What is the best food to feed German Shepherds?
Want to know what the 8 best dog foods for German Shepherds are?
Understanding how to pick an excellent canine diet will assist your German Shepherd friend in living his or her most fulfilling existence.
Luckily, there is a fantastic community of dedicated German Shepherd parents (such as myself) who are experts in canine nutrition!
I’m a former veterinary technician who spent months learning about the finest dog foods for German Shepherds.
Whether you are searching for the best canned dog food for German shepherds or the best dog food for German shepherd puppies, we have compiled a list of the 8 best dog food brands for German Shepherds in order to assist you.
VIDEO: All you need to know about German Shepherds
But first, let’s examine a few health conditions that German Shepherds may be prone to.
Common Health Conditions of German Shepherds
German Shepherds are not considered to be unhealthy breeds. There are, however, a number of medical conditions that German Shepherds are susceptible to:
Hip dysplasia (1)– where hip joint that doesn’t fit together perfectly, which will eventually lead to arthritis. Before breeding, dogs should be screened by x-rays through the BVA/Kennel Club Hip Dysplasia Scheme. (2)
Elbow dysplasia – a condition where a dog’s elbow socket doesn’t form properly, leading to pain and problems. There is a screening test for this. (3)
Canine Degenerative Myelopathy (DM) – (4) also known as Chronic Degenerative Radiculomyopathy (CDRM) causes weakness to back legs leading to paralysis. There is a screening test.
What is the best dog food for German Shepherds?
When you own a German Shepherd, one of the first questions you ask yourself is, ‘What is the best dog food for my German Shepherd? ‘ Every four-legged family member is unique though, and as a result, I’ve looked at the best German Shepherd dog food in each category!
Best Dry Dog Food for German shepherds
Diamond Naturals Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food
- First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Whole Grain Brown Rice, Cracked Pearled Barley, Ground White Rice
- Key Ingredients: Antioxidants, Omega Fatty Acids, Probiotics, Glucosamine
- Guaranteed Analysis: 23% Protein, 13% Fat, 3.5% Fiber, 10% Moisture
- Caloric Content: 327 kcal/cup
- Type of Product: With Grain; No Corn, Wheat, or Soy
- Life Stage: Adult.
For most German Shepherds, Diamond Naturals’ large breed formula is the best choice. The product is made with high-quality ingredients while staying within a reasonable price range. Incidentally, this is also the best dog food for EPI German shepherds.
The first two ingredients are chicken and chicken meal, which provide plenty of lean protein. Additionally, this recipe uses whole grains, which are more nutritious than other options. Real fruits are included in this formula to provide natural antioxidants (5).
Your dog’s coat and skin will benefit from omega fatty acids, and his digestive system will be supported by probiotics. The dry dog food is also free of corn, wheat, artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives.
Glucosamine (6) is also included to support your German Shepherd’s joints. This is especially important for this breed as it is prone to various joint issues.
Diamond Naturals make all of their formulas in the USA with advanced food protocols. Their dog food is safe, as they have had very few recalls over the years.
Best Dog Food for Senior German Shepherd
Wellness CORE Grain-Free Senior Deboned Turkey Recipe Dry Dog Food
- First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Turkey, Chicken Meal, Lentils, Dried Ground Potatoes, Peas
- Key Ingredients: Omega Fatty Acids, Glucosamine, Probiotics, Taurine
- Guaranteed Analysis: 32% Protein, 12% Fat, 6.25% Fiber, 10% Moisture
- Caloric Content: 359 kcal/cup
- Type of Product: Grain-Free; Gluten Free; No Corn, No Wheat, No Soy
- Life Stage: Senior
Looking for the best food for senior German Shepherd? In spite of the fact that it is not specifically made for large breed dogs, this senior dog food by Wellness CORE is the best dog food for older German Shepherds.
The first two ingredients are deboned turkey and chicken meal. By feeding your dog two types of animal sources, you are providing diversity and ensuring that they consume a wide range of amino acids.
As Omega fatty acids are high in this formula, it may be helpful for your senior’s joints and skin. Furthermore, antioxidants are included to prevent oxidative stress, a factor associated with a number of diseases.
