The Best Dog Food for Great Danes for 2022 — (Senior, Puppy, and Adult)

Written by Judie Sigdel
Updated: September 11, 2022

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Key Points:

  • Great Danes have special nutritional needs related to their growth rate and size.
  • High quality food with no fillers is necessary for healthy digestion for giant breeds.
  • Large breeds need to be at a healthy weight to prevent damage to their joints.

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 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 that we’ll address below.

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.

A-Z-Animals Top Picks for Dog Food for Great Danes

  1. Holistic Select Large & Giant Breed Puppy
  2. Holistic Select Large & Giant Breed Puppy
    • Formulated specifically for large and giant breed puppies
    • Made in the U.S. from high-quality, globally sourced ingredients
    • Grain-free
    • Contain a variety of nutrients, including antioxidants, glucosamine, and probiotics
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  3. Iams ProActive Health Healthy Aging Large Breed Senior Dry Dog Food
  4. Iams ProActive Health Healthy Aging Large Breed Senior 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
  5. HOLISTIC SELECT Large & Giant Breed Adult Health Chicken
  6. 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
  7. Purina Pro Plan Specialized Adult Large Breed Beef & Rice Entree
  8. Purina Pro Plan Specialized Adult Large Breed Beef & Rice Entree
    • Features high-quality protein
    • 100% complete and balanced canned dog food
    • Contains 23 essential vitamins and minerals
    • Helps to support strong bones and healthy joints
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  9. Nutro Ultra Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food
  10. Nutro Ultra Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food
    • Features a trio of delicious, high-quality proteins from chicken, lamb, and salmon
    • Contains 15 superfoods like chia, kale, and blueberries
    • Chicken is the first ingredient
    • Made from non-GMO ingredients
    Check Chewy Check Amazon

#1 Overall Best: 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. That’s why Nutro Ultra Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food features a trio of delicious, high-quality proteins from chicken, lamb, and salmon, whole grains and seeds, and 15 superfoods like chia, kale, and blueberries to help your dog thrive.

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.

NUTRO manufacturers 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.

Overall Best
Nutro Ultra Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food
  • Features a trio of delicious, high-quality proteins from chicken, lamb, and salmon
  • Contains 15 superfoods like chia, kale, and blueberries
  • Chicken is the first ingredient
  • Made from non-GMO ingredients
Check Chewy Check Amazon

#2 Best for Puppies: Holistic Select Natural Dry Dog Food, Large & Giant Breed Puppy Recipe

Holistic Select Natural Dry Dog Food, Large & Giant Breed Puppy Recipe is formulated specifically for large and giant breed (50 pounds+ at adulthood) 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!

Best for Puppies
Holistic Select Large & Giant Breed Puppy
  • Formulated specifically for large and giant breed puppies
  • Made in the U.S. from high-quality, globally sourced ingredients
  • Grain-free
  • Contain a variety of nutrients, including antioxidants, glucosamine, and probiotics
Check Chewy Check Amazon

#3 Best for Senior Great Danes: IAMS ProActive Health Healthy Aging Large Breed Senior

IAMS Healthy Aging Adult Large Breed Dry Dog Food with Real Chicken is made in the U.S. with premium ingredients to meet the nutritional and wellness needs of aging large breed dogs. And 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.

You can’t stop your best friend from growing older. But with IAMS ProActive Health Healthy Aging Large Breed Senior Dry Dog Food you can feel good knowing that you’re feeding them the best nutrition available so they can keep active for years to come.

Best for Senior Dogs
Iams ProActive Health Healthy Aging Large Breed Senior 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 Natural Dry Dog Food Large & Giant Breed Adult

Holistic Select has been preparing its recipes in the U.S.A. at their 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 Natural Dry Dog Food Large & Giant Breed Adult 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.

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 Large Breed Beef & Rice Wet Dog Food

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 maintain his skin and coat in glowing condition.

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

Best Canned Dog Food
Purina Pro Plan Specialized Adult Large Breed Beef & Rice Entree
  • Features high-quality protein
  • 100% complete and balanced canned dog food
  • Contains 23 essential vitamins and minerals
  • Helps to support strong bones and healthy joints
Check Chewy Check Amazon

Special Food Considerations for Great Danes

The number one killer of Great Danes is bloat or gastric dilation-volvulus (GDV). Your veterinarian can explain what the condition is, how to recognize the signs, and what to do if they occur.

