General Nutritional Recommendations For German Shepherds
All dogs require a balance of protein, fat and carbohydrate in their diet, though dogs of certain sizes may require a slightly different ratio than smaller dogs. Large-breed dogs like the German Shepherd, for example, may require more protein than smaller dogs to help support their lean muscle mass. Smaller dogs usually require more fat than larger dogs to support their faster metabolisms. As a large-breed dog, your German Shepherds diet should provide high levels of protein with moderate fat and limited carbohydrate content. According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, adult dogs need at least 18% protein and 5% fat while puppies need 22% protein and 8% fat. If you want your dog to be as healthy as possible, however, you should choose a diet that provides more than the minimum for these nutrients.
Iams Proactive Health Large Breed
Large Breed Chicken and Whole Grains is one of 14 dry recipes covered in our review of the Iams ProActive Health product line.
- First 5 ingredients: Chicken, ground whole grain barley, ground whole grain corn, ground whole grain sorghum, chicken by-product meal
- Type: Grain-inclusive
- Profile: Maintenance
- Best for:Adult shepherds only
Iams ProActive Health Large Breed derives the majority of its meat protein from chicken and chicken meal. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 25% protein, 14% fat and 53% estimated carbs producing a fat-to-protein ratio of about 56%.
This classic, grain-inclusive large breed design has been made by Iams for years and is a nutritious fit for adult German shepherds. Calcium levels are a bit high for shepherd puppies. Easily recommended.
Sample buyer reviewIAMS is a product that I have turned to for complete nutrition for my dog as well as my cats! In fact, I have been feeding IAMS to my cats for over 20 years! Sure there are higher priced pet foods, but why would you want to pay more when you get the proper nutrition and a quality product at a reasonable price!
German Shepherd Dog Food Health Concerns & Risks
So, why is it important to feed your German Shepherd the right food, understand the breeds specific nutritional requirements and health risks associated with poor nutrition?
According to a study on nutritional risks of large-breed dogs, large dogs like German Shepherds have a higher risk of developing skeletal diseases such as hip dysplasia due to improper nutrition. Over time, skeletal diseases and obesity can lead to osteoarthritis.
GSDs tend to suffer from Gastric dilatation and volvulus bloat. Monitor your GSDs eating habits. Fast eating and gulping can increase the risk of these health problems. Feeding 3 smaller meals a day instead of one large one can also prevent this problem. Making sure your GSD does not do any strenuous physical activity after eating is also necessary. A slow down dog bowl can also help.
Other important German Shepherddog foodhealth-related risks to be aware of include:
- German shepherds tend to develop food allergies that typically manifest as dry, itchy skin, ears, or paws.
- Food intolerances in German shepherds difficult protein digestion some. This can lead to vomit or experience diarrhea.
- Inflammatory bowel disease and gastrointestinal issues that can make life doubly uncomfortable.
Now you should know why selecting the right dog food for your GSD is so important!
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Types Of Dog Foods Those Are Available In The Market
If you would try to look around for dog food then you would come to know that there are many varieties of dog food. Before you go further you would have to be sure about what type of food you want to feed your dog. Now, this completely depends upon your dogs preference and taste and at the same time, you should check what type of food suits your dogs health the most.
Here you would also have to determine the age of your dog as there are foods for puppies as well as for well-grown adult dog so this might confuse you a bit. There are dog snacks that are like treats for your dog so that needs to be delicious so that your dog could enjoy having that. There is gravy food of your dog which is meant for meals and wet foods are more nutritious and at the same time these foods taste so much better.
Also, there are canned foods and dry dogs foods in the market that is meant for puppies. As these foods are less spicy. There are dehydrate and freeze dog food and it would be amazing that there are dog ice creams in the market. As well which is amazing to know.
Why Its Essential To Feed The Perfect Dish To Your Mutt
The integrity of the diet that your mutt eats is directly related to their well-being. For this reason, it is a smart idea always to ensure that the perfect diet is available to them. In this regard, animal nutritionists or veterinarians are quite handy as theyll help you know the ideal diet for your dog. After all, what worked for your past pet will not necessarily work for the present one, and just because your neighbors dog is doing well on a certain diet will not guarantee the same for yours.
Most people, experts, and dog breeders alike agree that mutts require a protein-rich diet. This way, they can develop lean muscles and a healthy amount of fat to be used as a source of energy. Apart from that, though the opinions are divided on this one, good mutt diets should offer carbs. As for humans, carbs are an excellent source of energy for dogs. Nonetheless, veterinarians caution against availing carbs to these animals haphazardly. They advise that only carbs from digestible sources, e.g., legumes and starch-rich veggies, should be fed to mutts.
That said, feeding your mutt a dish that is right from them will help prevent cases on allergy, diarrhea, discomfort, among other adverse effects.
