German Shepherd dogs have a reputation for being one of the most fiercely loyal, dedicated, hard-working, intelligent, and brave dog breeds out there. This comes from many many years working as police dogs, military dogs, and rescue dogs. Furthermore, German Shepherds make excellent companions, as they are kind, and gentle when they want to be (if not a bit stubborn). However, German Shepherds are also prone to quite a few hereditary health problems that can affect their development and growth.
However, a proper diet can help to curb the onset of such problems and potentially ease the symptoms. This is why we have created this easy guide to the best dog foods for German Shepherds available on the market today. Along with a quick look over what to be aware of when selecting your four-legged friend's diet, in order to help you make an informed decision.
The 10 Top Rated Dog Food for German Shepherds
|Taste Of The Wild High Prairie Dry Dog Food||Buy on Chewy||4.6|
|Royal Canin German Shepherd Adult Dry Dog Food||Buy on Chewy||4.8|
|VICTOR Purpose Grain Free Hero Canine Dry Dog Food||Buy on Chewy||4.7|
|Hill's Science Diet Puppy Large Breed Chicken & Oats||Buy on Chewy||4.7|
|ORIJEN Original Grain-Free Dry Dog Food||Buy on Chewy||4.6|
|Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken Recipe Dog Food||Buy on Chewy||4.7|
|Nutro Ultra Adult Dry Dog Food||Buy on Chewy||4.7|
|Merrick Classic Healthy Grains Lamb + Brown Rice||Buy on Chewy||4.6|
|Tuffy's Pet Food Nutrisource Large Breed Dog Chicken/Rice Food||Buy on Amazon||5.0|
|Diamond Naturals Large Breed Puppy Dry Dog Food||Buy on Chewy||4.3|
1 Taste Of The Wild High Prairie Dry Dog Food
- Brand: Taste of the Wild
- First 5 ingredients: Water Buffalo, Lamb Meal, Chicken Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Peas
- Primary Protein Source: Lamb, Chicken
- Calories: 422 kcal/cup
- Flavor: Lamb, Chicken, Sweet Potatoes, Peas
- Life Stage: Adult
Designed to mimic the diet of wild wolves – your dog’s ancestors – the Taste of the Wild High Prairie recipe is one of the best ones in the market for German Shepherds. This high protein formula boasts novel protein sources such as bison, venison, and buffalo, plus the usual chicken, lamb, and fish meal, providing a complete amino acid profile to support your dog’s muscle development and maintenance.
Aside from delicious meat, the recipe also contains vegetables and fruits rich in antioxidants, including sweet potatoes, blueberries, raspberries, and tomatoes, providing nutrients needed for a strong immune system and overall well-being. There are added vitamins and minerals too, as well as species-specific probiotics for gentle digestion. Undoubtedly one of the healthiest, most nourishing dog foods for German Shepherds! Taste of the Wild High Prairie is one of 7 recipes included in our review of Taste of The Wild Dog Food.
Water Buffalo, Lamb Meal, Chicken Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Peas, Potatoes, Chicken Fat (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Egg Product, Roasted Bison, Roasted Venison, Beef, Natural Flavor, Tomato Pomace, Potato Protein, Pea Protein, Ocean Fish Meal, Salt, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Dried Chicory Root, Tomatoes, Blueberries, Raspberries, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Dried Lactobacillus Plantarum Fermentation Product, Dried Bacillus Subtilis Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus Faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Bifidobacterium Animalis Fermentation Product, Vitamin E Supplement, Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Potassium Iodide, Thiamine Mononitrate, Manganese Proteinate, Ascorbic Acid, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Niacin, Calcium Pantothenate, Sodium Selenite, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Riboflavin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid.
2 Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition German Shepherd Adult Dry Food
- Brand: Royal Canin
- First 5 ingredients: Brewers Rice, Chicken By-Product Meal, Brown Rice, Oat Groats, Chicken Fat
- Primary Protein Source: Chicken, Rice, Oat Groats
- Calories: 321 kcal/cup
- Flavor: Chicken, Oat Groats
- Life Stage: Adult
Specifically crafted to meet the needs of pure breed adult German Shepherds, Royal Canin is one of the top dog food brands recommended for large breed dogs like German Shepherds with sensitive digestions. The recipe contains fiber-rich grains to support fragile digestion, as well as easily digestible proteins needed to help your German Shepherd develop strong muscles. High protein diets also help your German Shepherd to recover after an active day.