Chondroitin and glucosamine are also included. There is evidence that these ingredients may improve joint health in German Shepherd dogs, especially those with hip dysplasia. Although they aren’t miracle cures, they can help relieve some symptoms.
This supplement also contains taurine, a mineral that is essential for health. The presence of taurine in your dog’s diet may help prevent certain heart conditions, allowing your dog to live a long and healthy life.
Allergy-prone dogs might benefit from this formula since it does not contain grains.
Best Food for German shepherd Puppy
ORIJEN Puppy Large Grain-Free Dry Puppy Food
- First 5 Ingredients:Chicken, Turkey, Flounder, Whole Mackerel, Chicken Liver
- Key Ingredients: DHA, EPA, Omega Fatty Acids, Glucosamine, Probiotics, Taurine
- Guaranteed Analysis: 38% Protein, 16% Fat, 4% Fiber, 12% Moisture
- Caloric Content: 451 kcal/cup
- Type of Product: Grain-Free; Gluten-Free; No Corn, No Wheat, No Soy
- Life Stage: Puppy
If you’re looking for the best food for a German Shepherd puppy, or indeed the best dog food for young German Shepherd, we recommend ORIJEN Puppy Large Grain-Free Dry Puppy Food. In addition to being extremely protein-dense, this formula also contains a lot of high-quality ingredients.
The best puppy food for German Shepherds requires extra protein to develop properly, as do all large breed dogs.
Animal protein makes up most of this food – from chicken to flounder. This variety of animal ingredients helps ensure that your canine consumes a wide variety of nutrients.
The whole fish meal provides essential nutrients like DHA and omega fatty acids for your dog. These are vital for their wellbeing, so make sure your pup is getting enough of them. They’re important for brain health and help improve skin & coat health too
Best Dog Food for German Shepherds with Allergies
Natural Balance L.I.D. Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
- First 5 Ingredients: Salmon, Menhaden Fish Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Cassava Flour, Potatoes
- Key Ingredients: Omega Fatty Acids, Taurine
- Guaranteed Analysis: 24% Protein, 10% Fat, 4% Fiber, 10% Moisture
- Caloric Content: 373 kcal/cup
- Type of Product: Grain-Free, Pea-Free, Chicken-Freee; Limited Ingredient Diet; No Corn, No Wheat, No Soy
- Life Stage: Adult
- Best Dog food for German shepherds with Skin Allergies
- Best Food for German Shepherd with Skin allergies
Food allergies are not particularly common in German Shepherds. However, allergies can occur in any dog, so if you are looking for the best food for German Shepherd with allergies….read on!
The German Shepherd breed is prone to autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, which a hypoallergenic dog food for German Shepherds can help.
To avoid food allergies, your dog may need to be fed a limited ingredient diet to avoid certain ingredients.
Salmon is the main source of protein in this formula, followed by fish meal. They are both high in omega fatty acids, which can improve your dog’s joint health.
In addition, sweet potatoes are included, though the ingredients in this formula are significantly fewer than those in most other options.
Choosing this dog food is a great choice for your German Shepherd, even if he does not have allergies.
For a varied diet and to prevent allergies, it’s just as important to switch between the many high-quality, limited-ingredient recipes this brand creates.
Best Food for German Shepherd Sensitive Stomach
American Journey Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Canned Dog Food
- First 5 Ingredients:Lamb, Lamb Broth, Lamb Liver, Sweet Potatoes, Sunflower Oil
- Key Ingredients: Omega Fatty Acids
- Guaranteed Analysis: 9% Protein, 7% Fat, 1.5% Fiber, 78% Moisture
- Caloric Content: 460 kcal/cup
- Type of Product: Grain-Free; No Corn, No Wheat, No Soy; Limited Ingredient Diet, Pea-Free, Chicken-Free
- Food Texture: Pate
- Life Stage: Adult
- Best Dog Food for Sensitive Stomach German Shepherd
Dogs with sensitive stomachs will benefit greatly from this wet dog food by American Journey. The formula is completely grain-free and is designed for large breed dogs.
