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11 Best Dog Foods for Great Dane Puppies – 2024 Reviews & Top Picks

Chelsea Mortensen Profile Picture

By Chelsea Mortensen

Great Dane puppy eating food from his bowl

Whether your puppy is still tiny or you can’t believe it’s still growing, your Great Dane puppy needs a lot of nutritional support. Giant breeds like Great Danes need specific nutrients to help them develop properly. Their long bones and large bodies need extra support, so choosing the right food is even more important than it is with your standard dog.

These 11 options give you a good starting point, with foods for every price point and preference.

 

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A Quick Look at Our Favorites (2024)

Rating Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
The Farmer's Dog Chicken Recipe The Farmer's Dog Chicken Recipe
  • Formulated by veterinary nutritionists
  • Delivered personalized and pre-portioned for your puppy
  • Balanced nutrition designed for all life stages
  • Budget Buy
    Second place
    Iams ProActive Health Smart Puppy Iams ProActive Health Smart Puppy
  • Real chicken as first ingredient
  • Healthy whole grains
  • Includes DHA
  • Third place
    Nulo Freestyle Large Breed Puppy Nulo Freestyle Large Breed Puppy
  • Ultra high protein content
  • Novel protein sources
  • Contains probiotics
  • Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula
  • Healthy chicken and grains
  • Great protein/fat content
  • Contains DHA, RHA, and omega acids
  • Royal Canin Giant Puppy Dry Dog Food Royal Canin Giant Puppy Dry Dog Food
  • Nutrition backed by strong research
  • High protein, low fat
  • Formulated for giant breeds
  • The 11 Best Foods for Great Dane Puppies

    1. The Farmer’s Dog Chicken Recipe – Best Overall

    The Farmer's Dog Fresh Dog Food Subscription

    Great Danes are incredibly large dogs, needing premium food that will support healthy growth and development while keeping them as happy and healthy as possible—that’s why The Farmer’s Dog comes in as our best overall pick for food for Great Dane puppies with their chicken recipe.

    The Farmer’s Dog is a very convenient subscription service that delivers pre-portioned fresh food right to your door with your dog’s name on it. It’s not unusual for owners to be hesitant with subscription services but this company has excellent customer service, and you can cancel at any time if it doesn’t work out.

    What we love the most about The Farmer’s Dog is that it is top-quality. This food is crafted by a team of veterinary nutritionists and comes personalized for your pup, so you don’t even have to worry about how much you need to feed your growing puppy.

    The chicken recipe has the highest protein content in their product lines and also features nutrient-rich vegetables like Brussels sprouts, Bok choy, and broccoli. There is also added fish oil for skin and coat health and a nutritious blend of vitamins and chelated minerals for optimal absorption.

    All of The Farmer’s Dog recipes are formulated to meet the AAFCO nutrient guidelines for all life stages, making it something you can feed your dog throughout its life. The only downsides are that fresh foods come with a higher price tag than your typical kibble and canned foods and they do require storage space in your refrigerator and freezer.

    Pros
    • Formulated by veterinary nutritionists
    • Delivered personalized and pre-portioned for your puppy
    • Balanced nutrition designed for all life stages
    • Fresh chicken is the primary ingredient
    • The chicken recipe offers the highest protein content
    • Added fish oil for optimal skin and coat health
    • Healthy blend of vitamins and minerals
    Cons
    • Pricey
    • Requires storage space in refrigerator/freezer

    2. Iams Puppy Large Breed Dry Dog Food – Budget Buy

    Iams Proactive Health Large Breed Puppy with Real Chicken Dry Dog Food

    Main ingredients: Chicken, ground whole grain corn, chicken by-product meal, ground whole grain sorghum
    Protein content: 27%
    Fat content: 14%
    Calories (kcal/cup): 373

    With the amount of food that growing Great Dane puppies eat, it’s important to make your dollar last as long as possible. Iams ProActive Health Smart Puppy Large Breed food gives you the most bang for your buck with high-quality food for a much lower price than its competitors. It is formulated for large breeds with 27% protein and 14% fat and chicken as its first ingredient. It also contains healthy whole-grain corn and sorghum. It gives your pup 22 key nutrients, including DHA, for a smarter pup.

