What Is The Best Dog Food for a Great Dane?
The giant Great Dane is one of the largest breeds in the world. They are also gentle, affectionate dogs that can make very good companions. Once used for hunting wild boar, deer, and bear in Europe during the Middle Ages, today the Great Dane is a family pet. Weighing well over 100 pounds, food is an important issue with Great Danes, both as puppies and as adults.
Breed standards for the Great Dane typically call for females to weigh a minimum of 100 pounds and males to weigh a minimum of 120 pounds. It is not unusual for males and females to weigh more than these weights. However, just as small breeds use up more energy per pound than other dogs, giant breeds like the Great Dane tend to have a slower metabolism and use less energy per pound than the average dog. While the Great Dane does eat plenty of food, they probably don’t eat as much as you might expect. The breed is laid back and calm in temperament as adults. They are dignified, friendly, and gentle. Great Danes do require exercise, but it needs to be moderate in nature. This is particularly true with Great Dane puppies. Great Dane puppies tend to grow fast and keep growing for a long time. Even when a Great Dane is a year old, he is still growing. The breed is prone to musculo-skeletal and joint problems so it’s important to limit a growing puppy’s exercise and make sure that they are fed a diet that is specially designed for a giant breed puppy.
Great Danes actually weigh so much that they are right off the weight/calorie charts of the National Research Council of the National Academies, but a little math and a calculator allow us to determine that an active adult Great Dane weighing 120 pounds requires an average daily caloric intake of about 2507 calories. Dogs that have been spayed/neutered, or that are older, may need fewer calories. Some dogs may need more calories depending on their level of activity and their individual metabolism. Growing puppies, for example, consume more calories than adult dogs and so do young adult dogs. A young adult Great Dane weighing about 100 pounds, for example, and getting lots of exercise would need about 3061 calories per day. However, if your Great Dane tends to lie around the house all day, he would probably need fewer calories.
Protein is very important for your Great Dane’s diet, just as it is for every dog. The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) recommends a minimum of 22 percent protein for growth (puppies) and 18 percent protein for maintenance in adult dogs. These percentages are recommended for dogs in general. Most good quality dog foods will exceed these percentages. Fat is an important source of energy for dogs and should comprise at least 8 percent of the diet for Great Dane puppies and 5 percent of the diet for adults. Most dog foods today have more fat than these percentages. Fat also adds flavor to dog food and makes it very appealing to your dog.
Many Great Dane experts recommend protein and fat percentages of about 23 percent protein and 12 percent fat for Great Danes. Many premium dog foods today have much higher protein and fat percentages than these figures so it’s not always easy to find a good quality food with these percentages. You don’t want to skimp and buy a lower quality food just to have the lower protein and fat percentages. Your Great Dane still needs to have a good quality food.
Great Danes have a couple of important health issues that can be affected by their diet. One is the rate of growth in puppies. Great Danes are subject to hip dysplasia and arthritis as they age. Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy (HOD) and Pano (Panosteitis) are also conditions that can affect puppies during their rapid growth stage. You can find out more about these health issues here because it’s so important for Great Dane puppies to grow slowly, it’s usually best to feed a puppy food made especially for giant breed puppies. These foods have lower percentages of protein and fat than many puppy foods – which is necessary for slow growth. They also pay special attention to the calcium and phosphorus ratio in the food which is also important for giant breed puppies.
Great Danes can also be subject to bloat. It is the number one killer in the breed. Bloat is gastric dilatation and volvulus and it involves the stomach filling with air or gas and twisting, cutting off the blood supply internally. It can be fatal if the dog is not taken to the vet immediately. It tends to occur in large, deep-chested breeds. Many experts suggest feeding several small meals per day instead of one or two large meals. This is supposed to help keep something in the stomach instead of air or gas. You can also keep snacks and treats on hand to give your Great Dane if he seems hungry. Dogs prone to bloat should not go too long between meals.
Ingredients To Look For
As with most dogs, Great Danes need protein and fat in their diets. However, not all protein and fat are the same. Protein and fat need to come from good quality ingredients. And in the case of Great Danes, they need lower percentages of protein and fat than other dogs, especially as growing puppies.
Ideally, a good dog food will feature a couple of meat proteins in the first five (or so) ingredients. Both whole meats and meat meals are good sources of protein. Whole meats refer to ingredients such as whole chicken, lamb, fish, and beef. However, whole meats also contain lots of moisture. If the moisture from these meats were removed, they would be found lower on the ingredient list. This is because dog food companies are required by law to list ingredients by weight before cooking. Some people don’t like meat meals as much as whole meats but they are a concentrated form of the meat in which the moisture has already been removed. They contain several times as much protein as a whole meat. Meat meals are usually very good as one of the first ingredients in a premium quality dog food. They are used by many good dog food companies. Less desirable are the terms “digest” or “by-products.” If you see these terms on the label of a dog food, you should ask some questions.
Dogs also need good sources of fat. Some vitamins are only fat-soluble and your dog needs them in his diet. But fat, like protein, varies in quality depending on the source. You should look for named fat sources such as chicken fat. Other named fats also provide needed nutrients such as fish oil which can provide omega-3 fatty acid to help keep the skin and coat healthy.
All of the foods listed here are good dog foods. We have listed a variety in case your dog has certain issues or you have preferences about what you like to feed. The foods also vary in price.
|Best Dog Food For Great Danes 2016|
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The foods listed here are kibbles but you can certainly feed your Great Dane some canned food if you like. Most people do not try to feed their Great Dane a diet of canned food, for obvious reasons. Canned food is more expensive than kibble and you could go broke trying to feed your Great Dane a diet of canned food. However, you can use canned food as a special treat or a topping for your Dane’s kibble without breaking the bank.
Some dogs will like certain foods better than others. And your dog may do better on one food than another. Try a couple of foods listed here and see how your dog likes them and if he seems to do well physically on the food. If your dog still doesn’t like any of the foods, there are always more. Just try to keep your Great Dane on the lean side; don’t let him over-exercise as a puppy and young dog; and feed frequent small meals to try to avoid bloat.