The Best Dog Food For German Shepherd

by | Jul 28, 2019 | 0 comments

A study by the American Kennel Club shows that Most American families prefer German shepherds. According to the families whose opinion forms the conclusion of the study, their love for German shepherds stems from the fact that their black and tan coats make them more beautiful than other breeds and the wolf-like features give the dogs a fierce look.

Popularly known as the GSD, the dogs have been a favorite for security forces and frequently feature as service dogs in the military and police force. German Shepherds have a reputation as workhorses, and with their love of activity, they need to be fed extremely well as they need the energy.

These dogs also boast a severe commitment to their owners, and their size makes them a formidable foe when used for security. They are highly intelligent compared to other dogs and adding on to that, are easy to train. With their muscular and strong bodies, you need to feed your GSD’s the best dog food choice for German shepherd available.

A study by the National Research Council of the National Academies shows that these large breed dogs have a daily-caloric intake requirement to match their size. However, their daily dietary needs depend on each dog’s level of activity, health, metabolism, and how sensitive the dog is. That said, they need a high-calorie intake ranging between 1740 and 2100.

Keeping in mind that GSD’s are highly active and have a high metabolism, what is the best dog food choice for German shepherd? In this article, we will look at the best dog food for German shepherd in the dry and wet category.

In the same breath, we will also look at the ingredients you should look out for in the best dog food for German shepherd.

Best Dog Food For German Shepherds 2019

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Orijen Original Best Dry Dog Food
  • Delivers a diet rich and varied in fresh, whole animal ingredients
  • Nourishes dogs according to their biological needs
  • Offers a rich diversity of fresh and raw meats
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Eukanuba Breed Specific Adult Dry Dog Food
  • Specific adult german shepherd dog food
  • Has high-quality, animal-based proteins
  • Promote nutrient absorption and healthy digestion
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Royal Canin German Shepherd Dog Food
  • Designed to meet the nutritional needs of purebred German Shepherds 15 months and older
  • Exclusive kibble shape designed
  • With highly digestible proteins
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Purina Beyond Natural Grain Free Ground Wet Dog Food
  • Natural wet dog food, plus vitamins & minerals
  • Grain free and gluten free
  • Beef, chicken or salmon is the #1 ingredient
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Nature’s Recipe Wet Dog Food
  • Real chicken is the #1 ingredient
  • High-quality salmon supplies protein that helps support lean muscles
  • No artificial flavors or preservatives
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But first …

The best dry dog food for German shepherds

Our reason for looking at the best dry dog food for German shepherds and the best wet dog food for German shepherds separately comes from the fact that each has its pros. For starters, most dog owners prefer dry dog food because unlike wet foods, kibble is less messy thanks to its solid state. It’s also easier to clean.

Second, pound for pound, dry dog foods offer the most bang for your buck. Because dry dog foods are solid, they have a higher percentage of dry matter and therefore you require less to feed your dog to satisfaction. While the high moisture content in wet dog food has its advantages, it also means that you get more water in a can than you do solid food.

Third, on our list of pros for the best dog food for German shepherd, is shelf-life. Unlike the best wet German shepherd dog food, the best dry German shepherd dog foods have a longer shelf-life. Dry dog food features a blend of nutritious ingredients and preservatives that ensure your dog can enjoy their dinner for longer.

The longer shelf-life also give you relief as you don’t have to worry about your dog food going bad in a week after opening the bag. Moisture in wet dog food creates an ideal environment for bacteria to thrive which makes wet foods go bad faster.

Last, there’s one area most dog parents struggle with and that is feeding their dogs the right portions. The risk of not feeding your dog the right portions leads to deficiency and more commonly, obesity. Estimates project that approximately 30% of all dogs in America are obese. With dry foods, it is easier to control the portions you give your GSD and therefore help maintain their ideal weight.

Orijen Original Best Dry Dog Food For German Shepherds

Why buy it:

  • High protein content
  • Grain-free recipe
  • Has nutrients that help dogs with bone and joint problems
  • Excellent for picky eaters

So, German Shepherds are highly active dogs and thus require the best quality foods for large breeds. If you want the best dog food choice for German shepherd, Orijen Original dry dog food sits at the top of the list. This high-quality brand of large breed dog food provides you with the exact formulation your GSD needs to perform every day.

German Shepherds require a high-protein food and Orijen Original passes that mark by offering one of the highest protein content in dry dog food. The pack boasts of 38% protein content and only 20% carbs. Of the total content in the mixture, 85% comes from the highest quality animal proteins.

According to the manufacturer, they only use free range animal products and freshly-caught wild fish which offer more nutrients unlike what animals raised in captivity offer. The proteins ensure your dog gets their daily dose of fatty and amino acids to build the lean muscles they need to grow and maintain their strength.

