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  • #16411 Report Abuse

    I have a 5 year old great dane. He has been on Innova Large Breed Adult dry food. As you know the brand has been recalled. Now I need a quality replacement. What do you suggest? I read that great danes need a protein less than 24% and a fat content of 12-14%..not sure how accurate this is for an adult great dane.

    Innova was:

    What would you suggest?

    Thanks Jay

    #16413 Report Abuse
    Hound Dog Mom

    Hi jayjacobs –

    As a fellow large breed owner I can tell you that large breed dogs do not need low protein foods. I have three bloodhoubds ranging in size from 68 lbs. to 110 lbs. and ranging in age from 9 months to 8 years and they all eat 45% – 55% protein at every meal. I would never feed my dogs a food that low in protein. I suggest picking another 4 or 5 star food with at least 30% protein. It’s also better to rotate brands – it provides your dog with variety and in case of a recall you’ll have other brands you know you can use.

    #18831 Report Abuse

    I’m sorry, but the above post is inaccurate. Great Danes are giant breed, not large – and this may seem like a small discrepancy, but not when it comes to feeding a great dane puppy. I am a great dane owner myself, and it is paramount to feed the correct percentage to a great dane puppy or you will have huge health problems down the road, and perhaps very soon. The link below maps out exactly how you should feed a great dane. Hope this helps!


    #18865 Report Abuse
    Hound Dog Mom

    Hi sctigergirl81 –

    The above post was not inaccurate based on the most current and accepted research available on the topic or large and giant breed growth as it relates to nutrition. There is no correlation between protein levels and developmental orthopedic disease – this was actually proved in a study done on Great Danes that was published in the Journal of Nutrition. Unfortunately the link you posted contains a lot of inaccurate information that has is not backed by research – namely implying that protein affects growth and that large/giant breed puppies should not eat a food designated for growth or all life stages. I urge you to read the links posted at the beginning of this thread – all written by veterinarians, veterinary nutritionists or studies published in peer reviewed clinical nutrition journals. There’s a lot of inaccurate information floating around about proper nutrition for large and giant breed puppies so it’s crucial to do your research and rely only on reputable sources.

    • This reply was modified 11 years, 1 month ago by Hound Dog Mom.
    #38187 Report Abuse
    Chris D

    What links are you referring to and vets do inform Giant breed owners like danes NOT to feed any type of puppy food or high protein food. It’s not just that webpage. So either your right and the entire great dane community and vets who specialize in great danes are wrong or well you are.

    #38227 Report Abuse

    Lots of vets don’t stay up with current research when it pertains to such a small group of animals. Look under the Diet and Health Issues forum and read the links in the Large and Giant Breed Puppy Nutrition thread

    #38244 Report Abuse

    Misinformation tends to spread faster and farther than factual information. I’ve fed my adult Great Dane high protein foods since I got him 6 years ago. He is 8 now and is in excellent condition. I agree with HDM. I would choose several foods from the 4 and 5 star foods to rotate. That’s what I was doing when I was feeding kibble.

    #40957 Report Abuse
    Diana M

    I am a long time Dane owner, currently have 3, 2-6yr olds and a 9 month old puppy. Great Danes absolutely need to start out their lives on a low protein diet, puppy food and higher than 24% protein can be disabling and painful. The higher protein causes their bones to grow more rapidly, and any Giant pet owner knows they grow fast. My guys grow a pound a day on a “low” protein diet. When the cartilage can not keep up with their bones (on a higher protein diet) the bones start to rub and it is painful for them to walk. Even on a low protein diet this can still happen, and happened to me. I kept the runt of a litter, had to tube feed him when he was born, about 5 months of age on a low protein diet he couldn’t walk. I fed him an 18% protein food and he was walking in no time. My thought process is if your Dane does well on the low protein as an adult continue to feed him/her that. If they do not, a slightly higher protein may be your answer. They are a naturally lean dog so the low protein helps them with their weight, but if they have bowel issues, by all means try a higher protein diet. Another note: All of my Danes, have had issues with beef, lamb, chicken has always been my go to. I dehydrate chicken breast for them for their treats. It’s easy and cheaper than purchasing that garbage from China.

