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Best Diet for German Shepherds: Nutrition, Types, and More!

When I decided to choose a German Shepherd for my first dog, I wondered, what do I feed my German Shepherd, what do they need to keep them healthy, and what do they like to eat? So, what is the best diet for German Shepherds?

The best diet for German Shepherds is a high-quality protein-rich diet consisting of 18-22% protein. They can also derive nutrients from grains, fruits, and vegetables. However, dogs need to ensure they have the right mix of protein, fats, essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber for optimum health.

This article will explore the nutrients your German Shepherd needs, what he can and can’t eat, the various types of dog foods, including their pros and cons. We’ll also cover how much food your dog should eat, how much water he requires, how often to feed your puppy, types of bones to feed, all about treats, and loads more!

To discover the best diet for German Shepherds, read on!

What Is The Best Diet For German Shepherds? Balanced diet with meat, fish, eggs, nuts, grains, fruit and vegetables

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What Nutrients Do German Shepherds Need?

The nutritional requirements of German Shepherds are a minimum of 22% protein during growth stages and 18% protein for adult dogs. Puppies need 8% fat, and adults require 5% fat to meet their energy needs. Carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and water are also needed for survival.

These essential nutrients must be included in a GSD’s daily diet and are involved in all of the body’s basic functions.

Learn More on The Power of Dog Nutrition in this YouTube Video…

Banfield Pet Hospital - Cat and Dog Nutrition

The nutritional content of all commercial pet foods has to follow the guidelines that have been developed by the AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials).

I also found that the MSD Vet Manual publishes dog nutrient profiles. This goes into a ton of detail and even lists all the individual vitamins and minerals your German Shepherd needs (should you wish to read it)! However, these are the main points:

The main nutritional requirement of dogs is protein. Protein has several functions: providing energy, building and repairing muscles, forming new skin, hair, and nail cells, and keeping the immune and musculoskeletal system strong. The amount required by puppies and adult German Shepherds is different:

Growing puppies require a minimum of 22% protein, whereas adult dogs require 18% protein.

The protein is measured on a dry matter basis which means what’s left after the moisture is extracted from the food. 

The second main nutritional requirement for your German Shepherd is fat. Fat comes from protein and provides energy. It is also necessary for the normal development and function of body cells, nerves, muscles, and tissues. Again, the amount required for puppies and adult German Shepherds differ:

The recommended fat content for growing puppies is 8% and 5% for an adult dog.

Your dog will also have different nutritional requirements depending on its life stage, size, breed, activity level, and overall health. For example, an active and growing puppy may need twice as many calories as an adult dog of the same breed. Elderly dogs may need 20% fewer calories than middle-aged dogs.

As a further example, my well-exercised German Shepherd will require completely different nutrition than a lap dog that likes to laze around all day. Lastly, a pregnant or lactating dog will require considerably more calories than that same lazy “couch dog.”

What Is The Best Diet For German Shepherds? German Shepherd eating dry dog food from a bowl

So what are the recognized life stages of dogs? The AAFCO defines them as:

  • gestation/lactation (pregnancy and nursing)
  • growth (includes puppies)
  • adult maintenance
  • all life stages

So that got me wondering, what exactly does “all life stages” mean?

I found that a German Shepherd diet designed for all life stages meets both the nutritional requirements for growth and reproduction and adult maintenance. This diet is therefore suitable for dogs of any age.

One thing to be wary of is that an “all life stage” diet is generally higher in calories, so you would only choose this diet depending on your dog’s circumstances.

For example, if your dog is an adult, inactive, or needs to lose weight, you should choose a diet for adult maintenance. If your dog is a working dog or extremely active, you may choose a diet for “all life stages” due to the extra calories and nutrition.

Different quantities and ratios of nutrients, as well as different feeding rates, are ideal for different life stages.

The Association of American Feed Control Officials

Are German Shepherds Omnivores?

Some people like to think of dogs as pure carnivores. But I’m sure you’ve seen a dog eating grass! And modern dog food often contains vegetables such as pumpkin, sweet potato, or carrots. So, are German Shepherds omnivores?

