There are literally hundreds dog food brands and dog food products commercially available. From dry dog food, to wet dog food, to premium, to grain free, to organic ….the list goes on!
But, how do you know which brand or product will be the best dog food for German Shepherd dogs? How do you know what, and how much to feed your own German Shepherd?
We’ve put together the following informational and educational guide together to save you a whole ‘lot of time when researching the best dog food brand for your German Shepherd dog (we’ve done all the research for you! 🙂
Of course – what you should feed your dog always depends on the dog itself, and you should always seek the advice/approval of your vet when making any final decisions – especially when it comes to health and well being.
Let’s get to it!
Top Rated German Shepherd Dog Food List
We understand you might not have time to read through this whole guide. That’s fine 🙂
You can check out our top German Shepherd dog food brands and choices here…
Taste of the Wild Dry Dog Food Canine/Adult Formula – Bison & Venison (On Amazon) – Dry, Value For Money, Grain Free, Premium Dog Food
Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food Original Formula for Adult Dogs (On Amazon) – Best Dry, Value For Money, Grain Free, Premium, Organic Dog Food Shepherd (note: organic for dog food definition differs by country – so check yours)
Taste of the Wild Dry Dog Food Roasted Lamb Sierra Mountain Canine® Formula (On Amazon) – Best Dog Food For Senior German Shepherd (lowest calories of the TotW range at 338kcal/cup)
Natural Balance Ultra Premium Wet Dog Food (On Amazon) – Best Wet/Canned Dog Food For German Shepherd
Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food Large Breed Formula (On Amazon) – Best Dog Food For Large Breed Dogs, & Dogs With Joint Problems (contains Glucosamine Hydrochloride and Chondroitin Sulfate)
For PUPPIES specifically – you can read about the Best Dog Food for German Shepherd Puppies here.
For DRY FOOD specifically – you can read about the Best Dry Dog Food For German Shepherds here.
- 1 Top Rated German Shepherd Dog Food List
- 2 Best Dog Food For German Shepherd: Reviews
- 2.1 Taste of the Wild Dry Dog Food Bison & Venison (On Amazon)
- 2.2 Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food Original Formula (On Amazon)
- 2.3 Taste of the Wild Dry Dog Food Roasted Lamb Sierra Mountain Canine® Formula (On Amazon)
- 2.4 Natural Balance Ultra Premium Wet Dog Food (On Amazon)
- 2.5 Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food Large Breed Formula (On Amazon)
- 3 Best German Shepherd Dog Food: Buyer’s Guide & FAQ
- 3.1 What Factors Effect How Much I Feed, And What Dog Food I Feed My German Shepherd?
- 3.2 Vet Recommended Feeding Guidelines for German Shepherd
- 3.3 What Are The Minimum Standards For German Shepherd Dog Food Ingredients?
- 3.4 What To Feed My German Shepherd Puppy? (Best Dog Food For German Shepherd Puppy)
- 3.5 What To Feed Senior German Shepherd (Best Food For Older German Shepherd Dogs)
- 3.6 How Much To Feed My German Shepherd?
- 3.7 What Are The Different Types and Forms Of German Shepherd Dog and Puppy Food Available?
- 3.8 What Are The Features & Variations of Dog Food For German Shepherds?
- 3.9 Comparing Types, Forms and Features of German Shepherd Dog Food
- 3.10 What and How Much To Feed A Pregnant or Lactating German Shepherd Dog
- 3.11 Dog Food For German Shepherds With Sensitive Stomachs
- 3.12 Dog Food For German Shepherds With Dry Skin or Flaky Skin
- 3.13 Dog Food For German Shepherds With Diarrhea
- 3.14 Dog Food For German Shepherd To Gain Weight
- 3.15 Affordable Dog Food For German Shepherds
- 3.16 Grain Free Dog Food For German Shepherds
- 3.17 Dry Dog Food For German Shepherds
- 3.18 Healthy Dog Food For German Shepherds
- 3.19 Dog Food For German Shepherds With Allergies (in general), Skin Allergies, Itchy Skin & Intolerances
- 3.20 Best Dog Food For German Shepherd Mix: German Shepherd Husky Mix, German Shepherd Lab Mix etc.
- 3.21 Best Dog Food For Large Dog Breeds Like German Shepherds
- 3.22 Dog Food For German Shepherds With Hip & Joint Issues
- 3.23 What Foods Should My German Shepherd Avoid?