Because it contains fewer ingredients, it is easier on sensitive dogs, since there are fewer things for them to react to.
Lamb is the main source of protein in this food. There are three very high-quality ingredients in this product, including whole lamb, lamb liver, and lamb broth. Lamb is rarely allergic to dogs, so this food may be a good option for those with food allergies.
Corn, wheat, and soy are not found in this formula. As they are absent, this food may also be suitable for dogs with sensitivities. If your dog reacts to any of these ingredients, this formula is a great choice.
Furthermore, this food contains a high level of omega fatty acids. Dogs benefit from these fats because they keep their skin, coat, and joints healthy. These may be particularly beneficial for dogs with underlying conditions in these areas.
If you are looking for the best dog food for German Shepherd puppy with sensitive stomach then click here!
Best Wet Dog Food for Geman Shepherds
Blue Buffalo Beef Homestyle Recipe Canned Dog Food
- First 5 Ingredients:Beef, Beef Broth, Beef Liver, Carrots, Peas
- Guaranteed Analysis: 8.5% Protein, 6% Fat, 1.5% Fiber, 78% Moisture
- Caloric Content: 398 kcal/cup
- Type of Product: No Corn, No Wheat, No Soy; With Grain
- Food Texture: Pate
- Life Stage: Adult
- Best Wet Food
There is no doubt that Blue Buffalo is a popular brand. This recipe is one of their best.
First, there is beef, beef broth, and beef liver as the three main ingredients. They are all rich in protein and fat, which our German Shepherd Dogs need to thrive.
The canned wet food here is designed to be extra tast, and It smells stronger than dry dog food, which may encourage otherwise disinterested dogs to eat it. For dogs that are picky eaters, this may be exactly what they need.
Although canned food is also more expensive, you can mix it in with dry food to keep costs down and improve the flavour of the kibble.
This formula is also free from corn, wheat, and soy, plus there are some added veggies on top of the meat ingredients, such as carrots and peas. Carrots are a high-quality option and they provide many different nutrients for your dog.
Peas seem to be used in a similar manner here. They’re there to provide high-quality vitamins. Just bear in mind though that, according to the FDA, they may also be associated with health problems.
This formula is not grain-free, as it includes ground brown rice further down the ingredient list of ingredients, although for most dogs, including grains shouldn’t be a problem.
On the downside, cans are sometimes dented, and it has a mushy texture.
Best Affordable Dog Food for German Shepherd.
Taste of the Wild Southwest Canyon Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
- First 5 Ingredients:Beef, Peas, Garbanzo Beans, Lamb Meal, Canola Oil
- Key Ingredients: Omega Fatty Acids, Taurine, Probiotics
- Guaranteed Analysis: 29% Protein, 15% Fat, 5% Fiber, 10% Moisture
- Caloric Content: 360 kcal/cup
- Type of Product: Grain-Free
- Life Stage: All Life Stages (including growth of large size dogs)
- Best Cheap Dog Food for German Shepherd
There are many high-quality recipes available from Taste of the Wild, and this is one of the Best Cheap Dog Food for German shepherds
The first ingredient in this recipe is beef. Several other meat sources are also included, such as lamb meal, but whole beef is the predominant protein and fat source.
The formula contains a lot more veggies and similar elements than we would have liked – peas are the second ingredient, for example. In moderation, peas are healthy for dogs, but the FDA has found that they may contribute to certain heart conditions.
Canola oil is used in this food, making it quite high in omega fatty acids. Besides supporting your dog’s joints, skin, and coat, this ingredient also helps with a dog’s coat.
Digestive health is supported by the addition of probiotics. Probiotics are naturally found in foods that people consume, but are not included in most dog foods. In order to kill all bacteria, everything has been cooked and sterilized.
These good bacteria are still necessary for dogs to thrive, which is why this company adds them back in.
This formula has several advantages, including realmeat as the main ingredient, prebiotics and probiotics for gut health, chelated minerals and amino acids, and omega fatty acids for skin and coat health.
A downside of these bags is that they contain a lot of dusty crumbles, can make dogs thirsty, and can cause loose stools in dogs who are more sensitive to food.
