German shepherds are a large breed that was bred to work. This high-energy dog has a lot of muscle and a healthy appetite. Choosing the best dog foods for German shepherd is an important part of helping it maintain a healthy weight and avoid some of the health problems this breed is prone to developing.
- What is the Best Dog for German Shepherd?
- What Is the Best Dry Dog Food to Feed a German Shepherd?
- 1. Purina ONE SmartBlend Natural Adult Dry Dog Food
- 2. Nulo Adult Grain-Free Dog Food
- 3. CRAVE Grain-Free With Protein from Lamb and Venison Dry Adult Dog Food
- 4. Eukanuba Breed Specific German Shepherd Dry Dog Food
- 5. Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition German Shepherd Adult Dry Dog Food
- 6. ORIJEN High-Protein, Grain-Free, Premium Quality Meat, Dry Dog Food
- 7. Wellness Complete Health Natural Large Breed Dry Dog Food
- 8. Taste of the Wild High Prairie Bison and Venison
- 9. Whole Earth Farms Grain-Free Natural Dry Dog Food
- What Is the Best Wet Dog Food to Feed a German Shepherd?
- How to Choose the Best Food for Your German Shepherd
- Choosing a Good Brand
- Wet vs Dry
- Grain Free or Not Grain Free
- Look at the Label
- Best Dog Foods for German Shepherds
What is the Best Dog for German Shepherd?
Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about your German shepherd’s diet and some options for the best dog food for German shepherds.
German shepherds are a large dog breed, usually reaching between 70 and 90 pounds. Daily caloric requirements depend on the age and activity level of your dog. Older, less active German shepherds need between about 1,300 and 1,550 calories a day, while active young adults need between 1,750 and 2,100.
Protein and Fat
Protein should make up between 18 and 22 percent of your German shepherd’s diet; fat, about five percent.
Whole meat, like chicken or beef, should be the primary ingredient in the best food for German shepherd dogs. The ingredients on the label are listed according to weight, which means that the very first listed ingredient should be a source of whole protein. If the ingredients are listed as chicken, oats, peas, carrots, and chicken meal, the ingredient that makes up most of the recipe is chicken.
You may see a meat meal listed, too. A lot of people think that meal is not a good source of nutrition, but that’s not exactly true. Meal made from whole protein, like lamb meal, chicken meal, or salmon meal, is fine, but it’s best to avoid anything that has something like a chicken by-product meal listed in the ingredients.
Carbs, grains, fats, and vegetables should follow. Vegetables and fish oils provide healthy fats and omega-3s that your German shepherd needs for healthy skin and a shiny smooth coat.
Look for grains that are easily digestible, like oats, barley, and rice. Avoid corn, soy, and wheat, especially if your dog has a sensitive stomach as these grains are difficult to digest. Carbohydrates provide the quick energy this active breed needs. Some grain free food options are okay, too, if they make up for the fiber and carbs in other ways.
Look for All Natural Ingredients
Stay away from any German shepherd food with artificial ingredients, especially preservatives, colors, or flavors. Synthetic preservatives can cause health issues, and artificial ingredients can’t compare with the real thing. Large breeds need whole, nutritious food like brown rice, deboned chicken, or high-quality chicken meal.
A German shepherd is extremely active, so if you make sure they get enough daily exercise, they should have no problem maintaining a healthy weight. If the dog eats too much or doesn’t get enough exercise, it can gain weight and become obese, which poses numerous health risks.
This breed is prone to developing joint conditions, like arthritis, hip dysplasia, and elbow dysplasia. When a German shepherd is overweight, it puts a lot of excess stress on the joints which can affect mobility.
A German shepherd is also at risk for developing absorption issues, which can cause weight loss and excess hunger even though the German shepherd is eating normally. In this case, it’s best to talk to your vet. Treatment often includes a low fiber, low-fat diet with easily digestible carbs, and a high-quality protein as the main ingredient. Some of the best dog foods for German shepherds meet these requirements, and high protein, grain free large breed best of food is easy to find.
What Is the Best Dry Dog Food to Feed a German Shepherd?
Dry dog food has a few benefits over wet dog food. For one thing, it’s more economical. You can measure out the exact portion you need without having to worry about anything spoiling or going to waste. It’s also more economical. Some dry dog foods come in large bags that can be stored for a really long time.
Dry dog food is also best for your dog’s dental health. Some kibble is shaped so that it scraps plaque and tartar off your dog’s teeth as they chew. If you’re looking for great dry dog food for your German shepherd, here are the best options.
The first ingredient in Purina ONE SmartBlend Natural Adult Dry Dog Food is real chicken. This protein-rich recipe has a blend of tender, meaty chicken morsels and crunchy kibble that your dog is going to love.