The remaining 15% of the total content in the Orijen Original pack of kibble comprises vegetables, fruits, and other plant protein concentrates. These supplement your dog’s vitamin and nutrient intake while also providing antioxidants.

The WholePrey ratio that the manufacturer uses for this best dog food for German shepherd ensures your dog gets holistic nutrition like they would in the wild. The ratio includes the incorporation of bone meal, cartilage, organs, and fresh meats to mimic what prey would get from a kill.

The Orijen formulation guarantees you a nutrient-dense meal for your pooch bursting with natural ingredients and full of nutritious goodness. Some dogs are known to have sensitive tummies and Orijen manufacturers this best dog food choice for German shepherd with that in mind.

If your pooch has a sensitive stomach, you will want to spend the extra Benjamin’s getting a bag of Orijen Original as Orijen make this dog food from high-quality, carefully-sourced constituents. Orijen Originals is free of filler materials such as wheat and soy and it also lacks any grains. Also, there is no trace of synthetic colors, flavors, or preservatives.

A big health problem with German shepherds is musculoskeletal problems. To address the issue, Orijen Original comes with chondroitin and glucosamine – two nutrients that help maintain and prevent bone and joint problems.

So, if your GSD is a fussy eater, highly-active, or suffers from bone and joint issues the Orijen original best dog food for German shepherd will work wonders. It might be pricier than most dry dog foods, but the quality of products and the nutrition it offers more than makes up for the cost.

Orijen Original Best Dry Dog Food High-quality brand of large breed dog food provides you with the exact formulation your GSD needs to perform every day  

Earthborn Holistic Great Plains Dry Dog Food

Why buy it:

  • Grain-free and does not have synthetic additives or preservative
  • Made from lean red meat to promote muscle development
  • Comes in a resealable bag to keep kibble fresher for longer

Are you looking for grain-free dry dog food for your pooch? Earthborn Holistic is not only grain-free, but it is also free of potatoes which is a rich carbohydrate source and is gluten-free. While being grain-free does not assure you of lower cars on any dog food, Earthborn uses ingredients that assure you of holistic nutrition for your GSD.

Earthborn best dog food for German shepherds boasts a blend of lean red meat as the first ingredient which guarantees your dog an amino acid-rich diet. They use the highest quality protein from bison meal and blend in some egg protein to boost the protein content in every bowl.

The rich proteins help your dog by giving them a healthy foundation and offering optimal nutrition for bone, coat, and skin health. For fortification and to provide vitamins and other nutrients and antioxidants, the manufacturer uses a blend of vegetables (spinach) and fruits including carrots, apples, berries, and peas.

The vegetables help your pooch get some much-needed vitamins E and C to boost their immune system as the oxidants control the effects of free radicals. The Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids aid in maintaining a shiny coat and healthy skin.

Dog owners that have consistently used Earthborn’s best dog food for German shepherds say that their dog loves the product with flavors like fish and bison. Earthborn Holistic dry dog food costs significantly more than other foods, but the nutrition it packs is one reason it features so high on our list.

If your dog has been shedding hair and they have a smelly and loose poop, many reviews show that feeding them Earthborn holistic gets them into top shape.

Earthborn Holistic Great Plains Dry Dog Food Uses ingredients that assure you of holistic nutrition for your GSD  

Eukanuba Breed Specific Adult Dry Dog Food

Why buy it:

  • Breed specific formulation provides optimal nutrition
  • Made with real chicken
  • 3D Dentadefense system that fights tartar build-up keeping your dog’s teeth shiny and healthy

Nothing shouts best dog food for German shepherds like a bag of kibble specially formulated for German shepherds. With most other brands, you can hardly tell when a bag of kibble is specific for your breed of a dog. Most packages are standard with nothing outstanding to help you choose the right kibble for your pooch.

Eukanuba has gone further and made a range of breed specific foods complete with a prominent image of the breed on the bag of kibble. If you own several breeds, this is one brand that is worth looking at as you get kibble with optimal nutrition for your specific breed.

Styles include Dachshund, Yorkies, Boxer, Lab, Rottie, and Chihuahua beside the German shepherd variant.

There is a widespread debate on the advantages of feeding dog’s dry food over wet food regarding dental health. According to popular opinion, dry dog foods are better if you want to keep your dog’s dental health in pristine condition. Research has, however, shown that this is not true.

The only surefire way of looking after your dog’s dental hygiene is routinely cleaning their teeth or visiting a vet.

The same research has also shown that there are dry dog foods that are made with the specific ability to maintain dental health. One of those dry dog foods is Eukanuba dry dog food. This best dry dog food for German shepherd sports 3D Dentadefense – a system backed by scientific research and proven to lower the build-up of tartar.

Eukanuba dog food has the ideal levels of Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids that make your dog’s coat and skin shiny and radiant. The chicken flavor and the taste or real chicken provide your dog with a delectable source of nutrients for your dog to continuously develop lean, strong muscles.

