How to Scientifically Choose Food for your German Shepherd Dog?

German Shepherds , a very loving and a loyal breed, require high quality food so they don’t face problems and grow healthy. Here are the tips for the best dog food for German Shepherd.  


What is the calorie requirements for German Shepherds while growing up?

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.

Nutrition needs for a German Shepherd

German Shepherds are a strong, large, and are carnivores. About 80 % of a German Shepherd body is made up of muscles and bones. They require a high amount of protein and fat to maintain their bodies.

Here is a list of all of the nutrition needs that a German Shepherd need.

1.) Protein

Because of their active and muscular bodies, a German Shepherd 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, is made up of proteins so it is necessary to include protein in your dog’s diet. They need a high amount of protein so their coat can grow, shine, and be healthy.

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 as protein as possible.
  • For a German Shepherd dog, they should get 18% protein a day. If they are working dogs, then their diet should include 30 to 40% 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 factor.

2.) Fats

Fats are an important source of energy to your German Shepherd dog and puppy. It becomes converted into glucose to provide energy.

Another advantage of fats is that it lets your dog body easily absorb vitamins from food and keeps their coat long and shiny and skin moisturized; fats maintain their coat and skin health.

Fats also helps develop joints and bones and gives important fatty acids that are needed for digestion. An example of a fatty acid is the omega fatty acids which help their cognitive functions.

How much fat intake does a German Shepherd need?

For German Shepherd dogs, they need a minimum of 5 % fats. This is based on their activity levels. If they are active dogs, then they could have 12% fats.

While German Shepherd puppies should have about 8 % fats.


3.) Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates give your German Shepherd dog and puppy the energy that they need. This happens in the form of glucose.

Also, carbohydrates help make body heat which maintains your dog’s temperature. The best carbohydrates are those coming from grains like brown rice, oats, and barley.

Foods containing grain contain fiber which makes healthy bacteria and makes them feel full.

Also, grain- free vegetables such as sweet potatoes can be source of carbohydrates.

How much carbohydrates intake does a German Shepherd needs?

All German Shepherds whether puppies or adult need between 5 to 8 % of carbohydrates in their diet. The difference in percentage depend on factors such as age and size.

4.) Vitamins and minerals

Vitamins and minerals take a part in your German Shepherd’s diet but should be small in portion.

A diet that consists of vitamins and minerals helps strengthen the immune system, maintain their coat health, and prevents 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

Fresh water is important for all dogs to drink so they can stay hydrated. Always provide your German Shepherd with fresh water and clean their water bowl regularly.

The German Shepherd diet for puppies

1 month old german shepherd puppy

Other than breast 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.

2 month old german shepherd puppy

8 week old german shepherd puppies should stop nursing and eat solid food.

From 2 months upward, you got to decrease the water moistening of 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.

German Shepherd puppies should eat foods that are higher than that of a German Shepherd 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 for 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 leading to many dental health problems.

Six month old German Shepherd

Your German Shepherd puppy should eat only twice a day with an increase in eating time and quantity.

It is also best to consult a vet about the best diet plan for your puppy.

Best German Shepherd dog food types

The most popular are the dry and canned food. Here is a list of the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Dry dog food

Best dog food for German Shepherd: Dry food

A popular food for German Shepherds, it comes in a large amount, easy to store, and doesn’t need to be refrigerated. Also, it is available in many different flavors for all dogs’ different taste preference.

Here is a list of the advantages and disadvantages of dry dog food.


  • Maintains and strengthens 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

Best dog food for German Shepherd: Canned food

Canned food is a good option for German Shepherd puppies. It contains 80% water and helps in digesting of nutrients for puppies and adult German Shepherds.


  • Contains higher quantity of protein and fats.
  • Has high amount of carbohydrates that are not harmful to your dog.
  • Easy to digest.
  • Packed with German shepherd nutrition needs.
  • Benefits urinary tract and functions.


  • Doesn’t allow chewing which dog require and enjoy because it is soft and delicate.
  • Prevents the cleaness of teeth because of build up tartar and plaque
  • It is expensive.
  • Can easily expire under certain conditions such as being put under sunlight.
  • Once opened, it is prone to the bacteria developing.
  • If opened and left for more than 2 hours, it should be thrown away

Dry food vs Canned food

Even though many German Shepherd’s parents have difficulty between choosing the right kind of food, the best dog food for German Shepherd is dry food.


Unlike canned food, it doesn’t build up plaque and tartar in your dog’s teeth, provides strong bones and muscles, and is convenient .

Therefore, the key is to find dry food that is best of quality and is low in carbohydrates and chemicals.

Sometimes combining both dry and canned food is a great option for picky eaters and for getting all the nutrition needs your dog needs.

Other types of food your German Shepherd may eat

Freezed dried food

Made from real cooked , freezed dried food is put through a special process to remove most of the water the food contains. The result is a light and airy food packaged in an air-tight container for later uses.

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 food for German Shepherd

Best dog food for German Shepherd: dog running

1.) Consider your dog’s activity level

Depending on your dog’s activity levels, they may need higher amount of food and calories. If they are active, they will need more food than they are inactive.

Dogs with an active lifestyle will need between 1700 to 2200 calories.

2.) Look for good ingredients

Look for food that have ingredients containing the nutrition needs that is necessary for your dog.


Find protein sources such as chicken , beef, and fish. As for fats, look for sources like fish. To keep your dog healthy on the long run, give them vegetable oils. Carbohydrates like rice and barley are good for your dog.

So you got to find food that doesn’t contain chemicals and harmful substances .

3.) Take care of food allergies

A German Shepherd has food allergies toward corn and wheat. Other allergic reactions come 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 beef. If they have allergy from beef or chicken, you can substitute these protein sources with lamb instead.

German shepherd allergies symptoms are itchy skin, upset stomach, and diarrhea.


In conclusion, the best dog food for German Shepherd is one that provide 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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