If you’re a first-time Great Dane puppy owner, or haven’t raised a great dane puppy recently, knowing how much to feed a Great Dane puppy will be of huge importance to you and your dog.
Just as we set children up for good health with a balanced diet, we need to ensure that our Great Dane pups get everything they need to reach their potential.
In a sense, balancing your Great Dane puppy’s feeding can be tricky – after all, they grow and develop so fast, with their feeding needs changing along the way.
This Great Dane feeding chart will help you to figure out how much to feed, when to increase feeding, and we will discuss what you should look for in a puppy food.
Choosing Great Dane Puppy Food
We can’t even make broad recommendations on how much to feed a Great Dane puppy without thinking about what that food consists of.
After all, not all puppy and dog foods are created equal.
As you’ve guessed, cheaper isn’t better. However, you might find that a more expensive dog food means greater nutrient content and smaller feeds – so good-quality puppy food might not be as much of a blow to the budget as it seems at first.
Choose a puppy food with a protein content of 20 to 26 percent and be sure that the protein source is named.
Other nutrients also matter, but fortunately, the USDA helps you by setting standards for claims that pet food is “complete” or “balanced.”
You can begin your search for the right puppy food by asking the breeder what puppy food your Great Dane has been eating so far.
It’s a good starting point, and you might just decide to stick with whatever brand your puppy was weaned on.
You’ll also need this information so that you know whether you’re making a change to the diet your Great Dane puppy is already used to.
Although one can sometimes switch puppy foods without tummy upsets, it’s usually best to do a gradual transition to be on the safe side.
Of course, one of the first things you’ll be doing with your new puppy is a visit to the veterinarian for a general checkup. That’s a good time to ask for pet food recommendations from an expert.
Don’t be in too much of a hurry to transition your Great Dane to an adult food formulation. They will be best off eating puppy food until they are about 18 months old.
Great Dane Puppy Feeding Chart
There are a few caveats to this puppy feeding chart although it generalizes feeding amounts fairly well.
Most puppy foods will provide a recommendation based on your puppy’s current weight, and it’s always good to double-check this. However, as a quick guide, you should find this chart helpful.
Besides this, the amount to be fed per day shouldn’t be made available all at once.
Divide the recommended daily feed into three to four portions until your Great Dane puppy is at least 3 to 4 months old. After that, you can switch to two to three feeds per day.
Never “free feed” an already-weaned puppy. That means having food available all the time. If they overeat, they will be more prone to developing hip dysplasia.
And, although most adult dogs are OK on a single feed per day, two is better – especially among Great Danes. Big dogs that eat too much at once can get life-threatening bloat.
With that out of the way, here’s the Great Dane feeding chart we promised you.
|Age||Number Of Feeds||Total Daily Volume (Cups)|
|2 months||3 to 4||2 to 4 cups|
|3 months||3||3 to 5 cups|
|4 months||3||4 to 6 cups|
|5 months||2 to 3||5 to 7 cups|
|6 months||2||6 to 8 cups|
|7 to 8 months||2||6 to 9 cups|
|9 to 12 months||2||7 to 10 cups|
|Over 12 months (females)||2||6 to 9 cups|
|Over 12 months (males)||2||7 to 10 cups|
As you can see, there’s considerable variation at each step along the way. Whether you choose the higher or lower amount depends on your individual puppy as well as the food itself.
Some Great Dane puppies are bigger than others or more active and will need more food.
There’s also a difference in size between males and females, but a “small” male Great Dane may need less food than a large female.
You’ll also notice when your Great Dane puppy is having a growth spurt, and that doesn’t necessarily occur at the same time for every puppy.
Over and above that, your puppy’s weight and height will help you to determine whether he or she is a healthy weight.
Use a Great Dane weight chart to track your puppy’s development and adjust feeding accordingly.
If you allow your puppy to be underweight, the lack of necessary nourishment can stunt their growth.
If you allow it to be overweight, it can develop health issues later in life even if it reaches a healthy adult weight.
As for a 12-month old Great Dane, it hasn’t stopped growing yet. Most of the growth will be “filling out” with healthy muscle, so don’t be surprised if your Great Dane needs more food at 18 months or two years of age than it did when it was 12 months old.
Should You Moisten Your Great Dane Puppy’s Kibble?
While you are weaning a puppy, and up to about three months old, softening kibble with water is a great idea. Early on, you will want the mixture to be quite runny.
I usually wean puppies on puppy formula with a little kibble in. I begin with more formula than kibble and gradually change the proportions until they’re eating kibble that’s just softened and then dry kibble.
Moistening kibble with warm water or broth is also a good way of helping a sickly dog to regain appetite since the food will have a more obviously appetizing smell.
However, the crunchiness of kibble helps to keep the teeth clean – not so much of an issue if you brush your Great Dane’s teeth – but worth considering if you don’t.
If you do decide to go for moistened food, discard any leftovers. Moistened dog food can quickly become moldy and that can make your dog ill.
How To Weigh A Great Dane Puppy
At first, weighing your Great Dane puppy will be relatively easy. Simply step onto the bathroom scale with your puppy in your arms and deduct your weight from the total.
But, as your puppy grows by leaps and bounds, you’ll soon find it impossible to perform this feat.
Once your dog is too big to pick up, you have two options for weighing: take it over to the veterinarian’s office or invest in a pet scale.
These can be quite expensive. However, since knowing your Great Dane puppy’s weight and height will help you to determine whether you’re feeding them correctly, you might find owning a scale for dogs helpful.
At the same time, once your dog is an adult, you don’t have to track their development so carefully. Then your doggie-scale is less useful, so deciding to skip purchasing this item is understandable.
How To Judge Your Puppy’s Healthy Weight Without A Scale
We always talk about “puppy fat” but puppies shouldn’t be fat. Large breed dogs are especially prone to bone deformities if they are overnourished as puppies.
