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10 Best Dog Food for German Shepherds: Our 2024 Recommendations

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Mary Nielsen

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best dog food for German Shepherds

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!

Before going any further, below is a short clip regarding German Shepherd Facts.

6 Special Dietary and Nutritional Considerations

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
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Best Dog Food for German Shepherds

1. Ollie Fresh Pet Food

10 Best Dog Food for German Shepherds: Our [year] Recommendations 1

First 5 ingredients:

Depends on the recipe you chooseSee below.

Food Type: Fresh, Frozen

Best for: All Lifestages, All Breeds

First 5 Ingredients: Beef, carrots, beef kidneys, potatoes, peas

GUARANTEED ANALYSIS
Protein: 9.0% min
Fat: 7.0% min
Fiber: 2.0% max
Moisture: 72.0% max

First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, rice, carrots, chicken livers, peas

GUARANTEED ANALYSIS
Protein: 8.0% min
Fat: 3.0% min
Fiber: 2.0% max
Moisture: 74.0% max

First 5 Ingredients: Turkey, butternut squash, turkey livers, oats, lentils

GUARANTEED ANALYSIS
Protein: 10.0% min
Fat: 7.0% min
Fiber: 2.0% max
Moisture: 72.0% max

First 5 Ingredients: Lamb, butternut squash, lamb liver, chickpeas, kale

GUARANTEED ANALYSIS
Protein: 9.0% min
Fat: 7.0% min
Fiber: 2.0% max
Moisture: 74.0% max

The company known as Ollie is a unique one on this list, as it is a business that delivers fresh dog food right at your doorstep – 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 state-of-an-art kitchen that has minimal processing actions.

They offer 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.

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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 but another plus from this company is that they will give you a free puptainer- a sealed container to store any leftovers.

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

Pros

All meals are fresh and organic

No artificial preservatives

All ingredients are from the USA

Tailored to your dog’s specific needs

Cons

Food comes frozen

The price is quite high


2. Taste of the Wild Southwest Canyon Formula

10 Best Dog Food for German Shepherds: Our [year] Recommendations 2

First 5 ingredients:

Beef, Peas, Garbanzo Beans, Lamb Meal, Canola Oil

Protein: 29.0% min

Fat: 15.0% min

Fiber: 5.0% max

Moisture: 10.0% max

Food Type: Dry

Best for: All Lifestages, All Breeds

Special Diet: Grain-free

Dogs need variety too, like humans. And there couldn’t be more variety than with a mixture of beef, lamb, wild boar, and ocean fish, which brings the total crude protein to 29%.

Legumes like garbanzo beans and peas provide the energy source to fuel all kinds of everyday dog adventures. Accompanied by natural antioxidants from real fruits and vegetables, and prebiotic support from dried chicory root to promote healthy digestive health.

This novel protein formula is appropriate for dogs at all life stages, including puppies, adults, and seniors. As a grain-free option, it delivers easily digestible energy and exceptional nutrition, ensuring your dog receives the essential nutrients they need for optimal health and vitality.

Pros

Protein rich meal

No corn or wheat

With pre and probiotics for better gut health

Rich in natural antioxidants and superfoods

Cons

Limited stocks

Some pups reacted to it


3. American Journey Salmon, Whitefish & Trout Recipe

10 Best Dog Food for German Shepherds: Our [year] Recommendations 3

First 5 ingredients:

Deboned Salmon, Salmon Meal, Peas, Turkey Meal, Chickpeas

Protein: 26.0% min

Fat: 14.0% min

Fiber: 5.0% max

Moisture: 10.0% max

Food Type: Dry

Best for: All Lifestages, All Breeds

Special Diet: Grain-free

If you are searching for a kibble that isn’t super expensive, then American Journey brand 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.

This grain free fish 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 Shepherd dogs with sensitive stomachs or food allergies.

Pros

Fish is the primary protein

Free of corn, wheat and soy

Loaded with Omega fatty acids

Nutrient-dense and antioxidant-rich

Cons

Has a strange smell

Ripped packaging upon arrival


4. Dr. Gary's Best Breed Holistic German

10 Best Dog Food for German Shepherds: Our [year] Recommendations 4

First 5 ingredients:

Chicken Meal, Oatmeal, Brown Rice, Dried Beet Pulp, Chicken Fat

Protein: 25.0% min

Fat: 12.0% min

Fiber: 4.5% max

Moisture: 10.0% max

Food Type: Dry

Best for: All Lifestages, Large – Giant Breeds

This is a grain-inclusive quality food specifically formulated to meet the dietary needs of German Shepherds, Rottweilers, Dobermans, and other large and giant breed dogs at all life stages.

