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How Much To Feed A Great Dane Puppy

feed great dane puppy

Hopefully, you are reading this article before bringing home your Great Dane puppy! If not, we’ll get straight to the answer so that you learn how much to feed your Great Dane puppy.

Next to water and sleep, providing them with food is one of the most important tasks for their survival. Due to the extreme growth that a Great Dane will experience in their first years of life, proper nutrition is critical to their long-term health and longevity. 

Rapid weight gain can place excessive stress on their joints, which could lead to orthopedic issues later in life. Overfeeding can also lead to other issues such as knuckling over, bowed legs, Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy (HOD), Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD), and Panosteoitis or “Pano”.

These issues can be seen in both large and giant breeds, where there is extreme growth in their early stages of life. 

While they typically appear between months 2 and 7, the most common period for Great Danes to see the occurrence of a growth disease is between months 2 and 4. Male and female Great Danes seem to be equally affected.

So, how much should someone feed a Great Dane Puppy? Great Dane puppies should be fed between 2-3 meals per day depending on their age. Follow the chart below for specific recommended amounts.

Age [months]Food [cups]Meals / day
22 – 43
33 – 53
44 – 63
55 – 72
66 – 82
76 – 92
86 – 92
97 – 102
10 – 127 – 102
12 – 18 (females)6 – 92
12 – 18 (males)7 – 102

These details may seem straightforward, but there are additional keys that you should follow to know how to increase their food as well as indicators for when they are getting too heavy or too skinny!

How Much To Feed A Great Dane Puppy

The total food for a day should be evenly divided across each of the meals. Slowly increase the food throughout the month to match their increasing energy needs as they continue to grow.

The number of meals that the food should be spread across is also listed. Noticed how it transitions from 3 meals per day to 2 meals per day once they reach 5 months of age.

Females should start at the bottom of the range for a given month, and slowly have their food increased until reaching the low end of the following month. This should be a gradual increase that is spread evenly across the month’s timeframe.

For example, a 3-month-old female would begin the month eating a total of 3 cups of food per day. Midway through the month, her daily food total would be at 3.5 cups. Finally, ending the month at 4 cups of food daily.

Males should start in the middle of the range, and slowly have their food increased until reaching the middle of the range for the following month. As with females, this should be a gradual increase spread over the course of the month.

As an example, a 5-month-old male would begin the month eating a total of 6 cups of food per day. Midway through the month, his daily food total would be at 6.5 cups. Finally, ending the month at 7 cups of food daily.

Great Dane Feeding Chart by Month

Age [months]Food [cups]Meals / day
22 – 43
33 – 53
44 – 63
55 – 72
66 – 82
76 – 92
86 – 92
97 – 102
10 – 127 – 102
12 – 18 (females)6 – 92
12 – 18 (males)7 – 102

Exclusive Bonus: Download our free meal plan reference chart for quick and easy access later. This will save you from trying to remember all these details down the road or find this page again. Plus – it’s nicely formatted so that you can print it!

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    Meal Plan Recap

    Many Great Danes will not reach their full size and weight until three years of age. There should be no rush to bulk them up early or have the biggest pup in town. The goal should be to keep them light and lean until they reach the age of two.

    Also, note that these are general guidelines for your Dane. If you notice them getting too lean then increase the amount of food. Lean is good, but being too skinny will limit their development.

    For a quick visual indicator, you should be able to see their last rib when are standing when they are at the correct weight.

    Likewise, if you’re no longer able to see their last rib then they’re probably past the “long and lean” stage. Hold off on increasing their food intake until they return to the proper body composition level.

    Be Wary of “Puppy Food”

    Puppy food or growth formulas are not necessary for Great Dane puppies. In fact, they can be bad for them if not properly balanced!

    Great Dane puppies will grow fast enough on their own without any “extra” help. Most puppy formulas will only increase the chance of suffering one of the growth diseases or joint problems previously mentioned.

    There are also large breed-specific dog foods available that help promote a normal growth rate. This will allow the Great Dane’s bones and muscles to develop at a typical speed.

    The dog should get food that contains up to 25 percent protein and between 12 and 20 percent fat for optimal health. This ensures that they receive the correct caloric balance to avoid negatively affecting their growth.

    As with most situations, there is a caveat for puppy food. Research indicates that in addition to the protein ratio, the micronutrient composition should also be considered. Especially, that of calcium and phosphorus.

    Puppy food brands containing less than 1.5% calcium, ideally closer to 1% can also be viewed as safe. The amount of phosphorus present should represent a ratio to that of calcium. The ideal range is considered to be a minimum of 1:1, but not more than 1.5:1 (calcium: phosphorus).

