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The Great Dane is a very large breed of dog and it is also one of tallest dog breeds in the world. This breed is known not only for its height, but also for its regal appearance and friendly nature. Great Danes were originally developed for hunting but today they are more commonly kept as family pets. These dogs get along with just about everyone, including other dogs and pets, and they do very well with children. Because these dogs are so large, they need a special diet to maintain lean muscle mass and healthy bones and joints. Below you will find valuable information about meeting your Great Dane’s nutritional needs as well as some special considerations to make. You will also find recommendations for commercial dog foods for this wonderful breed.
Nutritional Needs for Great Danes
The Great Dane is one of the largest breeds out there – in fact, it holds the world record for being the tallest dog. These dogs stand no less than 30 inches tall at maturity (for males of the breed) and weigh at least 120 pounds. Females are a little smaller, standing at least 28 inches tall and weighing at least 100 pounds at maturity. Great Danes are not just one of the largest dog breeds out there, they are also one of the most popular. According to AKC registration statistics, the Great Dane consistently ranks among the top 20 most popular breeds in the country. Many people love this breed for its gentle demeanor, friendly temperament, and unique appearance.
If you want to keep your Great Dane in good health you will need to feed him a commercial dog food diet specially formulated for large-breed dogs. All dogs require a balance of protein, fat, carbohydrate, vitamins, and minerals in their diets. Protein is the most important consideration for dogs and it should come from high-quality sources like deboned chicken and fresh fish, not from plant-based sources or animal by-products. Fats are the most highly concentrated source of energy available to dogs and they too should come from high-quality animal-based sources. Dogs require a balance of both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in their diets to support healthy skin and coat. Dogs do not have specific requirements for carbohydrates in their diet but they do need dietary fiber to support healthy digestion. Dogs should get their carbohydrates from digestible sources like whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables.
In addition to protein, fats, and carbohydrate, your Great Dane requires various vitamins and minerals in his diet as well. Digestible carbohydrates provide many of those nutrients, but you should also look for supplemental vitamins and minerals in your dog’s food. Ideally, you should choose a product that includes chelated minerals – these are minerals that have been chemically bonded to protein molecules to make them easier for your dog’s body to absorb. A large-breed dog like the Great Dane would also benefit from bone- and joint-supporting supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin. These supplements will be especially important as your Great Dane ages.
Special Considerations for Great Danes
The best way to make sure that your Great Dane grows up healthy is to feed him a large-breed-specific formula when he is a puppy. Large-breed dogs like the Great Dane take much longer than small dogs to reach their full size – it could take them 18 to 24 months. During this time you want to make sure that your Great Dane gets the energy he needs but you don’t want him to grow too quickly. That is where a large-breed puppy formula comes in – it has high levels of protein to support your Great Dane’s growth with moderate amounts of fat and carbohydrate to prevent overgrowth. If your Great Dane grows too quickly it could put excess strain on his bones and joints, putting him at an increased risk for musculoskeletal problems when he is an adult. Keep your Great Dane on a large-breed puppy formula until he reaches 80% of his maximum size then switch to a large-breed adult formula.
In addition to watching what you feed your Great Dane, you also need to be careful about how much you feed him. Puppies can generally be fed freely but if you Great Dane starts growing too quickly you might need to ration his meals. When your Great Dane reaches full size, divide his daily portion into two meals. Large-breed dogs, especially deep-chested breeds, have an increased risk for developing gastric dilation volvulus, or bloat – a condition that occurs when the dog eats too fast, swallows too much air, or drinks too much water after eating. This condition causes the abdomen to fill with air which may also cause the stomach to twist on its access – this cuts off circulation to the stomach and to other vital organs. Bloat is an extremely dangerous condition that requires immediate veterinary care. You can help to prevent it by not letting your Great Dane drink too much or exercise too vigorously after a meal.
Top Recommended Dog Foods for Great Danes
If you need some help in finding the right food for your Great Dane, consider one of the commercial dog food brands discussed below. Be careful when considering a breed-specific formula for your dog – do not just assume that the formula will meet your dog’s needs without evaluating the product for yourself. Consider the ingredients list to make sure that the product is of high-quality before offering it to your dog.
1. AvoDerm Large Breed Adult Dry Food
The AvoDerm pet food brand is produced by Breeder’s Choice Pet Foods, one of the leading producers of pet foods since the 1960s. The AvoDerm brand is known for producing high-quality pet food products made with premium proteins, wholesome grains, and antioxidant nutrients. This brand offers several different lines of dry and wet food products, including a number of large-breed specific formulas. The AvoDerm Large Breed Adult Chicken Meal and Brown Rice formula is an excellent example of quality nutrition. This formula is made with chicken meal and ground whole brown rice as the top two ingredients, followed by oatmeal, salmon meal, and avocado. This recipe is specially designed to meet the nutritional needs of large-breed dogs like the Great Dane and it is supplemented with natural chondroitin and glucosamine. In addition to being made with top-quality ingredients, this AvoDerm formula is free from corn and wheat – it also doesn’t contain any artificial colors.
2. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Large Breed Adult
The Blue Buffalo company offers four different product lines – Basics, Freedom, Life Protection, and Wilderness. The Life Protection line of products is made with Blue’s LifeSource Bits which contain a proprietary blend of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to support whole-body nutrition. Included in the Life Protection line are several large breed-specific formulas, both for adult dogs and puppies. The Blue Buffalo Life Protection Large Breed Adult Chicken & Brown Rice recipe is one of these formulas. This recipe is made with deboned chicken and chicken meal as the top two ingredients followed by brown rice, barley and oatmeal. This formula is supplemented with glucosamine and chondroitin to support your Great Dane’s bones and joints – it also contains a blend of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for healthy skin and coat. Overall, this Blue Buffalo Life Protection Large Breed Adult Chicken & Brown Rice is a great source of nutrition for your large-breed dog.
3. Fromm Prairie Gold Large Breed Adult
Fromm Family Foods has been producing high-quality diets for cats and dogs since 1904. This company offers three different product lines – Four-Star, Gold, and Classic. The Gold line of dog food products was designed with a holistic approach to nutrition in mind and it is available in three different categories – Prairie Gold, Gold Coast, and Fromm Gold. The Fromm Prairie Gold Large Breed Adult formula is made with beef and pork meat meal as the top two ingredients followed by several gluten- and grain-free carbohydrates like lentils, chickpeas, and potatoes. This formula contains about 24% crude protein and 12% fat, designed specifically to meet the nutritional needs of large-breed dogs. It is also important to note that this Fromm Prairie Gold Large Breed Adult formula is supplemented with probiotics to support healthy digestion. Another great option is the Large Breed Adult Gold formula which is made with duck, chicken meal, and chicken as the top two ingredients, followed by oatmeal and pearled barley. Any of Fromm’s large breed-specific formulas would be a healthy and nutritious choice for your Great Dane.
The Great Dane is a wonderful breed known for its large size and friendly temperament. If you want to keep your Great Dane in good health for as long as possible, make sure to feed him a high-quality diet like one of the brands reviewed above.