It also features a special dual-defense antioxidant blend to help support your German shepherd’s immune system and natural sources of glucosamine for optimal joint health. Each high-quality ingredient is chosen carefully to deliver well-balanced nutrition with no added fillers.
This 100 percent natural dog food from Nulo is the best choice if you’re looking for a grain-free diet for your German shepherd. Not only does it contain no wheat, corn, or soy, but there are no artificial flavors, colors, or additives. Nulo leaves out eggs and chicken, too, opting instead for recipes using lamb and chickpeas, salmon and peas, and turkey and sweet potato. If your dog isn’t a fan of chicken-based food, this is a good one to try. These animal-based protein sources provide essential amino acids that work together to build lean muscle and a healthy heart.
Each recipe also contains probiotics to encourage regulated digestion and omega fatty acids to improve skin and coat health. Omega-3 fatty acids have also been shown to ease joint pain and stiffness, while omega-6 regulates metabolism and supports brain health.
Every batch of Nulo adult dog food is carefully mixed and made in Austin, Texas. It’s available in multiple sizes, too. We recommend the 24-pound bag for a large breed like a German shepherd.
CRAVE is inspired by the diet of the wolf and made with high-quality animal proteins like lamb and venison. This high-protein dog food contains 34 percent protein, with real lamb as the first ingredient. It supports strong, lean muscle growth, and grain-free carbohydrate sources provide energy without affecting digestion. This recipe also contains no wheat, corn, soy, or artificial flavors, preservatives, or colors.
This German shepherd dog food from Eukanuba is specifically formulated to meet the nutritional needs of the breed. The high-quality animal-based proteins support optimal conditioning, building strong, lean muscles and helping maintain a healthy weight. It also contains L-Carnitine and taurine for a healthier heart.
This brand uses a special fiber system that promotes healthy digestion and nutrient absorption, making sure your German shepherd dog gets the best nutrition without stomach upset. Omega fatty acids support skin and coat health, and glucosamine and chondroitin help maintain agile joints to keep your dog active as long as possible.
An optimal balance of fats and carbs provides the energy this active breed needs, while DHA and vitamin E contribute to healthy brain function and mental acuity. That’s not all, this dog food also features Euanuba’s 3D Dentadefense System which is designed to improve teeth and gum health, reducing tartar buildup in only 28 days.
Eukanuba doesn’t use any artificial preservatives, flavors, or colors and there are no fillers so you can trust your dog is getting optimal nutrition, made specifically for this breed.
Royal Canin has a breed-specific formula made for German shepherds 15 months and older. The kibble is shaped and textured specifically for the German shepherd’s long mouth and made to encourage chewing. This recipe contains healthy proteins and essential nutrients that are easy to digest and carefully chosen fibers to optimize digestion.
The breed-specific formula also contains fish oil for optimal skin and coat health, and glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health to support the German shepherd’s large, muscular bodies. Best of all, if you or your dog aren’t satisfied, Royal Canin offers a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee.
ORIJEN uses the best fresh and raw animal ingredients, including organs, meat, cartilage, and bone to deliver a grain-free diet that’s biologically appropriate for German shepherds. They use fresh, regional ingredients from local suppliers that they know and trust to deliver high-quality nutrition. It’s made in Kentucky, close to rolling grasslands, fertile farms, and Appalachian ranches, giving them access to uniquely high quality ingredients, responsibly farmed and delivered to the kitchen at the peak of freshness.
Ingredients include free-run turkey and chicken, wild-caught fish, and cage-free eggs and it’s appropriate for adult German shepherds and senior dogs. It contains 85 percent protein and 15 percent vegetables, botanicals, and fruit.
This Wellness Complete food for large breeds features high-quality proteins and wholesome grains and delivers a diet packed with quality ingredients your German shepherd needs. A variety of antioxidant-rich ingredients like spinach, tomatoes, and carrots provide immune system support, and it’s loaded with omega fatty acids to ensure coat and skin health.
One of the great things about this dog food for German shepherds is that it provides nutrition for the whole body, including glucosamine for joint support, taurine for cardiac health, and probiotics to maintain healthy digestion.
Wellness Complete contains no fillers, meat-byproducts, or artificial preservatives. It’s made in the USA using globally sourced non-GMO ingredients, chosen specifically for their nutritional benefits.
Another best dog food for German shepherds is this Taste of the Wild High Prairie recipe. It features roasted bison and venison that not only taste amazing for your dog but also provide 32 percent protein that’s easily digestible. Plus, there’s vegetables, fruits, and legumes to round out your pet’s nutrition.
