Hi there! We start by tackling a common question: what’s the best food for German Shepherd puppies? Our blog is a dog lover’s dream come true. It covers the most important topic in dog care: diet! You’ll find information about what to feed your pet, as well as which foods are harmful, and why certain foods are ideal for your dog.
Feeding a puppy is different than feeding an adult.
What are the right nutrients for your German Shepherd puppy?
How do you know if your dog is getting enough food?
How do you know if your dog is eating too much?
Keep reading and you’ll learn all of this and more!
German Shepherd Best Food For Puppies
Speaking of vital elements that must be present in dog food, here’s a list of the best German Shepherd puppy food. Not only do these brands pay particular heed to the necessary nutrients for your furry friend. They guarantee an energetic and fit German Shepherd puppy by adding in other minerals for the well-being of your dog.
1. Diamond Naturals Premium Large Breed Formulas
Diamond Naturals Dry Food for Puppy, Large Breed Lamb and Rice Formula, 40 Pound Bag
Here’s a power-packed meal to provide antioxidants, probiotics, essential vitamins, and added minerals. The superfoods in the meal promote a long and hearty life for your fluffball. Diamond Naturals formula is specifically for large breed puppies. They need more nourishment to sustain their bone development.
GSDs tend to suffer from elbow and hip dysplasia. So, it is imperative to fortify their immune systems as well as ossein buildout. That will make sure that your pooch does not suffer from joint pains in their adult life.
Furthermore, the antioxidants in the blend prevent cancer. The probiotics in the mix keep the gut flora flourishing, and the omega fatty-acids keep the skin, coat, and vision healthy. Diamond tops it all up with a great price tag to give you the ultimate value for your money.
2. Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free Natural Puppy Large Breed Dry Dog Food
Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein, Natural Puppy Large Breed Dry Dog Food, Chicken 24-lb
No doubt, giving your pup what it loves brings you joy. But, it is your job to check that you are also providing your fluffball with the essential nutrients it needs to grow into a beautiful and fit canine.
Blue Buffalo contains clinically proven DHA levels for optimal brain development and the right fat and carbohydrate levels to certify muscle and bone growth. And, the fiber and prebiotics warrant smooth digestion. All in all, your puppy will become a gorgeous and healthy beast with Blue Buffalo Wilderness.
And, even if your GSD puppy has a sensitive stomach, you need not worry. The grain-less formula is the ideal food for german shepherd puppies with allergies.
3. Eukanuba Puppy Dry Dog Food Chicken
Eukanuba Puppy Large Breed Dry Dog Food, 33 lb
Eukanuba cares for both your pocket and your pup’s well-being. So, you get three different packaging options for your puppy. Its main ingredient is high-quality chicken that your puppy will devour. While the formula is enhanced with targeted levels of calcium and phosphorus. You see, German Shepherds need calcium. But, too much can harm them.
But, Eukanuba has been in this business for over fifty years. And, they only provide products par excellence. So, if you are looking for choices in the market, Eukanuba is a sensible addition to your dog’s diet.
4. Purina ONE SmartBlend Natural Puppy Dog Food
Purina ONE Large Breed Puppy Food, SmartBlend Natural Puppy Food Formula – 31.1 lb. Bag
Crafted with love and care, Purina ONE SmartBlend is an epic meal for your dog. The yummy chicken flavor satisfies your pooch’s taste buds, and the nutrient-rich formula will keep you happy, too. Purina believes that your canine deserves only the best. So, they give you dry dog food for large breed puppies that is free from preservatives. There are no artificial colors, fillers, or flavors. Purina simply does not do meal fillers.
Vets across the globe recommend Purina, and they are so sure of their high-quality that Purina offers you to take the 28-day Challenge. If you don’t see a visible improvement in your dog’s coat, skin, energy levels, and well-being, they are satisfied to give you your money back.
5. Royal Canin German Shepherd Puppy Breed Specific Dry Dog Food
Royal Canin German Shepherd Puppy Dry Dog Food, 30 lb bag
Nothing beats Royal Canin German Shepherd puppy food, as you will find from the raving reviews from satisfied pet parents of GSDs. It is a formula specifically made for a German Shepherd. And, they know their German Shepherds. So, they have taken into account the smallest of considerations.
The unique kibble shape is easy to grip with the long and robust muzzle of your German Shepherd. The glucosamine and chondroitin make for smooth digestion. Vitamin E is excellent for your puppy’s muscle development, healthy heart, and liver. Plus, the antioxidants keep the immune system up and running. In short, Royal Canin ranks as a topper in the list for the best diet for German Shepherd puppies.