    #40968 Report Abuse

    My understanding is that high protein has very little to do with weight gain in dogs-though some of the others that are more knowledgeable may be able to expand on that more. You’re really looking for lower fat when it comes to that, yes? Dogs gain energy off protein, better than they do off carbs, so a diabetic dog for example would want a high protein, low fat, low carb diet

    #40999 Report Abuse

    I believe you are correct, aquariangt. Protein is not the culprit. Overall calories is the culprit and fats contribute more calories to a food than protein does. On a 1 gram basis, fats contribute 9 calories and protein contributes 4 calories. Higher protein foods tend to have more fat as well so they are naturally more calorie dense. I personally would not feed a food with only 18% protein. That is way too low in my opinion, especially for an adult dog. I have been feeding my Dane foods with 30-38% protein for the last 6 years. Granted every dog is different, but I wouldn’t rule out high protein foods unless your dog doesn’t do well with them.

    #41200 Report Abuse

    Dogs are meant to eat raw food. I write about it on my website and explain the salmonella scare and what is going on with china and their contaminated vitamins that are added to our dog food. Please check out essentiallydogs.com. You can type raw, salmonella, or FDA into the search bar. I also have an FDA video which explains the dog food contamination with melamine that is killing our dogs.

    #42899 Report Abuse
    nat r

    I do not have a great dane, however I am doing A LOT of research on these dogs as I am crazy about them, but refuse to have one until I know I can give it the proper care, diet and love it needs. I have read so many things about the typical diet for great danes that they need a diet that is under 24% protien, however I have also came across things, such as this argument, explaining otherwise. I will share one thing I have found out about these dogs and there diet. On every website I have came across it has advised me to feed a great dane food that has protien 24% or less and never feed them puppy food even when they are pups as it can cause bone problems. Now to all of you arguing that protien does not help grow bones, I agree! However it does help grow muscle, and to a dog with such a huge frame that is likely to develop bone probolems already, I don’t think that a dog of that state would need extra weight put onto there bones until they are a little older, so out of everything I’ve heard, just to be on the safe side, when I do get my great dane, I will feed it food with 24% or less of protien, and never feed it puppy food.

    #42900 Report Abuse
    Hound Dog Mom

    Hi Nat R –

    There’s no reason a Great Dane can’t eat a high protein food and, in fact, they should. It’s also not true that they should not eat puppy food as puppies, they need to eat a puppy food with controlled calcium levels appropriate for large breed growth. There’s a lot of information about this on the large breed puppy thread. Many many years ago it was believed that high levels of protein caused joint issues, it’s been known for quite some time now that this isn’t true however there are still a few vets, breeders and pet owners that believe this myth.

    #42901 Report Abuse
    nat r

    Hound dog mom-

    Hi, as I have said I do not own a great dane, and will not until I know the ins and outs of care and diets for them, I am going on what I have read up on, no breeder websites that I have found up to now, explain any diets. I’ll get to the bottom of it haha. Both theories do seem to make sense, and with great danes known for a short life span anyways, I would not like to speed that up by buying the incorrect food for them I know they defiantly need only a small percentage of fat, like most dogs so that there frame can hold there weight but other than that, I have read 1 million different reviews about these subjects and I really can’t decide which one to believe because as I said they both make sense.
    And by puppy food, I meant not normal puppy food as it has a lot of energy boosting products in, great danes stomachs are prone to bloating etc which can lead to many problems, so they need a proper, good, trustworthy puppy food, they should rest for a while after eating so they do not bloat, therefor I wouldn’t want to give them a puppy food that would send them hyper, other than that, they’re better off eating adult food.

    #42904 Report Abuse
    Hound Dog Mom

    Hi Nat R –

    Just so you know, no studies exist demonstrating that protein has negative effects on giant breed puppies or adults – anything you read about this is myth and nothing more. There is, however, a lot of research proving the protein is not harmful.

    Feeding Large Breed Puppies by Susan Winn DVM (Featured in IVC Journal)

    “A common misconception found in many internet articles is the claim that dietary protein should be controlled in large breed puppies to prevent skeletal abnormalities. This theory was disproved some years ago (Nap, 1991). Most commercial puppy foods contain more protein than is thought necessary, but studies have shown that protein contents of 23% to 31% (dry matter) do not have a deleterious effect on growth.”

    “Decades ago, we considered some adult diets appropriate for puppies. However, a calorie-calcium mismatch is probably common. Adult maintenance foods are often less calorically dense than puppy foods. Additionally, these diets may have calcium and phosphorus levels that are higher in relation to energy density than a large breed puppy diet. If a rapidly growing puppy has to eat more food to obtain enough calories for growth, a calcium overdose is possible.”

