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How Much Food Does a Great Dane Need? With Feeding Chart

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on April 12, 2024 by Dogster Team

brindle great dane in the living room

How Much Food Does a Great Dane Need? With Feeding Chart

Great Danes are one of the biggest dogs in the world, and it’s no surprise when you meet one face to face. If you decide to add one of these gentle giants to your family, one of the first things you may consider is how much food they need to stay sustained.

They are big dogs that grow rapidly and are prone to joint conditions. It is also important that they are not overfed or underfed. In this article, we’ll discuss how much food a Great Dane needs, what you should give them, how to avoid overfeeding and underfeeding, and how to feed them safely for optimal nutrition.


How Much Does a Great Dane Need to Eat?

The average Great Dane will eat up to 6 cups of food per day.1 The feeding recommendations, according to your dog’s weight, are provided on the dog food package. Naturally, the amount will change as your dog gets older.

Your Great Dane should be fed at least two times per day. The amount you feed your dog may change over time due to changes in its metabolism and activity level. The more active your dog is, the more food it can consume, and you will most likely give your dog treats throughout the day in addition to its regular food.

black pregnant great dane
Image By: mkzdillon, Shutterstock

Great Dane Feeding Chart for Puppies

Important Note: Please note that while these tables list the average nutritional requirement of most dog breeds, Great Danes in particular usually have a considerably higher-than-average caloric requirement. We strongly advise consulting your veterinarian to ensure that your Great Dane puppy is getting proper amounts of nutrition.

Giant dog breed calorie requirements

Click here to download printable PDF

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What Should I Feed My Great Dane?

Great Danes are large breeds that are highly active, so they will need high-quality, large-breed dog food to keep them healthy. The simplest way to ensure your Great Dane is optimally fed and receiving the best nutrition is by providing high-quality, commercial dog food that is vet recommended. Great Danes eat food for large breed puppies until they reach 18 months.

Because Great Danes are large breeds, they may require extra joint support. Many dog foods for large dog breeds are designed with this in mind and contain more glucosamine and chondroitin. Great Danes may also benefit from joint supplements. As your dog gets older, glucosamine and chondroitin can help to support the cartilage. Many owners will start their Great Dane on a quality supplement to slow down the degeneration of their elbows, knees, and hips. Not all supplements are the same, so it’s essential to consult your vet before choosing one for your Great Dane.

great dane chewing carrots
Image By: ElenVik, Shutterstock

Underfeeding and Overfeeding

It is vital that you refrain from feeding or overfeeding your Great Dane. Your dog may act hungry, but that doesn’t mean it should be fed more. The best way to tell if your Great Dane is getting enough food is to look at their body condition.

Your dogs’ ribs should not be visible except for the outline of their last rib. Bloat is more likely to occur in underweight dogs or with an anxious temperament. Dogs that are overweight are more likely to have hip and joint problems. Many degenerative joint diseases in growing large-breed dogs have been linked to overfeeding and inadequate nutrition.

Overfeeding and promoting rapid growth put a Great Dane at risk for osteochondritis, growing pains, and elbow and hip dysplasia. Large-breed puppy diets are designed to reduce this risk by lowering calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D levels. This is why it is important to follow feeding guidelines and recommendations from your veterinarian.

Merle great dane dog
Image By: DragoNika, Shutterstock

Create a Consistent Feeding Schedule

Creating a feeding schedule can be beneficial for both you and your dog. When your Great Dane is younger, having a routine can assist with potty training because they will usually need to go potty about 20 minutes after eating. This helps you determine when your dog will need to go out and will help your dog learn that potty time is shortly after eating.

As your dog gets older, this feeding schedule can be a constant that provides reassurance and stability when changes happen, such as moving to a new home, additional dogs, new environments, and people.

Furthermore, a feeding schedule is a great way to detect any changes in your dogs’ eating habits, which can indicate a potential health issue.

When to Switch to an Age-Appropriate Food

At around 18 months, Great Danes should switch to adult food. While this seems late, it is necessary because this breed continues to grow rapidly for an extended period. When transitioning from the puppy food, replace 25% of the puppy food with adult food and gradually increase it every day.

While senior dog food is popular on the market, your dog doesn’t necessarily need it. There are no guidelines for senior dog food because the term senior is not officially recognized. As your dog ages, it is best to keep them on the same adult food you have always fed them.

It is not unusual for mature dogs to consume less food since they are not as active and do not require the same number of calories. It is also normal for them to lose weight, as they lose the muscle they are no longer using. However, their overall body condition should not change significantly.

a great dane dog lying outdoor
Image By: Emma Forsyth 88, Shutterstock

Keeping Your Great Dane Safe

It is crucial to reduce the risk of bloat and GDV when feeding your Great Dane.

  • A slow feeder can prevent your Great Dane from eating too quickly.
  • Feed two smaller meals a day instead of one large one.
  • Avoid vigorous exercise at least 1–2 hours after a meal.
  • When dogs do not get the proper nutrients, they are more likely to overeat and be hungry all the time. You should ensure that your dog’s food contains nutritious ingredients.
  • Keep treats in moderation, so your dog is still hungry enough to eat real food.

divider-dogFinal Thoughts

Great Danes are big dogs that require a lot of food. Generally, they will need about 6 cups of high-quality food a day. Because Great Danes grow rapidly, it is important not to overfeed them, especially when they are young, because if they grow too quickly, they can suffer from joint conditions. Feeding guidelines are usually found on your dog’s food package, but it is always helpful to consult your vet for feeding recommendations.

See also

Featured Image Credit: George Pagan III, Unsplash

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