6. Taste of the Wild High Prairie Canine Grain-Free Recipe
Taste of the Wild High Prairie Canine Grain-Free Recipe with Roasted Bison and Venison Dry Dog Food for Puppies, Made with High Protein from Real Meat and Guaranteed Nutrients and Probiotics 28lb. If you want your puppy delighted with its meal and for him to grow into a big boy, then Taste Of The Wild High Prairie is the healthiest pick of the day. It’s a superior quality formula that is suitable for German Shepherd with delicate tummies.
The blend contains no grain, so there is no question of gluten-related problems. There are no fillers in the meal. And, it has only 100% natural ingredients to guarantee the absolute healthful development of your puppy. Even the smaller-sized kibble is to make chewing and digestion easier for your little fluff ball.
7. Iams Proactive Health Minichunks Dry Dog Food
Healthy is as healthy eats. And, if your pick for puppy food for German Shepherd happens to be Iams, then your GSD is going to be a happy dog. You see, the farm-sourced chicken makes for a tasty meal. And, the wholesome fiber from the natural veggies boost the metabolism and ease digestion.
The blend has plentiful vitamins and minerals for a shinier coat, strong muscles and bones, and sharper eyesight. And, the DHA promotes brain development. Lastly, the crunchy kibble design makes for removing plaque, bad breath, and chewing for more jaw power.
Best dry food for german shepherd puppy
All puppies need extra nutrients to help them grow, and they grow super quick within the first 8 months of their lives. They then continue to grow up until the age of 18 months, but at a much steadier rate. Your puppy needs the best quality nutrients to make sure he develops properly. But using high-quality food will also help reduce the chances of having predisposed health issues.
You also want to make sure your pup has the nutrients it needs to help keep their coats nice and shiny. Regardless if you have a white German Shepherd, black coated GSD, or a GSD with a fluffy coat, you’ll need to make sure you are using a high-quality food to keep their coats soft and shiny.
He specifically needs high-quality kibble that is specifically aimed at large breed puppies, as they have a higher number of calories, carbohydrates and calcium levels which will provide his growing body and bones with everything that it needs. Standard puppy kibble which is aimed at dogs of all sizes may not contain enough nutrients. German Shepherds are active dogs, so it’s important to feed them food meant for large breeds.
Ideally, German Shepherd puppies should have 500 calories a day which gradually increases to around 1,600 once he reaches around 15 months old. The kibble should include a protein content anywhere between 18% and 22% and a fat content between 8% to 12%. Be sure not to feed your German Shepherd puppy any calcium supplements. Too much calcium can increase the chances of both Elbow and Hip Dysplasia in later life.
Best Foods For German Shepherd Puppies
Below are five of our natural dry dog kibble recommendations that are made from natural ingredients, and all have the best overall nutritional content as guided by the AAFCO.
We have also considered the overall product rating given by dog owners across the world, as well as the reputation of each brand, so that you know you are choosing the best products from expert companies.
Royal Canin GSD Puppy Formula
- Formulated for German Shepherd puppies.
- Made to improve skin and coat health.
- Vitamins support bone and joint development.
- Easy to chew kibble size & consistency.
- Helps maintain stool quality.
- 331 Calories per cup.
- 28% Protein, 14% Fat, 3.8% Fiber.
This kibble has been specifically designed with the German Shepherd puppy in mind. It has highly digestible proteins and specific fibers that maintains his digestive health, which will aid his soft stools.
Glucosamine and chondroitin also support healthy bones and joints as your puppy grows into a big boy. It has a variety of antioxidants and minerals, such as Vitamin E which help to develop his immune system, as well as Taurine which keeps his heart healthy.
We love that the biscuits are designed specifically for a German Shepherd pup, whose mouth is smaller than an adult, and the smaller shape encourages chewing and slows down his eating, and therefore he is less likely to experience bloat.
Eukanuba Puppy Formula
- Balanced formula for large dogs.
- Chicken is the first ingredient.
- Natural fiber for digestion.
- Prebiotics for gut health.
- DHA for brain development.
- 357 Calories per cup.
- 26% Protein, 14% Fat, 3.7% Fiber.
While this brand may have a funnier name, the product is anything but. Eukanuba has been producing high quality dog food since 1969. for This kibble has been specifically designed for large breed puppies who will exceed 55 pounds on maturity. Which, most German Shepherds definitely will.