- 3.24 My German Shepherd Is Not Eating – What Do I Do?
Best Dog Food For German Shepherd: Reviews
Taste of the Wild Dry Dog Food Bison & Venison (On Amazon)
This is a Canine dog food formulation for adult dogs.
It is grain free, has buffalo as the first listed ingredient, and is filled will vegetables, plants and natural preservatives over artificial preservatives and colors.
It meets the vet recommended 30% protein and 18% fat total, at 32% protein and 18% fat.
Taste of the Wild® High Prairie Canine® Formula is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles for maintenance.
The top weight bag for the original formula is a 30 pound bag, and the measuring cup is also 8 ounces, or 0.5 pounds. It will last you just short of a month based on feeding a 60-80 lbs dog 3 cups daily.
Dogs seem to love the bison and venison flavors.
It is slightly cheaper that the Wellness CORE below and you get 4 more pounds of dog food in the bag, making it the best value for money.
It does however contain less protein overall than the Wellness CORE adult dog food.
Where To Check It Out?
Wellness CORE Original Formula is made for optimal health of adult dogs.
Is 100% Grain Free – that means no wheat, corn, soy.
Like most Wellness CORE dog food, it is packed with protein at 34% protein (more than the suggested 30%). Deboned Turkey listed first as the main meat source, and there are only meat meals – no meat by-products.
Vegetables and fruits are used as fillers, and plant extracts and natural preservatives like Vitamin C are listed instead of artificial preservatives.
The top weight bag for the original formula is a 26 pound bag, and the measuring cup is also 8 ounces, or 0.5 pounds. It will last you just short of a month based on feeding a 80-95 lbs dog 3 cups daily.
Wellness CORE Original formula is made is the USA, and is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles for maintenance.
If we had to pick a couple of things that doesn’t make this dog food perfect, its that it is slightly below the recommended 18% fat total, but not by much, at 16%. And, it still contains healthy Omega 3 and 6 fats anyway.
And the other is that it is only slightly more expensive than the Taste of the Wild dog food above – but, it does seem to be composed of a bit more protein and other nutrients TotW doesn’t have which could be why.
Where To Check It Out?
This Taste of the Wild dog food formula is made for all stages of dogs (puppies through to senior).
We picked this one as the best dog food for senior german shepherds because it is an all stages formula, and it contains the least calories of all the Taste of The Wild formulas at 338kcal/cup.
Lower calories helps keep weight off senior dogs’ bodies and joints with their slower metabolisms.
Taste of The Wild have formulas in general have great nutritional ingredients, and are economical, and this one is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles for All Life Stages including growth of large size dogs (70 lbs or more as an adult).
Like the adult formula, this one has meat listed as the first ingredient – Lamb, and it contains vegetable and fruit fillers, as well as natural preservatives.
The top weight bag for this Lamb formula is a 30 pound bag, and the measuring cup is also 8 ounces, or 0.5 pounds. It will last you just short of a month based on feeding a 60-80 lbs dog 3 cups daily.
The protein and fat totals come in at 25% and 15% respectively, but it is not as important that those numbers are higher for senior dogs who aren’t growing.
Where To Check It Out?
Natural Balance Ultra Premium Wet Dog Food (On Amazon)
Dick Van Patten’s Natural Balance® Ultra Premium Canned Beef Formula is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles for All Life Stages – puppies to adults, and senior dogs.
Let’s start with the positives of this wet dog food…
Meat is listed first on the ingredient list (Beef, Chicken, Lamb and Liver flavours available), and it only contains natural preservatives like Vitamin C – nothing artificial. On the surface, it seems healthy for premium canned food.
Furthermore, for the price you pay for it, you get 12 x 13 ounce cans.
Onto the not so great points –
- It can be alot more expensive than feeding your dog dry dog food as an 80 pound dog will need 5 cans a day, making one batch of 12 cans last under 3 days.
- It is not grain free
- The protein and fat totals are quite low at 8% protein, and 5% fat
- The moisture content is quite high at 78% water/moisture in each can
- There are 410 kcal/13 oz can – which is alot of calories over 5 cans even for the most active dog.
Where To Check It Out?
Natural Balance Ultra Premium Wet Dog Food (On Amazon)
Most things that we’ve said about Wellness CORE for the Original Formula above apply to the Large breed formula.
