German Shepherds (GSD) are more than just companions because they are also known for being amazing guard dogs. Well, these dogs have a huge build so they definitely need enough nutrients in order to stay healthy and strong. As you want your pet to be healthy you should give them the best dog food for German Shepherds.
Adult German Shepherds are really big, but they are known for their skin allergies and sensitive stomachs. This is the main reason why you need to pay close attention to the food that they are eating and create a special diet for them.
You don’t need to worry too much because we will guide you on how to create the best diet for your German shepherd and some of the best dog foods that you can give them.
When looking for the best dog food for German shepherds, consider one formulated for large and active dog breeds.
Whether you settle on dry, wet, or a mixture of both, ensure this dog food has a high protein percentage ranging between 18-22 % with added healthy carbohydrate sources.
All along, you need to choose a dog food that has high-quality proteins. Furthermore, avoid any German shepherd dog food that contains animal byproducts as its source of proteins. The reason being, these animal byproducts rarely fulfill your dog’s protein needs:
- Wellness Core Dry Dog Food for Puppies
- Wellness Complete Health Dog Food for Large Breed Dogs
- ORIJEN Dry Dog Food
- Taste of The Wild Dry Dog Food
Best Dog food for German Shepherds: Nutrients for Puppies
Puppies can grow rapidly during their first eight months of age so they require a lot of nutrients in order to support the development of their bones and muscles. When it comes to food, make sure that you give them something that is made for their breed type.
You need to feed them large breed puppy formulas because they are made to support the calorie, carbohydrate, and calcium needs of your dogs.
Small breed formulas usually have low calorie and fat contents, which may leave your dogs malnourished. Adult formulas won’t be a good idea for your puppies as they would have a hard time digesting them.
Your puppies need a total of 500 calories per day and it has to increase gradually as they grow. When the puppy reaches young adulthood, he should be able to consume about 1,500 to 1,700 calories a day.
Best Dog food for German Shepherds: Nutrients for Adults
If you don’t know yet, German Shepherds actually have a shorter colon compared to other large breed dogs. It means that they are always having a hard time digesting their food. This is the reason why your dog should have a precise diet to prevent any problem in their stomach.
An adult German shepherd actually needs about 1,700 to 2,400 calories per day. This is because of their huge build and their active lifestyle. For a senior or less-active dog, they have to consume about 1,300 to 1,600 calories per day.
For their food, it should have 18 to 24 percent protein and about 14 percent fat level. The protein should come from meat sources like pork, beef, fish, chicken, lamb, and more. You should also look for food with healthy fat, especially from canola oil, flaxseed or chicken.
Types of Dog Food for German Shepherds
Dogs eat a lot of food and they can almost eat anything. However, when it comes to dog food for German Shepherds, you need to be very specific on what to give them. Here are some of the dog foods that you can give them:
1. Dry Kibble
For puppies and adult and German shepherds, dry kibble dog food is a good choice since it comes in a large, it is very easy to store and you don’t have to put it inside the refrigerator. It contains all of the nutrients that your dog needs and it is extremely palatable. It comes in different flavors and formulas that they will surely love.
However, this type of dog food is not usually advisable for senior dogs as they might have a hard time biting it.
2. Wet Dog Food for German Shepherds
If you have a German shepherd that is only a few months old, getting wet canned dog food is a good choice. It is easier to chew and your puppy will not have a hard time digesting it.
Wet canned dog food contains about 80 percent water so your dog can easily absorb the nutrients. Since German Shepherds have problems with digestion, this is one of the best foods that you can give them.
If there are leftovers, make sure that you put them inside the refrigerator and remove the food from the can. If you want to feed this to adult dogs, you can combine wet and dry dog foods.
3. Semi-Moist Dog Food
This is very close to wet-canned food and it is also a good choice for picky eaters. If they have a hard time chewing dry dog food and they don’t really like the taste of wet dog food, you can go for semi-moist food. It has a 60 percent water content so it is quite different from wet canned food.
However, you should know that this is not the best option for all dogs since it has high sugar and salt. You have to be careful about the brand that you will buy and make sure that you check the ingredients before buying.
4. Freeze-Dried Food
This is not really the best for your dogs, but German Shepherds love freeze-dried food. Basically, it is rich in protein becau8se it is made from real cooked meat and it is put through a process to remove the water content.
The best thing about this is that the dog food will last for many years inside an undamaged package. Since the water is removed from the food, there is no risk of spoiling and your dogs can eat it for a long time. For feeding, just open the package and add water to it.
