The Best Dog Food For German Shepherd: 5 Reviews and Ultimate Guide

When it’s time to grocery shop for your German Shepherd, the seemingly endless aisles of dog food, upscale brands, and nutrition labels can be overwhelming.

We’re putting those worries on a leash and helping you decide which option is best for your furry friend.

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There are three non-negotiables for every GSD diet: protein, fat, and carbohydrates.

Some breeds of German Shepherd are allergic to chicken, beef or fish, so know your pet’s allergies before making a decision. If they’re allergy-free, one of those three should be the very first ingredient on your pup’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner label.

Speaking of allergies, many German Shepherds are sensitive to wheat, corn, dairy, eggs, soy, potatoes and plant-based proteins so avoid food labels with high levels of the above ingredients.

Vegetable oil is a great source of healthy fat. For a dose of carbohydrates and whole grain, ingredients like rice, barley, and rolled oats are sure to satisfy. They’re also easier on a dog’s stomach than soy, wheat, and white corn.

While it’s important for dogs to consume nutrients like protein and whole grain, figure out exactly what your GSD is allergic to before planning their next meal. It’s better to replace fish with beef than have an emergency vet visit or a massive house cleanup.

We also recommend incorporating dry food into your dog’s diet if she’s been chomping on nothing but wet stuff. Dry food’s hard and crunchy texture removes and prevents plaque buildup while strengthening your dog’s jaw bone and mouth muscles.

Big Dogs Mean Big Stomachs

For large breeds like German Shepherds who seem to have the munchies 24/7, it’s especially important to monitor your dog’s food intake. Because of their insatiable appetites, German Shepherds are susceptible to overeating.

When pups aren’t satisfied they keep eating, even if the additional food isn’t providing them with the extra nutrients their bodies crave. Constant overeating can lead to weight gain, arthritis, and serious gastrointestinal problems.

To prevent overeating, choose a product rich in nutrients that fills up your dog’s belly quickly and effectively.

Remember that buying a brand rich in proper nutrients typically means shooting for a pricier purchase. So stay away from the cheap choice because it’s likely a bag filled with more fluff than fiber.

The Importance Of An Individualized Diet

The “correct” choice will always depend on your dog’s specific nutritional needs.

While most vets recommend a healthy GSD consume between 1700 and 2200 calories per day, the specific amount depends on your dog’s size and activity levels.

If your German Shepherd is particularly active or begins losing weight, aim for a higher caloric intake. On the flip side, if your dog doesn’t love running and jumping and chasing, cut back on how frequently you fill her bowl so she’s less likely to gain weight.

Many GSD owners also worry about bloat and how to relieve their dog of a stuffed stomach. Because German Shepherds are a large breed with deep chests, they’re susceptible to constant bloating.

Bloating occurs when the stomach fills with gas and rapidly expands like a balloon. While it sounds like a harmless discomfort, bloating can lead to severe indigestion, lethargy, and poor circulation if left untreated.

To prevent bloating, ration your dog’s food into two meals per day instead of one big pig out. Also, try and avoid elevated bowls that strain your dog’s digestive process and, if possible, don’t exercise her immediately after mealtime, or even within the hour.

If your dog’s fighting off disease or battling an infection, bump up her vitamin intake. If your dog has an upset stomach, find foods with fiber. Whatever her need, consider a dog food formulated to fill that specific nutritional gap.

Avoiding Artificial Enemies

If you’re especially worried about commercial brands with mystery ingredients and anonymous suppliers, or your dog has a lengthy list of food allergies, consider switching your pup to a homemade diet if you’ve got the time and resources to do so.

Check out these guidelines for making a homemade meal that’s also rich in essential vitamins, proteins, and whole grains. We’ve also linked a video for step-by-step recipe tutorials.

Also remember that your GSD’s meals should be approximately 50% to 70% protein. Some homemade chefs have an easier time fitting that ratio in without artificial flavoring or chemical fillers present in commercial brands.

Overall...

