Best Dog Food For Great Danes

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When we think about the Great Dane, images of a huge, dopey, loveable oaf enter our minds.

This isn’t necessarily inaccurate, they can be goofy and playful. But anyone who’s been around the breed or has seen them in action at a dog show knows they’re also quite regal and elegant dogs.

These gentle giants grace many homes with their sweet nature, but when it comes to protecting their humans (especially the kid variety), they don’t play around. In the beginning, Danes were boar hunters.

In addition to their size, if they feel threatened, they can be quite intimidating, making them wonderful watchdogs.

When looking for our top pick for the best nutrition for a Great Dane, we took into consideration the unique challenges of the breed. After some digging, we found Gentle Giants Canine Nutrition Dry Dog Food. It’s a wholesome formula blended lovingly for the special needs of a Great Dane’s physiology. Also, Dane owners couldn’t gush enough about how much their big babies love it.

The Best Dog Food for Great Danes Are…

ProductDetails
1. Gentle Giants Canine Nutrition

  • Made specifically for giant breed dogs
  • Formulated for adult dogs
  • Dry kibble consistency
  • Comes in chicken, rice and oatmeal and salmon flavor
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2. Nutro Wholesome Essentials Large Breed Puppy Dry Dog Food

  • Formulated for large-breed puppies
  • Dry kibble formula
  • Lamb and rice flavor
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3. Royal Canin Great Dane Adult Dry Dog Food

  • Formulated exclusively for Great Danes
  • Intended for adult dogs
  • Dry kibble texture
  • Chicken flavor
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4. Hill's Science Diet Large Breed Dry Dog Food

  • Chicken and barley flavor
  • Formulated for adult dogs
  • Formulated for large breed dogs
  • Chicken and barley flavor
  • Dry kibble formula
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5. Royal Canin Size Health Nutrition Giant

  • Formulated for large and giant breed dogs more than 100 lbs
  • Intended for adult dogs
  • Dry kibble consistency
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6. Eukanuba Large Breed

  • Intended for adult dogs over 55 lbs
  • Formulated for large breed dogs
  • Dry kibble consistency
  • Chicken flavor
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7. Nutro Wholesome Essentials Large Breed Adult

  • Formulated for large breed dogs
  • Intended for adult dogs
  • Chicken, brown rice, and sweet potato flavor
  • Dry kibble consistency
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8. American Journey Large Breed

  • Formulated specifically for large-breed dogs
  • Intended for adult dogs
  • Chicken and rice recipe
  • Dry kibble consistency
  • Only available at Chewy.com
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9. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Large Breed

  • Intended for adult dogs
  • Large-breed formula
  • Dry kibble consistency
  • Chicken and brown rice recipe
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10. Diamond Naturals Large Breed Dog Food

  • Formulated for large and giant breed dogs
  • Intended for adult dogs
  • Lamb meal and rice formula
  • Dry kibble texture
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11. Purina ONE SmartBlend Natural Large Breed Formula

  • Formulated for large breeds
  • Intended for adult dogs
  • Dry kibble texture
  • Chicken flavor
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1. Gentle Giants Canine Nutrition — Best Overall

Widely approved by veterinarians, Gentle Giants Canine Nutrition is a cornucopia of quality proteins, grains, and non-GMO fruits and veggies. All that = antioxidants fo’ DAYS for your couch potato.

Also, it has ingredients like glucosamine and chondroitin to help with the notorious symptoms of joint problems large and giant breed dogs are prone to.

With ingredients like pre and probiotics, it’s also formulated to accommodate a Dane’s sensitive tummy, which is great not only because it makes your dinosaur-sized baby feel better, but also because you don’t want to pick up any more piles of dinosaur-sized poo than you have to.

 Moreover, the brand is called Gentle Giants Canine Nutrition. If that doesn’t make you confident that they’re making food with your big, beautiful Great Dane in mind, we don’t know what will.