What is Best Food to Feed German Shepherds?
German shepherd dog food with salmon and trout is recommended as it contains omega 6 fatty acids, great sources of EPA and DHA. These fatty acids will help your GSD have a smooth and shiny coat. Consequently, Omega 6 has a strong anti-inflammatory activity and immune-boosting ability, all critical for the health of your German shepherd.
Also, when choosing the best dog food for German shepherds, consider one with ingredients like glucosamine and chrondotoin. Both of these ingredients are helpful for big dogs like German shepherds susceptible to joint issues. These ingredients help in reducing the rate at which your dog’s joints wear out.
Though controversial, you should use grain-free dog food for German Shepherds as it won’t trigger any allergic reaction. Such grain-free food lacks grains like wheat, rye, oat, corn, and maize, which cause tummy issues. In return, dog food brands use other sources of carbohydrates like sweet potatoes and potatoes.
However, before you subject your German shepherd to grain-free dog food, first consult your veterinary.
Note the below highlights:
- When you look for the best dog food for German shepherds, ensure it adheres to all guidelines from the association of American food control officials (AAFCO)
- Purchase dog foods manufactured in the USA, Canada, Western Europe’s Australia, and New Zealand- Food brands manufactured in these places undergo stringent measures before they are released to the market.
Top 4 Best Dog Food for German Shepherds
Looking for the right dog food for your German shepherd is not easy and even if you actually know what to look for, it is pretty hard to find the right one for your dog. You don’t need to worry because we will list our top choices in dog food for German Shepherds category that will provide the nutrients for your pet.
As the name suggests, this is a dog formula created for puppies and this is definitely the best choice for your German Shepherds.
This is high-protein dog food for puppies that contains chicken meal, turkey meal, deboned chicken, peas, potato, potato protein as well as chicken fat.
German Shepherd puppies need a lot of protein for their growth and development and this dog food formula is definitely the best in the market.
It is a grain-free formula that can help reduce the risk of allergies and it is the best one out there for dogs with sensitive stomachs like German Shepherds.
You have to remember that this dog formula is meant for puppies and it doesn’t contain enough calories and protein to support the needs of an adult German Shepherd.
If you need complete dog food for your German Shepherd, this is the best choice that you have.
Wellness Complete Health Dog Food for Large Breed Dogs contains the right amount of nutrients that your dog needs in order to grow strong and healthy.
If you have a German Shepherd in your house, this dog food formula will surely be a good choice.
It has a chicken and salmon recipe that your dog will surely love. The key ingredients include chicken meal, deboned chicken, ground brown rice, salmon meal, and peas.
All the nutrients that your puppy needs can be found in this particular dog food formula and it will allow them to grow strong and healthy.
You don’t have to look elsewhere because this is the perfect dog food for your German Shepherd puppies. If you think that your puppies need more nutrition and protein, this dog food formula can guarantee that your dog will live healthy and strong.
When it comes to adult German Shepherds, you need to be very meticulous about the dog food that you will buy.
It has to be made from high-quality meat sources and it should contain enough protein and calories for the daily needs of your dogs.
Orijen Dry Dog Food fits all the requirements needed for high-quality dog food for your adult German Shepherds. It is made from freeze-dried chicken and turkey, wild herring and flounder, and nest-laid eggs.
These ingredients provide a lot of protein for your dogs and it is the main reason why this dog food is one of the best for your large dogs.
It also contains low glycemic fresh fruits as well as vegetables that can make sure that the digestive health of the dogs will be maintained.
This recipe does not have any synthetic protein or additional fats so it is very healthy for your dogs. All of the ingredients are also safe and fresh.
Taste of The Wild Dry Dog Food is one of the top favorites in this list simply because it is very tasty for dogs and it can provide complete nutrition to large breeds.
If you have a German Shepherd in your house, you might want to try this extremely palatable dog food that contains wild game proteins on the recipe, which makes it a very popular choice for dog owners.
It has roasted quail, smoked turkey, and roasted duck that can provide the rich flavor of unique and rare protein sources and also has K9 strain probiotics that are made for dogs to help with the digestion process.
What Foods Are Bad For German Shepherds?
Like their cousin in the wild German shepherds will tend to eat whatever they get in their way. Sometimes they may not know what is beneficial or harmful. You are the one to choose for them. Always remember, anything offered to your German shepherd may have beneficial or detrimental effects.
With that, you need to monitor everything your German shepherd consumes. Let’s check what foods are bad for German shepherds.
