Best Dog Food for German Shepherd - Comparison and Reviews
It would be a challenge to find a person who couldn’t identify a German Shepherd. These dogs are one of the most popular breeds in the world, and a central feature in public parks, movies, TV shows, and pet product commercials. These fiercely loyal dogs with an impressive physique are well known for their keen intelligence and ease of training.
What most potential dog owners do not know is that German Shepherds require special care when it comes to their diet. These animals are not picky eaters by any means, but proper nutrition is vital in keeping them healthy and living a long and happy life.
In this article, we will review the best dog foods for German Shepherds, along with the relevant information about the nutritional needs of this revered dog breed. If you are planning to introduce this wonderful canine to your home, or you already own one, this article will help you find the best food for your beloved pet.
We have tested a variety of brands and food types, studied the contents, and consulted with many German Shepherd owners to formulate this list. These are the five best foods for GSD. We list them in no specific order since they all meet our high criteria when it comes to ideal GSD food.
Best Dog Foods for German Shepherd 2020 - Reviews
Eukanuba has been manufacturing quality dog food for more than fifty years. The company emphasizes the quality of its ingredients and proudly boasts that they produce their pet food in the United States. This particular product is part of their Breed Specific food line, which focuses on meeting the needs of individual dog breeds and providing them with the best possible nutrition.
German Shepherds are an active breed that needs plenty of protein to power with their lean physique. Eukanuba Breed Specific German Shepherd Dry Dog food is rich in animal protein, glucosamine, and chondroitin sulfate, which helps to build lean muscles and keep the joints agile. This dog food is high in DHA and Vitamin E for healthy brain function.
As a breed-specific product, it is formulated to provide a perfect balance of carbohydrates and fats, which adequately support the lifestyle of active dogs, such as the German Shepherd. The primary source of animal protein in Eukanuba is chicken, and they proudly claim that their dog food contains 100 percent nutrition with 0 percent filler. A detailed list of ingredients is available, so check whether your dog has any specific food allergies before you commit.
The dog food comes in 30-lb bags in dry form.
Royal Canin is a pet product conglomerate that was founded in France in 1968. It is one of the largest manufacturers of pet food in the world.
Their pet food has withstood the test of time and is still a household in pet circles. Like Eukanuba, the product is a breed-specific food type from Royal Canin targeting German Shepherds. GSDs require a high dose of quality animal protein, along with other ingredients to preserve their long-term health.
Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition German Shepherd Adult Dry Dog Food comes in two sizes, a 17-lb, and a 30-lb bag. Royal Canin offers a guarantee on the content analysis, claiming that the dog food contains at least 22 percent protein and 17 percent fat. The food has maximum values as well, which are at 10 percent for moisture and 5.5 percent for fiber. It is important to note that this dog food type is intended for adult German Shepherds, specifically aged 15 months or older.
The specific advantages of this dog food are in the custom-designed shape of kibbles for easy chewing and avoiding plaque. It facilitates improved digestive health due to easily digestible proteins and fibers included in the ingredients. High levels of glucosamine and chondroitin are also included to support the large and powerful physique of German Shepherds.
- Breed-specific food designed for German Shepherds
- Custom kibbles that promote chewing and reduce dental plaque
- Guaranteed ingredient content
- Available in two bag sizes
- Expensive in comparison to its competitors
- Frequently out of stock
- Contains potential allergens, such as corn and wheat-based byproducts
Another entry on this list from Royal Canin is the puppy variant of the previously reviewed food. Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition German Shepherd Puppy Dry Dog Food caters to German Shepherd puppies anywhere from eight weeks to fifteen months old. Like its big brother, it is a breed-specific puppy food with ingredients that match the nutritional and health needs of the German Shepherd breed.
Unlike the adult variant, the puppy food is only available in 30-lb bags, which is not surprising since puppies eat far greater quantities of food than adult dogs. You wouldn’t want to return to the store frequently, and you always run out of food at the most inconvenient moment.
