According to the American Kennel Club, the German Shepherd is the second most popular dog breed in the United States, with the venerable Labrador being the first. Of course, their popularity is well-deserved. German Shepherds are some of the most loyal, confident, and lovable dogs around.
As with all dogs, people who have German Shepherds want to make sure they are well taken care of and have everything they need to live a long, happy life. Quality food will give your dog the best experience possible, so many owners try and find the best dog food for German Shepherds.
Fortunately, feeding your German Shepherd quality dog food and vet-recommended dog food is relatively easy. Here's what the best dog food for German Shepherds is and how you can differentiate good food from kibble that leaves a lot to be desired nutritionally.
The Best Dog Food For German Shepherds
The best dog foods for German Shepherds are high in protein, rich in essential fatty acids, and highly digestible. Since German Shepherds are large dogs, it's vital to get food specially formulated for large breeds.
What you feed a 10 week old German Shepherd is different than what you would feed a healthy German Shepherd adult dog. Unfortunately, German Shepherd puppies are at a higher risk of developing a condition called hip dysplasia. This painful condition results in the hip joints grinding instead of sliding smoothly. Over time, the dog will eventually lose full use of their joint, thereby leading a significantly diminished quality of life.
Genetics causes hip dysplasia, but food plays a significant role in how problematic this disease becomes. Many of the issues with this condition arise as the dog grows from a puppy to an adult. Additional weight and lousy nutrition can exacerbate this condition. With the right food that's full of nutrition, puppies can grow in a manner that minimizes the ill-effects of hip dysplasia.
Therefore, when buying dog food, the best dog food for German Shepherds will have a label on it, signifying whether or not it's acceptable for puppies as well.
With all that said, here are three foods that consistently receive high marks from owners and reviewers as the best dog foods for German Shepherds.
- Dr. Gary's Best Breed German Dog Diet Food. This dog food is consistently ranked highly for its high protein content, fantastic digestibility, and its ingredients that promote joint health. At its core, it contains chicken and menhaden fish as proteins. It also has lots of fiber, minerals, and vitamins to improve overall health. This food is for all German Shepherd dogs.
- Royal Canin German Shepherd Adult Dry Dog Food. This product is specifically for German Shepherd adult dogs over 15 months old. It contains ingredients tailormade for these dogs to promote digestive and skin health.
- American Journey Salmon & Brown Rice Protein First Recipe Dry Dog Food. This dog food works well for German Shepherds in all stages of their life. It's also one of the rarer dog foods based on salmon as opposed to chicken or some other more common protein. Therefore, if your German Shepherd has stomach issues, this is a food you might want to try!
What Makes German Shepherd Food Good Or Bad?
Imagine for a moment when you're at the store and looking at various dog foods. Each bag is shiny, it has writing extolling its benefits, and it seems like it would be something your dog would like. It can be challenging figuring out what the best food for your dog is. Fortunately, all dog food, by law, must have its nutritional content spelled out, so you can read that to see if a food is good or bad.
When reading the nutritional label, look for at least 18% protein content for adults and 22% for puppies. For example, Dr. Gary's dog food has 25% protein, which is well above the minimums that you would want to see. Look for foods with as few artificial colors or preservatives as possible. Your German Shepherd might be okay with these, but there's also a chance that your pet will have digestive issues with these additives. You're also going to want some fat, but not a lot of fat. A fat-to-protein ratio of 50%-60% works out well.
All dog food sold must be nutritionally complete, so there is no "bad" dog food in the sense that it will cause significant health problems if you give it to them. However, problematic dog foods may have more fat, more preservatives, and less protein than other brands. One meal won't cause issues, of course, but over a lifetime, these issues of quality may reduce your dog's life expectancy.
When searching for food online, look for high-quality foods and not ones that will cause problems for your German Shepherd in the long-run.
Choosing The Best Dog Food For German Shepherds Will Give Your Dog A High Quality of Life
Every dog owner wants to see their pet enjoy a happy, healthy life. Choosing one of the best dog foods for German Shepherds will help them live a longer life and will ensure that your pet gets the nutrients they need to become a healthy German Shepherd, no matter how old they are. A 1-year-old German Shepherd needs quality nutrition the same way that a 10-week-old German Shepherd does!
Aside from giving your dog the best food, you should also know how much they should weigh based on their breed and age. Knowing this will help keep you from overfeeding them.
If you're not sure how much your dog should weigh, you can use a dog weight chart or calculator. Finally, be sure to check with your vet first before making any changes to your dog's diet.