German Shepherd puppies are intelligent, adorable, and energetic dogs. These athletic puppies require nutritious food for them to grow strong, healthy, and function well.
However, finding the best food for a German Shepherd puppy can be a difficult job because of the many dog food choices in the market.
Feeding your German Shepherd puppy high-quality food plays an important role in lowering the risk of certain health issues and in helping your puppy maintain a healthy weight.
This article will help you pick the perfect puppy food for German Shepherd and give you more information about their nutrition.
German Shepherd Puppy Nutritional Needs
German Shepherd is a large breed and grows very quickly from newborn to adult puppy. German Shepherd puppies require at least 500 calories per day.
As they gain weight, the amount gradually increases. Young adult puppies need between 1500 and 1700 calories per day.
The best dog food for a German Shepherd puppy should have all the necessary nutrients in the right amounts. This is explained below:
German Shepherds are carnivores; therefore, they need food high in protein. They need between 18% and 22% of protein in their diet to support organ growth, healthy tissue production, and energy.
Great sources of protein include whole meat like beef or chicken as well as meat meal such as salmon meal, lamb meal, and chicken meal.
German Shepherd puppies require about 8% of fat in their food. Essential fatty acids help in digestion, healthy joints, and bone development, as well as improve the condition of the skin and coat.
Fish oils and vegetables are a good source of healthy fats and omega-3s.
Since German Shepherd puppies are active, they need about 5% to 8% of carbs in their diet. Carbs such as rice, barley, and oats are easily digestible for your puppy.
Avoid wheat, soy, and corn. These carbs will also provide the dietary fiber your puppy needs.
Vitamins And Minerals
German Shepherd puppies need phosphorus and calcium to help in building their immune system and reducing the risk of hip dysplasia. The amount should be recommended by your vet.
Best Food For German Shepherd Puppy: Quick Picks
#1. Taste Of The Wild High Prairie Puppy Food [Editor’s Choice]
#2. Royal Canin German Shepherd Puppy Dog Food [Runner-Up]
#3. Iams ProActive Health Smart Puppy Food [Budget Friendly]
#4. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Puppy Dog Food [Wet Food]
#5. Purina Pro Plan Development Puppy Dog Food [For Sensitive Stomach]
1. Taste Of The Wild High Prairie Puppy Food
Best Food For German Shepherd Puppy (Editor’s Choice)
Nourish your German Shepherd puppy by feeding them the Taste of the Wild Dry food. This diet is nature intended to satisfy the instinctual appetites of your puppy.
It is formulated with real, roasted meat with vegetables, fruits, and legumes to meet the specific needs of your German Shepherd.
This dry dog food is made with high-quality meat such as wild boar, buffalo, turkey, smoked salmon, lamb, roasted bison, venison, quail, and duck.
This formula does not have grains and the complex carbs from legumes and sweet potatoes provide lasting energy to your puppy.
70% of your puppy’s immune system is found in their stomach, so it is crucial to feed them food that supports their digestive system. Taste of the Wild Dry food has specific probiotics and prebiotics that can be found in your puppy’s gut.
This formula also has chelated minerals to enable your German Shepherd puppy to get the full value of their food. Taste of the Wild has balanced omega fatty acids making it the best puppy food for German Shepherds.
Omega 3 sources can be salmon oil, ocean fish oil, or smoked salmon while omega 6 is from plants.
- The high-quality protein supports the healthy development of your puppy’s joints, bones, and muscles.
- Supports a shiny coat and healthy skin.
- Supports healthy digestion.
- Ensures your puppy develops a strong immune system.
- Keeps your puppy energized all day.
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2. Royal Canin German Shepherd Puppy Dog Food
This Royal Canin Dry food is formulated specifically for German Shepherd puppies between the ages of 8 weeks and 15 months.
German Shepherd puppies have alkaline skin like adult dogs and their digestive tract is more sensitive than other breeds. Therefore, their food should be specifically designed to meet their needs.
German Shepherd puppies are large and grow quickly, and sometimes their joints can be stressed from their active lifestyle. This can cause joint problems in the future, that is why the Royal Canin Dry food is tailor-made for their specific requirements.
Royal Canin puts into consideration your German Shepherd puppy’s life stage needs, lifestyle, and certain health conditions when formulating this dry food.
They partner with pet experts, breeders, and veterinarians, to create this formula that has all the nutrients your puppy needs to be in its most magnificent self.
The kibble size, shape, and texture in this dry food are specifically designed for your German Shepherd’s biting pattern as well as the jaw and facial structure. This dry dog food is naturally preserved with a blend of rosemary extract, citric acid, and tocopherols.
- Specifically designed for young growing German Shepherd puppies.
- Helps to maintain a balanced intestinal environment.
- Ensures a good stool quality.
- The appropriate phosphorus and calcium levels help with joint and bone health.
- The antioxidants help support your puppy’s immune system.
- The kibbles are easy to pick and chew.
- It is expensive.
- Can cause allergies in some puppies.
