German Shepherds are among America’s most favorite dogs.
In fact, let’s extend that to the rest of the world too.
There are a lot of good reasons why this breed is popular which include loyalty, K9 service, and rescue missions.
That is why it is also important to know what the best dog food for German Shepherds is if you, or plan to, own one.
In this guide, we will give you a highlight on German Shepherds in general, followed by which ingredients to look for and which to avoid while picking a dog food for your GSD.
Also, we’ll present you a few recommendations on how often to feed your dog based on his age and needs.
And as always we’ll conclude with a list of 5 products that we highly recommend for German Shepherds.
The idea is to get you familiarized with the breed and its needs before giving you recommendations as your dog may not fit in our description of a standard German Shepherd.
In which case (and in every case, actually), we highly advise you to check with your vet before changing your German Shepherd’s diet.
Any unhealthy changes can cause a lot of health issues for your dog.
The German Shepherd is probably the most recognizable dog everywhere in the world.
How would it not be when this amazing breed can be trained to do literally everything a dog possibly can do, and a little bit more.
In fact, let me list out the things a German Shepherd can do with enough training:
Guarding, guiding and assistance, emotional service, search and rescue, detections of drugs and bombs and everything in between, herding, police and military service, and that’s just from the top of my head.
A GSD may not be the smartest dog, but he is indeed one of the most adaptable dogs you can find.
He is energetic, active, alert, ready to play when it’s appropriate and ready to serve when it’s due time.
He is also a big dog that usually grows to weigh a 100 pounds and be as tall as 2 feet.
That is indicative of how strong this dog is as well as how much energy he has when he has been properly taken care of.
As big and strong as they are, they have a weak digestive system that depends on you to provide only high-quality food.
That means that you should provide the best food that can give your dog a healthy diet.
You are responsible for keeping your GSD healthy at all times if you want to be a respected dog owner.
To do that, you have to understand what does your German Shepherd needs in his food diet.
Here are 10 essential German Shepherd diet tips to keep in mind.
We’ll answer that down below.
What we’ll mention down below may be true for almost all big dog breeds.
However, we’ll try to stay as specific to the German Shepherds as possible.
Meeting their nutritional needs is a definite must so that your dog can enjoy a lengthy, healthy life.
Otherwise, your dog may suffer from some known diseases that are primarily caused by poor diets and malnutrition.
It is important for you, a dog owner, to try your best and keep your best buddy healthy.
To do that, you need to know what to look for in your dog’s food.
As dog food product companies differ in quality and do not always specify which food is for which breed, it’s up to you to make a conscious decision.
There are three things to always look for when buying the best dog food for your German Shepherd:
Much like any other dog breed out there, proteins are the most important macronutrient in your dog’s diet.
That’s because it is what gives your GSD its muscle strength.
According to AAFCO recommendations, your dog’s diet should about 20% proteins when he is an adult.
The percentage is slightly higher for a growing puppy and slightly lesser when he is old.
It is important to note that the quality of protein matters just as much as the quantity.
If the protein source is unnamed, you should definitely not buy that dog food.
It will most likely cause more digestive issues than save you money.
The second most important nutrients in your German Shepherd’s diet are Fats.
His diet should contain about 8% animal-based fat.
That will give him an energy boost to keep him active and healthy.
Not only that, but these fats are what you should thank for the nice coat he has on every day.
Without high-quality fat, your dog’s coat will lose all that makes it beautiful and healthy.
Another important thing to consider when looking for your GSD food bag is the quality and source of carbohydrates.
It may not be as important as fats and proteins, but they will keep your dog’s diet balanced.
The source for the carbs is still debated among experts, but the best choice you can make is avoiding ingredients that can be hard to digest or cause any form of allergic reaction.
Read this to know more about what to look for in a GSD dog food.
You can know more about that from your vet.
Now that you know what to look for in your German Shepherd’s food, you should know what to avoid.
Although I briefly mentioned a few, I will repeat them for the sake of your dog’s health.
Cheap dog food products will usually have unnamed animal protein sources as ingredients in their recipes.
However, you may also find some of the affordable brands not disclosing their animal protein sources.
If that’s the case, you should NEVER get those dog foods as they may turn out to be harmful to your dog.
It is safer to avoid them.
These ingredients are acceptable to a certain degree for certain breeds.
However, in the case of a German Shepherd, they are best avoided just as much as unnamed animal protein sources.
For one, you don’t know the quality of the proteins you are getting, nor their actual source as a by-product could mean, literally, anything.
Considering that your dog digestive system may not handle bad dog food, it is not necessary to put your dog to the test with by-products.
Learn more about animal by-products in dog food.
Filler ingredients are harmful, but they aren’t doing your dog any good either.
They are just there to fill your dog.
If you can afford a little bit more expensive brands, you will find that they do not contain corn or any type of grains.
We recommend that you try and avoid filler ingredients as much as possible, especially if your dog is allergic.
It is always best to take precautions.
Usually, we wouldn’t include this a list of things to avoid in a dog’s food.
However, German Shepherd’s needs as a puppy are far different than an adult.
That is why you should always look for products that are age-specific.
We would recommend trying to find specific food for the breed.
But that has proven to quiet hard. If you can find a food designed specifically for German Shepherd, then, by all means, buy it after double checking the ingredients used.
Otherwise, look for the next best thing, which are the 5 products we’ll recommend later in the article.
Watch this video to know more about foods to avoid giving your dog!
Just like humans, dogs need different amounts of food based on their age, size, levels of energy, as well as how much activity they are involved in.
Unfortunately, we cannot give any food recommendation except based on your dog’s age.
