So you’ve got yourself a German shepherd, and you think you can take care of them just fine without any knowledge. However, this will be your undoing. You’ll come to a realization that you can’t get by without studying about German shepherds.
German shepherds are similar to humans in the sense that they need to eat consistently. And just like us, they, too, have a specific feeding amount and nutrient requirements. You can’t just make them eat whatever you lay your eyes on. However, as their owner, you can’t always rely on your keen observation.
They can be a bit dishonest sometimes. They may even hide their hunger. That’s why you won’t figure out their needs by simply observing. That’s why you need to have clear standards, especially on how you feed them. Overeating can cause sugar levels to spike. The opposite can cause malnutrition.
Either way, this German shepherd feeding chart will be a helpful asset when taking care of these dogs.
German Shepherd Feeding Chart
There are three aspects of this feeding chart, namely the German shepherd feeding amount, feeding frequency, and mealtime lengths.
It is important to find out the appropriate feeding amount, frequency, and length for your German shepherd without leaving out one of them. That way, you can accurately find out the best way to feed your dog.
Let’s start with the most basic of them all, feeding amount.
As one might expect, the feeding amount mainly depends on how old age your German shepherd is. Overall, there are four ranges that you need to keep in mind.
- 16 weeks and below: ½ cup (14 grams) of food for each meal
- 16 weeks to 9 months: Approximately 1 and ½ cup (42 grams) of food for each meal
- 9 months to 12 months: Approximately 2 cup (56 grams) of food for each meal
- 12 months and above: Approximately 3 cup (84 grams) of food for each meal
In addition to the age, you’ll also have to consider how active your dog is. An active dog may require a bit more than the numbers in this list, and an inactive dog will need a slightly less amount.
Just like the feeding amount, you’ll have to depend on the age of your German shepherd.
However, there are other considerations on how much to feed a German shepherd per day.
- 9 months and below: Feed your GSD thrice per day in equal intervals.
- 9 months to 12 months: Slowly transition to two meals a day, particularly in the morning and evening.
- 12 months and above: German shepherds of this age will now naturally eat twice a day.
You might want to consider avoiding meals right before bedtime. Let them digest their food first before they go to sleep.
Lastly, we go to the most often overlooked part of every German shepherd feeding chart, mealtime lengths.
The mealtime lengths of your German shepherd will mainly rely on your observation. Therefore, you’ll need to consider these questions:
- How long can your dog finish his portion?
- How long does it take for your dog to be full?
- Is your dog still hungry after eating his portion?
German shepherds normally take anywhere from 10 minutes to 15 minutes to finish the meal, given that you followed the proper feeding guidelines properly. If your dog shows signs of slow eating, we recommend sending them to your vet.
If you think your dog is already full before finishing his portion, there is no problem. However, if your dog is still hungry after finishing the meal, consider sending him to your vet. This is because this can be a sign of a serous health issue involving their digestive system.
Now you know about the German shepherd feeding amount, frequency, and length, but let’s not forget about an important part of meals.
Unlike with the German shepherd feeding chart, you won’t have to spend your time with this task. This is because they can easily hydrate themselves if given free access to water.
However, you still need to remember some things. For example, take note that your dog will need to drink 6 ounces of water per day for every 3.5 kilogram of weight.
So if your German shepherd weighs around 35 kilograms, he’ll need to drink an average of 60 ounces of water every day.
Depending on the temperature and activeness, this amount can increase. If that’s the case, finding out the perfect amount of water needed will be difficult. That’s why you need to rely on the most noticeable sign of dehydration, panting.
Lastly, make sure you take extra care in providing water access to your German shepherd. The most preferable way is to fill a bowl with a moderate amount of water, not too much.
The feeding amount, frequency, length, and water requirements can always be changed. That’s why I recommend seeing your vet regularly to discuss important matters, such as how much to feed a German shepherd puppy.
If you have no time to visit your vet, the following topic may help you.
