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Best Dog Food for German Shepherds : Top GSD Puppy, Adult & Senior Recommendations for 2019

Introduction

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When it comes to feeding man’s best friend, you want to ensure that you are choosing the most suitable options for your dog’s needs. With so many different options now available on the market, it can be quite difficult to know what is good and what is… not ideal. That is why we have put together a little information regarding the best dog food for German Shepherds, to help owners who would like to know a little more. We look at all stages of life, from puppy to senior, as well as different budgets and ingredients. We have made sure that no one is left out!

6 Special Dietary and Nutritional Considerations of German Shepherds

Due to German Shepherds being large dogs with a working dog history, it is important that they meet certain dietary and nutritional standards including a diet that is rich in:

  • Protein: To keep up energy levels.
  • Carbohydrates: For healthy energy.
  • Fruits & Vegetables: Ensure you know which ones can harm German Shepherds though!
  • Good Fats: For energy.
  • Vitamins & Minerals: For overall health.
  • Fatty Acids: For a shiny coat.

5 Key Nutritional Needs of a German Shepherd Puppy

A German Shepherd puppy has different dietary requirements to that of an adult dog, as they are growing at a considerable rate. There are 5 key nutritional needs that a German Shepherd puppy has, including:

  • A protein-rich diet.
  • Plenty of calcium.
  • Lots of fat.
  • Phosphorous
  • High calorie levels to help growth.

German Shepherd Puppy Feeding Chart

6 Week Old German Shepherd

  • At this age, it is crucial to ensure your puppy is receiving the same nutrients as if they were being fed by their mother
  • Ideally, a 6 week old puppy should still be feeding from their mother
  • It is tricky to replace the micro and macro nutrients that a puppy receives from their mother’s milk, as well as any antibodies
  • They are growing very fast, so they need enough nutrients to sustain their growth

10 Week Old German Shepherd

  • Puppies are generally weaned off their mothers from around 8-10 weeks of age
  • As puppies are weaned off, the amount of puppy food they require increases
  • They need to be fed at least 3 times a day
  • To help their little bodies with the transition from mother’s milk to puppy food, it is best to start with wet food (as it contains around 85% moisture)
  • Using wet food helps to prepare their digestive systems for whole food, which will be introduced to a puppy’s diet in time
  • Again, they are growing very fast, so they need enough nutrients to sustain their growth

12 Week Old German Shepherd

  • Around 12 weeks of age, the transition from wet to dry food begins
  • Ensure the transition is in small steps, to avoid causing any upset to the puppy (e.g. diarrhea and/or vomiting)
  • As a guide, start with a 10% dry food, 90% wet food mix and increase the dry food by 10-15% each week after that
  • They need to be fed at least 3 times a day
  • Still growing!

3 Month Old German Shepherd

  • Once your puppy hits 3 months old, they should be almost fully transitioned to dry food only
  • Avoid foods that say ‘all stages’, as they likely do not include all the nutrients a 3 month old puppy needs
  • As a guide, feed them a total of 1-2 cups of dry food a day
  • They need to be fed at least 3 times a day
  • Still growing!

5 Month Old German Shepherd

  • By 5 months old, your puppy should be used to their dry food
  • Additionally, around 4-5 months of age introduce some live animal products into their diet such as actual bone, raw eggs and liver
  • They need to be fed at least 3 times a day
  • As a guide, feed them a total of 1-2 cups of dry food a day

1 Year Old German Shepherd

  • Around the 12-month mark, you will notice your dog is slowing down their eating as their metabolism is also slowing down
  • Feed them once to twice a day
  • Puppies continue growing until 18-24 months, so ensuring they have enough nutrients to continually support their growth is super important

Best Dog Food for German Shepherds

Ollie Healthy Turkey Feast

Top 5 Ingredients: Ground Turkey, Pumpkin, Turkey Thigh, Turkey Liver, Turkey Heart

