What’s the Best Diet for German Shepherds?

If you own a German Shepherd and are looking for the ideal diet, you’ve come to the right place. Proper nutrition is essential for keeping them healthy, so you need to ensure they are receiving all the essential nutrients. In this article, we’ll look at the best diet to maintain your German Shepherd’s optimal health.

Quick facts: Best Diet For German Shepherd

  • ✅ German Shepherds should be fed high-quality, species-appropriate, nutrient-dense food. (American Kennel Club)
  • ✅ German Shepherd puppies should be fed puppy-specific food. (Vet Street)
  • ✅ German Shepherds should be fed 2-3 meals per day. (PetMD)
  • ✅ German Shepherds should be given treats sparingly and not be overfed. (Pet Place)
  • ✅ German Shepherds should be given fatty acids such as omega-3 and omega-6. (PetMD)

Nutritional Requirements

German Shepherds have some unique nutritional requirements that must be taken into account when determining the best diet for them. They need a well-balanced diet that contains proteins, fats, carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins to ensure their long-term health. So let’s look at the nutritional requirements of German Shepherds in more detail:

  • Proteins
  • Fats
  • Carbohydrates
  • Minerals
  • Vitamins


Protein is an essential part of the diet of any German Shepherd. Dogs require at least 18% of protein in their diets, and German Shepherds are known to need more. As carnivores, they need plenty of animal-based proteins in their diet and meals should contain both plant- and animal-based proteins.

Look for human-grade, premium quality protein sources like fresh or frozen meats, organs, eggs, or fish that are free from potentially harmful additives. While grains can provide carbohydrates for energy, too much grain will lead to weight gain in a German Shepherd—so be sure to look for a balanced diet with mostly animal-based proteins.


Fats are an important part of a German Shepherd’s diet as they provide fatty acids, energy, and also essential vitamins. Fats should make up at least 5% of the total caloric intake for healthy German Shepherds. All source of fat used should come from high-quality sources such as fish oil, animal fats (such as chicken or beef fat), flaxseed oil or coconut oil.

Fats have a higher caloric density than proteins and carbohydrates so be sure to regulate the amounts correctly to ensure that your GSD is not overfed. Too much fat in their diet can lead to obesity and other health issues. When feeding high-fat foods it’s best to conduct regular weigh-ins to monitor their weight and adjust as needed:

  • Conduct regular weigh-ins to monitor their weight.
  • Adjust amounts as needed.


German Shepherds require a balanced diet that is rich in carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats. Carbohydrates provide energy for day-to-day activity and can be found in a variety of sources such as wheat, rye, barley, oats and other grains. A quality premium dry dog food will include high quality grains like those listed above. Unlike humans who enjoy processed foods or carbohydrates such as popcorn or potato chips, German Shepherds should only eat the types of carbs found in natural food sources such as grains.

Other sources of carbohydrates that are beneficial to a German Shepherd’s diet include vegetables, potatoes, rice and legumes (like beans and lentils). Sweet potatoes are an especially great choice! They are rich in fiber and vitamins A and C which helps support a strong immune system. While carbohydrates are essential for energy production, too much can cause obesity so German Shepherds should eat them in moderation.

Caloric Needs

Caloric intake is an important factor when it comes to determining what is the best diet for German Shepherds. German Shepherds are larger, active dogs and require a diet that provides the proper balance of nutrients and calories to maintain their health. The amount of calories a German Shepherd needs will depend on its age, size, and activity level.

Let’s explore further:


When it comes to caloric needs for your particular German Shepherd, age is a major factor.

  • Puppies (under 1 year) and adolescents (1-2 years) need more calories than the adult or senior dog.
  • Puppies and adolescents require more food because they are growing and developing at a rapid pace.
  • To ensure your puppy reaches their full potential, feed them puppy food with a higher fat content and specific nutrient balance to support development.
  • For adults, you should feed them an adult formula that will provide enough energy without being too high in calories which can lead to weight gain.
  • Senior dogs may need fewer calories since their activity levels tend to be lower as they age, so check with your veterinarian on the best diet for your senior dog’s specific needs.

Activity Level

The activity level of a German Shepherd will determine the amount of calories needed for the dog to maintain their optimal health. Generally, inactive German Shepherds should have 20-30 calories per pound of body weight per day. If your German Shepherd is more active, they may need up to 35-40 calories per pound per day.

It is also important to note that as your dog ages, their caloric needs may change, and this should be factored into what you feed them.

It’s best to speak with a veterinarian or canine nutritionist to get an accurate assessment of how many calories your dog should eat each day depending on their activity level and current health status. They can also provide advice on proper diet guidelines that will ensure your pet remains healthy and gets all the essential nutrients they need!

Types of Diets

When it comes to feeding your German Shepherd, there are a lot of options when it comes to different types of diets. You can choose from commercial dry dog food, homemade food, raw dog food, or a combination of all three. To decide which type of diet is best for your German Shepherd, it is important to understand the different types of diets. Let’s explore the various types of diets:

  • Commercial dry dog food is a highly processed food made from a variety of ingredients, such as grains, proteins, and fats.
  • Homemade food is made from fresh ingredients and can be tailored to your dog’s individual needs.
  • Raw dog food is made from uncooked meats, bones, fruits, and vegetables.