It has the optimal level of calcium and phosphorus to ensure that his joints and bones have the right balance of nutrients. This will help reduce the chances of developing Elbow and Hip Dysplasia in later life. It also boasts clinically proven DHA levels for their brain development, which will encourage smarter and more trainable puppies.
We love that the first ingredient is chicken, so you know that this high-quality kibble has the very best protein source.
Blue Buffalo Natural Puppy Formula
- Real chicken is the first ingredient.
- Contains no by-product meals.
- No corn, wheat, soy, or artificial flavors.
- DHA supports brain development.
- Specifically made for large breed puppies.
- 411 Calories per cup.
- 35% Protein, 14% Fat, 6% Fiber.
Blue Buffalo created this puppy food with the finest natural protein ingredients to promote strong muscle growth, and it is 100% grain-free for German Shepherd puppies who suffer with grain allergies.
This formula also includes fatty acids such as DHA and ARA, which are also found in his mothers’ milk, which supports cognitive development and eye health. It’s ingredients also include Taurine and L-carnitine, which support cardiac health.
We love that Blue Buffalo has infused this kibble with their own ‘Lifesource Bits’ that not only add extra vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which are great for your puppy’s health, but they are packed full of flavor too!
Taste of the Wild Puppy Formula
- Grain-free formula.
- Smaller kibble size for puppies.
- Probiotics for gut health.
- Real fruits and veggies for antioxidants.
- Made in the United States.
- 364 Calories per cup.
- 28% Protein, 17% Fat, 5% Fiber.
Taste of the Wild offers what it says on the package, as it really is a taste of the wild. With Bison being the first ingredient, it offers rich protein that is important for strong muscle growth as well as being high in amino acids. The kibble is designed to be smaller for puppies. It’s also one of the most popular dog foods in Taste of the Wild’s entire kibble lineup.
Despite the smaller kibble size, it’s still packed with antioxidants and DHA. Both of these ingredients are important for cognitive development and vision. It is 100% grain-free for those pups with allergies and it is full of canine probiotics which make it highly digestible.
We love that it is based on his wild ancestor’s diet that is high in natural and tasty protein that your German Shepherd puppy will love.
Science Diet Puppy Formula
- Veterinarian endorsed brand.
- Made with all-natural ingredients.
- No artificial flavors or preservatives.
- Glucosamine for joint support.
- Made in the United States.
- 394 Calories per cup.
- 24% Protein, 11% Fat, 3% Fiber.
More than 220 canine nutrition professionals have created Hill’s Science Diet. The puppy kibble has the optimal level of calcium for controlled bone growth. This is important for the German Shepherd and Dysplasia issues.
This formula contains fish oil that provides your pup with the nutrients he needs for brain and eye development. It is made with 100% natural ingredients, it has no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives in it, but it does have added vitamins and amino acids for your pup’s development.
We love that this is voted as the Number 1 dry dog food by Veterinarian’s across America – so you know this kibble must be something special!
Top 7 Best Foods for German Shepherd Puppies (wet & dry)
German Shepherds are one of the most popular dog breeds in the world. It’s not hard to see why. Not only are they beautiful, but these dogs are also smart, loyal, and energetic.
When they’re puppies, German Shepherds are playful little creatures that are curious about the world around them.
During the first year or so of life, your little puppy is going to go through a major growth spurt. Puppies start out at around one pound when they’re first born. Yet, by the time they are a year old, they can weight over 60 pounds!
To support that growth, you need to provide your pup with a healthy diet that’s filled with beneficial nutrients.
As a large breed, you need to be extra cautious about what you’re feeding your dog. Poor nutrition at a young age can result in some serious health complications in the future.
For German Shepherds, those risks are even higher due to the many conditions the breed is susceptible to.
Luckily, there’s no shortage of great dog food options on the market. Here’s a collection of some of the best wet and dry dog food for German Shepherd puppies.
7 of the Best Dog Foods for German Shepherd Puppies
1. Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Large Breed Dry Puppy Food
This recipe from Blue Buffalo is a great option that has everything your puppy needs to stay healthy. Its protein content is 35 percent, which is well above the recommended amount.
Most of that protein comes from wholesome meat sources like deboned chicken and fish. While the kibble has more fat than your pup needs, it’s all good fat.
The omega fatty acids will keep your dog’s fur healthy while also supporting ocular health.
When it comes to minerals, you’ll be happy to know that this kibble offers the recommended calcium and phosphorus ratio of 1.2:1.