Additionally to boost skin and coat health that many German Shepherds struggle with, the formula contains a specific complex of nutrients, including fish oil and vegetable oil, plus an optimal level of vitamin E which is not only good for your dog’s skin health but their immune system as well. There are also chondroitin and glucosamine for joint health and balanced levels of DHA and EPA for overall health and well-being.
For a full list of our favorite options, see our round-up of Royal Canin Dog Food.
Brewers Rice, Chicken By-Product Meal, Brown Rice, Oat Groats, Chicken Fat, Pork Meal, Natural Flavors, Powdered Cellulose, Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Wheat Gluten, Fish Oil, Vegetable Oil, Sodium Silico Aluminate, Calcium Carbonate, Potassium Chloride, L-Tyrosine, Sodium Tripolyphosphate, Vitamins [Dl-Alpha Tocopherol Acetate (Source Of Vitamin E), Niacin Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (Source Of Vitamin C), D-Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Riboflavin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Vitamin A Acetate, Folic Acid, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement], Salt, Monocalcium Phosphate, Hydrolyzed Yeast, Choline Chloride, Dl-Methionine, Taurine, Glucosamine Hydrochloride, Marigold Extract (Tagetes Erecta L.), Trace Minerals [Zinc Proteinate, Zinc Oxide, Ferrous Sulfate, Manganese Proteinate, Manganous Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite, Copper Proteinate], Magnesium Oxide, Green Tea Extract, Chondroitin Sulfate, Rosemary Extract, Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols And Citric Acid.
3 VICTOR Purpose Hero Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
- Brand: VICTOR
- First 5 ingredients: Beef Meal, Peas, Sweet Potato, Chicken Fat, Menhaden Fish Meal
- Primary Protein Source: Beef, Chicken, Fish
- Calories: 384 kcal/cup
- Flavor: Beef, Chicken, Fish, Peas
- Life Stage: Adult
With its grain-free formula, this tasty dry dog food is a good choice for German Shepherds that may suffer from allergies or food sensitivities. But that doesn’t mean your active pet will miss out on the energy and nutrition they need to live their best canine life! Carefully formulated to give your dog the right balance of nutrients for good health, and with a delicious beefy taste your German Shepherd will love, this is a well-balanced adult dog food.
With added glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health, it will also help keep your energetic dog on the go, and the calorie level will keep them happily fueled. Add in omega 3 & 6, vitamins, and minerals for digestive and immune system health and with Hero Canine, you can sustain an active pooch without causing his gut any unnecessary irritation. VICTOR Purpose Hero Grain-Free Dry Dog Food is one of 5 dog food recipes mentioned in our review of the Victor Dog Food.
Beef Meal, Peas, Sweet Potato, Chicken Fat (preserved with mixed Tocopherols), Menhaden Fish Meal (source of DHA-Docosahexaenoic Acid), Blood Meal Conventionally Dried, Garbanzo Beans, Pork Meal, Yeast Culture, Dehydrated Alfalfa Meal, Natural Flavor, Potassium Chloride, Carrot Powder, Tomato Pomace, Salt, Organic Dried Seaweed Meal, Taurine, Choline Chloride, Calcium Stearate, Zinc Methionine Complex, Glucosamine Hydrochloride, Vitamin E Supplement, DL-Methionine, Iron Amino Acid Complex, Hydrolyzed Yeast, Chondroitin Sulfate, Manganese Amino Acid Complex, Silicon Dioxide, L-Carnitine, Selenium Yeast, Brewers Dried Yeast, Dried Enterococcus Faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Aspergillus Oryzae Fermentation Extract, Dried Trichoderma Longibrachiatum Fermentation Extract, Dried Bacillus Subtilis Fermentation Extract, Copper Sulfate, Niacin Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Biotin, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Calcium Carbonate, Riboflavin Supplement, Calcium Iodate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Tetrasodium Pyrophosphate, Vegetable Oil, Rosemary Extract, Green Tea Extract, Spearmint Extract, Inulin, Lecithin, Folic Acid.
