How Much to Feed a Great Dane (Feeding Chart & Guide)

Feeding time for Great Dane mother and her puppies

Feeding a Great Dane the right amount is crucial for their well-being. It’s a key factor that greatly influences their health and lifespan, especially important for anyone considering bringing home this gentle giant.

Great Danes, due to their large size, have specific dietary requirements. Puppies, for instance, need about 2 to 7 cups of food daily. As they grow into adults and later into their senior years, the amount changes slightly, ranging from approximately 4 ¼ to 7 ½ cups per day.

Keep in mind, though, that every Great Dane is unique. Factors like age, weight, health condition, and activity level all play a part in determining their ideal food intake.

This guide will provide you with essential information on feeding your Great Dane. By the end, you’ll have a clearer idea about the right amount to feed them daily.

What Factors Impact How Much to Feed a Great Dane?

Close up of Great Dane puppies enjoying their food

When it comes to feeding a Great Dane, several things come into play. These include their age, size, gender, and how active they are.

Great Dane puppies, belonging to one of the biggest dog breeds, need a lot of food each day. But before you decide on their meals, think about these important points:

  • Age: This is a big factor in how much to feed your Great Dane. Puppies should get high-calorie and high-protein food made for large breeds. For adult or older Great Danes, their needs change, and you might need to reduce their food a bit.
  • Weight: The current weight of your Great Dane also guides how much you should feed them. If your dog is too thin or overweight, you’ll need to adjust their food portions. Keep an eye on their fat and protein levels, too.
  • Activity Level: Great Danes are big, strong, and usually very active. This means they need more food than less active dogs. If you have a Great Dane, be ready for a higher food bill while they’re young and full of energy. As they get older and slow down, they won’t need as much food.

Health is another key point. A Great Dane with health issues like diabetes or obesity might need a special diet.

Also, male Great Danes usually need more food than females because they’re often bigger and more active. This is especially true for European Great Danes, who are larger than their American cousins.

How Much to Feed Your Great Dane?

Feeding three cute Great Dane puppies outdoors

Feeding your Great Dane the right amount of food is essential for their health and happiness. As they grow and age, their dietary needs will change, so it’s important to stay informed and adjust their meals accordingly.

In the following sections, we’ll provide specific feeding guidelines for Great Dane puppies, adults, and seniors. This information will help you understand how to best meet the nutritional needs of your Great Dane at every stage of their life.

Great Dane Puppy Feeding Chart (2 months to 1 year)

As Great Dane puppies reach 3 to 6 weeks old, they begin weaning and exploring foods other than breast milk. It’s important to choose a puppy food that supports their nutritional needs and rapid growth.

The table below outlines the nutritional requirements for a Great Dane puppy:

AgeDaily Feeding Amount (Cups)Caloric Intake (Per day)
2 months2 – 3 ¼884 – 1,487
3 months2 ¾ – 4 ½1,260 – 2,016
4 months3 – 41,344 – 1,772
5 – 6 months3 ¾ – 5 ½1,667 – 2,445
7 – 8 months4 ¼ – 6 ¼1,870 – 2,804
9 – 12 months4 ¾ – 72,164 – 3,149
*Use a standard 8-oz measuring cup

As Great Dane puppies approach one year, their food and calorie needs increase due to their growing activity levels. Note that male Great Dane puppies might need more food than females as they tend to be more active and larger.

Adult Great Dane Feeding Chart (1 to 6 years )

Great Danes usually reach full size around 1 ½ to 2 years of age. By the age of one, they are often considered adults.

Adult Great Danes still require a high daily food intake appropriate for their body weight but with lower protein and fat levels than puppy food.

The dietary needs of an adult Great Dane are as follows:

AgeDaily Feeding Amount (Cups)Caloric Intake (Per day)
1 – 6 years5 ¼ – 7 ½2,103 – 2,979
*Use a standard 8-oz measuring cup

Adult Great Danes need more calories than other large breeds, like Dobermans and Bernese Mountain Dogs, due to their size and activity level.

However, not all Great Danes are equally active. Less active dogs may become overweight if their calorie intake isn’t adjusted. Grain-free kibble is recommended to help prevent bloat and improve skin, coat, and breath.

Senior Great Dane Feeding Chart (7 years and above)

Senior dogs generally need less food than younger dogs. Senior Great Danes should consume food with fewer calories as their activity levels decrease.

The dietary requirements for senior Great Danes are:

AgeDaily Feeding Amount (Cups)Caloric Intake (Per day)
7 years and above4 ¼ – 61,682 – 2,383
*Use a standard 8-oz measuring cup

In their senior years, the caloric needs of Great Danes decrease compared to their younger days, yet it’s still crucial to ensure they receive enough energy for their size and age.

This phase requires a careful balance – enough calories to maintain health and vitality, but not so much that it leads to unnecessary weight gain, which can be a concern for older dogs.

How Often Should You Feed Your Great Dane? 

