5 Best Dog Food for a German Shepherd in 2020

There are so many dog food options out there, so how do you choose the best dog food for a German Shepherd? All dogs need a high-quality diet with no filler ingredients, but the size, age, and activity level of your dog can make a huge difference. For example, a German Shepherd requires a much different diet than a small breed like a Shih Tzu. So, you need to think carefully when it comes to your German Shepherd’s diet.

What Do German Shepherds Need in Their Food?

German Shepherds need healthy food just like any other pup. Yet, they have a few specific requirements since they are a large breed that often has a lot of unique health problems. So, here are some things to look out for when choosing the best German Shepherd dog food.

High Protein

German Shepherds are usually high energy dogs, so they need plenty of protein and fat to live up to their active lifestyle. Most dry dog food brands have much less protein than a dog’s ancestral diet, so the more protein you can find in a food, the better.

It’s also important to note that the ingredients in dry dog food are listed in order of weight before they’re cooked. Unfortunately, meat loses a lot of weight when the moisture is cooked out of it. This means that most dry dog food brands have less meat than you’d think. So, you should look for a food that has real meat as the first few ingredients to ensure that the other items don’t outweigh the meat. It’s also a good idea to only look for fresh meat and meat concentrates as opposed to meat by-products.

Beneficial Ingredients

Unfortunately, German Shepherds are prone to numerous health problems, especially as puppies. German Shepherd puppies have a high risk of developing hip dysplasia, and adult German Shepherds can suffer from joint problems as well. Therefore, it’s important to make sure your dog’s food addresses these health concerns. Many dog foods contain glucosamine and chondroitin to benefit your dog’s hips and joints. You also might want to look for omega fatty acids to keep your dog’s coat soft and shiny.

Always closely examine the ingredients before choosing a food. A lot of kibble brands are packed with carbohydrates that don’t provide any benefits for your dog. This is because carbs are often cheaper, easier to find, and longer lasting. When in doubt, research the ingredients online to ensure that none are controversial.

No Allergens

German Shepherds can also get allergies easily. A lot of them are allergic to common ingredients in dog food, especially grains. Some are also allergic to certain proteins like chicken or beef. Luckily, there are lots of grain-free diets and chicken-free diets to ensure that your dog stays safe. Limited ingredient formulas are also a great choice if your dog is prone to lots of allergies.

An Appropriate Price

Since German Shepherds are a large, active breed, they eat a lot of food. This can make them much more expensive than smaller breeds. So, when choosing a food, you should make sure it’s within your budget. Keep in mind that higher quality foods will usually be more expensive. However, if you choose a more expensive food, make sure it’s worth the price. Some foods will charge more because they claim to be healthier than they really are. So, make sure the price accurately reflects the quality of the ingredients in your dog’s food.

Best Dog Food for a German Shepherd

Choosing the perfect dog food can be overwhelming. So, we’ve narrowed down your search a bit. We’ve select five of the best dog food options for a German Shepherd and analyzed them based on features, pros, and cons.

#1 – Dr. Gary’s Best Breed Holistic German Dry Food

This dog food is made specifically for German Shepherds and other similar large breeds, such as Rottweilers and Dobermans. It can be purchased in three different sizes: 4-pound, 15-pound, and 30-pound. All are priced about average for dry dog food. The primary protein in this food is chicken, but it also includes some fish too. Only the first ingredient is listed as an animal protein, but the food contains 28% protein and 13% fat, which is a little higher than average.

In the ingredients, there is a natural source of glucosamine and chondroitin, which benefits your German Shepherd’s hips and joints. It also has high quality fiber sources to benefit your dog’s digestion, making it easier for large dogs to maintain a healthy weight. It even has omega fatty acids to help your dog’s coat shine, along with vitamins to support immune system health. However, there are a few controversial ingredients included too.

Pros:

  • It’s made specifically for German Shepherds.
  • It comes in three sizes.
  • It promotes healthy joints.
  • It promotes healthy digestion.
  • It benefits your dog’s skin and coat.
  • It promotes a healthy immune system.

Cons:

  • It has some controversial ingredients.
  • It might not be good for dogs with allergies.
  • The kibble pieces are small for a German Shepherd.

#2 – Merrick Grain Free Large Breed Dry Dog Food

This brand is made specifically for large breed dogs, making it suitable for German Shepherds. It’s also a grain-free recipe, which is great if your pup has grain allergies. It can be purchased in a 10-pound or 22-pound bag, both of which are a little more expensive than most dry dog food. However, that’s likely because it’s high in protein, with 31% protein and 15% fat. It also lists animal protein as the first two ingredients. It has both chicken and fish in it, so it’s not ideal for dogs with protein allergies. 60% of this food is made up of protein and healthy fat while the other 40% is produce, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

Additionally, this brand has high amounts of omega fatty acids to make your German Shepherd’s coat shine. It also has glucosamine and chondroitin to keep your dog’s joints healthy at all life stages. For the most part, this food is full of beneficial ingredients with limited filler items. However, it still has a few controversial ingredients.