Since exercising after eating a large meal or drinking lots of water may increase the risk of GDV, ask your vet how much your dog should eat and drink at one time. Also, follow their instructions regarding exercising after eating and drinking.

Other health issues that can affect Great Danes include hip dysplasia, eye and cardiac diseases, and thyroid conditions (hypothyroidism and autoimmune thyroiditis).

Eating breed and life-stage appropriate food in appropriate amounts can help your dog maintain a healthy body weight that won’t stress hip joints. Read labels to see if your dog’s food includes vitamin A and fish oil, which may support eye health. Your veterinarian will have recommendations regarding nutritional support for potential thyroid conditions.

Choosing the Best Dog Food for Great Danes: What to Look for

When choosing the best dog food for your Great Dane you need to consider three factors: price, quality, and type (dry or wet). Here’s how to consider the best dog food across each of these factors:

Price

Inexpensive dog food can be purchased locally at grocery and drug stores. They may seem convenient, but they 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 (dry or wet)

Dry dog food is generally less expensive than wet (canned) dog food.

The Different Types of Dog Foods for Great Danes: Pros and Cons Compared

When choosing the best dog food for your Great Dane, you need to understand the different types: dry (kibble) and wet (canned). Let’s look at the pros and cons of each type:

Dry Dog Food

Pros!Cons
Dry dog food is less expensive than wet (canned) foodIt will spoil if it’s exposed to moisture  
It comes in bags and can be stored for long periods following the manufacturer’s instructionsIt’s heavy! Your Great Dane will go through a 50-pound bag quickly
Provides a concentration of nutrients and textures that help to remove tartar from your canine friend’s teeth        

Wet (Canned) Dog Food

Pros!Cons!
Dogs with dental problems, which need more moisture in their diet, or are picky eaters may benefit from wet foodIt’s generally more expensive than dry dog food
Unopened canned dog food has a good shelf lifeWet (canned) dog food must be refrigerated after opening.

Our Criteria and Experience: How We Chose the Best

We wanted to provide you with the best food options for your Great Dane. By combing through the many options and by reading reviews – we were able to make these outstanding selections. The food had to be specially formulated for the nutritional needs of these giant dogs and be easy for them to digest.

One reviewer was concerned about the size of the kibble and the fact that it expands with water. They wrote, “If you know about bloat, you know to be careful about the quality of the kibble and if it expands with water! I researched dog foods for days and loved what I read about this so I had our 18-year-old and our three-year-old rescue dogs try it. Not only does it expand with water, but it also makes them EXTREMELY thirsty! So, I withhold water for a while after feeding this to them or I could soak it first. Neither of these two options makes me very comfortable when it comes to thinking about dog care! Please consider these things when deciding on dog food!”

Most reviewer complaints had to do with Great Danes that wouldn’t eat the food. As this reviewer said, ” My Danes won’t eat it. I had high hopes based on other reviews, but my guys would rather not eat than eat this food.”

Most reviewers, however, made overwhelmingly positive comments, such as this one who said, “Our Great Dane Puppy has been on this food since she was four months old. Because of their rapid growth, she was already experiencing joint, growing pains. They are also BIG eaters and can have a sensitive stomach. I would highly recommend this product, especially to other crazy people like us that bought a Giant Breed dog.”

Another reported, “One of the only QUALITY dog foods I will buy for my three Great Danes. Most foods have too many fillers. This food has multiple meat proteins and NO artificial ingredients, preservatives, and NO corn, wheat. soy, or gluten. What you feed your dog matters so read the ingredients list. Dog food is not regulated like human food is. This dog food is good quality and decently priced also. Do your research people, your pet’s health may be on the line.”

Summary of the Best food for Great Danes

Rank Best ForProduct
1OverallNutro Ultra Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food.
2Best for PuppiesHolistic Select Natural Dry Dog Food, Large & Giant Breed Puppy Recipe
3Best for SeniorsIAMS Healthy Aging Adult Large Breed Dry Dog Food with Real Chicken
4Best DryHolistic Select Natural Dry Dog Food Large & Giant Breed Adult
5Best CannedPurina Pro Plan Large Breed Beef & Rice Wet Dog Food

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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.