Caloric Content: 1,390 kcal ME/kg

Feeding Instructions: Dependent on the dog

Key Features

  • Fresh, custom meals
  • Do not use a proprietary blend of nutrients (which means that the vitamins and supplements are listed individually on the ingredients list)
  • Meet the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) standards
  • Suitable for all life stages
  • Human grade
  • No artificial flavors
  • Designed with the help of a veterinary nutritionist

Overall Best Dog Food for German Shepherds – The company known as ‘Ollie’ is a unique one on this list, as it is a business that delivers fresh dog food to your door – it isn’t a dry food or canned food option. The food is cooked on a low heat, to keep the nutrients intact, through a human grade kitchen that has minimal processing actions. Ollie offers customized dog food for your German Shepherd – you tell them all about your furry best friend, their age/weight/needs and a meal plan is created especially for them.

The food comes frozen and must be stored in the freezer, however there are two defrosting requirements you need to be aware of. Firstly, you must refrigerate the food for 12 hours after receiving it, before the first meal can be given to your dog and secondly, it is recommended that you defrost any particular pack for around 24 hours before mealtime. It is also worth noting that packaging is not resealable, which is a nuisance so you must ensure you have a properly sealed container to store any leftovers.

Now, the mix itself. The ‘Turkey Feast’ blend offered by Ollie is a great, balanced, wet dog food for any German Shepherd. It is made of ground turkey, turkey liver, turkey gizzards and turkey thigh for a heart healthy combination, as well as lentils, pumpkin, kale, blueberries and carrot. Carrot offers phytonutrients that assist with eye health and blueberries are high in antioxidants, as well as vitamin-dense pumpkin for all-round health. There are also chia seeds, which are a source of manganese, zinc and copper, as well as iron sulfate, vitamin E, coconut oil and cod liver oil. The Turkey Feast dog food offered by Ollie is AAFCO approved, meeting the nutritional levels set in the guidelines, as well as being created in conjunction with a veterinary nutritionist for expert assistance and advice.

And that is why it is the overall best dog food for German Shepherds.

Pros

  • Ollie customizes meals using the information you give them about your German Shepherd
  • All meals are human grade, and assembled in a human grade kitchen
  • No artificial preservatives
  • All ingredients are from the USA

Cons

  • Food comes frozen
  • The price is quite high
  • You need to refrigerate the food for at least 12 hours before the first feeding

Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: Buffalo, Lamb Meal, Chicken Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Peas

Caloric Content: 3,719 kcal/kg (370 kcal/cup)

Feeding Instructions: 3 – 4 1/3 cups a day for an adult dog

Key Features

  • Grain and gluten free
  • Formulated with novel proteins such as bison and buffalo
  • Natural recipe
  • Ingredients from trusted and sustainable sources

Most Popular Food for German Shepherds – A common dry food choice for German Shepherds is Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Dry Dog Food. Coming in 5lb, 14lb and 28lb bags, this mixture allows you to buy a smaller bag for your dog to try before buying a larger amount. Taste of the Wild have used a natural recipe for this food, using novel protein sources such as buffalo and bison as opposed to other common meat protein choices. Peas and sweet potato are great additions for easily digestible energy, as well as antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables for all an active German Shepherds needs. There is also the addition of dried chicory root, which offers prebiotic support and aids healthy digestion, as well as beef and roasted venison for lean nutrition and support for lean muscles.

All the ingredients in this dry dog food are from trusted and sustainable sources, as well as being grain-free and without corn, wheat, filler or any artificial colors, preservatives or flavors. The recipe is both nutrient-rich and highly digestible, with a proprietary K9 strain probiotic blend offering a huge beneficial boost to your furry friend’s digestive health. There are also omegas 3 and 6 fatty acids, for skin and coast health, as well as digestible proteins for energy that lasts. Taste of the Wild is made in the USA and is a family owned and run business (and proud of it!) however this food is a more expensive option on the market. Additionally, if you are concerned regarding the FDA warnings relating to DCM, this food may not be the choice for you.

The Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Dry Dog Food is the most popular food for German Shepherds, and looking at the above, you can see why.

