If you are new to the German Shepherd dog world, you might be confused about what to feed your dog. To make it simple, GSDs are carnivores, and they need proteins mainly. But to cut the cost and also to give them sufficient energy, carbs, and other vegetables are also essential. Besides quality foods, the training, quality rest, and beds for german shepherds are also essential.
This post will take you through different types of dog foods that you can feed your German Shepherd dog.
German Shepherd Puppy Diet
Best dog food for GSD puppy is high in calories, protein, and fats. This is because German Shepherd puppies need more nutrients for their growth and development.
For puppies just 1-month-old, you should give them wet food of porridge consistency.
When they turn 2 months old, you can give them dry kibbles or canned food. At this age, they will eat 4-5 times a day. So you should make the food available on time.
For puppies, I never recommend feeding them raw food. If you’re giving kibbles, it’s fine but if you are preparing food at home, always cook it first.
German Shepherd Adult Diet
A GSD is considered an adult at about 18-24 months of age.
An adult GSD will also need lots of calories and proteins to keep pace with their daily workload.
But protein and fat for adults will be a little lower than puppies. This is because your GSD is now fully grown, and excess proteins and fats will just make him obese.
You can give them kibbles of any size and also foods that you prepare at home.
But keep in mind, adult GSDs might develop stomach issues, flatulence, and other allergies. So chose ingredients in dog food that helps prevent these issues.
7 Types of German Shepherd Dog Food
1. Dry Dog Food – Kibbles
Dry dog foods, also known as kibbles, are the most popular dog foods in the German Shepherd world.
It has just 10% moisture content, and that makes it easier to store. You can serve once, and your dogs can eat throughout the day without worrying about decomposition and contamination.
These foods come in various sizes, flavors, and formula. So, whether you have a GSD puppy or a senior dog, you can find the right food easily.
2. Wet Dog Food – Canned
Wet canned food is probably the best dog food for GSD puppy. It contains 80% water, and that makes it easy to swallow and digest.
Adult GSD can also eat wet foods, but the only problem is you need to refrigerate it always.
You cannot keep the food throughout the day in your dog’s feeding bowl as it’s prone to decomposition and contamination.
The best part is most dogs prefer this food over dry kibbles.
3. Semi – Moist Dog Food
Semi-moist dog food can be a good option if your dog is struggling with chewing kibbles.
It has a moisture content of 60-65% so it can be easily digested.
The worst part is most semi-moist dog foods have high sugar and salt levels. I also found toxic additives and preservatives in such foods.
It’s best not to feed this food to a GSD. But if you do so, look for well known and premium brands with minimum salt and sugar levels.
4. Organic Dog Food
You can get organic dog foods in the form of kibbles, canned, and even freeze-dried forms.
Feeding organic foods to GSD is the best way to go, but the cost factor is a big limitation for most dog owners.
You can also make homemade organic dog food. But in that case, you need to know the exact ingredients and their amount to make a healthy diet.
5. Dehydrated Dog Food
Dehydrated dog foods are best for dog owners who constantly move or live in a natural disaster-prone region.
The food is made from raw ingredients and dried in hot air to remove the moisture in it.
This increases the shelf life of the food and can be stored without refrigeration for years.
While I don’t recommend this food for normal dog owners who have access to all kinds of dog food, this is a great meat-based food option for GSDs nonetheless.
6. Frozen-Then-Thawed Food
For highly active GSD, freeze-then-thawed dog foods can be a great option.
Basically, you are getting real meat with minimal processing.
This dog food comes in frozen for, so you need to refrigerate it always. You can add some of this food to your regular kibbles or canned foods for increasing the protein level of your dog’s diet.
7. Freeze-Dried Dog Food
Freeze-dried dog food is similar to dehydrated dog food. The only difference is cold air is used to remove the moisture in the food.
It’s not readily available, but there are many brands who sell it online these days.
This food also has a longer shelf life and can last for years if stored in an airtight container.
Ingredients in GSD Food
The main ingredient in a GSD dog food must always be a named meat protein like chicken, beef, fish, lamb, or turkey.
Meat meals are also great for additional protein as these are concentrated form of meat.
For GSD puppies, 22% protein and for adult GSD 18% protein is needed.
Fats will give lots of energy to your active GSD. Healthy sources of fat include chicken fat, flaxseed, fish oils, duck fat, sunflower oils, and canola oil.
You should avoid any fat that comes from tallow or lard.
Highly Digestible Carbs
To feed your GSD grains or no grains is a totally different discussion altogether. But you need carbs for more energy and aiding in food digestion.
Sweet potatoes, peas, beet pulp, and other vegetables are good sources of carbs.
Vitamins and Minerals
Commercial dog foods have added vitamins and minerals suited for your GSD. Vegetables and fruits can also provide healthy vitamins and minerals.
Omega-3 Food Sources
Omega-3 fatty acid will help your GSD gain healthy skin and coat. This is a compulsory ingredient overlooked by dog owners.
Foods ingredients like fish, flaxseeds, and hemp oil are packed with omega-3s.
Proper Calcium to Phosphorus Ratio
The calcium to phosphorus ratio in German Shepherd dog food must be 1.2 parts of calcium to 1 part phosphorus.
Deficiency or excess of this ratio can lead to painful bone spurs.
Now that you know what dog foods you can feed your GSD, it’s time to pick one and research different brands and dog food reviews.