Specs

  • Made specifically for giant breed dogs
  • Formulated for adult dogs
  • Dry kibble consistency
  • Comes in chicken, rice and oatmeal and salmon flavor

Pros

  • Made with a cornucopia of whole fruits and vegetables like beets, blueberries, cranberries, and apples, to name a few for plenty of vitamins and minerals
  • Contains added prebiotics and probiotics to assist in digestion and the absorption of food
  • Includes glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health
  • Added taurine (an amino acid) helps support that huge heart.

Cons

  • Some Danes experienced shedding and skin problems after eating.
  • Some Great Danes didn’t care for the taste.
  • Some owners reported stomach upset in some doggos after eating this food.

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2. Nutro Wholesome Essentials Large Breed Puppy Dry Dog Food — Best Dog Food for Great Dane Puppies

When looking for food suitable for a Great Dane Puppy, it’s important to consider the needs of large-breed puppies along with the added needs of the adult Great Dane he’ll eventually grow into. We feel that Nutro Wholesome Essentials Large Breed Puppy fills those needs.

Specs

  • Formulated for large-breed puppies
  • Dry kibble formula
  • Lamb and rice flavor

Pros

  • Australian and New Zealand sourced quality lamb with clean proteins to promote easier digestion and amino acids for building lean muscle
  • It contains naturally sourced glucosamine and chondroitin, essential for building healthy joints.
  • Clean fiber from wholesome ingredients like oatmeal and brown rice for optimal digestion and nutrient absorption.
  • Contains no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives
  • This food is produced in the manufacturer’s own facilities, and sources it’s natural ingredients from suppliers they can buy from directly. All of this equals a safe, high-quality food for your snuggly lap-crusher.

Cons

  • Some Dane puppies didn’t like the flavor.
  • Some owners reported gastric distress after their puppies ate it.
  • Some owners were unhappy when the formula changed with no notification.

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3. Royal Canin Great Dane Adult Dry Dog Food — Best Dog Food for Great Danes With Sensitive Stomachs

Great Danes aren’t just prone to a sensitive stomach, it’s common for them to have a condition called GDV, or bloat that can be fatal. (Read on for more information about bloat in this article.)

Beyond this condition, some healthy Danes still have gastric issues that are completely unrelated. For this, they’ll need a food formulated specifically to help proactively ease some of those symptoms.

That’s why we chose Royal Canin Great Dane as the best food for Great Danes with sensitive tummies.

Specs

  • Formulated exclusively for Great Danes
  • Intended for adult dogs
  • Dry kibble texture
  • Chicken flavor

Pros

  • This formula was tailored explicitly for purebred Great Danes of the adult variety.
  • Its kibble is sized to make it easier for your Dane to eat moderately by encouraging thorough chewing. If he can’t guzzle his food, he can’t stuff his tummy too fast.
  • Quality selected protein contains the DHA and EPA needed to promote joint and bone health
  • Contains a special blend of fiber for healthy, efficient digestion
  • Contains highly digestible liver-enriched inhibitory protein

Cons

  • Some Danes didn’t like the taste.
  • Some owners reported the kibble was too large and hard for their Danes to chew comfortably.

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4. Hill’s Science Diet Large Breed Dry Dog Food

Hill’s Science Diet is known for employing a team of vets, scientists, and veterinarians to carefully scrutinize and evaluate their customer’s needs. (Specifically the dogs.)

They spare no detail when it comes to formulating a food that provides balanced and complete nutrition to large breeds like your Great Dane, ensuring real chicken is the first ingredient, and natural sources of chondroitin and glucosamine are included to support joint and cartilage health.

Hill’s formulas are made in the US with quality sourced ingredients with zero artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.