Even then, our recommendations must be taken with a grain of salt and double checked with your vet.
Big dogs are usually considered so when they reach the age of 2.
Every day leading up to that is considered part of his puppyhood life.
You can learn more about that if you check out our article on the puppy’s life stages.
500 is the recommended number of calories in puppy diet before the age of 12 months.
You should feed him 4 times a day before the age of 6 and 2 times before his first birthday.
He’s a rundown for feeding your puppy:
Once your German Shepherd is 1 year old, he’s ready to be running around the yard, jump, and have as much fun as possible.
You should be careful about that, though.
But when it comes to feeding him, it’s much easier than a puppy.
You only have to feed once a day.
His diet, however, should have about 1620 calories per day.
And it increases when he gets older too.
In fact, when he is fully grown, a German Shepherd would need about 2200 calories in his diet.
Yet, the quality of the dog food you give should remain as best as you can possibly afford, and a little bit more.
Just like humans, old dogs aren’t that active when they get old.
A German Shepherd may turn to be a very lazy, couch potato dog when his age gets to him.
However, the cuddliness just gets better.
You should feed your dog a little less at this age, so he doesn’t get too fat.
That’s why the number of calories is almost cut in half.
He’ll only need about 1300 calories per day.
Yet, the quality should remain just as good as before.
In fact, it’s more important to make sure that is premium and as healthy as a dog food can get.
You can find out more here.
Now that you know what to look for in a dog food and what to avoid, it is time to let you know about the best options that we could find for you.
They all fit the criteria of quality dog foods that a German Shepherd would enjoy without having to go through health issues.
These dog foods were selected based on their ingredient quality and their price.
That is to ensure that if you take a dog food based on our recommendation, you should know that we tried our best to select them for you.
However, any decision you make should be backed by your dog’s vet.
Let’s get to meet our 5 dog foods and review them:
This is one of the most known brands in the industry does a good a job providing a healthy dog food recipe for your GSD.
Natural Balance is well-known, and their Lamb Meal and Brown Rice formula is great for your large dog.
It's also one of the best limited ingredient dog food in the market!
Although the product line is average, getting a 3-star rating across the board, this formula works wonders for German Shepherds.
The first five ingredients are Lamb Meal, Brown Rice, Ground White Rice, Rice Bran, Canola Oil.
These ingredients secure a healthy level of proteins, fats, and carbs to meet your dog’s nutritional needs.
Here are the pros and cons:
As much as we consider this dog formula a good quality one considering its price, we still consider an average dog food.
That’s why it is getting a 3.5 stars rating.
You can read our own review of Natural Balance dog food here.
By far one of our favorite in this list is the Canine Formula from Taste of the Wild.
In fact, it is a best-seller on Amazon, and that’s for good reasons.
The ingredients in this recipes are everything we talked about above.
DogFoodAdvisor rates this dog food recipe 4.5 stars, which is saying enough about it.
However, it is also a great idea to look at the five ingredients used.
Here are the pros and cons:
It is based on this information that we consider Taste of the Wild’s Canine Formula a good quality dog food deserving of a 4-star rating.
Have a look at our own Taste Of The Wild Dog Food Review!
It is important to feed your dog wet dog food as it may be healthier than dry.
And when it comes to German Shepherds, the rule still stands.
In fact, Purina Beyond Natural is a recipe that you would want to mix with your GSD dog food to increase his protein, fat, and carbs when he needs it.
Also, if you are trying to change your dog’s diet from dry to wet dog food, Purina is a 4.5 star rated dog food.
That is because the first ingredient in their formula is Beef and the recipe is grain free.
Here are the pros and cons:
As it is obvious, this dog food would make your dog run toward the bowl as soon as you pick it up.
That is why we also like to give it a 4-star rating.
Read our own Purina One Dog Food Review (TOP 5 PRODUCTS).
Our runner-up for the best dog food for a German Shepherd is made by Precise Pet.
The Holistic Complete Adult dry dog food formula is one you should start giving your dog as soon as he is old enough to handle it, which is when he is about 2 years old.
It is a 4 star rated dog food and for good reasons.
The recipe is everything your GSD hopes for and dreams about.
That is why you should get it to him.
The ingredients used include Chicken, Chicken Meal, Ground Brown Rice, Oatmeal, Chicken Fat.
Here are the pros and cons:
We like this dog food very much.
That is the reason why we are giving it a strong 4.5-star rating.
At 4 months, when your German Shepherd puppy is ready to follow a dry dog food diet, this recipe is what you should consider.
Wellness Core Natural is a customer’s favorite on Amazon.
The formula does well with active puppies and keeps them healthy and safe.
You wouldn’t be surprised to hear that it is rated a complete 5-star rating on DogFoodAdvisor.
The quality of the ingredients is beyond reproach.
Using deboned chicken and chicken meal as the first two ingredients helps to make this recipe easily digestible for your puppy.
Here are the pros and cons:
Based on the information above, it is obvious that this recipe is our favorite.
That is why we are awarding a full 5-star rating as well.
Have a look at our FULL REVIEW of Wellness Core Dog Food (TOP 5 PRODUCTS).
Owning a German Shepherd is by no means an easy task.
The dog is wonderful, but you should be ready to be the super dog owner.
Let us know in the comments down below what do you think is the best dog food for a German Shepherd?
Or, if you have or had a GSD, tell us what you feed him!
Hi, there! My name is Youness, a professional content writer and marketer. I love dogs, and I think Huskies are, for most of the time, better than humans. I am, also, the owner and editor of WritersDo. I hope you enjoyed reading this blog post because I enjoyed writing it. Don't forget to share it with your friends!
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