Feeding A German Shepherd Puppy The Right Way
June 6, 2019 By Emily Patterson-Kane
The German Shepherd puppy is a popular addition to many households. Sometimes called the Alsatian puppy, the German Shepherd was initially developed for herding and now commonly used as a working dog or pet. This is your guide to providing all the nutrients your new puppy needs.
Many types of food can be provided. However puppy foods designed for large breed dogs are essential for puppies. This will help to avoid health problems caused by overly-rapid bone growth.
Read on to find out the ins and out of whats best for your German Shepherd puppy!
Week Old German Shepherd Puppy
At 2 weeks old, your German Shepherd puppy will still be with his mother. He should be reliant entirely on his mothers milk. These small pups will begin to open their eyes to take in the world, but otherwise will not be straying anywhere.
In larger litters, make sure that all of the puppies are growing and gaining well. Pups that dont seem to be getting enough milk might need to have formula supplemented to them in order to get their weight up to a healthy level. If you are worried about this at all, contact your veterinarian.
Royal Canin German Shepherd Junior Food 16 Kg
Young German Shepherds need a special food adapted to their nutritional needs in the sensitive growth period. Special attention needs to be paid to balanced growth, strengthening the natural defences, supporting healthy intestinal function and and protecting skin and coat. The German Shepherd is a noble dog with unsurpassed versatility.
Strong muscles, a highly developed chest, powerful movement, and last, but not least, a noble character make German Shepherds some of the best working dogs available: guide dog, rescue dog, police dog, or watch dog.
Royal Canin German Shepherd Junior dry dog food was uniquely developed with the characteristics and requirements of young German Shepherds up to 15 months in mind:
Royal Canin German Shepherd Junior is a dry dog food for young German Shepherds with a recipe specially adapted to the breed’s nutritional requirements.
Rice, dehydrated poultry meat, vegetable protein isolate*, animal fats, hydrolysed animal proteins, beet pulp, vegetable fibres, minerals, fish oil, egg powder, soya oil, fructo-oligo-saccharides, psyllium husks and seeds, L-lysine, sodium polyphosphate, yeast extract , DL-methionine, taurine, hydrolysed crustaceans , marigold extract , hydrolysed cartilage .
*L.I.P.: Selected, digestible proteins with high biological value.
Iron , copper , manganese , zinc , iodine , selenium .
Lutein , chondroitin sulphate + glucosamine chloride .
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When And How To Change The Feeding Of Puppy To Adult
Many owners would like to know what is the best age to switch their German Shepherd puppy to adult food. The best way to shift your German Shepherd from puppy food to adult dog food is to look at his age and size.
When a German Shepherd is around 1 to 1.5 years old, he is generally considered an adult. This is a good estimate of when you could consider making the switch.
When a German Shepard has attained around 80-90% of their overall growth, is a good indicator of when the switch should be made.
It is always better to do this gradually as an abrupt switch may not be ideal. If you feed your dog twice per day, you can start giving him adult food mixed in with his usual food.
Types Of Diet For German Shepherd Puppies
German Shepherds are lean and strong dogs, which means that they need a diet that is high in lean proteins, but low in fats and carbohydrates. A GS that is overweight will have trouble losing weight because of the way that their body is made.
Overweight puppies will also have too much pressure put on their hips and since hip dysplasia is a real concern for GS, you want their hips to grow well. Stay away from foods that are high in filler as well because that will contribute to weight gain without positive benefit.
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Nutritional Needs Of German Shepherds
All dogs deserve healthy, nutritious, and satisfying food, but generic dog food isnt going to be right for most of them. Every breed has its own special dietary needs.
Small dogs, for example, need something totally different than our big, hard-working GSDs. For maximum health and energy, keep these things in mind when deciding what to feed your German Shepherd.;
Puppyhood Is The Best Time To Consider Pet Insurance
As a puppy, your dog has probably not shown any significant health concerns at his young age. Since pet insurance companies dont cover pre-existing conditions, the younger your dog is when you sign up, the better coverage you will likely receive throughout his lifetime. Furthermore, pet insurance can help support you financially during the unpredictable puppy years when dogs are more likely to chew on things they shouldnt and run into dangerous situations. Check out our pet insurance guide to learn more and to determine whether pet insurance is worth it for your puppy.
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Feeding A German Shepherd Puppy Kibble
There are many good quality kibble diets, but they arent always the best choice.
The FDA recently issued a notice alerting dog owners to a potential increased risk of a serious heart condition. This is called canine dilated cardiomyopathy .
The risk is in dogs eating foods that include peas, lentils, or potatoes instead of grains.
Some of these cases of DCM were in German Shepherds.
The underlying cause of these cases is not clear, but the FDA note suggests that caution should be used in selecting foods with these ingredients for German Shepherds and other large dogs.
Head over to our article on the pros and cons of feeding kibble to know more.
Scientifically Formulated German Shepherd Puppy Food
Hills Science Diet Large Breed Puppy- Terrific for Coat and Skin Health!
Rich aroma with DHA fish oil to entice puppies to finish every last bite while giving shine to their coats.
Feed a high-quality kibble from a name-brand company.
Dont buy boutique formulas, as these companies dont always quality check or feed test their formulas, and many have been found linked to causing deadly heart conditions in dogs .
