How To Choose The Best Food For German Shepherd Breed (2017)

Taking care of a German Shepherd can be a rewarding but time-consuming task. They need a lot of stimulation and training to become the great, loyal dogs the world knows German Shepherds to be.

One of the things you have to pay attention to as a German Shepherd owner is the kind of dog food that they eat. How do you choose the best food for German Shepherd dogs? You have to pay close attention to their ingredients and nutrition levels.

**Below, you'll find more detailed reriews, but you can click links above to see current prices and read customer's reviews on Amazon


Here are the top five best food for German Shepherds currently on the market. Any of these foods will help keep your dog healthy and happy.

Choosing A Dog Food For Your German Shepherd

Best Food For German Shepherd Breed

As I said, choosing a dog food can be really difficult. There are so many factors to consider that it can quickly become confusing. How do you even tell the difference between two similar foods?

When it comes to choosing a dog food for your German Shepherd, there are few things you should always look for to ensure that you are choosing the best option. Here they are.

Protein Level & Protein Source

Best Food For German Shepherd

Every dog breed has a specific protein level that it needs to function at its best. German Shepherds are no different! Protein is easily the most important part of their diet, so you should pay close attention to the protein amount and protein source of your German Shepherd's food.

Protein is important because of how muscular and active this breed of dog is. This requires that they get enough protein to sustain their muscles during all this activity!

Protein Levels

Adult German Shepherds should get around 18% protein in their food; puppies need a bit more than that at 22%. If your dog’s food falls near these levels, then it is a good option.

Protein Sources

Remember that every protein is different and that some proteins work better for dogs. Cheaper dog foods use low-quality protein sources and unspecified meats to fill the protein value of the food.

The best protein sources for an active breed like this one are high-quality options such as whole beef, chicken, and lamb. These should be real meat and not filler or by-products. This is something to look out for with chicken specifically.

While some German Shepherds like fish, most do not benefit from eating it, so it’s better to stick to popular meat sources instead.

Watch The Fats

Best Food For German Shepherd puppy

The next important thing to pay attention to in your German Shepherd’s food is the amount of fat. Like protein, fat will give your dog energy and even help keep their coat shiny! This is an important macronutrient to make sure that your dog is getting.

Fat Levels

The food you choose for your dog should have around 5% fat. If it’s a puppy, you should aim for 8% to help aid their growth into a full-sized, fun-loving dog!

Sources Of Fat

There are tons of different fat sources used in food. They all have their advantages and disadvantages, so you will want to check what fat is used in the food that you choose.

For German Shepherds, you’ll want to choose something like vegetable oil, animal fat, or flaxseed. These all are high in essential fatty acids (such as Omega-3 and Omega-6). These fatty acids are responsible for high energy levels and shiny coats.

Some people believe that fish oils can be dangerous to German Shepherds, so you will want to avoid fish oil as a source of fat in your dog’s food to be on the safe side. Though nothing has been proven, it’s good to exercise caution in cases like this.

They Need Carbs, Too!

Best Food For German Shepherd Breed

In addition to fats and proteins, your dog is going to need a good source of carbohydrates to stay healthy.

When choosing a carb source, look for complex carbohydrates that will break down slowly and provide your dog energy for a long time. Sweet potatoes, carrots, green beans, and oats are all great choices.

Digestible carbohydrates like barley, rice, and oats along with vegetables like carrots and sweet potatoes are the best choices.

Be Wary Of Weight Gain

Best Food For German Shepherd Breed

German Shepherds are apt to gain weight very easily. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it can be dangerous for your dog because extra weight puts extra stress on their joints, which could lead to problems in the future.

If you notice your dog is gaining weight quickly, you may want to check the calories that you are feeding them daily and decrease it by about 100 calories each week until they are eating a smaller amount that still satisfies them. This will help keep them from gaining more weight.

Daily caloric intake for most German Shepherds should be between 1700 and 2200 calories per day. If your dog’s activity level changes, adjust their food intake as well.

If you are not sure if your dog is overweight, use this video to check. Obesity can be a real issue in large breed dogs, so you should be careful about this.

Extras To Look For

There are also a few extras that can be very beneficial in foods for German Shepherds that you should keep an eye out for when food shopping.

Glucosamine & Chondroitin

Both of these ingredients help to promote good joint and cartilage health. Large breed and active dogs like German Shepherds a have high risk for joint and hip conditions because of their size, body type, and activity levels.

Avoid Potential Allergens

Without even realizing it, you could be making your dog deal with allergy issues because of their food! Many dog foods contain wheat-based products, soy, or corn. Each of these items can cause food allergies in dogs.

Top 5 Best Food For German Shepherd Dogs

**Below, you'll find more detailed reriews, but you can click links above to see current prices and read customer's reviews on Amazon

1. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Dry Adult, Large Breed Dog Food

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Dry Adult Dog Food


The top food on our list of foods for German Shepherd breeds today is the Life Protection Formula from Blue Buffalo. This food is specifically formulated with extra antioxidants and active nutrients to help your dog live a longer, healthier life. I chose the large breed adult formula because it has added ingredients that will help your German Shepherd stay strong.