4 Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Large Breed Chicken Meal & Oat Recipe
- Brand: Hill’s Science
- First 5 ingredients: Chicken Meal, Whole Grain Wheat, Whole Grain Oats, Whole Grain Sorghum, Corn Gluten Meal
- Primary Protein Source: Chicken, Wheat, Oats, Corn
- Calories: 394 kcal/cup
- Flavor: Chicken, Wheat, Oats, Corn
- Life Stage: Adult
Looking for the best food for German Shepherd puppies? Hill’s Science Diet has got you covered. Its Large Breed Puppy formulation features the right mix of proteins and fats to help your young pup grow and develop to its optimum. With chicken meal as the first ingredient, this recipe provides plenty of protein in an easily digestible form for your dog, paving the way for stronger muscles and a more efficient immune system.
This German shepherd puppy food features a nice blend of DHA-rich fish oil, antioxidant-filled fruits, as well as perfectly-sized kibble, making it one of the best dog foods for all large breed puppies, including German Shepherds.
Chicken Meal, Whole Grain Wheat, Whole Grain Oats, Whole Grain Sorghum, Corn Gluten Meal, Chicken Fat, Whole Grain Corn, Chicken Liver Flavor, Flaxseed, Dried Beet Pulp, Pork Liver Flavor, Fish Oil, Lactic Acid, Iodized Salt, Dicalcium Phosphate, Potassium Chloride, vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), Niacin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement), Choline Chloride, minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), Taurine, Oat Fiber, L-Carnitine, Mixed Tocopherols for freshness, Natural Flavors, Beta-Carotene, Apples, Broccoli, Carrots, Cranberries, Green Peas.
5 ORIJEN Original Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
- Brand: Orijen
- First 5 ingredients: Chicken, Turkey, Flounder, Whole Mackerel, Chicken Liver
- Primary Protein Source: Chicken, Turkey, Mackerel
- Calories: 473 kcal/cup
- Flavor: Chicken, Turkey, Mackerel
- Life Stage: Adult
With 85% of its ingredients consisting of animal proteins like chicken, turkey, yellowtail flounder, Atlantic mackerel, and whole eggs, among others, this Orijen Original recipe could very well be the best dry food for active German Shepherds. Only 15% of the ingredients are vegetables and fruits and absolutely none from grains, plant proteins, and even high glycemic potatoes. Because of its unique ingredient composition, this food provides the highest protein content, making it a perfect choice for highly active German Shepherds.
However, if you’re not really training or thoroughly exercising your pet every single day, you may find that this formulation may be a bit too much for your German Shepherd (and your budget!). In this case, you can opt for recipes that are lower in calories and protein, which are also typically more affordable as well. On the other hand, if your pup is quite active and you don’t mind spending a little extra on their food, this is a perfect pick. ORIJEN Original Grain-Free is one of 5 recipes mentioned in our review of Orijen Dog Food.
Chicken, Turkey, Flounder, Whole Mackerel, Chicken Liver, Turkey Giblets (Liver, Heart, Gizzard), Whole Herring, Eggs, Dehydrated Chicken, Dehydrated Turkey, Dehydrated Chicken Liver, Dehydrated Egg, Dehydrated Mackerel, Whole Red Lentils, Whole Pinto Beans, Chicken Fat, Whole Green Lentils, Whole Navy Beans, Whole Chickpeas, Lentil Fiber, Natural Chicken Flavor, Whole Peas, Pollock Oil, Pea Starch, Chicken Heart, Whole Pumpkin, Whole Butternut Squash, Collard Greens, Whole Apples, Whole Pears, Whole Cranberries, Dried Kelp, Salt, Zinc Proteinate, Mixed Tocopherols (Preservative), Vitamin E Supplement, Freeze-Dried Chicken, Freeze-Dried Turkey, Thiamine Mononitrate, Calcium Pantothenate, Copper Proteinate, Dried Chicory Root, Turmeric, Sarsaparilla Root, Althea Root, Rosehips, Juniper Berries, Citric Acid (Preservative), Rosemary Extract, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Bifidobacterium Animalis Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Casei Fermentation Product.
6 Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken Recipe Dog Food
- Brand: Blue Buffalo
- First 5 ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Peas, Pea Protein, Tapioca Starch
- Primary Protein Source: Chicken, Pea
- Calories: 409 kcal/cup
- Flavor: Chicken, Peas, Tapioca Starch
- Life Stage: Adult
Made with quality ingredients such as chicken, wholesome veggies, fruits, and legumes, the Blue Buffalo food provides plenty of energy and essential nutrients for the highly-active adult German Shepherd in your life. Empowering your dog to live to its fullest is a bevy of antioxidant-rich ingredients such as peas, sweet potatoes, flaxseed, blueberries, carrots, and more.
