The Best Dog Food for Great Danes — (Senior, Puppy, and Adult)

Written by Judie Sigdel
Updated: January 19, 2023
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Key Points

  • The #1 Best Overall dog food for Great Danes is the Nutro Ultra Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food.
  • Great Danes have unique nutritional needs related to their growth rate and size. This is why high-quality food with no fillers is necessary for healthy digestion for these giant breeds. It is essential for larger breeds to maintain a healthy weight in order to prevent damage to their joints. 
  • Our research on the best dog foods for Great Danes included thorough reviews and top-rated picks. We considered several factors, such as the quality of the ingredients and the stage of life your Great Dane is in, in order to find the best picks.

Great Danes aren’t just big dogs. They’re classified as giant dogs, with males measuring at least 30 inches tall at the shoulders! This breed originated in Germany, not Denmark, where it was used to hunt bears, boar, and deer. Today, most Great Danes are house pets, not big-game hunters, so they don’t get as much exercise. So, it’s important that you choose the best dog food for Great Danes to meet their nutritional needs.

Sadly, as a giant breed, Great Danes tend to have much shorter lifespans than their smaller canine kin. They also have specific needs, many of which have to do with their growth rate and size, and a number of potential health conditions.

We’ve created a list of the best high-quality dog foods formulated for giant breeds and for your dog’s stage of life. Selecting the right dry or wet food from this list will help you maintain your big buddy’s optimal health and ideal weight.

  1. Nutro Ultra Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food
    • Lamb and brown rice recipe for large dog breeds
    • Contains glucosamine and chondroitin to support healthy joints
    • Antioxidants for immune health
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  2. Holistic Select Large & Giant Breed Puppy Dry Dog Food
    • Includes multiple ingredients that support your large dog’s overall digestive health.
    • Omega-3 fatty acids help your pup achieve a healthy skin and coat.
    • Antioxidants, glucosamine, probiotics and taurine all contribute to a healthy heart.
    • Healthy, nutritious recipes are also formulated to please your pup’s palate.
    • Made in the USA with high-quality ingredients sourced from around the globe.


    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  3. IAMS Healthy Aging Mature & Senior Large Breed Dry Dog Food
    • Made in the U.S. with premium ingredients
    • Veterinarian-recommended
    • Balance of key nutrients to support specific bones and joint health needs
    • Features a blend of fiber and prebiotics
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  4. Holistic Select Large & Giant Breed Adult Health Chicken
    • Features the finest ingredients like healthy proteins, fruits, and vegetables
    • Formulated to provide healthy nutrition to large and giant adult dogs over 50 pounds
    • Contains digestive enzymes and dietary fiber for enhanced digestion
    • Added calcium, phosphorus, glucosamine, and chondroitin
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  5. Purina Pro Plan Specialized Adult Large Breed Beef & Rice Entree
    • Beef and rice recipe in gravy for large dog breeds
    • Calcium and phosphorous for healthy bones and teeth
    • Supports a healthy immune system
    Check Chewy Check Amazon

Top Picks: The Best Dog Food for Great Danes Today

#1. Best Overall: Nutro Ultra Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food

Our choice for the overall best dog food for Great Danes is Nutro Ultra Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food. Nutro’s philosophy is that dogs deserve to enjoy their food as much as we do and that every ingredient should serve a specific purpose. To help your large breed dog thrive, Nutro Ultra Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food includes chicken, lamb, and salmon proteins, alongside whole grains and seeds, as well as 15 superfoods like chia, kale, and blueberries.

High-quality protein is the foundation of all of Nutro’s recipes. Chicken is the first ingredient in this kibble that’s full of flavor and formulated specifically for adult, ultra-large breed dogs like Great Danes. Nutro’s formulas are made from non-GMO ingredients. And they never include chicken by-product meal, corn, wheat, or soy protein, artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. Given their claim to include premium ingredients, this dog food is going to be more expensive than other brands.

NUTRO manufactures its dry dog food in the U.S.A. They source their ingredients from trusted farmers and suppliers and rigorously test their pet foods for quality and food safety.

Pros and Cons of the Nutro Ultra Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food

ProsCons
There are 15 superfoods in this dog food, including blueberries and kale.The price of this dog food option is on the higher side.
The first ingredient on the ingredients list is chicken.
There are no artificial preservatives, flavors, or colors in the food.
Overall Best
Nutro Ultra Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food
  • Lamb and brown rice recipe for large dog breeds
  • Contains glucosamine and chondroitin to support healthy joints
  • Antioxidants for immune health
Check Chewy Check Amazon

2. Best for Puppies: Holistic Select Large & Giant Breed Puppy Dry Dog Food

The Holistic Select Natural Dry Dog Food, Large & Giant Breed Puppy Recipe was specifically created to cater to the needs of large and giant breed puppies. Made in the U.S. from high-quality, globally sourced ingredients, this grain-free kibble will support your puppy’s development into adulthood.

It contains optimal levels of protein to help build healthy muscle, plus antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables. Digestive enzymes, prebiotics, probiotics, and live yogurt cultures break down proteins and support digestive health. It also includes dietary fiber to move food through their system for healthy daily bowel movements.