Pros

  • Peas and sweet potato for highly digestible energy
  • Natural antioxidant support from real fruit and vegetables
  • Dried chicory root that offers healthy digestion and prebiotic support
  • No corn or wheat

Cons

  • If people are worried about the current FDA warnings to do with DCM, this may not be the ideal choice
  • More expensive than many other brands

American Journey Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: Deboned Salmon, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Peas, Sweet Potatoes

Caloric Content: 3,740 kcal/kg (390 kcal/cup)

Feeding Instructions: 3 2/3 – 4 ½ cups a day for an adult dog

Key Features

  • Affordable price point
  • Grain and gluten free
  • High protein
  • Great for dogs prone to food sensitivities

Most Inexpensive (Cheap) Food for German Shepherds – If you are searching for a dry dog food for your German Shepherd that isn’t super expensive, then American Journey Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food is a great choice for you. It is on the lower end of the price spectrum; however, it is still a good dry dog food from a reputable brand that is manufactured in Kansas, USA. This mix comes in a 4lb, 12lb or 24lb bag, offering the option to choose a smaller bag to begin with to see if your furry friend likes it and then move on to a bigger bag later on. A 4-pound bag holds about 17 cups, a 12-pound bag holds about 52 cups and a 24-pound bag holds about 104 cups… that should last for a while! It can have a strange smell though, which can be off-putting to humans and dogs alike, and can be a little hard for senior dogs to digest sometimes.

This Salmon & Sweet Potato blend offers protein and amino acids through real, deboned salmon, ensuring leaner muscles while still tasting great. The addition of both chickpeas and sweet potato allow for slow-release energy, which means your best friend will have endless energy all day long. This recipe also includes heaps of fruits and vegetables, such as carrots, blueberries and dried kelp for fiber, antioxidants and phytonutrients, as well as offering immune support and lots of vitamins and minerals. There are omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, including long-chain DHA, from salmon oil and flaxseed which support skin and coat health, as well as healthy brain and eye development. And let’s not forget everything is grain-free, corn-free, wheat-free and soy-free, which is perfect for German Shepherds with sensitive stomachs.

Overall, the American Journey Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food is the best choice on this list for low-cost dry dog food with quality ingredients and nutrition.

Pros

  • Free of corn, wheat and soy
  • Full of fruits and vegetables such as carrots, dried kelp and blueberries
  • Vitamins, minerals and antioxidants for immune support
  • High protein dog food

Cons

  • Has a strange smell
  • Can be hard to digest for senior dogs

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Puppy Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Oatmeal, Barley

Caloric Content: 3,686 kcal/kg (398 kcal/cup)

Feeding Instructions: 1 – 2 ½ cups a day

Key Features

  • LifeSource bits are included, which are a precise blend of beneficial nutrients
  • ‘Puppy’ sized kibble for smaller jaws
  • No corn, wheat, soy or poultry by-products
  • Ingredients support healthy growth and development

Best German Shepherds Puppy Food – Last, but certainly not least, you can’t forget about your German Shepherd puppy! The best dry food for puppies is the Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Puppy Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food. This corn, wheat and soy-free mix is great for growing bodies, as it is full of real meat, garden veggies, whole grains and fruits to help with development. The big benefit of Blue Buffalo dry food is the addition of ‘LifeSource’ bits, which are a precise blend of nutrients that are enhanced with a ‘Super 7’ group of antioxidant-dense ingredients. This ensures this blend offers everything a puppy needs, including calcium, phosphorous and essential vitamins for strong teeth and bones, as well as DHA and ARA for eye and brain development and Omegas-3 and 6 fatty acids for skin and coat health.

This dry food is also in small ‘puppy-sized’ kibble bites, ensuring your pup can get their teeth around it properly and prompt tartar removal. It has been suggested however that this mix is not the best option when it comes to coat health, nor is it great if you have a puppy with a very sensitive stomach. Having a little stomach upset in puppies when they transition between foods is common, however always keep an eye on it and complete the change very slowly.

So, the Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Puppy Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food is the best choice for your small furry best friend – they won’t be that small for long though, they will be growing so fast!