The kibble also takes care of your German Shepherd’s coat and skin, thanks to the inclusion of menhaden fish meal which provides optimal levels of EPA and DHA. Because there are no grains, soy, meat by-products, or artificial additives, this formula is a good choice for dogs who suffer from various food allergies, although any adult German Shepherd will thrive on it as well. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken Recipe is one of 10 dog food recipes included in our overview of Blue Buffalo Dog Food.
Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal (source of Glucosamine), Peas, Pea Protein, Tapioca Starch, Menhaden Fish Meal (source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids), Dried Tomato Pomace, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Flaxseed (source of Omega 6 Fatty Acids), Pea Starch, Natural Flavor, Dried Egg Product, Direct Dehydrated Alfalfa Pellets, DL-Methionine, Potatoes, Dried Chicory Root, Pea Fiber, Alfalfa Nutrient Concentrate, Calcium Carbonate, Choline Chloride, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, preserved with Mixed Tocopherols, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Sulfate, Vegetable Juice for color, Ferrous Sulfate, Vitamin E Supplement, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Blueberries, Cranberries, Barley Grass, Parsley, Turmeric, Dried Kelp, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Niacin (Vitamin B3), Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), L-Carnitine, Copper Sulfate, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), L-Lysine, Biotin (Vitamin B7), Vitamin A Supplement, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Sulfate, Taurine, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Calcium Iodate, Dried Yeast, Dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, Dried Aspergillus niger fermentation extract, Dried Trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation extract, Dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation extract, Folic Acid (Vitamin B9), Sodium Selenite, Oil of Rosemary.
7 Nutro Ultra Adult Dry Dog Food
- Brand: Nutro
- First 5 ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Whole Brown Rice, Brewers Rice, Rice Bran
- Primary Protein Source: Chicken, Rice
- Calories: 341 kcal/cup
- Flavor: Chicken
- Life Stage: Adult
Packed with antioxidant-rich fruits and veggies plus nourishing lean protein, the Superfood Plate by Nutro is an excellent choice for most German Shepherds. Like most of the contenders, this formula is also free from wheat, soy, and corn, which are known to be troublesome ingredients for dogs that struggle with grain gluten allergies or sensitivities.
Instead, your pup will get chicken, chicken meal, and salmon meal for protein, and brown rice, oatmeal, coconut, chia seed, kale, pumpkin, blueberries for carbohydrate content. In addition to the array of nutritious ingredients, this is a low-calorie, moderate-protein formula that is ideal for indoor German Shepherds as it provides an additional boost to the immune system to help protect them against illness.
Chicken, Chicken Meal, Whole Brown Rice, Brewers Rice, Rice Bran, Lamb Meal, Natural Flavor, Salmon Meal, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Sunflower Oil (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Whole Grain Oatmeal, Whole Flaxseed, Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, DL-Methionine, Salt, Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid (preservatives), Dried Coconut, Whole Chia Seed, Dried Egg Product, Tomato Pomace, Dried Kale, Dried Pumpkin, Dried Spinach, Dried Blueberries, Dried Apples, Dried Carrots, Zinc Sulfate, Niacin Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin E Supplement, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Selenium Yeast, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Vitamin A Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Rosemary Extract.
8 Merrick Classic Healthy Grains Lamb + Brown Rice
- Brand: Merrick
- First 5 ingredients: Deboned Lamb, Salmon Meal, Brown Rice, Barley, Oatmeal
- Primary Protein Source: Lamb, Salmon, Oatmeal
- Calories: 390 kcal/cup
- Flavor: Lamb, Salmon, Oatmeal
- Life Stage: Adult
Made with simple and natural ingredients, including lamb and salmon meal as the first two, plus whole grains like brown rice, barley, and quinoa. The Merric Classic recipe contains everything your adult German Shepherd needs to thrive. Other ingredients include apples, carrots, and chia seed, all packed with vitamins and antioxidants needed for a strong immune system.
The formula may not have a huge amount of protein in it, but it makes up for it by the inclusion of omega-3s and omega-6s as well as a handful of prebiotic ingredients to provide your German Shepherd with an interesting mix of anti-inflammatory, immune-boosting, and cardio-enhancing nutrients and supplements. It is free from soy, wheat, and corn, too.
See our round-up of the Merrick Dog Food.
