Best Food For German Shepherd

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No doubt you want the best food for German Shepherd. But, how do you know which brand to pick up and get your paws on? How do you know this isn’t the best dog food for german shepherds? I know, because I’ve done the hard work for you. As a part of being a responsible dog owner, you need to take great care of your German shepherd on a regular basis. Therefore, it is no surprise that you’re considering the german shepherd feeding chart. Your German shepherd’s growth, health and well-being depend greatly on the proper nutrition.

Finding the right food for your German Shepherd is vital for his/her health and well-being. So, you have to be sure about which brand and type of food will benefit him or her most. Let’s look our german shepherd puppy feeding guide to find out which meals are best for these loyal dogs.

Best Food For German Shepherd

When looking for the best dog food for a German shepherd… it’s important to choose a food that’s safe for your pet’s age.

That’s because German shepherds are considered large breed dogs.

Which is not a problem… for adult shepherds.

However…

German shepherd puppies have a higher risk of developing a crippling form of canine hip dysplasia… if they’re fed a dog food that contains too much calcium for their larger breed type.

Canine Hip Disease
Large Breed with Bilateral Hip Disease

To help you make a safe choice…

The Dog Food Advisor has selected the 16 brands below because they meet safe calcium levels and other nutritional needs of adult German shepherds… and where noted… shepherd puppies, too.

Keep in mind, German shepherd puppies don’t stop growing and aren’t ready to eat adult dog food… until they reach 12 to 24 months of age.

Best Dog Food for German Shepherds

Here are The Dog Food Advisor’s best dog food brands for German shepherds for June 2022.

Dr Garys Best Breed German Dog Diet

Dr. Gary’s Best Breed German Dog Diet

Rating: 

German Dog Diet is one of 13 dry recipes covered in our review of the Dr. Gary’s Best Breed product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken meal, oatmeal, brown rice, dried beet pulp, chicken fat
  • Type: Grain-inclusive (oatmeal, brown rice)
  • Profile: All life stages
  • Best for: German shepherd puppy or adult

Dr. Gary’s Best Breed German Dog Diet derives most of its animal protein from chicken meal. Our dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 36% protein, 22% fat and 34% estimated carbs… yielding a fat-to-protein ratio of about 63%.

We like the fact the formula also includes zinc proteinate and other chelated minerals… which provides superior absorption and nutrition. Highly recommended.

Sample buyer review… “Our german shepherd has had a lot of itching problems since she was about 1 year old. We have tried different foods, supplements, sprays and shampoos. Nothing has seems to work as well as when we switched to this food. Scabs that were on her for months due to her itching them open all the time have finally healed over. She is still a little itchy, but significantly better than before. And she loves the food too! We used to leave her food bowl full all day because she would only pick throughout the day. With this food we are only doing 2-3 cups morning and night because she scarfs it all down in minutes! Glad we finally found something that she loves and works so well!”

Merrick Grain-Free Large Breed Chicken and Sweet Potato

Merrick Grain-Free Large Breed Adult

Rating: 

Real Chicken and Sweet Potato is one of 12 dry recipes included in our review of Merrick Large Grain-Free Dog Food product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Deboned chicken, chicken meal, turkey meal, sweet potatoes, potatoes
  • Type: Grain-free
  • Profile: Maintenance
  • Best for: German shepherd adults

Merrick Grain-Free Large Breed Real Chicken and Sweet Potato gets the majority of its meat-based protein from fresh chicken and chicken meal. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 34% protein, 17% fat and 41% estimated carbs… resulting in a fat-to-protein ratio of about 50%.

We also note the use of multiple probiotics for improved digestion… and salmon oil for healthy skin and coat. Highly recommended.

Sample buyer review… “I’ve been using Merrick for years. I like that the ingredients are all natural and that the company is USA based. The protein sources are whole and there isn’t any “filler” ingredients. My german shepherd has a sensitive stomach and this grain-free recipe doesn’t bother him at all. He loves this food and is always excited for mealtime.”