Pros:

  • It lists animal protein as the first two ingredients.
  • It’s grain-free for dogs with allergies.
  • It’s high in protein.
  • It benefits your dog’s skin and coat.
  • It promotes healthy joints.
  • It comes in two sizes.

Cons:

  • It’s expensive.
  • It has a few controversial ingredients.
  • It might not be good for dogs with protein allergies.

#3 – Instinct Raw Boost Grain-Free Recipe

This food is different than traditional kibble because it’s mixed with pieces of freeze-dried raw food. Raw dog food is generally healthier because it has more nutrients and less filler ingredients. So, this is a good choice if you’re interested in serving raw food, but don’t have the time or money to commit to a completely raw diet. This option is still more expensive than traditional kibble though, and it can be purchased in a 4-pound bag or a 20-pound bag.

Duck is the primary protein in this food, but it also contains chicken and turkey as well. It’s a grain-free recipe to benefit dogs with grain allergies. In total, it has 34.5% protein and 21% fat, which is higher than your average dry dog food. It also lists animal protein as the first two ingredients. It has high levels of omega fatty acids to benefit your dog’s skin and coat, and it uses probiotics to aid digestion. It even has antioxidants to support your dog’s immune system.

Pros:

  • It’s mixed with raw food.
  • It’s high in protein.
  • It lists animal protein as the first two ingredients.
  • It’s grain-free for dogs with allergies.
  • It benefits your dog’s skin and coat.
  • It promotes healthy digestion.
  • It benefits your dog’s immunes system.

Cons:

  • It’s expensive.
  • Some dogs might not react well to this.
  • It doesn’t have a lot of raw pieces.

#4 – Victor Select Nutra Pro Active Dog & Puppy Dog Food

Victor dog food is known for being high in protein for a more affordable price. This particular formula is made specifically for active dogs and puppies, like German Shepherds. It comes in three sizes: 5-pound, 15-pound, and 40-pound. In total, it has 38% protein and 18% fat, which is much higher than average. The first ingredient is chicken meal, which is a meat concentrate that can contain up to 300% more protein than fresh chicken. However, the second ingredient is blood meal, which is a controversial by-product of the slaughterhouse industry. There are a few other controversial ingredients as well.

This nutrient-dense recipe is designed to be low in carbs. This makes it great for active dogs, growing puppies, and even pregnant females. It uses gluten-free grains to help dogs with allergies, and it has fatty acids to keep your dog’s skin and coat healthy. It also has beneficial ingredients that can promote healthy digestion and a healthy immune system.

Pros:

  • It’s affordable.
  • It’s high in protein.
  • It comes in three sizes.
  • It benefits your dog’s skin and coat.
  • It promotes healthy digestion.
  • It promotes a healthy immune system.

Cons:

  • It has controversial ingredients.
  • Some dogs might have reactions to it.
  • Picky dogs might not like it.

#5 – Wellness Grain-Free Complete Health Large Breed

Wellness is a popular dog food brand, and this is a formula made specifically for large dogs like German Shepherds. It’s also grain-free to benefit dogs with lots of allergies. It only comes in a 24-pound bag, which is priced about average for dry dog food. It contains 32% protein and 12% fat, and it lists animal protein as the first two ingredients. Chicken is the primary protein, but it also includes fish, so it might not be ideal for dogs that are allergic to specific proteins.

This formula is also packed with lots of beneficial fruits and vegetables, such as blueberries, spinach, apples, chickpeas, and sweet potatoes. It also has omega fatty acids to benefit your dog’s skin and coat, along with vitamins and minerals to promote a healthy immune system. It even has glucosamine and chondroitin to help your German Shepherd’s hips and joints stay healthy.

Pros:

  • It’s high in protein.
  • It lists animal protein as the first two ingredients.
  • It has beneficial fruits and vegetables.
  • It benefits your dog’s joints.
  • It’s benefits your dog’s skin and coat.
  • It promotes a healthy immune system.

Cons:

  • It might not be good for dogs with protein allergies.
  • It only comes in one size.
  • This brand has had multiple recalls.

Things to Consider Before Choosing a Food

Your dog’s specific needs always come first when choosing a dog food. You know your German Shepherd better than anyone else, so you should be able to choose the best dog food for them. Consider how picky your dog is, how active they are, and if they have any allergies. It’s recommended that German Shepherds have a diet with lots of calories to benefit their active lifestyle, but if your dog is overweight and less active than normal, then you might want to reconsider the food you choose.

A breed doesn’t define a dog, so these are only suggestions for your German Shepherd. Before making that final decision, make sure it’s the food that will benefit your dog the most. Your dog’s diet is one of the biggest factors of their overall health, so choosing a food shouldn’t be taken lightly.

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