Dry Food

Dry food, also known as kibble, is the most common type of diet for German Shepherds. Kibble is a convenient and cost-effective option that can provide all the essential nutrients your dog needs. Most kibble contains an appropriate amount of protein and carbohydrates, as well as vitamins and minerals. Kibble should also contain some fiber to help keep your dog’s digestive system healthy.

As with any food, high quality ingredeints are important when it comes to choosing a kibble for your German Shepherd. Look for a diet that has real meat or fish listed first on the ingredient list, followed by whole grains like barley or oats. Avoid diets with artificial preservatives or fillers like corn or soy. Always follow label instructions when feeding your dog to ensure they’re eating the right amount for their size and activity level.

Wet Food

Wet food diets are a popular choice for German Shepherds, as they offer significant moisture content and high-quality ingredients. Wet food is typically more palatable to dogs than dry food, making it easier to eat. However, wet food tends to be higher in calories than dry dog foods, so you need to monitor how much your German Shepherd eats and adjust accordingly.

When choosing a wet diet for your GSD, look for products that use real meat or fish as their primary ingredient. While canned and pouch foods can offer convenience of preparation and storage, it’s often best to feed your dog freshly prepared meals if you can. Additionally, consider adding some fresh fruits and vegetables into your dog’s meal as a source of essential vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants.

Wet diets should be rotated regularly so that your dog gets variety from their diet; this helps ensure they’re receiving all the key nutrients they require for optimal health.

Raw Food

Raw food diets for dogs have become increasingly popular in recent years and have been embraced by many pet owners. The idea behind these diets is to provide a raw, unprocessed food that is high in nutrients and closer to what wild canines would eat.

Feeding a raw diet involves feeding your German Shepherd uncooked bones, organs, muscle meat, and other raw animal products. Fresh fruits and vegetables may also make up a component of the diet. Raw food diets are typically high in moisture content and can be very palatable to German Shepherds. It is important to ensure that your dog has access to clean water when consuming a raw diet as it can lead to dehydration if not managed properly.

Additionally, many people opt for commercial raw dog food as it pre-measures the proper balance of minerals for optimal nutrition for your pet.


Supplements are an essential part of any diet for German Shepherds. They help ensure that the dog is getting all of the essential vitamins and minerals it needs for optimal health and growth. Supplementation can also help ensure that the dog’s coat is healthy and shiny.

Let’s explore the different types of supplements that may be beneficial for your German Shepherd:

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats that are essential for optimal health in German Shepherds. These healthy fats help reduce inflammation, strengthen the immune system and even improve your pup’s waterproof coat. Omega-3 fatty acids also help prevent arthritis and joint problems as German Shepherds age.

These fats can be found in oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring and sardines, but supplements are also an option if you don’t want to switch up your pup’s diet or feed them raw fish. When looking for an Omega-3 supplement choose one that contains EPA and DHA, two long chain fatty acids specific to dietary sources of omega-3s. This will ensure your pup gets all the benefits of these amazing healthy fats!

However, too much of a good thing can be bad—so always talk to your vet before starting a fish oil supplement for your furry friend.


Glucosamine is an important dietary supplement for German Shepherds, especially those with joint or bone issues. It helps to reduce inflammation in the joints and helps to improve the production of joint lubrication. This reduces pain and increases mobility. Glucosamine can also help to repair damaged joints, improving performance and reducing the severity of future damage.

When selecting a glucosamine supplement, look for one that contains both glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin sulfate; these two compounds work together to reduce inflammation and rebuild damaged cartilage in the joints. Boswellia serrata (also known as Indian frankincense) can also be beneficial; its natural compounds can help reduce inflammation in the joints. Finally, look for antioxidants such as Vitamin E that help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals.


Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that play a key role in the health and well-being of German Shepherds. Some research suggests that Probiotic supplements can help reduce inflammation in the gut, improve digestion, and enhance overall immunity. Probiotics can also be helpful in preventing gastrointestinal disturbances, allergic reactions, and weight issues.

In addition to supplements, you should also feed your German Shepherd a diet high in plant sources of dietary fiber to promote healthy gut bacteria. In order to be beneficial, probiotics must be kept alive through environmental conditions such as proper refrigeration or given in the form of a fermented food or beverage such as yogurt or kefir. Therefore it is important to discuss the best type of probiotic supplement for your dog with your veterinarian before giving any supplements to avoid potentially dangerous interactions with medications.

Feeding Schedule

Feeding your German Shepherd a healthy and balanced diet is one of the most important aspects of its overall health and wellbeing. An appropriate feeding schedule is essential for ensuring your German Shepherd is getting the nutrients it needs in order to stay healthy.

Let’s explore the optimal feeding schedule for German Shepherds:


The frequency of meals is an important factor to consider when creating a feeding schedule for German Shepherds. Because these dogs are so large and active, they require more frequent meals than smaller breeds. Depending on their age and activity level, it’s recommended that German Shepherds be fed twice a day: once in the morning and once in the evening. This will help ensure that they are getting enough sustenance through the day, as well as helping to regulate their energy levels—and appetite!

