German Shepherd puppies have two main differences in their feeding requirements compared to full grown adults:
1. Puppies are still growing and need a different balance of nutrients and calories compared with adult dogs to help in this growing process
2. At some stages, the type and texture of dog food a puppy can ingest might be limited – based on what they can physically eat and swallow, and what their bodies can process properly
If you haven’t read it yet, you should read this article in conjunction with Best Food for German Shepherd Dogs & Puppies – which is the parent article to this one.
It contains other important information like general guidelines for dogs’ diets and nutritional requirements.
In the Best Dog Food for German Shepherd Puppy guide below, we have outlined the top rated dog foods for german shepherd puppies, a puppy dog food buyer’s guide and reviews the best puppy food to save you time and effort in coming to a decision that is best for your German Shepherd puppy.
Please note this guide is informational only – you should always get your vet’s advice on decision’s regarding your dog.
- 1 Top Rated Dog Food For German Shepherd Puppy
- 2 Best Dog Food For German Shepherd Puppy – Buyer’s Guide & FAQ
- 2.1 Difference Between Feeding A German Shepherd Adult & German Shepherd Puppy
- 2.2 What Do I Feed My German Shepherd Puppy – What Do German Shepherd Puppies Eat?
- 2.3 Stages Of Feeding A German Shepherd Puppy
- 2.4 How Much To Feed A German Shepherd Puppy?
- 2.5 What Dog Foods Not To Feed My German Shepherd Puppy
- 3 Best Dog Food For German Shepherd Puppy – Reviews
Top Rated Dog Food For German Shepherd Puppy
In case you are running short on time, you can check out our best dog food for German Shepherd puppy picks here:
Taste of the Wild Grain-Free Dry Dog Food Puppy Formula (On Amazon) – Dry, Value For Money Dog Food For Puppies
Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food Puppy Formula (On Amazon) – Dry Dog Food For Puppies
Best Dog Food For German Shepherd Puppy – Buyer’s Guide & FAQ
Difference Between Feeding A German Shepherd Adult & German Shepherd Puppy
The difference between dog food guidelines for German Shepherd puppies and adults is mainly that Alsatian puppies are growing – growing bone, muscle, organs and their bodies in general.
I know, not groundbreaking stuff right? But, what does this mean for your puppy exactly?
Well, GSD puppies have special nutrients needs to assist this growth (which is generally found in puppy formulas and puppy food).
Adult dogs on the other hand are in a stage of maintenance with their bodies and need a more balanced diet.
What Do I Feed My German Shepherd Puppy – What Do German Shepherd Puppies Eat?
In terms of knowing what to feed your puppy, it’s always best to ask your vet and to make sure you ask the breeder or rescue shelter/adoption centre (that you got your puppy from) what they were feeding the puppy beforehand (pass this info onto your vet as well).
You can read the about vet recommended guidelines for feeding a german shepherd in Best Dog Food For German Shepherd Dogs, but dog food suitable for puppies is usually labeled as ‘puppy formula/food’ or ‘all stages dog food’ by dog food manufacturers and is higher in calories and nutrients.
Dog food that is specifically for puppies can include puppy milk, dry puppy food and moist food/canned puppy food (most experts agree premium dry food is better than supermarket dog food).
Veterinarian Race Foster rarely recommends semi moist dog foods (wet foods can be mostly water and lower on meats and other nutrients). In his opinion, 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 usually choose dry food because it’s more economical per serving.
Stages Of Feeding A German Shepherd Puppy
To help you understand your German Shepherd puppy’s body, the stages of feeding a German Shepherd puppy are:
1. Nursing and Mother’s Milk
The first 6-8 weeks a GSD puppy should be left with their mother to be nursed on their mother’s milk if possible. This milk contains nutrients and antibodies to protect your puppy against disease. So, if you wondered what to feed a 6 week old German Shepherd, milk is probably the best option.
2. Weaning And Transition To Solid Food
Weaning a puppy from mother’s milk to solid foods occurs at the 6-8 week mark, and the puppy is then ready to transition to solid foods.
Puppies have sensitive stomachs that are easy to upset – leading to diareahea and vomiting among other problems.
To reduce the risk of upsetting your German Shepherd Puppy’s stomach, you can buy milk replacer or ‘puppy milk’, and mix this milk with your selected puppy solid food (dry or canned) to create a gruel (25/75%, and 50/50%). You can also use water.
