German Shepherds are fantastic dogs – they’re intelligent, loyal, and overall, fun – but they’re also extremely energetic and very strong dogs, which means that they need a lot of high-quality, healthy food for them to live up to their full capability.
Considering the massive variety of dry dog food available, it’s not always easy for someone to find the best dog food for German Shepherds that’s suitable for both them and their dog. Some can be too expensive to be practical, others don’t offer the proper nutritional makeup that a German Shepherd needs.
What Do Shepherds Eat And Need?
Understanding the Shepherd is paramount to understanding what kind of food they need and why they need it.
German Shepherds are huge dogs, known for their imposing (albeit very attractive) size, muscle tone and fur colour. They commonly weigh between sixty and eighty pounds, which is pretty impressive for a dog. Most of this weight comes from their sheer muscle mass.
Of particular importance for Shepherds – particularly when they’re growing up – is protein. If they don’t get enough protein, they won’t be able to develop the muscle mass and tone that the breed is so well-known for.
Furthermore, German Shepherds are known for being some of the most energetic and active dogs on the planet. They need a lot of exercise – a walk or two around the block everyday just isn’t going to cut it. Regular dog chow isn’t going to cut it, either – these bad boys need a lot of nutrition and calories to maintain their body in a healthy state.
One of the cool things about owning a German Shepherd is that you don’t need to spend a lot of time worrying about getting food made specifically for puppies. Since Shepherds are such an active and strong breed, and since they grow very quickly, you can typically switch to adult food when they’re about six months old – as long as you make sure to get a dry food that meets all the nutritional requirements for Shepherds.
These are the basic needs of a German Shepherd.
- A wide variety of minerals and vitamins are required to help German Shepherds grow and maintain their sleek coats and muscular physiques. Nutrients are also necessary for helping them develop healthy cognitive abilities. Shepherds are known for their intelligence and loyalty, but the brain requires nutrition just like any other part of the body and it’s important to get your Shepherd the nutrients it needs to grow up strong and smart.
- A large amount of protein is required by any Shepherds. Not only does protein provide long-lasting energy for their extremely active personalities, but it provides the foundation for them to build strong muscles and a healthy physique.
- German Shepherds need quite a few calories – just about as many as a fully grown adult male, which is roughly between 1740 and 2100 calories a day. Naturally, older or less active dogs will require less, but this is what you can expect to need to feed your Shepherd for most of its adult life.
A good rule of thumb to follow is to remember that German Shepherds need to get at least 22% of their calories from protein while they are puppies. Adults require 18% of their calories from protein to maintain their health.
Growing puppies need to get 8% of their calories from fat, as well. This helps them to maintain energy levels and to grow into healthy, active puppies. Adults shouldn’t require more than 5% of their calories from fat.
Dog Food Ingredients To Look For
It’s important that you know what to look for in terms of ingredients. That way you’ll be able to make a decision that best promotes your dog’s health. If you get a food that’s high in nutrients that comes from low-quality sources of ingredients, then you compromise the health of your dog and the development of a good outward appearance.
There are people who just buy dry dog food after looking at the nutritional makeup, seeing that it is a good source of protein and fat. While this is still better than buying food without checking the nutritional information, your best bet is to make sure you find a food with a good nutritional makeup that comes from good ingredients.
When you’re looking at a type of food that’s high in protein, consider the source of that protein, which you should be able to find on the ingredients list if it’s not advertised on the front of the bag. Good sources of protein should come from whole meats, such as beef, fish, poultry, and other organ meats.
Foods that are made with chicken often contain lots of byproducts and aren’t able to meet the protein requirement for your dog without including lots of unpleasant additives and ingredients that aren’t good for them.
When you’re considering the source of fat, you’re going to want to make sure that the fat source is also healthy. Look for foods that contain fish oil and vegetables that include omega-3 fatty acids; foods that are made with fish as their main protein source probably already have enough healthy fats from the fish alone and should make great food for your dog.
In terms of carbohydrates, you should make sure that the food supplies whole, complex carbohydrates. These are digested slower and thus provide a longer-lasting source of energy and keep your dog feeling full for longer when compared to empty carbs, like those found in white bread. Look for food that contains whole grains, barley, sweet potatoes, or other vegetable sources of carbohydrates.
Also, in regards to vitamins, it’s better to find a food that contains vitamins as a result of the ingredients that are included in the food. Many products add vitamins at the end of the processing period, which is still better than having no vitamins whatsoever, but vitamins that are less processed are much better.