  • Has glucosamine and chondroitin, which help protect joints and hips in large breed dogs
  • Promotes a shiny coat
  • Creates good consistency waste
  • Grain-free formula
  • High-quality ingredients
  • No by-products
  • No artificial colors, flavors or preservatives
  • Protein: 22%
  • Fat: 12%


  • Can break apart easily, gets everything powdery
  • Some dogs do not like the taste
  • Dogs sometimes avoid the “life bites” in the kibble mix
  • Chicken formula can cause some dogs to be gassy

2. Nutro Wholesome Essentials Adult Dry Dog Food



Next up is the Large Breed, Wholesome Essentials formula from Nutro. This is a great food. I love that it’s made with farm-raised chicken, and it leaves out all grains so that your dog will not have digestive problems.

This formula is also specifically made for large breed dogs, which means that it includes ingredients that can help prevent potential issues that German Shepherds can have with their joints and overall health. Overall, it’s a great choice for your GSD.


  • Protein: 21%
  • Fat: 13%
  • Specifically formulated for large breed dogs
  • Grain-free
  • Contains glucosamine and chondroitin; is formulated to support healthy joints
  • Supports healthy immune system
  • High-quality protein and fat sources (chicken)
  • Great value


  • Recipe recently changed; doesn’t agree with all dogs
  • Not great for dogs with very sensitive stomachs
  • Picky dogs won’t eat it
  • Too many ingredients

3. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe Large Breed, Red Meat Dry Adult Dog Food


This food from Blue Wilderness is another great choice for German Shepherds. The Rocky Mountain Recipe has Red Meat and is specifically formulated for large breed dogs like yours. This protein-rich food is meant to replicate a wild diet that dogs’ ancestors may have eaten.

This is another food that is formulated to work well with large dogs and their bodies. I like that they use no grains that contain glutens, even if their food is not completely grain-free. The meat comes from beef, bison, lamb and venison, which are all great, trustworthy protein sources.


  • Protein: 32%
  • Fat: 13%
  • Glucosamine and Chondroitin help healthy joint function
  • Promotes strong bones & teeth
  • Boosts immune system & heart health
  • Good coat quality while eating this food
  • Lifesource bits help extend healthy lifetime


  • Can be too much protein for some dogs, especially if they’re not very active
  • Picky dogs will not eat the Lifesource bits, which contain a lot of the nutrients
  • Can cause stinky gas in some dogs due to grain presence

4. EUKANUBA Breed Specific Adult German Shepherd Dry Dog Food

EUKANUBA Breed Specific Adult Dry Dog Food


This food formulated by Eukanuba is specifically made to support the health of German Shepherds that are more than one year old. You can’t get better than aiming to makefood specifically for one kind of dog!

I love that it’s clear that this food has been made to fit the specific needs that German Shepherds face. It has the right balance of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. It also has fatty acids, dental protection, and other nutrients needed to protect your dog.


  • Protein: 23%
  • Fat: 13%
  • Protects teeth with tartar fighting ingredients
  • Fiber boosters help to absorb nutrients and digest food
  • Good joint health while eating this food


  • Not a very good value because of the high cost
  • Causes gas in some dogs; the fiber is too much for them
  • Picky dogs hate it
  • Coat not as shiny as on some other breed-specific foods

5. Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition German Shepherd Adult dry dog food

ROYAL CANIN BREED HEALTH NUTRITION German Shepherd Adult dry dog food


The final food I’ll cover today is another breed specific food that your German Shepherd might love! This food for adult German Shepherds is made by Royal Canin, and it’s formulated to protect your dog’s joints and keep them healthy for years to come.

I love that this food specifically takes in mind that German Shepherds have sensitive skin and sensitive digestive issues. It avoids using ingredients that are allergens and could cause them problems, which is good for your dog. No more scratching!


  • Supports bone and joint health
  • Helps maintain skin and coat health
  • Protein: 22%
  • Fat: 17%
  • Improves mobility in many dogs


  • High fat level can upset the digestive system of some dogs
  • First ingredient is not a protein; is Brewer’s rice
  • Not all natural ingredients

Feed Your GSD Right

Best Food For German Shepherd Breed

There you have it - the top five dog foods for German Shepherds and why they rank that way. Among these options, I definitely believe that the Blue Buffalo Life Protection Dry Adult Dog Food is the best choice for German Shepherds.

In addition to having the right levels of protein, fats, and carbohydrates, it’s also free from fish and potential allergens that could cause your dog problems. Plus, it includes great health-boosting ingredients that could help your dog’s body to move better for more years.

Have you found the perfect food for your German Shepherd? Let us know in the comments, and then share this with your GSD-loving friends so that they can take care of their dog’s nutrition, too!


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