The Best German Shepherd Diet

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The Best German Shepherd Diet (2)We all know that German Shepherds come with high energy levels; as such, these active dogs will need a high-quality diet that will help to power their large bodies every day. However, it’s also important to remember that puppy food isn’t a suitable choice for adult German Shepherds since this won’t meet their daily nutritional needs. In this article, we discuss everything you need to know about the best German Shepherd diet along with our top picks of the best foods for large breeds.    

What is Needed in a German Shepherd’s Diet? 

Choosing the right food for your furry friend will first require understanding your German Shepherd puppy’s nutritional needs. German Shepherd pups need a diet that’s high in fat, protein, and calories that can help support their young and growing bodies. They should also contain essential vitamins and minerals that ensure proper bone and muscle development. 

High-Quality Animal Protein

Protein is essential for muscle repair, growth, and maintenance in these large dogs. Look for high-quality protein sources such as beef, lamb, chicken, and fish which should make up the bulk of their diet. However, their protein content will need to be adjusted depending on their activity level, life stage, and health. 

Essential Fatty Acids

A German Shepherd’s energy needs can be sustained through fats, which also gives them healthy skin and coat. Some of the best sources of good fats include chicken fat, fish oil, and flaxseed — their diet should also consist of a balance between omega-3 and omega-6 fats. 

Carbohydrates to Sustain Energy

Giving your German Shepherd carbohydrates provides them with dietary fiber and energy. Whole grains such as barley and brown rice, along with vegetables are a great source of carbohydrates. However, it’s important to give these in moderation to prevent weight gain. 

Special Considerations for German Shepherds

Before everything else, dog owners need to understand that German Shepherds have specific needs according to their activity levels, size, and predisposition to health issues. 

Nutrients for Joint Health

Because of their large frame and active lifestyle, these dogs are more prone to joint issues such as hip dysplasia. Giving them a diet that’s rich in chondroitin, glucosamine, and omega-3 acids will help reduce inflammation and support joint health.  

Managing Sensitivities for Digestive Health

German Shepherds are known to have a sensitive stomach, which can lead to a lot of digestive issues. Easily digestible proteins, fiber-rich foods, and probiotics can all help to maintain good digestive health. It’s also beneficial for these dogs to avoid common allergens such as wheat and corn. 

Diet and Exercise for Weight Management

Maintaining a German Shepherd’s body weight is crucial when you want to keep them happy and healthy. Overweight dogs will be more susceptible to health conditions such as joint problems and diabetes. Feeding them the right balance of nutrients, implementing portion control, and giving them regular exercise is the best way to give them a healthy life.

The Best Foods for German Shepherds 

When you want to give your German Shepherd the best dog food, you can’t go wrong with the choices below, all of which are the top choices for many pet parents. 

1. Royal Canin Large Adult Dry Dog Food

Royal Canin Large Adult Dry Dog Food


  • Large breed dog food specifically formulated for big dogs between 15 months to 5 years old, with a weight between 56 to 100 pounds
  • This crunchy dry kibble can be served on its own or paired with Royal Canin wet dog food 
  • With high-quality fiber and protein support for your pup’s digestive health and optimal energy levels
  • Contains precise levels of DHA and EPA to promote gorgeous skin and coat
  • Give your pooch a textured and savory meal when mixed with some wet food

With the Royal Canin Large Adult Dry Dog Food, you can serve up nutrition that’s tailored to the needs of your big boy; it offers a balanced and complete diet that will provide a high nutritional value to help your fur baby thrive and flourish. Using a blend of high-quality fiber and proteins, this dog food for adult dogs is among the best solid foods you can give your canine companion. It also contains DHA and EPA omega-3 fatty acids that can help to promote your pup’s coat and skin health.


