The German Shepherd is the third most popular dog breed in the U.S.A. based on 2020 registration statistics released by the American Kennel Club, and rightly so.
They are highly intelligent, confident, courageous, noble, and loyal, which makes them great service dogs, mostly in police and military forces, and emergency services, among others.
Taking care of a German Shepherd requires constant maintenance of their thick coats, getting them to exercise frequently, and supplying them with adequate nutrition.
Can’t figure out what to feed them? Simply put, the best dog food for German Shepherds is a high-quality wet or dry food specially made for large-breed dogs.
At a Glance: Our Top 7 Picks
Purina Pro Plan Large Breed Puppy Food
Royal Canin Large Puppy Dry Dog Food
Purina ONE Natural Pate Wet Dog Food
Purina is one of the most respected brands on the market, and there are plenty of reasons for that
When it comes to a price-per-pound basis, this food came in at the top of the list
Complete and well-balanced diet you look for from a trusted brand of high-quality wet food
Contains oat meal which is easily digestible and gentle on the digestive system
Highly digestible proteins and prebiotics with unique kibble design
Formulated with real chicken, brown rice and oatmeal
Possible bag zip lock issues
Might be some cases with liquid stool
It may not seem like it, but as a dog owner, overseeing your German Shepherd puppy’s diet is a huge responsibility, and figuring out what the best food options are can be quite challenging.
In this article, we’ll run you through the best wet and dry dog foods you can give your furry little friend.
German Shepherd dogs require at least 22% protein during their growth stage and 18% protein when they become adult dogs.
German Shepherd Puppies need to consume 8% fat, while adults need 5% fat to meet their energy requirements.
Carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals like calcium, are also requisites for a healthy German Shepherd throughout its various life stages.
Since German Shepherds are susceptible to food allergies, you should avoid giving them food that contains typical allergens like corn, wheat, chicken, and beef.
They may also develop osteoarthritis and other joint maladies like hip dysplasia, so you should opt for products that have glucosamine and chondroitin, which help treat or prevent such conditions.
Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids are also great nutrients to incorporate into your German Shepherd puppy’s diet, as they are known to promote joint health, reduce inflammation, and improve coat conditions.
Additionally, foods that contain probiotics greatly improve your German Shepherd puppy’s digestive health and smoothen its function.
This is particularly essential as the breed is oftentimes afflicted with gastrointestinal issues like bloating.
As such, you should encourage your dog to eat slowly, and chew their dog food instead of gulping it down.
Your German Shepherd Puppy is more likely to chew larger kibble pieces, so remember to take into account the sizes of different options before you make your selection.
Lastly, there’s also a lot of talk about how grain-free dog foods are better than dog foods with grains since dogs are natural carnivores and can’t properly digest grains.
However, studies have shown that this is untrue. For most dogs, pet foods that include whole grains can be a great nutritious source of energy and fiber that will meet your puppy’s nutritional needs.
Here are five great dry dog food options you can provide your German Shepherd puppy.
You may come across a couple of dog foods on the market that claim to be specially formulated for German Shepherds.
However, some of them may contain fillers, byproducts, and artificial additives, making them less advisable than the dog foods we’ve listed below.
- Product Size: 4.25 x 16 x 24 inches (10.8 x 40.6 x 6157 cm)
- Weight: 24 Pounds (10.8 kg)
Boost your German Shepherd puppy’s health and immunity with specialized nutrition formulated explicitly for its first year of life with Purina Pro Plan Large Breed puppy food.
Each high-quality ingredient in this dry dog food is meticulously selected for nutritional and functional purposes.
This protein-rich puppy food has salmon as the first ingredient, as well as rice, which aids your puppy’s sensitive stomach.
It also comes with sunflower oil and vitamin A which maintains your puppy’s healthy skin and coat, while DHA, derived from fish oil, promotes brain and vision development.
Live probiotics in Purina Pro Plan kibble also promote digestive and immune health, plus the natural prebiotic fiber nourishes certain intestinal bacteria for optimum digestive health.
This puppy food made with probiotics is free from any artificial colors and preservatives, making it the best choice for your German Shepherd dog.
- Product Size: 26 x 21 x 5 inches (66 x 53.3 x 1346.2 cm)
- Weight: 30 Pounds (13.5 kg)
Royal Canin German Shepherd Puppy Dry Dog Food is a breed-specific food exclusively formulated for your large breed puppy, with nutrients to help young dogs thrive.