Specs

  • Chicken and barley flavor
  • Formulated for adult dogs
  • Formulated for large breed dogs
  • Chicken and barley flavor
  • Dry kibble formula

Pros

  • Contains real proteins and sources of whole grains and real proteins for easy digestion
  • Natural sources of chondroitin and glucosamine are plentiful to assist in the support of healthy cartilage and joints.
  • Includes antioxidants, including vitamins E and C for complete health and immune support
  • Omega-6 fatty acids pamper the skin and promote a glossy coat

Cons

  • Some pups had a hard time getting through the kibble’s firm texture comfortably
  • Change in formula had some Danes sticking their noses up at their dishes.
  • Some Danes didn’t like the taste

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5. Royal Canin Giant Breed

It’s no secret that large breeds are prone to joint issues, and this particular brand accommodates that in their formulas for giant breeds.

Danes also have problems with digestive intolerances, and Royal Canin has patented a formula that remedies this with a proper blend of fibers, both fermentable and non-fermentable and quality, easily digestible proteins. Calcium, chondroitin, and glucosamine contribute to joint health as well.

Specs

  • Formulated for large and giant breed dogs more than 100 lbs
  • Intended for adult dogs
  • Dry kibble consistency

Pros

  • Glucosamine, calcium, and chondroitin helps provide the support large breed dogs need for healthy bones and joints
  • A complex blend of antioxidants supports immunity and cellular health
  • High-quality proteins and vegetable-sourced fibers aid digestion
  • The addition of the amino acid taurine helps maintain a healthy heart

Cons

  • A limited selection of flavors
  • Many doggies had a hard time with the kibble — it was too large for them.
  • Some Great Danes found the flavor lacking.

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6. Eukanuba Large Breed

Big dogs have needs too… particularly in the form of their nutrition. They need extras like chondroitin and glucosamine to help support joint function as well as a good balance of animal proteins (chicken being the first ingredient) and antioxidants to ensure overall health.

This particular blend also sports 3D DentaDefense, which cleans teeth and gums with each bite, all while reducing tartar buildup. We could all use cleaner teeth and healthier gums, am I right?

Natural fiber from whole grains and vegetables, as well as prebiotics, give your Dane the help she needs with digestion, making her healthier, happier, and more comfortable. Let’s face it, that giant Great Dane smile deserves the best.

Specs

  • Intended for adult dogs over 55 lbs
  • Formulated for large breed dogs
  • Dry kibble consistency
  • Chicken flavor

Pros

  • The formula’s blend of quality animal proteins contributes to lean muscle development.
  • Chondroitin and glucosamine support joint health.
  • Vitamin E and essential fatty acids provide nutrition for brain and neurological development
  • A balanced blend of carbs and fats provide your Great Dane with all the all-day energy she needs.

Cons

  • Some Great Danes weren’t thrilled with the taste.
  • A few humans said when they opened the bag, it smelled odd.
  • Some owners said their dogs experienced dehydration after eating and drank excessively (to clarify, they drank water… they weren’t big partiers.)

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7. Nutro Wholesome Essentials

Nutro is another company that takes its protein seriously. The first ingredient of their foods is always meat, in this case, farm-raised chicken. Plus, they’ve been around feeding pets for 90 years, so they know a thing or two about proper nutrition for your big loveable bestie.

Without artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives, Nutro carefully sources their non-GMO ingredients from tried-and-true farmers and suppliers, ensuring consistently good food. They only use facilities vetted for quality, and their products are tested thoroughly for safety and quality.

You won’t find ingredients like corn, wheat, soy protein, or chicken by-product meal on the menu either, which is especially important when accommodating a Dane’s digestive needs.

This food also contains antioxidants to boost immunity, and chondroitin and glucosamine to support joint health, essential for large-breed dogs prone to osteoarthritis.

Specs

  • Formulated for large breed dogs
  • Intended for adult dogs
  • Chicken, brown rice, and sweet potato flavor
  • Dry kibble consistency

Pros

  • Natural sources of chondroitin and glucosamine support joint health
  • Contains no protein by-products, wheat, corn, or soy proteins
  • Contains no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives
  • Essential, veggie-sourced antioxidants help support a healthy immune system.

Cons

  • Some Danes experienced gastrointestinal issues after eating.
  • Some owners said this food made their dog’s coat oily and stinky.
  • Some Danes plain old spit it out and walked off, leaving their humans to assume they didn’t like the flavor.

