Any large breed dog will have unique dietary requirements, which is why it is important to find the best dog food for a German Shepherd. Although they grow fast, when they reach adulthood, there are specific ingredients and portions that they can stomach better so buying any old food from the store will not do.
With terms like grain-free and no animal by-product flying around, it can be hard to tell the better products from the low-quality bags. This is why we have created a list of the best dog foods for German Shepherd. Each one is well suited to their dietary requirements, has plenty of high-quality protein, and is sure to become a new favorite.
Here are our top picks for the best Dog Foods For German Shepherd:
#6 Holistic Select Natural Dry Dog Food Large & Giant Breed Puppy Lamb
If your GSD is still in the puppy years then you can’t beat this food from Holistic Select. Because a growing German Shepherd needs quality protein and a good source of calcium, this is a good option. The optimal levels of protein and fats ensure a balanced diet for a growing pup that will soon reach adulthood.
All the ingredients are natural so expect no meat by-products, wheat, filler, artificial ingredients, or colors. There are digestive enzymes and natural fiber in the formula to help it move through a pup easier. Because a lot of pups are sensitive to the switch to a new food, this is a great inclusion. The 23% crude protein is enough to make this a well-rounded puppy food for a German Shepherd.
Pros: Quality source of protein
No animal by-products
Natural fiber for easier digestion
Cons: Pups get through this pretty fast
#5 NUTRO WHOLESOME ESSENTIALS Large Breed Adult & Senior Dry Dog Food, Chicken
Available in both a large breed and large senior dog variety, this is quality dog food for a German Shepherd. It contains farm-raised chicken as the number one ingredient which makes it a quality source of protein. Combine this with the brown rice and sweet potato source of carbs that make it easier to digest and it is worth considering.
There are Glucosamine And Chondroitin included for healthy joints and vitamin E should give a GSD’s immune system a good boost. Because of this, it helps to keep any large breed fit and healthy. It is a non-GMO recipe and no artificial colors or preservatives are making it one of the cleaner recipes available.
Pros: Contains farm-raised chicken as the first ingredient
Glucosamine And Chondroitin for healthy joints
Vitamin E for a healthy immune system
Cons: Tends to go pretty fast
#4 Wellness Core Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food Original Turkey & Chicken
The high-protein formula and grain-free recipe make this a suitable dog food for German Shepherds. Because it has 34% of crude protein a GSD can get plenty of lean muscle support, especially since the source is de-boned turkey which is a lean protein. We like that there are no animal by-products here, nor are there artificial flavors or colors, and no filler ingredients.
The all-natural ingredients should be well tolerated by a GSD plus there are plenty of vitamins and minerals to support a healthy immune system. The unmistakable black and tan coat of a German Shepherd will appreciate the healthy omega fatty acids that add shine and silkiness. There is also prebiotics included for healthy digestion making it one of the best dog foods for a German Shepherd.
Pros: 34% crude protein
No animal by-products
Prebiotics for healthy digestion
Cons: Can be a bit pricey for some
#3 Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Large Breed Bites Dry Dog Food with Grains
This is the best limited ingredient dog food for German Shepherds and the single animal protein source is lamb which contains plenty of amino acids for healthy muscles. Brown rice provides the fiber to make it easily digestible and there are essential vitamins and minerals for a balanced diet that every GSD requires.
There are no artificial preservatives or soy, wheat, or corn although the protein content of 21% is slightly on the low side, there is enough quality to make this a worthwhile purchase. It limits the carbs without trying to bulk the formula out and comes with a 100% satisfaction money-back-guarantee which is something we don’t see often enough. You never know how your GSD is going to react to a new food so it is good to see a brand considering this.
Pros: Single animal protein source
No artificial preservatives or filler
Contains essential minerals and vitamins
Limited ingredient formula
Cons: Protein content of 21% could be a little higher
#2 CANIDAE All Life Stages, Premium Dry Dog Food with Whole Grains
The whole grain content makes it a contender for the best dog food for German Shepherds as does the optimal protein level that is sourced from the chicken meal. The ingredients combine for a balanced diet and there is no wheat, soy, or corn. It also contains all the usual ingredients you hope to see for a GSD such as omega fatty acids for a healthy coat and skin and plenty of prebiotics for healthy digestion.
Although this product is tailored towards multi-breed families, this still has plenty about it to make it a great option for a German Shepherd. There are no fillers and it is made in Texas from trusted sources.
Pros: Whole grains
The first ingredient is chicken meal
Contains fatty acids and prebiotics
Cons: Not specifically for a German Shepherd
#1 Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Large Breed Dog Food
This is the best dog foods for a German Shepherd and it all starts with the real meat source as the first ingredient. The deboned lamb and brown rice recipe is a well thought out formula as it contains glucosamine and chondroitin which are ideal for the much needed joint support to keep these large breeds mobile.
