The Best Diet for German Shepherds: Counting Calories

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A proper German Shepherd diet and nutrition doesn’t stay the same forever. Your GSD will grow up and soon need a diet consisting of more nutrients than just mother’s milk. This German Shepherd diet list will guide you on the different kinds of food your GSD needs throughout the course of its life.

The GSD Diet Plan

This portion will detail the meal plans for your GSD from newborn puppy to adulthood. This diet plan should also prevent picky eaters or developing a German Shepherd not eating.

Newborn (0-1 ½ months)

A healthy German Shepherd diet for puppies at this age is mother’s milk. Do not substitute GSD milk with any other kind of milk (such as cow’s milk) as the nutrients your puppy will receive will be insufficient for them to properly develop.

If your newborn GSD is unable to consume its mother’s milk as its first one month German Shepherd puppy diet, you may have to ask your vet for some specialized formula to prevent your puppy from experiencing malnutrition.

Young puppy (1 ½-2 months)

At this point in time, you should start weaning your GSD puppy off mother’s milk and give it liquid or very wet food. Chicken stock, porridge, applesauce are some food items to consider at this stage when thinking about what to feed German Shepherds. Depending on how quickly your GSD develops, you may decide to make this a one month German Shepherd puppy diet period.

You should also start introducing your GSD puppy to drinking clean water as continued consumption of mother’s milk can cause diarrhea.

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Juvenile puppy (2-4 months)

Your German Shepherd diet and nutrition plan should now have your GSD getting used to eating solid, dry food. Dog kibble, biscuits and treats can now be regularly given. At this point, the objective of feeding time is to provide a German Shepherd diet for weight gain. It is also during this time can you slowly start introducing a BARF diet for German Shepherds. Deboned chicken, turkey, beef or venison may be introduced as raw food, but only introduce one kind of meat type at a time.

You should still make a healthy balance of vitamins and minerals like protein, fats and calcium a priority for your puppy at this stage of your GSD diet plan.

Early adolescent (4-6 months)

At this period of your GSD’s life, you must now pay close attention to serving sizes and portion control. Do not continue a German Shepherd diet for weight gain. Your GSD’s system can now handle more complex food in its healthy German Shepherd diet and you can start mixing in vegetables, fish and cooked meats in its dog kibble. Reduce GSD treat intake and only use it for training purposes.

If following a German Shepherd puppy raw diet plan, you may now consider adding raw eggs to your GSD’s regular meals as added nutrition.

Adolescent and above (6 months and older)

Now, you have the option to have your GSD stick to a kibble-free, German Shepherd raw diet plan. A complete BARF diet for German Shepherds is now viable and you can now regularly offer your GSD chicken and beef bones for nutrition, strong teeth and healthy gums.

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Natural supplements may now be added to help your GSD absorb nutrients more efficiently from its diet including coconut oil, probiotics and natural herbs.

GSDs with EPI

The timeline above should not necessarily be considered for a German Shepherd EPI diet. If your GSD has been diagnosed with pancreatic insufficiencies, your vet may prescribe a different diet full of special digestive enzymes, easy-to-digest food and vitamin B12.

It should also be noted that GSDs diagnosed with EPI may need to refrain from participating in German Shepherd puppy raw diet plans as this may cause indigestion and stomach bloating. Consult with your vet if a German Shepherd EPI diet is necessary.

What foods should my GSD stay away from?

To prevent dietary complications, or even life-threatening situations, for your GSD, the following list of foods will need to be avoided.


Onions in any form, cooked, raw or dehydrated should be cut out of any GSD diet. Onions can cause Heinz body anemia in your GSD which can cause vomiting, diarrhea and breathlessness.

Macadamia nuts

For reasons unknown, macadamia nuts can create toxic reactions from your GSD. Paralysis in the rear legs, weakness and swollen limbs may also happen if your GSD eats a few macadamias. Keep this in mind if considering adding nuts to your German Shepherd raw diet plan.


Dark or milk chocolate should be kept off of any German Shepherd diet list. Any food item containing chocolate or cocoa may increase your GSD’s heart rate or cause an irregular heartbeat. Additional symptoms include excessive urination, vomiting or diarrhea.

See also  German Shepherd Seizure


Much like macadamia nuts, grapes (or even raisins) have an unknown substance that is toxic for GSDs. Symptoms of grape ingestion include severe dehydration, vomiting, diarrhea and kidney failure.


The artificial sweetener xylitol is highly toxic for GSDs. Check sweets and artificially-flavored foods for this ingredient. Xylitol can cause hypoglycemic shock, seizures, liver damage and brain damage.

Fruit pits

Stone fruits, or fruits with large seeds, must be kept away from GSDs. Most fruit pits contain amygdalin which can turn into cyanide and a small amount is considered deadly for GSDs. Ingesting fruit pits may cause paralysis, breathlessness and suffocation.


Though some dog breeds can consume milk without problems, GSDs lose their ability to digest lactose as they grow older. When GSDs consume milk, they may experience diarrhea, abdominal pains, vomiting, diarrhea or even rashes. 

Citrus and Essential oils

Do not expose your GSD to citrus or essential oils. They contain limonene and linalool, which can be dangerous to GSDs even if applied topically and not ingested. Symptoms of citrus and essential oil consumption include cold limbs, fainting, vomiting, skin inflammations and low blood pressure.

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