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8. American Journey Large Breed

American Journey ensures their dog foods are made without meat by-products, meal, corn, wheat, or soy. In fact, the first ingredient of this particular variety is real, deboned chicken. This is a benchmark of a company that puts loving care into formulating their foods.

Large-breed dogs need foods that support joint and bone health and are made with sensitive tummies in mind. This blend contains natural sources of fiber to support healthy digestion and phosphorus and calcium for bone health. 

Antioxidants for immune support, omega fatty acids for healthy skin and glossy coat, and DHA for the support of brain health are also included in this formula.

To round it out, a rainbow of fruits and veggies and wholesome brown rice proved complete nutrition.

Available exclusively at Chewy.com.

Specs

  • Formulated specifically for large-breed dogs
  • Intended for adult dogs
  • Chicken and rice recipe
  • Dry kibble consistency
  • Only available at Chewy.com

Pros

  • Whole, quality protein for lean, strong muscle
  • Brown rice and barley contribute to balanced nutrition
  • Added calcium and phosphorus support bone health
  • Delivers omega fatty acids, including DHA, for healthy skin, coat, and brain development.
  • Healthy fruits and vegetables like carrots, blueberries, and cranberries provide powerful antioxidants

Cons

  • Some Danes didn’t like the flavor. Like, at all.

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9. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Large Breed

Blue Buffalo adds patented extra nutrition in the form of LifeSource bits. These LifeSource bits contain an enhanced blend of antioxidant-abundant ingredients they call the Super 7 package.

We’ve also heard from Great Danes all over that they’re delicious, but you’ll just have to take their word for it.

This formula contains clean protein in the form of deboned chicken. It offers the chondroitin and glucosamine that large-breed dogs need for healthy joints, and the calcium and phosphorus needed for strong bones.

As always, you won’t find meat by-products, corn, wheat, or soy in the ingredients.

Specs

  • Intended for adult dogs
  • Large-breed formula
  • Dry kibble consistency
  • Chicken and brown rice recipe

Pros

  • Omegas 3 and 6 for a glossy coat and healthy skin
  • Mobility and joint health supported by chondroitin and glucosamine
  • Sources of clean, high-quality protein and L-Carnitine maintain lean muscle development, and the carbs he needs to stay active
  • Vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants support immune health
  • Phosphorous, calcium, and vitamins contribute to strong bones and teeth

Cons

  • Some Danes had an icky tummy after eating.
  • Some owners reported the food was oily and smelled odd.
  • Some owners said the price didn’t match the quality of food.

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10. Diamond Naturals Large Breed Dog Food

Diamond Pet Food is located in the U.S. (Missouri, to be exact), and since 1970, they’ve been committed to providing the best quality dog food possible.

Their quality products are made with no wheat, corn, fillers, wheat, artificial flavors, colors or preservatives

This particularly focused formula centers on its probiotic content for Danes, as well as other giant breeds who are notoriously prone to digestive issues.

It also contains superfoods, including kale, peas, blueberries, and coconut, that your jumbo-sized friend needs for development and overall health.

Additionally, this recipe is made with real, quality lamb protein, as well as healthy whole grains to assist digestive health. Omega fatty acids help promote healthy skin and a shiny coat, making your amazon queen (or king) look magnificent on those afternoon walks

Specs

  • Formulated for large and giant breed dogs
  • Intended for adult dogs
  • Lamb meal and rice formula
  • Dry kibble texture

Pros

  • Contains whole lamb protein to support lean, strong muscle
  • Whole grain brown rice provides fiber to assist in the digestional ease.
  • Antioxidants sourced from natural sources of vitamins and minerals support holistic health.
  • Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids provide healthy skin and a sleek coat.
  • Proprietary probiotic blends help nourish digestive health and are easily digestible.
  • Contains glucosamine and chondroitin to support hip and joint health

Cons

  • Some Great Danes reported it upset their tummies.
  • A formula change left some doggos with digestive problems and reluctance to eat their dinner.
  • Some Great Danes sniffed it, looked at their people like they were crazy, and walked away. We assume they didn’t like it…

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11. Purina ONE SmartBlend Natural Large Breed Formula

The Purina brand is ubiquitous at dog shows around the world, and we’re confident when we say, they know a thing or two about purebred dogs. This is comforting when you’re looking for a food that caters to the needs of a complicated but coveted breed like the Great Dane.

