If we can all cook for our dogs every meal of every day, we would. Unfortunately, we don’t even have the time to do that much cooking for ourselves, so it’s not a surprise that we can’t do it for our precious pups.
Thankfully, there are so many options to choose from them the best dog food for german shepherd puppy, almost too many.
Not to worry, though, in this article, we are going to look at the best dog foods for german shepherd puppies that can nurture your dog and help them grow healthily and happily.
We are only going to look at foods with natural ingredients that provide them with the nutrients they need for their growth.
These are the foods every dog parent with a German Shepherd puppy should know about; they offer great nutritional value, the most bang for your buck, and the best food you can get for your german shepherd (or for any large breed dog). And check after our guide on The Best Dog Grooming Shears You Can Get in 2021 – Buyer’s Guide
Table of Contents
List of the Best German Shepherd Puppy Food in 2021
- Royal Canin Dry Dog food for GSD Puppies – Best Overall
- Taste of the Wild High Protein Real Meat Recipe – Best High Protein
- Instinct Freeze-Dried Raw Meals Grain-Free– Best Freeze Dried
- Purina Pro Plan High Protein Wet Puppy Food – Best Wet
- Lucy Pet Formulas for Life – Best for Sensitive Stomach & Skin
The 5 Best Foods for German Shepherd Puppies in 2021
Royal Canin Dry Dog Food for GSD Puppies – Best Overall
Royal Canin are well-known for their high quality dogs foods, and their dry food for German Shepherd puppies live up to expectations. This dry food is especially formulated for german shepherd puppies that are 8-weeks to 15 months old.
The formula is made to be gentle on the puppy’s gentle digestive system while supporting their immune system and the health of their bones and joints with a high protein intake (28%).
The Royal Canin is made from a long list of ingredients that include chicken, fish oil, and brown rice, and has the fat, fibers, and omega-3 & Omega-6 fatty acids your German Shepherd needs in their first year for a healthy growth.
A nice little touche they added is that they designed the kibbles especially for the jaws and teeth of the german shepherd puppy to encourage the puppies to chew on the food, which is important for the puppies’ dental health.
Pros VS Cons
- Designed specially for German Shepherd puppies
- Includes the nutrients GSD puppies need
- Boosts their immune system
- Promotes the health of their gut and digestive system
- Rich in antioxidants and vitamins for bone and joint health
- GSD puppies find it very delicious
- Includes Wheat and Gluten as ingredient (not grain free)
If you have to get dry food, this is probably the best food for a german shepherd dog in their first year. Even though it smells funny to me, my German Shepherd puppies have always loved it and their growth during the first year has always been optimal on it, and there are plenty of similar stories in the positive reviews.
Taste of the Wild High Protein Real Meat Recipe – Best for Active Dogs
It’s recommended for German Shepherd puppies in the first 12 to 15 months to consume diets with less than 30% protein, however, if you have a super active dog, they will need more protein to promote healthy growth and recovery.
The Taste of the Wild Dog food has 32% Crude protein which is more than enough for the recovery and growth of your dog’s muscles.
This food is also made from natural ingredients only and without any grain, wheat, filler, or chemicals such as colors or preservatives.
The food is also easily digestible, which means it’s good for puppies, but I would only recommend it for really high active dogs.
Pros VS Cons
- Grain free, wheat-free, and without chemicals
- Rich in proteins (32%), fat, and fatty acids.
- Made from natural, high quality ingredients (Buffalo, lamb, sweet potatoes, and chicken meal)
- Great for their muscles and digestive health.
- Promotes the health of dog’s skin and coat
- Great for dogs with allergies
- Was recently recalled due to a suspicion in linking certain foods of the brand with heart disorders.
The Taste of the Wild dog foods has always been the go-to food for german shepherds that want the closest foods possible to real meat. The high-quality ingredients, high protein content, and being grain free makes this one of the best options if you have a super active or a working dog.
Note: The chicken meal is a dry product made from a combination of deboned chicken, chicken flesh, and skin. The deboned chicken is then ground down, melted, and cooked to create powder before being cooked again to make dog food.
Instinct Freeze-Dried Raw Meals Grain Free– Best Freeze Dried
If you want to get your dog on the raw diet to help them eat naturally but can’t live without the convenience and time-saving of the kibble and dry foods, then this is the perfect dog food for you.
This freeze-dried raw meal is appropriate for all ages and has 3x the meat content found in an equivalent meal of kibble. It promotes the dog’s healthy digestion, lean muscles, and skin and coat health.
