You probably consider your German Shepherd a part of your family, not just a dog.
Many dog owners feel this way about their canine companions, and it can make a dog owner feel a strong sense of responsibility to give their dog the best possible life.
Good foods support active lifestyles for both you and your pup, so feeding your active German Shepherd a meal that is balanced and supports their bones, muscles, and mental health leads to longevity and aging that is less difficult.
With that said, we’ve decided that it is important to take a look at the best dog foods on the market that will best support the needs of your family’s German Shepherd and help your dog live a long and healthy life.
Our Reviews Of The Best German Shepherd Foods
Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
Nourish your canine companion with the balanced diet nature intended with Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Dry Dog Food!
Formulated with novel proteins including buffalo and bison, this grain-free recipe includes peas and sweet potatoes that deliver the highly digestible energy your active pup needs, along with natural antioxidant support from real fruits and vegetables and dried chicory root for prebiotic support and healthy digestion.
Antioxidants – Vegetables, legumes and fruits, including sweet potatoes, peas, tomatoes, blueberries and raspberries, provide nutrients that help support your dog’s overall well-being, while guaranteed levels of zinc, selenium and vitamin E support the immune system
Unique protein sources, Trusted brand, Grain-free
Orijen Puppy Food replicates a dog’s natural diet, while supporting their growth and development with a nutritious balance of meats, fruits, vegetables and grasses.
This healthy formula contains 80 percent delicious meats, including free-range chicken and turkey, chicken liver, whole eggs, fresh wild-caught fish, and 20 percent of vitamin-enriched fruits and vegetables.
Orijen Puppy Food is grain-free with a limited amount of carbohydrates. Large Breed Puppy is made with low-ash chicken and fish ingredients to help keep healthy levels of calcium and phosphorus.
Chicken liver, whole eggs and fresh wild-caught fish, and 20 percent of vitamin-enriched fruits and vegetables
Fresh Regional Ingredients, Never Out Sourced
Contains both Prebiotics (helps build Probiotic populations) and Probiotics (helpful bacteria that aids in digestion)
High Priced, Can cause loose stool and gassy
Meat: Free-run chicken and turkey
Bulk Order: NO
Featured Specs: 3.9 x 15.8 x 23.6 inches ; 28.7 pounds
An exclusive blend of fibers helps support healthy digestion in dogs prone to digestive upsets
Formulated for use as short-term elimination feeding and as long-term nutrition for dogs with food sensitivities
Hydrolyzed Protein Adult HP provides dogs the complete diet they require without causing issues
Highly palatable diet designed for adult dogs and growing puppies
Helps reduce skin and GI reactions that may be a result of sensitivities to common proteins found in pet foods
This product requires a veterinary authorization
Meat: No meat- Hydrolyzed Soy Protein
Size: 7.7lb, 17.6lb or 25.3lb bags
Bulk Order: YES/NO
Featured Specs: 17.7 x 2.8 x 17.7 inches; 25.3 pounds
A Beginner’s Guide To The German Shepherd Diet
Your German Shepherd is a unique animal, with special dietary needs.
Making sure that your dog has all of the right nutrients to support not only a healthy body but also ensure that your high energy German Shepherd has enough fuel to be active can be a daunting task.
Before you can buy the best food for your German Shepherd, it is important to understand what their body needs in order to perform at the optimal level.
For the German Shepherd, this means the right balance of nutrients to fuel high levels of activity, while also feeding the essential body systems.
It is also important to keep in mind that your German Shepherd is going to have different needs during different stages of their life. Puppies need different nutrients than senior German Shepherds.
Selecting the best food for your German Shepherd, means knowing what their bodies need. Adult German Shepherds should have a caloric intake of 1,700 to 2,100 calories per day.
If your German Shepherd is more active or participates in endurance or agility activities, they will likely need more calories to stay healthy.
When you are shopping for a quality food for your German Shepherd you also need to keep in mind that they will need a food that has meat protein to support muscles, and fats to give plenty of energy to support their active nature.
As we mentioned previously, your German Shepherd puppy will need more protein to support the rapid growth of bones and muscles, as well as higher levels of fat to support rambunctious puppy energy.
This means that your German Shepherd puppy may also need a higher caloric intake than puppies of other breeds.