Deboned Lamb, Salmon Meal, Brown Rice, Barley, Oatmeal, Lamb Meal, Chicken Fat, Quinoa, Natural Flavor, Flaxseed, Salt, Organic Dehydrated Alfalfa Meal, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Carrots, Apples, Minerals (Iron Amino Acid Complex, Zinc Amino Acid Complex, Zinc Sulfate, Sodium Selenite, Manganese Amino Acid Complex, Copper Amino Acid Complex, Potassium Iodide, Cobalt Proteinate, Cobalt Carbonate), Taurine, Chia Seed, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Mixed Tocopherols, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin A Acetate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Niacin, Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride), Citric Acid, Dried Lactobacillus Plantarum Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Casei Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus Faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product.
9 Tuffy’s Pet Food Nutrisource Large Breed Dog Chicken/Rice Food
- Brand: Tuffy’s Pet
- First 5 ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Barley, Oatmeal
- Primary Protein Source: Chicken, Barley, Oatmeal
- Calories: 44 g/cup
- Flavor: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Barley, Oatmeal
- Life Stage: Adult
Designed for large breeds like the German Shepherd, Tuffy’s NutriSource offers a different take on what the best food for a German Shepherd should look like. Its high-calorie, moderate-protein, and the reduced-fat recipe should appeal more to pet parents whose dogs are highly active.
The food is completely free of soy, corn, and wheat, too; instead opting for wholesome barley and rice to give German Shepherds more readily available energy without spiking their blood sugar. Further supporting their digestive health are probiotics and prebiotics that also help improve nutrient absorption and overall health and well-being.
Read here our detailed review of NutriSource dog food.
Chicken, chicken meal, brown rice, barley, oatmeal, natural turkey and chicken flavor, chicken fat (preserved with tocopherols and citric acid), dried plain beet pulp, flax seeds, menhaden fish meal (a source of fish oil), potassium chloride, brewers dried yeast, salt, DL methionine, choline chloride, minerals (zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, selenium yeast), vitamins (vitamin A acetate, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, niacin, d-calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, folic acid, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement), lactic acid, L-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), yucca schidigera extract, taurine, L-carnitine, calcium iodate, rosemary extract, yeast culture, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Aspergillus oryzae fermentation extract, dried Trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation extract, dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation extract.
10 Diamond Naturals Large Breed Puppy Dry Dog Food
- Brand: Diamond
- First 5 ingredients: Lamb, Lamb Meal, Whole Grain Brown Rice, Cracked Pearled Barley, Grain Sorghum
- Primary Protein Source: Lamb, Barley
- Calories: 414 kcal/cup
- Flavor: Lamb, Barley, Grain Sorghum
- Life Stage: Adult
Specifically crafted for large breed puppies including German Shepherd puppies, Diamond Naturals Lamb & Rice formula is guaranteed to help your pup grow into a strong, healthy adult dog. Vying for the position of the best food for the German Shepherd puppy, this recipe contains high-quality ingredients only, including lamb and fish meal for protein content, and whole grains and fresh fruits and veggies as carbohydrate sources.
Aside from lamb, the recipe also contains fish meal, brown rice, kale, chia seed, pumpkin, blueberries, coconut, spinach, and many more antioxidant-packed ingredients that help boost immunity. In addition, many of these ingredients are superfoods, meaning they provide a wealth of minerals and vitamins that can ensure healthy growth and development alongside supporting a healthy digestive system.
Lamb, Lamb Meal, Whole Grain Brown Rice, Cracked Pearled Barley, Grain Sorghum, Dried Yeast, Egg Product, Chicken Fat (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Ground White Rice, Fish Meal, Tomato Pomace, Flaxseed, Natural Flavor, Salmon Oil (Source Of DHA), Salt, Dl-Methionine, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Dried Chicory Root, L-Carnitine, Kale, Chia Seed, Pumpkin, Blueberries, Oranges, Quinoa, Dried Kelp, Coconut, Spinach, Carrots, Papaya, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Dried Lactobacillus Plantarum Fermentation Product, Dried Bacillus Subtilis Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus Faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Bifidobacterium Animalis Fermentation Product, Vitamin E Supplement, Beta Carotene, Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Potassium Iodide, Thiamine Mononitrate, Manganese Proteinate, Ascorbic Acid, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Niacin, Calcium Pantothenate, Sodium Selenite, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Riboflavin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid. Contains A Source Of Live (Viable), Naturally Occurring Microorganisms. The Facility In Which This Food Is Made Also Makes Food That May Contain Other Ingredients.