Best Dog food for German Shepherd to Gain Weight
ORIJEN Original Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
- First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Turkey, Flounder, Whole Mackerel, Chicken Liver
- Key Ingredients: DHA, EPA,Calcium, Phosphorus, Omega-3, Omega-6, Glucosamine, Chondroitin Sulphate.
- Guaranteed Analysis: 38% Protein, 18% Fat, 4% Fiber, 12% Moisture
- Caloric Content: 473 kcal/cup
- Type of Product: Grain-Free, High-Protein, Gluten Free, Natural, Raw, No Corn No Wheat No Soy
- Life Stage: All Life Stages (including growth of large size dogs)
- Best Cheap Dog Food for German Shepherd
- Best Food for German Shepherd to Gain weight
Provide your canine companion with peak nourishment from ORIJEN Original Grain-Free Dry Dog Food. Your dog is an ancestral carnivore, which means he thrives on a biologically appropriate diet that’s packed with different types of whole animal ingredients.
This scrumptious kibble features fresh or raw free-run chicken and turkey, wild-caught or sustainably farmed fish and cage-free chickens.
Crafted with the most nutrient-dense and succulent parts of the prey, this recipe is also made with WholePrey animal ingredients, including organs and bone, delivering 85% quality animal ingredients.
And this dog food is freeze-dried coated for the wag-worthy raw flavor dogs love!
The pros of this formula are: it’s crafted with 85% premium animal ingredients including poultry and fish, for a strong source of essential protein, vitamins, and minerals.
The first 5 ingredients are always fresh or raw animal protein and importantly it’s packed with WholePrey nutrition featuring nutrient-rich organs. Plus it’s made in the USA with the world’s finest ingredients, and freeze-dried coated for a burst of raw flavor!
Click here for the best food for German Shepherd puppy to gain weight.
Best Raw Food Diet for German Shepherds
Instinct Raw Boost Grain-Free + Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Food
- First 5 Ingredients:Duck, Chicken Meal, Peas, Egg Product, Turkey Meal
- Key Ingredients: Omega Fatty Acids, Probiotics, Antioxidants
- Guaranteed Analysis: 34.5% Protein, 21% Fat, 4% Fiber, 9% Moisture
- Caloric Content: 497 kcal/cup
- Type of Product: Grain-Free; Gluten-Free
- Life Stage: All Life Stages
There is no doubt that Instinct’s raw boost line is one of the best available on the market. Along with your typical kibble, it includes freeze-dried bits of food, which adds a considerable amount of protein and fat.
Cage-free duck is the first ingredient. In dog food, this ingredient is a rarity, but it’s packed with nutrients. Dogs with allergies may benefit from it, however many are allergic to the second ingredient, chicken meal.
Salmonellosis can be transmitted through raw duck, but this brand takes many precautions to avoid it.
The omega fatty acids in this recipe help maintain your dog’s joint and skin health. A coating of probiotics is also applied to the kibble and raw bits, providing digestive support.
As a result of the inclusion of fruits and vegetables, antioxidants are naturally included, and they stop oxidative damage, which can result in various problems and diseases.
The majority of the ingredients in this recipe are of the highest quality. Grains are not included, nor are potato, corn, wheat, soy, or by-product meal. Artificial flavors and preservatives are missing from the ingredient list too.
For German Shepherd homemade food, click here to read our blog, or read our expert review on on the best human food for German Shepherd!
Best Food to Feed German shepherds
German Shepherds are working dogs, so they have very specific nutritional needs. As they are often more active than most breeds, they require more protein and fat to thrive.
German Shepherds are quite active dogs, and feeding guidelines are generally written for moderately active dogs.
Make sure your dog’s weight is under control and adjust their food intake as needed. On the back of the bag, there are sometimes recommendations that you need to double check.
A few health problems are also associated with German Shepherds, such as hip dysplasia. Some of these disorders can be influenced by their diet.
When choosing food for your dog, you need to take several factors into account, as highlighted below.
Nutritional Requirements of German Shepherds
Like most canines, German Shepherds require a high amount of fat and protein in their diets. Studies have shown that this is mostly what our pets should eat.
