The great Dane is a giant dog breed and is one of the largest breeds, being second only to the Irish wolfhound. The diet of the great Dane should be well-balanced and you should opt for quality foods for this fast growing breed. Pay special attention to the feeding schedule and food amounts during the first six months of the puppy's life.
Factors Influencing Food Requirements
Great Danes have various food requirements according to their age, gender and amount of exercise they get. Hormonal changes or diseases may also affect the dog's appetite, so keep an eye on your pet's eating habits and contact your veterinarian if you notice sudden changes and other symptoms such as lethargy, vomiting or diarrhea.
Feeding Schedule and Amounts for a Puppy
Quality nutrition is essential for steady growth. Great Dane puppies grow in height until the age of 12 to 18 months. During puppyhood, you need to change the feeding schedule and amounts almost on a monthly basis. During the first 6 months of life, feed the puppy three times per day. When your puppy is 2 months old, feed it 2 to 4 cups of food per day and increase this amount by 1 cup every month until the puppy is 6 months old and eats between 6 and 8 cups per day. Maintain this amount for the following months until the puppy is 9 months old. By the time the puppy is 6 to 9 months old, reduce the number of meals to two per day. Feed the last meal approximately two hours prior to bedtime. Increase the puppy's food intake to 7 to 10 cups per day starting from his ninth month of life and maintain this amount until the puppy is 1 year old.
Feeding and Amounts for Adults
Adult great Danes should be fed twice per day according to the American Kernel Club. Male adults can get between 8 and 14 cups of food per day, while female great Danes should get between 6 and 9 cups of food per day. If your dog is highly energetic and gets a lot of exercise, you may increase the food intake.
Essential Feeding Points
Don't feed puppy food or growth formula to your great Dane puppy to avoid accelerated growth and possible joint and bone problems. The dog should get food that contains up to 25 percent protein and between 12 and 20 percent fat.
You shouldn't free-feed great Danes, and avoid giving your dog table scraps. Your dog should get only two or three meals per day, according to his age.
Great Danes are prone to bloating, so avoid soaking the kibble.
Allow your dog to rest up to 90 minutes after each meal and don't rush him to play.
Consider elevated feeders or place the food bowl on a kitchen chair for the comfort of your dog and to prevent digestive problems.
By Nora Zavalczki
About the Author
Based in Toronto, Nora Zavalczki is a freelance writer who has been writing since 2007 on a variety of topics including languages, pet training and health, plastic surgery, fitness, travel and arts and crafts. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and has been published both on and offline in such sources as the International Educator, Learn Faster and Triple1.