The formula and ingredients of this product are slightly different from the adult version, and Royal Canin guarantees at least 28 percent protein and 14 percent fat in this puppy food. There are also maximum values of 10% for moisture and 3.8% for fiber.
Royal Canin included an exclusive complex of antioxidants, along with Vitamin E, which promotes the development of a healthy immune system in puppies. The food ingredients are nearly identical to the adult variant, relying on chicken protein and fat as the main sources of nutrition.
It is important to note that the food contains grain, which might trigger food allergies if your German Shepherd puppy is prone to these reactions.
Blue Buffalo is a company that focuses on producing high-quality dog food that comes from 100 percent natural ingredients. The fourth product on our list is their Life Protection Formula Senior Dog Food. The product line has ingredients that should preserve the health of older dogs and improve their quality of life as they get older.
It is important to note that this dog food is not breed-specific, and Blue Buffalo, in general, does not offer breed-specific food for dogs. Rather, it focusses on improving the formula and contributing high-quality ingredients that are important for all canines.
The dog food is available in a variety of sizes, including a 6-lb, 15-lb, and 30-lb bag. This feature is an excellent selection if you are traveling with your dog. The food stays fresh, and your dog still gets to enjoy their favorite meal.
Blue Buffalo dog food always includes real meat, and there are no chicken byproducts in it. Even more impressive is that Blue Buffalo specifically excludes corn, wheat, and soy from their dog food products, all of which are vital for dogs that suffer from food allergies. There are also no added preservatives or artificial flavors.
Notably, since this is not breed-specific dog food, some German Shepherds might not find it as appealing as other brands. There have also been a few issues with varying quality between food batches by Blue Buffalo in the past.
Purina is an American-based subsidiary of the Nestle conglomerate, and the second-largest manufacturer of dog food in the world (and the top manufacturer in the United States). Purina produces a wide variety of pet-related products, including the dog food on our list, Purina Plan Pro Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food & Wet Dog Food.
Purina Pro Plan product line is a premium line of dog food produced by Purina.
Our first observation is that this is not a breed-specific food, but it is suitable for larger dogs. The second aspect to clear up is the mention of both dry and wet dog food in the title. Purina Pro Plan Large Breed is a mixed dog food that includes both dry kibbles and wet and shredded meaty chunks. Purina emphasizes that this dog food is particularly popular with dogs that are fussy eaters.
The dog food is available in a variety of packages, ranging from a 6-lb bag to a massive 47-lb bag. Purina lists the food ingredients with at least 26 percent protein and 12 percent fat while keeping moisture at a maximum of 12 percent and fiber at 4.5 percent. The primary source of fiber is chicken.
Purina also claims that this particular product contains live probiotics that should improve the digestive health and immune system of your German Shepherd. One important note is that some dog owners do complain about a strong reaction to the food when switching over from another brand.
How to Choose the Best Dog Food for German Shepherds
German Shepherd is a large breed that is active and strong, with a muscular physique. Dog food for large breeds are special because it helps to maintain long-term health and quality of life, especially taking into account the common health conditions that plague the breed. German Shepherd food is almost similar to other breeds like Rottweiler, Labrador, Golden Retriever, Pitbull, etc.
It is critical to study the ingredients of the food you are planning to buy carefully, and analyze the key nutrients for your dog. Most ingredient lists will also identify potentially harmful ingredients or allergens.
Things to Consider When Buying German Shepherd Food
Nutritional Needs of German Shepherd
High Quality Protein: GSD need a healthy dose of at least 22% high-quality protein in their diet to grow and maintain their impressive physique. Protein should come from animal sources, such as chicken or beef. It should avoid contamination by animal byproducts, added flavors, and preservatives.
Fats: A high amount of fat can cause your GS to be overweight. At the same time, fats are necessary for healthy skin coat, bones and joints and to lubricate internal systems. According to AAFCO, your German Shepherd should have about 15% – 30% animal-based fats in its dog food.
Carbohydrates: GSD should have about 5% – 8% carbohydrates in dog food. The best sources of carbs for dogs are rice, barley, sweet potatoes, and oats. Carbs are necessary because GSD are protections dogs and need high amount of energy. Carbs along with proteins are the best energy sources.