Pointers for Feeding German Shepherds
Improper feeding practices can lead to serious health problems for German shepherds. Most of the time, these problems linger throughout the dog’s lifetime.
You should remember this before doing something reckless, such as altering your German shepherd puppy’s feeding amount.
An owner is responsible for taking into consideration the age and weight of a German shepherd before feeding them. So here are some tips that can be applied according to your dog’s age and weight.
Feeding Guidelines by Age
Before proceeding in the following points, remember that age is not the only determining factor of a German shepherd feeding chart. Make sure to consider all the content in this blog post as well.
- 6-Week Old: German shepherd puppies of this age are likely to have not adapted yet. They will still require nutrients equal to that of what they get from their mother’s milk.
- 10-Week Old: At this point, you can feed other types of food to your German shepherd puppy besides their mother’s milk.
- 12-Week Old: Your German shepherd is now capable of digesting dry food. It is recommended that you slowly let them adapt first.
- 3-Month Old: The German shepherd puppy would already be used to eating dry food. This can be their regular food from now on.
- 4-Month Old: You can now feed them with different types of food. This includes fruits, bones, and more. However, you shouldn’t go overboard and avoid providing them with too much of these types of food. You should also avoid giving them your leftovers. This is because seasonings may harm your dog’s health.
- 5-Month Old: At this age, a German shepherd can finally eat live ingredient foods such as bones, eggs, and more. However, they will need time to adapt.
- 6-Month Old: Your dog is now able to take in more nutrients that they weren’t able to get from dog food. You should also consider feeding your German shepherd foods that can be gnawed and chewed. This is so they can develop their jaws, teeth, and gums.
- 8-Month Old: German shepherd of this age are capable of abandoning dog food once and for all and lean more on live ingredients.
- 1-Year Old: 1-year old German shepherds will have a slower metabolism. This will result in less feeding amount and frequency.
Feeding Guidelines by Weight
German shepherds can be of different weight ranges. That’s why the feeding plan of your dog can be complicated. Fortunately, there’s a calculation for the feeding amount of German shepherds according to weight.
- Inactive German Shepherds: For every 1 kilogram your dog weighs, they’ll need 40 calories a day.
An average weighted German shepherd (35 kilograms) will then need 1400 calories per day. This only applies to German shepherds that do not exercise or inactive.
- Active German Shepherds: In the case of active German shepherds that exercise regularly, every 1 kilogram equals to 55 calories per day.
So an average weighted German shepherd will require 1925 calories per day to be able to function properly.
Take note, however, that this calculation may be affected if the German shepherd has a health disorder concerned with metabolism or digestion.
German Shepherd Puppies vs. Adults Guidelines
Our last topic involves the difference between a puppy and an adult.
This is an important subject as it will help you figure out the best way to take care of your dog depending on whether they’re an adult or a puppy.
The following are some of the facts that recent studies have proven:
- Puppies have higher energy levels than adults. This means they need to eat more than adult German shepherds.
- German shepherds will need higher protein and fat content in their early age. The amount of fat and protein will decrease as they grow older.
- Puppies cannot tolerate too many nutrients. Ingesting extra minerals and vitamins may lead to serious health disorders. Meanwhile, adults are only risking being overweight when taking in more than intended.
With this German shepherd feeding chart, you can now decide on your dog’s feeding plan, However, I’d suggest seeing your vet first so you can confirm if your plan is actually effective.
Many owners simply feed their German shepherds without second thoughts of the dog’s needs. But since you’ve read this blog post, you are now aware of the needs of your German shepherd.
After talking about the feeding amount, frequency, and lengths of a German shepherd, you can now easily plan how much, how many times, and how long you feed your dog. You even learned how to hydrate your German shepherd the proper way.
Along with the German shepherd feeding chart, you also learned some tips for coming up with your dog’s feeding plan according to their age and weight. Lastly, we talked about the difference between a puppy and adult in terms of feeding.
After all these, you are now capable of coming up with your dog’s feeding plan on your own. Now it’s no longer impossible to have a future with a healthy and well-fed German shepherd.