Dairy products – the tummy of the German shepherd is not well set to digest dairy products like milk. Dairy products will cause diarrhea and bloat on your German shepherd.
Chocolate – chocolate has a component known as theobromine which is bad if given to German shepherds.
Candy and gum – candy and gum contain xylitol, a sweetener that is harmful to German shepherds.
Onions and garlic – Onions and garlic given to German shepherds may destroy the red blood cells.
Tomatoes – raw or cooked tomatoes can cause cardiovascular problems to your German shepherd.
Carbonated drinks – carbonated drinks will destroy your dog’s liver and kidneys.
Alcoholic drinks – German shepherds should never consume alcohol as it can destroy their livers.
Grapes and raisins – grapes and raisins are toxic for German shepherds. Loss of appetite, lethargy, and vomiting are some of the signs that your German shepherd has consumed Grapes and raisins. You also should avoid dog foods with artificial preservatives, and flavors-these artificial preservatives and flavors will trigger allergic reactions.
What Is the Best Dry Dog Food for German Shepherd Puppy?
Before choosing the best dry dog food for your German shepherd puppy, you need to consider whether it’s capable of fulfilling your puppy’s dietary requirements.
You will need the best dry food for a German shepherd puppy to formulate for large dog breeds.
If you choose dog food for small dogs, you will not fulfill your German shepherd puppy needs in its diet.
As earlier discussed, German shepherd puppies will require 500 calories in a day. With that, you need to ensure any dry dog food for a German shepherd puppy will have the capacity of supplying such calories.
Also, check the best dry dog food for German shepherd puppies has a protein concentration of 18 to 22% of proteins – such is crucial as you want your puppy to grow with strong and healthy muscles. However, monitor the concentration of proteins this puppy takes in a day as too much of it will cause tummy issues.
Fats on your German shepherd puppy food should scoop 8% to 12%, and Omega 6 fatty acid is one of the best sources of fats for your German shepherd.
While you give your German shepherd puppy dry food, you need to ensure the puppy is well hydrated since dry dog food has low moisture content.
If you subject your puppy to dry food for long, he risks becoming dehydrated and lastly develop kidney and liver issues.
When Can I Switch My German shepherd Puppy to Adult Food?
As your German shepherd puppy grows, you will be enthusiastic about introducing adult food to it. Right?
However, what’s the best time to start them on adult food?
As a rule of thumb, you should start German shepherd puppies to adult food when they attain 80% to 90 % of their adult size. By this time, their tummies and teeth are challenging and well developed.
However, the pace at which your puppy grows will be a crucial factor when your start adult dog food. Some puppies may start when they turn eight months, whereas, for others, you may have to start when they hit 12 months.
Worth noting, when introducing adult food, you need to do it in phases. First, use 1/4 of the new food to the original puppy food, do it for 4-7 days.
Next, use 1/2 of the new adult food and 1/2 of the original puppy food and follow so for 4-7 days.
Next, use 3/4 of the adult food and 1/4 of the puppy food while monitoring the progress. While doing that, your veterinary should be on board. The veterinary will advise you appropriately and also help you in case your dog develops food allergies.
- This transition from German shepherd puppy food to German shepherd adult food can take 2-6 weeks.
- Changing the dog food all at once may cause gastric intolerance that comes with symptoms like bloat, dog flatulence, and even diarrhea.
Is Raw Meat Good Dog Food for German Shepherds?
You can feed your German shepherd raw meat, but it all depends on your preference. If you decide to feed your German shepherd on an entire raw meat diet, ensure it’s from the best sources.
If you pick this direction, you should be aware of the risks involved in it.
Your German shepherd risks not getting enough nutrients from an entirely raw meat diet. It would be best if you understood that your German shepherd might become malnourished as it’s not getting other essential nutrients like vitamins and carbohydrates.
The higher the risk of contracting diseases- undercooked or raw meat will have a high concentration of salmonellae and E coli.
Choking hazard- meaty weight-bearing bones like lamb thighs which are hard to crack, risks choking your German shepherd.
If you decide to settle on an entire raw meat diet for your GSD, it would be best if you considered talking to your veterinarian and discuss whether it’s the right path to take.
Now you know what you need for your German Shepherd
As you can see, German Shepherds might be giant, but they are very delicate dogs. They would need a lot of care and support to grow strong and healthy. This nature is also the reason why you need to be very picky about what they eat. Don’t be afraid to try something new, especially if the dog food you have been giving them is lacking. You can try different dog foods as long as you gradually change the dog formula.
PS. All these brands of dog food also match the needs of a Golden Retriever.