So, you just got a Great Dane, or you’re getting a Great Dane, so the first thing you search is “Great Dane Puppy Food” in hopes of finding exactly what you need to feed your new pup.
Hopefully if you got your puppy from a breeder, it was a quality one, and they are able to mentor you into what your puppy needs to eat in order to stay healthy. Now, if they did guide you, why are you here asking? Do you trust that they know what is best? How can you trust to buy your puppy from someone if you can’t trust what they have suggested you feed them?
I sound judgey, and I don’t mean to sound that way. I was in your shoes once, and it’s actually why I’m here to help. I just have such low tolerance for the nasty breeders in the world that aren’t holding up to their responsibility.
Sorry, that’s my breeder rant for the day.
So, you’ve made it here! Either your breeder wasn’t helpful, your rescue wasn’t helpful, or you are just going the extra mile to ensure that what you have heard or what your breeder, rescue, or mentor has shared with you is true and suggested by the majority.
I’m here to guide you at least down the right path in doing further research to find the perfect Great Dane puppy food.
Puppy Food- The Great Debate
Giant Breed Puppy food, or “never feed puppy food” and only Giant Breed Adult food, are typically the arguments and suggestions that I see most often in all of the Facebook groups.
Why are so many people against Puppy Food?
In prior years, the formula in puppy food wasn’t equipped to handle the needs of a growing Great Dane. It was only adult food that fit the bill of the nutritional needs of a rapid growing
large breed GIANT breed puppy.
As time has passed, and the pet food industry has shifted into higher quality kibble, there are now some puppy food options that I would suggest are solid for Great Dane puppies.
The trick here, isn’t to look at whether or not something is labeled as puppy, adult, large breed, or giant breed, but instead looking at what the nutritional components actually are.
The food labels are all just marketing techniques to get you in a certain direction. While those techniques are on the right path guiding you towards appropriate food based on the breed/size of your adult dog, they often aren’t specific enough to the growth of Great Danes.
Great Dane puppies growing rapidly until a year or so old and need to be fed with a food that contains proper nutrients as follows:
Protein level less than 26% and a calcium and phosphorus ratio as close to 1:1 as possible.
That being said, some puppy food hits the mark here, but you’ll often see that it’s much easier to feed adult food because it will almost always hit the mark.
Without this balance, you risk the chance of rapid growth that can lead to carpal flexural deformity, or carpal laxity syndrome, both known as knuckling. Along with Panosteitis (Pano) and Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy HOD. I’ll write more about these conditions in another blog post coming soon. For now, just know that these conditions are all typically nutrition based, and often nutrition and supplements can fix, but it doesn’t downplay the seriousness of the issues.
But My Vet Said
The first thing I remember fighting with my vet about was puppy food. I was told over and over again that my Great Dane puppy needed puppy food. However, I had remembered that I needed specific requirements to meet and at the time the puppy food that was suggested didn’t fit the bill.
Now, I respect our veterinarians and truly believe they do amazing work. Although, I think that they learn very general topics )just as in human Family Practice Medicine) but they don’t know enough about specifics of diet, nutrition, and growth on a breed specific level.
Our rescue has brought puppies in with carpal laxity and the veterinarians we’ve seen immediately jump to surgery not realizing that nutrition can help. Most vets do not understand this issue because they have minimal or no training in small animal nutrition and little experience in large/giant breed growth patterns.
Research after research suggests that while puppy food is great, it’s only great if it hits the guidelines required for proper Great Dane growth.
Don’t look at what the food is labeled, look at the nutrients on the bag, or online. You’re looking for: