The Best Dog Food For German Shepherds

best dog food for german shepherd

We all know that adult German Shepherds are large, energetic and exceptionally smart. In order for them to thrive, they need food. However, wrong food choices during their growing stages can have negative impacts in their adult life. The Best Dog Food for German Shepherd Puppy is designed to meet the needs of a growing puppy. Their need for food differs during the adult stage.

In this article, we will discuss and answer the what, the why’s and how’s of the best dog food for German Shepherd adults.

What’s in a German Shepherd Dog Food List?

As soon as your GSDs are ready to switch from puppy food to adult food, it is a must to understand what their bodies need at this stage. Let’s breakdown what should be in their food.  


German Shepherds are undeniably active. Because of this they need a high-protein diet to keep up with their energy levels and to help them build strong muscles. An average adult GSD needs 18% to 24% of protein in their diet depending on their activity. For example, a pregnant or lactating GSD needs more protein and so does sick or injured GSDs. 

Excess protein in your GSD’s body will be excreted in the urine while prolonged protein oversupply will be converted by your GSD’s body into fat. However, protein deficiency will result in weight loss, body weakness, and coarse, matted coat. Since GSDs are of carnivore descent, animal-based protein is more effective in maintaining their health.

Vitamins and Minerals

A well-balanced, complete GSD food is never short on essential vitamins and minerals. Vitamins keep a GSD’s immune system strong and functional. It is also responsible for skin and coat health, functioning of the heart and digestive system. Certain diseases are caused by vitamin deficiencies. However, too much vitamins may also cause repercussions on GSDs’ health. For instance, oversupply of Vitamin A will cause dehydration and joint issues instead of eye and skin health maintenance.

There are certain minerals that GSDs should have in higher amounts like calcium, phosphorus, potassium, etc. Whereas, there are minerals that should be served in limitations like zinc, idoine, selenium, etc. Too much or too less minerals will cause bone deformities, digestive issues, etc.


Carbs can provide enough energy for adult GSDs. But it should also depend on the age and health issue. Active adult GSDs can easily burn carbs, however senior GSDs and GSDs with health issues should consume food with low carbohydrates content. High carbohydrates consumption and low activity will result in obesity.


Fats aren’t that bad for GSDs except that it should only be around 5% of its daily food intake. A low-fat diet is recommended to GSDs who are overweight or need maintenance for active lifestyle. 

Calcium-Phosphorus Ratio

Calcium and phosphorus are necessary for a GSD’s skeletal and musculoskeletal health. Having the correct ratio is critical for them, especially for senior GSDs. Meat is high in phosphorus yet low in calcium while bone is high in both calcium and phosphorus. The normal ratio between calcium and phosphorus is 1:1 or 1.3:1, calcium being more. 

What’s the Relationship Between GSD Health Issues and Food

German Shepherds might be large dogs but in general, they are prone to a lot of diseases. These diseases may be caused by their environment or passed down by their ancestors. Food doesn’t only nourish them but can also delay the onset. 

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Hip Dysplasia

When we hear “Hip Dysplasia”,the first thing that comes to our mind is German Shepherd. It is a joint disease which can get worse for overweight GSDs and senior GSDs. Aside from maintaining the correct weight for your GSD, food containing chondroitin and glucosamine can encourage damaged cartilage repair.

Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative myelopathy also known as Degenerative Disc Disease is an auto-immune  disease that affects the spinal cord in older GSDs that may eventually lead to total paralysis. Food with Omega fatty acids, can help develop a healthy immune system which is very important for GSDs affected by degenerative myelopathy. Anti-inflammatory ingredients like apples, beets, carrots may also help slow down the progress of this disease.


German Shepherds are deep chested which makes them more susceptible to bloating. Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus or bloating is a serious swelling of a GSD’s stomach due to the build-up of air, water or food. This usually happens when a GSD eats food all at once without stopping or being active right after meals. A diet that’s low in fat, with ample amounts of meat is recommended by vets to lessen their chances of having one. They should also be fed twice a day or more but in small amounts.

Nutrient Malabsorption

Nutrient malabsorption is when a GSD can’t absorb nutrients resulting in chronic diarrhea and weight loss. Other digestive issues such as inflammatory bowel disease, bacterial overgrowth in the intestines, exocrine pancreatic insufficiency may be the underlying causes of this disease. One most common cause of nutrient malabsorption is the allergic reaction to one or more ingredients in their current food. GSDs with nutrient malabsorption should eat foods that are easily digestible.


GSDs that have multiple repeated seizures for weeks or months are usually diagnosed with epilepsy. It might be caused by infectious and noninfectious diseases though sometimes, there are no causes at all. A hypoallergenic diet with essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals may lessen epileptic attacks.

What to Look for in a German Shepherd Dog Food

Now that we are fully aware of our adult GSD’s needs, it’s high time to know what should we look for in the best dog food for German Shepherds.


Look for food with high-quality ingredients. Protein should be sourced from real meat and not just by-products. 


Grains are an excellent source of carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins and minerals. The keyword for grains is “whole”. Though some GSDs may develop grain allergies, whole grains have many nutritional benefits.

Fat Origin

 When checking your GSD’s dog food ingredients, it is important to see where fats and oils are being sourced. Animal fats and plant-based oils are common in dog food ingredients but Omega fatty acids in their food are high-recommended by vets. 

How to make German Shepherd Homemade Food

A homemade dog food is the best dog food for German Shepherd to gain weight.  It is made from scratch which means it can have more nutrients compared to kibbles and wet food.

  1. 40% of your homemade dog food should be meat. You can choose one or more meat but make sure they are chopped into small pieces for easy digestion.
  2. Add some vegetables such as carrots, celery, pumpkin, etc. It should make up 50% of your recipe.
  3. Carbohydrates should also be included in your homemade dog food because is an excellent source of energy. You can use cooked rice or grains, pasta or potatoes. Starch or carbs should only be 10% of the food.
  4. For a dog food to be tasty, you can add heart-friendly oils, salt or butter. These taste filling ingredients should be added in limitations.
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You can adjust the ingredients according to your GSD’s needs. Making dog food in batches is practical which saves you time.

The Best Dog Food for German Shepherd 2020 Reviews

Searching for the right food for our adult German Shepherds is sometimes tough. That is where our recommendations come in. But fret not because we compiled and reviewed six of the most famous dog food in the market.

Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition German Shepherd Adult Dry Dog Food

Royal Canin German Shepherd Adult Dry Dog Food, 17 lb bag
  • FORMULATED FOR PUREBRED GERMAN SHEPHERDS: Royal Canin German Shepherd Adult Dry Dog Food is designed...
  • SPECIALIZED KIBBLE: Unique kibble shape is designed for a German Shepherd’s long, strong muzzle to...
  • HEALTHY DIGESTION: Highly digestible proteins and specific fibers promote healthy digestion and...
  • SKIN AND COAT: Supports healthy skin and coat with EPA and DHA from fish oil and reinforces the skin...
  • BONE AND JOINT: Glucosamine and chondroitin maintain bone and joint health and support large breed...

What is the best dry dog food for German Shepherd?

Our answer is Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition. The Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition contains easy to digest proteins and fibers for GSDs with sensitive gut.

Glucosamine and chondroitin as one of its many ingredients helps strengthen GSDs’ bones and joints.

If you are looking for a well-balanced dog food  manufactured by a company with more than 50 years of experience, then Royal Canin is the best choice.

Pawsome Notes:

  • This dry dog food has a kibble shape and texture that encourages chewing.

Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet, Natural Adult Dry Dog FoodBest Dog Food for German Shepherd with Skin Allergies

Sale Blue Buffalo Basics Skin & Stomach Care, Natural Adult Dry Dog Food, Turkey & Potato 24-lb
  • STARTS WITH REAL TURKEY: This adult dry dog food features a single animal protein source along with...
  • LIMITED INGREDIENT DOG FOOD: BLUE Basics is a limited ingredient grain free dog food that doesn’t...
  • ANTIOXIDANT-RICH LIFESOURCE BITS: A precise blend of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals carefully...
  • A NATURAL DOG FOOD: BLUE dry dog food is made with the finest natural ingredients enhanced with...
  • Contains one (1) 24lb bag of BLUE Basics Skin & Stomach Care, Natural Adult Dry Dog Food, Turkey &...

GSDs with food sensitivities usually have dry, itchy skin. Food elimination diet will take away important nutrients that they need.

However, Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet is a hypoallergenic food  that has all the nutrients your sensitive GSD needs.

Made with real meat from a single protein source, it can provide sufficient protein and carbohydrates necessary for their energy needs.

It has a specially-blended formula of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants processed at low temperatures making it more potent in supporting GSDS’ immune system which is essential in fighting skin allergies.

With omega fatty acids, This dog food can bring back your GSD’s skin and coat health.

Pawsome Notes:

  • It is made of turkey,potatoes and pumpkin which are tummy-friendly.
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Hill's Science Diet Dry Dog Food, Adult, Perfect Weight for Weight Management, Chicken Recipe

Science Diet Adult Perfect Weight Chicken Recipe
  • Breakthrough adult dry dog food clinically proven for weight management
  • Over 70 % of adult dogs lost weight within 10 weeks when fed this safe and effective weight...
  • Help your grown dog maintain a healthy weight with this dog food
  • This adult dog food supports muscle maintenance
  • Made with natural ingredients

Is your GSD overweight?

Do you have a hard time counting calories for your fur buddy?

Would you like to try a science-backed dog food for GSDs who are suffering from obesity?

If your answer to all these questions is a big “Yes”, then you are in luck.

Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food for Weight Management is the best in the market. It is formulated to help your GSD lose weight without sacrificing the basic nutritional requirements of your GSD.

It is clinically proven to shed pounds off GSDs in just ten weeks. Since it contains ingredients that can support lean muscle maintenance, it can also help your GSD maintain its ideal weight. 

Pawsome Notes:

  • This dog food doesn’t have any meat by-products.

Holistic Select Natural Dry Dog Food Anchovy, Sardine and SalmonBest Dog Food for German Shepherds with Sensitive Stomach

Holistic Select Natural Dry Dog Food, Anchovy & Sardine and Salmon Meal Recipe, 30-Pound Bag
  • DIGESTIVE HEALTH: Optimal levels of protein plus prebiotics and probiotics, digestive enzymes, and...
  • HEALTHY SKIN AND COAT: Omega 3 fatty acids from salmon oil and flaxseed to support healthy skin and...
  • WHOLE BODY HEALTH: Supported by omega fatty acids, antioxidants, glucosamine, probiotics and taurine...
  • Made in the USA using only the finest globally sourced ingredients, we prepare each of our diets in...
  • QUALITY NUTRITION: We craft delicious natural recipes with wholesome ingredients that your pup will...

GSDs with sensitive stomach are not able to properly process the food that they eat. This results in weight loss and weak body.

Holistic Select Natural Dry Dog Food is created for GSDs with sensitive stomach, who are also allergic to wheat.

It supports digestive health by adding prebiotics for gut health, natural fibers for regulating digestive functions, probiotics that act as good bacteria and digestive enzymes for easy starch, cellulose and protein breakdown.

Salmon, Sardines and real anchovy are good sources of omega fatty acids which are responsible for muscle development, dental health, immune system and healthy fur and skin.

GSDs with sensitive stomach doesn’t have to miss out on food, Holistic Select Natural Dry Dog Food is enough to provide yummy and healthy at the same time.

Pawsome Notes: 

  • Some GSD owners might be overwhelmed by its smell, but GSDs love this smell and its taste.

Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition for German Shepherds Loaf in Sauce Dog Food

Royal Canin German Shepherd Loaf in Sauce Canned Dog Food, 13.5 oz can
  • FORMULATED FOR PUREBRED GERMAN SHEPHERDS: Royal Canin German Shepherd Adult Wet Dog Food is designed...
  • TASTY LOAF IN SAUCE: Canned dog food featuring Loaf in Sauce for a paté that appeals to a German...
  • SKIN AND COAT: Formulated with specific B vitamins and amino acids to help support healthy skin and...
  • BONE AND JOINT: Glucosamine and chondroitin maintain bone and joint health and help support large...
  • COMPLETE AND BALANCED: Adult dog food can be fed as complete and balanced diet or mixed with Royal...

Purebred German Shepherds have unique dietary needs.

They need a nutrient-dense food with vitamins and amino acids that can support their double coats, glucosamine and chondroitin for bone and joint health.

Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition for German Shepherds is designed with GSD health in mind. It has all the unique needs of an Active German Shepherd.

Though considered well-balanced and complete, Royal Canin Wet Dog Food is not short in taste. In fact, it is soft texture that’s tasty which your GSD will love.

Pawsome Notes:

  • For optimum GSD health, you can pair it with Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition for German Shepherds Dry Dog Food.

Blue Homestyle Recipe Natural Senior Wet Dog Food

Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Natural Senior Wet Dog Food, Chicken 12.5-oz can (Pack of 12)
  • REAL CHICKEN FIRST: This paté style wet dog food features high-quality protein from real chicken to...
  • FEED THREE WAYS: BLUE Homestyle Recipe senior dog food makes a delicious treat, adds interest mixed...
  • NATURAL DOG FOOD: All BLUE canned dog foods are made with the finest natural ingredients and...
  • WHOLESOME INGREDIENTS: BLUE wet dog food contains NO chicken (or poultry) by-product meals, NO corn,...
  • Contains twelve (12) 12.5-oz cans of BLUE Homestyle Recipe Natural Senior Wet Dog Food, Chicken

GSDs in their senior years are less active, can’t chew food properly and probably has a hard time digesting their food.

Blue Homestyle Recipe Natural Senior Wet Dog Food can support the daily nutritional requirements of senior GSDs.

It is a paté style wet dog food enriched with high-quality protein from real chicken meat for healthy muscles. Its carbohydrates come from whole grains like barley and brown rice which are digestible and tummy-friendly.

With added whole vegetables and fruits as a source of vitamins and minerals, this dog food for aging GSD will surely prolong their life.

Pawsome Notes:

  • This awesome wet dog food for senior GSDs can be mixed with dry dog food, used as a treat or can be a meal on its own.


“Let thy food be thy medicine.”

Who would have thought that Hippocrates’ famous quote is applicable for adult German Shepherds. T

he best food for German Shepherds should not only be for satisfying their hunger, it should also be aligned with their health conditions.

As responsible GSD owners, we should not make food be the reason of their current health issue. Make a healthy choice.

The products featured on this page were last updated on 2024-06-19 /. Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API.

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