The food is made from 85% Chicken and organ ingredients and only 15% fruits, vegetables, vitamins, and minerals. They are grain free and don’t contain any soy, wheat, legumes, or artificial colors or preservatives.
It’s 34% fat and 36% protein, which means it’s only appropriate for active German Shepherds because this is quite high, which is not surprising given the meal-heavy ingredients.
Pros VS Cons
- Combines the benefits of raw with the convenience of kibble
- Made from real natural ingredients; Chicken, fruits, and vegetables
- Grain free and without artificial colors or preservatives.
- Quite high in protein and fat for a young GSD puppy.
The Instinct Freeze combines the benefits of raw for your dog and the convenience of kibble to save you time and effort while giving your pup the ingredients they need in their dog food.
Purina Pro Plan High Protein Wet Puppy Food – Best Wet Food
If you prefer wet foods, this is probably the best dog food for german shepherds under the age of 1 under this category.
It’s made from natural ingredients only (chicken and brown rice) and is rich in fatty acids to promote the growth of healthy skin and coat and nourish their brain and vision during their development.
Thanks to being made from real chicken, dogs really love the stuff, and you will find you need to really portion it so your dog doesn’t go through more than two cans per day. Thankfully, the 13 oz cans are the perfect size for a large breed puppy.
Pros VS Cons
- Made from natural ingredients and real chicken
- Rich in protein and fat
- Suitable for large breed puppies
- Short Shelf Life
- Not grain free (doesn’t state so clearly)
If you need to incorporate wet food in your dog’s diet, this is the one to include. It’s made from real chicken, not just chicken meal, and while it’s not grain-free, it includes all the nutrients a german shepherd puppy (or any large breed puppy) would need to promote healthy growth.
Lucy Pet Formulas for Life – Best for Sensitive Stomach & Skin
This is the best dog food for german shepherds with a sensitive stomach, skin, or certain food allergies. It’s made mainly from Salmon, chicken meal, chicken fat, and other vegetables and fruits. The ingredients also include some vitamins and supplements.
The formula was designed to support the gut health of your dog, promote a healthy coat and skin, and support their hearts. It’s also grain free
This food also works as a step in the puppies’ transition into solid dog foods so that the transition is gradual and smooth and doesn’t cause them any irritation. Dogs usually need 14 days to complete this transition.
Another reason that makes this one of the best dog food german shepherd puppies can get is that the kibbles are actually small and hard to encourage chewing, which is important for their dental health.
Pros VS Cons
- High quality ingredients (including chicken fat and chicken meal).
- Grain free
- Includes essential amino and fatty acids.
- Can make some dogs’ stool turn soft.
In this case, you should take them off this diet, but it’s still quite rare to happen.
With high quality ingredients, no grain, and no harmful chemicals, this is a great dog food for your puppy if they have problems with other foods, sensitive stomach, or allergies to foods.
It’s of course advised to ask your vet for a recommendation if you have concerns or if your dog shows signs of problems.
How Much Food Does your German Shepherd Puppy Need?
How much should a german shepherd puppy eat is small in comparison with German Shepherd adult dogs. Puppies only need 500 calories per day.
While young adults need between 1,500 to 1,700 calories per day. Full-grown German Shepherds need between 2,000 and 2,250 calories per day.
Senior German Shepherds need about 1,200 to 1,400 calories because their calorie requirements drop as they become older.
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The Nutritional Needs for German Shepherds
German Shepherds are strong and large dogs. About 80% of a German Shepherd body is made up of muscles and bones. They require a high amount of proteins, fats, and other nutrients such as omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids to maintain their bodies and health in perfect conditions.
Here is a list of all of the nutrition needs that a German Shepherd needs.
Because of their active and muscular bodies, German Shepherds needs high amounts of protein in their diet. Protein is responsible for developing strong muscles and burning energy.
A German Shepherd’s coat, which is a double coat, also needs protein to stay healthy and shiny.
How much protein intake does a German Shepherd need?
- For a German Shepherd puppy, they should get at least 22% protein because their bodies are developing and they need as much protein as possible.
- For a German Shepherd dog, they should get at least 18% protein a day. If they are working dogs, then their diet should include 30 to 40% protein.
- Dog food for german shepherds less than 1 week old should not contain more than 30% protein.