The garden vegetables and fruit add a bit of nutrition and there are also plenty of antioxidants in there for a healthy immune system. We like to see natural dog food for any breed so it is good that Blue Buffalo can boast of that but what this product does not include is equally as important. There is no animal by-product, wheat, soy, or artificial preservatives or flavors so it is easy to see why it is so popular.
Pros: Glucosamine and chondroitin for joint support
Deboned lamb is the first ingredient
No animal by-product
Cons: Can be a bit of powder around the pieces
More products also worth checking out:
Dog Foods For German Shepherd Guide
Those helicopter ears might perk up around dinner time, but the best dog foods for Germans Shepherds are as good for them as they are tasty. It can be difficult to know what better products should contain which is why a lot of people end up with sub-par foods for their GSD.
Because of this, we have created a buyer’s guide. By the end of it, you will know what makes the premium products so desirable and can recognize a low-quality dog food when you see one.
What To Look For In Dog Foods For German Shepherd
High Protein Content
Large breeds like German Shepherds seem to have an endless supply of energy despite their size. Because of this, they need a lot of protein to maintain lean muscle that can support their active nature. Around 22% and above is a decent amount, as long as the source is a quality one.
Protein As The First Ingredient
This is usually the sign of a decent product, but a lot depends on the quality of the protein. If the likes of free-range chicken or wild-caught salmon come first then it means you are going to get a good amount of a quality protein source.
The more of these the better, as long as they are good enough and worthy of being consumed by a German Shepherd. The source of natural ingredients is important, as is the balance of nutrition.
This gets put on the front of a lot of dog foods for German Shepherds which is good to see but only under certain circumstances. Although grain can often bulk out dog food which isn’t a good thing, a lot of brands. replace it with more carbs than a GSD needs. Because of this, make sure that any grain-free dog food you are considering still has a high protein content, and quality. carbs such as sweet potato.
No Animal By-Products
Another way of bulking out dog food, animal by-products are often low-quality pieces of an animal that are not always so easy to digest. They shouldn’t make their way into your German Shepherds diet. With minimal nutritional value, animal by-products are usual from poultry and can be mixed with artificial flavors to make them more appealing.
This is particularly important for a big, energetic dog such as a German Shepherd. Because of this, a lot of dog foods for large breeds include joint support via fish oil as it has an abundance of joint support. This is even more important as GSD are prone to arthritis and hip dysplasia.
Immune System Support
Every dog needs as much protection as they can get from illness so your dog food for German Shepherd should be no different. The better brands contain plenty of Vitamin E and other immunity-boosting ingredients.
It doesn’t matter if your GSD finishes the whole bowl in the blink of an eye or leaves half for later, the food you choose needs to be easily digested. Most quality products tend to include prebiotics and natural sources of fiber to help keep the food moving and to avoid bloat which is common in German Shepherds.
Why Is It Important To Find Quality Dog Food For German Shepherds?
Because these big dogs love to play and have plenty of energy when doing so, they need a balanced diet with a quality protein source and a good amount of carbs. They have a sensitive stomach that is prone to bloating so you don’t want to buy low-quality food that is full of complex carbs.
They require a balance of protein, fats, minerals, prebiotics, carbs, and fiber to help them live as comfortably as possible.
How Often Should I Feed My German Shepherd?
A lot will depend on how active a lifestyle the GSD leads and their age. The climate can also have an impact but generally, an adult German Shepherd will need feeding twice a day and portions of around 2 – 3.5 cups a time.
Keep an eye on their weight and appetite to see if you need to make any adjustments.
How Much Does A German Shepherd Eat Every Month?
This depends on their appetite but if you feed him 4 cups of food a day then a 30 lb bag should last approximately one month. This means it can be a good idea to buy a large bag so you always have an ample supply of his favorite food.
When Does A German Shepherd Start Eating Adult Food?
What might surprise some dog owners is the early transition from puppy food to adult for a German Shepherd. Because they grow so rapidly, they need to switch to the balanced diet of adult food that does not encourage growth so much.
Otherwise, they can suffer from joint and bone issues that are uncomfortable for the rest of their lives. From around 6 months, some owners choose to give their GSD adult food and this isn’t unique to this breed as many large dogs are known to grow rapidly.
Do German Shepherds Need A Lot Of Food?
Despite their size, German Shepherds don’t eat as much as some much smaller dogs. Still, a couple of cups at every meal is a good amount for the average GSD although some will happily eat more.
As long as the dog food for German Shepherds that you choose has a good balance of quality protein, fats, carbs, fiber, minerals, and vitamins, your pooch will benefit from a balanced diet.
How Much Protein Does A Germans Shepherd Need?
A lot of vets recommend a high protein diet for an energetic and active large breed like a GSD. So, look for a product that has around 22% and above of protein in the ingredient profile.
Higher amounts shouldn’t be in place of a balanced nutritional food so make sure it has everything your dog needs as well as quality protein.