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Best For Puppies: Purina Puppy Chow Complete With Real Chicken
Puppies have different dietary needs from fully-grown dogs. Puppy food should be higher in calories than adult food to compensate for their higher energy levels and support tissue growth and development. Purina Puppy Chow is specifically formulated for puppies, with a recipe that supports strong bones and teeth while building muscle. The food is 27% protein, 12% fat, 5% fiber and 12% moisture. It includes all of the essential vitamins and minerals as well as DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid that aids with brain development.
Customers call Purina Puppy Chow unbeatable, and say it provides the nutritional support their dogs need as they grow. Its also a fairly affordable option. At their vets recommendation, some owners also use it with older dogs who need some extra help reaching a healthy weight. Think of it as the dog equivalent of Ensure.
Common German Shepherd Health Issues
Unfortunately, German Shepherds are prone to a variety of health issues. Some health problems may be caused or worsened by diet, so its important to know what issues theyre prone to and how diet may affect those issues.
Food Allergies and Intolerances
German Shepherds are slightly more prone to food allergies or sensitivities than some other dog breeds. The most common dog food allergens include chicken, beef, eggs, wheat, dairy, pork, lamb, fish, rabbit, and soy. Symptoms of food allergies include itching, hives, chronic ear infections, hot spots, and yeast infections. Some people confuse food allergies with food sensitivities. A food allergy involves the immune system, while a food sensitivity involves the gastrointestinal tract. Food sensitivities in dogs include symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, and gas. Either way, if your dog is experiencing food allergies or sensitivities, the best thing to do is to figure out which ingredients your dog is sensitive to and find foods without those components.
Sadly, German Shepherds are one of the breeds most at risk for hip dysplasia, a painful condition where the thigh bone doesnt sit properly in the hip joint. Growing too quickly as a puppy may contribute to hip dysplasia, so its crucial to feed your German Shepherd puppy a food made specifically for large breed puppies. It contains different nutrients than other puppy food or adult food.
No Pull Dog Harness
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Rich In Omega 3 & 6 Fatty Acids
These fatty acids are responsible for your dogs healthy skin and shiny coat. According to the Association of American Feed Control Officials, a non-profit organization that sets food standards for animals and pets, the right amount of fat intake of a German shepherd should be 5% to 8%.
Omega 3 can be found in anchovies, phytoplankton and krill oil while omega 6 is found in most animal fats and vegetable oils.
Wellness Large Breed Complete Health Adult Deboned Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe
High protein content with moderate fat and calories is a recipe for balanced nutrition for your German Shepherd. We like this Wellness Large Breed Complete Health Adult Deboned Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe because it provides 26% protein with just 12% fat and 340 calories per cup. With fresh chicken as the first ingredient, it is a lean source of protein to support your dogs lean muscle mass but not so high in fat or calories that your dog will gain too much weight. It contains digestible whole-grain carbohydrates like brown rice, barley, and oats with fresh fruits and vegetables to provide antioxidants as well as key nutrients. This recipe features probiotic supplements for healthy and regular digestion with chelated minerals for optimal nutrient absorption. Plus, it comes in a larger kibble size and contains the unique nutrient ratios large breeds need for optimal health.
- Pros: Formulated for large breeds, rich in lean protein, moderate fat and calories, digestible whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, chelated minerals, probiotics
- Cons: Not a grain-free recipe
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The Best Dog Food For Working German Shepherds
- Life Stage Adult
- Breed Size Small, Large
When it comes down to it, its hard to ignore the advantages offered to working dogs by something like CRAVE. The salmon and ocean fish variation is even better than most since its extremely unlikely to trigger any allergies in your dog.
It comes in with 34% protein, which makes it exactly what a working dog needs to get their day going. Keep in mind that its too high in fat and calories for your average pet at home, however, its pretty much a one-way ticket to obesity for a dog who only gets a walk once a day.
The micronutrient balance is great, if not optimal, but its the protein source and high calories that were looking at when it comes to a dog with a job. You may want to snag a multivitamin and joint supplement as well to support their higher activity level.
Its expensive, theres no doubt about that, but its also one of the best foods for working dogs around and itll keep your dog on the line with you through the whole day.
For working German Shepherds itd be hard to find a more perfect food when it comes to calorie content and protein levels. Just keep in mind its a bit much for your average pet.
- Salmon-based to avoid food allergies
- Grain free
- Too high calorie for the average stay-at-home dog
Instinct Raw Boost With Real Duck
Real Duck is one of 14 dry recipes analyzed in our review of the Instinct Raw Boost product line.
- First 5 ingredients: Duck, chicken meal, peas, egg product, turkey meal
- Type: Grain-free
- Profile: All life stages
- Best for:Adult shepherds and puppies
Instinct Raw Boost with Real Duck obtains the bulk of its animal protein from fresh duck and chicken meal. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 38% protein, 23% fat and 31% estimated carbs creating a fat-to-protein ratio of about 61%.