    “Most nutritionists recommend that large, fast growing puppies eat diets containing AT LEAST 30% protein and 9% fat (dry matter basis).”

    The Effect of Breed Size on Nutritional Considerations for Growing Puppies

    “Excessive intake of dietary protein has been suggested as a contributing factor to skeletal developmental problems, such as osteochondrosis, in large breed dogs. This hypothesis was tested by feeding Great Dane puppies either 15%, 23% or 32% dietary protein (13%, 21% or 29% of energy). While the low protein diet reduced growth, no detrimental effects from the higher protein diets were observed.”

    This is a FANTASTIC article (one of my favorites) on large breed nutrition written by Susan Lauten PhD – I would HIGHLY recommend reading it in its entirety, however here are some of the highlights:

    Nutritional Risks to Large-Breed Dogs: From Weaning to the Geriatric Years

    “Currently, no evidence exists to suggest that high-protein intake contributes to the development of orthopedic disease in growing large-breed puppies. Previous studies suggesting a risk for high protein and DOD were confounded by higher energy intake in high-protein foods. In general, large-breed puppy diets are formulated to contain approximately 30% protein (DMB) similar to other puppy foods.”

    “…feeding adult foods to large-breed puppies before 1 year of age is not recommended because the calcium-to-energy ratio is generally lower in adult foods compared with large-breed puppy food. Feeding an adult food can actually result in greater intake of calcium than feeding puppy foods. Because the puppy must consume a larger portion of adult food to meet energy needs for growth, total calcium intake may actually be higher than with a properly formulated large-breed puppy formula.”

    Here is the link to a study done on Great Dane pups that was featured in the Journal of Nutrition. The study concluded: “the differences in protein intake per se did not affect the occurrence of disturbed skeletal development in young Great Danes.”

    Do You Know What to Feed Your Large Breed Dog? By Karen Becker DVM

    “Studies have repeatedly concluded dietary protein levels have no effect on the development of skeletal problems in large and giant breed dogs. But still today, many breeders of large dogs, owners and even some veterinarians will tell you protein is the problem, even though there is no evidence to prove it. Protein excess is not the problem. In fact, it’s often a dietary protein deficiency that contributes to skeletal problems.”

    You may find this of interest as well. Here Dr. Becker interviews a Newfie breeder (not Great Danes I know – however Newfies are generally considered to be a giant breed). This breeder feeds his dogs HIGH protein raw and his dogs don’t experience many of the health problems typical to giant breed dogs and his dogs live much longer than most giant breeds (he had a dog live to be 17 – the typical life span of a giant breed is about 8).

    Sorry to bombard you with reading, but large breed nutrition is one of my favorite subjects and I like to make sure people have the facts. 🙂

    #42911 Report Abuse
    nat r

    Haha, it’s helpful to be honest, thank you. And I’ve read that raw meats are really good for great danes, raw meat is probably high in protien? I’m not sure but if it is, that doesn’t make sense. I think I’ll maybe just stick to the 24% dog food and chop up some raw meat too! I swear ill get one, it’s my biggest ever life goal, I love them to bits, just as I said previously, I wouldn’t want to be harming him/her by feeding food that isn’t good for them! I more or less know everything other than the diets because there are so many different theories about it, but like I said I think as long as they’re getting protien, calcium etc, a healthy diet! Then nothing crucial could happen! 🙂

    #43201 Report Abuse
    tracy b

    hello every one I am a new member here and love that there is a discussion on large/giant breed food. I have 2 great dane males who are little mate brothers. they are 1 and 1/2 years old now. we have always fed them Royal Canine giant breed stages right now they are on the giant junior and will soon be transitioning over to adult food. I just had them to the vet yesterday to get their rabies shots and heath exam in preparation for neutering. my vet also owns a great dane so I feel lucky that my vet knows specifically about the breed and their potential heath problems. I always thought I had made good choices in their food and yesterdays appointment had them scoring perfectly on coat, growth, teeth, heart, etc. I feel a bit dismayed about some of the negative reports on the brand of food I have chosen its score of 2.5 stars and the comments on the ingredients leave me wondering if I have made a poor choice. we did try to switch twice once at 4 months and again at 8 months to other brands (blue and arcana) each time we tried they were not happy seemed to not like the flavor had bad gas and diarrhea although not too bad with the blue brand and I did switch very slow mixing the existing brand with the new gradually. it cost me $86.00 every 6 days to feed the boys a bag of dry food plus $9.00 in toppers. I just need to know I have made the right decision
    thank you

    #43202 Report Abuse
    tracy b

    the blanked out word is brother I don’t know why that happened…..

