This is a great question and a very important one. We do not want our Great Dane pups to grow too fast, and we need to make sure they do not get too much calcium or protein, in order to protect their joints, bones, and structure. There is a great amount of misinformation that is out there about feeding a Great Dane pup raw.
The main myth is that the raw diet is too high in protein. This simply is just flat out false. The raw diet is approximately 17%-23% protein. The reason is that raw meat, bones and organ meat are mainly composed of moisture-approximately 67% give or take. If you want to see the proof, here is the link http://www.nal.usda.g.... From there type in "raw chicken breast" or "raw beef sirloin" and it will take you to the Nutritional Analysis for that item. Make sure you type RAW or you will not get the correct results.
If you removed all moisture from raw, then yes it would be high in protein. And all lab analyses require moisture to be removed, when they test the food, which would explain why this myth spread in the first place.
It is now proven that a wolf and a dog are considered the same species:http://www.fiu.edu/~m.... Armed with that knowledge it makes sense that a Great Dane is no different. Guess what? Raw fed pups do not have unnatural growth spurts that often happens with puppy chow. Puppy chow has approximately 30% protein or higher-too much for a growing Great Dane pup. Grain-free kibble can have as much as 50%. With a raw diet, puppies grow at a steady, healthy, and natural pace.
I know 100's of people who have started their Great Dane pups off on raw. When the question about waiting 1 year is brought up, the reply is always, "Why wait 1 year to feed them a species appropriate diet?" They DO NOT grow too fast, they DO NOT have joint issues from eating a diet that is balanced perfectly in phosphorous/calcium and it is not high in protein.
I know we all want the best for our growing Great Dane puppies, and it is important that the raw diet, if fed, is researched and done correctly. For instance, it would not be natural for a dog to eat mainly bone, or just chicken backs. So, as with everything, this has to be fed correctly, as close to Nature's Model as possible, to achieve remarkable results.
I know this is a heated topic "raw feeding Great Dane pups", but the proof is out there and available for anyone who wants to understand the truth about this issue. I used to also think the raw diet was high in protein, but once I researched and gained knowledge, it was an amazing discovery. I can definitely say that I recommend starting your new large breed puppy on a raw diet.