3. Iams ProActive Puppy Dog Food
The Iams ProActive Puppy Dry food will give your German Shepherd puppy a great start to their healthy lives. This dry food is specifically formulated to meet the nutritional requirements of large puppies including German Shepherds.
This dry food features natural animal protein that is high in quality from sources such as chicken, lamb, beef, and turkey to provide the excellent flavor, nutrition, and fuel that your German Shepherd puppy needs to thrive.
This formula also has 22 important nutrients that are found in the mother’s milk such as omega 3 DHA.
Iams Health Smart Dry food is 100% balanced and complete with no artificial preservatives, fillers, or flavors to ensure that nothing comes between your puppy and healthy nutrition. All the ingredients are specifically targeted to your puppy’s age, size, and needs.
The real, wholesome ingredients such as farm-raised chicken, veggies rich in antioxidants, and grains are combined well to provide the taste and quality nutrition your puppy needs.
These natural sources contain necessary compounds such as fiber, amino acids, prebiotics, omega 6, and a savory flavor for your puppy to enjoy their food.
- Suitable for large breeds such as German Shepherd puppies.
- High-quality protein source for the healthy development of muscles.
- Encourages healthy cognitive development.
- Encourages good digestion.
- Supports a healthy coat and skin.
- It is affordable.
- Poor packaging in some batches.
- Causes loose stool in some puppies.
4. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Turkey & Chicken Dog Food
The Blue Buffalo Wilderness Canned Food is the perfect wet food for a German Shepherd puppy because of its irresistible taste. This wet food is perfect for a growing large puppy with its finest ingredients which are free from grains and gluten.
It features premium protein sources such as chicken and turkey as the first ingredient and is packed with veggies and fruits, then enhanced with minerals and vitamins.
It is also formulated with DHA and wholesome ingredients to support the healthy growth and development of your German Shepherd puppy.
The Blue Wilderness canned food satisfies the wolf inside your puppy with its tasty, hearty stews and savory recipes with proteins. In addition, this formula does not contain any corn, soy, wheat, artificial flavors, or preservatives.
The Blue Buffalo Wilderness Canned food comes in a pack of 12 cans of 12.5 ounces each and can be served on its own, mixed with dry food, or as a special treat when training your German Shepherd puppy.
- The DHA helps in supporting cognitive, eye, and brain development.
- The high-quality protein source helps in supporting the healthy growth of muscles.
- Supports the immune system of your puppy.
- High-quality canned food.
- Supports healthy coat and skin.
- It may not mix well with some dry foods.
- Some puppies have stomach problems.
5. Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin & Stomach Salmon Puppy Food
For Sensitive Stomach
Start your German Shepherd Puppy’s diet on the right food by feeding them the Purina Pro Plan Dry Food for sensitive stomach and skin. This delicious and nutritious formula is specifically designed for German Shepherd puppies who are below the age of 1 year.
The main ingredient in this dry puppy food is salmon and complimented by rice to give your German Shepherd puppy a meal that is easily digested.
This formula also contains probiotics, sunflower oil, oatmeal, DHA from fish oil, prebiotics, probiotics, and vitamin A to contribute to the general health and wellness of your puppy.
You will feel good feeding your German Shepherd puppy the Purina Pro Plan Dry food because it contains no soy, wheat, corn, or artificial flavors and colors.
This formula has lower contents of fat than regular puppy formula and the kibble is oval-shaped and measures about 0.5 inches.
When transitioning your puppy from other foods to Purina Pro Plan, ensure that you make the switch slowly and gradually to avoid stomach upsets.
- Oatmeal helps with digestion.
- Promotes a healthy coat and skin.
- Supports healthy vision and brain development.
- Supports the immune system.
- Promotes the development of certain bacteria in the gut.
- Not suitable for picky eaters.
6. Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Dog Food
Provide your German Shepherd puppy with the proper nutrition they need for a healthy lifestyle by feeding them the Hill’s Science Dry Dog food.
This dry food is formulated with wholesome ingredients like chicken meal and oats to meet the nutritional needs of your growing puppy.
This formula is manufactured in the United States following the industry standards and each ingredient meets the nutrient content and purity requirements.
The Hill’s Science Diet Puppy food is the best dog food for German Shepherd puppy who will be more than 55 pounds when they are an adult and is less than 1 year old.
Hill’s conduct quality system audits annually in their manufacturing facilities to ensure that the ingredients used in this formula are high in quality and standards.
The company also conducts safety checks to ensure that the food is safe for your German Shepherd puppy.
The Hill’s Science Dry food has a rich aroma and different textures to ensure that mealtimes are irresistible for your puppy. It also features controlled calcium levels, chondroitin, Glucosamine, antioxidants, and a blend of Vitamin C and E.
- Supports the optimal growth of your puppy’s bones.
- Supports healthy joints and strong muscles.
- Helps to maintain a healthy immune system.
- No artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.
- Foul smell in some batches.
