German Shepherds are well known for their strength, intelligence, and obedience. When it comes to daily activities, these are one of the most active breeds. They will not laze around your couch waiting for you to take them for a walk. Rather, they find work and keep you busy for the day as well.
For such a fur buddy, you ought to find the best dry dog food for shepherds!
German Shepherds are medium-large sized dogs. On average, their height stands between 22 and 26 inches and they weigh about between 50 and 90 pounds.
And, One of the most important factors that Shepherd owners need to keep in mind is what they are feeding to these beasts.
German Shepherd Dog Food Review – Our Recommendation.
It is very important to feed your German Shepherd the best quality food instead of poor-quality food that contains a high amount of corn syrup (which is extremely harmful to your dog’s health). So here are some of our recommendations.
German Shepherd Dog Food Comparison Chart.
Issues with German Shepherd’s digestion is the most common pain point among owners. So, if you are facing similar issues, this Royal Canin dog food can really help. In 80%, this dog food solves digestion problems.
Top ingredients used
Although we are not a great fan of the ingredients Royal Canin use but sure they work like wonder. The Chicken by-product, rice, chicken fat is some of them worth mentioning.
But the best part is there are no fillers like wheat and Soy which are a big no-no for your dogs.
The primary carbs include brewers rice and wheat gluten. Other carbs are corn, wheat, and pea fiber. The addition of both corn and pea fiber is unwanted and could have been avoided. But they won’t create much of an impact on the overall nutritional value of this dog food.
We really loved the fact that this dog food has more fish oils than vegetable oil. So, the sources of omega fatty acids are more from animals than plants.
Health support that can outperform other brands.
German Shepherds has difficulties digesting food properly. Because of the cribble size and unique blend of ingredients In Royal Canine, most dogs were cured of their digestion problems.
The Stool quality will also likely improve with this food. If you are facing trouble with smelly stool and part of your dogs, then we would highly recommend this brand.
This happens mainly because of longer colon transit time which means the stool ferments longer. With highly digestible L.I.P proteins, the absorption process becomes smooth.
Skin and coat conditions are found to improve and flourish with their use. This is because of an exclusive combination of nutrients added to the food ingredients.
|Dogs with digestion problems will be highly benefited. The food is easy to digest and removes bad odors from the stool.||As the food is rich in fats, the chances of developing obesity cannot be disregarded. Feeding once a day would be optimal.|
|Exclusive nutrients promote good skin and impressive coat growth. Best for getting rid of your dog’s hot spots.|
|The food is tasty, and most GSDs will eat them with joy. If your dogs eat less, you can try this brand to see positive results.|
|Has prebiotic in the form of fructooligosaccharide.|
The Taste of the Wild Grain-Free Prairie is above average protein dog food. For a perfectly fine dog, this food might help them in digesting food and building muscles. However, if your dog already has a stomach issue, the diversified ingredient structure might cause more problems.
The protein content of this dog food is 32%, fat is 18% and fiber content is just 4%.
It has a nice diversification of protein sources like Buffalo, Chicken, Lamb, and Venison. The primary protein source buffalo. It’s pretty much similar to beef in terms of nutrients and minerals.
Though on paper the protein content looks high, in reality, the protein content is still lower than what we would have liked.
It also contains ocean fish meal to add extra protein and Omega fatty acids. However, we don’t like the fact that the manufacturer doesn’t reveal the names of the fishes in this ingredient.
This is no grain dog food. So, the decision of buying depends solely on the nature of the feeding of your dog. Carbs include peas and sweet potatoes.
The inclusion of tomato pomace in pet foods is considered controversial. It may or may not provide any kind of nutrition.
We found chicory root in the ingredient list of this dog food. So, it’s safe to say that this dog food will aid in digestion. The chicory root acts as a prebiotic and helps in the growth of healthy bacteria.
The chelated minerals are also favorable for digestion. These make protein digestion easy.
Perfect for lazy dogs.
The wide arrangement of protein sources makes this dog food perfect for inactive dogs. It might not work for dogs with allergies or stomach issues.
|Diversified protein sources.||Omega 3 fatty acids are not as high as we wanted.|
|Rich in meat protein.||Pea protein might not be suitable for all dogs.|
|It has natural prebiotics for proper digestion.|
|Low fiber content.|
Overall, this dog food contains 28% protein and 17% fat. So, we can say that it has an average protein amount Sufficient for GSD dogs.
The main protein source is pasteurized beef meat. So, that’s quite healthy for dogs. However, real meat when dried loses much of its content.
