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 dog food available, it’s not always easy for someone to find a dog food that’s suitable for both them and their dog. Some are too expensive to be practical, others don’t offer the proper nutritional makeup that a German Shepherd needs.
What do Shepherds 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 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.
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 for German Shepherds 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 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.