This formula also gets its antioxidants from natural fruits and veggies for healthy immunity and thus, greater resistance to disease. A top pick for German shepherds and other large breeds.
Sample buyer reviewI recently switched from a dehydrated raw product to Instinct Raw Boost. This is a great quality grain- free food and my guys are loving it. I have a multi dog house hold and most of them have allergies of one kind or another. This food is working well for all..
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Preparation Of Our Homemade Diet
All of the information above might seem intimidating, but I assure you that making the actual meals for our dogs takes no more than 20 minutes of actual hands-on time.
First, we cook our complex carbs, whether theyre grains, legumes, or starchy vegetables.
While that pot is simmering on the stove, we cook the meat in a separate pan in coconut oil and ground turmeric. After its cooled a bit, we add chunks of meat to our food processor and pulse until theyre broken down into 1/2- to 1-inch pieces.
Then, we gather whatever vegetables or fruits we have in the kitchen , chop them up as needed, and toss them into the food processor.
We also add a few clean, crushed eggshells to the mix. A few pulses turns all this food into smaller pieces, making them more digestible for our dogs.
Finally, we add the cooled, cooked carbs to the food processor and do a couple more pulses to combine. Everything should have a finely crumbled texture by this point.
Since dogs have short digestive tracts, its crucial that you break down the food to increase its bioavailability that is, making all the nutrients in those wholesome ingredients more digestible in a dogs system.
I prepare enough food to last my two pugs an entire week. Its unbelievably easy, and I like knowing exactly what goes into their food. Friends will watch us feed our pugs and remark that it looks good enough for them to eat!
Dog Breeds With Special Needs
As mentioned earlier in this article, none of the dog breeds is the same. Keeping the friendly ones in mind, here are some of them that are an absolute pleasure to have around. This part would help you in a way to find the one you want
German shepherdjack and parson russell terriersLHASA APSOYORKSHIRE TERRIERLabrador Retriever
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The 10 Best German Shepherd Dog Foods
The best German Shepherd food will be rich in protein from high-quality animal sources with moderate fat and calorie content for energy. Make sure it is highly digestible, featuring whole-food ingredients, and free from fillers, byproducts, and artificial additives. If your dog has allergies or a sensitive stomach, a limited ingredient diet may be best.
Heres our top pick for the best German Shepherd dog food:
|Our 2021 Picks: Best Adult and Puppy Food for German Shepherds|
A General Guideline For Preparing Homemade Dog Food
My DIY dog food recipe is more of a general guideline, rather than an exact meal plan that I follow each week. My dogs diet changes the same way ours does, depending on what we do and what we buy or grow.
However, we almost always stay with this basic formula:
- 50 percent cooked protein
- 25 percent cooked complex carbohydrates
- Fats and supplements
Protein is always meat and usually chicken, though weve also used turkey, pork, and beef. We feed any and all parts of the animals, but most commonly, we saute chicken breasts or chicken thighs in coconut oil and ground turmeric.
Coconut oil has a host of health benefits for dogs, such as improving the skin and coat, increasing energy, aiding digestion, reducing allergic reactions, promoting wound healing, preventing yeast and fungal infections, and supporting arthritis or ligament problems.
Turmeric has long been studied for its powerful medicinal properties, including its use as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
We add it to the coconut oil since it is fat-soluble, and use it to support our pugs joint health.
Speaking of dark meat, we feed thighs and breasts interchangeably. While well remove the skin from poultry and trim off excessive fat from red meat, we dont worry about buying the leanest meat possible for our dogs.
A little fat is necessary for a well-rounded diet.
They tend to be the leftovers in our produce bin, so we never have to buy, say, a whole head of cauliflower just for the dogs.
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Hill’s Science Diet Adult Perfect Weight Chicken Recipe
Hill’s Science Diet Adult Perfect Weight Chicken Recipe is a dry dog food specially formulated to help dogs achieve a healthy weight. Made with real chicken, this formula helps build lean and strong muscles.
Prebiotic fibers are included for digestibility. A clinically proven blend of antioxidants with vitamins C and E is included to help boost the immune system.
Like all Hills Science Diet recipes this Perfect Weight chicken recipe is backed by decades of scientific research. It is recommended by numerous vets globally.
The first five ingredients of this Perfect Weight formula are chicken, cracked pearled barley, brown rice, pea fiber, and corn gluten meal.
According to reviews, dogs love the rich chicken flavor of this Science Diet formula. The are excited for mealtimes and gobble up the pieces. However, some find the new and improved version of this food to have kibbles that are too small for their liking.
The smaller kibbles are preferred by some older and smaller dogs, as they are much easier to chew and digest. It has indeed been effective in managing the weights of dogs. Many of them have lost excess pounds and are able to maintain healthy weights.