v3.7.0.1
Document and Entity Information - shares
3 Months Ended
Mar. 31, 2017
May 04, 2017
Document And Entity Information [Abstract]    
Entity Registrant Name DEAN FOODS CO  
Trading Symbol DF  
Entity Central Index Key 0000931336  
Current Fiscal Year End Date --12-31  
Entity Filer Category Large Accelerated Filer  
Document Type 10-Q  
Document Period End Date Mar. 31, 2017  
Document Fiscal Year Focus 2017  
Document Fiscal Period Focus Q1  
Amendment Flag false  
Entity Common Stock, Shares Outstanding   90,881,909