This food combines kibble with flavor-rich chicken morsels to entice your big baby to eat up, and as far as we’ve heard, it seems to be working. With real chicken as the first ingredient, that makes sense.

This blend is crafted to support joint health with natural sources of glucosamine, and optimal body condition, supporting healthy weight to muscle ratio for your Dane.

Selenium and zinc support healthy immunity, and antioxidants contribute to overall health.

With no fillers, artificial preservatives, flavors, or colors, it gives your great beauty everything she needs and nothing she doesn’t.

Specs

  • Formulated for large breeds
  • Intended for adult dogs
  • Dry kibble texture
  • Chicken flavor

Pros

  • Contains quality sources of protein, including real chicken, for strong, lean muscle and healthy heart
  • Contains naturally sourced glucosamine for joint health
  • Omega-6 fatty acids provide healthy skin and a radiant coat
  • Includes an antioxidant blend of Vitamins A and E, along with selenium and zinc for complete, well-rounded nutrition

Cons

  • Limited flavor options
  • Some Danes didn’t like the flavor
  • Some humans with Dane owners reported inconsistencies in the texture and size of kibble between bags.

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Best Dog Food For Great Danes — A Buying Guide

Feeding a Great Dane high-quality dog food is essential because of their unique physiology and potential health issues.

The best dog food for Great Danes will usually contain ingredients specially targeted toward the nutrition they need for those issues.

What Do I Need To Know Before Choosing The Right Food For My Great Dane?

When deciding on what to feed your Great Dane, it’s recommended that you consult your veterinarian first. A good vet will educate owners about the specific health risks that come with a Great Dane.

Understanding those risks is critical when choosing the best dog food for your Great Dane. Literally. For starters, your vet may want to run some tests recommended by the National Breed Club:

Some of these include:

  • Hip Evaluation
  • Ophthalmologist Evaluation
  • Thyroid Evaluation
  • Cardiac Exam

One of the most critical things a Dane owner needs to know is that this specific breed is prone to a condition called gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV), or bloat. It’s the number one killer of Great Danes. This is where the dog’s stomach swells, distends, and twists.

What causes bloat is still a subject of speculation amongst experts. Most concur that feeding several small meals a day and refraining from heavy exercise around mealtimes helps reduce its chances of affecting your dog.

Symptoms of bloat can appear quickly, so owners need to educate themselves on how to recognize them and get their dog to the vet immediately. Signs of bloat indicate a medical emergency, and swift action can save your buddies life.

Signs of bloat include:

  • Heaving, but unable to vomit
  • Drooling
  • Heavy panting and restlessness
  • He’ll wince in pain if you touch his abdomen.
  • A swollen, hard belly

Great Danes are also prone to other health issues you need to consider when choosing the best food for him. Eye and cardiac diseases are common, as are joint problems like hip dysplasia. Autoimmune thyroiditis and hypothyroidism are also conditions to be aware of.

So Given All These Health Issues, What Should I Be Feeding My Great Dane to Help?

  • Foods specifically formulated for easier, gradual digestion. Look at the labels for ingredients like clean, whole proteins, not meat by-products or meals. These are hard for a Dane to digest.
  • Foods with plenty of naturally sourced plant fibers. This not only aids in digestion but also contributes nutrition helpful for maintaining healthy cardiac function.
  • Feed your big baby food with lots of antioxidant-rich ingredients. Colorful fruits and veggies are great sources of dense vitamins and nutrients, he’ll need that for all-around balanced nutrition.
  • Foods with ingredients like chondroitin, glucosamine, and omega fatty acids are great for eye health and joint support.
  • Look for taurine — a fatty acid especially good for your gentle giant’s giant heart.