German Shepherds are omnivores, not carnivores. Dog domestication has resulted in dogs adapting to a starch-rich diet over thousands of years. Their digestive system can process both plant and animal food, and their teeth (molars) can grind down fruit and vegetables.

Whilst protein makes up most of a dog’s diet – the domesticated dog also obtains nutrients from grains and some fruits and vegetables.

All of these are valuable sources of essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Therefore dogs have evolved to become omnivores and have proved that they can thrive on various foods.  

Related: Can German Shepherds Be Vegan? Is a Vegan Diet Healthy?

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What Can German Shepherds Eat?

So now we know what nutrients dogs need; let’s take a closer look at what exactly they can eat. These are the main foods German Shepherds can eat. However, they do come with some caveats, so read on!

Bell PeppersBlackberries
Brussel SproutsCoconut
Celery & CornKiwi Fruit
Eggplant Mango
Green Beans Melon
Lettuce Nectarine
Parsnips Peach & Plum
Peas Persimmon
Potato (cooked) Olive
Pumpkin Orange
Rutabaga Pear
Spinach Pineapple
Sweet Potato Raspberries
Squash Strawberries
Zucchini Watermelon

These are the caveats to be aware of:

  • If a fruit contains pits or seeds, these must be removed as they contain toxic cyanide.
  • Most vegetables should be cooked first to help with digestion.
  • Fruits, vegetables, dairy, and nuts should be fed in small amounts – no more than 10% of daily calories.
  • Although dogs can eat some nuts, they are not recommended due to their high-fat content, which can cause an upset stomach.
  • It’s not advisable to feed raw eggs or raw fish due to the risk of salmonella or listeria.
  • Some dogs are lactose intolerant and can not eat certain dairy foods, depending on how much lactose they contain.

I wrote complete guides to all the fruits and vegetables your German Shepherd can eat where you can find a ton of helpful information. These articles also include the nasty ones to watch out for!

What Can German Shepherds Not Eat?

Many foods are toxic to German Shepherds, and I have listed the main ones in this handy table…

HopsHorse ChestnutMacadamia Nuts
Rhubarb Leaves Salt Starfruit
Xylitol Yeast DoughWalnuts (Black)
Tomato (green)Raw PotatoShallots
CocoaCherriesMoldy food

I found that Pet Poison Helpline also lists tons of other poisonous stuff, including plants, household items, and medications. It is constructive, but hopefully, you won’t need their help if your dog avoids these!

I also wrote an article on poisonous foods to German Shepherds, including one or two hidden dangers that are good to know!

What Type of Dog Food is Best for German Shepherds?

We all want the best for our dogs and want to feed them the best diet for their needs. But, there are so many different types of dog food; which is best for German Shepherds?

The best type of dog food for German Shepherds is dry food, as it is more practical for large breeds. It is also the least expensive, even a high-quality brand. Of course, you can choose to feed other types, such as wet, a mix of dry and wet, raw, home-produced, dehydrated, or freeze-dried.

Most people feed their dogs with commercial dry food or wet canned food, but there are numerous different types, and it isn’t easy to know where to start! These are the main different TYPES of food that you can feed your GSD:

  • Complete dry foods
  • Canned wet foods
  • A mix of dry and wet
  • Home produced diets
  • Complete raw diets

It is a requirement that all commercial dog food be complete and balanced according to the strict guidelines of the AAFCO. Complete means “the food must contain all the nutrients required,” and balanced means “the nutrients present must be in the correct ratios.”

The AAFCO also provides information on how to understand a dog food label. It’s a pretty heavy read but what it means is dog food will be nutritionally labeled depending on a dog’s life stage.

If you choose to feed commercial dog food (dry, wet, or a mix), always check the packaging for what is known as “The Nutritional Adequacy Statement.” This was designed for vets, nutritionists, and dog owners to evaluate the food’s nutritional value to their pets. 