Vitamins and minerals: These nutrients promote healthy brain activity in dogs and improve the overall health of German Shepherds. These actually constitute a small amount in dog foods.
Fiber: The fiber in the diet creates a healthy texture in the stool, which is especially important for German Shepherds who are prone to perianal fistulas.
Life Stages of German Shepherd Dogs
Puppy: German Shepherds are large dogs with prolonged puppyhood compared to smaller breeds. While they are puppies, German Shepherds require nutritious food that will enable them to grow quickly and develop their robust physique.
Adult: During their adult life stage, German Shepherds require a balanced diet rich in protein to maintain their physique and active lifestyle.
Senior: Older German Shepherds can be quite sensitive to food and develop several health conditions. Food for senior dogs should include plenty of vitamins and minerals that enhance brain activity, as well as probiotics and antioxidants that improve digestive health and immune system.
German Shepherd Health Conditions and Special Dietary Needs
German Shepherds might be a picture of strength and power, but as a breed, they suffer from many health conditions that can decrease their lifespan and quality of life. Most of these conditions are congenital, and they are out of control of the owners. Think of it as a genetic lottery.
Bones and Joints: When it comes to bone and joint health, German Shepherds suffer from hip dysplasia, which is common in large dogs. As they age, German Shepherds are also known to develop osteoarthritis. Dog food rich in glucosamine and chondroitin improves joint and bone health and should be high on your priority list.
Skin and coat: German Shepherds have a long coat of hair, but their skin is quite sensitive. For the maintenance of a shiny coat and clear skin, avoid dog foods that are rich in allergens, and make sure the food contains essential fatty acids.
Digestive system: German Shepherds have sensitive stomachs and are prone to bloating and gas. Dog foods rich in live probiotics helps improve the digestive health of German Shepherds and boosts their immune systems.
Allergens: Notorious for food allergies, German Shepherds can develop several serious health conditions if they are fed food that is high in allergens. Your priority should be to avoid dog foods with prominent grain content, particularly corn and wheat, which are well-known allergens. Meat such as chicken and beef can also be the source of allergens, but instead of avoiding it, monitor your dog and make sure that the protein content is from pure chicken or beef.
Inactivity: German Shepherds have a healthy appetite matched by their high activity level. As they get older or develop health issues, they tend to dial down their activity and can often develop weight problems. It is essential to use dog food that has a balance of carbohydrates and fats and control the portion size according to your dog’s size and activity level.
How Much Should I Feed a German Shepherd Puppy?
German Shepherd puppies grow quickly and need a lot of food as they grow. At two months old, puppies will consume anywhere from three to four cups of food per day. For each month after that, add half-a-cup of food until they reach six months.
At six months, their growth will slow, and you can keep them at that level until they are ten months old. At ten months, gradually decrease the amount of food by half-a-cup every two months until they reach adulthood.
How Much Should I Feed an Adult German Shepherd Dog?
The amount of food your adult German Shepherd needs depends on their size and activity level. The bigger and more active the dog, the more food it will consume. German Shepherds up to 65lbs can eat from 3 ½ to 5 ½ cups of food per day.
That amount climbs to 4 to 6 cups for 75lbs, 4 ½ to 6 ½ cups for 85lbs, and 5 to 7 ½ cups for 95lbs.
Bear in mind that this is dry dog food. In case you are feeding your dog wet or mixed food, lower the amount by a full cup.
When Should German Shepherds Switch from Puppy Food to Dog Food?
As large dogs, German Shepherds enjoy longer puppyhood compared to other breeds. In general, at fifteen months old German Shepherds are considered full-grown and adult dogs and should eat food intended for their strength.
All dogs are different and develop at their own rate. Still, you should avoid feeding German Shepherd puppies adult dog food during their growing phase because they need more protein and nutrients compared to mature dogs. After twelve months, you can start experimenting with food for adult dogs and try to make the transition smoother for your pet.