Pro Tips For Feeding German Shepherd Dogs
Your dog needs to get fed properly. Just like people, dogs are reliant on food as a prerequisite for having energy and for growing properly. It’s important that you get the right information and feed your dog properly so they can grow up to be strong and healthy.
Here are a few tips that could help to make sure you know what you’re doing when it comes to feeding your dog.
- Don’t be afraid to ask a professional what knowledge and experience they have with dog food brands. Veterinarians or dog breeders are often able to give the best first-hand advice regarding the brand and quality of dog food that you should buy for your animal – but remember it’s always a good idea to get a second opinion.
- Make sure you do some research online before committing yourself to a brand. See the reviews that other customers have left on certain products to see if they really live up to the standards that they promise.
- Don’t let the price be a huge determining factor in the type of food that you’re buying. If you save money now by buying low-grade food, your dog might develop a serious allergy due to the low-quality ingredients that are used. They might also develop stomach problems. Both of these issues will end up costing you a lot more money down the road, and it’s also important to note that if your dog develops these issues then you’re going to have to end up paying for high-quality food in the end anyways.
- Don’t just buy the food, throw it in a dog bowl, and say “that’s that.” Pay attention to the way your dog treats their food. You should be able to tell right away if they like it or don’t like it. It’s also important that you make sure they don’t develop any allergic reactions or have any other adverse problems as a result of the food.
If you’re unsure about your dog’s reaction to the food, it’s alright to take them to a veterinarian or at least to tell one that you’re experience. Chances are you should give them a different food in the meantime to ensure that their strange reaction isn’t anything bad. However, it’s important that you introduce them to new foods slowly so you don’t end up triggering another allergic reaction or health problem as a result.
Food Recommendations For German Shepherds
Since it’s not always practical to actually go out and shop around for dog food, we’ve included a list of the top dog food brands here. That way you’ll be able to look through several different products and find one that suits you and your dog, without having to go from store to store in hopes of finding one.
Orijen Adult Dog Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
This brand of dog food keeps popping up as the number one brand on various websites, and we’ve made sure to include it here. Despite our recommendation that your dog food contains whole grains, Orijen manages to make a top-notch brand of dog food without any grains whatsoever.
This particular brand is fantastic for adult Shepherds because it makes sure to account for every single nutritional requirement that you’ll find for these dogs. The protein comes from high-quality, whole meat sources, and the food has all the essential vitamins and minerals that your dog might need.
The reason that this food is grain-free is because grains can trigger the emergence or onset of allergies in dogs, and the makers didn’t want to take that risk.
This brand is a bit more expensive than most others on the market but it’s also a bit higher in quality. Each bag should last you about a month if your dog’s only eating two cups of food a day (though this may be recommended by some, it seems based on the size of a Shepherd alone that they’ll need a lot more than that.)
Taste of the Wild Wetlands Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
This stuff is wild, and it tastes like it, too. Apparently, because the dogs love it – this brand is one of the most popular, best-selling foods that you can find online or in person. It brings a nice blend of high-quality food at an affordable price, and for that reason, a lot of Shepherd owners will swear by this stuff.
This type of food is particularly important for people who have older dogs, or who own dogs with sensitive stomachs or skin allergies. That’s because Taste of the Wild strives to use ingredients that are different from the norm; ingredients that don’t cause bloating or allergic reactions to sensitive dogs. Fortunately, you don’t have to pay much extra for this bonus.
When compared to the previous brand, you’re getting quality that’s pretty much the same for about half the price. People who are on any sort of budget should definitely consider getting this brand.
Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet Dog Food
This is a great dog food because it’s suitable for a wide range of dogs at all stages of their lives. This means that you can use Natural Balance for your puppy Shepherd and continue using it as they grow into an adult. Switching brands is often a difficult choice for people as their dogs continue to grow up, which can cause allergies and be hard on both the dog and the owner.
In regards to allergies, this dog food uses limited ingredients so the risk of developing or triggering an allergy when you use Natural Balance is quite low. It’s made locally in the USA and the ingredients are high-quality, so you can be sure that it’s a good food for dogs who have any sort of allergy or sensitivity.
Feeding German Shepherds Conclusion
Feeding a German Shepherd is a very important process that actually requires a fair amount of insight and thought. We have included here the most vital information for someone who is getting a new German Shepherd, or who has recently got one, and who wants to feed it accordingly to make sure they don’t develop any problems.
The three brands of dog food that we’ve listed are among the best that you’ll find anywhere. We hope we’ve made your search easier.