The brands recommend here meet the World Small Animal Veterinary Association criteria and have no reported cases of DCM. Purina and Hills all have boarded Diplomates of ACVN on staff and Ph.D. Animal Scientists and Nutritionists work to ensure quality control and exceed nutritional standards. .
Most GSDs are healthy and fit on commercial dog foods that are high quality. Theyll eat eagerly and have a shiny coat and bright eyes with a scientifically based commercial diet that meets their needs.
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Royal Canin German Shepherd Puppy Dog Food
Regular priceRs2,400.00 Rs2,400.00 Sale
Royal Canin German Shepherd Puppy dry dog food is designed to meet the nutritional needs of purebred German Shepherds 8 weeks to 15 months old
Exclusive kibble shape designed specifically for a German Shepherds long, strong muzzle to encourage chewing
Helps protect a puppys developing immune system and natural defenses with an exclusive complex of antioxidants including vitamin E
Aids digestive health with highly digestible proteins and specific fibers to promote optimal stool quality
Maintains bone & joint health with glucosamine and chondroitin to support large, growing bodies
Raw Diets Cooking For Dogs And Other Alternative Feeding
This article has been focusing mainly on commercially available dry kibble since that is what most pet parents ultimately choose for their dogs.
However, there are many dog owners that choose to feed alternative diets. These include raw diets and cooking regular people food for dogs.
There are many viable options for feeding your healthy German Shepherd, but there are just as many harmful fads, too.
As with commercial foods, be sure to speak with your vet before starting your dog on a raw diet or home-cooking her meals. Whats healthy for humans isnt usually healthy for dogs.
That means youll need to learn a lot about canine metabolism, life stages, and nutritional needs before you embark on that journey.
Weve covered the holistic diet approach right here if youre interested in learning more. Feeding your dog an alternative diet can be a fun way to bond with your pup and feel good about providing whole, nutritious, natural foods that support your GSDs health and wellness.
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How Much Should I Feed My German Shepherd Puppy
To begin with follow the guidelines provided by the feeder, the feed manufacturer, or by your veterinarian.
For example, you could expect to start feeding your puppy a total of around 3 cups a day of a high-quality kibble.
However this will vary depending on how calorie dense the food is and how it is formulated.
Puppies will quickly develop individual needs for food types and amounts based on their size, activity level, and other factors.
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What Foods Not To Feed My German Shepherd Puppy
You can read more in this guide about what foods might be dangerous for dogs .
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 so as not to upset your dogs stomach, and so you have an opportunity to see how the new food affects your dog.
Mixing In Fresh Ingredients
I add small portions of fresh components to my dry kibble for taste and flavor. But dont add more than a spoonful or two so your dog doesnt eat only the fresh ingredients and ignore the healthy kibble!
These components shouldnt make up over 10% of the meal to avoid them gaining excess wight.
GSD puppies enjoy eating:
- cooked and raw carrot pieces
- small dollops of unsweetened Greek yogurt
- scrambled and cooked eggs
- cooked, plain oatmeal without sweeteners
- fresh or frozen blueberries
- goats milk
If you want to know the best treats for German Shepherd puppies, pick one from this list of healthy German Shepherd treats that are tasty and nutritious.
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Stages Of Feeding A German Shepherd Puppy
To help you understand your German Shepherd puppys body, the;stages of feeding a German Shepherd puppy might be:
1. Nursing and Mothers Milk
The first 6-8 weeks a GSD puppy should be left with their mother to be nursed on their mothers 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 mothers 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 diarrhea and vomiting among other problems.
To reduce the risk of upsetting your German Shepherd Puppys stomach, you can buy milk replacer or puppy milk, and mix this milk with your selected puppy solid food to create a gruel . 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.;
My Puppy Is Still Hungry
If your puppy seems excessively hungry provide more frequent but smaller meals. Young puppies cannot tolerate going without food for extended periods.
With older puppies you may wish to experiment with foods that help them feel more full, and provide low calories treats.
Keeping a health puppy active and occupied will help prevent them from becoming overly focused on anticipating their next meal.
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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 doesnt 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 dogs digestive system may not be working like a normal dogs system does
How Often To Feed A Puppy
So now that you know how much to feed your puppy, you might be wondering, How many times a day should a puppy eat? Setting a routine for your puppys feeding schedule is critical so he can learn when to expect his food.
- 4-12 Weeks: Young puppies need three or more feedings per day to adequately meet their nutritional needs. So, according to the feeding guide that comes with their food or the chart above, divide that by three or more and give the food to them throughout the day.
- 3-12 Months: As your puppy;gets older, you can reduce the number of feedings to twice daily. Their energy level should reduce; thus, they dont need as much food throughout the day.
- 12+ Months: Most adult dogs eat two meals per day. Youll want to divide their food requirement by two.
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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.;
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.
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What Human Foods Can A German Shepherd Puppy Eat
Sometimes, your German Shepherd puppy deserves to be given a treat, and certain human foods are great options. There are proteins, veggies, fruits, carbs, and nuts eaten by humans that can you feed your puppy.
Proteins such as chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, and beef are great sources to help your puppy gain lean muscle and become strong.
Safe fruits for your puppy include blueberries, apples, strawberries, watermelon, coconut, bananas, and mangos. They are packed with minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants.
Safe veggies for your German Shepherd puppy include green peas, carrots, bell peppers, broccoli, and cucumber. Safe nuts for your puppy are peanuts but they should be plain. Safe carbs for your puppy include rice and sweet potatoes because they are easily digestible.