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2. Hill’s Science Diet Large Breed Dry Dog Food

Hill's Science Diet Large Breed Dry Dog Food


  • Uses real chicken as its first ingredient, with a flavorful recipe that’s formulated for balanced and complete nutrition
  • Provides a natural source of chondroitin and glucosamine to support healthy joints and cartilage
  • With omega-6 fatty acids and other essential nutrients to nourish the skin and coat
  • Provides an antioxidant blend that includes vitamin E and vitamin C to support good health and immunity  
  • Made inside U.S. facilities with high-quality ingredients without any artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives

Thanks to Hill’s Science Diet Large Breed Dry Dog Food, you can give your four-legged friend the proper nutrition it deserves; this formula features real chicken as its first ingredient, so your pal is sure to love it! This scientifically formulated dog food provides a balanced and complete nutrition tailor-made to support the bodies of large-breed dogs. Using vitamin C and vitamin E, as well as essential vitamins and minerals, this option provides dogs with a grain-free diet that delivers antioxidants and plenty of energy! 


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3. Purina Pro Plan Sport Performance All Life Stages Dry Dog Food

Purina Pro Plan Sport Performance All Life Stages Dry Dog Food


  • This high-quality, performance dog food has been formulated with real beef as its main ingredient, with bison as its secondary ingredient
  • Formulated to optimize oxygen metabolism that provides increased endurance and improves your German Shepherd’s health
  • Made with vitamin A and omega-6 fatty acids to nourish your dog’s skin and coat
  • High-quality dog food that contains 30% protein and 20% fat to fuel active dogs and maintain muscle mass
  • Features amino acids that will support your dog’s muscles, and will help with recovery after exercises 

This Purina Pro Plan Sport Performance 30/20 Beef & Bison Formula Dry Dog Food will play a significant role in fine-tuning your dog’s nutrition whether it zips through agility courses or plays fetch every day. Made with real beef and high-quality bison, it provides increased endurance and optimizes oxygen metabolism while helping to maintain their energy levels through all stages of life. It also contains live probiotics to aid the immune system and vitamin A and omega-6 fatty acids for a luscious coat and skin — its formula offers a 100% balanced and complete nutrition that won’t trigger allergic reactions.     


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4. Iams Proactive Health Large Breed Dry Dog Food

Iams Proactive Health Large Breed Dry Dog Food


  • This complete and balanced adult dog food doesn’t come with any fillers, so you can rest easy knowing your furbaby is eating healthy
  • Provides a natural source of chondroitin and glucosamine for strong joints and bones
  • With 7 essential nutrients that work together to support a healthy heart
  • Protein is sourced from eggs and chicken so your dog will always have firm and strong muscles
  • With real chicken as its first ingredient for a scrumptious meal that your dog will love

If your pup isn’t a fan of raw diets, then try the Iams Proactive Health Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food which delivers a real chicken flavor! Formulated to provide a well-balanced diet, this dry food was made specifically for these large dogs, packed with delicious protein in the form of eggs and chicken for strong muscles. It serves to provide your pooch with antioxidants, chondroitin, and glucosamine, to support a German Shepherd’s joints and bones, as well as its immune health — compared to other commercial dog foods, this option offers lean protein you won’t fin anywhere else. 


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5. Blue Buffalo Large Breed Dry Dog Food

Blue Buffalo Large Breed Dry Dog Food


  • This natural, high-quality dry dog food is made using real chicken as its first ingredient
  • Promotes firm muscles through L-carnitine, while chondroitin and glucosamine support joint health
  • Features LifeSource Bits, an exclusive and antioxidant-rich compound used to support the immune system
  • Made using purely natural ingredients without the use of chicken or poultry by-products, wheat, soy, or corn
  • A perfect option for dogs on hypoallergenic diets and won’t cause skin irritation

The Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Large Breed Adult Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food is every dog owner’s go-to dog food for healthy dogs. Using only lean meats such as chicken in their formula, it’s sure to have your dog wagging its tail as soon as you open the bag. Other supporting ingredients include leafy greens, fruits, and other essential nutrients to promote your pup’s joint health. 