The primary protein source in this diet is chicken meal, which is highly concentrated and digestible, enriched with chicken fat for essential fatty acids and enhanced flavor. Additionally, menhaden fish meal and egg product provide extra protein to support lean muscle mass.

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The carbohydrate sources, including oatmeal and brown rice, are rich in fiber, aiding digestion and helping maintain a healthy weight by promoting satiety between meals.

For joint health, the formula includes glucosamine and green-lipped sea mussels, which also offer amino acids, minerals, and essential fatty acids. 

Balanced omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids contribute to healthy skin and shiny coats, while vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants support cellular health and boost the immune system. Importantly, this recipe is free from artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives.

Pet owners have given rave reviews, particularly noting improvements in dogs with sensitive stomachs and allergies. Many have observed better digestion, improved stool quality, reduced itching, and shinier coats after switching to this food.

Pros

Rich in fiber

Promotes vibrant coat

Supports joint health

Specially formulated for large breeds

Cons

Noticeable formula change

Caused stomach upset in some


5. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Puppy Chicken Recipe 

10 Best Dog Food for German Shepherds: Our [year] Recommendations 5

First 5 ingredients:

Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Pea Protein, Peas, Tapioca Starch

Protein: 36.0% min

Fat: 16.0% min

Fiber: 5.0% max

Moisture: 10.0% max

Food Type: Dry

Best for: Puppy, All Breeds

Special Diet: Grain-free

This grain-free puppy food is designed to meet the nutritional needs of puppies, providing the protein and nutrients necessary for building strong, lean muscles and supporting overall growth into healthy adult dogs.

Featuring deboned chicken and chicken meal as primary ingredients, it ensures highly palatable and easily digestible kibbles packed with flavor.

This food for German Shepherd puppies includes chicken fat and fish oil for omega fatty acids, which support heart, skin, and coat health, as well as menhaden fish meal for additional protein and flavor.

DHA and ARA, found in mother’s milk, support cognitive development and renal health, while calcium and phosphorus promote strong bones and teeth. L-carnitine aids in metabolism and efficient fat burning.

Nutritious fruits and vegetables like peas, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and carrots serve as sources of carbohydrates and fiber.

LifeSource Bits provide a blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals to support immune health and overall vitality. The recipe is free from artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, by-product meals, unnamed animal ingredients, corn, wheat, and soy.

Puppy owners, especially those with pets suffering from allergies, have praised this food for alleviating allergy symptoms and improving skin and coat conditions. However, a few have reported issues such as loose stools and gas in their puppies.

Pros

Grain free formula

Meets the needs of active puppies

Made from natural ingredients

Enriched with DHA and ARA

Cons

Caused stomach upset in some

6. ORIJEN Tundra Freeze-Dried Dog Food & Topper

10 Best Dog Food for German Shepherds: Our [year] Recommendations 6

First 5 ingredients:

Venison, Duck (Ground With Bone), Flounder, Lamb Meat, Duck Liver

Protein: 37.0% min

Fat: 34.0% min

Fiber: 5.0% max

Moisture: 4.0% max

Food Type: Freeze-Dried, Food Topping

Best for: All Lifestages, All Breeds

Special Diet: Grain-free

Orijen Tundra is a protein-rich formula featuring a blend of fresh venison, duck, lamb, herring, and wild boar, creating a biologically appropriate meal that harnesses the benefits of natural ingredients.

With 11 meat and fish ingredients listed before any vegetables, this recipe is perfect for dogs seeking a meat-heavy diet. In addition to the primary proteins, it also includes goat and various fatty fish, providing essential omega fatty acids.

It boasts a high protein content, making it ideal for working dogs or highly active canines who require protein for developing lean muscles and obtaining dense energy sources. 

To balance the meal, it includes legumes, fruits, and leafy greens, which supply antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins. The recipe avoids synthetic nutrition, deriving all nutrients from whole, natural ingredients.

