Top 8 Recommended Best Foods for a German Shepherd in 2023

The German Shepherd is consistently ranked as one of the top three breeds in the United States according to AKC registration statistics. If you have any experience with this wonderful breed, you will not wonder why. Not only are these dogs beautiful with their thick black-and-tan coats, but they are devastatingly intelligent and hard-working. As one of the smartest dog breeds out there, the German Shepherd can be trained for a variety of jobs and different dog sports – this breed won’t be content to spend the day lazing away on your couch. This breed needs plenty of physical exercises as well as mental stimulation and human interaction on a daily basis.

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In addition to being incredibly smart and trainable, the German Shepherd is also a very large dog. This breed typically stands between 22 and 26 inches tall at the shoulder and weighs between 50 and 90 pounds at maturity. Originally developed as a herding dog, the German Shepherd has very strong protective instincts but they are still very gentle and loving which makes them a wonderful family pet. As a large-breed dog, the German Shepherd has an average lifespan between 10 and 13 years which can be impacted by a number of health problems. This breed is prone to several musculoskeletal issues like hip dysplasia and various inherited health issues like degenerative myelopathy, epilepsy, and bleeding disorders. Responsible breeding practices including DNA testing are essential for this breed.

Because the German Shepherd is a large-breed dog, he needs plenty of calories (especially from protein) to maintain his well-muscled and athletic stature. This breed can also benefit from joint-supporting supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin as well as probiotics to support health digestion. The German Shepherd bred is also prone to food allergies, especially to grains and dairy products. The best way to ensure that your German Shepherd’s specific nutritional needs are met is to select a large-breed formula. Keep reading to learn more about the nutritional requirements for German Shepherds and to receive recommendations for quality dog food brands for this beautiful breed.

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General Nutritional Recommendations for German Shepherds

All dogs require a balance of protein, fat and carbohydrate in their diet, though dogs of certain sizes may require a slightly different ratio than smaller dogs. Large-breed dogs like the German Shepherd, for example, may require more protein than smaller dogs to help support their lean muscle mass. Smaller dogs usually require more fat than larger dogs to support their faster metabolisms. As a large-breed dog, your German Shepherd’s diet should provide high levels of protein with moderate fat and limited carbohydrate content. According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, adult dogs need at least 18% protein and 5% fat while puppies need 22% protein and 8% fat. If you want your dog to be as healthy as possible, however, you should choose a diet that provides more than the minimum for these nutrients.

No matter what kind of dog you have, the first ingredient in his food should be some kind of whole animal protein like poultry, meat or fish. Animal-based ingredients are more biologically valuable for dogs than plant-based ingredients because dogs are primarily carnivorous animals – their digestive systems simply aren’t adapted to digest plant products as efficiently as animal products. This being the case, the main sources of fat in your German Shepherd’s diet should also come from animal sources. Named sources like chicken fat and salmon oil are preferable to unnamed sources like poultry fat or fish oil because it is difficult to judge the quality of unnamed sources. Look for a balance of omega fatty acids as well to promote your dog’s healthy skin and coat.

When it comes to carbohydrates for your German Shepherd, you need to be very careful. Do not choose a product that contains more than 5% crude fiber and make sure that any product you choose includes digestible carbohydrates – avoid products made with corn, wheat, and soy ingredients. Some examples of digestible carbohydrates include whole grains like brown rice and oatmeal. If your dog suffers from food allergies or sensitivities, you may want to consider a grain-free formula that is made with tapioca, starchy vegetables, or legumes as the primary carbohydrates. Any German Shepherd can also benefit from a dog food that includes chelated mineral or probiotic supplements. Chelated minerals are simply minerals that have been chemically bound to protein molecules which makes them easier for your dog’s body to digest. Dried fermentation products act as probiotics to support your dog’s digestion.

What is the Best Dog Food for my German Shepherd?

When shopping for a new dog food for your German Shepherd you need to find a product that offers complete and balanced nutrition from high-quality ingredients. Large-breed dogs need plenty of protein in their diets with moderate fat content, unless your dog is particularly active or trained for work. To make sure that your German Shepherd’s basic nutritional needs are met, start with a large-breed specific formula and see how your dog does on it for a few weeks. If he loses weight or appears to be low in energy, you may need to increase his daily ration or switch to an active breed formula. Below you will find reviews for several high-quality dog food formulas that could be a good choice for your German Shepherd:

Ollie Healthy Turkey Feast Fresh Dog Food

Healthy Ingredients : Turkey breast, turkey liver, kale, carrots
Key Features :

  • Human-Grade
  • Subscription-based
  • Slow cooked
  • Auto-ships direct to your door
Why You Should Buy

Ollie Healthy Turkey Feast Fresh Dog Food

Ollie Healthy Turkey Feast Fresh Dog Food is a fresh, human-grade dog food option that is made in small batches and slow cooked to preserve its nutritional integrity. It is delivered right to your doorstep based on your subscription.

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If you are looking for a high quality food for your pet, you should consider a fresh food option, such as Ollie. Ollie is human-grade dog food that is delivered fresh to your doorstep based on a delivery schedule you can customize. Although it is pricier compared to regular dog food, it has a lot of great benefits that keep your dog healthy and active. They have a few different recipes to choose from. The particular recipe shown in the table above includes carrots (which are full of phytonutrients for eye health), blueberries (which are high in antioxidants), and chia seeds which are a source of copper, zinc, and manganese. Ollie is cooked slowly to preserve nutrients and does not contain any preservatives or fillers. Every recipe also includes super foods such as chia to help support your pet’s active lifestyle. You can rest-assured, when feeding your dog Ollie, that you are choosing a premium food.

American Journey Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Healthy Ingredients : Deboned Salmon, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Peas, Sweet Potatoes
Key Features :

  • Grain-free
  • Phytonutrients
  • Antioxidants
  • Complex carbs for energy
Why You Should Buy

American Journey Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

American Journey Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food uses real salmon as the protein source and provides fiber, phytonutrients, and antioxidants. It is grain-free.

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American Journey is chock full of nutritious ingredients to fuel your pet each day. The Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food formula uses real, deboned salmon  and amino acids your dog needs for leaner muscles. Sweet potatoes and chickpeas are included to give your pet energy to sustain an active lifestyle. Wholesome fruits and veggies like carrots, dried kelp and blueberries ensure your dog is getting beneficial fiber, phytonutrients and antioxidants. American Journey Salmon and Sweet Potato recipe is grain-free and has no corn, wheat or soy, which makes it a great choice for dogs with food sensitivities.

Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Dry

Healthy Ingredients : Buffalo, Lamb Meal, Chicken Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Peas
Key Features :

  • Optimized absorption
  • Grain-free
  • Highly-digestible
  • Very popular brand
Why You Should Buy

Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Dry

Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Dry is highly-digestible and provides adequate energy for your dog through complex carbs. It has essential minerals and amino acids to optimize absorption.

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Provide your dog with a well-balanced diet with Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Dry Dog Food! With proteins such as buffalo and bison as well as veggies like peas and sweet potatoes, this dog food is highly-digestible and offers your pup the energy needed to support an active lifestyle. Essential minerals are chelated with amino acids to optimize their absorption and ensure maximum benefit. There is no guessing why Taste of the Wild is one of the most popular brands that we review!

Fromm Heartland Gold Large-Breed Adult Dry Food

Healthy Ingredients : Beef, Pork Meat Meal, Peas,Lentils, Chickpeas
Key Features :

  • Low-glycemic
  • Grain-free
  • Rich in protein
  • Made for large breed dogs
Why You Should Buy

Fromm Heartland Gold Large-Breed Adult Dry Food

Fromm Heartland Gold Large-Breed Adult Dry Food is designed with large breed dogs in mind. It is grain-free and rich in protein. This food is also low-glycemic.

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For a high-quality diet designed with the unique nutritional needs of large-breed dogs in mind, consider this Fromm Heartland Gold Large-Breed Adult Dry Food. This formula is naturally grain-free and rich in protein, featuring premium ingredients like beef, pork meal, and dried whole eggs. In terms of carbohydrate content, this recipe relies on low-glycemic legumes like green peas, lentils, and chickpeas which are also highly digestible for dogs. With 24% protein and 12% fat, this recipe offers a healthy balance of nutrients for your large-breed dog without going overboard on calories. It also contains plenty of health supplements like flaxseed, taurine, and probiotics. As an added bonus, this formula is also rich in natural flavor that your German Shepherd is sure to love.

Blue Buffalo Basics Large Breed Adult Grain-Free Lamb & Potato Recipe

Healthy Ingredients : Deboned Lamb, Potatoes, Peas, Pea Starch, Pea Protein
Key Features :

  • Good for dogs with alleriges/sensitivities
  • LifeSource Bits blend of vitamins
  • Supports healthy joints
  • Calcium and phosphorus for strong bones
Why You Should Buy

Blue Buffalo Basics Large Breed Adult Grain-Free Dog Food

Blue Buffalo Basics Large Breed Adult Grain-Free Lamb & Potato Recipe Dog Food is great for German Shepherds who are prone to food allergies or sensitivities. It is limited ingredient and contains the proprietary LifeSource Bits blend of vitamins.

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Because German Shepherds are prone to food allergies and sensitivities, the Blue Buffalo Basics Large Breed Adult Grain-Free Lamb & Potato Recipe is a good option to consider. This formula is a limited ingredient diet which means that there is a smaller number of ingredients that have the potential to trigger food allergies. Made with deboned lamb as the single source of protein, this recipe is designed to support your large-breed dog’s lean muscle mass, helping to prevent him from gaining too much weight. This formula also contains plenty of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids to promote healthy skin and coat, as well as essential antioxidants for a strong immune system. Like all of Blue Buffalo’s products, this formula also contains LifeSource Bits which consist of a special blend of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to ensure nutritional completeness and healthy oxidative balance. This recipe also contains glucosamine and chondroitin for joint support and a unique blend of calcium and phosphorus for strong bones and teeth.

What is the Best Dog Food for German Shepherd Puppies?

One of the most important things you need to remember for German Shepherd puppies is that they need to be protected from growing too fast. A dog that weighs 90 pounds or more at maturity will take somewhere between 18 and 24 months to reach its adult size and, during that time, growth needs to be controlled because if the puppy grows too fast it will put excess strain on the bones and joints, predisposing the dog to musculoskeletal issues as an adult. The simplest way to prevent this from happening is to start your German Shepherd with a large-breed puppy formula. Below you will find reviews for several high-quality dog food formulas that could be a good choice to consider for your German Shepherd puppy:

Orijen Puppy Large Breed Dry Food

Healthy Ingredients : Deboned Chicken, Deboned Turkey, Yellowtail Flounder, Whole Eggs, Whole Atlantic Mackerel
Key Features :

  • Helps dog maintain healthy weight
  • Supports healthy joints
  • Made for large breeds
  • High in protein
Why You Should Buy

Orijen Puppy Large Breed Dry Food

Orijen Puppy Large Breed Dry Food is made for large breeds like your German Shepherd. It is rich in animal proteins and is designed to help your dog maintain a healthy weight.

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The Orijen brand is known for producing biologically appropriate diets for dogs that are inspired by the natural diet of wild wolves. Like all of their products, this Orijen Puppy Large Breed Dry Food is rich in quality animal proteins like free-run chicken, wild-caught fish, and nest-laid eggs. Made with 85% animal ingredients and 15% fruits, vegetables, and botanicals, this recipe is naturally grain-free and made without any artificial additives. This large-breed puppy formula offers a whopping 38% protein and 16% fat which is very hard to beat – furthermore, a full 2/3 of the meats included in this recipe are fresh or raw with no preservatives added! It is also worth noting that this recipe is formulated in keeping with Whole Prey ratios which includes not only fresh meats, but organs and cartilage as well for natural sources of key nutrients. Overall, this formula is designed to promote a healthy bodyweight in your large-breed puppy while also reducing stress on his developing bones and joints.

Holistic Select Large and Giant Breed Puppy Health Lamb Meal & Oatmeal Recipe

Healthy Ingredients : Lamb Meal, Ground Brown Rice, Ground White Rice, Chicken Meal, Dried Beet Pulp
Key Features :

  • Good source of protein
  • DHA for eye and brain development
  • Probiotics for smooth digestion
  • Fatty acids for skin and coat health
Why You Should Buy

Holistic Select Large and Giant Breed Puppy Dog Food

Holistic Select Large and Giant Breed Puppy Health Lamb Meal & Oatmeal Recipe Dog Food is made with highly digestible carbohydrates and DHA for brain and eye development. It is rich in omega fatty acids and protein-packed.

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For a high-quality diet specially formulated to meet the nutritional needs of large and giant breed puppies, give this Holistic Select Large and Giant Breed Puppy Health Lamb Meal & Oatmeal Recipe a try. This formula features lamb meal as the primary source of protein and is supplemented with digestible carbohydrates like brown rice, white, rice and oatmeal. It is also rich in omega fatty acids like DHA to promote healthy brain and eye development in your puppy as well as other essential fatty acids for skin and coat health. This formula also contains Holistic Select’s unique Digestive Health Support System which includes active probiotics, digestive enzymes, and healthy fibers. In short, this formula contains everything your German Shepherd puppy needs to grow big and strong.

Special Dietary and Nutritional Concerns

Large and giant-breed dogs like the German Shepherd have a higher risk for developing musculoskeletal issues than smaller dogs. In many cases, the dogs that develop these problem in adulthood grew too quickly as puppies – excessive growth can put a lot of stress on your puppy’s developing bones and joints. There are two things you can do to reduce your dog’s risk for musculoskeletal problems. For one thing, you should feed your German Shepherd puppy a large-breed puppy formula until he reaches about 80% of his adult size then switch to a large-breed adult recipe. Large-breed formulas contain high levels of protein to support your dog’s lean muscle mass but have moderate fat content to avoid overgrowth. You should also look for a recipe that is supplemented with glucosamine and chondroitin to provide extra bone and joint support for your dog.

When it comes to determining how much to feed your German Shepherd, there are a number of factors to consider. While your dog does require plenty of protein in his diet, you should select a dog food with moderate fat content to avoid giving your dog too many calories – this is particularly true if your German Shepherd tends to be a little lazy. On the other hand, if your dog is particularly active or if you are training him for a dog sport, you might need to find a product that offers higher fat content to support his higher needs for energy. A large-breed specific recipe is generally adequate for the average German Shepherd, but an active or working breed formula might be better for your dog if he is particularly active. No matter which type of food you feed your dog, follow the feeding recommendations to avoid overfeeding – like all dogs, German Shepherds are prone to obesity and obesity can contribute to a host of other health problems.

Another thing you should be aware of when feeding your German Shepherd is that large-breed dogs have a high risk for bloat, also known as gastric torsion. When large and deep-chested breeds eat too quickly they can swallow air along with their food which can cause the stomach to fill with gas and to expand and rotate, cutting off the flow of blood to the stomach and to other vital organs. This can also happen if your dog engages in strenuous exercise or drinks a large amount of water within an hour of eating. To prevent this from happening to your dog, you may want to consider buying a special dog bowl that will keep your dog from eating too fast – you should also restrict his water intake immediately after eating and divide his daily portion into at least two separate meals.



As you can see, there are many options for food for your adult and puppy German Shepherd. We are confident that if you choose one of the recommendations that we have provided here, you will be happy and your German Shepherd will be healthy and active. There are many things to consider when choosing a food, so please consult your vet and refer to our nutritional guidelines section as you make your decision.

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One Comment

  1. i have a german shepherd male dog aged 7. He has perennial hernia problem and he has to undergo surgery next week. He has to be supplemented with rich protein diet to build muscle mass for recovery and to prevent further tear in muscles after operation. Please suggest me best food for him

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