Feeding Great Danes

Choosing a Quality Kibble

We have seen many positive benefits from feeding raw and feel it is the healthiest way to feed. However, we realize that raw diets are not for everyone, so have included this page about kibble.

Dane puppies should not be fed puppy food. The high calories and protein levels of puppy food encourage rapid growth spurts, which is linked to growth related problems (i.e. Pano, HOD) in giant breeds.

In general, when feeding kibble, pay attention to the protein level for still-growing Danes. The recommended guideline is 21-24%. Do not go above that guideline when feeding a giant breed puppy. Notice that even some foods marketed as giant or large breed exceed that limit, so they are to be avoided.

Calcium supplements are a no-no. The supplementation causes a calcium/phosphorus upset, which is can lead to skeletal issues.

Choose a quality diet, don't look for bargain foods as your vet bills will likely make up the difference. Here are some food choices to consider:
Back to Basics
Innova / Cal Natural
Flint River Ranch
Natural Balance
Timberwolf Organics

For additional ideas on quality kibbles, visit Linda Arndt's List of Better Foods.
Her website also has information on dealing with growth related issues.

There seem to be many misconceptions about what makes a quality kibble. A good rule of thumb - if you can pick it up at Wal-Mart or your local grocery store, it probably isn't all that great.

While I am not advising to disregard a vet's advice, it seems many vets are unaware of a giant breed puppy's nutritional needs. Some vets also tend to push the foods they sell in their office, most of which leave a lot to be desired.

Some general feeding tips:

  • I recommend scheduled feeding as opposed to free feeding. Makes house training easier and tends to help with weight issues (both too thin & too heavy). Most giant breed owners feed two meals a day.
  • Whenever switching foods, do it gradually, by mixing the old and new foods together, increasing the new food a little each meal. This helps avoid loose stools.
  • Feed out of clean, stainless steal bowls. Plastic bowls harbor bacteria and can cause issues, like canine acne.
  • Many giant breed owners feed out of elevated bowls. The raised bowls are merely for the dog's comfort, it neither prevents or causes bloat.
  • There are various supplements that are good to use. For general use, Vitamins C & E and Glucosamine. These are not canine specific, so you can pick them up anywhere. For Vit C, start out slowly and work up to desired amount to build bowel tolerance (can cause loose stools when starting on Vit C).
  • Do not fall into the trap of trying to encourage your puppy to eat. I've been there, done that - you'll create a picky eater before you know it. If your dog refuses a meal, pick it up until the following meal. Do not resort to hand feeding or adding tasty items, unless you want to commit to always doing it!
    Help for an under eater:
    cut back on the amount offered until they can clean their bowl and then gradually increase back up to the desired amount.
  • Dane puppies tend to be lean while growing up.
  • After maturity, don't allow your Dane to become over weight. Spaying/neutering doesn't cause a dog to become over weight - over feeding and not enough exercise does! Many people seem to believe that if a dog's fat doesn't jiggle, the dog isn't fat - not true. Ideal body condition chart

Central Iowa residents, check out the Iowa Pet Foods store on 22nd Street in West Des Moines. They carry only premium quality foods, so most any food choice from there is a good one. I've also had good experiences with their staff, who have always been knowledgeable and friendly.

See our page about how we feed and raw diets

Foto Danes
Joe & Bev Klingensmith
Newton, Iowa 50208

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