This statement should say that the food meets nutrient profiles established by the AAFCO according to the dog’s life stage or passed feeding tests designed to AAFCO standards. It is the key to meeting all of your German Shepherd’s nutritional needs.

Therefore, when choosing dog food, you should check the list of ingredients and the nutritional content of the food.

High-quality protein sources (beef, pork, chicken, lamb, etc.) should be high on the list, as should quality sources of grains or vegetables and fats.

Vitamins and minerals should also be included. The best quality commercial dog foods will also include additional protein sources, such as fish, eggs, and plant-based proteins, like vegetables, legumes, and grains. 

You should choose the diet that best suits your German Shepherd, particularly his size and lifestyle. Not only is it important to satisfy your dog’s needs but yours as well! I will explain what I mean when we take an individual look at the different types of food you can feed your dog (see below).

Many pet food companies have invested millions of dollars into researching what ingredients contain the maximum levels to achieve a healthy, balanced diet that aids in essential puppy growth and mental and physical development.

So, which type of dog food is best for your dog?

If you have a large breed like a German Shepherd, I recommend dry food rather than wet. Even if you choose a high-quality brand, this will still work out less expensive than canned wet foods.

Let’s look at the popular types of dog foods in turn, which should help you decide the type of food to feed your GSD.

Dry Foods

What Is The Best Diet For German Shepherds? Dry Dog Food (Kibble) in a dog bowl

Dry dog foods are one of the most popular choices. There are two main types of complete dry foods – KIBBLE and COLD-PRESSED DOG FOOD. However, the latter is now gaining popularity in the United States and other regions and is already widespread in the UK and Europe. Cold-pressed food is deemed a higher quality of kibble due to how it is cooked.

So what exactly is kibble? Kibble is dry dog food made either through an extrusion process or through oven baking. The food is made under high pressure and high temperatures. All kibble is made the same way and by using the same kind of machinery. Even high-quality dry foods that use “human-grade” ingredients are made using the same process. 

What is cold-pressed dog food? Cold-pressed dog food is dry food made at much lower temperatures and cooked quickly before being pressed into the desired shape. This unique method means that the food retains more nutritional value, flavor, aroma, and vitamins. All the goodness is retained in bite-size pieces. 

These types of dry dog food provide more nutrients per bite than wet food because kibble contains less moisture. That means you won’t have to feed as much to satisfy your German Shepherd’s appetite and nutritional needs. Dry food may be fed dry, or you can add water to the food to make it into a tasty “gravy,” depending on the manufacturer’s instructions.

If you wish to compare dry food with canned wet food, dry costs less per serving, and there can be less waste as it can be left in your dog’s feeding dish longer, unlike canned. Dogs with dental problems may benefit from dry food as it helps to clean their teeth and gums.

It is the most practical choice for a large dog, especially a German Shepherd. However, dry food comes in all shapes and sizes, so that a smaller-sized variety can be suitable for smaller breeds.

It is also okay to feed your dog a pure dry diet and add cooked meat, fish, or vegetables, and this is exactly what I do! I feed Guru Pet Food which is cold-pressed dog food. You can read my review here.

Although this is a complete and balanced high-quality food, I like to mix things up for my German Shepherd, and I often add a small amount of cooked lean chicken, beef, pork, salmon, or a spoonful of yogurt.

Occasionally she will have a little tinned tuna or mackerel in oil which is also good for her skin and coat. If I add a topping, I always make sure to slightly reduce her quantity of the food to ensure that she is not gaining extra calories.

If you’re new to cold-pressed pet food, check out Only Natural Pet Cold-Pressed Dog Food from Amazon. I like this company, in particular, its “honest promise” to use 100% natural ingredients, sustainable practices, and transparency. They also have a 100% satisfaction guarantee which I always like to see if I’m trying something new. 

Canned Wet Foods

What Is The Best Diet For German Shepherds? Wet dog food in a bowl

Canned wet dog foods contain high moisture content – around 75%. I found some things to be wary of: not every commercially canned food brand provides the protein your German Shepherd needs.