    Consult with your veterinarian for assistance in selecting a brand the delivers all of the proper nutrients for your puppy. They will likely recommend brands that avoid corn-based fillers, include all-natural ingredients, and opt to include a variety of protein sources. You can also reference our dedicated article on the best food for Great Danes here.

    The days of basic dog food are long past. The selection of high-quality premium food will go a long way in ensuring the health and longevity of your Great Dane.

    The Great Dane Puppy Handbook

    The Great Dane Puppy Handbook takes all of the need-to-know Great Dane info and packages it together into a single, concise resource. Save yourself time, money, and frustration by avoiding the most common mistakes made by Great Dane owners!

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    How To Change Foods (If Necessary)

    In the event that you decide to change your Great Dane puppy’s food, you should not do so “cold turkey”.

    An immediate change over between meals would be very tough on their stomachs leading to diarrhea, vomiting, or disruption of their growth pattern.

    Look to transition them fully from the old to the new food in three meals. The first meal would be a mixture of 50% old food, 50% new food. Meal two would consist of 25% old food, 75% new food. Finally, the third meal would consist of 100% new food.

    Pro Tip! You can further smooth the transition by sprinkling a probiotic powder on top of the food before giving it to them.

    We particularly like the one made by NaturVet (link to Amazon) because it’s manufactured in the USA in CGMP facilities and carries the National Animal Supplement Council seal.

    What To Do If They Don’t Eat

    Great Danes can be notoriously picky eaters. They wolf down their food one day and prefer to sleep through breakfast the next. Unless they show other signs of sickness such as vomiting or lethargy then it’s probably nothing to be concerned about.

    Their appetites can fluctuate as they go through growth spurts and their hormones are fluctuating. This is typically more common after they get past twelve months of age and the periods of peak growth have passed.

    Simply remove the meal if they have not finished it within a reasonable amount of time and resume back on their normal feeding schedule.

    Continuous feeders should be avoided as they risk overfeeding your Great Dane and leading to possible orthopedic issues.

    Raised Food Bowls

     To lessen the risk of digestive issues it is recommended to use an elevated feeder. This should hold both their food and water bowls to reach an appropriate height.

    Unfortunately, the jury is still out whether or not this increases or decreases the chances of bloat / GDC. However, it’s obvious that an elevated feeder creates a more comfortable feeding position, especially as they age.

    For more information on this topic, take a look at our dedicated article on elevated feeders.

    Where To Get Food

    Leveraging online services such as chewy.com not only give you the benefit of good prices and a wide selection, but also the convenience of scheduled auto-ships.

    We have used Chewy for years and have thoroughly enjoyed their consistent shipping schedule and fair prices.

    This helps to prevent a scenario where you might accidentally run out of food and need to feed them a different brand temporarily that leads to intestinal distress for your Great Dane.

    They have very sensitive stomachs and do not handle food changes very well.

    Knowing if any local pet stores also carry your Great Dane’s premium brand is useful in the event that you do need to make an emergency run to the store. Unfortunately, this is not always an option as many only carry commercial dog foods.

    Once again, why our stalwart recommendation for many years stays with Chewy.com (link to Chewy).

    What To If They Have Diarrhea

    Many Great Danes experience occasional diarrhea due to their sensitive stomachs. Luckily not every instance will require a trip to the vet, which could get pricey very quickly!

    You can help to soothe it by ensuring that they:

    • Have plenty of clean water
    • Cooking them a small bowl of boiled white chicken meat and white rice for a meal or two
    • Adding some all-natural canned pumpkin puree to their meal

    Extended bouts of diarrhea or occurrence with other symptoms such as vomiting, lethargy, or weight loss likely indicate something more serious.

    Contact your veterinarian to provide treatment for the Great Dane.

    Avoid Play Around Meals

    Playtime should be limited for the hour preceding and following meal times to lessen the chances of bloat or GDV. Although listed last, it’s a very important step to observe for their long-term health and longevity.

    Pro Tip! If you’re looking for the ultimate guide to caring for your Great Dane, then we highly recommend that you take a look at our ebook “The Great Dane Puppy Handbook“. It covers everything from A-Z that a busy Great Dane owner needs to know to feel confident about raising their dog. You can learn more about it here!

    We hope that you found this information helpful. Before you go, make sure to take a look at our favorite products for Great Danes!

    23 thoughts on “How Much To Feed A Great Dane Puppy”

    1. Hello, I was wondering if anybody can share some personal knowledge and experience with me. I have a 3 month old Great Dane who weighs around 35 pounds. I’m ready to transition him to a raw diet but I’m still unsure of how much to feed him. I’ve done plenty of research and spoken to many people and i get a variety of answers. I was hoping someone can shed some light for me and let me know what has worked for them in the past. Thank you.

