Intelligent, well-mannered, and good-looking – there’s no doubt that German Shepherds are among AKC’s top 3 dog breeds in the U.S. Also known as GSD, German Shepherds are working dogs. They are typically seen as service dogs for the military and handicapped. With their busy life, these dogs need the best dog food for German Shepherd.
|DOG FOOD||DOG FOOD|
|Royal Canin Breed |
Shepherd Dry Food
|Eukanuba German |
Shepherd Dry Dog
Aside from their working nature, German Shepherd is a large breed. This is why you have to provide them with a nutritious meal all the time.
German Shepherds at a glance
It’s not really clear where German Shepherds came from. They rose to fame in Great Britain and Europe where they are called Alsatians. GSDs were shipped to Los Angeles when World War I Corporal Lee Duncan plucked a dog from a war-stricken kennel in France.
Their ability to recall commands and cues make German Shepherds a favorite among trainers. They were trained for sniffing bombs, search and rescue, assistance, and therapy. In fact, German Shepherds were the main search dogs on the aftermath of the 9/11 attack.
In barns and farms, German Shepherds were used to herd livestock. From the start, they were born to work. Also, if they got bored, GSDs will vent their energy into destructive ways.
Nutrition-wise, German Shepherds have many similarities and differences with other breeds. Below, I outlined some concerns regarding their diet together with top picks for their food.
Concerns related to diet
Just like any dog, German Shepherds have some problems with their diet. Some of these affect other parts of their bodies. If you’re purchasing the best dog food for German Shepherd, keep the following in mind:
This is a common problem among dogs when they eat a lot of food in one go. It’s important to portion their meals for 2 to 3 times a day. If you’re staying at home, 4 times a day is also advisable. Take note that these portions are intended to spread the day’s food allowance, not to overfeed the dog.
After eating, let the pooch rest for at least 30 minutes before performing any physical activity.
As a large breed, German Shepherds are always at high risk to develop musculoskeletal problems. This is usually associated with growing too quickly due to excessive mineral and calorie feeding.
This can be prevented if you feed your pup with a formula that’s suited for its size. You can switch the pooch to adult food once it’s at least 80% of its adult size. Nutrients like glucosamine and chondroitin are also important to keep their joints healthy.
🐕Poor nutrition absorption
Although a large breed, German Shepherds have a shorter colon than other dogs. This short colon makes it more difficult for them to absorb certain nutrients. Also, this means that they are not supposed to eat a lot in one sitting.
One thing you can do about this is to choose a food that has optimal fiber content. This will help move the food in their stomach and let nutrients be absorbed.
German Shepherds’ back legs have a unique gait. And if this is exposed to too much exercise, force, or pressure, the dog may develop disk disease. Also, since they are large dogs, they have a longer spine than other breeds. Long-spined dogs are more prone to this condition.
To reduce this risk, feed your dog with a meal that supports muscle growth and bone health.
Nutritional needs of German Shepherds
German Shepherds have unique nutritional requirements. Here’s a breakdown of the macronutrients and the amount that GSDs need.
🐕Protein. As a large breed, it’s a default to have excellent protein sources. Adult German Shepherds that have no special activities would thrive with at least 18% protein on their food.
Aside from strengthening your dog’s muscles, protein can also be used as energy together with carbohydrates. If you have a working pooch, a higher protein of around 30% to 40% is the ideal level.
Usually, AAFCO-passed dog food will have this protein level.
🐕Carbohydrates. GSDs are very active and they need enough carbs to sustain their activities. However, some GSDs tend to have allergies with grains. Below, we listed some carb sources that you can consider.
🐕Fat. For growing pups, they need at least 8% of fat on their meals. You can tone it down to 5% for adult pooches with no special activity. For service and sporting dogs, a higher fat content might be needed.
Make sure that you choose the right source of fat. Below are some examples that you can consider.
🐕Vitamins and minerals. Just like humans, German Shepherds need the right dose of vitamins and minerals. The staples include Vitamin C and E as well as antioxidants to boost the doggo’s immune system.
How much to feed
In a calorie basis, German Shepherd puppies should be fed at least 500 calories a day. This will increase as they grow older. Young adult and fully grown GSDs should consume around 1,500 to 1,700 calories a day. However, if the dog is highly active, they may need more depending on what a pet nutritionist will recommend.
If you have a newborn pup, it’s best to let it nurse with its mother and mingle with the litter. You can wean German Shepherd pups on the 5th week. Slowly transition the pup to formula food until the 6th month. Do the process as slowly as possible to avoid any digestive problems.
Once your German Shepherd is about to enter seniorhood, the number of calories should be toned down. A senior German Shepherd would need around 1,200 to 1,400 calories. As the activities of the dog get reduced, the lower the calories they need.
If your pooch has a special condition or digestive problems, I highly suggest that you tap the advice of a pet nutritionist. A vet can also recommend something for your doggo.