We’ve chosen the large breed formula as the best dog food for large breeds and German Shepherds with joint issues as it is protein focused, naturally grain free, and uses higher levels of premium ingredients like chicken & turkey, and glucosamine & chondroitin to meet larger breeds needs.
Glucosamine and Chondroitin are naturally occurring compounds that help joint repair and strengthening in dogs – good for prevention and management of joint problems in large dogs.
For an 81-90 lbs dog, Wellness CORE estimates giving them around 4 cups per day, which would make a 26 pound bag last you around half a month.
Where To Check It Out?
Best German Shepherd Dog Food: Buyer’s Guide & FAQ
What Factors Effect How Much I Feed, And What Dog Food I Feed My German Shepherd?
The type of dog food (and how much) you should feed your dog depends on a lot of factors including but not limited to:
- Age – German Shepherd Puppy, Middle Aged/Adult German Shepherd, or Senior German Shepherd
- Dog Breed – German Shepherds and Large Dog Breeds have their own requirements
- Body Size and Composition – Small, Medium, Large or Giant Dog – what is its ideal weight? You can find out more about weight and growth charts in Ultimate Guide To German Shepherd Dogs and Puppies
- Gender – Male and Female GSDs are different sizes
- Activity/Exercise Level – An Alsatian that exercises more requires more calories
- Pregnancy – A pregnant GSD has its own feeding requirements
- Dogs With Health Conditions – Allergies, Diseases or Disorders change eating requirements (like Obesity, Diabetes, Hip Dysplasia and so on)
Vet Recommended Feeding Guidelines for German Shepherd
For dry dog food, wet dog food, or any type of commercial dog food you feed to your German Shepherd, you should follow specific advice received from your own local vet for your individual dog – as each dog is different in their health requirements.
However, other vets have made informational/educational comments on general guidelines for feeding that may contribute to good dog health.
General guidelines all come down to good nutrition in the ingredients used, and a balanced diet of proteins, fats/oils, minerals, vitamins, carbohydrates and water.
When it comes to the ingredients listed on a dog food product label, you should be aware that dogs and German Shepherds are omnivores.
They can have both plant and animal based ingredients in their diets, but to be at their healthiest they need to have animal protein (meat by-products are secondary to whole meat).
It’s a good sign the meat in the dog food contains more meat than by-products if it is listed first on the label as an ingredient.
Experienced vets have said that diets low in real animal meat, and high in grain-based products (usually cheap corn-based food), are the source of weight issues, poor energy levels and an array of other health problems in dogs they see.
Other ingredients you want to stay away from in high amounts in commercial foods that lead to an artificial diet are grains, bad meats (that doesn’t pass human inspection, and/or contains animal antibiotics and hormones), greasy fats and artificial preservatives.
In relation to preservatives, Petmd says you might choose to limit artificial preservatives like BHA, BHT and ethoxyquin, in favor of natural preservatives like Vitamin A, Vitamin C and plant based preservatives like rosemary in the dog food you buy.
The trade off obviously is that natural preservatives don’t keep the dog food from going off for as long.
If you are still unsure of the best food for German Shepherds, consider this summary by qualified vet TJ Dunn:
“[Dog food should be] high quality/nutrition and highly digestible…Meat such as chicken should be listed as the first ingredient…protein level [should be]at 30% or more…fat content should be at 18% or more…and if there is a rather wide spectrum of ingredients such as omega fatty acids and vitamin E [or C], that’s good too…there should be no food colouring [and few artificial preservatives]”.
You might not need to eliminate grains from your German Shepherd’s diet altogether, but note that the gluten present in grains can be an allergen for itchy skin and ear inflammation in some German Shepherds and dogs.
What Are The Minimum Standards For German Shepherd Dog Food Ingredients?
There should be a regulatory body in your country that regulates the minimum standards for dog food ingredients (and also dog drug remedies) – from manufacture, to labelling, to distribution, to sale.
In the United States for example, ingredients used in wet or dry German Shepherd dog food have to meet the standards set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).
Check the laws and animal feed regulatory body in your country to find out what you should be looking for on dog food labels to know the ingredients meet regulation.
Note that these standards are the minimum, and not the standards you should necessarily follow for optimal health.
Also note that certain phrases like ‘organic dog food’ mean different things in different countries. Check what different phrases mean by law in your country.