The high level of activity of German Shepherd dogs requires an especially high protein and fat diet.
The correct food can have a profound positive effect on many aspects of your pet’s life, from their energy levels and general happiness, right through to how long they live. Check our our expert guide on canine nutrition.
Protein is one of the most essential macronutrients for German Shepherds. As a result of their active muscles, they require a high amount of protein. German Shepherds simply cannot function without it!
It is recommended that German Shepherds consume at least 25% crude protein per day. Despite the fact that this isn’t an exact science, it can be a useful tool.
There are some dogs that are more active than others, even among German Shepherds. Your dog will probably need more food if it is a working animal, while those who spend most of their time indoors may need less.
In addition, German Shepherd puppies require more protein while they are growing, because their muscles are developing.
High Fat Content
In today’s world, we tend to demonize the word “fat.” However, German Shepherds require a high-fat diet to thrive.
Fat can also provide more energy for working dogs with less food.
It goes without saying that not all fats are created equal. Dogs should be fed a variety of healthy fats, including omega fatty acids. Canines need these to maintain healthy joints.
German Shepherds are prone to hip dysplasia and other joint problems, so they require additional support.
Additionally, puppies and seniors may benefit from the added DHA, which enhances brain development.
Dogs need carbohydrates to survive. However, many foods contain much more than German Shepherds need.
The cost of carb-rich foods is often low. Rice is much cheaper than chicken and other meats, for example. In order to reduce prices and bulk up calorie content, many companies add carbohydrate-rich food to their products.
High-quality carbs from quality sources – like nutrient-dense vegetables, fruits, and whole grains – are the best dog food for German Shepherds. Carbs like these are okay.
The last thing you want is for your dog to eat empty carbohydrates that don’t offer much nutritional value.
In particular, German Shepherd puppies should avoid these types of carbohydrates, since their growing bodies need nutrition.
Because fiber cannot be digested by dogs, it is so important for them to consume it. It regulates a dog’s digestion and feeds their gut biome. Insufficient fiber can lead to stomach problems in your dog.
A diet that is too low in fiber can still affect German Shepherds, even though they are not particularly prone to digestive problems.
Fiber is especially important for overweight dogs. They can also stay fuller for longer without actually adding calories to their meal.
Vitamins and Minerals
For the most part, German Shepherds do not have any specific vitamin or mineral requirements. As with most other breeds, they thrive on the same levels.
In some cases, however, they may benefit from specific additives, such as glucosamine. Due to German Shepherds’ proneness to joint problems, it is often recommended to feed them foods containing this amino sugar.
We’ll take a look at some other health problems German Shepherds often experience below, as well as how to prevent them.
Beyond this, German Shepherds often do just great on the standards set by the AAFCO. (7)
Factors to Look at When Choosing a Food for German Shepherds
It is important to remember that not all German Shepherds are the same. Choosing the best food for your German Shepherd often means adjusting their diet to fit their lifestyle and needs.
Many pet owners believe that their dog requires more food than it really does, thus dogs are typically overfed, with more than 50% of all dogs on earth being overweight or obese!
For a fuller understanding of the energy requirements of your German Shepherd, read our guide on how much you should feed your dog.
The nutritional needs of German Shepherd puppies differ from those of adults. Due to their constant growth, large breed puppies require a diet that contains more protein and fats.
Puppy diets for smaller breeds won’t work.
Larger breeds require more energy to grow, and their skeletal systems are less dense. Due to this, they need special dietary considerations, which are addressed in large breed puppy foods.
On the other hand, senior German Shepherds may benefit from certain vitamins and minerals not found in adult dog foods. Glucosamine, for instance, is commonly added to senior dog food since most senior dogs suffer from joint problems.
That said, you don’t have to feed your senior dog senior food. Most dogs do just fine on high-quality adult dog food well into their twilight years.
Switch your senior dog only if you believe it would benefit from the extra vitamins and minerals.
German Shepherds need specific amounts of energy to be active. To compensate for the extra strain on their muscles, they often need more protein and fat.