Because this formula for big breeds has been formulated to contain no chicken or poultry by-products, you can expect it to be free from wheat, corn, soy, preservatives, and artificial flavors. As such, you’ll be happy to know that your pup will enjoy grain-free food while keeping them safe from food allergies — these will surely be their new favorite meal!   


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Choosing the Best German Shepherd Diet

Giving your dog a raw meat diet may not always be the right choice, so when choosing food for your beloved pup, there are a few important factors to consider. Below are two key components when it comes to picking the best diet for your German Shepherd. 

Looking at Ingredient Quality

One of the first things to look for is the quality of ingredients used by a particular brand of food. Look for options that provide high-quality sources of protein such as fish, beef, or chicken. Moreover, the food should have healthy fats and a moderate amount of carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes or brown rice. 

Many of the options above offer high-quality ingredients, including Blue Buffalo, Iams Proactive Health, Royal Canin, and Purina Pro Plan. All of these brands have been proven to use good quality ingredients and will never contain any artificial flavors or colors in their products. 

Checking Dog Food Labels

While food labels can be hard to understand and even confusing at times, taking time to understand them is crucial when choosing a good brand for your pup’s meals. Check for labels that provide a comprehensive list of ingredients, including the protein source used as their main ingredient. Avoid brands that use various fillers such as wheat or corn, and steer clear of artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives used in their products. 

These can be harmful in large amounts and may have a negative impact on your pup’s health. 

Feeding Your GSD for Optimal Health

Did you know that how you feed your dog is just as important as the quality of the meals you feed them? Below are a few tips on how you can ensure that your dog eats well no matter which option you choose. 

Having a Regular Feeding Schedule

Feeding your German Shepherd at consistent intervals can help regulate its energy levels and digestion. In general, adult dogs are recommended to have two meals per day. 

Giving Appropriate Portion Sizes

How much food you should give your dog will depend on its size, age, and level of activity. If you’re unsure of how much your pup should eat, make sure to consult with your veterinarian for the right portion sizes. 

Creating the Right Diet Plan

The ideal diet for these big dogs will need to be tailored to their particular nutritional needs while considering their activity level, health predispositions, and size. A balanced diet for German Shepherd puppies will consist of essential fats, quality proteins, carbohydrates, and other essential supplements. They will also need a consistent feeding routine and plenty of water to maintain their vitality and health. 

Luckily, creating a dietary plan is simple enough if you stick to dog food that’s specially formulated for big dogs. Below is a short summary of basic diet plans that can be adjusted based on your dog’s particular nutritional needs. 

  • Puppies: German Shepherd puppies should be given around 1 to 1 ½ cups of dry kibble which should then be divided into 4 to 6 equal meals every day. 
  • Adults: Adult German Shepherds should be given around 2.75 to 3 cups of dry kibble spread over 2 to 3 meals each day if you have a 50-pound dog. For dogs that weigh 90 pounds or more, you can feed your dog 5.25 cups of food each day. 

Finally, keep in mind that German Shepherd dogs will need around 1 ounce of water for each pound of body weight every day to keep them hydrated and healthy. 

Foods to Avoid for German Shepherds 

If you’re looking to give your pup snacks or treats, look for high-protein and highly digestible options; treats shouldn’t take up over 10% of their daily caloric intake to avoid weight gain. Furthermore, dogs should never be fed the following: 

  • Onions
  • Chocolate
  • Grapes
  • Avocados
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Black walnuts
  • Horse chestnuts
  • Macadamia nuts

Lastly, it’s best to stop your dog from eating human food and table scraps since these can cause nutritional imbalance and digestive issues. 


Maintaining the well-being of your dog will depend on how you feed them and the diet you provide. Proper nutrition not only gives your dog energy but will support their cognitive function and growth too. If you’re still unsure what to feed your pup and how much to feed it, speak to your vet for more information.