Also, the higher the water content, the fewer nutrients, so your dog has to consume more food to get the nutritional value their body needs.

This can work out more expensive, especially if you have a larger breed of dog, but it may be ideal if your dog enjoys eating a larger portion.

Be wary of lower quality canned foods, too, as manufacturers often add wheat flour as a thickener or add a lot of white rice or other grains. However, a good quality wet food may be a better choice if you have a toy or small breed.

Other advantages of wet food are that it may be more suitable if your dog is a picky eater or if you have a senior dog who may have lost his appetite and who may find wet food more palatable.

There are also semi-moist dog foods; however, they are not as popular as they offer the least nutritional value and can be quite expensive. Unfortunately, manufacturers add substances to preserve the moisture and shelf life, such as sugar and salts.

This means that this particular diet may not be appropriate for your German Shepherd, especially if he is on the heavy side and need to lose weight. Many semi-moist foods are also loaded with artificial colors, chemical preservatives, and chemical flavor enhancers. 

However, semi-moist food may be the best choice if your dog finds it difficult to digest all other types of food. Your dog may also enjoy the meaty taste and find this food more palatable if they are extremely picky.

Semi-moist dog food is also very convenient because you just need to open the pouch (usually resealable) and pour it into your dog’s bowl.

If I were considering this type of food, I would seek my vet’s advice to determine the calorie content of the food and an appropriate daily portion for my dog.

A Mix of Dry and Wet

A third option is to choose a mix of both dry and wet foods. You can either mix the foods in the same bowl or feed dry for the morning and wet for the afternoon feed (or vice-versa). Some owners of medium or large breeds that generally feed dry dog food like to add wet food as a topping or a special treat.

Again, you will need to make sure you’re not increasing your dog’s calorie intake if mixing these foods, and you may need to seek the advice of your veterinarian to ensure that you are feeding the correct nutrition. Should you choose this option, it’s advisable to keep to the same brand.

Home Produced Diet

Some German Shepherd owners choose to feed their dog a home-produced diet (known as home-feeders). This got me wondering exactly why someone would want to be a home-feeder? These are the main reasons I found:

  • They sought alternatives to commercial pet foods as they were concerned about the nutritional value of the ingredients used.
  • They just simply enjoyed preparing the food and strengthening the bond with their dog or satisfying their views.
  • They believe their pets will not like or refuse commercial dog food.
  • A home-prepared diet may be needed to help with a diagnosis (e.g., for a food elimination trial).
  • A home-prepared diet may be required if a dog has a combination of diseases for which no commercial diet exists.
  • They sought comfort as a home-feeder for dogs with a chronic or terminal illness.

There are several drawbacks to the home preparation of dog food. You can do it, but it takes a lot of dedication and hard work, and it may be more expensive than even the best quality dog food on the market.

Home-made diets can provide complete nutrition. However, you need to make sure your German Shepherd gets the right mix of protein, fats, carbohydrates, minerals, and vitamins, which is not easy to do.

If you are going to prepare a home-cooked diet, it’s best to consult your vet or a pet nutritionist certified by the American College of Veterinary Nutrition who has the expertise to customize a healthy diet for your pet.

You can find their directory of professional nutritionists here. This is by far a better option than relying on a dog recipe found on the internet that may not be nutritionally correct.

It is recommended to cook all animal products to kill bacteria that could make your German Shepherd sick. However, if you are a raw feeder (see below), you will likely disagree with this statement. Grains, beans, and starchy vegetables also need to be cooked to make them easier for your dog to digest.

Never add foods that are toxic to dogs. These include chocolate, grapes, raisins, onions, garlic, avocados, macadamia nuts, to name but a few.

Here’s my top article on 34 human foods your German Shepherd CAN eat that you may find helpful.

My final thoughts on helping you decide on whether to become a home feeder would be:

  1. Do you have the time to become a home-feeder?
  2. There are plenty of high-quality commercial dog foods on the market to choose from.
  3. Your dog will require regular health checks to check for any nutrient deficiencies.

