Known for being gentle giants and guardians of the home, Great Danes are an excellent breed for the family.
They love to play and are great with kids, too.
It’s not a surprise that this breed is a very popular one.
However, there are questions you might have when first adopting a Great Dane puppy:
- How much should I be feeding my puppy?
- What mistakes should I avoid making while raising my puppy?
- Are there any other helpful tips I can use to help my Great Dane grow strong?
Let’s answer those questions so your new family member can grow up to be the strong and confident dog its breed represents!
How Much To Feed A Great Dane Puppy By Month
The most significant factor in feeding your puppy will be its age.
Once your Great Dane puppy reaches two months old, it will be ready for dry food.
It’ll start with a small amount per day, broken up over several meals each day.
That way, you aren’t overfeeding your puppy, and upsetting its stomach!
The amount you feed your Great Dane puppy will increase over the first year of their life until they reach about one year in age.
To summarize all that, here’s a handy table that breaks it all down:
The idea behind increasing the food over time is to make sure that you’re keeping up with your Dane’s growth as they get older.
Great Danes shoot up in height quickly, and they need a lot of food to grow!
However, make sure you break the food each day up into smaller meals. Great Danes have a notoriously picky stomach, and overfeeding can cause many digestive issues for a young pup.
Feeding Male vs. Female Puppies
The ranges listed for the amount of food each day account for the differences needed by males and females.
Male Great Danes will need more food in a day than female ones due to the larger size that they will reach as they grow up.
Ideally, you would feed a female Great Dane puppy a number of cups of food in a day closer to the bottom of the range and steadily increase that over time to the bottom of the next range on the table.
So, a female Great Dane would get two cups of food over three meals at two months old and then steadily go to three cups of food over three meals at three months old.
Males would receive something closer to the middle of the range for each age bracket, and steadily increase the amount to the middle of each bracket as they get older, like females.
How Do I Know If My Puppy Is Eating Enough?
There are a few ways to make sure your Great Dane is getting enough food in a day.
The first way is to check out their ribcage.
If you’re able to see only the last rib of the ribcage, then that means you’re feeding them the right amount of food!
Any more or fewer ribs than that mean that you are under or overfeeding them.
Just adjust the amount of food you’re giving them up per day up or down until you only see the last rib.
The other way to check if you’re feeding your Great Dane enough is to see if they are leaving any food behind at each meal.
If there is any food left in the bowl when your Dane walks away, that could be a sign that you’re feeding them too much for each meal and should cut back on the amount you feed them.
Ultimately, you’ll have to mind your Great Dane puppy’s eating habits and see what works for them.
You can also always check with your veterinarian if you think there are larger issues at play.
General Tips and Warnings
There’s more to feeding your Great Dane pup than just the amount of food, though.
Here are some other tips and warnings for you to consider for your pup’s meal times.
Choosing The Right Food
Having the right food for your Great Dane is important for their long-term health.
It doesn’t help that the dog food aisle has so many options, so here are some things to keep an eye out for when you shop for your Great Dane:
- Avoid Fillers: Like all dogs, Great Danes respond best to foods that have meats as their main ingredients. By choosing a food that avoids grain- or corn-based fillers and instead uses a mixture of meats, you can ensure your Great Dane gets the nutrients they need to grow up strong.
- Avoid Growth Formulas: Some breeds benefit from a growth formula, but not Great Danes. They will shoot up like a weed before long, as long as you feed them the right foods. This is because a growth formula, if not properly balanced, could cause your pup to develop a joint or bone disease. Rapid growth can cause the joints or bones to develop poorly.
- Choose Moderate Calories Foods: High calories foods will throw off the amount of food you should be feeding your Great Dane puppy, which could lead to bloat or weight gain. Look for foods that offer a moderate amount of calories per cup so that your puppy is eating the right volume of food!
- Look Into Probiotics: Probiotics can help with digestive or stomach issues if your Great Dane suffers from those. These good bacteria will help balance out your Great Dane’s gut and can be a good supplement or addition to your dog’s food.
- Watch the Calcium/Phosphorus Content: Much like humans, too many salts is a bad thing for your Great Dane. Look for a dog food that has less than 1.5% calcium, and a similar amount of phosphorus, so your Great Dane’s bones are well supported by their diet.
By keeping these in mind, you can choose a food that will best fit your puppy!
How Much Water Does My Puppy Need?
Great Dane puppies will generally look to drink about 1/2 cup of water every two hours.
So, you’ll want to keep enough water in their bowls to make sure your puppy doesn’t go thirsty for too long.
Water is super important for development in any growing body.
It’s used in all sorts of processes in the body and helps keep things moving in the digestive and cardiovascular systems.
Just like humans need to, keep your puppy hydrated.
How to Change Foods
If you found that you were feeding your Great Dane a nutritionally poor food and want to change things up, that’s good to do!
However, because Great Danes have sensitive stomachs, changing foods suddenly can have some upsetting effects on your puppy’s stomach.
The best way to avoid this issue is to do a gradual change over a few days.
Start your Great Dane off with 25% of their old food replaced by new food, and increase the amount of new food they get in a day by 25% until they’re on the new food entirely by day four.
This way, their body has a chance to adjust to the shift, hopefully without causing any problems.
Avoid Playing Around Meals
Although playtime is essential for Great Dane puppies, you don’t want to do so too close to mealtimes.
This is because Great Danes can experience a lot of bloat in their bellies after eating, and working them up before a meal can reduce appetite.
So, it’s recommended that you limit playtime around the hour before and after feeding your Great Dane puppy.
This way, you can avoid any problems that bloating can cause, such as pain or vomiting.
What To Do When Your Great Dane Puppy Is Skipping Meals
If your puppy is choosing not to eat, it could be for several reasons.
You could be feeding your puppy too much in a day or playing too aggressively before a meal.
They could also not be hungry when you feed them.
In either case, skipping a meal now and again won’t hurt your Great Dane in the long term.
Leave their food out for about 30 minutes to give your puppy a chance to eat at a later time.
If they eat the food, then great! If your puppy doesn’t eat it, take the food out of reach from your puppy and try to feed them again at their next mealtime.
If your puppy is skipping multiple meals in a row or not eating most of its food in a day, contact your veterinarian to see if there is a deeper medical cause at play.
If you stick with these feeding guides and tips, you’ll have a full-sized gentle giant of your own in no time!
Great Danes grow up fast and will be loyal and devoted to any owner or family that takes good care of them.
This is because, by sticking with this info, you’re helping your companion avoid issues with their growth by inducing their body’s natural growth stages, and reducing your dog’s chances of developing any developmental disorders.
Your Great Dane appreciates it, and so will you!