Taste of the Wild includes K9 Strain Probiotics, a specially developed strain for dogs that is added after the cooking process to maintain its effectiveness. Every pound of this dog food contains 80 million active cultures, ideal for supporting your dog’s immune and digestive systems.
Omega fatty acids are included for skin and coat health, and antioxidants from ingredients like legumes, fruits, sweet potatoes, raspberries, and blueberries add necessary supplies of nutrients like vitamin E, selenium, and zinc. Taste of the Wild is hands down a best dog food for large breed dogs.
Another great natural dog food is this recipe from Whole Earth Farms. It’s crafted to support all life stages from adult to senior and has added vitamins and minerals to meet all of your dog’s nutritional needs.
This recipe features protein-rich beef, pork, and lamb and apples, flaxseed, and sweet potatoes. It contains no corn, wheat, poultry by-product, soy, or artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. All of Whole Earth Farms’ products are cooked in the USA.
The unique mix of natural ingredients helps give your pet healthier skin and a shiny coat. It’s easy to digest, so it’s a great choice if your dog has stomach issues.
What Is the Best Wet Dog Food to Feed a German Shepherd?
Wet food has its benefits, too. For one, it has greater water content, so if you live in a hot climate or your dog isn’t getting enough water, wet dog food can help them stay hydrated. (Of course, it’s still important for your dog to get fresh water every day, so make sure they have access to it at all times.) The higher moisture content also helps dogs feel more satisfied and may be helpful when it comes to weight management.
Dogs that have trouble chewing can also benefit from wet dog food. There are a lot of reasons that dogs might have a hard time with kibble, whether they’re missing teeth or have a misaligned jaw.
When dogs get older, they often start to lose their sense of smell and may find kibble unappetizing. Wet food has a richer smell and flavor that may encourage a dog with a poor appetite to eat a little more.
Purina is a well-known pet food brand, and its Pro Plan wet dog food for large and giant breeds is a great choice for a German shepherd. It’s formulated for dogs over 50 pounds and made with real beef and other high-quality proteins and brown rice for easy digestion.
Each ingredient in this canned dog food was chosen for a specific nutritional purpose, giving German shepherds and other large breeds 100 percent of the nutrients they need to thrive. This recipe supports every part of your pet’s body, supporting bone and muscle growth, healthy joints, and a strong immune system. It also contains omega fatty acids for skin and coat health.
This homestyle food recipe from Blue Buffalo is a plate style meal your German shepherd will love. Real deboned chicken is the first ingredient in Blue Buffalo, and the high-quality protein supports healthy muscles and has a taste your dog will love. The real deboned chicken provides essential amino acids, and healthy whole grains like barley and brown rice deliver complex carbohydrates for energy.
The Blue Buffalo homestyle recipe also includes whole carrots, blueberries, cranberries, sweet potatoes, and more, all things that your German shepherd. There’s no poultry by-product meal, corn, wheat, or soy and no artificial preservatives or flavors in Blue Buffalo.
This breed-specific recipe from Royal Canin has just what your German shepherd needs. It’s ideal for purebred dogs older than 15 months, and they’re sure to love the loaf in sauce pate style meal.
German shepherds benefit from the specific B vitamins and amino acids that support healthy skin and a shiny coat and glucosamine and chondroitin to support bone and joint health. This food can be fed alone or added to dry food to make it more palatable or to give your dog a special treat.
One of the best things about Royal Canin is its breed-specific health formulas are 100 percent satisfaction guaranteed. If you or your pet aren’t happy, give them a call and they’ll take care of you.
This canned food from Natural Balance contains the ultimate blend of premium protein from premium-quality beef to maintain muscle mass and help your German shepherd maintain strength and agility. Other ingredients include brown rice, oat bran, and potatoes, all highly digestible carbohydrates that help maintain good GI health and give your dog the fuel it needs to stay active. Omega fatty acids support a soft, silky coat and healthy skin.
Natural Balance performs nine safety tests on every batch of food to make sure that each one lives up to its quality standards. These tests are performed by chemists and microbiologists, and they share the results right on their website.
They use only the tastiest ingredients to make sure your German shepherd likes what it’s eating. Best of all, if it’s not happy, they also provide a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee.
How to Choose the Best Food for Your German Shepherd
There’s no single dog food that’s great for all German shepherds across the board. Each German shepherd is different, and there are a lot of things to consider to make sure you’re choosing the best food for your pet.
A German shepherd puppy requires special nutrition, so if you have one, look for breed-specific puppy food. Most adult food is not meant for dogs younger than 15 months. Puppy foods have twice the amount of protein and fat than most adult foods because they have higher energy requirements and are actively growing. So. the best dog food for a German shepherd puppy is different than what is best for an adult. They usually have concentrated proteins, like chicken meal, and other ingredients to support the puppy as it grows into a large breed.