Nom Nom Pork Fresh Dog Food

Nom Nom Fresh

Rating: 

Pork Potluck is one of 4 fresh human-grade recipes included in our review of the Nom Nom dog food product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Ground pork, russet potatoes, green beans, squash, kale
  • Type: Grain-free
  • Profile: All life stages
  • Best for: German shepherd puppy or adult

Pork Potluck gets the majority of its meat protein from fresh ground pork. Dry matter label analysis reveals the formula contains 32% protein, 20% fat and 40% estimated carbs… resulting in a fat-to-protein ratio of about 63%.

All 4 recipes are designed by a board-certified veterinary nutritionist (DACVN)

From an online questionnaire, Nom Nom creates a custom feeding plan based on your dog’s age, weight, breed type, and activity level.

The company then recommends an exact portion size, according to the number of calories needed to maintain your dog at ideal weight.

Once it arrives at your door, you’ll want to store the food in your freezer.. Then, thaw each meal in your refrigerator… as it’s needed.

Nom Nom Fresh is ideal for pet parents who want to feed a fully-balanced, human-grade diet that’s as close to homemade as you can get… without all the fuss.

Not cheap. Enthusiastically recommended.

Sample buyer review… “Mya has suffered from colitis & IBS for many years, and she’s also the pickiest with food. Since being on Nom Nom she is eating much better & has perfect poop!!!”

Read more buyer reviews at Nomnomnow.com

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Read Our Full Brand Review

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Salmon Adult Recipe Dog Food

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Salmon Recipe

Rating: 

Wilderness Salmon is one of 18 dry recipes analyzed in our review of the Blue Buffalo Wilderness product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Deboned salmon, chicken meal, peas, pea protein, menhaden fish meal
  • Type: Grain-free
  • Profile: Maintenance
  • Best for: Adult shepherds only

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Salmon derives the bulk of its animal protein from fresh salmon and chicken meal. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 38% protein, 17% fat and 38% estimated carbs… producing a fat-to-protein ratio of about 44%.

A grain-free, protein-rich formula available in over a dozen flavors and recipes… which makes Wilderness ideal for those who appreciate the benefits of diet rotation. Fairly priced and highly recommended.

Sample buyer review… “I have a 3 year old husky and ever since she was a puppy i had her on blue wilderness. Ive got her every flavor if not almost every flavor, and this salmon one is the one she has loved the most! Ieave her food bowl full at all times she so can eat whenever she wants. And she eats this salmon one more than every other flavor. Now i know salmon is her favorite protein.

Best Dog Food For German Shepherds

Best Food For German Shepherds With Sensitive Stomachs: Blue Buffalo Basics Skin & Stomach Care

In our review, the best dog food for sensitive-stomach German Shepherds is the Blue Buffalo  Basics Skin and Stomach Care Dog Food. It is a limited ingredient recipe designed especially for dogs that are easily allergic and react to several ingredients. It has turkey as its first protein and is highly digestible.

ProsCons
Provides lots of energyComplaints of possible lead traces
Has lots of fiber to boost digestion 
Good blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals 
No grains, artificial flavors, beef or chicken 
Boost cognitive development 

Best for Sensitive Stomachs

Blue Buffalo Basics Skin & Stomach Care Turkey & Potato

Blue Buffalo Basics Skin & Stomach Care Turkey & Potato

  • Limited ingredient recipe
  • Contains turkey as its first protein
  • No grains, artificial flavors, beef or chicken
  • Added antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals

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Best Food For German Shepherds With Skin Allergies: Taste of the Wild High Prairie

If your beloved fur baby is allergic to grains, we highly recommend the Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Dry Dog Food. This food is specially formulated for GSDs with skin allergies and does not contain any ingredients that could cause flare-ups or stomach irritations. It has a high protein content from rich natural sources like venison, buffalo, and bison – made to mimic the diet of wild wolves.