It’s in the form of a specialized kibble shape and texture that’s designed for your German Shepherd’s strong muzzle and teeth that will encourage chewing.
The Highly digestible protein fibers found in this dog food provides nourishment for your German Shepherd’s digestive system since they often suffer from poor stool quality.
It also includes a combination of antioxidants and vitamin E that support the development of your puppy’s immune system.
Lastly, glucosamine and chondroitin promote bone and joint health, as your puppy grows to be an adult dog.
Best Value For Money
- Product Size: 6 x 17.5 x 25 inches (15.2 x 44.5 x 63.5 cm)
- Weight: 35 Pounds (15.75 kg)
Royal Canin Large Puppy Dry Dog Food is a great bang-for-the-buck puppy food that’s tailor-made for large breed puppies with an estimate adult weight of 56-100 pounds.
It provides for a complete and balanced diet that helps build strong bones and joints, while its exclusive blend of antioxidants and minerals promotes immune support and sees to it that your German Shepherd puppy will keep growing strong.
It also has a special kibble design that encourages your puppy to thoroughly chew their food.
Additionally, its highly digestible proteins and prebiotics help your dog break down and absorb nutrients faster for a healthy digestive system which also improves stool quality.
- Product Size: 6 x 17 x 26.5 inches (15.2 x 43.18 x 67.31 cm)
- Weight: 40 Pounds ( kg)
Made with high-quality ingredients, Diamond Naturals is sure to give your German Shepherd puppy complete and holistic nutrition.
Each Diamond Naturals dry puppy food is enhanced with probiotics for optimal nutrition and support for a healthy digestive system.
Specifically formulated to provide the nutritional needs of your large breed puppy, it also contains DHA for brain and vision development.
It utilizes lamb meal as its only protein source and is further enhanced with grains, veggies, and fruit.
It’s totally devoid of wheat, soy, corn, and other fillers, but includes low-gluten and gluten-free grains that are a great source of carbs.
It also has L-Carnitine which helps transform protein and fat into energy for a healthy physical condition.
- Product Size: 5.67 x 19.53 x 24.47 inches (14.4 x 49.6 x 62.2 cm)
- Weight: 32.85 Pounds (14.78 kg)
This puppy food allows you to nourish your puppy’s brain, body, and provide enough energy thanks to a complete and well-balanced formulation.
It utilizes high-quality protein derived from real chicken and contains optimal levels of calcium and phosphorus to help promote muscle growth and bone strength.
Its clinically proven DHA levels stimulate the brain development of a more intelligent and docile puppy.
This dry dog food is also formulated with fat and carbohydrate content that will provide your puppy with the energy levels it needs for growth and exercise.
Its natural fiber and prebiotic blend prove to be a crucial part of your dog’s diet as it greatly aids digestion.
Lastly, Eukanuba Large Breed Puppy food also contains guaranteed vitamin E levels that will boost your puppy’s immune system.
Quality canned food is highly rich in nutrients.
Wet food manufacturers specifically come up with formulas that encompass almost every canine diet such as grain-free, gluten-free, organic, weight management, among many others.
You hold the power to choose the ideal wet food for puppies to meet your German Shepherd’s special needs.
Furthermore, wet dog food is much easier to chew and digest.
Due to its smooth texture and high moisture content, it’s considered by most to be the best food for a puppy whose teeth haven’t fully developed yet or one with a sensitive stomach.
- Product Size: 9 x 11.88 x 4.13 inches (22.9 x 30.2 x 10.5 cm)
- Weight: 9.75 Pounds (4.39 kg)
*Note that the product comes as a pack of (12) 13 oz. cans
With Purina ONE Natural Pate Wet Dog Food, you’ll get to satisfy your puppy’s palate and provide him with the nourishment he needs in order to grow big and strong.
Formulated with real chicken, brown rice and oatmeal, this recipe provides a complete and well-balanced diet you look for from a trusted brand of high-quality wet food for your German Shepherd.
It doesn’t contain any fillers and poultry by-products, providing your puppy with the quality of food that he so richly deserves.
Its savory chicken flavor gives you the taste and texture that your dog will love, adding to this the high protein content that will help to develop your growing puppy’s muscles, promoting an active lifestyle.
With Purina ONE, your German Shepherd is sure to look forward to every meal.