A variety of nutrients, including antioxidants, glucosamine, probiotics, and taurine contribute to keeping your puppy’s heart healthy. And omega-3 fatty acids will help make their skin and coat healthy and shiny so they look as good outside as they feel on the inside! However, since this is a dry dog food, it will not be high in moisture. So if you’re looking for a more hydrating formula, then this won’t be the best option.

Pros and Cons of the Holistic Select Large & Giant Breed Puppy Dry Dog Food

ProsCons
Your pup’s skin and coat will be healthier thanks to the omega-3 fatty acids in the recipe.The recipe is low in moisture since it is dry dog food.
The highest-quality ingredients are sourced from around the world and are then made in the USA.
The recipe contains antioxidants, glucosamine, probiotics, and taurine that promote a healthy heart in your dog.
Best for Puppies
Holistic Select Large & Giant Breed Puppy Dry Dog Food
  • Includes multiple ingredients that support your large dog’s overall digestive health.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids help your pup achieve a healthy skin and coat.
  • Antioxidants, glucosamine, probiotics and taurine all contribute to a healthy heart.
  • Healthy, nutritious recipes are also formulated to please your pup’s palate.
  • Made in the USA with high-quality ingredients sourced from around the globe.


Check Chewy Check Amazon

3. Best for Senior Great Danes: Iams ProActive Health Healthy Aging Large Breed Senior Dry Dog Food

With premium ingredients, Iams ProActive Health Healthy Aging Large Breed Senior Dry Dog Food meets the nutritional and wellness needs of aging large breed dogs. In addition, it contains no artificial preservatives, flavors, or fillers.

The first ingredient in this tasty, veterinarian-recommended kibble is farm-raised chicken so you can be sure that your senior pup is getting the protein he needs. The recipe includes a balance of key nutrients to support the specific bones and joint health needs of large canines. It also features a blend of fiber and prebiotics to promote healthy digestion and antioxidants to support your dog’s immune system. It’s important to note, however, that artificial food dyes do appear on the ingredients list.

As your best friend grows older, you can feel good knowing that you’re feeding them the best nutrition so they can stay active for years to come with Iams ProActive Health.

Pros and Cons of the Iams ProActive Health Healthy Aging Large Breed Senior Dry Dog Food

ProsCons
It is made with real farm-raised chicken as the first ingredient.The recipe does contain artificial food dyes.
For senior dogs of larger breeds, this product is specially formulated to support their nutritional needs.
In order to promote a healthy digestive system, the recipe contains a blend of fiber and antioxidants.
Best for Senior Dogs
IAMS Healthy Aging Mature & Senior Large Breed Dry Dog Food
  • Made in the U.S. with premium ingredients
  • Veterinarian-recommended
  • Balance of key nutrients to support specific bones and joint health needs
  • Features a blend of fiber and prebiotics
Check Chewy Check Amazon

4. Best Dry Dog Food: Holistic Select Large & Giant Breed Adult Health Chicken

Look no further than Holistic Select Large & Giant Breed Adult Health Chicken for a fantastic dry food option for your Great Dane.

Holistic Select has been preparing its recipes in the U.S.A. at its state-of-the-art facility for over 10 years. They only include the finest ingredients like healthy proteins, fruits, and vegetables. And they never include meat by-products, fillers, wheat or wheat gluten, artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors.

Holistic Select is formulated to provide healthy nutrition to large and giant adult dogs over 50 pounds. It contains optimal levels of protein plus prebiotics and probiotics, digestive enzymes, and dietary fiber for enhanced digestion. 

This recipe also maintains bone strength and joint health with calcium, phosphorus, glucosamine, and chondroitin. It supports heart health with taurine and whole-body health with antioxidants, omega fatty acids, glucosamine, and probiotics. However, this recipe does contain a higher amount of carbohydrates compared to other options. So this might not be the best option for dogs that need help maintaining their weight.

Pros and Cons of the Holistic Select Large & Giant Breed Adult Health Chicken

ProsCons
It contains no additives, fillers, or by-products.There are more carbohydrates in this recipe than in others.
Your dog’s heart will benefit from antioxidants, glucosamine, probiotics, and taurine in this recipe.
There are high-quality proteins, fruits, and vegetables in the recipe.
Best Dry Dog Food
Holistic Select Large & Giant Breed Adult Health Chicken
  • Features the finest ingredients like healthy proteins, fruits, and vegetables
  • Formulated to provide healthy nutrition to large and giant adult dogs over 50 pounds
  • Contains digestive enzymes and dietary fiber for enhanced digestion
  • Added calcium, phosphorus, glucosamine, and chondroitin
Check Chewy Check Amazon

5. Best Canned Dog Food: Purina Pro Plan Specialized Adult Large Breed Beef & Rice Entree

Your Great Dane will love the Purina Pro Plan Specialized Adult Large Breed Beef & Rice Entree as a wet food option.