Other notable protein sources are a beef meal and egg product. The beef meal provides a lot of concentrated protein. But we are skeptical about the egg product because it doesn’t specify what is the quality of the eggs and which parts are being used.
The carbohydrate elements are peas, pea flour, beet pulp, and ground white rice. All being good, we don’t like the inclusion of beet pulp as it’s a controversial ingredient.
Flaxseed and chia seeds both are healthy for dogs. Together they contribute lots of omega-3 fatty acids and additional proteins.
We loved the inclusion of coconut in this dog food. Coconut can provide lots of medium-chain fatty acids.
As a natural form of prebiotic, the chicory root is added in this dog food. It can keep your dog’s digestive tract clean.
|Rich source of beef protein.||Pea protein is unwanted in dog foods.|
|Lots of omega-3 fatty acid ingredients.||A bit heavy on the carbohydrate content.|
|No addition of corn or wheat.|
|Has natural prebiotics.|
The Orijen brand has been in the top list of dog food for all these years. But going into 2019, we saw mixed responses among users. Before it was produced in Canada but the recent set up in the US, has created many upsetting events. Users have claimed that the output of the Orijen dry foods is not what it was used to be.
But if we talk about Orijen as a product, it’s one of the best in the market. The high protein content of this dog food is what makes it so unique and beneficial. And that’s what needed for puppies to support their immune system and growth.
The food item is protein-packed with 43% protein. It has an above-average fat level of 21% and just a 28% carbohydrate level.
Chicken and turkey are the main sources of protein. You can also find Chicken and turkey liver to contribute to the nutrient level of the food.
It’s a no grain dog food. While many of you would be happy with this combination but think no grain, formula contributes to your dog’s health. But different German Shepherds have different tastes and needs, so if it works for you then that you should go for it.
The product has different sorts of legume ingredients. This is also controversial as many users are trying to connect the use of legumes to their sick dogs after eating Orijen.
Health and growth contribution
We are just reviewing the food item based on the results before the production of Orijen started in the US. So, we can’t guarantee you the same results now as recent users have noted many changes to the best-selling Orijen formula.
We still couldn’t keep this product out due to its enormous popularity.
The food product is one of the best protein boosters available in the market with an exclusive combination of dietary fiber and fats.
Dogs have been found to become healthy and gain muscles eating this food. As some dogs are really sensitive to grains, this dog food should be your number one priority if you are buying no-grain dog food. Whether or not no grain and the legume-based formula work for you, it’s left for you to decide.
|It provides the highest protein among all other kibbles.||No negative issues judging by the food ingredients but recently users have reported several issues of diarrhea and dogs falling sick. But it may not be the same case for your dog.|
|Rich in nutrients and offers a balanced diet for your German Shepherds.|
|It enhances the growth rate and helps develop soft skin.|
|The best alternative to a raw diet.|
|Free from grains and glutens.|
|It contains fruits that can provide essential vitamins.|
The Blue Buffalo Life protection has 26% protein with 15% fat. So, that means, the carbohydrate percentage is on a high. A little bit higher on the protein would have made this a very ideal dog food.
But the best part is the main ingredient is chicken and chicken meal. So, these are lean protein sources. Lean proteins are suitable for GSD puppies as they can be digested easily.
Fat sources are mostly chicken fat. This is a healthy fat source needed for puppies.
The carb sources are mainly barley, brown rice, oatmeal, and pea starch. The inclusion of oatmeal is appreciated because it’s rich in B-vitamins.
Controversial ingredients we didn’t like.
This food item consists of some controversial ingredients like tomato pomace, alfalfa meal, and garlic.
We don’t have any concern about the tomato pomace as it’s low in quantity. However, the alfalfa meal is added for additional proteins that don’t do much good for dogs.
This dog food also contains the chicory root much needed for aiding in the digestion process. So, that’s a plus point.
|Lean protein sources for easy digestion.||Inclusion of garlic can cause Heinz body anemia in some dogs.|
|Natural prebiotics added.|
|The addition of tomato pomace makes this food taste good.|
|Packed B-Vitamins and Omega-3 fatty acids.|
The Royal Canin Mini Puppy dog food can be great dog food for puppies with stomach issues. This is because it has less variety in its protein content. But it can be a sort of disadvantage for perfectly healthy GSD puppies.
This dog food has more protein than some of the dog food we reviewed in this list. It has 30% protein and 19% fat.
It has a chicken meal as the primary source of protein. This is great because chicken is very concentrated and provides more protein than fresh chicken. But what disappointed us is there aren’t any more animal protein sources in this dog food.
