Best Dog Food For German Shepherd Dogs Young And Old
April 26, 2019 By Happy Puppy Team
Choosing the right food is one of the most difficult parts of owning a German Shepherd, or any dog for that matter.
We all want whats best for our pups, but the world of pet food can be pretty confusing.
In this article, well give you the tools you need to find quality food for your GSD, as well as share some recommendations based on our own research.
Products included in this article were carefully and independently selected by the Happy Puppy Site team. If you decide to make a purchase from one of the links marked by an asterisk, we may earn a small commission on that sale. This is at no extra cost to you.
Transition: How To Switch From Puppy To Adult Dog Food
Making the transition between puppy to adult food or from one brand to another is not as hard as you think. All you need to do is replace the original food with the new kibble gradually.
You can do this slowly or over the course of a month, depending on how much of the old kibble you still have.
The most common method is adding 20% of new dog food daily, so by the 5th day, your dog will have transitioned to the new food.
What I like to do is mix their new and old kibble together in a container and serve.
Adjust the radio until all the old dog food is used up, so when youre nearing the end of the bag, just throw a handful into the container!
Cost Of Dog Food For An Elderly Dog
Cost often determines what owners feed their dogs. And, premium dog foods do cost more, but because they contain nutritious and well-balanced ingredients, German Shepherds typically require smaller quantities compared to canned wet foods or semi-moist foods.
Cheaper foods can also still be balanced, complete, and meet a GSDs basic nutritional needs. But thoughtfully consider that they also are prone to contain additional artificial colors, sugar, fillers, and other indigestible or unwanted components.
Is premium dog food really worth the cost?
Low-cost senior dog food may be less expensive but it is not always a bargain.
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Do German Shepherd Puppies Need Special Nutrients
To keep up with the rapid growth of German Shepherd puppies, it is important to offer them a diet that is specifically designed with large-breed puppies in mind. German Shepherd pups require an appropriate combination of calories, calcium, carbohydrates, fats, and proteins to ensure maximum nourishment.
What The Science Says About Protein And Senior Dogs
Studies have shown that higher-protein diets for senior dogs dont cause kidney problems in healthy German Shepherds. And higher-protein helps to maintain lean muscle mass as they age.
Senior dogs do well on up to 30% protein on a dry-matter basis and, at a minimum, 24% protein based on dog nutrition research. If your German Shepherd is overweight, higher levels of protein are important to aid in weight loss.
High protein levels in a food DO NOT cause kidney damage in the normal, healthy dog .
Protein restriction of senior German Shepherds could be more detrimental than protein deficiency in younger animals.
But, dont only focus on the protein amount, focus on the quality of the protein included in their diet.
Heres a short nutrition breakdown of what your aging German Shepherd needs in their daily diet.
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Nutro Natural Choice Healthy Weight Large Breed Adult Dog Food
Top ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Whole Brown RiceType: Dry
A kibble formulated for GSDs watching their waistlines.
It promotes healthy weight loss while still supporting your dogs nutritional needs. Made with non-GMO ingredients and rich in naturally sourced glucosamine and chondroitin.
One great thing about this is that it comes in lamb as well, so if the chicken is one of the allergens making your dog itch, you can give that a try!
German Shepherd Puppy Feeding Guide: 12 Weeks To 6 Months
After approximately 12 weeks of age, puppies can be trained to eat fewer meals a day, at set times, and with set amounts.
While you still dont want to limit their food too much at this age, its also not a good idea to just let them pig out whenever they want.
Large breed puppies have a tendency to overeat, and concerned puppy parents often give in to their pups cries for more.
This sets your German Shepherd up for obesity, heart problems, liver issues, joint pain, and a host of other medical conditions.
Instead of letting your puppy have a free-for-all on a bag of kibble, ask your vet what they recommend. Theyll look at your German Shepherd puppy as an individual as well as considering the breed as a whole.
The vet will also consider the pups overall health, activity level, and metabolism.
While your vets recommendation should overrule anything you read online, here is a decent middle ground feeding guide for most German Shepherd puppies.
This potbelly baby stage means she is not quite mature enough for reduced feedings.
Watch her body composition, shape, and weight. When she starts to look more like an older puppy and the potbelly is slimming down, you can reduce the feedings to 3 per day.
Top 8 Recommended Best Foods For A German Shepherd In 2022
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In addition to being incredibly smart and trainable, the German Shepherd is also a very large dog. This breed typically stands between 22 and 26 inches tall at the shoulder and weighs between 50 and 90 pounds at maturity. Originally developed as a herding dog, the German Shepherd has very strong protective instincts but they are still very gentle and loving which makes them a wonderful family pet. As a large-breed dog, the German Shepherd has an average lifespan between 10 and 13 years which can be impacted by a number of health problems. This breed is prone to several musculoskeletal issues like hip dysplasia and various inherited health issues like degenerative myelopathy, epilepsy, and bleeding disorders. Responsible breeding practices including DNA testing are essential for this breed.
