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Feeding Your Great Dane

When it comes to feeding your Great Dane, and the Great Dane’s nutritional needs it’s important that you seek quality food. However, we also want to strongly encourage you to listen to your dog and what their body is telling you.

There is so much controversy over food these days so we figured we could share our thoughts!

Dry Dog Foods (kibble) for your Great Dane

Since part of our mission as a rescue is to bring the Danes that come to us back to good health probably the most crucial aspect of this will be what we feed them. For those of you who do not feed raw, our first choice, here is a list of good quality dog foods that work well for our fosters, volunteers, and other dane owners.

  • Diamond Naturals
  • Fromm Family Foods
  • Holistic Select
  • Merrick Pet care
  • Nutrisource
  • Solid Gold (Diamond Pet Products)
  • Victor

Raw Feeding Your Great Dane

There are hundreds of websites devoted to raw feeding for dogs and cats. Some of them disagree with each other but they all have bits of “truth” in them. It is up to you to decide what and how you will raw feed their Dane.

There are many Facebook Groups and other resources to help ensure that when feeding raw, you still give your Great Dane a balanced diet.

Woody’s Pet Deli, Rah Raw, and Raws for Paws are all great resources within the twin cities that can help you make the transition from kibble to raw!

While raw is extremely beneficial for Great Danes, it’s not for everyone.

raw fed Great Dane
Raw fed boy, Curtis

Raw Feeding Recommendations

Feed your Dane raw meaty bones. This means RAW uncooked, not smashed or splintered, whole bones. We often feed ground meat and bones, which is fine. We do not feed weigh bearing bones such as chicken drumsticks whole. The bones in the weight bearing area of an animal are “hollow” and will splinter, causing possible problems for the dog. These bones are best fed ground.


To maintain good health feed a variety of meats and fish. This includes everything from beef to buffalo, chicken to caribou. You are feeding raw to provide your Dane optimum health. This means you want to feed meat that is hormone and antibiotic free, free range if possible and from a known source. If purchasing meat in bulk buy from a facility that has a USDA inspector in the plant and meat that is human quality.

Fish are wonderful for your Dog. However, do not feed Pacific Salmon, Sea Trout etc. as they carry a parasite deadly to your Dane. If you must feed these be sure the meat has been frozen for several days and then cooked. If you are feeding fresh caught fish be sure they are parasite free.

Fruits and Vegetables

Fruit and vegetables can be fed also, although the Dane doesn’t need them. An easy way to prepare them is put leftovers or fruits just starting to go bad into a plastic bag with some water and place in the freezer. Add to it until you are ready to feed it. Simply remove it from the freezer, let it thaw, mush it up inside the bag and serve. Danes cannot break down the cellulose in plants; by freezing and mushing you are doing this for them. Or you can run the food through a food processor. There is a long list of fruits, seeds and vegetables that are toxic to animals and cannot be fed and you can find the lists on the internet.


Organ meat needs to be a part of the diet. It can be the organs from most species. Liver is important and should be your main organ meat. Heart is not an organ meat, it is a muscle.

How Much Do I Feed?

How much to feed depends on the dog. You want to feed approximately 3% of the healthy weight of the dog. Puppies are fed 10% of their weight, so the amount increases as their weight increases. If the dog is underweight, increase the food. If overweight, decrease the food. An adult should have the ribs visible just below the skin.


Many people suggest that if a dog is getting proper nutrition then supplements are not needed. However, all dogs are different and at different stages of their life might need a little boost.

Glucosamine, MSM, Chondroitin, Lipped Green Mussel, help older dogs with arthritis.

Eggs, fish oils and other supplements can also be beneficial for skin and coat.

I always recommend looking at natural food stores, or a local Chuck N Don’s to see what options they might have as I am always satisfied with what I find on their shelves!

Feel free to share with other Great Dane Lovers!