    This lower price does come with a few drawbacks, though. Some of the protein comes from corn gluten meal, a plant-based protein that’s generally thought to be less digestible than meat proteins. It also contains some by-product meat, which is lower quality than standard chicken.

    Pros
    • Real chicken is the first ingredient
    • Healthy whole grains
    • Includes DHA
    • Low price
    Cons
    • Contains chicken by-products
    • Contains corn gluten meal

    3. Nulo Freestyle Large Breed Dry Puppy Food

    Nulo Freestyle Salmon & Turkey Recipe Large Breed Puppy Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

    Main ingredients: Deboned salmon, turkey meal, red lentils, chickpeas, salmon meal
    Protein content: 32%
    Fat content: 14%
    Calories (kcal/cup): 404

    Nulo Freestyle Salmon & Turkey Recipe Large Breed Puppy Food is made with only the best ingredients. It’s a great option for dogs with chicken intolerances and allergies since it uses deboned salmon and turkey meals as its main protein sources. Salmon is a major source of omega fatty acids and DHA. This is a grain-free recipe using lentils and chickpeas as its main ingredients, which isn’t ideal for all dogs. Some studies have shown that these ingredients can bring certain health risks.

    This food does have probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria for digestive health, as well as lots of fruits and vegetables.

    Pros
    • Ultra-high protein content
    • Novel protein sources
    • Contains probiotics
    • Fatty acids and DHA
    Cons
    • Grain-free
    • Contains lentils
    • Expensive

    4. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Large Breed Puppy Food

    Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Large Breed Puppy Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food

    Main ingredients: Deboned chicken, chicken meal, brown rice, oatmeal, barley
    Protein content: 26%
    Fat content: 15%
    Calories (kcal/cup): 386

    When it comes to feeding a growing large dog, you want all the best nutrition for steady growth. We picked Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Large Breed Puppy food as another good option because it has great nutrition and standout ingredients. Its main food ingredients are real chicken and healthy whole grains such as rice, oatmeal, and barley. They give us a solid base of 26% crude protein and 15% crude fat, which is great for large pups.

    It also contains loads of nutrients to help your puppy grow. DHA and ARA help your pup’s brain and eyes develop, while omega fatty acids give a host of skin, coat, and immune system benefits. All of its minerals are chelated, which helps your pup absorb them more easily. The omega fatty acids come in part from unspecified fish meal, which isn’t our favorite—we’d rather see a specific species listed. We also don’t like the use of pea protein, but it is far enough down the list that it isn’t the main protein source.

    Pros
    • Healthy chicken and grains
    • Great protein/fat content
    • Contains DHA, RHA, and omega acids
    • Chelated minerals
    Cons
    • Contains some plant proteins
    • Contains unspecified fish meal

    5. Royal Canin Giant Puppy Dry Food

    Royal Canin Size Health Nutrition Giant Puppy Dry Dog Food

    Main ingredients: Chicken by-product meal, brewers rice, wheat gluten, brewers rice flour, corn, corn gluten meal
    Protein content: 32.0% min
    Fat content: 12.0% min
    Calories (kcal/cup): 341

    Great Danes aren’t just large, they’re giant, and Royal Canin Giant Puppy dry food recognizes that. Royal Canin has a strong research team working to test all of their dog foods, including this one, making sure that it’s perfectly balanced for your pup’s needs. This food is also highly digestible, making it perfect for pups with sensitive stomachs. With 32% protein and 12% fat, it has a very high protein-fat ratio, which is ideal for steady growth.

    We love lots of things about Royal Canin, but we don’t like that their main meat protein is chicken by-product meal. By-products are lower-quality meat sources left over from the high-quality stuff—the equivalent of a hot dog. For the price, we’d expect higher-quality meat. We also don’t love the added plant protein gluten meals.