    • This reply was modified 10 years, 1 month ago by tracy b.
    #64244 Report Abuse
    Jamie H

    Greetings giant breed owners,

    My current Dane is 10.5 years old and looks and acts like he’ll be around for a few more. He’s happy and and alert and active for his age. My buddy eats “Paleo” right along with me. Mostly Protein, (often red Pacific wild salmon–we live in Alaska) mixed with quality rice or root vegetables drizzled in olive oil and baked, carrots and celery (his fav) for snacks. He was boarded for a while when I couldn’t keep him and his caregiver gave him about 1/4 of fish oil in his dry food and and plenty of rawhide to keep him busy. When I got him back he was panting a lot and I assumed a heaet condition. X-ray showed a slightly enlarged heart. I did some research and discovered dry food is lacking in Taurine, L-Carnitine and Acytel L-Carnitine, among other critical amino acids and nutritional components. I started supplementing with the three amino acids, and adding squirts of liquid B-complex. His panting decreased and his eyes became focused and alert and his energy level increased. I abandoned my conventions on the focus of food “brands” and the idea of consistency. How boring. What do animals in the wild eat for dinner? Who cares? Its what ever gets them to the next meal! Variety and fluctuation is normal in the wild, and in fact stimulating for an animal. I mix table scraps with dry food. Dinner always taste different, what a pleasure for an animal whose sense of is also a form of communication! some days he doesnt get the dry food at all. Just after I started the supplemts I decided to feed him raw. I bought grass fed buffalo and he got 1/4 to 1/3 pound, give or take, twice a day. I’d recomend not using any grain fed meat for the reason it is sometimes 10x higher in the inflammatory Omega-6’s which is why we humans should avoid grain fed beef like the plague as well. Grass fed free range livestock has the balance of O-6’s to O-3’s that our paleo brethren grew up on and adapted to. But the most IMPORTANT thing one can do is treat your large breed friends as if they were your own grade school aged children. Get outside with them. Play with them outside like your own child. They DO have vocabulary you know. Just because they don’t show it in reciprocal speech doesnt mean they wouldn’t love to hear you talk to them about your activities. Label things when you are on walks. My buddy loves clover. When I get ready to drive him to a nearby trail i always ask if he wants to go smell “clover” or do you want to drink some water from the “stream”, excitement and anticipation dripping from my words. I don’t always know his choice but I always to to keep things varied. Satiate your large dogs with human interaction and variety. You’ll get more out of your companions than any top brand food can make a difference.

    #64245 Report Abuse
    Jamie H

    forgot to mention that a second X-ray several months later showed a perfectly normal sized heart and surprisingly good health for his age. Also that 1/4 fish oil thingy was 1/4 cup of fish oil-actually it was one or two glugs from a gallon jug so it might have been more. Gotta run, a big muzzle is knocking on my elbow. Somebody is wanting something… lol. Ciao

    #82250 Report Abuse
    Sally S

    It is true that puppy Danes who have high protein diets are prone to HOD (Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy) – a painful swelling of the joints during development, it is an infection brought on in most cases by high protein diets. The protein collects in the joints and cannot leave the body fast enough and causes infections. I do Great Dane rescue and we come across this a lot – at least 50% of the puppies that are surrendered have HOD due to high protein, cheap diets. (not all high protein is cheap mind you – just in this case that typically is the cause – like “Old Roy”). It is treatable but for Great Dane puppies and other giant breeds this is a huge no no. My own dog had HOD as a result of this, we have a dog that has gone Septic because of HOD being untreated, it is not anything to mess with. Adult Danes I believe can be more tolerant but it is documented, researched and validated in puppies under 10 months where growth plates have not closed.

    #82251 Report Abuse
    Sally S

    To clarify my own dog is a rescue puppy who came to us with HOD and I’ve successfully treated it but he will be on a 24% or less protein diet the rest of his life to avoid a flare.

    #82270 Report Abuse

    Hi Sally- As someone who works in Great Dane rescue you will be interested in these links. They however do not support the claim that protein (of any level) effects growth in large or giants breeds.

    http://www.susanwynn.com/Literature.php- Look at the Large Breed Puppy Nutrition link

    It’s been known for quite a while now that it is excessive calories and calcium- not protein- that cause disease like HOD, OCD, hip dysplasia etc.

    • This reply was modified 8 years, 6 months ago by Pitlove.
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