Best ingredients for German Shepherds
Shopping for new dog food for your pooch? Here are the ingredients you should look for:
There’s a variety of protein sources that you can find. Commercial dog food also offers an array of meat types. You can choose between chicken, pork, lamb, bison, turkey, and more. Make sure that your dog doesn’t have any allergies to the meat that you’ll buy.
Also, opt for food made from lean cuts. Avoid food products with by-products as the first ingredient. Although this has protein, meat by-products also lacks essential nutrients.
Not all fats are bad! In fact, healthy fats will help your German Shepherd have better coat and skin. As much as possible, give your doggo between 15% to 30% fat. This will also help lubricate the joints and boost digestion.
Among the best sources of healthy fats include salmon, fatty chicken, avocado, eggs, chia seeds, and other oily fishes.
There are mixed opinions about carbs, but with the right amount, it’s actually a good thing for your dog. Carbs are the main source of energy of dogs, more so for very active GSDs.
However, you have to remember that dogs are highly allergic to some grains. This includes soy, wheat, and corn. The better alternatives are oats, barley, whole grains, brown rice, potatoes and more.
🐕Vitamins and minerals
As a large dog, German Shepherds need enough vitamins and minerals to stay healthy. Among the most important are Vitamins A, C, and E as well as Omega-3 fatty acid. Don’t forget to pack their meals with antioxidants.
So what ingredients do give these? Fruits and vegetables. Opt for superfoods like blueberries, raspberries, kale, broccoli, and other greens. If your dog is prone to flatulence, you may want to avoid too many cruciferous vegetables.
Again, GSDs have a shorter colon. This makes fiber a crucial component of their diet. Usually, leafy greens are rich in fiber and minerals. It will let you target many macronutrients without adding excessive calories.
🐕Glucosamine and chondroitin
These two substances are very important for large breeds like German Shepherds. Glucosamine and chondroitin are effective joint nutrients. It keeps the joints of your dog well-oiled to avoid the onset of arthritis and other skeletal problems.
These two nutrients are indispensable for German Shepherds, more so for senior dogs. If you have an active pooch, it’s important to keep watch of its joints.
🐕Calcium and phosphorus
The calcium and phosphorus on the food you serve are very crucial. Also, this will avoid overgrowth among German Shepherds. As you know, growing too fast will cause long-term damage to a dog’s bones, gait, and joints.
The ratio should be 1.2 parts calcium for every 1 part of phosphorus. As much as you need to control calcium intake, you shouldn’t skimp on it either. Calcium deficiency among German Shepherds can lead to bone spurs and other orthopedic complications.
Never forget to hydrate your dog properly. Aside from the moisture of the food, always keep a fresh dish of water all day long and in multiple spots in your house. This way, your dog can drink whenever they need to.
2 Best Dog Food for German Shepherds
Royal Canin Breed Health German Shepherd Dry Food
This dog food is specially formulated for German Shepherds that are at least 15 months old. It has special fibers that will help digestion and promote quality stool. Also, the kibble has a unique shape to fit the strong and long muzzle of GSDs.
Personally, I really love this dog food and my German Shepherd does too. It contains DHA and EPA that supports the brain health of dogs as well as vitamins A, B, C, D, and E for optimal health.
The best part here is the glucosamine and chondroitin which keeps the doggos’ joints strong. Overall, this best dog food for German Shepherdis also excellent in boosting coat health. In fact, this is a great food even for GSDs with sensitive skin.
This dog food contains oats, brown rice, chicken fat, and beet pulp for a hearty meal. Every serving contains 22% protein, 17% fat, and 5.5% fiber. It’s a perfect concentration for most adult German Shepherds.
So if you’re a bit skeptical with dog food made for all breeds, this special formula might be the right choice for your doggo.
Eukanuba German Shepherd Dry Dog Food
Another best dog food for German Shepherd is the one Eukanuba offers. This food takes pride in its 3D DentaDefense formula which helps reduce tartar buildup in just 28 days. Formula-wise, Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, specialized fibers, and chicken for a healthy and delicious meal.
Eukanuba claims that they use high-quality protein sources. For this dog food, they have chicken as the main ingredient which is good since it also reduces the risk of allergies usually associated with beef.
It’s also infused with glucosamine and chondroitin to ensure that German Shepherd’s joints are in check. My only gripe here is the corn ingredient which may raise issues with allergic reactions. But if your dog doesn’t have any problem with corn, this formula is for the books.
Every serving of this dog food contains 23% protein, 13% fat, 5% fiber, and 5% moisture. This is a great concentration for adult GSDs. It also prevents overgrowth, thanks to the right amount of protein.
Overall, I can say that this food made my dog’s coat look better. Also, no more gas and bloating for my pooch ever since I switched her to this dog food.
However, take note that this formula is ideal for German Shepherds that are at least one year old.
The best dog food for German Shepherd should be formulated to support joint health and digestion. Unlike other breeds, GSDs have a special nutritional requirement. When it comes to their food, you should only choose the best.