ProsCons
Provides Balanced diet for German ShepherdsHigh-fat content
Tasty for dogsMay cause bloating and gas in some GSDs
Amino acid-rich to boost muscle development and maintenance 
Rich in probiotics & antioxidants to improve brain function and development 
Promotes healthy skin and coat 

Best For Skin Allergies

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

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

  • Grain-Free
  • Balanced diet for German Shepherds
  • Rich in probiotics & antioxidants
  • High protein content

ROYAL CANIN BREED HEALTH NUTRITION

Royal Canin’s Breed Health Nutrition dog food for puppies is as nutritious and beneficial for dogs as its adult-specific counterpart above. However, it’s specially formulated to cater to the special needs of a still-growing GSD. This dry food provides all the essential nutrients and supplements needed and is suitable for pups 8 weeks to 15 months old. It improves digestive issues and helps with overall development.

ProsCons
High-quality dry foodCan be expensive
Specially designed for growing GSD puppiesNot grain-free
Contains essential minerals like calcium and phosphorus 
Boosts immune system and overall development 
Easy to absorb 

Best for Puppies

Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition German Shepherd Puppy

Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition German Shepherd Puppy

  • Designed for growing GSD puppies
  • Improves digestive issues and helps with overall development
  • Contains essential minerals like calcium and phosphorus
  • Easy to absorb

Best Wet Dog Food For German Shepherd: Pedigree Choice Cuts in Gravy With Beef

Most of the recommended food in this review are dry foods. However, some dogs adore wet food and prefer it over dry food. This is because wet food is generally easy to absorb and digest for many of them. The Pedigree Choice Cuts in Gravy With Beef Canned Dog Food is the best-wet dog food in this review. It is affordable, nutritious, and very tasty for dogs. It provides a well-balanced diet for your GSD and contains many essential oils and minerals.

ProsCons
Well balanced dietNot grain-free
Contains essential nutrients and mineralsSome picky GSDs may not like it
Inclusion of actual tasty meat products 
Easily digestible

German Shepherd Puppy Feeding Guide

How Much To Feed A German Shepherd Puppy

Knowing how much to feed a German Shepherd puppy helps you to keep track of their growth and habits. It’s good to chart how much you’re feeding them so that you can monitor their weight gain, growth, and appetite changes.

Follow this chart as a guide for how much food a German Shepherd puppy usually eats.

German Shepherd Puppy Feeding Chart By Age

As a general guideline, here’s how much you should feed your German Shepherd puppy daily by their age and cups of food:

  • 8 weeks old: 1 to 1 ½ cups of food spread over 4 meals daily
  • 12 weeks old: 1 ½ to 2 cups of food spread over 4 meals daily
  • 6 months to 9 months old: 2 cups to 3 cup of food spread over 3 meals daily
  • 9 months to 12 months old: 3 cups to 3 ½ cups of food spread over 3 meals daily
  • 12 months old and above: 3 ½ to 4 cups of food spread over 2 meals daily

Adjust the amounts based on your dog’s lifestyle. A more active puppy might need extra calories, while a lower energy puppy doesn’t need as much food per day. These are guidelines only.

So, feel free to adjust the amounts based on your German Shepherd’s energy needs.

Puppy AgeTotal Cups of Dry KibbleNumber of Meals Per Day
8 weeks old1 – 1 ½ cups4
12 weeks old1 ½ – 2 cups4
6 months to 9 months old2 – 3 cups3
9 months to 12 months old3 – 3 ½ cups3
12 months old and above3 ½ – 4 cups2

How Much Should a German Shepherd Puppy Eat (split the total up into multiple meals throughout the day)

Offer your dog their food around the same time each day. If they don’t eat their meal in 10 to 15 minutes remove their dish. Wait an hour and offer them the same meal to see if they’ve changed their mind about eating.

How Much Should A German Shepherd Puppy Eat?

How Much Should A German Shepherd Puppy Eat?
German Shepherd puppies eat more than you think!

On average, adult German Shepherds should eat at least 1,272 calories to 2,100 calories daily. This amount depends on their age, existing health conditions, and activity level. Older and less active German Shepherds eat around 1300 calories daily to maintain a healthy weight. Meanwhile, an active and energetic older GSD may eat at 1700 calories a day.