Purina formulated this wet dog food to support the special nutritional needs of adult large and giant breed dogs 50 pounds and over. This recipe features high-quality protein, including real beef, and rice, which is highly digestible. 

Each ingredient was carefully selected to meet a specific nutritional or functional purpose so your adult Great Dane can get the nourishment he needs. This 100% complete and balanced canned dog food helps to support healthy bones and joints and a robust immune system. Omega-6 fatty acids help maintain his skin and coat in a glowing condition. This recipe does, however, include meat by-products, which are potentially questionable in quality.

You can feed the wet food Purina Pro Plan alone or combine it with Purina Pro Plan Large Breed Beef & Rice Dry Dog Food for variety.

Pros and Cons of the Purina Pro Plan Specialized Adult Large Breed Beef & Rice Entree

ProsCons
A 100% complete and balanced diet suitable for adult dogs weighing more than 50 pounds.Recipes include meat by-products, whose quality may be questionable.
Real beef is used in the making of this large breed dog food.
The food contains vitamins and minerals that keep your pup’s immune system healthy.
Best Canned Dog Food
Purina Pro Plan Specialized Adult Large Breed Beef & Rice Entree
  • Beef and rice recipe in gravy for large dog breeds
  • Calcium and phosphorous for healthy bones and teeth
  • Supports a healthy immune system
Check Chewy Check Amazon

How to Choose the Best Dog Food for Great Danes

It is important to feed your Great Dane a healthy and delicious diet to ensure their health. It is important to take this into consideration due to the specific health concerns of this breed. Gastric dilation-volvulus (GDV) is the number one killer of Great Danes. The signs of this condition and what to do if they appear can be explained by your veterinarian. Dogs can maintain a healthy body weight by eating breed and life-stage-appropriate food in the right amounts. If you’re unsure of how to go about choosing the best dog food for your Great Dane, we’ve got you covered. 

Choosing the best dog food for your Great Dane requires consideration of three main factors:

  • Price 
  • Quality 
  • Type of dog food 

In the following section, each of these factors will be examined in more detail, so you can get a better understanding of them:

Price

Inexpensive dog food can be purchased locally at grocery and drug stores. They may seem convenient, but they may include ingredients that you won’t want to feed to your Great Dane. High-quality dog food is made from high-quality ingredients. You can purchase these online through the links provided, at some veterinarians’ offices, and in pet supply stores. You will pay more per pound for high-quality food, but it’s worth it because you’re investing in your dog’s longer, healthier life.

Quality

Inexpensive dog foods include meat by-products, fillers, artificial preservatives, artificial colors, and/or artificial flavors. They cost you less because these ingredients cost the manufacturers less. High-quality dog food does not include any of the above-mentioned ingredients. Instead, they include real meat, vegetables, fruits, and carefully selected nutrients that will enhance your dog’s health.

Type of Dog Food

There are many factors to consider when choosing the type of dog food for your dog, including their age and preferences. It is usually easier on the stomach and teeth to feed canned wet food to senior dogs because it is more hydrating and easier on the stomach. Some dogs, however, prefer the texture of dry kibble food. Dog food that is dry (not canned) is generally less expensive than dog food that is wet (not canned).

The 2 Different Types of Dog Food for Great Danes

It is important to choose the right dog food for your pet. You’ll find that dog food is usually divided into two types when you shop for different options. There are two types of food: wet food (canned) and dry food (kibble). When it comes to choosing the right one for your dog, how do you know which one to choose? The pros and cons of each of these are different. 

Some of the most common pros and cons include:

  • Dry dog food — Dry dog food is less expensive than wet (canned) food. It comes in bags and can be stored for long periods following the manufacturer’s instructions. Provides a concentration of nutrients and textures that help to remove tartar from your canine friend’s teeth. It will spoil if it’s exposed to moisture. Your Great Dane will go through a 50-pound bag quickly. 
  • Wet (canned) dog food — Dogs with dental problems, which need more moisture in their diet, or are picky eaters may benefit from wet food. Unopened canned dog food has a good shelf life. It’s generally more expensive than dry dog food. Wet (canned) dog food must be refrigerated after opening.

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About the Author

My passion is writing about animals. I’ve published articles on pet parrots, birds, and small animal care and reviews about pet food and products. I have an ever-evolving aviary and menagerie that has included cockatiels, parakeets, conures, European starlings, a chukar partridge, guinea pigs, dogs, and cats. I’m also the author of Faith without Labels: a Guide to Eclectic Spirituality.

The Best Dog Food for Great Danes — (Senior, Puppy, and Adult) FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What should I not feed my Great Dane?

A dog’s health and well-being is solely your responsibility as its owner. It is important to watch what you feed your Great Dane when you own one. Chocolate, avocados, grapes, raisins, milk, or any other dairy products should never be given to your Great Dane. There is a possibility that any of these conditions could cause minor or serious health complications and, in the worst-case scenario, even cause death.

How many times a day does a Great Dane eat?

It is recommended that Great Dane puppies eat between two and three meals per day, depending on their age. Nevertheless, as your Great Dane ages, only two meals should be provided each day twelve hours apart.

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