The fat sources are chicken fat and fish oils. But fish oils are less in quantity. A little more of the fish oil would have been greatly appreciated.
The carbohydrate sources are mainly corn and brewers rice. Brewers rice, though low in nutritional value, it’s not controversial. Many dog owners leave the corn out of their dog’s meal. So, you have to consider this before buying this dog food.
This GSD puppy food has vitamin E and C. The main sources of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids are fish oil and vegetable oil. The vegetable oil doesn’t describe what’s the specific source. So, that’s not appreciated.
The Royall canine mini puppy doesn’t have a primary prebiotic ingredient. However, it has fructooligosaccharide that acts as both sweetener and prebiotic.
|It contains many varieties of essential vitamins.||Has a controversial ingredient-corn.|
|Chicken meal provides more protein than usual.|
|Food ingredients support the immune system.|
|Prebiotic present in the form of fructooligosaccharide.|
Types of German Shepherd food.
Kibbles are the most popular dog foods among dog owners. These are dry dog foods that come in the form of pellets.
They are easy to store and lasts longer than any other dog food. If you have a picky eater, you can serve kibbles on his plat for all day long and the food will still remain fresh.
Kibbles are best for adult GSDs. For puppies and seniors, wet dog food is more preferable.
2. Wet food.
Wet food AKA canned food is great for puppies and senior dogs. The food is packed with moisture at a level of 80%.
This food is very easy to digest and good for dogs that swallow their food a lot.
The only issue with wet food is you cannot store them at room temperature. Also, you cannot let it sit through all day. Because bacteria can quickly build up.
3. Freeze-dried dog food.
Freeze-dried dog food is a great alternative to dry kibbles. The process involves removing all the moisture content from meat and then freezing it.
You can store them for years and will still remain fresh and palatable.
What to Feed a German Shepherd?
The food requirement of German Shepherds is different from that of other breeds. The fact that they are very active and strong makes them a sensitive breed when it comes to food. You cannot just feed anything to your German Shepherd!
They might eat it but they may not digest it properly, bringing a bad impact on their health. These Shepherds are usually carnivores in nature. This implies that the main ingredient in their diet is protein.
A grown-up German Shepherd needs a proper supply of protein on a regular basis. It is recommended that at least 22% of Shepherd’s everyday meal should be protein.
Although this breed is very sensitive to fat, the proper amount of protein in an everyday meal does not come without a proper amount of fat. Feeding your German Shepherd too much fatty food can be harmful to its health.
On the other hand, if you feed it less fatty food or no fatty food at all, that might have severe impacts on its double-layered coal. If a German Shepherd is not supplied with a proper amount of fat every day, it might catch skin diseases. The dog requires about 5-8% of fat in its meal on a daily basis.
The Important thing to keep in mind: Every German Shepherd has its own unique food digestion system and taste bud. You might see some food items work wonders for your neighbors and the same food might cause allergy or diarrhea in your pets. Try 2 or 3 food items slowly before you find the right one.
What Makes the Best Food for German Shepherd?
When it comes to buying dog foods, there are certain factors that you need to keep in mind, such as the age of your dog, the breed of your dog and most importantly, the daily nutrition requirement of your dog.
If your dog is very active as a German Shepherd, the most important things that it needs in the daily meal are lots of proteins and carbohydrates. Now, the question you may ask is, do only protein and carbohydrates make a dog food ideal for your dog?
The answer is no. Although they do need a lot of proteins and carbohydrates, you also need to think about other factors like, “Is this dog food going to help your dog build a strong immune system?” and “Is this food helping your dog develop strong bones and muscles?”
Most cheap dog foods available in the market do not fulfill these needs. So, what makes a dog food ideal?
There is no particular answer to that question but we can say that the food that meets the daily nutrition needs of your dog is the ideal dog food. It may differ from breed to breed. However, a few common factors should be maintained while buying dog foods.
- The number of Proteins: An ideal meal for a dog should contain at least 22% of proteins. Proteins help dogs stay active and help them gain energy.
- Low Fat: Although fat makes the food more delicious, too much fatty food can be harmful to dogs. Then again, if there is no fat at all, it can be harmful to the dog’s skin. Ideal dog food should contain 5%-6% of fat.
- A balance of Omega 3 And 6 Fatty Acids: A proper balance of Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids can help dogs develop healthy skin and keep their coats shiny.
- Vitamins And Minerals: Essential vitamins and minerals can help dogs maintain strong immunity.