Large breed puppies need less calcium and phosphorus to support bone development. Their bones mature at a slower rate than smaller breeds because they have so much more growing to do.
Adult foods for German shepherds should have enough protein, carbs, fat, and fiber to support the breed. All store-bought dog foods meet the minimal requirements, but that doesn’t mean that everyone is right for your dog.
As your German shepherd gets older, their energy needs change and their metabolism slows. They need about ⅕ fewer calories than they did as a healthy adult. Older dogs are also more prone to cognitive decline and arthritis, so look for something that supports joint and brain health.
L-carnitine was shown to improve cognitive function in a small study done on beagles, and some feeds meant for seniors have this additive.
German shepherds have unique needs, just like every breed. Look for diets that support them, especially joint and bone health, skin health, and GI support. The best food for this large breed contains glucosamine and chondroitin, which are thought to improve joint and cartilage health, helping to maintain mobility. That said, the dosages of these supplements have been unproven, but they can’t hurt. Chicken and chicken meal have some of these nutrients naturally.
Pregnant or Nursing Dogs
If your German shepherd is pregnant or nursing a German shepherd puppy, it needs food that is higher in protein and contains a lot of water. Chicken meal may not be a good choice because it has the water and fat removed, but deboned chicken is fine. This will provide the nutrition the mother needs for the German shepherd puppy and support adequate breast milk production after delivery.
Choosing a Good Brand
There are a lot of well-known dog food brands out there, and it’s hard to know which ones are worth it.
One of the best things to do is to talk to your vet about brands they recommend for the best dog food for German shepherds. If your dog has a health condition and requires special food, your vet will be able to tell you what your dog needs. If your dog is healthy, it’s still worth asking the vet for their opinion to help narrow down your choices.
Look at online reviews to make sure other people who have used the food are happy with their results. There are also some brands that offer a satisfaction guarantee so there’s nothing to lose if you try it and your dog doesn’t like it.
Wet vs Dry
Both dry and wet dog food provides your dog with adequate nutrition as long as you follow the feeding instructions.
Wet dog food is good for dogs with urinary problems because they contain more water and can help hydrate the dog. They also taste a lot better than dry food, so if you have a picky eater, we food may do the trick.
The downside to wet dog food is that it’s more difficult to store. If you’re feeling a 70-pound German shepherd, finding enough room for all of the cans of dog food you’ll need to keep on hand can be difficult.
Grain Free or Not Grain Free
Some people think that grains aren’t good for dogs because they believe ancient wolves didn’t eat anything but meat in the wild. Other people believe that it’s highly unlikely that wolves ate only meat because they had to scrounge for food at times and probably would have eaten whatever they could find.
If you are okay with a food that has grain, choose something with brown rice or some other whole grain as opposed to wheat, corn, or soy.
Ultimately, this one is up to you. Talk to your vet if you think your pet has GI issues because those dogs usually do a little better with grain-free food, but the best dog food for German shepherds is ultimately the one that is best for your pup.
Look at the Label
Knowing how to read the label tells you everything you need to know about the dog food you’re choosing for. this large breed.
The most important thing to look at is the first five ingredients. They’re listed in weighted order, so the one that is first is the one there’s the most of. For German shepherds, the best choices will have a high-quality protein listed as the top ingredient, like deboned chicken or lamb meal.
Some people avoid anything with the word “meal”, but it’s important to know what that means before writing it off completely. Full protein meal is just concentrated protein, which delivers the necessary nutrients without any extra water. Anything that has a chicken meal, lamb meal, or salmon meal is fine. On the other hand, by-product meals of any kind should be avoided. If the label included chicken by-product meal instead of chicken meal, stay away. They can contain just about any part of the animal, which is not something you want to feed your dog.
Some dog foods also have added probiotics, which are great for German shepherds because they help promote good digestion and get health. If you’re looking at dry dog food, make sure it states that the probiotics were added after baking, otherwise they will be ineffective.
Best Dog Foods for German Shepherds
There are a lot of things to consider when choosing a large breed dog food for your German shepherd, but the most important thing is that your dog wants to eat it, so try to choose something you know your dog will like. Remember, meal isn’t necessarily bad. Whole protein meals like chicken meal or salmon meal are great for this large breed.
If your German shepherds don’t like chicken, try food with beef or salmon. If it doesn’t like dry food, try adding some wet food into it or switch to wet food altogether. If it has GI issues, maybe stick with grain free.
It doesn’t matter how much time you spend choosing a great German shepherd food, if your dog won’t eat it, it isn’t getting any of the benefits. This is why it’s a good idea to consider food with a satisfaction guarantee.