But what about a German Shepherd puppy?

How much should a German Shepherd puppy eat?

The answer will surprise you!

German Shepherd puppies eat twice the amount of calories per pound of weight when compared to adult German Shepherds. This means an 8-week-old German Shepherd puppy can eat double the food of an adult GSD! Puppies eat double their adult counterparts in order to maintain growth and development. Their caloric intake is crucial to keep their bodies strong and give them necessary energy to grow.

A German Shepherd puppy that is younger than four months old will need at least 80-90 calories per pound of body weight in order to grow and develop. Once a German Shepherd puppy reaches four months of age, then you can reduce his calorie requirements to around 40-60 calories per pound of body weight. Weigh your puppy routinely, check on their overall body condition, and adjust their calories to support their growth.

Young Shepherds are even busier than working adult dogs. After all, they’re growing into their large paws, running around with zoomies, chewing (things they should and shouldn’t), playing fetch, and learning allabout the world around them. All of this requires additional energy.

Remember, calories vary greatly between brands and manufacturers. Always read the feeding label and nutritional guidelines on the package of food you are feeding your GSD.

Here is a simple calorie chart by age and weight to help you find a good feeding amount for your puppy to start with.

German Shepherd Puppy Calories By Age

Puppy AgeNumber of FeedingsAverage Calories
Puppies – Weaning to 12- weeks4 per day1200 – 2400 calories
Puppies – 3 to 6-months3 per day2000 – 2200 calories
Puppies – 6 to 12-months3 per day2700 – 3900 calories
Puppies – 12 to 18-months2 per day3300 – 4250 calories

This feeding guide chart is for general parameters of a German Shepherd puppy’s caloric requirements, based on weight. Dog food companies generally provide this information on their product packaging to assist you in feeding your puppy. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Many puppies need additional calories right before a growth spurt, then eat slightly less after the growth spurt. It’s difficult to tell when the growth spurt begins, but you might notice that your puppy always seems hungry.

On average your German Shepherd puppy under 4 months old needs about 80 – 90 calories per pound of their body weight. This figure is adjustable given how active your dog is during their day and as they grow – scientifically, this number is called their resting energy requirements, or RER. The RER is a mathematical formula to calculate the minimum requirements for a German Shepherd puppy’s growth.

But, it’s not set in stone!

So, don’t get stuck on the numbers exactly. Instead, use them as a guide.

More importantly?

Watch your puppy’s body condition and waist line. German Shepherd puppies should have an hourglass figure when seen from overhead. They aren’t bulky or heavily muscular as young puppies.

And bulking up a puppy is not healthy for their joints. Instead, you want them to steadily increase their growth.

If you think your puppy is trying to eat everything, including his food bowl, then offer a small bit more food. If he seems slightly chubby or fat, then decrease the food by a small bit.

How Much To Feed A German Shepherd Puppy By Weight

German Shepherd Puppy Calorie Chart: 0 – 4 months

Weight in PoundsCalories/Day
10600
201200
301500
401800
502100
602400

Remember, these are the MINIMUM calories for growing puppies. But German Shepherds are highly active and usually need more than the minimum amounts.

German Shepherd Puppy Calorie Chart: 4 months – 1 year

Weight in PoundsCalories/Day
10400
20800
301000
401200
501400
601600
701800
802000
902200
1002400

Remember, these are the MINIMUM calorie needs! But your GSD puppy is growing and highly active, so they likely need more calories than the minimum to keep up with their active lifestyle.

If you look at the feeding recommendations on your dog’s food package, you’ll likely see the amounts to feed a German Shepherd puppy are written in cups rather than calories. Those guidelines are safe to follow because they calculate your puppy’s calorie requirements in the same way the above charts do. Plus, using a measuring cup is easier than figuring out caloric needs using a mathmatical formula.

Now, you need to choose the right number of feedings per day for your German Shepherd puppy.