- Natural Food: Food made from natural meat can help in developing healthy muscles. On the other hand, artificial flavor, corn syrup, and soy can be harmful to the dog’s health.
The difference between the German Shepherd puppy diet and the adult diet.
There’s a lot of differences between the GSD puppy diet and the GSD adult diet. You can’t feed the same food for all dogs. The foods vary in the proportion of certain ingredients and also calories.
The German Shepherd Puppy diet.
A GSD puppy will need around 500 calories a day to maintain good health. During this age, they are constantly growing. So, you need to be extra careful about feeding them.
The most important ingredients of a GSD puppies diet are protein, calcium, and fat. They need protein to grow muscles and support their metabolism. A puppy will need anything between 8%-22% protein.
Fat is equally important. Your puppy’s dog food should have 8%-%12 healthy fats.
It might be tempting to provide extra proteins in your puppy’s diet. But doing so can upset their stomach and cause diarrhea.
The German Shepherd adult and senior diet.
Adult GSD’s require 2400 calories at max for leading a healthy life. If your dog is not eating at least 1600 calories a day, he might get weak and also his coat condition can suffer.
Try to find a GSD adult food with named meat meals. Meat meals have less moisture and more meat content. Real meat is also a good addition but it is not enough to cover all the protein requirements of your dog.
Keep the carbs low. You can choose a dog food with sweet potato for meeting his carbs needs.
But if your dog is very active and playful, you can feed him foods with more carbs.
The reason is very simple.
Energetic dogs can easily burn the excess carbs and gain enough energy to survive the whole day.
For senior dogs, 1300-1600 calories will be sufficient. Keep close eyes on your senior dogs as flatulence and gas is very common among them.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Is it okay to feed a puppy dog food labeled for “all life stages”?
Only two dog food nutrient profile is recognized by AAFCO which are; Adult Maintenance, and Growth and Reproduction.
The manufacturers are allowed to produce and sell dog foods labeled “for all stages” as long as they meet these two requirements. However, it is better to buy foods that are easy to consume and meet the puppies’ daily nutrient requirements.
Is changing dog foods harmful to the dog’s health?
Although some dogs are intolerant to changes or do not have healthy stomachs, there is no scientific study that suggests that a change in dog food or a certain diet can be unhealthy for dogs.
What is diet rotation?
Rather than serving the same meal every day, some diet plans include switching dog foods on a daily, weekly or monthly basis depending on the menu so that there is no gap in the dog’s nutrition demands. This cycle is called diet rotation.
What do the red items on an ingredient list mean?
A red item on an ingredient list is not always bad; however, it is controversial. Sometimes red items on an ingredient list are not even a big deal.
For example, corn is a red item on the list but you may find corn in the list of four stars or even five stars rated dog foods. In this case, it is a very simple issue and it does not mean harm.
Is high protein dog food bad for puppies?
Some still believe that high protein dog foods can be harmful to puppies’ health. But, studies have found out that issues like hip dyslexia are not caused by high protein foods; rather, it is genetic.
The German shepherd is an aggressive dog so it needs proper food. Every dog, from puppies to adults, needs proper food and nutrition. It is wiser to go for natural dog food, rather than the cheap dog foods available in the market.
Owners should be aware of their dogs’ nutritional demands and in this specific case, feed them the dog food for German shepherd accordingly.
Last update on 2020-11-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
- 1 German Shepherd Dog Food Review – Our Recommendation.
- 2 German Shepherd Dog Food Comparison Chart.
- 3 1. Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition German Shepherd.
- 4 2. Taste of The Wild Grain Free High Prairie.
- 5 3. Diamond Naturals Real Meat Adult Dog Food.
- 6 4. Orijen Dry Puppy Food.
- 7 5. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula.
- 8 6. Royal Canin Mini Puppy Dry Dog Food.
- 9 Types of German Shepherd food.
- 10 1. Kibbles.
- 11 2. Wet food.
- 12 3. Freeze-dried dog food.
- 13 What to Feed a German Shepherd?
- 14 What Makes the Best Food for German Shepherd?
- 15 The difference between the German Shepherd puppy diet and the adult diet.
- 16 The German Shepherd Puppy diet.
- 17 The German Shepherd adult and senior diet.
- 18 Frequently Asked Questions:
- 19 Is it okay to feed a puppy dog food labeled for “all life stages”?
- 20 Is changing dog foods harmful to the dog’s health?
- 21 What is diet rotation?
- 22 What do the red items on an ingredient list mean?
- 23 Is high protein dog food bad for puppies?
- 24 Conclusion.