Pros

  • Protein-rich ingredients such as deboned chicken
  • Contains DHA and ARA for the healthy development of a puppy’s eyes and brain
  • Calcium and phosphorous, as well as essential vitamins, assist with strong bones and teeth
  • Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids for a healthy coat and skin

Cons

  • Not the best option for coat health
  • Not suited to puppies with stomach issues

6 More Top Rated German Shepherd Foods

True Acre Foods Chicken & Vegetable Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Peas, Pea Starch, Canola Meal, Poultry By-Product Meal

Caloric Content: 3,643 kcal/kg (375 kcal/cup)

The next great option is the True Acre Foods Chicken & Vegetable Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food. The first ingredient is USA-raised chicken, which offers lean muscle support, as well as farm-grown peas, cranberries and carrots which provides a wholesome addition to the mix. This food also contains natural fibers, which assist and promote gentle digestion and are perfect for German Shepherds and their sensitive stomachs. There aren’t any grains, corn, wheat or gluten in this dry food, nor is there any artificial colors of flavors. Due to the digestion aids in this blend though, you may find your dog goes to the bathroom a little more than usual!

Gentle Giants Canine Nutrition Chicken Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: Chicken Meal, Pearled Barley, Brown Rice, Oatmeal, Dried Plain Beet Pulp

Caloric Content: 3,323 kcal/kg (358 kcal/cup)

The Gentle Giants Canine Nutrition Chicken Dry Dog Food is a veterinarian-approved dry dog food mix with a huge range of ingredients. It contains a great blend of farm-raised chicken, oatmeal and rice, as well as fruit and vegetables such as blueberries, carrots, apples and tomatoes. This mix is suited to all stages of a German Shepherds life, from puppy to senior, and is a natural formula that contains both prebiotics and probiotics to assist with digestion and the absorption of food in your dog’s stomach. Vitamins A and B12 are included, as well as Taurine for optimal health. Although there aren’t any genetically modified inclusions in this food, some dogs who are very picky eaters have not enjoyed it. It is generally a quality choice for your German Shepherd though.

VICTOR Hi-Pro Plus Formula Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: Beef Meal, Grain Sorghum, Chicken Fat, Pork Meal, Chicken Meal

Caloric Content: 3,815 kcal/kg (406 kcal/8oz cup)

If you are after a dry dog food with premium quality meat meals, then the VICTOR Hi-Pro Plus Formula is the perfect choice for your German Shepherd. It contains 88% meat protein, made up of chicken, beef, pork and fish meals, as well as gluten-free grains for a well-balanced diet. This food is suited to German Shepherds through all stages of life, including growing puppies and pregnant/lactating females, as it is nutrient-dense and offers vitamins, minerals, amino acids and essential fatty acids. This food does have small kibble size though.

Diamond Naturals Beef Meal & Rice Formula Adult Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: Beef Meal, Grain Sorghum, Ground White Rice, Dried Yeast, Egg Product

Caloric Content: 3,518 kcal/kg (329 kcal/cup)

The Diamond Naturals Beef Meal & Rice Formula Adult Dry Dog Food is a wonderful choice for your German Shepherd who is no longer a puppy. This mix is enhanced with superfoods and probiotics to assist with overall health and development, as well as antioxidants, omega fatty acids for your furry friend’s coat and skin and nurturing minerals. It includes protein, such as beef and fish, as well as fruit and vegetables such as blueberries, peas, kale and coconut. There has been some indication that this food is not suited to super picky eaters, however this dry food is generally a good choice for German Shepherds.

Merrick Grain-Free Real Texas Beef & Sweet Potato Recipe Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: Deboned Beef, Lamb Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Peas, Potatoes

Caloric Content: 3,641 kcal/kg (385 kcal/cup)

Another option is the Merrick Grain Free Real Texas Beef & Sweet Potato Recipe Dry Dog Food. Marketed as ‘allergy-friendly’ nutrition, it is full of ingredients such as real deboned beef, apples, blueberries and sweet potato. There is also chondroitin and glucosamine, which assists with a German Shepherd’s mobility, as well as both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids to help with a shiny coat and healthy skin. There has been some suggestion however that the kibble size is too small for some dogs, however this is not necessarily a negative for all dogs. Additionally, this dry food is gluten free and does not contain any artificial colors, preservatives or flavors, as well as being poultry-free for any dogs that may have poultry allergies.