Regardless of individual need, texture or caloric intake, be a health snob when you’re pouring over those nutrition labels. Stay away from brands with unpronounceable ingredients and avoid anything containing “by-products”.

Click here for more information on how to interpret doggie nutrition labels and choose the best brand for your pup.

5 Best Dog Food For German Shepherd You Shout Checkout

Ripping past the pretty packaging, we’re narrowing down a list of our top five choices while digging into what makes each brand special.

**Below, you'll find our more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.

#1. Orijen Original Dry Dog Food

Via Amazon.com

Nailing our requirement for 50% to 70% protein, Orijen contains 85% poultry, fish, and eggs and 15% fresh fruits and vegetables.

If your dog is prone to food allergies, Orijen is made without a hint of grain, potatoes, or plant-based proteins.

If you’ve got a picky eater, Orijen’s fruits and vegetables add a savory flavor that may entice your selective GSD.

The kibble pieces are also smaller than a dime and suitable for any-sized pup.

Finally, Orijen is rich in protein for muscle mass although its calorie count isn’t through the roof. A great option for owners conscious about their pup’s weight and muscle development.

There are reports that Orijen recently changed their formula making some dogs turn up their snouts and refuse a meal.

Orijen also isn’t known for allowing returns, so if your pup has an allergic reaction or, for whatever reason, dislikes the flavor, it’s unlikely you’ll get a refund.

If your GSD is allergic to types of meat, Orijen may not be the best option. Orijen doesn’t only contain one protein, but hints of every protein imaginable from poultry to flounder. It’s likely you’ll find chicken, turkey, and fish in every bite.

Pros

  • 85% protein
  • Great source of antioxidants
  • ​Rich in protein and low in fat
  • Grain free

Cons

  • Possible change in formula
  • Strict on returns
  • Detrimental for dogs with meat allergies

#2. Natural Ultramix Adult Dry Dog Food

Via Amazon.com

Natural Ultramix is great for dogs with a sensitive stomach, weight problems, and skin rashes. The brand contains especially high levels of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, preventing seasonal allergies while supporting a healthy heart and shiny coat.

Natural Ultramix also promotes healthy bones and teeth with high levels of calcium and phosphorous.

The formula contains no artificial colors or preservatives and no corn, wheat, or soy. If your GSD is especially susceptible to food allergies, this may be the choice for you.

Our favorite thing about Natural Ultramix are the real pieces of dried fruits and vegetables adding antioxidants to your dog’s diet and pieces you’ll actually recognize as universally edible.

Some users have reported inconsistencies in quality from bag to bag, although that may have to do with third parties involved in selling their product rather than the brand itself.

Another red flag is that Natural Ultramix contains low levels of alfalfa, an ingredient not typically found in dog food but commonly found in horse feeds.

Pros

  • Aids digestion
  • Supports healthy weight and healthy bones
  • ​Real pieces of dried food
  • Rich in fatty acids

Cons

  • Reported inconsistencies
  • Contains low levels of alfalfa

#3. Royal Canin: German Shepherd

Via Amazon.com

Royal Canin is great for pups with skin conditions. It’s enriched with EPA and DHA, two essential omega-3 fatty acids.

Royal Canin is specifically designed for German Shepherds to support strong bones and healthy joints. Royal Canin also aids doggie digestion with high levels of brown rice and other fiber-filled foods.

Like Eukanuba, Royal Canin is lacking in the protein department. The first ingredient in Royal Canin is not chicken or fish or beef, but brewers rice, a cereal grain by-product.

In fact, there is no fresh chicken or otherwise fresh “meat” in Royal Canin. The brand’s protein comes from chicken by-product meal, otherwise known as slaughterhouse waste.

And unfortunately, brewers rice, the first ingredient in Royal Canin, does not possess significant nutritional value.

Pros

  • Great for healthy skin
  • Designed specifically for German Shepherds
  • ​Rich in fatty acids
  • ​Aids digestion

Cons

  • Lacks protein
  • First ingredient is brewers rice

#4. Taste of the Wild, Wetlands Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Via Amazon.com

Taste of the Wild is a grain-free formula rich in antioxidants and filled with fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats.