On the flip side, your senior German Shepherd is going to also have different dietary requirements.
Look for senior foods with plenty of meat protein to continue to support muscles and bones, as well as promoting good joint health.
However, your senior German Shepherd won’t need as much fat as younger dogs.
With lower energy levels, senior dogs tend to pack on pounds, if there isn’t a change in dietary fat levels.
It may also be good to select a senior food for your aging German Shepherd that has a fish base.
Fish is high in protein and has fats that are great for keeping joints moving smoothly.
While it is important that you find the best food for your German Shepherd, it is also important to find a food that they like.
If you pup won’t eat the food you give them, it can’t provide the necessary nutrition your dog needs.
Make sure you find the right balance between nutrition and taste, because every member of your family deserves a meal that they love.
German Shepherd Food FAQ’s
Specifically formulated for use as short-term elimination feeding and as long-term nutrition for dogs with food sensitivities, it is a highly palatable diet designed for both adult dogs and puppies.
If you are a first time German Shepherd owner, or especially if you are a first time dog owner, you probably have a lot of questions about feeding your new family member.
We’ve found some of the most common asked questions about feeding a German Shepherd dog, and have thoroughly researched these questions to give you the best information on providing the best food for your German Shepherd.
Wet or Dry
This is an interesting question, and it is important to state from the start, that both types of food have advantages and disadvantages.
And it is also important to mention that both types of food can be great for your German Shepherd.
Our general answer to this question is that wet or dry really is a matter of preference, though for puppies and seniors there can be more compelling reasons to give wet food.
For adult German Shepherds, dry dog food is going to be your best bet.
Not only is dry food a more reasonably priced option for your adult German Shepherd, but there are also dental benefits to your dog eating a dry kibble.
Many of the quality dry foods on the market today are made with great ingredients and are nearly identical in nutritional value as wet foods.
However, dry kibble can work like a tooth brush for your dog, giving a good scrubbing with every bite.
For a healthy dog, and a healthy wallet, adult dogs, unless there is a medical reason, do just fine with a dry food. Senior dogs and puppies often cannot handle the hard chucks of dry food.
There is always the option of softening dry food with a bit of water, but this can be messy and often times, dogs don’t like their meal watered down.
To protect young puppy teeth, and to give your senior German Shepherd an easier to chew option, you may want to select a wet dog food product.
Just be prepared. Wet food is pretty messy and for those folks that are smell sensitive, wet dog food can have quite the odor.
How Much Should a German Shepherd Eat Each Day
The quantity of food that your German Shepherd is going to need each day is really dependent on their age, activity level and the food that you have selected.
Younger dogs will need a smaller quantity of food each day, in general.
As they grow you will want to increase their food to meet their activity level and growth.
Once your dog is an adult and their activity and growth have evened out, you can set a feeding amount and run with it.
However, as your dog ages, you may find that the same amount of food is either going uneaten, or causing your German Shepherd to gain weight.
This is a good time to reassess if the quantity of food your dog is getting is too much, or if a different product would be better.
Your dog food bag is going to be a quick and easy reference for how much you should feed your dog.
Especially if you are feeding a breed specific food to your German Shepherd, you can feel comfortable using the feeding suggestions on the bag.
However, if you aren’t comfortable relying on the food manufacturer for feeding recommendations, talk with your vet.
They will want to see the ingredient list and the nutritional breakdown of the food you are giving your German Shepherd.
This will allow your vet to make the best recommendation on food quantity, based on age of your dog, their activity level and the nutritional facts of the food.
What Foods are Bad for German Shepherds?
Just like other dogs, there are foods that your German Shepherd should avoid.
There are no German Shepherd specific foods that should be avoided, so if you have other dogs in your home, this list will work for them as well.
Chocolate: Contains theobromine a chemical toxic to dogs.
Caffeine: Not a food, but found in lots of human beverages.
Avocados: The entire plant is toxic to dogs including leaves and bark.
Grapes and Raisins: Grape skin is hard for dogs to digest. Additionally, grapes and raisins have been known to cause sudden kidney failure, though it is unknown why or the cause.
Garlic and Onions: Both contain thiosulphte which is known to be toxic to dogs. Thiosulphate causes a condition called hemolytic anemia, which is characterized by damage to red blood cells and an inability to transfer oxygen through the body.