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Dog Food & Feeding Pattern For German Shepherds Age
A) For New Born
The average newborn German Shepherd puppy weighs around 370 600 grams during birth. To derive their nutrition, they are highly dependent on their mothers milk.
However, in a case where the mothers milk is unavailable, top quality powdered milk should be fed to the pups at regular intervals.
German Shepherd puppies almost double their weight when they complete 1 week. As the pups gradually start gaining weight and mobility, they crave more and more milk. Due to this reason, their feeding amount changes on a weekly basis.
Nutritional Profile Of A Baby Dog Milk
- Ultra-Digestible Protein: Supports faster growth and development.
- Omega Fatty Acid: Optimizes brain and eye development.
- Essential Vitamins: Boost metabolism in puppies.
- Antioxidants: Build strong resistance against infections and diseases.
Which Baby Dog Milk Should I Feed My Newborn German Shepherd Puppy?
You can find various milk replacers in the market for puppies. Yet the one which stands out in terms of quality and nutrition is Royal Canin Baby Dog Milk which has a dietary profile similar to that of maternal milk. The benefits of Royal Canin Baby Dog Milk:
- Offers high energy and protein levels.
- DHA boosts cognitive skills and nervous functioning in pups.
- Exclusive homogeneous formula of milk makes it easier to digest.
Best Starter Dog Foods For German Shepherd Newborns
1) Arden Grange With Chicken Weaning Puppy
2) Royal Canin Maxi Starter Food
B) For Puppy
|2 times a day|
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German Shepherd Feeding Guide: Senior Years
Large breed dogs, such as the German Shepherd, age faster than most smaller breed dogs.
This is evident by the fast decline in health, joint flexibility, and energy in older large breed dogs compared to same-age smaller breeds.
Because of this, its important for your dogs longevity and happiness to pay attention to signs of aging. When your GSD moves from the adult life stage to senior, you need to adjust her diet.
Large breeds reach the older stage around half of their assumed life expectancy.
A German Shepherds life expectancy is anywhere from 10 to 15 years, which means theyd be considered older and borderline senior at around 5 or 6.
This is a good time to ask your vet if you should make any changes to her diet or if its okay to continue with her normal adult meals.
Inevitably, your GSD will need to switch over to a senior diet. Older large breed dogs have lower energy needs. They move slower or less overall and therefore wont need as many calories each day.
Older dogs also tend to slow down their digestion, so an increase in fiber might be a good choice for your senior GSD.
Since the calories in senior-specific dog food have already been adjusted, youll likely still be feeding the same measured amount based on your GSDs weight.
Do be sure to confirm this with your vet, however. Not all foods are created equal.
Diamond Naturals Adult Dog Food
- Budget-friendly formula.
Blue Buffalo have created this recipe inspired by the German Shepherds ancestor, the wolf, and his protein rich diet which promotes strong muscle growth. It is 100% grain-free for dogs who suffer with grain allergies. This dog food also contains healthy carbohydrates such as sweet potato and peas that will keep his energy up throughout the day.
Blue Buffalos Wilderness recipe also includes omega 3 and 6 fatty acids which promote a healthy and shiny coat. Also included is their exclusive Lifesource Bits that provide your dog with a precise blend of antioxidants and minerals to provide a healthy oxidative balance.
We love that the Bison, Rabbit and Red Meat recipes are chicken and poultry free, and grain free, as some German Shepherds can be intolerant of chicken which is regularly found in dog food.
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How Often Should You Feed Your German Shepherd
Puppies are often fed 4 times a day when they are 4 weeks old. When they reach 4 months of age, you can drop 1 2 meals so youll be feeding them only 2 3 meals a day.
Some wait till their GSDs are 9 months to a year old before making that switch because its better to keep them too long on puppy formula than switching too soon.
The Best Dog Treats For German Shepherds
We think that the best treats are all-natural, whole foods like carrots or homemade peanut butter oatmeal balls. Its simply, really, just take some all-natural peanut butter, mix it with oat and freeze it.
If youre a no-grain family, you can replace it with a pumpkin.
However, if youre looking for a convenient treat to give during training, heres a favorite of ours.
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What Is The Best Dog Food For German Shepherd
German Shepherds are a popular breed in the United States, coming in at second right behind Labradors.
They look imposing and are great guard dogs, but they are also wonderful family pets and service dogs. The first guide dog in America was a GSD called Buddy.