What To Feed My German Shepherd Puppy? (Best Dog Food For German Shepherd Puppy)
We wrote about the Best Dog Food for a German Shepherd Puppy, which you can read in conjunction with this guide.
Puppies generally progress from their mother’s milk or puppy milk to puppy food at around 6 to 8 weeks old.
They then might progress from puppy food to adult food formula at maturity – which can be around 12 to 16 months old.
Puppies have sensitive stomachs, so their introduction from liquid and soft foods to more solid foods is usually done as a slow transition – gradually increasing the proportion of solid food in a meal, and mixing it with puppy milk or water to soften it at first.
What To Feed Senior German Shepherd (Best Food For Older German Shepherd Dogs)
A senior dog is considered senior or older as a large dog/German Shepherd at about 6-7 years of age, bearing in mind that their lifespan is about 13 years.
Senior German Shepherds tend to put weight on more easily so they have lower calorie needs, and need highly digestible foods.
Senior GSDs might also have joint problems, so a diet higher in natural joint supplements like chondroitin and glucosamine can help.
A few things to look out for with Senior German Shepherds are:
- Senior dog food tends to be low calorie (helps with slowed metabolism and obesity), high in fiber (helps constipation), higher in the quality of protein.
- Low fat and low sodium treats can work well
- Snacks like carrots and apple slices are good examples of healthy snacks for senior dogs
How Much To Feed My German Shepherd?
The factors we mentioned at the top of this article play a big part in how much to feed your GSD Adult Dog or Puppy.
German Shepherds in particular as large dogs are noted for their obesity problems if overfed.
The amount you feed your German Shepherd daily should be divided between the overall number of meals your feed it daily (including treats) e.g. 3 cups daily over 3 meals is 1 cup per meal.
But, most dog food manufacturers (written on the package) instruct you on how often and how much to feed your dog based on their weight and/or age.
Look for dog foods to suit your dog’s life cycle (puppy, adult, senior) and food type (e.g. dog for for large dogs).
a) How Much Should I Feed My German Shepherd Dog As An Adult?
An adult GSD of between 60 lb to 90 lb (27kg to 40kg) you might feed 3-5 cups of dog food daily (10.5 to 17.5 oz, OR 300 g to 500 g).
Generally, you should feed an adult (at 1-2 years of age onwards) German Shepherd twice a day – morning and evening.
Read the feeding instructions on the dog food you buy though, or follow the feeding plan from your vet for specialised diets.
b) How Much Should I Feed My German Shepherd Puppy?
Generally a puppy of 10 lb to 30 lb (4.5kg to 14 kg) you might feed 1-2 cups of food daily (3.5 to 7 oz, OR 100 g to 200 g).
German Shepherd puppies will require more regular feeding of three to four times a day spaced throughout the day.
Read the feeding instructions on the dog food you buy though, or follow the feeding plan from your vet for specialised diets.
c) How Much Should I Feed My Senior German Shepherd?
You might follow feeding guidelines of an adult German Shepherd for senior German Shepherd dogs, but bear in mind that there are commercial foods available specifically for senior dogs.
Consult your vet when your GSD reaches 6-7 years of age to confirm it is best to look for these senior dog labelled foods to feed your GSD, and amounts in which you should your feed senior German Shepherd.
You may actually feed you senior GSD less so they don’t stack on weight as their metabolism slows down.
d) How Can I Measure How Much I’m Feeding My German Shepherd? Are There Visual Signs I Can Look For?
Two good ways to measure the amount you feed your German Shepherd dog or puppy are to follow the directions on the dog food label/packaging, or buy a measuring cup (although dry food usually comes with one).
Apart from the above dog food measuring techniques, look for the visual signs in your German Shepherd to indicate that you are feeding him or her enough:
- Hourglass figure
- Tucked up look from the side
- Ribs that aren’t easily visible
- A shiny and consistent coat can mean your dog is getting the right nutrients from its food
What Are The Different Types and Forms Of German Shepherd Dog and Puppy Food Available?
There are essentially 3 main forms of commercial German Shepherd Dog Food available:
- Dry Dog Food/Kibble (composed of 10% or less water)
- Semi-moist Dog Food (around 55% is water, and use high salt and sugar levels for preservation)
- Wet/Canned Dog Food (composed of 80-85% water)
Veterinarian Race Foster most often leans towards dry dog food.
