Looking for the best food for German Shepherds? You’re on the right page and this post is packed with helpful buying guides and reviews of the 7 best food brands for GSDs.
The German Shepherd stands out as one of the three most popular dog breeds in the United States. Many families love the breed for its thick, black-and-tan coating that makes it extremely stunning. The German Shepherd is also one of the smartest and most hard-working dog breeds.
This dog breed is known to have protective instincts, confident, highly trainable, and loyal which are the characters that make it a popular family pet. If you have a German Shepherd dog breed know they require plenty of maintenance, exercise, and a diet rich in protein. You can also check out our reviews of the best shock collar, best harness, and the best bark collars for German Shepherds in 2022.
German Shepherds’ best dog food is a high-grade wet/dry food that is formulated for an active large-breed dog. Such dog breeds have some special nutritional requirements.
Table of Contents
Review of the best dog food for German Shepherd
Merrick Grain-Free Large Breed Real Chicken and Sweet Potato
This top pick offers balanced nutrition using whole foods derived from reputable and trusted local farmers. This natural, grain-free recipe dog food contained deboned chicken as the first ingredient which is a high-quality protein that helps build and maintain your shepherd’s healthy muscle.
The sweet potato and potatoes are easily digestible carbohydrates to offer sustained energy, omega fatty acids for healthy coat and skin, as well chondroitin and glucosamine for healthy joints. Other ingredients include whole foods such as peas, blueberries (vitamins), apples, minerals, and antioxidants.
Merrick formulas are all manufactured in Hereford, Texas in the US where there are strict food rules in place. Their Grain-Free Large Breed Real Chicken and Sweet Potato is suitable for adult German Shepherds And Puppies.
Initial ingredients (5):
- Deboned chicken
- Sweet potatoes
- Chicken meal
Dr. Gary’s Best Breed German Dog Diet
Are you looking for a nutritionally-packed diet that is holistically formulated for your German Shepherd dog breed? Look no further! Dr. Gary’s Best Breed German Dog Diet is a fantastic choice.
This formula gives quality protection from menhaden fish, chick, and eggs to support your shepherd’s muscle development and maintenance. To ensure your shepherd has healthy joints, Dr. Gary’s dog diet contains New Zealand sea mussel (green-lipped) which is a natural source of chondroitin and glucosamine. It also supports proper connective tissue health.
Large breed dogs, like the German Shepherd, ought to maintain a healthy weight. Dr. Gary’s Best Breed German Dog Diet includes quality fiber and digestible ingredients to support this. Other ingredients in the recipe include a balanced ratio of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids that give your German Shepherd a lively coat.
Initial Ingredients (5):
- Menhaden fish
- Dried beef pulp
- Chicken fat
- Oatmeal brown rice
Instinct Raw Boost is a healthier way to feed dog food. It is grain-free dry dog food mixed with all natural bites of real meat as the first ingredient for high proteins in a single bag. Instinct Raw Boost with Real Duck is gluten-free dog food that is boosted with probiotics to support digestion. The food also includes Omega as an ingredient to help take care of your German Shepherd’s skin and coat.
To ensure your shepherd does not have allergy reactions, Instinct Raw Boost does not include corn, wheat, soy, potatoes, or any artificial colors and preservatives. It is complete and balanced nutrition for your German Shepherd and is available in a range of natural dry dog food formulas.
Instinct Raw Boost with Real Duck is manufactured in the US where there are strict rules for food safety. It is suitable for all life stages and is best for both adult shepherds and puppies.
- Turkey meal
- Egg product
- Chicken meal
Do you want high-quality dry dog food? Victor Purpose Nutra Pro dog food contains nutrient significantly above-average protein and fat proportion and a below-average carbohydrates ratio. That nutrient profile is adequate for all-level activity dogs.
The recipe contains a variety of high-quality fish and meat ingredients including pork, beef, and chicken, plus millet grain (just one). The millet grain contributes to the simple sum of carbohydrates.
However, Victor Nutra Pro’s largest ingredients, such as meat and fish, may make it unsuitable for shepherds with severe allergies or sensitivities. This is because they contain some ingredients that might trigger the reaction. This dog food is suitable for adult German Shepherds and puppies.
Initial Ingredients (5):
- Blood meal
- Whole grain millet
- Chicken meal
- Yeast culture
- Chicken fat
Iams ProActive Health Large Breed
Made in the US, IAMs ProActive Health Large Breed is a dog food that obtains much of its meat protein from the chicken meal and chicken. This dog food delivers huge with balanced nutrition and natural sources of glucosamine to facilitate healthy joints. As such, your German Shepherd maintains a healthy stature all day.
The recipe contains minerals that help build strong dog bones, as well as protein from egg and chicken to build robust, stable muscles. Iams ProActive Health Large Breed is made with L-carnitine that facilitates the burning of fat to uphold healthy digestion.
Other ingredients in the Iams ProActive Health Large Breed dog food include ground whole grain barley, whole grain corn, whole grain sorghum, dried beef pulp, and more! As the name suggests, this dog food is suitable only for adult German Shepherds.
Initial Ingredients (5):
- Whole grain barley
- Whole grain sorghum
- Chicken by-product meal
- Whole grain corn
Are you looking to feed your German Shepherd with the best dog food with a unique blend of proteins? Search no more! Taste of the Wild Southwest Canyon comes with a robust mix of lamb protein, eggs, wild boar, and beef to give your shepherd full protein nutrition with a sweet, meaty taste.