2. Hill’s Science Large Breed Puppy Diet, Chicken Meal & Oats Recipe
Specially formulated for large breed puppies like the German Shepherd, this Hill’s Science Diet dog food is a great option for your pup.
It’s made to provide controlled bone and joint growth. It does this with optimum levels of calcium and phosphorus. It’s also filled with healthy antioxidants to improve cell function and immune health.
Minerals help to make your dog’s teeth strong while DHA supports brain development.
As for protein, the kibble is made up of about 26 percent. It comes from chicken meal.
3. ORIJEN Dry Dog Food, Puppy Large, Biologically Appropriate & Grain Free
As it says right on the packaging, this option from Orijen is biologically appropriate dog food. It’s designed to meet the nutritional needs of large puppies without giving them any unnecessary extras.
You won’t find any potentially harmful additives or plant proteins. Instead, it has healthy meat and carbs.
Protein makes up 38 percent of the recipe. It comes from an array of meat sources, including chicken, turkey, fish, meat organs, and more.
There’s also plenty of complex carbs to give your dog a constant supply of energy. To make sure that their bones grow in a healthy way, it has that magic 1.2:1 ratio of calcium and phosphorus.
4. Royal Canin German Shepherd Puppy Dry Dog Food
This dry puppy food from Royal Canin is made exclusively for German Shepherds. It meets the breed’s unique health and nutrition needs.
The food is suitable for dogs as old as 15 weeks and addresses many common health issues. To combat digestive problems, it has probiotics that introduce beneficial flora into your pup’s gut.
To avoid joint and bone issues, it has a healthy dose of calcium and phosphorus.
Finally, it has a good blend of antioxidants to enhance your pup’s vulnerable immune system.
5. Instinct by Nature’s Variety Raw Boost Large Breed Puppy Recipe
Advertised as the “raw brand,” Instinct dog food is all about providing pups with a diet that consists of wholesome ingredients. The Raw Boost large puppy food is no different.
It has 33.5 percent protein that comes from chicken, turkey meal, lamb meal, and more. Small bits of freeze-dried raw meat are thrown into the mix as well for an extra boost of muscle-building protein.
The recipe uses complex carbs and a variety of plant-based ingredients as well. They act as a source of vitamins and minerals that help your dog’s growing body.
Wet Canned Food for German Shepherd Puppies
1. Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free, Natural Puppy Wet Dog Food
The high-protein and grain-free wet food from Blue Buffalo is a great first introduction to solid foods for your pup. It contains DHA for proper brain and eye development.
DHA is found naturally in milk, so it helps to make the transition as smooth as possible.
The canned food is comprised of chicken and chicken liver. The meat ingredients are paired with potatoes and pea protein. It’s all swimming in a delicious chicken broth that your pup will love.
In total, the food has 10.5 percent protein and 7 percent fat. There is no corn, wheat, or soy ingredients, ensuring that your pup starts off on the right foot.
2. Blue Freedom Puppy Grain Free Chicken Wet Dog Food
Also from Blue Buffalo is the Freedom formula. It’s a grain-free formula that can do wonders for your puppy’s overall health.
Real chicken is used as the primary protein source.
It’s accompanied by chicken liver and chicken broth. When you open the can, you’ll notice the visible vegetables. The food has carrots and peas, which provide plenty of vitamins and minerals.
There’s also sweet potato. It acts as the source of carbs to keep your dog’s energy levels consistent throughout the day. The potatoes also provide a dose of fiber for better digestive health.
What Makes a Good German Shepherd Puppy Food?
The needs of a puppy are much different than that of an adult dog. Your pup is growing rapidly right before your eyes. Their bones are getting stronger and their muscles are being primed for a lifetime of activity.
As a result, your puppy is actually going to need more nutrients now than they will when they get older.
To ensure that you’re giving your dog everything they need, here are some things to look for in your pup’s dog food.
Many of this information is recommended and regulated by the Association of American Feed Control.
High Protein Conten
The most important thing your dog will need as both a puppy and an adult is protein. Protein is responsible for muscle growth and energy.
The AAFCO recommends that German Shepherd puppies eat a diet that consists of at least 22 percent protein.
This is higher than the 18 percent that adults need. However, we recommend going as high as 27 percent.
You can’t go wrong with more protein, so try to get the best food possible. Look out for ingredients like chicken, beef, lamb, and fish. Meat meals are also acceptable.