The recipe behind this breed specific dog food boasts a formulation that supports healthy joint development reducing the chance of musculoskeletal issues common in German shepherds.

Eukanuba Breed Specific Adult Dry Dog Food Has the ideal levels of Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids that make your dog’s coat and skin shiny and radiant  

Royal Canin German Shepherd Dog Food

Why buy it:

  • Contains nutrients and minerals that help your German shepherd develop strong bones
  • The blend is breed-specific, providing your German shepherd the best nutrition possible
  • Kibble size designed for the huge size of a German shepherd’s snout
  • Has the most 5-star user reviews by users on Amazon

Do you prefer feeding your precious furry friends premium dog food? Royal Canin has a reputation for manufacturing some of the best dog foods in the industry. While that reputation does not come cheap, the money you spend on this bag of best dog food for German shepherds fades compared to the nutrition your pup will get.

Like Eukanuba, this Royal Canin bag of German shepherd food boasts a perfect blend for growing and adult German shepherds. German shepherds have specific nutritional needs as their growth rate, ideal size, and levels of activity are more than that of most dogs. With this knowledge and years of expertise, Royal Canin has a formula that infuses the perfect nutrients for purebreds.

One of the endearing features of the German shepherd is its strength. The dog has a long and strong snout and this kibble’s design helps GSD’s enjoy and chew the kibble better. The recipe contains easy to digest proteins. If your GSD has a sensitive tummy, this kibble boasts a blend of fibers that solidify the stool, making it less smelly and messy.

A dog’s skin and coat can suffer from feeding them the wrong food. Because of eating the wrong food, your GSD can develop problems including shedding hair, itching, and scratching. The Royal Canin best dog food for German shepherds is fortified with essential EPA and DHA fish oils to promote the sheen on your dog’s coat and boost skin health.

Like Eukanuba, Royal Canin also promotes bone and joint health as it contains vital nutrients namely chondroitin and glucosamine. Royal Canin makes their recipes with the help of pet experts, breeders, and vets to ensure their assortment of ingredients provide your pooch with the ideal nutrients for GSD growth and health.

There are reasons certain dogs need particular formulas and Royal Canin has some of the best breed-specific formulas. Do you want to maintain the health and shine on your German shepherds’ dual-layer coat and avert musculoskeletal issues such as hip dysplasia? Choosing this Royal Canin best dog for German shepherds will help you do just that.

Royal Canin German Shepherd Dog Food A perfect blend for growing and adult German shepherds  

The Best Wet Dog Food For German Shepherds

One of the biggest advantages of wet dog food is that because of the reduction in filler content, they have more protein than dry dog foods. While more protein provides better nutrition for your German shepherd, the lack of fillers to increase the quantity of wet dog food means the price is significantly higher.

If your dog does not need a lot of carbohydrates from grains (most dog’s don’t!), the next best option is wet dog food. Some dry dog food manufacturers may lay claim to higher protein content in their kibble than wet dog food, but most are just fictitious claims.

Another advantage of wet dog food over kibble is that wet dog food has fewer carbs. Because of the lower carb content, wet foods provide the highest protein content and nutritional benefits for your pooch. Experts advise that you always check the list of ingredients your manufacturer lists on their package.

For dogs with sensitive tummies, preservatives can bring more unforeseen harm and costs than you would save buying dry dog foods. If your dog is one of those with a sensitive streak or with allergies, wet dog foods have a formulation with fewer, sometimes even no preservatives.

The problem with many preservatives today is that they are synthetic. It is these synthetic preservatives that you will find on ingredient lists of cheap dry dog foods. If you think about it, the preservatives in use today are unlike your dog would find in a natural environment, and therein lies the reason they do more harm than good.

Purina Beyond Natural Grain Free Ground Wet Dog Food

Why buy it:

  • High moisture content ensures your dog has an additional hydration source
  • Comes in a wide variety of flavors available in a pack of half a dozen 13 Oz. cans or a single can
  • Great for finicky feeders

The Purina Beyond blend of wet dog foods provides your pooch a source of nutritious vitamins and minerals. With a mix of naturally occurring ingredients, the food is perfect for eaters that struggle with kibble and that react to grain-infused foods. Some German shepherds are more active than others and wet food provides them with a high-protein diet ideal for dogs that are always active.

If you are looking for a healthy option for your dog, Purina’s wet food comes with no filler such as corn which may be harmful to your dog. The food has a high moisture content of nearly 80%, giving your dog everything they need in a meal – proteins, water, vitamins, and nutrients.

With animal protein as the #1 ingredient, you have a choice of Chicken, Salmon, or Beef. The variety pack comes with 2 of each so your dog can enjoy a different flavor every day. For energy, each can of dog food comes with additional plant proteins and carbs.