Best Food for German Shepherds Buying Guide
The German Shepherd is a highly intelligent, loyal, and courageous breed that makes for a wonderful and faithful companion. But like any other breed, the Shepherd also needs healthy, quality food to enjoy a long and happy life. To help you create an ideal diet for your pup, we’ve not only reviewed some of the best dog foods in the market but have also put together this comprehensive buying guide. Here, we cover everything you need to know about the German Shepherd diet, including tips on how to pick the best recipe for your pet, which ingredients to avoid feeding and so much more.
What to Consider When Buying Food for Your German Shepherds
To pick the best, healthiest food for your Shepherd, pay attention to the following things:
The life stage of your dog
Adults, puppies, seniors, pregnant, and lactating dogs have different nutritional requirements owing to the unique differences in their physiological functions. A puppy will require more calories, fat, and protein to develop properly, while a fully grown German Shepherd will typically need lower-calorie food that’s high to moderately rich in protein. Senior dogs will benefit more from a moderate protein, low-calorie diet that is supplemented with glucosamine, while pregnant and nursing German Shepherds may benefit more from eating a high-calorie diet that resembles that of puppies. Find out more about Senior Dog Food here.
On average, an adult active German Shepherd will require about 1,700 to 2,100 calories per day, however, a German Shepherd that works or engages in very strenuous exercise may have to be bumped to 2,500 calories or even 2,800 calories. German Shepherds with sedentary lifestyles will require about 1,200 to 1,500 calories per day. How active your pet is is an important factor to consider when buying dog foods because you want your pup’s diet to support their needs, not work against them.
Potential health problems
German shepherds may look formidable, but like any other breed, they’re prone to certain health problems, including hip dysplasia, bloat, obesity, degenerative myelopathy, spondylosis deformans, lupus, and pancreatic insufficiency. These health problems should always be taken into consideration whether in terms of management or prevention. For instance, if you know your dog is susceptible to hip dysplasia, consider foods enriched with glucosamine and chondroitin. Preventing bloat can be managed with recipes enhanced with probiotics and prebiotics, while immune-related diseases can be addressed with essential fatty acids, antioxidants, and probiotics. Dogs that suffer from various food allergies, on the other hand, will do best on simple recipes that contain a limited number of ingredients.
German Shepherd Nutritional Needs
To be healthy, fit, and happy, all dogs require a complete and well-balanced diet, including of course the German Shepherd. Here is what to look for in healthy dog foods for German Shepherds:
German Shepherds are highly valued for their athletic, muscular appearance. So, to support your dog’s energy levels and athletic build, it’s important to feed them a diet that is rich in animal protein. Plant proteins are also welcome in well-balanced recipes, but as they don’t contain some essential amino acids, they should be given as backup sources of proteins. Animal proteins such as meat, poultry, and fish provide the most complete essential amino acids which are the building blocks of your German Shepherd’s body. Check out our detailed review of high protein dog food.
Low to moderate fats
Fats are important for maintaining the integrity of your dog’s cells and tissues, as well as the production of hormones, and the promotion of optimum skin and coat health. Of particular importance are omega-3 fatty acids, especially DHA and EPA. Omega-6 fatty acids like linolenic acid are also important, but the balance between omega-6s and omega-3s should be as close to the ideal ratio of 4:1 if not 1:1. If there are more omega-6 fatty acids than necessary, there’s a tendency that inflammatory changes may be triggered instead of prevented.
Below average to moderate carbs
Because Shepherds are agile and active by nature, they need plenty of energy especially if they exercise a lot every day. Carbs are the principal source of readily available energy in food, and they’re also a good source of fiber which aids in digestion. However, they shouldn’t comprise more than 40% to 50% of the recipe composition, depending on the activity levels of your pup. In any case, you want quality ingredients in your dog’s kibble or canned food: antioxidant and fiber-rich fruits, vegetables, legumes, as well as whole grains if your dog doesn’t suffer from grain sensitivities or food allergies in general.
When buying food for your Shepherd, look only at brands and recipes that are complete and balanced, in other words, supplemented with all essential micronutrients. Aside from standard vitamins and minerals, it’s good if your dog’s food also contains added glucosamine, chondroitin, and probiotic organisms. These work well with other mainstay nutrients like calcium, phosphorus, zinc, selenium, vitamin B-complex, vitamins A, D, and E, and ascorbic acid.