How Often Should You Feed A German Shepherd Puppy?

Puppy’s AgeFeedings Per DaySnacks?
6 to 12 weeks old4Yes, often but healthy treats
12 weeks to 6 months old3Yes, often but healthy treats
6 months to 1 year old2Yes, occasionally
1 year and older old2Yes, limited

Break their total cups of food into multiple feedings spread throughout the day for easy digestion.

How often you should feed a German Shepherd puppy depends on their age and their activity level. This means:

  • A 6 to 12 week-old German Shepherd puppy eats 4 times a day
  • A 12-week to 6-month old German Shepherd puppy eats 3 times a day
  • A 6-month to 1-year old German Shepherd puppy eats 2 times a day
  • At 1-year and older you can keep feeding your German Shepherd puppy twice a day

Feeding smaller meals throughout the day also supports your puppy’s blood sugar and energy level which helps them grow steadily and behave better in your home.

When you know how many times to feed a German Shepherd puppy per day it’s easy to see the need for a regular feeding schedule to keep track of his meals!

Many owners also want to know when they can switch to adult food formulas for their German Shepherd puppies. So, let’s take a look at the answer.

When Should You Switch Your German Shepherd Puppy To Adult Food?

When Should You Switch Your German Shepherd Puppy To Adult Food?
Switch your GSD puppy to adult food when they are around 12 to 18 months old.

Puppies can begin adult kibble when they are approximately 80 percent of their adult weight. This usually occurs around 8 to 10 months of age, but you can safely feed puppy food up to 18 months old as long as they are not putting on excess weight too quickly. German Shepherds usually don’t reach their full growth until 18 months of age and tend to fill out later than smaller breed dogs.

It isn’t harmful to keep a German Shepherd on puppy formula until their growth plates have fused over, which is generally around 12 to 18 months of age (UCLA – Davis).

If you want to know what to feed a German Shepherd puppy, keep reading.

What Do You Feed A German Shepherd Puppy?

What Do You Feed A German Shepherd Puppy?
Finding the best food to feed your German Shepherd puppy is overwhelming at times.

Your German Shepherd’s athletic body, as well as his energy, health, and condition, depend in part on what you choose to pour into his bowl and knowing how much to feed your German Shepherd puppy.

This means choosing what to feed a German Shepherd puppy is even more serious and intimidating!

Most dog foods on the market will adequately sustain your dog’s life.

But you don’t want adequate…

You want your dog to bloom with health!

Feed a German Shepherd puppy a dry kibble from a major, research-based and vet-backed dog food manufacturer. Dry kibble is the most convenient, economical choice for most puppies. Look for a food created especially for large breed puppies that states the formula is a complete and balanced meal.

German Shepherd Feeding Chart

Week-By-Week German Shepherd Puppy Feeding Guide
Follow a feeding schedule based on your dog’s age.

These feeding charts and guides will help keep your new companion growing strong and athletic. Find your puppy’s age and follow the guidelines to help them grow athletic and strong.

6-Week-Old Puppy

Your pup should be with its mother nursing during this stage.

Tiny portions of canned, wet foods are introduced. But they still derive the bulk of the nutrients from their mother’s milk. The mother’s milk contains colostrum, antibiotic milk that protects the young pup during the first 8 to 10-weeks of their lives.

Meals per day: 4 or more (Puppies should stay with their mom for to keep them healthy.)

8-Week-Old Puppy

At 8-weeks-old, your GSD pup should be fed hard kibble moistened with warm goat’s milk left to sit for 10 minutes. This goat’s milk is highly digestible and provides your growing GSD pup with plenty of healthy vitamins and minerals that are essential to their bodies during this critical stage of their lives.

Do not use cow’s milk as this will cause stomach upset and sickness!

Goat’s milk can be used throughout their lives, even as adults, to make their meals more enticing and encourage healthy eating habits.

At 8-weeks-old a GSD pup is eating more solid foods and develops a better appetite for kibble and other foods. Add in only a couple of small spoonfuls of canned plain pumpkin, unsweetened Greek yogurt, or cooked oatmeal to entice your pup to eat.