The best you can do for these gorgeous animals is by offering them the best dog food for German Shepherds. Read more below!
Taste Of The Wild Puppy Formula
- Grain-free formula.
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. Its also one of the most popular dog foods in Taste of the Wilds entire kibble lineup.
Despite the smaller kibble size, its 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 ancestors diet that is high in natural and tasty protein that your German Shepherd puppy will love.
What Is The Life Expectancy Of A German Shepherd
The life expectancy of a German Shepherd is between nine and thirteen years. This breed of dog is known for being a healthy and hardy breed, but there are some health problems that can shorten their lifespan.
It is important to feed your German Shepherd a diet that will help them maintain their health and keep them at a healthy weight to help ensure a long and happy life.
What Is The Best Food For German Shepherds With Joint Problems
If your German Shepherd has joint problems, you’ll want to find a dog food that is rich in omega-three fatty acids. These essential nutrients help to reduce inflammation and pain in the joints.
There are many brands of dog food that offer formulas specifically for dogs with joint problems. These foods often contain ingredients like glucosamine and chondroitin, which are known to help relieve joint pain.
Now let’s chat in more detail about the best dog foods for your furry friend.
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Best Dry Food For German Shepherds
This is a list of balanced foods that have received positive feedback from customers.
Canidae All Life Stages Chicken, Turkey, Lamb, and Fish Recipe* is suitable for puppies, adults, and senior dogs. There is also a reduced activity version of this recipe
This food can be bought in whopping 44lb bags, which is a great option for owners with multiple dogs. This food does not contain corn, wheat, or soy.
Although not specifically formulated for large breeds, Fromm Adult Gold* meets the growth and maintenance requirements of dogs weighing 70lbs or more in adulthood.
This recipe includes Wisconsin cheese which increases palatability and serves as a source of protein and fatty acids.
Wellness Complete Health Large Breed Deboned Chicken and Brown Rice Recipe* contains added glucosamine and chondroitin for healthy hips and joints.
This formula does not contain soy, wheat, or corn.
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Adult Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe
The Life Protection Formula line of dog food contains LifeSource Bits, which is Blue Buffalos proprietary blend of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Apart from boosting your dogs immune system, this formula is enriched with everything your dog needs for healthy skin, coat, bones, and joints. Its antioxidant properties mainly come from blueberries, cranberries, and barley grass.
This dry dog food also doesnt contain any filler carbohydrates. Rather than wheat, corn, or soy, it uses barley, brown rice, and oatmeal. It is also enriched with taurine, which is essential for both eye and cardiovascular health.
Additionally, it contains L-Lysine and L-Carnitine to boost their metabolism and enhance the absorption of nutrients, especially calcium and protein.
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What Foods Are German Shepherds Allergic To
German Shepherds are known to be allergic to a variety of things, including wheat, corn, soy, and even some meats. If you’re not sure what your German Shepherd is allergic to, it’s always best to consult with your veterinarian. They will be able to recommend the best food for your dog based on their specific allergies.
If your German Shepherd is having any sort of adverse reaction to their food, such as scratching, biting, or licking themselves excessively, then they may be allergic to something in their food.
Consult with your veterinarian if you’re not sure what’s causing the reaction. They will be able to recommend the best food for your dog based on their specific allergies.
Taste Of The Wild Pacific Stream
- Grain-free formula.
This recipe is made without grain, potatoes, by-product meals, corn, wheat, soy, artificial colors or preservatives. Only 100% natural ingredients are used in this formula. Its made with smoked salmon, which is a taste that many dogs love as much if not more than chicken or red meat. Salmon is also the first ingredient.
This dog food recipe is also packed with extra nutrients and antioxidants. These will help boost your pups immune system. They will also help keep your German Shepherds digestive system in tip top condition.
We love that this recipe contains Taste of the Wilds proprietary probiotics. This will ensure your German Shepherds gut health is a priority during their adult years.
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Orijen Adult Dog Food
This protein rich recipe is one of the richest around, with 85% of the ingredients being poultry, fish or egg products. Approximately two thirds of the meat content in this recipe are all fresh or raw, meaning that your German Shepherd will be getting his nutrients in the most nourishing form.
It is 100% grain and gluten free and it is packed with a variety of fruit and vegetables to provide your German Shepherd with his vitamins and minerals. It also comes in three different flavors the Original, Regional Red and Six Fish, so if you have a fussy pooch then there a few choices for him to choose from, and all of their recipes have whole fish in which helps to maintain a healthy heart.
We love that this is biologically appropriate, in that the recipe is based on a whole prey diet that mirrors the ratio of a wild diet. It incorporates a balance of meat, organs, bones, and cartilage. While that might not sound too appealing to you, your German Shepherd will love it!