7. Instinct Raw Boost Real Chicken Puppy Dog Food
This Instinct Raw Boost Dry Food offers nutrition specifically tailored for German Shepherd puppies. This dry food formula provides a better way to combine high-protein, grain-free kibble, and freeze-dried raw pieces in one bag.
Each recipe has real meat as the first ingredient such as USA-raised beef, cage-free chicken, or grass-fed lamb.
This dry food is specifically formulated to allow large breed puppies such as German Shepherds to unlock their potential to grow bigger and stronger by adding the benefits of raw nutrition in their bowls.
This Instinct Raw Boost recipe is packed with proteins that provide a boost of natural probiotics, more antioxidants, and higher omegas.
The all-natural, minimally processed, protein-packed kibbles of real meat and non-GMO vegetables and fruits make this dry food pure and natural to support your puppy’s overall health.
This formula is manufactured in the USA using the best ingredients sourced from all over the world. This dry food is also free from potato, grains, soy, wheat, corn, by-product meal, artificial colors, or preservatives.
- Provides your puppy with the energy they need to play and grow.
- The balanced mix of animal proteins and DHA supports eye and brain development.
- Supports digestive health.
- Promotes a healthy immune system.
- Supports healthy skin and a shiny coat.
- Mashed chunks in some batches.
8. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Puppy Dog Food
The Blue Buffalo Chicken Recipe Dry food has delicious chicken as its first ingredient to help fuel your German Shepherd puppy’s active life. It also features other natural ingredients such as superfood veggies and fruits.
The real meat that your puppy loves is a healthy protein and has an irresistible taste. The blueberries in this formula are a natural source of vitamin C as well as fiber and healthy carbs.
The carrots are rich in vitamin K, beta-carotene, and fiber to provide essential nutrients and naturally good flavor in your puppy’s food.
Finally, the cranberries are tasty and high in healthy compounds that improve the urinary tract of your German Shepherd puppy.
This dry food also features taurine, omega 3, and omega 6 fatty acids, phosphorus, calcium, chondroitin, glucosamine, antioxidants, and chelated minerals to support the overall wellbeing of your growing German Shepherd puppy.
- Supports healthy development of strong muscles.
- Help to support renal health and cognitive development.
- Supports a healthy immune system.
- Meets all the life stage requirements for your puppy.
- Promotes a naturally lustrous coat and healthy skin.
- Promotes strong, healthy teeth and bones.
- Can cause loose stool in some puppies.
German Shepherd Puppy Feeding Schedule
Like humans, German Shepherds need to eat consistently, and they have a specific feeding amount and nutrient requirement. Therefore, it is important to find the appropriate feeding schedule to help your puppy establish a routine and improve consistency in their potty time.
Below is a German Shepherd puppy feeding schedule:
- 6-12 weeks – Puppies should be given a diet formulated specially to meet the nutritional needs for their development. Giving four feedings a day is adequate for a puppy at this age with ½ cup of food for each meal.
- 3-6 Months – Decrease the number of feedings to three times a day with ½ cups of food for each meal.
- 6-12 months – At this age, begin feeding your dog twice daily with about 2 cups of food. You can start switching to adult maintenance food.
- After 1 year – Most adult dogs are given two and a half portions a day with approximately 3cups of food for each meal.
Wet Food vs Dry Food for German Shepherd Puppies
Puppy food is designed to support the development of an active and large breed as well as healthy growth. German Shepherds are bigger breeds: therefore, puppies should not grow too fast as they risk the development of any potential joint problems.
Puppies need to have the right nutrients to grow strong and fit.
Dry food is affordable and convenient than canned wet food. Kibble helps to remove plaque from your puppy’s teeth as they eat, preventing tartar or the onset of periodontal disease.
It is also easy to use as training treats. Dry food contains negligible water content, so providing clean and fresh water is necessary.
Wet food has around 80% water content which keeps your puppy hydrated. Canned foods are mostly packed with protein which is great for a puppy’s development. However, canned foods are more expensive than feeding kibble because you need more of it to meet your dog’s daily needs.
What To Do If My German Shepherd Does Not Want To Eat
You are used to your German shepherd running to the kitchen upon hearing their food poured into the bowl but lately, they seem not interested or even not finish their food.
There are a few reasons that may be making your German Shepherd puppy not eat their food. These include dental problems, health conditions, or does not like the food.
The following are ways to help your German shepherd work on their appetite again:
- Go for long walks with your puppy before you feed them to work up their appetite.
- To help prevent bloat on your puppy, do not feed them an hour before or after exercise.
- Ensure your puppy’s bowl is always clean.
- Use an interactive dog feeder to make the mealtimes fun.
- Take your puppy to the vet for examination.
What To Do If My German Shepherd Has A Sensitive Stomach
German shepherds are known for their sensitive stomach and gastrointestinal issues. A sensitive stomach can be caused by a range of issues such as parasites, warm weather, the food they are eating, or genetics.
Symptoms of the sensitive stomach include hyper-salivation, vomiting, excessive gas, diarrhea, and blood in the stool.
The following ways will help soothe your puppy’s sensitive stomach:
- Feeding him real food – