Best Dog Food For German Shepherds
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German Shepherds are highly intelligent, active, loyal, and easy to train breed.
They are originally bred in Germany as a breed of working dogs to oversee livestock.
When considering shopping for dog foods for this breed, know that these canine friends belong to the family of large, active, energetic, and well-muscled dogs.
Their foods should contain high-quality ingredients that are packed with essential macronutrients and vitamins.
Keep reading to learn more about your German Shepherd’s nutritional needs and to receive some tips for picking the best dog food to meet them.
Quick Look At Our Picks For Best Dog Food For German Shepherds:
- Taste of the Wild Grain-Free High Protein
- Purina Pro Plan Focus Sensitive Skin and Stomach
- Hill’s Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach and Skin Dog Food
- Eukanuba Senior Dry Dog Food
- Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Large Breed Puppy Food
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Dietary Needs of German Shepherds
All dogs have the same basic nutritional needs for protein, fat, and nutrients. What you may not realize, however, is that dogs of different sizes have different needs when it comes to the ratio of those nutrients.
German Shepherds also need more calories than smaller dogs, but fewer per pound of body weight.
Here are some of the top things to look for in a large breed dog food:
- High-Quality Protein. Protein is the most important nutrient for any dog, but it is particularly important for large breed dogs to maintain lean muscle mass. Look for premium animal sources for protein.
- Moderate Fat. Fat provides your dog with a concentrated source of energy as well as essential fatty acids for healthy skin and coat, but you want to keep the content moderate to avoid feeding your dog so many calories that he becomes obese.
- Joint Support. Large breed dogs have a higher risk for bone and joint problems than smaller breeds, so look for a recipe that contains joint-supporting nutrients like glucosamine and chondroitin.
- Digestibility. Many large breed dogs have sensitive stomachs, so you want to make sure that the recipe you choose is made with digestible ingredients and free from low-quality fillers and artificial additives that could upset its stomach.
Keeping all of these things in mind, you’re now ready to learn how to choose the best dog food for large breeds. Here’s what you need to know:
How to Choose the Best Dog Food for German Shepherds
The best place to start when looking for the best dog food for large breeds is a high-quality diet formulated for large-breed dogs.
This will help ensure that your dog gets the protein it needs to build healthy muscle without so much fat that it becomes overweight or obese.
In terms of specific nutritional needs, your dog requires at least 18% crude protein, 5% crude fat, and no more than 5% fiber in its diet. That is the bare minimum, however, so keep that in mind.
When it comes to protein and fat, your German Shepherd will be able to digest animal-based ingredients better than plant-based ingredients.
Meat, poultry, and fish are excellent sources of protein for dogs, and healthy fats include things like chicken fat and salmon oil. Your German Shepherd can digest certain carbohydrates as well like whole grains, starchy vegetables, beans, and legumes, but protein should be the star of its diet.
In addition to protein, fat, and digestible carbohydrates, your large breed dog can benefit from certain supplements.
Probiotics, for example, help to ensure smooth and regular digestion while chelated minerals provide a biologically valuable source of key nutrients. Glucosamine and chondroitin are also important for German Shepherd dogs to support their bone and joint health.
Keep reading to see our top 5 recommendations for the best dog food for German Shepherds.
The Top 5 Best Dog Foods for German Shepherds
When picking a dog food for German Shepherds, look for high-quality ingredients such as premium animal proteins, healthy animal fats, and digestible carbohydrates. You want to make sure the protein is high enough to maintain its lean muscle mass with just enough fat for energy.
Here are our top 5 picks for the best dog food for German Shepherds that you should consider:
We try to follow the recommendations of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association when selecting the best dog foods for German Shepherds. We look for foods that meet the following criteria as much as possible:
- Foods that are AAFCO-approved, preferably with food trials.
- Nutritional research and testing is paramount.
- We prefer dog foods that are formulated by staffs of veterinary nutritionists.
- Good quality control is essential.
- A food’s nutrition is more important than ingredients that sound appealing to a dog’s owner. Marketing should not be the deciding factor in the food you buy for your dog.
We also take into consideration the recent warning from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration about a possible link between grain free dog foods and dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs. This investigation is ongoing. It has now been expanded to include exotic meats used in dog foods.
How Much Should You Feed Your German Shepherd by Age
With the right amount of essential vitamins, minerals, and proteins, the best way to measure how much you should feed your dog is through the measure of calories intake.
- Puppies grow so fast. This means that they need a high level of daily intake of calories. Ideally, they will need 40 calories per lb in a day. Thus, a puppy weighing 40 lb will need 1,600 calories per day. Read more about the best puppy food here
- Adults are very active both physically and mentally. It is therefore important that they are fed adequately. An average adult of this breed will need a large amount of calorie, at least 1,500 calories in his diet. Moreover, a very active adult will need 30 calories per lb, meaning a total of 2,100 calories.
- Seniors need fewer calorie intake because of less activity and poor body metabolism. Experts often recommend that they should be eat less than 20 calories per lb, meaning they should be eating something around 1,200 calories per day. Read more about the 5 Best Healthy Senior Dog Foods here
German Shepherd Food Allergies and Food Related Health Issues
Generally, German Shepherds are usually very strong and healthy dogs. There are a number of health challenges that may befall this breed. Here are some of the common health issues that your dog may be exposed to:
- Food Allergies – German Shepherds commonly pick up food allergies. Some of the symptoms that often exhibit as a result of this health condition are dry, itchy ears, skin or paws. Click here to read more about the best dog food for skin allergies
- Hip Dysplasia – Larger dogs like German Shepherds are very prone to hip Dysplasia. In fact, it is the primary health concern for this dog breed. People describe is as the malformation of the joint. It often gets worse for dogs that are obese. The best way to manage this health issue is by feeding your dog with food that uses a weight management recipe.
- Bloat – As part of deep-chested breeds, German Shepherds stand a high risk of having bloat. This condition occurs when their stomachs or intestines get twisted thereby trapping gasses in. One cause of bloat is gulping of food down the throat. That is why it is advisable to train your canine friend how to eat slowly.
- Perianal Fistulas – This is the small tunnels that are around a German Shepherd’s anus linking the anal glands to the exterior. They can be very painful to these dogs and are also quite common among this breed.
Finally, getting the best dog food for your German Shepherd should not be a rocket science itinerary if you have the right information. Knowing your dog’s age and health condition will definitely go a long way in helping you choose the right food for your pup.
Generally, German Shepherds are extremely active and energetic and they will need foods that contain high-quality ingredients. Therefore, you should avoid foods with grains such as wheat and corn, as most German Shepherds are prone to food allergies from these.