His opinion seems to suggest that premium quality dry food kibble is better for your German Shepherd. Dry dog food is:
- Usually more economical for feeding on a per serving basis
- Lower in salt and sugar – better for tooth, gum and dental health
- Easy to transport, store and prepare
Foster also says he recommends premium quality canned dog food, but people with large dogs like German Shepherds usually choose dry food because it’s more economical per serving.
Non-commercial dog food diets are that of the home made variety which is done in consultation with your vet.
What Are The Features & Variations of Dog Food For German Shepherds?
In addition to the forms of dog food above, there are also different types or features of the dry, semi moist and canned/wet foods to consider. These include:
- Vegetarian Option
- Plus More
Life Stage (label or packaging indicates life stage)
- Adult/Mature Dog
- Multi-Stage (suitable for all life stages – although speak to your vet if this is best for your GSD)
Dog Food Feature
- Gluten Free
- Grain Free
- Protein Rich
- Plus More
- Active Dogs
- Dental Health
- Allergies – Hypoallergenic dog foods
- Hip and Joint
- Skin and Coat
- Sensitive Stomach
- Weight Control
- Weaning (Puppy Milk)
- Plus More
Working with your vet from when you first get your German Shepherd dog or puppy, they should be able to assist you in selecting the best dog food and added features for your GSD.
Comparing Types, Forms and Features of German Shepherd Dog Food
Wet Dog Food vs. Dry Dog Food
We spoke about Wet and Dry Dog Food above – and that most large dog owners choose Dry Dog food.
However, some might choose to mix their GSD’s diet with both dry and wet dog foods. Here is a mini breakdown of the features of each:
Canned and Wet Food:
- Can have fewer preservatives and fillers
- Better for dogs with sensitive teeth and gums
- Usually has fewer calories and carbohydrates
- Very high water content – you get less food for your money
Dry Food and Kibble:
- Tend to be as nutritionally balanced and have as high quality meats as wet or canned food
- Can sometimes have more meat by-products (bones, organs, blood, beaks etc.)
- Can let dogs chew their food more
- Sometimes better for cleaning teeth of tartar
- Tends to be less expensive per serving and easier to store and prepare
Meat Based and Grain Free Dog Food vs. Grain Based Dog Food
As we mentioned above, general guidelines suggest you might base your GSD’s diet around human grade meats and protein as the primary ingredient.
Grains like whole grains aren’t necessarily a bad thing, but it’s a good indicator you should stay clear of a product especially if grains are listed first. Here’s a list of meats and grains…
- Eggs can be protein too (cooked eggs, to make sure salmonella isn’t present)
Grains (mostly carbs and little amino acids/protein):
- Soybean Meal
Economy Dog Food vs. Premium Dog Food vs. Regular Dog Food
Consider this explanation of economy, premium and regular dog food by veterinarian Race Foster of PetEducation.com:
“With dog food, you pretty much get what you pay for.
Economy brands are cheap and are made of the cheapest ingredients available. As such, their energy values are lower, and most importantly they often use poorer-grade proteins with lower digestibility, which means much of the food passes right through their system and is not absorbed.
Premium brands, which include those classified as Super Premium and Performance, use higher quality ingredients from sources with higher biological values. Because better quality ingredients mean better digestibility, your puppy does not need to eat as much and less waste is produced (which means less to pick up in the yard).
Regular brands, as you could guess, fall somewhere in between.”
Labels don’t tell you a lot about percent digestibility apart from fibre and how easy the individual ingredients are to digest for your dog’s gut – speak to your vet about this.
Organic Dog Food For German Shepherds
Check your country’s pet food regulations, because some countries don’t have official guidelines for organic food.
But, the labeled organic food out there is one option some people have been exploring for their German Shepherds.
Below is a list of potential positives and negatives for the organic food currently available:
- Often uses human grade protein
- More whole grains and fewer bulk grain fillers like corn and wheat – aids in weight control and digestive health
- No synthetic preservatives, pesticides, food coloring or other additives
- Less potential allergens
- Very expensive
- No pet standards yet – only human organic standards
Raw Food Diet For German Shepherds
Some people prefer to feed their GSD a raw diet – we wrote an informational piece on whether a raw food diet, often referred to as BARF, might be good or bad for your dog.