These are estimates and you should always check with your vet so they can recommend the best protein intake based on your dog’s size, condition, age, and other factors.
Fat is an important source of energy for your German Shepherd dog and puppy. Fat is converted into glucose and burned for energy, which a dog of a large breed such as the GSD needs a lot of every day.
Another function of fat is that it lets your dog’s body easily absorb vitamins from food and keep their coat long and shiny and skin moisturized; fat also maintains their coat and skin health.
Fat also helps develop joints and bones and can help with digestion. Fatty acids such as Omega 3 and Omega 6 are important for the development of your dogs’ brain and their cognitive functions.
How much fat intake does a German Shepherd need?
The best dog food german shepherds should get is ought to have a minimum of 5% fat. This is based on their activity levels. If they are active dogs, then they should get foods with 12% fat.
While German Shepherd puppies should have about 8% fat.
German Shepherds are a large breed that’s highly active, which means they need foods with a good amount of carbs.
Carbohydrates give your German Shepherd dog or puppy the energy that they need to burn. This happens in the form of glucose.
Also, carbohydrates are burnt to create body heat to maintain your dog’s temperature. This means that your dog’s intake of carbs is higher if you live in a cold place than if you live in a warm one.
The best carbohydrates are those that come from grains such as brown rice, oats, and barley. Foods that contain grain also contain fiber which keeps their guts healthy and makes them feel full.
Also, grain-free vegetables such as sweet potatoes can be a good source of carbohydrates.
How much carbohydrate intake does a German Shepherd needs?
All German Shepherds whether puppies or adults need between 5 to 8% of carbohydrates in their diet. The difference in percentage depends on many factors such as age and size.
As a rule of thumb, the larger or more active your dog is, the more carbs they need in their dog food.
4.) Vitamins and minerals
Vitamins and minerals play an important part in your German Shepherd’s diet but should be kept small in portion.
The best dog food for german shepherds will include vitamins and minerals to help strengthen your dog’s immune system, maintain their coat health, and prevent behavioral problems like aggression.
Therefore, the best vitamins and minerals for German Shepherd is found in vegetables and fruits such as peas and lentils.
5.) Fresh Water
Freshwater is important for all dogs to drink so they can stay hydrated. Always provide your German Shepherd with freshwater and clean their water bowl regularly.
A high-quality water fountain such as this one can help provide your dog with fresh water throughout the day with very little effort needed from your side.
The German Shepherd diet for puppies
1-month-old german shepherd puppy
Other than their mother’s milk, their diet should contain porridge and puppies wet food when they are 3 to 4 weeks old.
At 6 to 8 weeks old, a German Shepherd puppy should be given moistened dry food with water. Learn exactly when to introduce puppy gruel to your dog here.
2-month-old german shepherd puppy
8-week old german shepherd puppies should stop nursing and eat solid food.
From 2 months upwards, you’ve got to decrease the water moistening of the dog of dry food until the dry food is dry.
How much should a german shepherd puppy eat? from 2 to 4 months of age, a German Shepherd puppy should eat from 4 to 5 times a day.
You got to teach your puppy that they get to eat at certain times. There is a method to teach your puppy meal times.
First, put the bowl of food and allow your puppy to eat for 10 minutes. After the 10 minutes are up, take away the bowl. This teaches your puppy the times of the meals.
GSD puppies should eat foods that are higher than that of an adult dog in terms of calories, proteins, and fats.
4-month-old German Shepherd puppy
Between 4 to 6 months old, German Shepherd puppies should eat 3 times per day.
At this stage, you will mix fresh foods such as meat, vegetables, and fish with dry food.
Also, give wet food to your dog in moderation so your dog doesn’t develop plaque and other dental health problems.
Six-month-old German Shepherd
Your German Shepherd puppy should eat only twice a day with an increase in eating frequency and quantity as they grow up.
If your dog has special nutritional requirements of if there are any signs that they may not be getting enough nutrition, you should definitely consult a vet.
Dog Food Types
The most popular is the dry and canned food. Here is a list of the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Dry dog food
A popular food for German Shepherds, it comes in a large amount, easy to store, and doesn’t need to be refrigerated. Also, being available in many different flavors can make things easier as not all dogs have the same preferences, of course.
Here is a list of the advantages and disadvantages of dry dog food.
Advantages of dry dog food
- Maintains and strengthens the dog’s teeth.
- Easy to get and convenience.
- Reduces plaque and tartar buildup.