    Pros
    • Nutrition backed by strong research
    • High protein, low fat
    • Formulated for giant breeds
    • Highly digestible
    Cons
    • Contains by-products
    • Contains vegetable proteins
    • Expensive

    6. Diamond Naturals Large Breed Puppy Dry Food

    Diamond Naturals Large Breed Puppy Formula Dry Dog Food

    Main ingredients: Lamb, lamb meal, whole grain brown rice, cracked pearled barley
    Protein content: 27%
    Fat content: 15%
    Calories (kcal/cup): 414

    If chicken isn’t your puppy’s favorite (or even if you just want to try something different) we recommend Diamond Naturals Large Breed Puppy Formula. With lamb and lamb meal as the first two ingredients, followed by whole grain rice, barley, and sorghum, this food is built on a base of great ingredients. It doesn’t contain any by-products or major sources of plant protein, and it’s full of healthy fruits and vegetables like pumpkin, blueberries, kelp, and spinach. It also contains probiotics that support gut health.

    Although we love this food’s nutrition, it does have a stronger smell than some dry foods, which turns some people off.

    Pros
    • Chicken allergen free
    • Healthy whole grains
    • Contains probiotics
    • Healthy fruits and veggies
    Cons
    • Strong smell

    7. Nutro Natural Choice Large Breed Puppy Dry Dog Food

    Nutro Natural Choice Large Breed Puppy Lamb & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food

    Main ingredients: Deboned lamb, chicken meal, brewers rice, split peas, rice bran
    Protein content: 26%
    Fat content: 14%
    Calories (kcal/cup): 326

    Nutro Natural Choice Large Breed Puppy Lamb and Brown Rice food is a good choice for growing puppies. Unlike many other puppy foods, this one is formulated for puppies up to 18 months old, which is nice with slow-growing breeds like Great Danes. Lamb is a delicious protein source that can add some variety to a puppy’s diet, although this food does contain chicken as well so it isn’t ideal for pups with allergies. It has ideal protein and levels of 26% and 14%, and most of that protein is from meat sources, with a little bit of potato protein thrown in.

    It does have some split peas, which have been linked to health problems, but it is still a balanced and healthy choice.

    Pros
    • Healthy joint support
    • Non-GMO
    • For puppies up to 18 months
    Cons
    • Some plant protein
    • Contains split peas
    • Contains chicken (possible allergen)

    8. Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Large Breed Dry Food

    Hill's Science Diet Dry Dog Food Puppy Large Breeds

    Main ingredients: Chicken meal, whole grain wheat, whole grain oats, whole grain sorghum, corn gluten meal
    Protein content: 24%
    Fat content: 11%
    Calories (kcal/cup): 394

    Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Large Breed food is a choice based on research. Hill’s Science Diet employs over 200 vets and researchers to develop and test their foods, and they’re an industry leader in nutrition. This food starts with a chicken meal, a concentrated chicken product high in protein and perfect for growing pups. It is developed to give support to strong muscles, joints, and the immune system, with healthy whole grains. It is a little lower in protein and contains some plant proteins, however.

    Pros
    • Research-supported
    • Natural, high-quality ingredients
    • Healthy whole grains
    Cons
    • Low in protein
    • Contains some plant protein

    9. Purina Pro Plan High Protein Large Breed Dry Puppy Food

    Purina Pro Plan High Protein Chicken & Rice Formula Large Breed Dry Puppy Food

    Main ingredients: Chicken, rice, corn gluten meal, whole grain corn, poultry by-product meal
    Protein content: 28%
    Fat content: 13%
    Calories (kcal/cup): 419

    Purina Pro Plan Large Breed Puppy Dry food is packed with protein and nutrients to help your pup grow. With glucosamine, fatty acids, and added probiotics, this food has lots of great nutrients. It is designed to protect joint health—vital for large, heavy dogs like Great Danes. It’s also quite reasonably priced compared to many foods on this list. Healthy whole grains round out the nutrition.

    This food does contain corn gluten meal and meat by-product meals in its top ingredients, neither of which we love. Some ingredients are also vague, using terms like “poultry” and “fish” rather than specific ingredients.