A group of Great Dane puppies eating puppy food

The frequency of feeding your Great Dane varies with their age. This is because their nutritional needs and digestive capabilities change as they grow.

Refer to the table below for the recommended feeding frequencies for Great Danes at different stages of their life:

AgeFeeding Frequency
0 – 12 weeksThree to four times a day
4 – 12 monthsTwo to three times a day
1 – 6 yearsTwice a day
7 years and aboveOnce or twice a day

It’s possible to deviate from these guidelines, but if you do, adjust the portion sizes accordingly to prevent overfeeding. When in doubt, consult a veterinarian for personalized advice.

It’s important to remember that while Great Dane puppies need more frequent meals, they don’t necessarily need bigger portions at each meal.

Smaller, more frequent meals are easier for them to digest and help maintain a consistent energy level throughout the day, which is especially beneficial for giant-breed puppies.

In relation to this, I would also like to share an experience I had that made me very critical of the frequency of meals of Great Danes.

Since my cousin’s Great Dane, Achilles, died of bloat or GDV, I studied how his diet led to this condition. I figured out that dogs that eat only once a day and fast eaters have a higher risk of developing this.

Hence, for large dogs like the Great Dane, it is best to break down their meals into more servings within the day, even as adults.

How to Transition Your Great Dane to a New Food

As with other dog breeds, introducing new food to your Great Dane must be done gradually. This is something that pet owners should always keep in mind, especially when transitioning from puppy food to adult food.

To learn how to switch your Great Dane’s diet to a new one, refer to the table below: 

DaysOld FoodNew Food
1 – 275%25%
3 – 450%50%
5 – 625%75%

This table shows a gradual transition over a week. Initially, mix a small amount of the new food with the old diet.

Gradually increase the proportion of new food while decreasing the old food. This method helps prevent digestive upset like diarrhea or vomiting.

Tips on Feeding an Overweight Great Dane

Unlike some other large breeds like Newfoundlands or Chow Chows, Great Danes have a leaner build, often with their last rib slightly visible. If you can’t see your Great Dane’s last rib when they stand, it might be a sign they are carrying extra weight.

An adult Great Dane should typically weigh between 110 to 175 pounds. If your dog is gaining weight, here are some strategies to help them slim down:

  • Feed them low-starch fruits and vegetables. Offer them low-calorie snacks like carrots, green peas, and apples. These are great alternatives that can help control weight. Additionally, lean proteins such as skinless chicken, turkey, and whitefish are beneficial.
  • Opt for dog food designed for overweight dogs. Consider switching to dog food formulated for weight management. This type of food usually has reduced fat content and is designed to help maintain muscle mass while your dog loses weight. Though it might be a bit more expensive, it’s a worthy investment for your Great Dane’s health.
  • Limit treats and avoid free-feeding. Be mindful of the quantity of dog food and treats you’re giving, particularly for new Great Dane owners or breeders. Excess treats and free-feeding can lead to additional calorie intake, which contributes to weight gain.

Remember, managing an overweight Great Dane’s diet is not just about cutting calories or rapid weight loss. It’s about establishing a balanced diet that maintains their overall health and aids in managing their weight effectively.

Frequently Asked Questions

Great Dane lying in backyard

How Do I Know If I’m Feeding My Great Dane Enough?

To ensure you’re feeding your Great Dane adequately, regularly monitor their weight, ideally every 2 to 4 weeks. This is particularly important for puppies.

Additionally, assessing your dog’s body condition score (BCS) can help determine if they have a healthy weight and body fat distribution. If your dog isn’t gaining weight as expected, adjust their food portions.

Why Is My Great Dane Not Eating?

Several factors can cause a Great Dane to lose appetite. Health issues like dental problems, medication side effects, digestive troubles, emotional stress, and hormonal changes are common causes.

Dietary changes, a new feeding schedule, or even overfeeding can also impact their eating habits.

Can I Feed My Great Dane With Human Food?

It’s generally not recommended to feed Great Danes human food. While some human foods might contain beneficial nutrients, they often lack the specific essential nutrients dogs need. Additionally, some human foods can be harmful to dogs.

Do Great Danes Eat a Lot?

Yes, Great Danes do eat a lot. As a giant breed with high energy levels, they require more calories than smaller breeds. It’s important for them to engage in enough physical activities to maintain their muscular and lean physique.

Can Great Danes Eat Bones?

Yes, Great Danes can eat bones, but it’s safer to give them raw bones instead of cooked ones. Raw bones can be a nutritious addition to a Great Dane’s diet, offering vitamins and minerals like A, D, E, calcium, and iron.

However, always supervise your dog with bones, limit the time they have with them, and ensure the bones are large enough to prevent choking hazards or accidental swallowing.

We hope this article helps you on how to properly feed your Great Dane. If you have any further questions or need more insights, please feel free to leave them in the comment section below, and we’ll be happy to assist you.

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