In the transition phase a puppy might eat a gruel/mushy food mix to get their stomachs used to more solid food.
3. Eating Solely Solid Food
After 2-3 weeks of the transition phase of milk replacer and solid food, your puppy should be ready to eat solely solid foods at around 8 to 11 weeks of age.
Once again, your vet is the best person to approve the plan for weaning, transitioning to solid puppy food and the type of solid puppy food and puppy milk to feed your German Shepherd puppy.
Veterinarian Dr. Kristy Conn says you will want to move on from feeding your German Shepherd puppy puppy food to adult dog food once it reaches maturity – which varies with the dog breed and the individual dog.
As a guide, dogs up to 80 pounds/36 kilograms (which fits in a German Shepherd’s weight range) generally reach maturity between twelve to sixteen months. Mix in some adult dog food with puppy food in different proportions when transitioning from puppy to adult dog food over the course of one to two weeks to minimize risk of stomach upset.
How Much To Feed A German Shepherd Puppy?
The amount you feed your German Shepherd daily should be divided between the overall number of meals your feed it daily (including treats).
Generally a puppy of 10 lb to 30 lb (4.5kg to 14 kg) you will 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 – so, if feeding your dog 2 cups a day in 4 meals, that’s half a cup per meal as an example.
But, most dog food manufacturers (on the back of the package) instruct you on how often to feed you puppy in conjunction with your vet.
The factors we discussed in Best Food For German Shepherd Dogs like exercise and actual size of the dog also come into account.
What Dog Foods Not To Feed My German Shepherd Puppy
Refer to Best Food For German Shepherd Dogs for a full list. But, a short list of very toxic foods include –
- Grapes and Raisins
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.
Best Dog Food For German Shepherd Puppy – Reviews
Taste of the Wild Grain-Free Dry Dog Food Puppy Formula
Taste of the Wild Puppy Formula is actually an all stages dog food for both adult dogs and puppies – so you might choose to continue using it as your puppy grows.
According to Taste Of The Wild Pet Food, it 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).
Other benefits this dog and puppy food includes is that it is grain free, Buffalo is listed first on the ingredients list, and it contains natural preservatives and supplements like Vitamin A and plant extracts.
A taste of the wild measuring cup is 8 ounces, or 0.5 pounds. If you buy the 30 pound dry puppy food bag, the bag will last you roughly 1 month on 2 cups a day, and 2 months on 1 cup a day. Taste of the Wild also has feeding guidelines on the back of the package.
This puts this puppy food in the range of best cheap puppy food, and best value puppy food for German Shepherds.
One of the drawbacks of this puppy food is that it can leave your puppy’s breath smelling a bit fishy and doggy – but, you’d take that for the high quality and how economical each bag is.
Another drawback is that is comes in only slightly below the recommended 30% protein and 18% fat totals – at 28% protein and 17% fat.
Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food Puppy Formula
Wellness CORE Puppy Food is also formulated to be an all stages dog food, and Wellness Pet Food states it is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles for maintenance.
Wellness CORE is 100% grain free (no wheat, corn or soy), has Deboned Chicken listed as the first ingredient, and has natural preservatives like Vitamin C and plant extracts.
It is PACKED with protein. It meets the vet recommended feeding guidelines of at least 30% protein and 18% fat – at 36% protein and 18% fat.
The top weight bag for the puppy food is a 26 pound bag, and the measuring cup is also 8 ounces, or 0.5 pounds. It will last you just short of 1-2 months based on whether you are feeding your puppy 1 or 2 cups a day.
Wellness CORE Puppy food is made in in the USA.
If you are trying to weigh up the main differences between the Wellness CORE and Taste of the Wild Puppy Food formulations, two main differences are:
- Taste of The Wild is centred around more Bison, Venison and fish meats and extracts, whereas Wellness CORE is more chicken and turkey
- Wellness CORE Puppy Formula contains better protein and fat totals at 36% protein and 18% fat, compared to Taste of the Wild’s 28% protein and 17% fat.
- Taste of the Wild is slightly cheaper and contains 30 pounds of dry food compared to 26 for Wellness CORE – making Taste of the Wild only slightly more economical
Obviously, the complete list of ingredients for each brand is different as well.
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