Furthermore, providing consistent times for meals will help get your dog into a predictable routine. When figuring out how much food to feed your German Shepherd at each meal, remember that the amount should be determined by their size, age and activity level.

Portion Size

Portion size is an important factor when creating a feeding schedule for German Shepherds. It is recommended to feed them two meals a day, with each meal consisting of around 1-2 cups of food. Depending on the age and energy level of your dog, this may need to be adjusted accordingly.

For puppies, it is recommended to increase the portion size due to their higher energy levels and need for more fuel in growth. For adult German Shepherds, it is best to stick within the 1-2 cup range and adjust according to your dog’s needs if necessary.

If you find your German Shepherd consistently overeating despite portion control or has difficulty keeping up with their diet plan, it might be beneficial to consult with a veterinarian in order to ensure they are getting all the nutrients they need while still having enough energy throughout their day.


Treats should make up no more than 10% of your German Shepherd’s daily caloric intake. For occasional indulgences, low-calorie treats such as carrots and apples make good options. To avoid tempting your GSD with treats that are too high in calories and sugar, choose dog-friendly treats like small pieces of cooked chicken or beef. You should also pay attention to the size of the treat; large or calorie-dense treats can add calories quickly!

If you’d like to use a packaged treat, look for something that contains minimal ingredients and no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. If you want to offer your GSD something special for a job well done, offering small praise and/or playtime is often enough to recognize their good behavior. Keep in mind that treats are an important part of developing a meaningful bond between you and your GSD!

Warning Signs

It is important to watch out for any signs of malnutrition in your German Shepherd. If you see any signs of thinness or extreme weight loss, it could be a sign that your pet is not getting the necessary nutrition from the food it is eating.

Other warning signs to look for include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Depression
  • Listlessness

If you notice any of these warning signs, it is important to take a closer look at your German Shepherd’s diet.


Vomiting is one of the warning signs that your German Shepherd’s diet may not be working for them. While vomiting can be caused by a variety of factors, diet is often the culprit. If you’ve recently switched to a new food, it may not agree with them and be causing excessive vomiting. If this is the case, you should switch back to the old food until you can find a more suitable option. It’s also important to consider how quickly they are eating their food; often gulping down their food too quickly can cause vomiting.

In addition, if your German Shepherd has been eating foods that contain fillers or additives, these could be causing excessive vomiting due to an intolerance or even an allergy. Make sure to read labels when feeding your pup so that you understand everything in their diet and can avoid ingredients they might have adverse reactions to. Finally, if you have any concerns about your pup’s eating habits or vomiting patterns, always talk with your veterinarian for further advice.


Diarrhea serves as a common warning sign of an underlying health issue in German Shepherds. It can be caused by anything from eating something they shouldn’t have, to a bacteria or virus, to food allergies or intolerances, to other medical conditions. If your German Shepard experiences diarrhea, it is incredibly important that you take them to the vet as soon as possible so they can diagnose the underlying cause and provide appropriate treatment.

In some cases, diarrhea may be caused by something as simple as a dietary change. German Shepherds are known for their rather finicky palates and require food that is high in quality and nutrition. And while it may seem tempting to switch up their diet too frequently, it might actually increase the chances of them getting diarrhea if their bodies cannot adjust properly. Additionally, feeding your dog table scraps and other human foods could also lead to an upset stomach and digestive system issues such as diarrhea.

Weight Loss

Weight loss is one of the first warning signs to look for when assessing the health of a German Shepherd. When it comes to weight, German Shepherds should have a streamlined body shape with an hourglass waist and a slightly raised ribs. If you can’t feel your German Shepherd’s ribs then they may be carrying too much weight.

It’s important to ensure that your German Shepherd is getting the appropriate amount of food for their size and lifestyle. Feeding too little or too much can cause serious health concerns, including weight loss or gain. You will want to find a balance between providing your dog with enough nutrients without overfeeding them which could lead to obesity. A balanced diet consisting of lean proteins and healthy fats along with limited amounts of carbohydrates is the best diet for German Shepherds.

FAQs about: Best Diet For German Shepherd

Q: What type of food should I feed my German Shepherd?

A: It is best to feed your German Shepherd high-quality dry food that is made for large breeds and is specifically formulated for their nutritional needs. Look for food that contains real meat as the first ingredient and has plenty of healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals.

Q: How much should I feed my German Shepherd?

A: The amount of food you should feed your German Shepherd will depend on their age, size, activity level, and any health problems they may have. Generally, German Shepherds should be fed 2-3 cups of high-quality dry food per day, divided into two meals.

Q: What should I avoid feeding my German Shepherd?

A: You should avoid feeding your German Shepherd table scraps, as these can be unhealthy and can cause digestive problems. You should also avoid feeding them foods that are high in fat or sugar, as these can lead to obesity or other health issues. Additionally, you should avoid giving them rawhide chews or bones, as these can be a choking hazard.

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