A raw dog food diet is centred around raw meat, bones & organs, and fruits and vegetables
Potential positives and negatives to this food diet might be:
- Improved digestion
- Healthier skin and coat
- Reduced allergy symptoms
- Better weight management
- Not as convenient to prepare and serve as traditional dog foods
- Some risk of bacterial infection like Salmonella and E. coli
- Puppies, sick dogs, or dogs with issues processing food are always at a high risk with a raw food diet
Home-made and Prescription Dog Food
If your German Shepherd has specific nutritional needs, you may be required to make your dog’s food at home.
Furthermore, if your GSD has medical conditions such as diabetes, allergies, kidney disease, cancer, or digestive difficulties, you’ll need to work with your veterinarian to choose a prescription food.
What and How Much To Feed A Pregnant or Lactating German Shepherd Dog
Feeding a Pregnant German Shepherd can be quite complex – and you should definitely seek your vet’s advice about this stage of your GSD’s life.
Medicanimal.com gives some information on feeding requirements and guidelines for feeding your female GSD before, during and after their pregnancy.
Dog Food For German Shepherds With Sensitive Stomachs
Common symptoms of a dog’s sensitive stomach might include:
- Intermittent loose stools
- Occasional vomiting
- Excessive flatulence
If you think your German Shepherd might be eating foods that cause his or her stomach to get upset, you might try the following things in conjunction with talking to your vet:
- Simplifying their food to one or a few ingredients that you are more confident they aren’t negatively reacting to
- Feed them foods with high quality ingredients only
- Feed them foods higher in fiber and natural preservaitves or vitamins
Dog Food For German Shepherds With Dry Skin or Flaky Skin
Skin problems with food might be to do with allergies, so if you suspect this, see a vet.
If you think the problem may just be a mild one and that the skin is just dry and flaky, it could be because of some of these reasons:
- You live in a dry area with little humidity
- Your dog may not be getting enough water through their food or drinking enough water
- The food your dog is eating is highly processed and doesn’t contain any quality nutrients that contribute to a healthy coat or skin
- Your dog may be lacking digestive enzymes or probiotics in their diet
- Your dog’s digestive system may not be working like a normal dog’s system does
Your vet might help you select a dog food option that:
- Has a higher moisture content
- Is more digestible
- Has better nutrients for skin health
- Contains more natural enzymes and probiotics
Dog Food For German Shepherds With Diarrhea
Diarrhea can be caused by a wide range of food related causes.
It’s best to see a vet if the diarrhea persists or there are any other signs (bloody diarrhea for example) it may not be something that will go away in 24 to 48 hours – which is a common time for a simple cause like bad food to pass through the system.
Sometimes diarrhea can be caused when your dog is transitioning between different foods – so monitor this, transition gradually, and make sure your dog is getting the right foods for their stage of life and health condition.
Dog Food For German Shepherd To Gain Weight
A dog should grow into their body naturally.
Especially when your dog is a puppy, you want to make sure they are getting a diet that allows their body to grow and develop.
Puppy formulas are usually catered towards this.
If there is some exceptional reason that your dog isn’t gaining weight, like they aren’t eating for example, it could be a sign of something more serious and you’d want to consult your vet.
Affordable Dog Food For German Shepherds
The most affordable dog food for German Shepherds (who eat more than smaller dogs), but is still healthy and value for money, is usually dog food that is labelled as dry, premium dog food.
Premium dog food has higher quality ingredients than the cheapest or regular dog food brands, and dry dog food is usually more economical than wet dog food on a price per weight basis.
Grain Free Dog Food For German Shepherds
The gluten present in grains can be an allergen for itchy skin and ear inflammation in some German Shepherds and dogs.
Grains like whole grains aren’t necessarily a bad thing, so you may not want to leave them out your dog’s diet altogether, but it’s a good indicator you should stay clear of a product especially if grains are listed first or if they are used as most of the filler instead of healthy foods like vegetables for example. Grains can include:
- Soybean Meal
Organic dog food and grain free dog food has more whole grains and fewer bulk grain fillers like corn and wheat – which can also aid in weight control and digestive health.
Dry Dog Food For German Shepherds
Dry dog food is generally the most economical choice for big dogs like German Shepherds, and is what most owners choose.
Check with your vet first though, because sometimes dogs might a high moisture type food, or soft food – and wet food can provide that.
Healthy Dog Food For German Shepherds
The healthiest dog food for German Shepherds is generally a balanced diet (balanced nutrients and ingredients), and contains real meats listed first in the ingredients.