- Product Size: 12 x 9 x 4.25 inches (30.5 x 22.9 x 10.8 cm)
- Weight: 9.38 Pounds (4.22 kg)
*Note that the product comes as a pack of (12) 12.5 oz. cans
Before they become full grown adult dogs, German Shepherd puppies experience very swift growth during their first year.
Growth at such an expeditious rate can pose risks like when the skeletal system far outgrows the muscular system.
To see to it that your puppy gets the nutrition they need, it’s best to go with a puppy specific recipe.
This is where Wellness Complete Health Natural Wet Canned Puppy Food comes in.
With chicken and salmon as its main sources of animal protein, it gives your puppy the nutrients it needs to develop strong muscles and bones.
It also utilizes carrots, sweet potatoes, apples and pears to provide natural antioxidants for your puppy’s immune system.
Lastly, it is also grain-free, easy to digest, and contains probiotics for puppies with sensitive stomachs; devoid of any by-products, fillers, soy, corn, artificial preservatives, colors, and flavors.
Check out some of the most common concerns German Shepherd owners have when it comes to food for their furry companions.
There is no definite right or wrong answer to the wet vs dry food argument. Wet food is great because it holds more water than dry food so your puppy is more likely to be well-hydrated.
However, they are more costly and can be quite messy if your puppy is a messy eater. Meanwhile, feeding your puppy dry kibble helps strengthen their muzzle and teeth and has a much longer shelf life.
However, some pups have a harder time chewing food and if your pup is a picky eater, he wouldn’t find dry food as palatable as wet food.
When they’re about 6 to 8 weeks old, owners should start giving their German Shepherd puppies a little dry dog food with water or unseasoned chicken stock when they’re not nursing.
When they’ve reached their eighth week onwards, German Shepherds should be weaned and be fed solid food with a special puppy feed.
It’s ideal to feed your German Shepherd puppy a breed specific dry or wet food. However, availability could be an issue.
In such cases, ask your veterinarian to come up with a proper food plan for your German Shepherd puppy. They will take into consideration your puppy’s feeding pattern, size and health condition.
You should remove milk from your puppy’s diet at this life stage as it can cause diarrhea.
Yes, they definitely are. Eggs are a great source of protein which German Shepherds can benefit from as protein helps them maintain their muscle and energy levels.
German Shepherds need a lot of protein in their diet due to their breed’s highly energetic nature. They’re known to exercise frequently and work quite hard.
They also have very active brains that need to be kept sharp.
While eggs are rich in protein, they are still low in calories. However, there are still numerous other health benefits when it comes to feeding your German Shepherd some eggs.
Eggs are also rich in easy-to-digest fatty acids and other acids, like Omega-3. They also have a lot of great vitamins, such as vitamin A, vitamin B12, vitamin D, and Riboflavin.
If you happen to own a German Shepherd puppy, make sure to feed him three or four times a day until the age of four months.
This may seem like a lot, but they grow so rapidly that they need all the calories that they can get.
As your German Shepherd reaches 80-90% of its foreseen adult size at around one year of age, you should transition their diet to those of adult dogs.
Once your German Shepherd surpasses his puppy stage and has gone into adulthood, you should begin to feed him a controlled and holistic adult diet.
Note that adult dog food will have different proportions of calcium, protein, phosphorus, and other nutrients compared to puppy food.
Feeding adult dogs a puppy recipe can lead to obesity and put too much strain on their kidneys and liver. Long term feeding of inappropriate food for an adult dog can have dire implications.
Adult German Shepherds are usually fed twice a day, and while they can get by once a day, it’s preferable to split their daily caloric intake throughout smaller meals instead of feeding it all at once as this could cause bloating.
Now we’ve gone through the best dog food brands to feed your German Shepherd puppy, it’s up to you to figure out which best suits your puppy’s specific needs.
Just keep in mind the necessary macro and micronutrients that are generally necessary for taking care of a large breed dog such as protein, carbs, DHA, phosphorus, glucosamine, chondroitin, as well as probiotics and prebiotics for a healthy digestive system.
Remember to avoid giving your German Shepherd food with artificial colors, gluten, and preservatives as this could cause or exacerbate various health issues.
Lastly, note that German Shepherds are active dogs by nature, so see to it that they get enough exercise and other mental activities as these go hand-in-hand when raising a healthy pup.