As you’ve most likely started to train your German Shepherd puppy, they’ll need energy to keep up with the new skills they’re learning so they stay sharp and alert.

Meals per day: 4

10-Week-Old Puppy

Continue feeding the same as the 8-week-old diet. Don’t change kibble brands if you find one your dog eats, enjoys, and shows positive, healthy results.

Don’t change your dog’s diet as long as they are enjoying their food, have plenty of energy for daily activities, and a beautiful, full, shiny coat.

Treats are not only enjoyable for your German Shepherd, but help you to eneterain and build a positive relationship with him. Just watch the calories and weight gain to ensure treats aren’t overdone.

You’re most likely noticing your puppy is a non-stop motion blur around your house! Be sure to keep their zoomies under control by playing plenty of fun German Shepherd games for puppies.

Meals per day: 4

12-Week-Old Puppy

Continue to feed the kibble. You can still offer goat’s milk as long as they enjoy it.

Watch for excessive weight gain during this growth time as their bones cannot take extra weight!

Too much weight gain too quickly can cause joint issues as an adult and prevent healthy development. If your high-energy German Shepherd still seems like they can’t rest or calm down, then try a different training technique.

Use their mental energy to help keep them more relaxed throughout the day by playing brain-boosting mind games for German Shepherd puppies. You’ll not only love the games to bond with your new puppy, but your dog will love learning how to put their brilliant minds to great use!

Meals per day: 3 to 4

14-Week-Old Puppy

Keep your puppy trim and athletic by monitoring how much you feed your puppy and their body condition. You can write how much they eat and track this over time, and adjust how much your feed your German Shepherd puppy to keep them at a healthy weight.

Try using fresh, raw, cut-up pieces of carrots as healthy treats or small, deseeded cubes of fresh apple as part of their training treats.

Keep your eyes open for a growth spurt about to begin! They’ll gulp down their meals and you might even wonder if they’ll ever stop eating.

Meals per day: 3

16-Week-Old Puppy

Around this time, you might notice your puppy finish their meal quickly and look for more food. It’s OK to start giving them a small handful more of kibble since they’re most likely going through a growth spurt.

Be sure to watch how many treats you give them throughout the day. Many puppy treats are high in calories so monitor these additions to your dog’s feeding routine.

If you haven’t yet taught your dog leash manners, then don’t delay in training your German Shepherd puppy to walk nicely on leash. They’ll soon have the strength to pull you down the road with their power!

Meals per day: 3

18-Week-Old Puppy

As your puppy keeps growing it’s a good idea to weigh them on a scale. You can do this by holding them safely in your arms and weighing them with you on the scale. Then, place them on the floor and step onto the scale without them to weigh yourself.

Subtract the difference between the weights and you’ve got your puppy’s weight.

Remember, around 16 to 20-weeks old your German Shepherd puppy begins to rapidly grow. This means it’s essential to not overfeed them because extra weight can cause damage to their joints and bones.

Meals per day: 3

20-Week-Old Puppy

Around 5-months old you might notice your puppy’s height increase, along with their bodies starting to plump up and fill out. While it’s healthy for a German Shepherd puppy to begin filling out around this time, they shouldn’t have a round belly.

Instead, when looking overhead at your puppy their waist should look trim and not rounded outwards. German Shepherd puppies should appear sleek in their waistline.

Meals per day: 3

22-Week And Older Puppy

Continue to feed your German Shepherd puppy dry kibble with a small amount of healthy foods mixed in. You can lessen the healthy food you mix in gradually if you prefer. But, even as adults, German Shepherds love a bit of tasty toppers on their kibble.

Around a year old, begin feeding your German Shepherd puppy 2 meals a day. Don’t ever feed your German Shepherd only 1 large meal a day as this could cause bloat, a deadly medical issue in their stomachs.

Two meals, one in the morning and evening, are not only safer but also provide your German Shepherd with sustained energy to fuel their high-energy lifestyle.

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