As long as the protein is identified, it can benefit your pup.
Avoid choosing foods that have byproducts or unlabeled mystery meats. They can do more harm than good.
Fat plays a couple of different roles in your pup’s body. First, it acts as a source of energy. Fat is converted into usable glucose, which provides an ongoing supply of energy.
Secondly, fat can support the circulatory system and skin health. However, this only applies to healthy fats.
Omega fatty acids work to keep the skin supple and improve blood circulation throughout the body. One specific type of omega fatty acid, DHA, can even support the development of the brain and eyes.
This type of fat comes ingredients like flaxseed and salmon oil.
It’s recommended that German Shepherd puppies have a diet that’s made up of 8 percent fat. Once your dog reached adulthood, you can lower that amount to 5 percent.
Calcium and Phosphorus
Calcium and phosphorus are crucial for proper bone and joint development. Puppies need just the right amount of these minerals to stay healthy.
Eating too much can lead to skeletal deformities and unhealthy growth spurts. Too little and your dog runs the risk of developing bone spurs and other ailments in the future.
The most common issues that plague this breed are hip dysplasia and arthritis. With hip dysplasia, the bones in the hip joint did not form correctly.
This leads to immense pain and difficulties in walking.
Unfortunately, the condition can remain undetected until your dog is older. Having the right amount of calcium and phosphorus can do a lot to prevent the condition.
Calcium is typically derived from dairy products or eggs.
Phosphorus is found in meat products and organs.
When you’re looking at dog food formulas, the important thing you need to pay attention to is the ratio of these ingredients. German Shepherd puppies need to have 1 part of phosphorus for every 1.2 parts of calcium.
As long as the food has this ratio, it should be good for your pup.
Carbohydrates are a source of energy for dogs. There are no guidelines when it comes to the amount of carbs needed for pups to stay healthy.
What’s important is the source of those carbs.
Cheaper dog foods use fillers like corn, wheat, and soy. These should be avoided. They’re difficult for your puppy’s delicate digestive system to process.
Many dogs are also allergic to them, so it’s best to avoid the ingredients altogether.
Healthy alternatives include sweet potatoes, peas, and whole oats. These are all considered to be complex carbs. They have a low glycemic index, which means that they are absorbed slowly throughout the day rather than all at once.
Complex carbohydrates also act as a healthy source of fiber. A high-fiber diet can introduce healthy bacteria into your dog’s gut to keep them regular.
How Often Should You Feed a German Shepherd Puppy?
You’ll be surprised by how much your puppy will eat. Despite their small size as young dogs, they can pack away a lot of food. The moment they are weaned off their mother’s milk, you should be feeding them three or four small meals every day.
The meals need to split up to ensure that your dog can process everything before they eat again.
It’s not recommended that you free feed German Shepherd puppies. The breed is susceptible to excessive weight gain and obesity.
Your dog needs to gain weight in a healthy manner. Otherwise, they can develop musculoskeletal problems.
Furthermore, Bloat is a serious risk. Bloat occurs when dogs eat too much food too fast. Air gets trapped in their stomach, causing it to twist.
It’s a potentially fatal condition that can be avoided by simply managing how your pup eats.
At around six months old, you can start to transition to two meals a day.
You should maintain that schedule throughout your dog’s life. The amount of food you feed your dog will depend on their body condition and the calorie content of the food.
Follow the guidelines on the packaging and consult with your vet to see what your pup needs.
Which is Better: Wet or Dry Food?
Wet and dry food both have their advantages. Wet food is great for younger puppies that aren’t capable of chewing kibble just yet.
Once your dog is weaned off their mother, you should start them off with canned food.
The smooth texture is easier for them to get down and won’t provide as much of shock to their system as kibble would Keep them on the wet food as their digestive system gets stronger.
At 12 weeks of age, start to add in kibble. Let the juices of the food soften the kibble pieces so that it’s easy to eat.
Slowly take away the canned food and proceed with the dry kibble for their daily meals.
Kibble is your best bet as your dog gets older. Not only is more nutritionally dense than canned food, but dry food also has the added benefit of scrubbing their teeth as they chew.
Canned food should be used as a supplement only.
It has a lot more moisture than kibble. So, your dog will need to eat more of it to get all the fuel they need. It should be reserved for dogs with dental issues or those who have difficulties eating normal kibble.
Don’t let a poor diet affect your dog’s health for the rest of their life. By choosing a high-quality canned food and kibble, you can support their growing body and set them up for a healthy life ahead