These include carrots and peas for the chicken flavor and sweet potato for the salmon. The beef flavor comes with potato and green bean. The food’s wet state makes it ideal for choosy eaters and the broth adds to the palatability and flavor making even the pickiest eater look forward to mealtimes.

Purina Beyond Natural Grain Free Ground Wet Dog Food Perfect for eaters that struggle with kibble and that react to grain-infused foods  

Nature’s Recipe Wet Dog Food

Why buy it:

  • Human-grade food made specifically for large breed dogs
  • Real chicken chunks mixed in mouthwatering gravy
  • Has insanely favorable reviews from other pet parents

As the most hardworking dog, you deserve to feed your GSD in food fit for an Alpha. Nature’s recipe has one of the best wet dog food formulations available. The manufacturer makes the food from premium-grade products which makes it pricier than other dog foods but also more nutritious and tolerable.

The top ingredient in each can of Nature’s recipe is wild salmon or chicken, both which provide your GSD with the highest-quality fatty and amino acids. Additional ingredients include pumpkin and brown rice and these ensure your workhorse gets enough energy to go through the day without burning out.

They then mix the blend with a savory broth, which makes the food easy to eat, adds a burst of flavor, and hydrates your dog as they have their fill. Nature’s recipe wet dog food is free of corn or wheat reducing the chances of your dog coming down with allergic reactions. The food is so good that when you open the can, the smell and look are reminiscent of human food.

Because the food is expensive, mix it up with dry dog foods that are cheaper to soften the blow on your bank balance. The mixture will not only be better tasting and have more nutrients and vitamins for your pooch, but it will also save you some cash to do other things like taking your dog to the vet for regular checkups.

Nature’s Recipe Wet Dog Food Provides your GSD with the highest-quality fatty and amino acids  

Pedigree Wet Dog Food

Why buy it:

  • Made with real beef
  • Made in the USA guaranteeing the quality
  • Comes in bigger, more affordable cans than other wet foods

If you are looking for a hearty meal for your precious furry friend, the Pedigree wet dog food blends a mix of natural ingredients in a recipe perfect for GSDs. As dog foods become expensive, you need to get the best value for every buck you spend. You also need to find a source where it’s easier to get your cans of wet dog food home.

By buying this pack of wet dog food online, you don’t have to live your house or carry bulky cans. The pack comes with 12 cans each weighing 22 Oz. with more food than regular cans. They make the food with premium ground beef. For additional flavor, the meat blend also has bacon and cheese.

Flavors available include beef, bacon, and chicken flavor, chicken and rice dinner, and choice cuts in gravy. The choice cuts in gravy variant come in steak and vegetable flavor. Some dogs might have loose stool from feeding them wet food alone. To ensure that your dog does not have diarrhea, you can mix these wet dog foods with their favorite dry kibble.

Pedigree’s recipe balances all the ingredients for a mix of a perfectly-balanced diet with a soft texture and flavor your dog can’t resist.

Pedigree Wet Dog Food A mix of a perfectly-balanced diet with a soft texture and flavor your dog can’t resist  

Final thoughts

Finding the best mix of food for your GSD can overwhelm you. Hopefully, this guide will help you choose the best dog food for your German shepherd. As we come to the end of this review, let’s recap how your GSD food formulation should look.

The number 1 ingredient should be high-quality protein from real meat. Whether it is chicken, beef, lamb, bison, or salmon doesn’t matter as long as it is real meat and not just flavor. The reason is so you are certain that your dog will get the essential amino acids they need and that they would get in the wild.

Ideal protein content: >30%

Fat is also crucial as it helps nourish your German shepherd’s skin and coat. Fats also boost cell, muscle, nerve, and tissue function.

Ideal fat content: >25%

Carbs give your dog energy and warm up their bodies. However, dogs don’t require as many carbohydrates as we need.

Ideal carb content: <30%

Ideally, the best dog food should have descriptive ingredient lists so you can tell the products the manufacturer has used. If you find a can, variety pack, or a bag with vague descriptions, chances are that the food is low quality.

As we finish, make sure that your dog has a source of fresh drinking water at all times.

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Amanda Wilson
A licensed veterinarian and a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, Amanda Wilson grew up in a family of biologists and veterinarians from her hometown of Boston, MA. Amanda used to work in an animal research facility in California. However, she had a change of heart after being assigned temporarily to support a big state animal shelter and seeing the conditions of the dogs admitted. She felt that they deserve more love and that first-time pet parents should be well-informed about all aspects of pet parenthood—even the not-so-great ones.

Currently practicing at her own clinic in another city, Amanda lives with her husband and son, as well as their family dog—a Dalmatian named Tiny. Aside from attending to the needs of her fur-bulous clients, she also enjoys teaching young children about responsible pet parenting.