Raw Diet

What Is The Best Diet For German Shepherds? A variety of raw meats

From three to four weeks onwards, it’s safe to start feeding a German Shepherd puppy raw food. Raw feeding is based on the principle of feeding dogs the foods that they would have naturally consumed in the wild.

Occasionally, there will be a trend for feeding dogs an all-raw diet (e.g., raw meat, fish, and veg) instead of specially formulated dog food. Still, it’s important to ensure that your German Shepherd gets all the nutrients they need and isn’t at risk of poor health or disease.

There are two important factors to consider when deciding to feed a raw diet to your dog. The first concern about raw feeding is ensuring you provide a complete and balanced diet, which is especially important for feeding a growing puppy.

Like homemade diets formulating raw diets can be difficult, especially if your German Shepherd is pregnant, lactating, or sick, and therefore has different nutritional requirements. It can be challenging to ensure you are not either under or overfeeding key nutrients.

Again, it is recommended to consult your vet or a pet nutritionist from the American College of Veterinary Nutrition first before deciding to feed raw.

The second biggest concern is that of food safety issues relating to bacterial or parasitic contamination. Food poisoning is also a major worry, and the health aspects of feeding raw foods to our pets cannot be underestimated.

If you are contemplating feeding your German Shepherd a raw food diet, you should make sure you are fully aware of the safe and proper handling of raw foods and all the associated food safety issues.

Many raw-feeders will claim that feeding a raw diet has numerous health benefits for your dog, ranging from better digestion, shinier coat, healthier skin, stronger teeth, less disease, and generally living a longer and healthier life.

However, according to the American College of Veterinary Nutrition, the vast majority of the believed benefits of feeding raw foods remain unproven:

No studies have examined differences in animals fed raw animal products to those fed any other type of diet (kibble, canned, or home-cooked) with the exception of looking at the effects on digestibility. Typically raw meats (but not other uncooked foods like grains or starches) are slightly more digestible than cooked meat.”

American College of Veterinary Nutrition

If you choose a raw diet for your German Shepherd, you have the option of either preparing the food at home – or you can purchase commercial raw food products. These range from complete foods, usually sold frozen or freeze-dried, to grain and supplement mixes combined with the raw foods.

What are the Pros and Cons of Each Type of Dog Food?

I have put all this information in a handy table for you as it is easier to compare the pros and cons of each type of dog food and hopefully help you decide on the best diet for your German Shepherd.

Before transitioning your dog from one type to another, you may wish to talk to your veterinarian about the individual benefits and risks.

DRY FOOD More practicable for large dogs

Inexpensive and less waste

It provides more nutrients per bite than wet

Convenient and easy to feed

No need to worry about nutritional deficiencies

No need to refrigerate

Good for “grazers” as can be left in the bowl longer

Can add cooked meats, fish or veg for variety

Can add water to make a tasty gravy

It comes in many shapes and sizes to suit your dog

Great for interactive feeders

It can be good for the teeth

Be wary of poor quality brands added with “fillers” and low-quality ingredients
(including semi-moist)
More practicable for a toy or small breeds

Some dogs find wet more palatable than dry foods

Good for picky and senior dogs

Good for hydration if your dog doesn’t drink much

No need to worry about nutritional deficiencies

Dogs can enjoy a larger portion per meal due to the high water content

Good for dogs who have trouble chewing

Semi-moist may be good for dogs that find foods difficult to digest

It has a longer shelf life than dry

More expensive than dry foods

Be wary of poor quality brands added with “fillers”
and low-quality ingredients

May contribute to gum disease

Watch out for added salt and sugar in semi-moist

There can be more waste if the food is uneaten
MIX OF DRY & WETMay get the best of both dry and wet

Can mix in the same bowl or at separate feeds

It provides a variety for your dog

Adviseable to keep to the same brand

Need to track calorie intake

May require the advice of a vet
HOME PRODUCEDYou control your dog’s food and nutrients

It can help with bonding

Good for picky or fussy eaters

It can help with a diagnosis or healing

Expensive and time-consuming

Need to ensure correct nutrition is being given

Regular health checks advised
RAWYou control your dog’s food and nutrients

Need to ensure correct nutrition is being given

It may be unsuitable for sick or senior dogs

Risk of food contamination

No proven health benefits except for better digestion

Expensive and time-consuming if preparing at home

Regular health checks advised

How Much Food Should a German Shepherd Eat?

