Taste of the Wild Wetlands Canine Dry Dog Food
Royal Canin German Shepherd Health Nutrition Dry Dog Food
Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Wet Dog Food
If you’ve got the descendant of Rin Tin Tin right in your home, then you know that you’re blessed with the planet’s third most intelligent dog breed and America’s second most popular. Confident and bred specifically to watch over the family it loves, the German shepherd is adored by many because of its unquestionable loyalty, courage, obedience, intelligence, and alertness. And if you really love your GSD you’d definitely want to give it only the best German shepherd food. Worry no more as we took it upon ourselves to bring to you the best dog food for German shepherds to make your search a lot easier. Simply pick from this list what you think is the best food for German shepherds and you’re done.
The Best Dog Food for German Shepherds
The Wetlands recipe from Taste of the Wild is largely considered by pet parents as the best dog food for German shepherds because of its use of more than 35% animal proteins that comprise the dry weight of its kibbles. Made even more nutritious by the inclusion of smoked turkey, roasted duck and quail, ocean fish meal, and a handful of wholesome carbs including antioxidant-rich fruits, this duck and chicken recipe from TOTW ensures optimum maintenance of your dog’s immune system, digestive system, and musculoskeletal functioning.
It ensures that your hound receives just the right amounts of calories for its active lifestyle. It has probiotics to keep your GSD’s digestion optimally functioning while the addition of fish oil helps make sure this German shepherd food is going to keep your dog’s coat and skin really robust. TOTW is bent on providing pet parents with an excellent German shepherd diet. So, do your GSD a favor and give it only the best.
Amount of calories contained per serving: 375 per cup
Crude protein content in %: 32.0
Crude fat content in %: 18.0
Crude fiber and moisture content in %: 4.0 and 10.0
Top 5 ingredients on label: real duck meat, real duck meal, real chicken meal, peas, and sweet potatoes
Amino acids, probiotics, omega fatty acids, minerals, prebiotics, vitamins
- BrandTaste of the Wild
- Weight30 lbs
German shepherds don’t really need to start their young lives on grain-based foods. It is for this reason that Blue Buffalo created the Freedom series of grain-free formulations. It’s not specific for GSDs, but you can bet this is going to be the best food for German shepherd puppy.
Unlike other German shepherd puppy food, only premium quality meats obtained from real chicken are used to ensure lean muscle development. Essential fatty acids ensure healthier skin, coat, and immune system while also guaranteeing optimum brain and eye development. Calcium and phosphorus are in the right proportion so your young Rin Tin Tin will have a much steadier growth especially in terms of its bones. With Blue Buffalo’s Freedom, ensuring optimum GSD puppy growth is now super easy.
Amount of calories contained per serving: 403 per cup
Crude protein content in %: 26.0
Crude fat content in %: 15.0
Crude fiber and moisture content in %: 6.0 and 10.0
Top 5 ingredients on label: real chicken (deboned), real chicken meal, peas, potatoes, and pea starch
Minerals, vitamins, choline, DHA, ARA, EPA, L-carnitine, omega fatty acids, probiotics, prebiotics, amino acids
- BrandBLUE Freedom
- Weight1 lb
Just because your other dogs have been fed with chicken-based diets doesn’t mean your GSD will have to eat the same. Pet parents love Whole Earth Farms because it uses a different kind of protein that is seldom used in dog food; although it’s definitely one of mankind’s favorites.
With pork forming the base of this German shepherd dog food and blended with beef and lamb, you can be sure that you’re giving your GSD the chance to maintain the optimal functioning of its various body organ systems. It’s like sharing with your pet the bounties of the farm complete with choice vegetables and fruits and a variety of live microorganisms that help ensure healthier digestion. Your German shepherd will surely be a very lucky, happy, and healthy hound with the Whole Earth Farms in its food bowl.
Amount of calories contained per serving: 348 per cup
Crude protein content in %: 26.0
Crude fat content in %: 13.0
Crude fiber and moisture content in %: 3.5 and 11.0
Top 5 ingredients on the label: real pork meal, peas, dried potatoes, sweet potatoes, and pork fat
Probiotics, live enzymes, DHA, EPA, omega fatty acids, minerals, prebiotics, amino acids
- Weight27.1 lbs
This is the taste that the big boys of the dog world crave and it’s just the right kind of diet that German shepherds need. Wellness Complete is perfect as a German shepherd food because it gives your GSD exceptionally healthy skin and coat, more efficient digestive system, more responsive immune system, stronger bones and teeth, and just the right amounts of energy to fuel its activities without causing it to go obese.
With a handful of other antioxidant-rich ingredients providing a well-balanced nutrient profile for the chicken-based recipe of Wellness, this German shepherd diet is just what modern Rin Tin Tin needs to stay in tip-top shape. The glucosamine and chondroitin added in the formulation are perfect for ensuring your GSD will be able to retain the full functionality of its joints. It’s a German shepherd food that treats your dog like a king.
Amount of calories contained per serving: 340 per cup
Crude protein content in %: 30.0
Crude fat content in %: 12.0
Crude fiber and moisture content in %: 6.0 and 10.0
Top 5 ingredients on the label: real chicken (deboned), real chicken meal, barley, peas, and ground brown rice
Vitamins, minerals, chondroitin, glucosamine, omega fatty acids, taurine, prebiotics, probiotics, amino acids
- BrandWellness Natural Pet Food
- Weight30 lbs
Giving your GSD puppy Blue Buffalo’s Homestyle recipe is like preparing and cooking a special dinner for your young hound. This German shepherd puppy food provides up to 41% in high-quality proteins on a dry matter basis while giving your pup all the goodness of antioxidant-rich berries. Fish oil gives the DHA for your puppy’s eyes and brain, harnessing its intelligence as it grows older.
This German shepherd food for puppies has the right balance of vitamins and minerals as well as amino acids to jump-start the process of building stronger bones and teeth, healthier skin and coat, and a more protective immune system for the young one. The best part of all these is that you’re actually giving a really flavorful meal that young puppies will find a lot more appetizing than ordinary kibbles.
Amount of calories contained per serving: 422 per cup
Crude protein content in %: 9.0
Crude fat content in %: 6.0
Crude fiber and moisture content in %: 1.3 and 78.0
Top 5 ingredients on label: chicken meat, chicken broth, real chicken liver, peas, and carrots
DHA, EPA, omega fatty acids, vitamins, amino acids, minerals
- BrandBLUE Life Protection Dog Food
- Weight9.4 lbs
Orijen believes that your German shepherd evolved as a mighty hunter, made even more perfect by German thirst for perfection. Like their cousins in the wild a GSD’s digestive system is especially adapted for meat. And with the Original formulation of Orijen providing a host of wholesome, protein-rich poultry and omega fatty acid-rich fish, you can be sure that this is the best dog food for German shepherds even though it’s not written on its label. There’s no questioning the supremacy of Orijen especially when it comes to its protein composition.
With the addition of other nutrients, this German shepherd diet is just what your GSD needs to stay in tip-top shape, prevent many of the genetically predetermined diseases affecting large dogs, and ensure a happier, more energetic, and definitely healthier Rin Tin Tin.
Amount of calories contained per serving: 449 per cup
Crude protein content in %: 38.0
Crude fat content in %: 18.0
Crude fiber and moisture content in %: 4.0 and 12.0
Top 5 ingredients on label: real chicken (deboned), real turkey (deboned), Atlantic flounder, Atlantic mackerel (whole), and whole eggs
Omega fatty acids, chondroitin, probiotics, glucosamine, EPA, amino acids, DHA, minerals, vitamins, prebiotics
- Weight12.9 lbs
The Royal Canin German Shepherd puppy formulation is the only dog food that is appropriately labeled “German Shepherd”. While it is considered as a German shepherd food, we just would like to point out that its first ingredient is NOT an animal protein, but rather brewer’s rice. The second ingredient is not even a source of high-quality animal protein since Royal Canin uses chicken byproduct meal. While some pet parents don’t actually have any issues with so-called ‘byproducts’, there are those who really feel squeamish about seeing this on the label.
Also take note that it contains corn gluten meal and wheat gluten, two of the grains that are also worrisome for some pet parents. We’re not sure if this is the right German shepherd dog food, but since Royal Canin insisted on putting it in the label, then perhaps they know something that we don’t.