Ingredients to Avoid Feeding Your German Shepherd
The main ingredients to avoid feeding your German Shepherd include:
- Garlic and onions
- Raisins and grapes
- Coffee and other caffeine products
- Macadamia nuts or walnuts
- Apple seeds
- Cherry and apricot pits
- Dairy products, especially milk
Our Top Pick – Taste of the Wild High Prairie
Made with high-quality ingredients, including a host of nutritious animal protein sources and antioxidant-packed veggies and fruits, the Taste of the Wild’s High Prairie Canine Recipe has got to be our top pick. With a whopping seven different animal proteins, this recipe contains all essential amino acids your Shepherd needs to remain strong, agile, and healthy. The formula also contains chondroitin and glucosamine for joint health, probiotics for digestive and immune health, and essential fatty acids for skin, coat, heart, and brain health.
Taste of Wild is a well-established and much-loved dog food brand, and their prairie canine recipe has easily topped our list as the best dog food for German Shepherd dogs, in our opinion.
Whilst there is some breed-specific dog food specifically designed for German Shepherds on the market, you don’t need to focus all of your energy on getting this special food, especially if you’re on a tight budget (as specialty food can get expensive). Instead, try to look for food formulated for large breed dogs. German shepherd puppies grow very quickly and require large breed puppy nutrition to maintain a healthy body through their rapid growth spurts.
Adult dogs are more prone to joint problems and hip dysplasia (a prominent hereditary health condition in GSDs). Therefore the best dog food for German Shepherds later in life would be something high in protein to support muscle growth and recovery – again, something often found in large breed dog food.
Since German Shepherds are classified as large dogs that can weigh from 60 to 90 pounds, the NRC recommends feeding a fully grown German Shepherd 1,740 to 2,100 calories every day, divided into two meals. This recommendation is based on a physically active German Shepherd, of course. But if your Shepherd is already in its senior years or leads a sedentary lifestyle, its daily calorie requirement can be reduced to 1,272 to 1,540 calories. German Shepherds with joint problems like hip dysplasia are best placed on a low-calorie diet to help reduce their weight and lessen its impact on their already-compromised joints.
Puppies, in general, should be fed three to four times a day, depending on their age. German Shepherd puppies 12 to 16 weeks old can be fed 4 times a day, but once they reach the 17th week, their daily feedings can be reduced to 3 times a day. And by the 6th month of age, a German Shepherd puppy can be fed twice a day like an ordinary adult.
It is usually recommended to change your German Shepherd puppy over to adult dog food from puppy food once they get to around 12 months of age at the earliest. This is in order to give them time for all their teeth to grow in, and for them to develop their digestion. Additionally, German Shepherd puppy food contains the necessary nutrients not only for proper physical growth, but for overall development such as sight, hearing, healthy joints, and bone growth, cognition, immune strength, and digestion. You should always consider the stage of development that your dog is at before switching their food, and if you are unsure don’t hesitate to contact your vet.
Gastric bloat is a benign condition that can quickly turn into a deadly complication without any warning signs. Several theories have been forwarded regarding the development of bloat, including rapid ingestion of food, feeding pets on elevated food bowls, drinking too much water right after eating, and getting a really strenuous exercise right after a meal. If your Shepherd is prone to bloating, consider feeding them foods that are enhanced with probiotics. At the same time, avoid recipes that contain gas-forming ingredients like cabbage, broccoli, kale, lentils, and soy.
So long as it is carefully stored, carefully handled, and carefully served, raw meat can be great food for German Shepherds. Natural Chicken fat and fish oil in controlled amounts can help to care for your dog’s coat, whilst the meat itself provides iron, calcium, fiber, protein, and all manner of nutrients for keeping your dog healthy. Just make extra sure that you are doing everything correctly. Raw meat carries a high risk of sickness when improperly prepared and can spread copious amounts of bacteria. Ensure you keep everything clean including your dog’s bowl and the surrounding area which will need cleaning between every meal.
German Shepherds can eat a good variety of human foods alongside their usual meals including; ground brown rice, carrots, blueberries, peas, peppers, peanut butter, quinoa, cashews, eggs, honey, popcorn, and oatmeal. And of course, they can eat all types of meat so long as they are prepared properly. Just keep in mind whether or not your dog has any food sensitivities such as wheat gluten or protein allergies before adding any of the above-listed foods to your German Shepherd’s diet.