jury is out on if it fully and truly meets the WSAVA guidelines above. However, it is a tested food with a respectable staff of formulators behind it!

Just Food For Dogs can be used as the entire diet, or as an outstanding fresh-food topper that dogs LOVE.

For young dogs, we recommend the chicken and white rice or fish and sweet potato flavor only. As of this writing, they are the only ones formulated correctly for the growth of large or giant breed dogs.

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Great Dane Feeding Chart


Many pet lovers who offer kibble wish to free-feed their Great Danes.

Contrary to popular belief, resting after meals is not a reliable preventative for bloat in Great Danes! That’s great news for people who do not mind when their Great Danes eat and would prefer allowing them to graze.

The only difference is that instead of scheduling meals, you will offer food around meal times and leave the bowl down for your dog to graze.


Always encourage slow eating! Fast eating, scarfing, gulping, and guarding are key predictors of bloat risk.

As a matter of fact, we believe that slow eating is a much more reliable way to reduce bloat risk in giant breed dogs than large, quickly-eaten meals followed by rest.

Studies show that bloat most often happens 2-3 hours after meals and often while resting or in the middle of the night!

Stop stressing every time your Dane eats food! Bloat is related to genetics: pedigree, temprement & gut health.

Our Great Dane feeding chart (below) still applies when choosing to free feed a Great Dane. Adult food requirements will be different than they will be for a 12 or even 18 week old Great Dane.


Free feeding takes some of the guesswork out of the process. If you are unsure how much to feed your 14 week old Great Dane, let your puppy guide you and use your intuition!

Many young pups will tell you when they are hungry and need more.

If they leave food in the bowl, that’s a sign that they are definitely getting enough (not necessarily that they are becoming picky).

Great Dane Feeding Chart


One important thing to note when choosing a free Great Dane feeding ‘schedule’ is that it will be inappropriate for some dogs. Great Danes that scarf food, guard food, stress about food, nitpick food, or obsess about it will require diligent training and management.

For those dogs, we recommend 2-3 meals each day, fed in a stress-free environment, and offered in a slow feeder bowl or food puzzle to manage intake and reduce scarfing (which can increase bloat risk and contribute to an unfortunately short life span).

Picky eaters benefit from scheduled mealtimes, not more enticing toppers or yet another change to the food offered!

Puppies under 12 weeksFree-feed2-4 cups/day
Puppies 12-24 weeks old3x/day3-6 cups/day
Puppies 24 + weeks (6 months) or older2x/day5-10 cups/day
Puppies 12-18 months2x/day6-12 cups/day


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The M/L Neater Feeder with a stainless water bowl and stainless slow feeder bowl.


Many pet parents are unsure of how much to feed a Great Dane or their Great Dane puppy. The condition of your Great Dane is the best indicator of how much food you should (or should not) be feeding.

If your Great Dane or Great Dane puppy is at a healthy weight, you are likely feeding the appropriate amount. Adult Great Danes should be on Large-breed all-life stages, adult or senior formula.

Use the food chart as your guide.

You can see roughly how much to feed your Great Dane by looking at the back of your bag of dog food. As above, a Great Dane puppy may need to eat more than an adult Great Dane.

If your dog is overweight or obese, you will need to reduce your dog’s food intake and make sure they don’t get too many calories from their food, wet food, treats, or toppers.

If your dog is underweight, you may need to add more food and closely monitor food intake.

Puppies under 12 weeksFree-feed2-4 cups/day
Puppies 12-24 weeks old3x/day3-6 cups/day
Puppies 24 + weeks (6 months) or older2x/day5-10 cups/day
Puppies 12-18 months2x/day6-12 cups/day

BONUS POST: Is my Great Dane too Skinny!?


The easiest way to check your dog’s body condition is to use the Body Condition Score. This nine-point system is based on how easily you can feel your dog’s ribs and whether or not there is an obvious waist.

For the Great Dane breed, you want to see a defined waist, a tuck in the abdomen, and good muscle development. Great Dane dogs should be lean and fit, never heavy or slow.

In general, a female Great Dane will be smaller, and a male Great Dane will have more substance. ‘Euro’ is a marketing term and not actually a reason for a dog to be heavy, chunk or overweight.

Always monitor what your Great Dane eats and feed them a proper diet (click here for our recommendations!)

If you are unsure of your dog’s body condition, please consult your veterinarian.

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An Underweight Great Dane
A Healthy Weight Great Dane
An Overweight Great Dane


If your Great Dane or Great Dane puppy is turning their nose up at food, always address medical reasons first.

Most ‘picky’ dogs have either had enough and don’t actually need more kibble, or they have trained you to offer them different foods (they know you’ll give in)!

Remember, any Great Dane feeding chart that you find is a loose guideline, not a hard recommendation. If you really feel that your Great Dane is not eating enough, you must first start with a veterinary visit to rule out health problems.

You can also try enticing toppers such as raw egg, bone broth, Dr. Harvey’s (rehydrated), or canned foods; however, tread cautiously!

Bribing your dog to eat is a rabbit hole that you may not want to go down. Dogs will work for their food (training) and will not let themselves starve.


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Giant breed puppies have big appetites and can eat up to 12 cups of food per day!

The cost of feeding a giant breed puppy will depend on the quality of food you choose and the size of your puppy.

On average, you can expect to spend $50-$100 per month on food for your giant breed puppy.

We also recommend supplements that can benefit the joints, increase gut health and reduce bloat risk.

Our favorite supplements for Great Dane owners to consider include:


We recommend using this Great Dane Feeding Chart as a guide:

Fast-growing 12-week old Great Dane pups may actually eat more than adult Great Danes!

Because they tend to grow larger, a male Great Dane may also need more food than a female Great Dane. Great Danes in general have more complex nutritional needs than other breeds!

When considering exactly how much to feed a Great Dane, we recommend starting with the feeding chart on the back of the bag.


This chart assumes you are feeding a quality kibble, and not one full of unnecessary fillers. Every kibble is different and some have more nutrition per cup than others. Some puppies receive more exercise or have a higher metabolism than others, too.

Remember that adding a lot of treats or toppers will change these ratios! These feeding guidelines are based on Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Formulas. Other kibbles and fresh foods may be different, and raw feeding will be by weight, not volume.

Puppies under 12 weeksFree-feed2-4 cups/day
Puppies 12-24 weeks old3x/day3-6 cups/day
Puppies 24 + weeks (6 months) or older2x/day5-10 cups/day
Puppies 12-18 months2x/day6-12 cups/day

Great Danes age 14-24 months +: switch to an adult formula and closely monitor body condition, especially after spay/neuter. We’ve linked to an important blog post on this topic below.

Great Dane Feeding Chart

Does your Great Dane eat a lot? Leave a comment below! We’d love to know more about your Dane pup and the experience you’ve had with dog food.

We hope this Great Dane feeding chart has been helpful in determining how to best feed your pooch. As always, if you have any questions please consult your veterinarian.

Happy feeding!

Hello Danes

Dane lover and believer in ethical breeding, training and rescue practices. Positive + Balanced trainer, owner of rescue dogs and dogs from breeders. Love the dog in front of you.

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