Amount of calories contained per serving: 333 per cup
Crude protein content in %: 28.0
Crude fat content in %: 14.0
Crude fiber and moisture content in %: 3.9 and 10.0
Top 5 ingredients on label: brewer’s rice, byproduct meal from chicken, brown rice, corn gluten meal, and oat groats
Lutein, glucosamine, chondroitin, taurine, prebiotics, amino acids, DHA, EPA, minerals, vitamins
- BrandRoyal Canin
- Weight13.9 lbs
This German shepherd puppy food drew its inspiration from the diet of the mighty grey wolf. It is a grain-free and meat-rich kind of German shepherd dog food that is guaranteed to give your young GSD all the tools it needs to make its passage into the world of adult GSDs in a more efficient manner. The DHA supplied by fish oil is perfect for developing your GSD puppy’s intelligent brain while ensuring its eyes are as sharp as an eagle.
Recognized by many as the best food for German shepherd puppy, this Wilderness preparation relies on the protein-richness of turkey and chicken as well as the tissue-building properties of amino acids, minerals, and vitamins. Besides, it’s not every day that your puppy is going to get a really tasty grilled turkey and chicken meal.
Amount of calories contained per serving: 425 per can
Crude protein content in %: 10.5
Crude fat content in %: 9.0
Crude fiber and moisture content in %: 1.5 and 78.0
Top 5 ingredients on label: real turkey meat, real chicken broth, real chicken meat, real chicken liver, and potatoes
Amino acids, DHA, EPA, minerals, vitamins, linoleic acid
- BrandBLUE Wilderness
- Weight9.4 lbs
Despite the fact that it contains wheat and corn gluten, many pet parents still consider the Large Breed Puppy formulation of Hill’s Science Diet to be the perfect German shepherd dog food. At least it used the real chicken meal as its principal ingredient and not rice or any other carb, unlike other brands. It also made up for its use of worrisome grains by including healthier lentils, veggies, and fruits to go with its flaxseed and fish oil combination.
This German shepherd puppy food may not have exceptionally high levels of proteins, but you can bet that it’s good enough to build and strengthen your puppy’s muscles. We do question the inclusion of glucosamine and chondroitin, however. For a puppy less than 12 months of age, maybe this is still too early. But that is just us airing our opinion.
Amount of calories contained per serving: 353 per cup
Crude protein content in %: 26.0
Crude fat content in %: 16.0
Crude fiber and moisture content in %: 3.0 and 10.0
Top 5 ingredients on label: chicken meal, wheat (whole grain), oats (whole grain), sorghum (whole grain), and corn gluten meal
Glucosamine, vitamins, minerals, chondroitin, amino acids, omega fatty acids, l-carnitine, prebiotics
- BrandHill’s Science Diet
- Weight15.5 lbs
It’s moist and it’s flavorful. And it’s just the kind of German shepherd food that gets easily devoured in minutes. With real bits of meat, fruits, and veggies in this smorgasbord variety pack from Purina’s Beyond product line, your GSD will surely be wagging its tail with just the scent of it. The variety pack comes with 2 cans each of a chicken, beef, and salmon recipe to give your pet a German shepherd food that is more like a gourmet meal from a fancy restaurant for dogs.
Every can is packed with energy, fueling your rambunctious pup or even your highly active adult. It’s gluten- and grain- free so there are no worries in this aspect. From your dog’s musculoskeletal system right down to its immunity, cardiovascular, digestive, and nervous system functioning, this Purina German shepherd diet is simply perfect for Rin Tin Tin.
Amount of calories contained per serving: 434 per can (Chicken and Beef); 423 per can (Salmon)
Crude protein content in %: 8.0
Crude fat content in %: 5.0 (Salmon); 6.0 (Chicken and Beef)
Crude fiber and moisture content in %: 1.5 and 78.0
Top 5 ingredients on the label: chicken meat, water, liver, peas, and carrots (Chicken recipe); real salmon, chicken meat, water, turkey, and liver (Salmon recipe); beef, chicken meat, water, liver, and potatoes (Beef recipe)
Choline, biotin, vitamins, minerals
- BrandPurina Beyond
- Weight5.71 lbs
Best Food for German Shepherds Buying Guide
What to Look for in a Dog Food for German Shepherds
The best dog food for German shepherds should have a clearly named high-quality animal protein as its principal ingredient. Even with the fact that dogs are omnivores, this doesn’t mean that their principal source of sustenance should already be plant-based ingredients.
