Big Dog Equals a Big Appetite: How Much Food Does a Great Dane Eat?

🔄 Updated on November 17th, 2022

great-dane-dog-waiting-for-some-food

Great Danes have the correct name because they are great dogs. They are beloved in pop culture with characters like Scooby-Doo and Marmaduke. These gentle giants are some of the best-natured dogs you can own, and oh boy, do they like to eat. 

Owners of these dogs have to handle unique concerns due to their size and strength. Luckily these lovable lummoxes tend to be agreeable and work with you on most things. Getting them on a proper diet and eating schedule is essential to keeping them healthy and happy.  

How much food does a Great Dane eat? Let’s find out!

Importance of a Proper Diet for Your Dog

Great Danes can eat. You want to keep these gentle giants well fed so that they will stay active and play with you and your family. You may find yourself asking what to feed a Great Dane to keep them fit. 

On average, an adult Great Dane eats between six to twelve cups of food a day, so you want to make sure they are getting plenty of grub.  

They need a diet that is high in protein to help them maintain their healthy size and muscles. It also has to have enough fat to give your dog the energy they need. 

Vitamins and minerals are essential to keep your dog healthy as well, and their diet should provide all these naturally if possible.  

A good diet for your Great Dane also has to include plenty of water. These big four-legged friends need to drink a lot to stay fully hydrated. 

Creating A Consistent Feeding Schedule

A feeding schedule for your dog can help your dog in many ways. When they are younger, a plan helps potty train them because you will know when they eat, and then you can direct their behavior about 20 minutes after that time until they learn. 

Later in life, a feeding schedule can give your dog a sense of security whenever there are changes, like new dog foods, new homes, or new people, like babies. A schedule is also a great way to notice changes in your dog’s eating habits that can signal health problems.

A feeding schedule will help your dog not eat too much food in one sitting. Overeating can cause your dog stomach and bloating issues that can adversely affect their health. 

A good feeding schedule for your dog is easy to achieve. Feed your dog two meals a day about 12 hours apart, or feed them three times a day if you have that option. 

Feeding Your Adult Great Dane

Active adult Great Danes can eat over 2,500 calories a day. That means that they have to get a massive amount of nutrient-rich food every day. On top of their caloric needs, a Great Dane also has to get the right amount of vitamins and minerals to stay healthy.  

To ensure the right mix of nutrients, you will want to look for dog foods made for big dogs. Many brands have extra-large breed dog options for their food that make sure they focus on Great Danes and other giant dogs’ unique needs. 

Getting your dog a lifted feeder may also help them eat better. However, exercise caution with these bowls because studies conflict on how to use them right.

All these recommendations are for full-size adult Great Danes. Puppies have different needs and concerns and they also need special dog food for puppies.

We Recommend
Royal Canin for Puppies

Royal Canin's large-breed puppy food supports the immune system and digestive health and provides energy for puppies up to 15 months old. 

Our Rating:
4.8
CLICK FOR BEST PRICE
We may earn a small commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Once you start doing your online research, we recommend going with well-established brands that offer premium food so your pup can meet all the essential nutrition needs.

How Much Does a Great Dane Eat Per Day?

Depending on the dog’s size and sex, they can eat between six to twelve cups of food a day. The more active the dog, the more it will be able to eat. On top of this regular food, you will likely give your dog treats throughout the day. 

Remember to practice moderation on treats. Your dog might love them, but they are often empty calories, and just like with people, if your pet overindulges in junk food, they may not eat their real food. 

How Much Does it Cost to Feed a Great Dane?

Great Danes aren’t cheap dogs. Your dog could be going through a 30-pound bag of dog food in less than two weeks. You should budget $70-$100 of food for your four-legged companion. Particularly active dogs may even eat more than that. 

Though there may be some cheaper food options out there, often those don’t provide the dog with the right mix of nutrients. Going too cheap on your dog’s food can eventually lead to harm that might make them sick and cause them problems later in life. 

Dietary Considerations for a Great Dane

When you are picking out food for your massive dog, you want to make sure that it meets all the requirements they need. You want a high enough protein and fat content to keep them healthy. The food should be 375 to 450 calories per cup to give your dog enough energy.

You should look for a protein content near 23% to 30% and a fat content around 14%. Big dogs also need to get plenty of vitamins and minerals. Nutrient-dense options will keep your dog healthy and at the proper weight.  

Great Dane Feeding Chart 

The Great Dane food chart considers your dog’s current weight and how active they are daily. If your dog is going on walks, running around, and playing all the time, they are probably high activity. If your dog isn’t getting much exercise, they are likely normal. 

If you’re not sure, you can monitor your dog’s weight to get enough food for their activity level. If your dog starts to show any signs of problems, consult your vet to get a better idea of how much you should be feeding them.

Weight of Dog lbs/kgsNormal Activity food weight in Cups (g)High Activity in Cups (g)
110lbs / 50kg7 (634g)8 ⅜ (765g)
121lbs / 55kg7 ½ (681g)9 (822g)
132lbs / 60kg8 (727g)9 ⅝  (877g)
143lbs / 65kg8 ½  (772g)10 ¼  (931g)
154lbs / 70kg9 (816g)10 ¾ (985g)
165lbs / 75kg9 ⅜ (859g)11 ⅜ (1037g)
176lbs / 80kg9 ⅞ (902g)11 ⅞ (1088g)

These are just guidelines. Every dog will be a little different so keep an eye on your dog significantly when you change the food. If you notice a significant change in their eating habits, you will want to contact your vet. 

Tips to Choose Great Dane Dog Food

When you start looking for Great Dane dog food, there are a few things you will want to consider. Not all dog foods are the same, so read the labels and find the options that will help your big dog the most.  

Get a Big Dog Food

Big dogs have special requirements, and dog food companies realize that. You can find many different brands and foods dedicated to the large and extra-large dog category. Even if the bag says large dog food, you will want to check and make sure it offers the right things for your doggy. 

Protein Sources in the First Three Ingredients 

Look for food options that offer protein sources in the first three ingredients. Meats are still the best way for your dog to get protein, and so you want to make sure that these foods offer plenty of meat. 

Stay Away from Bloat Sources

Bloating is a major health problem for large dogs. It can cause them a lot of issues. A feeding schedule can help dogs avoid this problem. The right foods can also contribute to keeping a dog bloat-free. 

Look for foods that are grain-free or have lower grain content. Your dog will digest these better and have more minor gas issues. 

Get the Right Vitamins and Minerals 

Whenever dogs aren’t getting the proper nutrients, there is a better chance that they will overeat and constantly be hungry. You want to make sure that your dog food has plenty of everything your dog needs. 

For big dogs, joint issues are a huge concern. Finding food with Glucosamine, Chondroitin, Omega 3, and Omega 6 that all focus on joint health can be essential. 

Tips for Feeding Great Danes

Great Dane nutrition can be a tricky thing. They usually have no problem eating, but your biggest job will be making sure they eat the right stuff. There are a few tips and tricks you can use to make sure your big buddy stays healthy. 

Don’t Free Feed 

Some dogs can graze their food and eat their fill. Great Danes aren’t one of them. When they have food in front of them, they will eat it and keep eating it. Many in this breed will continue to eat even when they’re full. 

Avoid Too Many Treats 

It is easy to fall into the trap of giving too many treats. Your dog gets so excited every time that bag rustles, and you love seeing how happy they get. Keep treats in moderation to make sure your four-legged friend eats enough of their real food to stay in shape. 

Keep the Schedule 

Find a schedule that works right for you, and then do what you have to so that you can maintain that schedule. Significant changes to your dog’s feeding schedule can cause distress and anxiety. If you have to move it, try to move it slowly so your dog can adjust. 

Types of Food for Your Great Dane

What do Great Danes eat? The more straightforward question may be, what don’t they eat? There are a lot of food options out there for Great Dane feeding. Beyond just dry food, you can look at wet choices, and there is always natural food. 

If you decide to start using these other food sources for your dog, you may have to adjust how much dry food you give them. Even if you change the type of food, you want to make sure that your dog is still getting the right mix of protein and fat. 

You also want to check that they get all the right minerals and nutrients. Keeping track of all this can be very hard if you are feeding them from multiple sources. You may want to get a journal or an app to track their consumption if you decide to use numerous food types consistently.  

Common Great Dane Food Problems

Great Danes are lovely eaters, but even they can have some food issues. Handling these problems properly will help keep your dog happy. 

Looks for More Food 

If you are using the right Great Dane food amount, this shouldn’t worry you too much. However, if it seems to be making your dog miserable, you may want to increase their food amount, at least for their activity level. 

Dog Seems Uninterested in Their Food 

Not eating their food at all or leaving a lot of food can be a problem. They may not like their current food, so you may want to try something else. 

If they aren’t eating and seem sluggish, you may want to contact your vet and get expert opinions.

Eating Too Fast  

Great Danes can scarf, and sometimes they can eat way too fast. To help slow them down a little, you can spread out their food over the day more. Three meals instead of two will help them spread out the eating. 

Great Dane Diarrhea 

This problem is more common in Great Dane puppies than adults, but regardless, it’s usually a result of the previous problem, eating too fast. Also, as we mentioned, Great Danes aren’t too picky, so if your pet is experiencing loose stools, you should consider these two possibilities as the likely culprits. 

If this problem persists, it’s best to contact your vet.

Final Thoughts 

The only thing that a Great Dane loves more than food is you. They will look to you to take care of them and lead them in the right direction. Left to their own devices, these big beauties will happily eat until they can’t do anything else, so you will have to be their guide. 

It helps to remember that pets and cuddles are as wonderful a treat for these dogs as any bone or snack. Using the Great Dane feeding chart will help make sure they have the proper diet. Love them, and treat them right, and they will be the best companion for many years. 

Sarah Alward | Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
Sarah Alward | Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
Our resident DVM helps review every article to ensure we always provide scientifically accurate, up-to-date information. She’s proud to help provide pet parents everywhere with the info they need to keep their pets safe, healthy, and comfortable.