To prepare, you simply add warm water and stir for an instantly delicious dinner, or crumble and sprinkle over your dog’s regular kibble as a tasty topper.

For dogs with a laid-back lifestyle, this formulation may be too fattening. Extra care may be needed to prevent excessive weight gain.

Alternatively, you can rotate this with other meals to help manage calorie intake and keep your dog from getting bored with their food.

Pros

Proudly American made

90% raw animal components

Crafted using high-quality ingredients

Freeze-dried and tasty recipe

Cons

Funky smell

Some received expired products

7. VICTOR Hi-Pro Plus Formula

10 Best Dog Food for German Shepherds: Our [year] Recommendations 7

First 5 ingredients:

Beef Meal, Grain Sorghum, Chicken Fat, Pork Meal, Chicken Meal

Protein: 30.0% min

Fat: 20.0% min

Fiber: 3.8% max

Moisture: 9.0% max

Food Type: Dry

Best for: All Lifestages, All Breeds

This is a grain-inclusive dry dog food designed for active dogs and puppies, as well as pregnant and lactating females.

It features gluten-free grains and high protein content, with 30% of the formula comprising protein—88% from animal sources, 10% from grains, and 2% from vegetables. The primary protein sources are beef, pork, chicken, and fish meals.

This nutrient-dense recipe provides sustained energy for sporting and working dogs and is highly digestible, meaning less food is needed for the same nutritional value.

Key ingredients include selenium yeast for metabolic function and immune support, prebiotics and probiotics for digestion and immune health, and Mineral Complexes for healthy skin, coat, and metabolism. Essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals ensure balanced nutrition.

Hi-Pro Plus is one of VICTOR’s best-selling products, praised by dog owners for helping active dogs maintain healthy weights, improving energy levels, skin, and coat health, and alleviating digestive issues like diarrhea and vomiting.

Pros

Created from premium quality meats

Made for active and sporting dogs

Crafted using high-quality ingredients

Provides ample energy for high performing pets

Cons

Pets got sick after recall

Broken bags upon delivery

8. Backcountry Great Plains Red Recipe

Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Great Plains Red Meat Recipe with Healthy Grains

First 5 ingredients:

Deboned Beef, Chicken Meal, Salmon Meal, Brown Rice, Oatmeal

Protein: 34.0% min

Fat: 17.0% min

Fiber: 3.5% max

Moisture: 11.0% max

Food Type: Dry

Best for: All Lifestages, All Breeds

The Backcountry range offers protein-rich dog food inspired by ancestral diets, featuring grain-free and grain-inclusive recipes with real, freeze-dried raw pieces of fish, meat, or poultry, and freeze-dried raw-coated kibbles.

Grain-free options use sweet potatoes for fiber and carbohydrates, while grain-inclusive options use brown rice, oatmeal, and barley.

The said recipe is a grain-free formula for adult dogs, featuring a blend of beef, lamb, salmon, pork, and rabbit, with a crude protein level of 38%. This high-protein diet supports muscle, immune system, and skin health, and is ideal for highly active, weight-managing, or working dogs.

Sweet potatoes and potatoes provide essential carbohydrates, fiber, and nutrients like calcium, potassium, and iron. The recipe includes healthy fats from pork fat and sunflower oil, offering a balanced mix of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

Additionally, the recipe incorporates fruits like apples and blueberries for natural nutrients, enhancing the overall balance and completeness of the diet.

The freeze-dried kibbles cater to dogs who enjoy a meaty taste, providing the benefits of a raw diet in a convenient form, perfect for active dogs with higher nutritional needs.

Pros

Real deboned beef is #1 ingredient

Infused with whole grains

Contains freeze-dried raw bites

Zero peas, lentils and artificial preservatives

Cons

Tiny worms noted in some bags

9. Ziwi Peak Beef Recipe 

10 Best Dog Food for German Shepherds: Our [year] Recommendations 8

First 5 ingredients:

Beef, Water Sufficient for Processing, Beef Lung, Beef Kidney, Beef Tripe

Protein: 8.0% min

Fat: 5.5% min

Fiber: 2.0% max

Moisture: 78.0% max

Food Type: Wet, Pâté

Best for: All Lifestages, All Breeds

Special Diet: Grain-free

Ziwi Peak aims to provide dogs with nutrition that mirrors their wild ancestral diets. The brand avoids artificial ingredients, cheap fillers, and known stomach irritants like carrageenan in its canning processes.

