The Best Dog Food for German Shepherd Dogs

German shepherds, also known by their official name of German Shepherd Dogs, are large, energetic canines, and, as such, much effort should be put into choosing the best food for them. If you’re thinking of getting a German shepherd and wondering how to choose the best food for one, there’s tons of information that you need to know first.

This is your ultimate guide on how to choose the best dog food for a German shepherd.

In A Hurry? Here Are Our Top Picks…

Last update on 2021-07-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The 5 Best Dog Food Recipes for German Shepherds

German shepherds have specific nutritional needs. They may seem to love any tasty meal you throw at them, but there’s definitely some nutritional content that you should look out for aside from the taste.

We’ve put together a shortlist of the absolute best dog food recipes for German shepherds that will keep your dog looking healthy and radiant. The following are our top five choices.

1. Victor Grain-Free Hero Canine, Dry Dog Food

VICTOR Purpose - Grain Free Hero Canine, Dry Dog Food 30 lbs
  • Grain Free for dogs with allergies or sensitivity to grain
  • Ideal for highly active adult dogs that are susceptible to joint issues later. Glucosamine and Chondroitin promote long-term joint health.
  • Nutrient-dense recipe made with premium-quality beef, pork and fish meals

Last update on 2021-07-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This all-American, grain-free dog food by Victor is one heck of a meal and is especially healthy for your German shepherd. It’s specially formulated with the core ingredients required to boost the immunity of your furry friend against all forms of infection.

And that’s not all!

The premium dog food is fortified with all kinds of vitamins and minerals, as well as essential fatty acids and amino acids. Best of all, it contains glucosamine and chondroitin, which improves joint health in very active dogs. If your dog has allergies or sensitivity to grain products, then Victor’s Hero Canine blend is perfect for your German shepherd.

Specifications

  • Manufacturer – Mid America Pet Food LLC
  • Dimensions – 6 x 15.5 x 24 inches
  • Weight – 30 lbs
  • Form – Dry food
  • Flavor – Beef
  • Age range – All stages

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Great beef flavor
  • Boosts immunity
  • Good for all life stages
  • Ideal for very active canines
  • Promotes joint health
  • Grain-free for allergies
  • An Amazon’s Choice product

Cons

  • If your dog isn’t a beef lover, the flavor may be a problem
  • The pellets may be on the small side for very large dogs

2. Royal Canin German Shepherd Puppy, Dry Dog Food

Sale
Royal Canin German Shepherd Puppy Breed Specific Dry Dog Food, 30...
  • Royal Canin German Shepherd Puppy dry dog food is designed to meet the nutritional needs of purebred German Shepherds 8 weeks to 15 months old
  • Exclusive kibble shape designed specifically for a German Shepherd’s long, strong muzzle to encourage chewing
  • Helps protect a puppy’s developing immune system and natural defenses with an exclusive complex of antioxidants including vitamin E

Last update on 2021-07-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This chicken-flavored Royal Canin blend is a premium quality dog food that’s specifically formulated for the young and tender German shepherd puppy. A growing pup needs all the nutrition he can get, and Royal Canin takes care of all the nutritional needs of your pup from 8 weeks up to 15 months old.

Many dog foods are kibble-shaped, but they’re not all equal. Royal Canin boosts your pup’s immune system and has an adequate supply of antioxidants, including vitamin E.

Want to know more?

The list is endless. This dog food aids in the digestion of proteins and other food types due to its fiber content. It also contains glucosamine and chondroitin which supports joint health.

Specifications

  • Manufacturer – Royal Canin
  • Dimensions – 26 x 21 x 5 inches
  • Weight – 30 lbs
  • Form – Dry food
  • Flavor – Chicken
  • Age range – Up to 15 months

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Great for puppies
  • Boosts immune system
  • Easy to digest fiber
  • Supplies antioxidants, including vitamin E
  • Supports joint health
  • An Amazon’s Choice product

Cons

  • Suitable for puppies alone
  • Most expensive dog food on the list

3. Royal Canin German Shepherd Adult, Canned Dog Food

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Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition German Shepherd Adult Loaf in Sauce...
  • Royal Canin German Shepherd Adult wet dog food is designed to meet the nutritional needs of purebred German Shepherds 15 months and older
  • Soft dog food featuring Loaf in Sauce for a paté that appeals to a German Shepherd’s appetite
  • Formulated with specific B vitamins and amino acids to help support healthy skin and a shiny coat

Last update on 2021-07-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Introducing another colossus in the dog food market, this breed-specific wet dog food by Royal Canin is in a class above the rest. The nourishing meal caters to German shepherds of 15 months and older.

Here’s what to expect:

The food is a well-prepared loaf in a sauce that’s sure to appeal to your pet. It’s not just about the flavor, the canned food is rich in vitamins and minerals and fortified with glucosamine, chondroitin, and all the essential ingredients needed for a healthy and nourishing recipe.

Specifications 

  • Manufacturer – Royal Canin
  • Dimensions – 2.75 x 2.75 x 4 inches
  • Weight – 10.2 lbs (pack of 12 cans)
  • Form – Wet food
  • Flavor – Meatloaf
  • Age range – Over 15 months

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • A tasty meatloaf meal for adult dogs
  • Supports bones and joints
  • Keeps the skin and coat healthy
  • Offers a breed-specific, balanced diet
  • An Amazon’s Choice product

Cons

  • Not suitable for puppies
  • An adult dog may eat multiple cans per day, making this cost-intensive

4. Eukanuba Breed Specific German Shepherd, Dry Dog Food

Eukanuba Breed Specific German Shepherd Dry Dog Food, 30 lb
  • EUKANUBA German Shepherd Dog Food features 3D DENTADEFENSE System, which is proven to reduce tartar build-up in 28 days
  • EUKANUBA German Shepherd Dog Food has high-quality, animal-based proteins to help build strong, lean muscles for an optimal body condition
  • EUKANUBA German Shepherd Dog Food includes our specialized fiber system to promote nutrient absorption and healthy digestion

Last update on 2021-07-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This breed-specific German shepherd dry dog food by Eukanuba is a really special one. In one package you get 30 pounds of nutritious meals that are made specifically for German shepherds. You also get a unique dental defense formula that reduces the buildup of tartar in about 28 days.

Isn’t that awesome?

The high-quality dog food also includes a special fiber system that aids the absorption of nutrients and improves digestion. Eukanuba supports radiant coats, healthy joints, and smooth skin.

Specifications

  • Manufacturer – Eukanuba
  • Dimensions – 5.8 x 20 x 25.75 inches
  • Weight – 30 lbs
  • Form – Dry food
  • Flavor – Chicken
  • Age range – Over 1 year

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • High-quality protein source
  • Supports a healthy coat and skin
  • Specialized fiber system
  • Promotes nutrient absorption
  • Reduces tartar build-up
  • An Amazon’s Choice product

Cons

  • Not suitable for puppies
  • Some dogs may not like the chicken flavor

5. Hill’s Science Diet Large Breed Adult, Dry Dog Food

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Hill's Science Diet Dry Dog Food, Large Breed Adult 6+ Senior,...
  • A synergistic blend of easily digestible ingredients to support energy levels in large-breed dogs
  • Supports your grown dog's joint health with natural sources of glucosamine & chondroitin
  • Uses a balanced set of minerals to promote heart and kidney health in large dogs

Last update on 2021-07-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This chicken, barley, and brown rice recipe by Hill’s Science Diet is an incredible blend of the finest ingredients meshed together to provide a power-packed meal for your furry friend. The USA brand is one of the leading dog food brands on the market and is the #1 brand recommended by vets.

Their recipe supports high-energy canines and offers all the needed nutrition, minerals, and vitamins to help your dog stay fit and healthy.

Hill’s Science Diet is especially recommended by veterinarians for large breed dogs like German shepherds. Glucosamine and chondroitin content supports joint health, and omega-6 fatty acids nourish skin and coats. This recipe is made specifically to support senior dogs and keep them young at heart.

Specifications 

  • Manufacturer – Hill’s Science Diet
  • Dimensions – 20.38 x 16 x 6.75 inches
  • Weight – 33 lbs
  • Form – Dry food
  • Flavor – Chicken, barley, and brown rice
  • Age range – Over 6 years

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Easily digestible
  • Promotes heart and kidney health
  • Supports healthy skin and coat
  • #1 recommended brand by vets
  • Great chicken taste
  • Supports senior dogs and their health needs

Cons

  • May be unsuitable for German shepherds under 6 years old
  • Barley may not be the best for those with grain allergies

Buyer’s Guide for German Shepherd Dog Food

German shepherds are a large, fun-loving breed with an equally large appetite. They can often, unfortunately, have sensitive stomachs, and let’s not forget the allergies. This is why adequate care must be taken when choosing a food brand for your pet.

The transition from one type of food to a new brand may be uneasy for your furry friend, and this is something that you should keep in mind while making the switch. Dogs react to new foods differently and may need some time to adjust.

How do I get my German shepherd to eat his new food? 

To lower the risk of your dog getting sick due to a sudden change in diet, there’s an easy technique to adopt that’ll ensure he won’t react negatively to his meal.

Here are a few steps to try:

Day 1 – Serve your dog a mixture of 90% of his regular food and 10% of the new food

Day 3 – Bump up the new food to 20% mixed with 80% of the old food

Day 5 – Take it up a notch with 30% of the new food mixed with 70% of the old

Continue this process, slowly increasing the percentage of the new food until you’ve successfully weaned your dog off the former food brand. Your dog’s reaction to the changes will determine if you need to pick up the pace or decrease the percentage alteration to the food. Don’t feel like you need to rush any changes, or it may have some unpleasant results.

Do German shepherds require a special type of food?

German shepherds, especially adults, are able to eat just about whatever food you throw at them. They typically aren’t picky eaters, but here’s the problem. German shepherds are at risk of developing a crippling hip disease called hip dysplasia.

This disease can be prevented by managing their diet carefully from the time they’re puppies onward. Look for breed-specific recipes to make sure they’re getting what they need.

What can cause hip dysplasia in German shepherds?

Hip dysplasia is a disease caused by the underdevelopment of the ball-and-socket joint in the dog’s hip, causing the bones to grind against each other instead of gliding smoothly. This deteriorates over time, leading to loss of joint functions and causing extreme pain for the dog.

There are 3 main causes of this disease:

  • Overfeeding
  • Excess calcium diet
  • Genetics

Genetics naturally predisposes German shepherds to hip dysplasia. However, you can lower the risk by taking a few precautions:

  • Do not overfeed your puppies
  • Beware of serving meals with too many calories
  • Choose only meals with a safe amount of calcium, especially for large breeds

Nutrient and calorie requirements for puppies

Unlike other dog breeds, German shepherd puppies grow quite rapidly. In order for your German shepherd pup to attain its full size and potential, it’s important that she’s fed with large breed puppy formula that’s specifically designed with the essential nutrients in the right quantities.

An early start can help curb the issue of allergies, obesity, hip dysplasia, bloat, and arthritis in the future.

Your German shepherd puppy requires a balanced diet packed with calcium, protein, phosphorus, fat, and more. These should add up to at least 500 calories per day, and should increase as your pup grows.

Nutrient and calorie requirements for adults

An adult German shepherd that leads an active lifestyle should consume at least 1,700 to 2,400 calories each day, and a senior that has a less active lifestyle may consume between 1,300 to 1,600 calories daily in order to maintain a healthy weight.

The best protein sources for German shepherds are beef, chicken, lamb, fish, and pork. A healthy source of 5% fat is required, such as flaxseed, canola oil, and healthy chicken fat. DHA is an essential element in dog food as well, as it caters to brain development and improved vision.

Avoid grains as much as possible. This is because German shepherds often have allergies to grain products. Allergies are usually detected through loose stool immediately after eating grains.

There are formulas that will give your dog a health boost and lower the risk of infection and disease. These elements include:

  • Chondroitin and glucosamine for healthy joints
  • Omega 3 and 6 for the effective control of arthritic pain, inflammation, and other advantages such as skin maintenance, mood improvement, and kidney and heart health

If you find that your dog’s food doesn’t contain glucosamine and chondroitin, you can opt for Cosequin capsules and essential oils for joint health.

Conclusion

German shepherds require a special diet to keep up with their active lifestyles and to maintain a healthy coat, skin, and weight. Our recommendations were carefully chosen to ensure that your dog will have all the required nutrients they need to battle infection, disease, and to live a healthy, happy life.

We hope you’re now able to find the best dog food for German Shepherd Dogs!