The amount of food your German Shepherd needs will largely depend on your pet’s size, activity level, age, and overall health. The key is to make sure you don’t overfeed or underfeed your dog. So, how much food should a German Shepherd eat?

On average, an active adult German Shepherd weighing 70lbs (32kg) needs 1740 calories a day, whereas an active, larger sized German Shepherd weighing 90lbs (40kg) needs 2100 calories a day. In contrast, inactive GSDs of similar weights only need 1272 calories and 1540 calories, respectively.

I would always recommend seeking the advice of your vet if you are ever unsure of what to feed or how much to feed your dog, but you can always refer to the National Research Council’s science-based guide for your dog’s nutritional needs. So, what about puppies, you may ask. How much food should a German Shepherd puppy eat?

On average, a German Shepherd puppy needs about twice as many calories per pound of body weight as an adult German Shepherd. Therefore a mature puppy weighing 45lbs (20kg) needs around 2100 calories, the same as an active adult twice its weight.

When my German Shepherd was a growing puppy, I visited my vet once a month to weigh her and get a quick overall check of her general health.

Also, if you are feeding commercial dog food, your brand choice should have the recommended feeding guidelines on the packaging for both puppies and adults. In addition, most brands display helpful tables or calculators on their websites. Depending on the life stage, these must specify how much food to give per the dog’s weight.

You also need to assess your dog’s activity level. Lapdogs who get minimal exercise may need 10% less than what’s recommended on the food label, whereas an active dog that regularly exercises may need 20% to 40% more.

I have certainly noticed that if my German Shepherd has a lot of exercise in a day, she will eat more. I suppose that’s a bit like you and me!

Working dogs, such as sled dogs or police dogs, may need foods designed for working or performance dogs. These foods have a higher fat content to provide extra calories for their needs.

In addition to this, you may need to make adjustments based on your dog’s health or body condition. Your vet can explain how your dog’s body condition affects the amount of food they need. Serious illness, pregnancy, or nursing can also increase a dog’s energy needs.

How Often Should I Feed My German Shepherd Puppy?

You now know that a growing German Shepherd puppy has different nutritional needs than an adult dog. But did you know they also need feeding more frequently at different stages as they are growing? So how often should you feed your German Shepherd puppy?

German Shepherd puppies should be fed four meals a day between the ages of 6 and 12 weeks. Puppies aged between 12 and 24 weeks require three meals a day, and from 24 weeks onwards, German Shepherd puppies should be fed twice per day.

6 to 12 weeks4
12 to 24 weeks3
24 weeks onwards2

Puppies receive all the relevant nutrients from birth by feeding on their mother. However, it’s safe to begin the weaning process onto a new diet after three to four weeks.

Growing German Shepherd puppies need to take in enough calories, fat, protein, vitamins, and minerals to meet their rapid growth and development that will set them on the right path to a healthy life.

They should continue on a puppy diet until adulthood, which is defined as between 8–12 months of age in small and medium breeds and between 10–16 months in large and giant breeds, according to the MSD Vet Manual.

An adult dog diet, or maintenance diet, contains nutrients suited for pets that have passed their growth stage.

However, you may choose to feed your German Shepherd a puppy diet only for his first 6 months as an early switch to adult food can be done in large dog breeds to help prevent too-rapid growth, leading to bone and joint issues. Many puppy foods labeled specifically for large breeds are formulated to address these issues.

Related: Do German Shepherds Need Large Breed Food?

My German Shepherd was transitioned from her puppy food at just two months old. However, I fed her high-quality food suitable for this.