- Minimizes a German Shepherd’s stress levels and chewing on objects.
- Affordable and easy to take at any time.
- Contains a great amount of carbohydrates that are harmful to German Shepherd’s health.
- Extremely dry and only makes up 10 % of moisture causing dehydration.
- Causes liver and digestion problems.
- Contains preservatives, artificial colors, and flavors
- Doesn’t have enough amount of protein for your dog to grow.
- Your dog may have trouble swallowing it
Canned food is a good option for German Shepherd puppies. It contains 80% water and helps smaller dogs digest the food and consume the nutrients more easily.
- Contains a higher quantity of protein and fats.
- Has a high amount of carbohydrates that are not harmful to your dog.
- Easy to digest.
- Packed with German shepherd nutrition needs.
- Benefits the dog’s urinary tract and functions.
- Doesn’t allow chewing which dog needs and enjoys because it is soft and delicate.
- Doesn’t clean dogs’ teeth because of build up tartar and plaque
- It is expensive.
- Has a shorter shelf life
- Can easily expire under certain conditions such as being put under sunlight.
- Once opened, it is prone to developing bacteria
- If opened and left for more than 2 hours, it should be thrown away
Dry food vs Canned food
Even though many German Shepherds’ parents have difficulty in choosing the right kind of food for their dogs, and this is the same with all dog parents (and cat parents as well.)
Compared to canned food, dry food builds up plaque and tartar in your dog’s teeth, but it is also good for your dog’s bones and muscles and it is more convenient.
Therefore, the key is to find a dry food that is best of quality and is low in carbohydrates and harmful chemicals and additives.
The best recommendation is to combine both dry and canned foods to make the best diet for your german shepherd. You can’t find one food that’s labeled as the absolute best food for german shepherd dog, because what works best for you may not work for me and vice versa.
Other Foods for German Shepherds
Frozen dried food
Frozen dried food is real organic food that has gone through some special processes to remove most of the water so that it can be frozen for storage while still containing the nutritional values of natural foods.
Frozen dried foods aim to bring the best of all worlds to create the best food for german shepherd dogs, and you should probably give it a try. However, keep in mind that it can be expensive.
Organic dog food
Organic dog food contains ingredients that have been grown in a way that doesn’t encourage artificial chemicals.
Tips on getting the best dog foods for German Shepherds
1.) Consider your dog’s activity level
Depending on your dog’s activity levels, they may need more calories, and consequentially, more food.
If they are active and spend the whole day playing around, running, and jumping, or if they’re working dogs, then, of course, they will need more food than if they’re couch potatoes slacking around the house all day.
Dogs with an active lifestyle dog foods that have between 1700 to 2200 calories.
2.) Look for natural ingredients
Look for food that has natural ingredients that contain the nutritional needs that are necessary for your dog.
To find the best german shepherd dog food for your specific pup, you must look into the protein sources such as chicken, beef, and fish in the list of ingredients
As for fats, look for sources like fish. To keep your dog healthy in the long run, consider using vegetable oils. Carbohydrates sources like rice and barley are good for your dog.
3.) Be Cautious of Allergies
Some German shepherds can have food allergies and can show allergic reactions to corn and wheat. Other allergic reactions can happen from food coloring and other chemicals that are used in making the food.
Also, there are some German Shepherds who are allergic to dairy, soy, eggs, chicken, and even beef. If they have allergies to beef or chicken, you can substitute these protein sources with things like lamb instead.
German shepherd allergies symptoms include itchy skin, upset stomach, and diarrhea.
In conclusion, the best dog food for your German Shepherd is one that provides them with all the nutrition needs, doesn’t cause allergies, is of high quality. Also, it must accompany and fit their aging while growing up.
For more information regarding grooming German Shepherds, check Dog Grooming Tips for German Shepherds.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Can Dogs Eat Brown Rice?
Yes, and brown rice is actually good for them because it’s full of natural fiber, carbs, vitamins, and minerals. Brown rice is often included as an essential ingredient in dog foods.
Can Dogs Eat Sweet Potatoes?
Dogs – of any small or large breed – can eat sweet potatoes just fine. Sweet Potatoes are rich in important nutrients, vitamins, and antioxidants.
What should I feed my German Shepherd?
You should feed your German Shepherd dog food that is balanced but rich in protein, fat, and important nutrients. The german shepherd best dog food brands and choices will always have chicken and meats as ingredients and will exclude chemicals, artificial colors, and preservatives.