      Reply
    2. My great dane is 10 months old, approx 130 lbs, and eats 9 cups of food 3 times a day. Is it necessary to reduce him to 2 meals a day if he is getting the proper amount of food and is healthy. He rarely misses lunch unless we are traveling, which only happens about once a month.

      Reply
      • Switching to 2 meals/day is both a matter of convenience and routine. Not only does it save you time, but also allows your Dane to adapt to a very regular feeding schedule which aids in digestion. Either one will work, it just needs to be very consistent.

        Reply
    3. I’m fostering a male dane 5yrs old, he is absolutely gorgeous. My concern, his feeding i’ve read about puppy feeding, feeding at 12-18 months he is 5. I feed twice a day. on routine 8:30 am and then around 5:30 pm. When I arrive home from work it seems he is still hungry. I’m back home around midnight. I tell my son not to feed. We need to keep him on routine.
      I generally serve him about 2 -3 cups a serving Dry mix with Wet can food. Blue Buffalo.
      Suggestions…
      Thanks, M.

      Reply
      • The best judge of food quantity will be his outward physical appearance. If he’s too thin and always hungry, then you can try slowly increasing the amount of food served across the two meals. I’m not sure how much/often water is available, but it could also be that he’s thirsty and just needs more water.

        Reply
    4. Hi, we have a 7 month old great dane (85 lbs) black. We adopted him at 5 months and he was very thin, we started feeding him 4 Health puppy food from Tractor Supply and switched him to Fromm Large Breed Gold Puppy food, 3 weeks ago. We did 25/50/75 ratio to begin, but 3 weeks later his poo is still runny. Suggestions??

      Reply
      • If your Dane has diarrhea or loose stool, try Scooter’s Butt Bars. It works very well. I dont have a Dane but swear by them, especially during food transition phase or simple canine upset stomach.

        Reply
      • Most Danes finish filling out around the age of 2, after which you can tailor back their caloric intake. Exactly how much you cut back will vary from dog to dog, but you’ll want to slowly lower it while keeping a close eye on their body composition to make sure that it’s still meeting their needs.

        Reply
    5. Are there any recommendations for puppy food? I find conflicting information about feeding a proper, premium brand large breed puppy food vs premium adult food to my pup (she’s 3 months old and amazing!). The vet recommends Royal Canin large breed but has protein levels higher than recommended by most breeders. However the DHA and other puppy vitamins seem important. Any help is appreciated!

      Reply
      • As long as the nutrient profiles are good and the food is constructed from high-quality ingredients, I don’t think that puppy-specific food is necessary. Their needs are more so centered around keeping protein levels reasonable and the calcium/phosphorus ratios in check. Regarding Royal Canin – I’ve never been very impressed with the quality of their ingredients. Perhaps your vet found a specific mix that’s better but most that I’ve seen leave a lot to be desired…

        Reply
    6. Thanks for the quick reply Zach. One follow up, is it fair to say your recommendation for food could be used from puppy, 3 months now, throughout adulthood?

      Reply
    7. Hi
      We are new Dane owners and quickly loving the breed. Tank is 4 months and 38 lbs. Thank you for the information in this post looking forward to other informational emails.

      Reply
        • Hello, we have a beautiful 5 month old Great Dane milo who was weaned onto raw by his breeder, we didn’t want to carry this on so we have been trying ever since 8 weeks old to slowly take it away but he is not interested in his food at all even with a small amount of raw mixed in..he doesn’t look unhealthy but will NEVER eat his full bowl, we are using a purina BETA for large breed puppy food..We’ve tried 2 types of this brand which neither he has been overly interested in..can anyone shed any light? On how to get him to eat his meals as he would happily eat my children’s food all day long

          Reply
    8. Can you list a couple of brands you recommend? I know to check the levels but I keep reading X brand is great, just to read I should avoid it. Bringing my pup home in a week!!!

      Reply
    9. Hello!

      We are bringing home our first Dane in a week. I have read MANY of your articles and watched some of your videos. THANK YOU for ALL of your information. My question is about treats. I have taken your recommendation on food and have that on hand. However, because of the Danes sensitive stomach, what do you recommend for training treats?

      Thank you,
      Sonja

      Reply
      • Hi Sonja,

        Congrats on the upcoming pup and glad to hear that you’re enjoying the articles and videos! Similar to food, go for treats that are made of natural ingredients with minimal processing, additives, and preservatives. These will be the least likely to upset your dog’s stomach.

        Reply
    10. I have a dane that was looking slim. Upped the food intake and she gained 30 lbs in 3 weeks, but looks healthy. Weight gain has tapered down. Should we lower food intake now that she looks healthy?

      Reply

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