The type of food you give your German Shepherd is the subject of much discussion among vets and German Shepherd owners.
Just like humans, dogs thrive on good quality food, given to them in the right quantity in a strict routine.
This article will explore the overall dietary needs of a large, active breed like the German Shepherd and specific dog food ingredients that help German Shepherds thrive.
Let’s explore the paw-fect diet for German Shepherds
How Much Food Should a German Shepherd Eat?
German Shepherds are a powerful breed, making them some of the biggest eaters too! As you know, if you have a German Shepherd or are looking to get one, German Shepherds are highly active animals that need a lot of exercise and mental stimulation to be happy and healthy.
Just like any active creature, German Shepherds need a good diet to supplement their activity levels.
Adult German Shepherds weigh, on average, around 60-90 pounds, and their recommended calorie intake per day is between 1200 and 1500 calories.
It’s recommended to feed your German Shepherd twice per day, as you should any dog, separating their daily food intake in half and feeding equal amounts morning and evening.
If you have a German Shepherd puppy, you should ask your vet for recommendations on how to increase their diet over time.
As puppies grow, they need more food and slightly different ingredients than they will as an adult.
What is the Best Dog Food for German Shepherds?
Now, let’s get into what a German Shepherd should eat. There is a vast range of dog foods out there, and many people even prepare their own organic dog food – the choice is yours.
The bottom line is, though, that German Shepherds need a specific balance of nutrients and ingredients. Let’s take a look at the key things a german shepherd needs.
Protein is, of course, a crucial element of any dog’s diet.
Larger breeds like the German Shepherd require lots of protein to keep their bones and muscles healthy and working properly.
While they are growing, these dogs need lots of protein to help build muscle and support their bones.
Believe it or not, dogs are not carnivores. While many people believe that domestic dogs should be given an all-meat diet, this is untrue; like humans, domestic dogs are omnivorous.
They do, however, still require 20-25% of their diet to consist of protein.
What Types of Protein Should I Feed my German Shepherd?
There are plenty of different protein sources for GSDs to eat – and you can vary these either by buying varied dog foods or preparing fresh foods.
Protein sources that recommended for German Shepherds include:
- Meats, such as chicken, duck, turkey, pork, and beef;
- Fish, such as tuna, salmon, and cod;
- Other sources of meat like kidneys and liver.
For the non-meat portion of your German Shepherd’s diet, it is important that you feed them a range of carbohydrates to maintain their energy levels.
High-sugar diets are not good for dogs as it makes their energy levels erratic, as it does with humans – so slow-release carbohydrates are best for your German Shepherd.
Most large breed dog foods contain ingredients such as:
And other typical grains. If you buy high-quality dog food, there should be an indication of the percentage, and type, of grains and cereals, included on the back of the bag.
However, typical “human” carbohydrates such as bread and pasta should not be fed to dogs. This is because they contain high sugar content and other ingredients that are not beneficial for their health and wellbeing.
For a German Shepherd, a high-energy breed of dog with lots of muscle mass, around 20% of their diet should consist of carbohydrates. This will give them slow-release energy that helps them feel balanced and energetic.
Just like humans, German Shepherds need fiber in their diet to have a healthy gut and reduce the chances of bowel issues.
Most high-quality dog foods (especially those designed for larger breeds) will contain the right amount of fiber for your German Shepherd – around 4% of their overall diet.
Sources of natural fiber for GSDs include:
- Plain vegetables and fruits, such as broccoli, carrots, asparagus, green beans, cabbage, apples (WITHOUT seeds), berries, and cucumber, are all healthy for German Shepherds.
- Brown rice, cooked through without added salt.
3. Fats and other essential vitamins and minerals
A German Shepherd puppy needs around 8% fat in their diet, while an adult GSD should have about 5% fat in their diet.
Natural fats from fish, meat, and plant-based oils contain beneficial properties that are great for your dog’s cognition and muscle movement. These fats will also have visual benefits, as your German Shepherd’s coat will have a beautiful shine when they get enough fat and oil in their diet!
Because German Shepherds are a powerful breed of dog, their energy levels will be served well by feeding them dog food that contains a range of vitamins like Vitamin A, B12, and E.
Should I Make my Own Dog Food for My German Shepherd or Buy In a Store?
An increasingly popular trend among dog owners is to prepare their own dog food rather than buying it in a store.
Store-bought dog foods are totally fine for German Shepherds, although it is more beneficial to give them a high-quality version than a low-brow brand.
Most dogs live happy, healthy lives eating packaged dog food with no problems at all.
However, if you do enough research and speak with your veterinarian, a homemade diet could benefit your German Shepherd’s wellbeing.
Fresh ingredients are always better than processed foods. If you opt to make your dog’s food from scratch, be sure to thoroughly research the foods that are not beneficial for their diet and only include ingredients recommended by your vet.
German Shepherds are beautiful, powerful animals with rippling muscles and energy that seem to go on forever.
Feeding them a healthy diet will help them feel better, have balanced energy levels, and ultimately live a long life with you, their loving owner.