Since their joints will be more heavily used, you’ll need to take special care of them.
Particularly working German Shepherd Dogs will need more protein and fat. It would be a good idea to get these dogs a food designed specifically for their high energy level.
A dog’s diet greatly affects their health and happiness.
For dogs to stay healthy and stay at a healthy weight, you need to feed them the right food to ensure they get all the nutrients they need. The wrong diet can lead to obesity and lifelong health problems.
Diet can partially control certain health issues. Many additives such as Glucosamine & Chondroitin, available in some dog foods for example can help with joint problems.
Personalizing your German Shepherd’s food will likely relieve their symptoms if they have certain health problems.
Common Health Issues and Diet
The health of German Shepherds is generally pretty good, but they can suffer from a few health problems. Dietary changes can prevent or control some of these diseases
Food Allergies for German shepherds
Many breeds of dogs suffer from food allergies. Food allergies usually develop after a dog consumes the same food for a long period of time.
We recommend switching out a dog’s food regularly because of this. Don’t feed your dog the same recipe every month.
The only thing you can do if your dog already has food allergies is to avoid their allergen. This usually involves switching to a limited-ingredient diet to avoid reactions.
For more information on food allergies and food intolerences, click here to read on our expert review!
Digestive Problems (probiotics)
There are no specific digestive issues associated with German Shepherds. Dogs can, however, experience upset stomachs at any time.
Probiotics can sometimes be beneficial to these dogs. It is just as important for dogs to develop a healthy gut biome as it is for humans.
It may also be helpful to give the canine a diet with a limited number of ingredients, especially if he reacts to certain ingredients.
Did you know that a dog’s gut health has a significant influence on its overall health? A recent scientific study reports that 70% to 80% of all illness begins in the gastrointestinal tract!
Discover why this supplement is essential for your dog’s immune system and overall health-read our blog on: The best Probiotic for German Shepherds.
Hip dysplasia is a common problem with German Shepherds. But did you know that it’s directly connected to diet. (8)
Hip dysplasia starts during puppy-hood, though they may not experience symptoms for several years. It seems that for one reason or another, their ball and socket stop growing at the same rate.
This uneven growth makes them rub against each other, eventually causing arthritis-like symptoms.
Although this condition is partially genetic, it is also directly linked to how a puppy is fed. Puppies that are fed too much are more likely to experience growth abnormalities, leading to hip dysplasia.
Because of this,it’s critical to only feed your puppy what they need. Too much can cause some serious health problems down the line.
Did you know that there is an all-natural method to relieve inflammation, pain, and discomfort in dogs that works better than pharmaceuticals? Check out our page on Canine Cush for Dogs.
Most German Shepherds will develop osteoarthritis at some point in their lives. There are, however, a few dietary changes that can help prevent this condition or alleviate its symptoms in dogs that already have it.
Many dogs benefit from glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate. There are many foods for large dogs that contain these additives.
There are also some fruits that may be helpful, such as blackcurrants. Their antioxidant properties and high vitamin C levels may contribute to their effectiveness.
Having bloat is a very serious, life-threatening condition that occurs suddenly without warning.
An expansion of the stomach is caused by gases building up in the stomach. There is a need for emergency vet care, as well as surgery.
Even more problems can arise when the stomach twists. As the stomach grows, it can press on surrounding tissue and cut off blood flow, causing shock and necrosis.
Unfortunately, no one knows what causes bloat. Several theories exist, but none of them are supported by hard evidence.
Best Dog Foods for German Shepherds - Our Verdict
What is the best dog food for German Shepherds?
German Shepherds are active dogs that benefit from foods high in protein and fat. Due to their fast growth rate, German Shepherd puppies need food designed for large breed dogs.
As a result of their health problems, this breed may benefit from foods high in glucosamine, omega fatty acids, and similar nutrients.
Diamond Naturals Large Breed Adult Chicken & Rice Formula Dry Dog Food is our top recommendation for German Shepherds. Designed specifically for large breed dogs, it contains many nutrients they need.
It is true that some dogs need specialized diets, so check out our suggestions and pick the best one for you and your German Shepherd!