Walnuts and Macadamia Nuts
Sweets containingXylitol: Xylitol is found in gums, candy, toothpaste and mouthwash. Xylitol can cause liver failure in dogs.
Tomatoes, including leaves and stems
Milk: Dogs do not have the digestive enzymes to process dairy foods.
Corn Cobs: Corn is fine, but dogs cannot digest the fibrous cob and can end up with blocked intestines
What Foods Should I Feed My German Shepherd?
Unless your vet recommends otherwise, you are best feeding your German Shepherd foods that are made for dogs.
These foods contain meats, grains, fruits, vegetables and minerals that your dog can safely consume and in quantities that are good for their health and development.
Dog foods should have a high quality meat protein like chicken, beef, lamb or fish.
They should also contain a healthy fat source, fruits and vegetables, grains, calcium and phosphorus, and Omega-3 fatty acids.
Select treats with quality meat proteins, healthy carbohydrates, and healthy fats.
Some fresh “human” foods are also a good option for snacks and treats, we’ll discuss this further in a moment, however make sure that you are providing healthy options for your pet, not just a bunch of junk food.
Recently, research has been published indicating that grain-free diets are not a good option for most dogs. Veterinarians have noticed some concerning health issues related to grain-free diets.
It is important to remember that while your dog may be related to carnivores, the domesticated dog has evolved to eat a variety of foods, and may be more omnivorous than carnivorous.
Their bodies need a balanced diet as much as ours does. If you want to give your pup a better option, choose a food that has rice, oats or barley as a grain option instead of wheat or corn.
What are Some of the Known Health Issues with the German Shepherd Dog Breed?
Like any pure bred dog breed, there are health concerns that you should be aware of.
While all dogs have a chance at getting a serious health condition, popular breeds like German Shepherds are more prone to diseases that can be passed through their genetics.
Unfortunately, these conditions are more common than necessary, due to irresponsible breeding practices.
If you are the proud owner of a German Shepherd or if you are considering a German Shepherd as a pet, you should be aware of the following common health concerns:
Hip and Elbow Dysplasia: Due to their size and their unique gait, German Shepherds are particularly prone to joint issues.
Megaesophagus: This can be a scary condition for any dog owner, but German Shepherds seem to be more prone than other breeds to developing this condition. Megaesophagus causes problems with eating and swallowing. There is not cure, but a change in diet and eating position can make eating easier for a pup with this conditions.
Cataracts: Generally a sign of aging, this cloudy layer that grows on the lens of the eye can make it difficult for your dog to see, and may eventually cause blindness.
How Often Should I Feed My German Shepherd?
A good rule of thumb when it comes to how often you should feed your German Shepherd, is to think about how often you like to eat.
Some people choose to feed their dog once per day, but think of it this way; if you only ate on time in a day, how would you feel?
You might feel really great right after eating, and then feel tired as your body starts to run out of fuel.
Your dog is the same. German Shepherds are especially high energy dogs, so providing them with a couple of meals a day will give them ample energy to get through the day, and keep them from begging for treats.
Large breed dogs like German Shepherds, especially those with barrel chests are prone to bloat, a condition where the stomach turns in the abdomen, causing food to be unable to pass to the intestines.
Bloat is often caused by dogs eating too much, too fast. To reduce the risk of this condition, give your German Shepherd a couple of smaller meals during the day instead of just one big meal.
What Human Foods Can My German Shepherd Eat?
It is sometimes really hard to resist those big brown eyes, especially when they are looking longingly at your dinner plate.
No matter how hard we try to avoid human food treats, sometimes you just can’t resist sharing with your German Shepherd.
If you want to give your German Shepherd “human” foods that aren’t a part of their regular diet, select healthy options that are low in fats and added sugars.
We suggest the following:
Cooked beef, pork or fish
And remember, feeding your German Shepherd lots of extra treats can lead to weight gain and other health conditions, so make sure you consult with your veterinarian before adding “human” foods to their diets.
Making good food choices for your German Shepherd is a lot like making good food choices for you. While they seem so different from us, their basic dietary needs are very similar to ours.
Hopefully with this guidance, you’ll be able to find the perfect food for your favorite German Shepherd.