Instinct by Nature’s Variety Original Grain-Free Recipe with Real Chicken Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Peas, Chicken Fat, Tapioca

Caloric Content: 4,406 kcal/kg (518 kcal/cup)

Finally, the Instinct by Nature Variety Original Grain-Free Recipe with Real Chicken Dry Dog Food is a great choice for your German Shepherd in all life stages. From its raw nutrition base to its balanced approach to a high protein food, this dry food is a positive addition to your dog’s diet. Full of real chicken, vegetables, antioxidants, natural omegas and probiotics and without any grains, corn, potato, soy or wheat, there is great digestive support, as well as a healthy coast, skin and immune health. The bag can be a little tricky to open though, so it can take a little getting used to, and some dogs may find they get gas after eating. Overall however, this food is a positive choice for German Shepherds.

Our 2019 German Shepherds Feeding Guide

Puppy

Average Weight –  Approximately 10lb to 30lb (4.5kg to 14kg)

Recommended Daily Food Intake – 1-2 cups a day (3.5 to 7 oz. or 100g to 200g)

Adult Dog

Average Weight – Approximately 60lb to 90lb (27kg to 40kg)

Recommended Daily Food Intake – 3-5 cups a day (10.5 to 17.5 oz. or 300g to 500g)

Senior Dog

Average Weight – Approximately 60lb to 90lb (27kg to 40kg)

Recommended Daily Food Intake – When it comes to feeding your senior German Shepherd (about 6-7 years of age or older), you must consult your vet as to the suggested amount and type of food. There are a range of factors that can affect feeding, so ensure you have spoken to a professional.

FAQ

  • Should a German Shepherd eat dry or canned food? When it comes to feeding your German Shepherd, both dry and canned food have their respective benefits. It is therefore suggested by experts that you feed your furry friend a moderate diet that is made up of both dry and canned food.
  • Should my German Shepherd eat a grain free diet? As German Shepherds are a breed that are known to be quite sensitive when it comes to food, it is generally recommended that a grain free diet will assist in avoiding a lot of irritants and allergens that can generally cause stomach and skin problems. Additionally, they are prone to bloat and hip dysplasia, which a precise grain free diet can positively help with.
  • How much food should I feed my German Shepherd? This question depends on a lot of things, especially age, so take a look at our feeding guide above to help you figure out how much food your German Shepherd needs!
  • How often should I feed my German Shepherd puppy? Generally, German Shepherd puppies eat at least 3 times per day, sometimes even 4. As they get older though, this drops to twice a day or even once a day.

Conclusion

In conclusion, there is a huge range of different dog foods to choose from when it comes to feeding your German Shepherd in every stage of their life, however not all of them are the best for their needs. It is super important to ensure you know what is contained in the food that you are feeding your furry friend, and whether it meets all their dietary and nutritional needs. From energy levels to skin health to digestive health and everything in between, different ingredients offer different benefits to every part of the doggy body (just like in humans!).

If you are after the best inexpensive German Shepherd food option, then American Journey Salmon and Sweet Potato Dry Dog Food is a great option. If money isn’t a factor, try the fresh delivery service by Ollie (the Turkey Feast is the best option!) for human grade meals that are delivered to your door. Another popular choice is the Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Dry Dog Food, which is common choice among German Shepherd owners. If you have a puppy that needs some quality food, try the Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula, which offers all the nutrients that puppies need whilst tasting great and being in smaller, ‘puppy-sized’ bites.

Finally, if you are unsure about what to feed your German Shepherd, then speak to your local veterinarian about your pup and their needs. They will be able to help you choose between the products listed about, and what fits best with your circumstances. Everyone, and every dog, is different, which is why there are so many options available. Not every choice will suit your dog’s needs, so you may need to try a. few before you find the one that works. And enjoy the wonderful company of your furry, healthy friend for years to come!

 

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