Some good news! Great Danes do really well with large, uncooked animal bones, so if it’s OK with your vet, let him chew to his heart’s content.

Beef necks, pelvic bones, whatever kind of big raw bones you can get your hands on without too much cartilage would do nicely.

They’re a great source of raw proteins and help keep those teeth nice and tartar-free. If he refuses to eat it anywhere but in the middle of the rug in the living room, as my dog does, sorry for the carnage.

What Shouldn’t I Be Feeding My Dane?

  • ANYTHING with added fillers and/or meat by-products. These are tough to digest, cause gastrointestinal issues, and are just plain bad for your dog. Especially if your dog happens to be a Great Dane.
  • Food with artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives is a no-go. Again, these foods aren’t healthy for dogs who aren’t susceptible to any particular health issues — they’re doubly bad for your Dane baby.
  • Scrutinize labels for sugar and salt content, if it’s up there in percentage, don’t feed it to him.
  • Don’t feed your Great Dane food if you can’t find out where it’s made, and where it’s ingredients are sourced. Due to his sensitive health — it’s essential to know where his food’s coming from to ensure it measures up to the highest standards.

Best Dog Food for Great Dane Puppies

Great Dane puppies should be fed a formula specifically designed not only for large and giant breed puppies, but also keeping in mind the sensitivities they’ll have when they grow up to be big and strong.

The best puppy food for a Great Dane should include: 

  • Clean sources of proteins for building lean muscle.
  • Glucosamine and chondroitin, preferably naturally sourced for building healthy joints.
  • Fiber from wholesome plant and/or grain ingredients like oatmeal, brown rice, beet fiber for efficient digestion.
  • It should NOT include artificial colors, flavors or preservatives

Best Dog Food For Great Danes With Sensitive Stomachs

Since we’re aware of the tummy issues our beloved giants can have, we looked into some of the features a dog food should have to cater to those issues.

The best dog food for Great Danes with sensitive stomachs should:

  • Have kibble with size and consistency that is easier for chewing, but big enough that he’ll eat slowly.
  • Must contain quality sources of whole protein, no meat by-products.
  • Contain plenty of clean sources of fiber such as whole grains and vegetable fibers.
  • Additives such as a liver-enriched inhibitory protein, as found in our top pick for Great Danes with sensitive stomachs.

How Much Should I Be Feeding My Dane?

Now that we know what to feed our magnificent friends, we need to know how much we should feed them.

Consulting your vet for his or her recommendations on how much to feed your Dane is where to start, but there is a generalized guide.

Here are some generalized recommendations for how much to feed your Great Dane:

  • From 3 to 6 mos, females need 3-6 cups; and males, 4-8 cups. Split these amounts evenly between 3-4 meals per day.
  • From 8 mos to 1 Year, females should have 5-8 cups; males, 6-10 cups. Divide this amount evenly between 3 meals a day.
  • Adults 1 year and older: females should eat 6-8 cups, and males 8-10 cups. Divide evenly between 2-3 meals per day.
***Note: Your Great Dane should never have less than 2 meals per day, optimally 3. This can lead to overeating at mealtime and can contribute to bloat.

Some Final Thoughts

Great Danes are among the most loveable of breeds. They’re friendly, gentle, and wonderful companions for children in particular. Because we carry such a soft spot for them, we chose our #1 pick wisely.

Gentle Giants Canine Nutrition was our first choice.

It has a formula tailored to support everything a Great Dane needs for the health issues they can have. Targeted nutrition for robust digestive health, cardiac health, joint health support, and eye health, just to name a few.

Just as importantly — it has none of the harmful ingredients associated with illness in Danes. When you walk a Great Dane, be prepared for lots of reactions. Their size and beauty draw a lot of attention.

It’ll make your heart melt to see people (especially kids) who would ordinarily be afraid of big dogs loosening up with a Great Dane because of their mellow, sweet temperament. It’ll make you tear up. Not kidding.

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