Choosing a Food for Your Great Dane

by Stacie Knudtsen and Kim Broenneke


When selecting food for your Dane, we suggest you look for the highest quality food, on which your dog thrives, that you can afford.

We recommend Danes under the age of 18 months be fed a food with 21-24% protein and 10-12% fat. Danes older than 18 months may need higher or lower levels of protein and fat, depending on their individual metabolism and how much exercise they get. A healthy Dane has firm stools, a shiny coat and ribs that are covered but can still be easily felt when running your hand over them.

As a guideline, good quality dog foods have:
• No corn or wheat
• No by-products
• No dairy
• No artificial colors or flavors
• No chemical preservatives added
• High quality meat meal (chicken, lamb, fish, duck....) derived from human-grade processing plants
• Nutrient dense with vitamins, minerals, fats and essential fatty acids
• Highly digestible and high energy, low fiber carbohydrates

Dane Outreach does not endorse any one brand of dog food or dog food company. There are many excellent foods available. Please take the time to do some research on several quality foods and pick the one that you feel your dog would do the best on. You might find it helpful to ask your Dane's breeder what food their lines do well on, as this may save you some time when picking the right food for your Dane.

An alternative to commercial dog food is a diet sometimes referred to as BARF (“Bones and Raw Food” or “Biological AppropriateRaw Food”). There are many benefits of raw with many believing it a sensible and healthy diet . The BARF diet takes a lot of study and understanding to properly implement. DO YOUR RESEARCH! Search the internet and read a couple of the books. But, be careful when doing your own research as  many sites and vets will say that feeding a raw meat diet is bad and dangerous. And we agree-- IF it is not done properly! However, the BARF diet is not just raw meat, but raw meat, raw bones (NEVER feed a dog cooked bones of any kind) and raw crushed vegetables. These things, together with some supplements, make up the foundation of the BARF diet.

When feeding a BARF diet, you must protect yourself, family and dog from infectious bacteria associated with raw meats and vegetables (just like you should be doing already in preparing your family meals).

Suggested reference material:

"The Ultimate Diet- Natural Nutrition for Dogs and Cats"
By Kymythy R Schultze, A.H.I.
(An easy to read and follow guide)

"Give Your Dog A Bone"
By Dr. Ian Billinghurst
(Billinghurst is the "father" of BARF)