If you are a vegetarian and would like your German shepherd to have the same type of diet as yours, then you can go for an all-plant food type of diet. Be forewarned, though, that there will be some essential amino acids that your dog will not be getting. As such, you will need to supplement them with such amino acids. It is for this reason that we strongly recommend looking for a German shepherd dog food that has animal ingredients because these provide complete essential amino acids.
Go for a German shepherd diet that has lower calories than normal. German shepherds are large dogs that are prone to arthritis, hip dysplasia, and other conditions of the joint. Making sure they have healthier weight can help lessen the stress on their joints.
Steer clear of allergenic grains like wheat, soy, and corn, although gluten allergy in dogs is quite rare. You simply don’t want to risk upsetting your GSD’s tummy.
Don’t pick a German shepherd dog food that contains artificial preservatives, colorings, flavorings, and any other ingredient that is considered manmade or synthetic. Your dog doesn’t need these.
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German Shepherd Dog Dietary Needs
All dogs, whether they are German shepherds or not, require high-quality proteins to help build all the different tissues of its body while also aiding in the synthesis or production of antibodies, hormones, and other compounds that are essential to a GSD’s optimum functioning. We really cannot help but over-emphasize the importance of going for animal proteins as these provide complete amino acids which can eliminate the need for further supplementation.
German shepherds also need fats, especially the healthier versions like omega fatty acids. This is especially true for puppies that have an increased need for DHA for brain and eye development. Overall, omega fatty acids help ensure your GSD gets healthier skin and coat, enhanced immune system, and better cardiac health, among others.
Large dogs like German shepherds require slightly lower calories than smaller breeds of dogs. Toy and small breeds have a very fast metabolism which means they can easily use up their calories within hours. That’s why they need energy-dense foods. German shepherds, on the other hand, require less calorie-dense foods so that they can keep their weight to a healthier level and help avoid stresses on their joints.
Vitamins and minerals are very important especially the right amounts of calcium and phosphorus. Too much calcium and phosphorus in puppies may lead to developmental orthopedic problems. Too little and they will not be able to have stronger bones as well.
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Common Health Problems in German Shepherds – How Diet Can Help Them
German shepherds are very prone to hip and elbow dysplasia which is already present at birth but may take several years before the symptoms begin to manifest. The hip and/or elbow joints do not form the way they should creating stress on the joint. Over time, this can lead to degenerative changes in the joint. A diet that is rich in glucosamine and chondroitin can help provide the necessary substances to help the dog’s body to strengthen its joints, facilitate faster repair, and improve lubrication to allow for pain-free movement. Keeping the dog’s weight by giving low-calorie foods can also help reduce the impact of weight on the joints.
Another disease that is quite common among German shepherds is bloat. Bloat, per se, is not dangerous. However, its complication – gastric dilatation-volvulus – is. When this happens, it can be a medical emergency that doesn’t often end well for the dog. What happens is that the stomach expands and twists around. Because of this twisting, it blocks the flow of blood of adjacent blood vessels, cutting off circulation to other organs. Small frequent feedings can help by making sure that excessive air is not introduced into the pet’s stomach. Using slow feed dog bowls also work.
Epilepsy is also quite common among German shepherds. There are many reasons why dogs can have seizures. Diet can help by providing carnitine, selenium, magnesium, calcium, folic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin D, and vitamin E which have been shown to play an important role in the control of seizures in dogs. Do keep in mind that these are not treated, but rather adjuncts which can help prevent epilepsy in your GSD.
Some German shepherds are known to be voracious eaters. And if you happen to give them high-calorie dog food without letting them go on a daily exercise, then you’re actually courting canine diabetes. This is where a calorie-controlled diet can help. Watching your GSD’s calorie consumption while increasing its protein intake can help in the management of obesity, a major risk factor for diabetes.
Cataracts are pretty common, too. Dog foods that are enriched with antioxidants can help minimize the risk of developing cataracts in German shepherds.