    Pros
    • High in protein
    • Contains probiotics
    • Supports joint health
    Cons
    • Contains meat by-products
    • Unspecified poultry and fish meal
    • Plant protein sources

    10. Eukanuba Puppy Large Breed Dry Dog Food

    Eukanuba Adult Large Breed Dry Dog Food

    Main ingredients: Chicken, chicken by-product meal, corn, wheat, chicken fat
    Protein content: 26%
    Fat content: 14%
    Calories (kcal/cup): 357

    Eukanuba Puppy Large Breed Food is designed to fuel growing puppies with DHA, antioxidants, and other nutrients. It is full of natural fiber and prebiotics that help with digestive issues, and it scores lots of positive reviews. Many reviewers say that otherwise picky puppies love this food. It is high in protein at 26% and has a balanced amount of fat.

    It is on the pricier side of pet foods, and with that in mind, we don’t love some of the ingredients used, especially the chicken by-product meal. A few reviewers also noted that the kibble was on the large side for puppy food, making it difficult for puppies who are just transitioning to solid food to eat it.

    Pros
    • Contains natural fiber and prebiotics
    • Contains DHA, antioxidants, and other nutrients
    • Many picky dogs love it
    Cons
    • A little pricey for the product
    • Contains by-products
    • Large kibble

    11. Purina ONE +Plus Large Breed Formula Dry Puppy Food

    Purina ONE +Plus Natural Large Breed Formula Dry Puppy Food New

    Main ingredients: Chicken, rice flour, soybean meal, corn gluten meal, chicken by-product meal
    Protein content: 28%
    Fat content: 13%
    Calories (kcal/cup): 361

    Purina One Plus Large Breed Formula Puppy Food is a lower-cost alternative that doesn’t skimp on protein or vitamins. With DHA, glucosamine, and lots of other vitamins and minerals, plus a 28% protein content, it’s got everything your puppy needs to grow. It also has a unique texture that many dogs love.

    However, we don’t wholeheartedly recommend this product because it’s also full of by-products and plant proteins. Soybean meal and corn gluten meal are both cheap protein sources that dogs can’t digest as well as animal proteins, making them a less desirable choice.

    Pros
    • Contains DHA and glucosamine
    • Tempting texture
    • Lots of good vitamins and minerals
    • Low price
    Cons
    • Contains by-products
    • Contains plant proteins
    • Some consistency issues

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    Buyer’s Guide: How to Pick the Best Dog Food for Great Dane Puppies

    Why Puppy Food?

    Your dog should be getting puppy food during the first months of his life. Some experts recommend puppy food for the first year of life, while others recommend it until your dog stops growing completely. For Great Danes, that could take several years. We recommend that you stay on puppy food for at least a year and a half.

    Puppy food has a few differences from adult food. For one thing, it’s higher in protein and fat. It also has some nutrients that are slightly different, like DHA for example. DHA is found in a mother’s milk and helps puppies develop healthy brains and eyes. Puppy food might also be easier to digest and have smaller kibble bits to make it easy to eat.

    Large Breed Foods

    Even among puppies, there are nutritional differences. That’s why we recommend buying a large breed of puppy food. These generally have higher protein and lower fat content than standard puppy food. We recommend looking for a puppy food of at least 25% crude protein and 10–18% fat if you’re looking at dry puppy food. This will help give your puppy slow, steady growth. Since obesity isn’t as much of a concern with growing puppies, don’t limit calories unless your vet tells you otherwise.

    Large breeds also need extra bone, joint, and muscle strength. This means that large-breed foods have a different calcium/phosphorus balance than standard dog foods. They also usually contain glucosamine and other joint-boosting nutrients.

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    Final Verdict

    As you can see, there are tons of amazing foods out there for your Great Dane puppy. Our best overall pick is The Farmer’s Dog’s Chicken Recipe, which gives great nutrition and high-quality ingredients. If you’re on a budget, our value option is Iams ProActive Health Smart Puppy Large Breed. Nulo Freestyle Salmon and Turkey recipe is our premium pick, with top-notch ingredients and tons of protein. And if you are seeking another great choice of dog food, try this Royal Canin Giant Puppy Dry Dog Food—a research-backed food that will help your puppy grow.


    Featured Image Credit: PxHere

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