The ingredients in Ziwi Peak's dog food are those that dogs would naturally consume in the wild. This approach ensures that sensitive dogs receive complete, nutrient-dense food without the negative effects of cheap fillers.

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Their canned dog food uses a whole protein source, such as free-range beef, and primarily animal-based nutrition to replicate your dog's ancestral diet. It is a limited ingredient food, which is ideal for dogs with sensitive stomachs that struggle with multiple protein sources. Additionally, all ingredients are ethically and sustainably sourced from New Zealand.

This wet food offers a balanced diet suitable for all life stages and breed sizes. It features a whole-prey ratio of 92% meat, organs, bone, and New Zealand green mussels. The green mussels provide glucosamine and chondroitin, crucial for bone and joint health in aging dogs, growing puppies, and large breed dogs.

Pet owners report that this dog food helps maintain a healthy weight and is highly palatable, even for picky eaters. It is an excellent option for dogs requiring a high-protein diet, as it contains mostly meat and no fillers.

Ziwi Peak offers a clean recipe for dogs with limited ingredient tolerance. However, its production in New Zealand makes it relatively expensive.

Pros

Real deboned beef is #1 ingredient

Infused with whole grains

Contains freeze-dried raw bites

Zero peas, lentils and artificial preservatives

Cons

Always out of stock

White molds spotted in some cans

10. Now Fresh Senior Weight Management Recipe

10 Best Dog Food for German Shepherds: Our [year] Recommendations 9

First 5 ingredients:

De-Boned Turkey, Peas, Potatoes, Potato Flour, Pea Fiber

Protein: 24.0% min

Fat: 11.0% min

Fiber: 7.0% max

Moisture: 10.0% max

Food Type: Dry

Best for: Senior, All Breeds

Special Diet: Grain-free

This grain free formula is specifically crafted to help senior dogs maintain a healthy weight and sustain their energy levels. This premium recipe features fresh, deboned meat and fish as primary ingredients, providing high-quality protein essential for preserving lean muscle mass in aging dogs.

Recognizing the importance of joint health in senior dogs, Now Fresh includes New Zealand mussels in the formula. These mussels are natural sources of chondroitin and glucosamine, key nutrients that support joint function and mobility, helping to keep senior dogs active and comfortable.

To ensure the formula is nutritionally balanced and complete, pet nutritionists have also incorporated a variety of superfoods. These nutrient-dense ingredients, such as fruits and vegetables, provide essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that support overall health, boost the immune system, and promote a shiny coat and healthy skin.

Overall, this thoughtfully designed formula addresses the unique dietary needs of senior dogs, helping them thrive in their golden years with optimal nutrition and health support.

Pros

Multi-protein formula

Created by pet nutritionists

Helps maintain healthy weight

Enriched with 20+ natural superfoods

Cons

Caused skin allergies in some

Pros

  • Multi-protein formula
  • Created by pet nutritionists
  • Helps maintain healthy weight
  • Enriched with 20+ natural superfoods

Cons

  • Caused skin allergies in some
10 Best Dog Food for German Shepherds: Our [year] Recommendations 10

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
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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 Best Dog Food for German Shepherds: Our [year] Recommendations 11

10 Weeks Old

  • 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 Weeks Old

  • 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 Months Old

  • 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 Months Old

  • 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

  • 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

Also read: Types of German Shepherd Coats

Our 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.

best dog food for German Shepherds

Parting Words

There is a huge range of different dog foods to choose from when it comes to feeding your pup 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.

Determining the best dog food involves carefully considering various factors to ensure your pet remains healthy and happy.

The best food options typically include high-quality protein sources, essential nutrients, and ingredients that support joint health and digestion. When feeding your dog, it is crucial to evaluate both grain-inclusive and grain-free dog foods to find the most suitable diet for their specific needs.

Additionally, consider your dog's individual preferences and any dietary sensitivities they may have. By doing so, you can determine the best diet that supports their overall well-being, ensuring they lead a long, healthy, and active life.

Finally, if you are unsure about what to feed your pet, 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.

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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