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Wet Food vs. Dry Food for German Shepherd Puppies
Pet parents prefer giving their younger puppies wet food because it is more palatable and has a softer texture which is perfect for the young puppies’ still-developing teeth. It also has more proteins on a dry matter weight basis which can typically range in the 40s to 50s level. The most important reason why wet food is best for younger puppies is that they are making a transition from their mother’s milk and into solid food. Giving them wet food until they reach the age of 12 weeks should help them make the transition successfully. The only downside to feeding German shepherd puppies wet food is that they don’t get to clean their teeth. Also, it really is an expensive proposition.
On the other hand, if you’re trying to economize and would want your puppy to start cleaning its teeth, then dry dog food should be an excellent choice. Kibbles are more energy-dense than wet food and as such are ideal for really rambunctious pups. It is also best given for older pups since they now have the dentition necessary for munching on kibbles. The issue is that it may be high in calories, but its protein content is nowhere near the levels of a wet or canned puppy food.
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Best Dog Food for German Shepherds FAQ:
Q: How many calories does my German shepherd need?
A: Determining the number of calories that your German shepherd needs are a function of its weight, life stage, health status, and activity level. To help you identify how much calories your GSD needs you will need to remember this formula: RER = KgBW3/4 x 70. In other words, you’ll need to raise the weight of your GSD in kilograms to the ¾ power before multiplying it by 70. Once you’re done, you can then multiply the RER with the appropriate factor.
Let’s try to have an exercise to get you started. Let us say we have a German shepherd that weighs about 80 pounds that is an intact (unneutered) adult. The factor for an unneutered or intact adult is 1.8.
- 80 lbs ÷ 2.2 = 36.36 kilograms or 36 kilograms
- RER = 363/4 x 70
- RER = 14.69 or 14.7 x 70
- Calories per day = 1,029 x 1.8
- Calories per day = 1,852
You can use the same formula on any other dog, not just a German shepherd. What is important here is for you to take note of the different ‘factors’ that you need to multiply the RER with.
- 0 = for dogs that need to lose weight
- 2 to 1.4 = for dogs that are prone to obesity or dogs that are couch potatoes
- 2 to 1.8 = for dogs that need to gain weight
- 6 = for adult dogs that are already neutered and with normal activity
- 8 = for adult dogs that are not yet neutered
- 8 = for female dogs in the early stages of pregnancy; 3.0 if already in the late stages of pregnancy
- 0 = for puppies 4 to 12 months; 3.0 if younger than 4 months
- 0 = for adult dogs doing light work
- 0 = for adult dogs doing moderate work
- 0 = for adult dogs doing heavy work
- 0 to 6.0 = for nursing dogs, depending on the number of puppies
- 0 to 8.0 = for adult dogs doing super-heavy work
Q: How many calories does your German shepherd need?
A: Just like we explained above, you will need to take your German shepherd puppy’s weight in kilograms and use the same formula that we mentioned: RER = KgBW3/4 x 70. The only difference here is that you will use either 2.0 or 3.0 as the multiplying factor to determine the number of calories that your young German shepherd needs.
For example, let us say you have a 3-month old puppy that weighs about 20 pounds. Dividing this by 2.2 we’ll get 9.09 kilograms. We will just round it off to 9 kilograms. We will then raise 9 kilograms to the ¾ power to give us 5.19 or 5 kilograms. We then multiply 5 by 70 to get 350. Since our GSD puppy is only 3 months old, we will multiply the 350 with the factor 3.0 to give us 1,050 calories. This is the number of calories that a 3-month old, 20-pound German shepherd puppy should receive in a day.
Q: How often should I feed my German shepherd puppy?
A: German shepherd puppies between the ages of 8 and 12 weeks need to be fed 3 times per day. Starting on the 3rd month of its life, you can already start feeding it on a twice a day basis.
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Our Top Pick
With high-quality proteins sourced from high-quality ingredients including duck, turkey, quail, and ocean fish, Taste of the Wild’s Wetlands Canine Recipe is our best dog food for German Shepherds. It’s got the right blend of amino acids, essential fatty acids, probiotics, prebiotics, minerals, and vitamins in a delicious fowl-based canine German shepherd diet. It doesn’t contain any of the worrisome ingredients and comes with the correct levels of calories, proteins, fats, and soluble fiber to guarantee the best possible health for your GSD.
Give the Rin Tin Tin of your life only the best food that it deserves. With these best dog foods for German shepherds, you’re one step closer to ensuring a happier, healthier, and definitely prouder GSD.