Their patented K9 Strain Probiotics are crafted explicitly for dogs and are added after the cooking process to facilitate viability. These species-specific probiotics ensure your dog has a healthy digestive and immune systems. Other notable and valuable ingredients include salmon oil omega 3 fatty acids that support vision and brain development in puppies.
The formula also contains garbanzo beans that are rich in fiber, protein, and minerals, as well as dried chicory root, and antioxidants from fruits and legumes. Taste of the Wild Southwest Canyon is suitable for adult German Shepherds and puppies.
Blue Buffalo Wilderness Salmon Recipe
Do you need a grain-free dry dog food that is manufactured to satisfy the spirit of your German Shepherd’s inner wolf? Blue Buffalo Wilderness Salmon Recipe might be a fantastic choice. The very first ingredient of this recipe is real deboned salmon making it high in protein so as to build and maintain your shepherd’s muscle mass.
Blue Buffalo Wilderness Salmon Recipe also contains LifeSource Bits which are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. It also includes complex carbohydrates from vegetables and fruits for extra energy. Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids are included to facilitate healthy skin and a radiant coat. It is manufactured in the US where food safety rules are strict, and is suitable only for adult German Shepherd dogs.
Initial Ingredients (5):
- Canola oil
- Lamb meal
- Garbanzo meals
Health concerns of German Shepherds you should know
Indiscriminate breeding has, over the years, led to hereditary diseases like elbow and hip dysplasia, epilepsy, blood disorders, and more. As such, it is vital that you buy from high-standard breeders who are devoted to eliminating these genetic disorders. This ensures that you have a productive life with your German Shepherd.
Here are some health disorders that German Shepherds sometimes encounter:
- Epilepsy – This is a hereditary seizure disorder. While it can be restrained with medication, the disease cannot be cured. GSD with this disease live a normal life, but not under stress.
- Elbow Dysplasia – This refers to a developmental disorder of the elbow joint related bones. The disease is hereditary and can arise in multiple levels of severity.
- Hip Dysplasia – HD is the result of the deformity of the hip joints and is common in most of the large-breed dogs and is both environmentally influenced and genetic.
- InterVertebral Disc Disease – GSDs are prone to degenerative disc disease though some pedigrees appear to have a higher incidence of this problem than others.
- Hemophilia A – This recessive inherited disorder is mainly found in male GSDs and females as carriers. It is mainly due to deficient levels of the factor VIII blood clotting factor and is present from birth.
- Diabetes Mellitus – This disease is similar to diabetes in humans as a result of insufficient insulin production by the pancreas. If diagnosed and treated early with a controlled diet, your German Shepherd can live a long healthy life.
- Bloat – This condition causes the dog’s stomach to release excessive gas. Without instant treatment, the stomach enlarges severely enough to cause death.
- Subaortic Atrophy (SAS) – This hereditary disease is evident in GSDs and efforts are ongoing to reduce or eliminate the condition. Some symptoms include minor heart murmurs.
- Von Willebrand’s Disease (vWD) – This is a hereditary bleeding condition that impacts the dog’s ability to clot blood that is found in both males and females (similar to hemophilia)
- Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI) – EPI is a digestive system disorder that is potentially life threatening especially in acute form. The best thing is that it responds well to treatment. The condition is more common to some breeds compared to others.
Other health concerns of German Shepherds you should know include Oesteochondrosis Dissecans (OCD), Panosteitis, skin problems, Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), Bilateral Cataracts, Cryptorchidism, and Cherry Eye.
What to look for in high-quality dog food for German Shepherd
Most folks feed their dogs processed foods such as canned wet food or dry kibble which contain all the nutrients dogs need to stay healthy. Although domestic dog’s food mainly contains meat, they can get valuable nutrients from vegetables, grains, and fruits. These non-meat foods are a valuable source of vital vitamins.
Quality dog food includes meat, vegetables, fruits, and grains and ingredients that are suitable for your German Shepherd’s digestive system.
Check out these factors:
- Choose New Zealand, Western Europe, USA, Canada, and Australia-made dog foods. These regions have stringent food safety rules.
- Select high-quality protein foods (with prioritized whole-protein).
- Detailed meat-meal and byproduct sources – where the meal/byproduct was obtained.
- No additives such as artificial flavors and colors as they are detrimental to shepherds with allergies.
You should also consider these factors such as foods without most popular allergens like wheat, beef, corn, and chicken. For German Shepherds might develop joint problems, choose foods with chondroitin and glucosamine, while Omega-3/6 fatty acids will help maintain pleasant coat condition, joint health, and reduced body inflammation.
To soothe your shepherd’s digestive system, choose foods with probiotics, lamb, and rice, and encourage your German Shepherd to chew to avoid bloating.
That’s it for now, be sure to check our best dog food for German Shepherd Puppies next. Remember, our reviews aren’t biased in any way and contain genuine info for your satisfaction.
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Hi there! My name is Ben Domb, an owner of two pets and I am one of the co-founders of OurPets HQ. I have several years of experience as a pet care professional in the New England region having spent time in various roles including a stint at a veterinary hospital in Upstate New York, Syracuse area. I am a certified pet care professional and mostly spend my time researching pet nutrition and sharing my thoughts in various blogs and columns. With quarantine and COVID restrictions, I have been spending a lot of time a lot with my dogs and cat and loving it! I also run a small consulting business providing advice to parents on pet nutrition, and especially safe homemade options to try. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org