Most pet owners prefer feeding an adult dog twice a day, although dogs can eat just once daily. Giving two meals a day may make it easier for the dog to digest the food, which helps control hunger and bloat (GDV), a life-threatening condition. I feed my German Shepherd twice a day.

Here’s where you can learn more about bloat in German Shepherds.

Can German Shepherds Eat Bones?

Do you remember the saying “give a dog a bone?” But can German Shepherds eat bones?

Should German Shepherds Eat Bones? German Shepherd puppy with a bone.

German Shepherds can eat bones. They are a good source of nutrients, especially calcium and phosphorus. However, never feed a cooked bone as the cooking causes it to soften and splinter as your dog chews it and can cause injuries or choking. Choose a large raw bone larger than your dog’s muzzle.

Beef or lamb bones are better than chicken or pork bones as they are stronger and won’t easily splinter. Bones can also help to clean your dog’s teeth and keep them strong. Always supervise your GSD when giving him a bone.

The best bone to give to your dog is one that matches their size, as dogs will try to swallow them. Bones should be larger than the length of the muzzle, making them impossible to swallow whole. For example, a large beef shank bone would be just the thing for my German Shepherd, and she certainly thinks so!

What are the Best Treats for German Shepherds?

Many dog owners give treats and snacks. Dog treats don’t have to follow AAFCO standards, which means they may not contain the proper nutrients in their correct ratios. Let’s just say many dog treats on the market will provide hardly any nutritional value at all for your dog! So what are the best treats for German Shepherds?

What are the Best Treats for German Shepherds? Dog treats

The best treats for German Shepherds are those carefully formulated for dogs and contain high-quality, nutritious ingredients. They should be low in fat and calories and free of additives, chemicals, and coloring. Treats should make up no more than 10% of your dog’s total daily calories.

There are some excellent good high-quality treats on the market. However, some can be quite expensive, so shop around.

However, I’m happy to pay that bit more if it means my GSD stays healthy and happy. Willow loves her Guru venison sausages, as you can see from the below photo (only available in the UK). She also enjoys Blue Buffalo Health Bars, which you can get on Amazon or any good pet store.

What is the Best Diet for German Shepherds? German Shepherd with Guru Pet Food - Venison Sausages
My German Shepherd Willow with her Guru Venison Sausages

How Much Water Should a German Shepherd Drink?

Adult German Shepherds should drink one ounce (30 ml) of water for each pound that they weigh every day. Other variables include age, size, activity level, type of food eaten (dry or wet), weather, medication, or lactating. Puppies will generally drink more, despite their smaller size.

Always make sure your dog’s water bowl is filled up at all times and frequently changed throughout the day. If your dog is reluctant to drink water, here are some fun ways to keep him hydrated:

  • Give your dog ice cubes.
  • Make doggie ice-pops.
  • Add water to dry food.
  • Make fun playtime with a hose in the summer.

PRO TIP! Get a dog water fountain such as the PetSafe Drinkwell from Amazon. I like this one as it has two large tiers and even comes with filters.

Do German Shepherds Need Vitamins or Supplements?

You may choose to take vitamins and supplements, but do German Shepherds really need them?

German Shepherds don’t need vitamins or supplements if they are eating complete and balanced pet food. You should only give your dog vitamins or supplements if recommended by your veterinarian to benefit their health and well-being.

Now, as my German Shepherd has been recently diagnosed with osteoarthritis of the spine, in addition to her prescribed medication, she takes YuMove Joint Supplements from Amazon. Her vet recommended these, and they contain Glucosamine and Chondroitin for joint support and easing stiffness.

I have to say I’ve been pleased with how she is doing on them, so if your dog has a similar condition, I’d recommend speaking to your vet.

Do GSDs Need Vitamins or Supplements?
Willow with her YuMove Joint Supplements

Final Thoughts – The Importance of Nutrition

You now know what the best diet is for your German Shepherd. There’s certainly a lot to consider in this giant guide, but I hope I’ve given you enough food for thought!

The best advice I could give you is…

  • Choose a type of food that suits your dog’s life stage and your lifestyle
  • Invest in the best quality dog food you can afford

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