Great Danes, like many giant breeds, are subject to some special health problems. This means that you need to be careful when choosing the best dog food for your Great Dane. Great Danes often have problems with growing too rapidly, especially if they are fed a food that is too high in protein or given too much calcium. Joint and limb troubles are common. While it’s always important to feed a good quality dog food with quality ingredients, in the case of Great Danes and other giant breeds, you need to look for foods that are made with the special needs of these dogs in mind.
Great Dane health issues
Great Danes and other giant breeds often have bone disease associated with taking in too much calcium. Because these dogs are so big and they grow so fast, owners sometimes think they need to give them extra supplements, including calcium. Or they feed them puppy food that is high in calcium. The truth is that too much calcium causes bone problems in Great Danes.
The same is true with protein. Growing dogs usually need protein for growth, but if you feed Great Danes and other giant breeds too much protein, it can lead to lameness and other serious health problems such as Panosteitis (Pano), Osteochondritis Dessicans (OCD), and Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy (HOD), which all affect the dog’s bones. These problems are caused by feeding the dog too much protein or by feeding poor quality protein and fat, or feeding protein and fat in an unbalanced ratio.
Great Danes are one of the breeds that are susceptible to bloat, or gastric dilatation and volvulus (GDV) so it’s important that the food you choose for your dog be highly digestible. Good quality protein is more digestible than protein from poorer sources. It will also help if you feed your Great Dane several small meals per day instead of one large meal.
Avoid feeding Great Dane puppies puppy food. These foods contain too much protein and too much calcium for giant breeds like the Great Dane. Feed puppies an adult food so they will grow more slowly and avoid joint and bone disease.
What to look for in a food
Choose a good quality food for your Great Dane that contains 22 to 25 percent protein and 15 to 19 percent fat. Make sure that the protein is of good quality by choosing a food that guarantees the sources of its meat protein so you know where the food comes from. The protein should be from named meat sources such as beef, chicken, lamb, or fish. Resist the urge to buy foods that have higher amounts of protein. And avoid foods that use corn as a protein source. Corn does not supply the high quality protein your Great Dane needs.
Otherwise, look for the features that indicate a good quality food: avoid foods that have artificial preservatives such as BHA and BHT and ethoxyquin. Choose foods with a natural preservative such as vitamin E instead. Avoid foods that use artificial flavorings, artificial colors, and artificial sweeteners. Look for foods that add taurine to the ingredients as taurine is beneficial to your dog’s heart.
The best food for your Great Dane
Because of the Great Dane’s special nutritional requirements, you may need to buy a food that is made specifically for large or giant breed dogs. But you can also find good foods made by these companies:
- Back To Basics
- Eagle Pack Natural Dog Food
- Innova and California Natural
- Pinnacle Dog Food (Breeder’s Choice)
- PHD (Perfect Health Diet)
- Sojourner Farms
Great Danes and many giant breed dogs are prone to joint and bone problems because of their rapid growth. It’s important for you to feed your dog a high quality dog food with good protein. However, you should not feed food that has a high percentage of protein or feed too much calcium as too much of these ingredients will cause your Great Dane to grow too rapidly. Do not add any supplements to your Great Dane’s diet. Feed puppies an adult dog food.