And, since every puppy is different, you may find yourself adjusting feeding based on your puppy’s current condition.
With a scale and the measurement of Great Dane’s current height at the shoulder, you can be quite precise, but as we’ve pointed out, frequent weigh-ins will get more difficult as your puppy grows.
You can judge whether your puppy is a healthy weight in much the same way you would assess an adult dog with possible allowances for loose puppy skin coming into the equation.
Look at your puppy from above and from the side. The tummy should be nipped in to form a “waist.” However, an underweight puppy will definitely have a waist, so you’ll need to check that there’s enough fat on the bones too.
You can do this by looking at the ribs. They shouldn’t be visible through the skin, but you should be able to feel them.
Remember, growth spurts can catch you off guard. If your puppy seems to have more appetite than usual, feel free to feed them a little extra.
If you have doubts, or think your Great Dane puppy isn’t developing as it should, your veterinarian will be happy to give you advice.
Should You Make Home-Prepared Food For Your Great Dane Puppy?
If you’re asking this question, there are several things you should know. Firstly, don’t trust small businesses who make food for puppies.
They may not be as scientific as they seem and if they’re keeping their stock for too long or have used ingredients that aren’t as fresh as they should be, your puppy can get dangerously ill.
Making food yourself is safer – but it’s all too easy to get the nutritional balance wrong. For example, while some calcium is necessary for your puppy, too much can be bad.
And calcium and protein won’t be the only concerns. There are 40 nutrients that puppies need for their health, and getting the right balance is crucial.
You’ll also be spending time making fresh doggie meals every day. And it’s going to get expensive!
The American Kennel Association (AKC) asserts that good, commercial puppy food with known ingredients and balanced nutrition really is among the best foods you can provide for a puppy – including your lovely Great Dane.
They note that although there are plenty of dog food recipes to be found online, some of them are open to interpretation – and not all of them have been designed by people who understand canine nutrition.
If you are sold on making food for your dog, you will need guidance from your veterinarian.
How To Prevent Bloat In Great Danes (Puppies And Adults)
Aside from what and how much to feed your Great Dane, timing will be important. In fact, good timing could even be a lifesaver.
We’ve already touched on bloat, more scientifically known as gastric dilatation-volvulus. In this condition, the stomach twists, and can cut off blood supply to other organs.
This can kill your dog. And, once bloat has occurred, it can more easily recur.
We’d like to reinforce that your Great Dane should not be fed too much at once.
Spreading feeds for older pups and adults to twice a day is already a help, and if you can manage feeding three times a day, that’s even better.
The timing of feeding in relation to exercise is also important. Ideally, your dog should not be involved in strenuous activity for 30 minutes to an hour before and after feeding.
With young Great Danes and puppies, playfulness before or after meal times can be a worry. Try to get them used to a quiet time before and after meals. But don’t confuse playfulness with stress.
If you have several dogs, your Great Dane puppy might feel that he has to gulp down his food or risk it being eaten by other dogs in the household.
It’s a bad habit to develop, so it may be better to separate your dogs at mealtimes.
And, if despite your efforts, your dog is inclined to pack away his food fast, a slow-feeder bowl could be the only solution.
Do beware of myths around bloat prevention. There was a time when people said that feeding your dog from an elevated bowl could reduce the chances of bloat – but research indicates that the opposite may be true. Place your Great Dane’s bowl on the floor.
Should You Give A Great Dane Puppy Milk?
You might think that giving your puppy milk is a kindness, but it can cause more problems than it is worth.
As we mentioned, giving puppy formula during weaning isn’t a bad thing, but cow’s milk can be problematic.
Not all dogs are lactose intolerant, but quite a few are. Even when they aren’t actually unable to digest milk, it can cause vomiting or diarrhea.
So, in short, it’s best to avoid giving your Great Dane puppy cow’s milk. Even if it doesn’t make them ill, it will upset the careful balance of the diet, adding fats and sugars.
These can make them overweight, and in the long term, pancreatitis is also a possibility.
A bowl of clean drinking water is all your puppy really needs. And, unlike food, it should be available all the time.
The one exception is during potty training when you may want to limit water drinking before bedtime so that you have fewer potty-calls through the night and fewer “accidents” while you sleep.
If you do take water away overnight, be sure to give your Great Dane puppy water in the morning.
Although a few hours without water won’t cause serious dehydration, even in puppies, you can’t leave your puppy without water for too long.
Should You Take Your Great Dane Puppy To The Vet If He Vomits Or Has A Runny Tummy?
If your puppy vomits once, he may not be sick at all. But if he has vomiting and diarrhea, or vomits repeatedly, it’s wise to have it checked out.
Apart from working out why this is happening, your veterinarian can help to ensure that your puppy doesn’t get too dehydrated – which can be fatal.
A runny tummy after switching to a new pet food could be perfectly normal, but if your puppy seems lethargic, it’s a bad sign.
So, too, is a symptom that doesn’t go away. When in doubt, talk to your veterinarian.
Your Great Dane Feeding Chart Plus A Few Handy Tips And FAQs
Raising a Great Dane puppy is a fun and rewarding time for you. There will be ups and downs while your puppy learns to become the great companion that every Great Dane has the potential to be.
And, since puppyhood is so important to your dog’s ultimate lifespan, paying attention to feeding will be the first basic priority.
Of course, your puppy needs much more than just food, and you’ll be shaping his development through socialization and training – plus lots of love.
Apart from providing a Great Dane puppy feeding chart, we’ve covered a whole lot of nutrition-related ground, and we hope you’ll find our tips as helpful as they were intended to be.
Watch this space for more handy Great Dane info. We’re almost as excited about your puppy as you are!