Steering clear of processed and unnatural ingredients or preservatives is another good way to increase the chances of feeding healthy food for your dog.
Dog Food For German Shepherds With Allergies (in general), Skin Allergies, Itchy Skin & Intolerances
If you think your GSD has a serious condition in the form of an allergy or inflammatory bowel disease, you’d definitely want to see a vet.
However, hypoallergenic foods are available for suitable German Shepherds that are sensitive to different foods and ingredients (look for a hypoallergenic dog food label on the product packaging).
These foods are purposely formulated for allergic or sensitive German Shepherds.
Allergies are genetic problems whereby there is a reaction (usually itching or skin problems) in your dog’s body triggered by exposure to an allergen in the dog food is eating.
An intolerance doesn’t create an allergic response, but a response more along the lines of diarrhoea or a gassy stomach.
If you suspect your German Shepherd is allergic or intolerant to the foods you are feeding him or her, you need to take them to the vet.
The best food for german shepherd dogs with skin allergies or other allergies can usually be determined when your vet puts your GSD on an elimination and challenge diet. Your German Shepherd will first discontinue eating it’s current dog food.
Secondly, it will eat one or two basic foods – usually a meat and a non meat/filler like potato for example.
Lastly, you will introduce one food, or ‘challenge’ one by one. You and your vet can work together to identify which food creates allergies in your German Shepherd (allergies usually show a few days after the new food is introduced).
Although your German Shepherd can be allergic to anything, the most common meats and grains that cause allergies are:
Some vets say it depends on country and breeding lines, but they have experienced German Shepherds as commonly affected breeds that are more prone to allergies.
Best Dog Food For German Shepherd Mix: German Shepherd Husky Mix, German Shepherd Lab Mix etc.
A German Shepherd husky or lab mix generally fits into the medium to large dog category and their feeding requirements are very similar to purebred GSDs.
Speak to your vet, but the general guidelines we’ve provided above are the same for GSD mix breeds like as they are for purebred GSDs.
Best Dog Food For Large Dog Breeds Like German Shepherds
German Shepherds fall into the large dog breed category, which is dogs that exceed 50 pounds or 22 kilograms.
Large dogs generally grow faster and have more pressure on their joints in their lifetime compared to smaller breeds of dogs.
It is important to note that large dogs are more at risk of developing joint and skeletal problems like Hip Dysplasia, and a major reason for this is genetic disorders which are inherited by the puppy.
However, overfeeding and excess weight among other factors can contribute to joint and skeletal problems in large dogs.
Large dog food formulations (it will tell you its for large dogs on the label or packaging) may be created in the following ways that studies have shown to help reduce the risk of joint/skeletal problems:
- Have natural joint supplements like chondroitin and glucosamine
- Lower in calcium and phosphorus
- Contain more fiber to fill up your Alsatian more quickly
- Less calories to prevent excess weight gain
You can calculate the number of calories you might give your GSD daily over at Dogfoodadvisor.com with their dog food calculator.
Dog Food For German Shepherds With Hip & Joint Issues
You can read more about German Shepherds with Hip Dysplasia, Arthritis or other joint problems.
But, diets for dogs with these issues usually focuses on natural foods with calcium, Omega 3 and Vitamin E.
These nutrients possess natural anti-inflammatories and support bone and joint health by helping in the production of joint health compounds like glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate and MSM.
In addition to a well balanced diet, you can also feed your GSD joint supplements to assist with joint health (which should be approved by a vet).
You can read more about the Best Supplements and Vitamins for German Shepherds Joint Problems and Health.
What Foods Should My German Shepherd Avoid?
As we mentioned in our Ultimate Guide To German Shepherd Dogs and Puppies, foods to avoid feeding your GSD dog or puppy are:
- Grapes and Raisins
This is not a complete list of toxic foods. You can find a more comprehensive list at CanineJournal.com
It is also important to note that any new food you introduce to your German Shepherd that produces a negative reaction in their body you should also avoid.
Make sure when you are transitioning between your current dog food and new dog food, that you do so gradually (you can try different % proportions of each at meal time) so as not to upset your dog’s stomach, and so you have an opportunity to see how the new food affects your dog.
My German Shepherd Is Not Eating – What Do I Do?
If you suspect the problem to be serious, obviously you’ll want to get professional advice from a vet.
If you simply want to read more on this issue, you can do so in Why Is My German Shepherd So Skinny Or Won’t Eat?
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