If your English Bulldog is a picky eater, Taste of the Wild includes more roasted and smoked fowl than chicken, producing a rich flavor and ebbing away the possibility of a chicken allergy reaction.

This brand is high in protein and low in dog food fillers, the perfect combination for a healthy German Shepherd.

Peas and sweet potatoes in the formula aid digestion and supply your pup with long term energy. Taste of the Wild is also moderately priced for an upscale brand.

If your dog is allergic to yeast or especially susceptible to bloating, I would avoid Taste of the Wild because it contains high levels of brewers yeast.

Pros

  • Smoked and roasted fowl
  • Great source of antioxidants
  • ​Rich in protein and low in fat
  • ​Digestive aids
  • Rich flavor

Cons

  • Contains brewers yeast

#5. Eukanuba Breed Specific Adult Dry Food

Via Amazon.com

Eukanuba is great for your dog’s dental health. It’s infused with a dental defense system designed to reduce tartar buildup.

Eukanuba is also a great source of fiber and aids digestion with a number of probiotics. It’s rich in omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids to support healthy skin and shiny coats.

The first ingredient is chicken, an essential protein for most German Shepherds and, as the name implies, this brand is specifically designed for the needs of GSDs.

The formula focuses on maintaining muscle mass and supporting healthy joints.

Eukanuba also contains chicken by-product meal which has 300% more protein than fresh chicken. On the flip side, Chicken by-product meal is made from whatever is left of a slaughtered chicken after the prime cuts have been removed.

Really, it’s a fancy word for the undesirable “left-over” chicken bits.

Eukanuba also contains corn meal, a cheap cereal with only moderate nutritional value. Some GSDs have allergies or aversions to corn so we don’t recommend high levels of this particular ingredient for especially sensitive pups.

Unfortunately, Eukanuba also contains considerably less protein than brands like Orijen and higher levels of fat and carbohydrates. Recent formulas also contain higher levels of rice than chicken, further lowering the protein percentage.

It should also be noted that Eukanuba contains sodium hexametaphosphate which contains almost no nutritional value.

Pros

  • Great for dental health
  • Great source of fiber
  • ​Rich in fatty acids and probiotics
  • ​Designed specifically for German Shepherds
  • Supports development of muscle mass/healthy joints

Cons

  • Contains chicken by- product
  • Contains corn meal
  • ​Has considerably less protein than competing brands
  • ​Higher levels of fat and carbohydrates
  • Contains sodium hexametaphosphate

Conclusion

Via Amazon.com

The ultimate winner of this roundup is Orijen Original Dry Dog Food!

Reading Orijen’s nutrition label is intoxicating for a health-nut. Filled with fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, fresh turkey, chicken and fish meat, you understand what’s going into your dog’s body even if she doesn’t

Orijen has the least amount of food fillers and a strong variety of recognizable ingredients in every bite, from eggs to dairy, fresh fruit to fish and poultry, Orijen satisfies every GSD’s need for protein, vegetables, healthy fats, and antioxidants.

This core nutritional value prevents bloating, overeating, malnutrition, weight fluctuation and any other doggie issue that often arises from an improper diet.

Orijen also avoids corn and grain-based products that sometimes prompt allergic reactions.

Natural Ultramix came in a close second with excellent nutritional ratings and recognizable chunks of fruits and vegetables that mimic nourishing homemade meals.

For questions or suggestions, please feel free to let us know in the comments section and we’ll do our best to reply to them as soon as possible. You can also share this article if you liked it!

June Frazier
 

Hello, Everyone! My name is June, and I live in North Dakota with my dog, Toby.Dogs are my passion, which had led me to dedicate my life to caring for and training dogs, a life that I began to lead as soon as I graduated high school. With a wealth of knowledge to pass on, I decided to make this blog and share my experience with my fellow dog lovers!

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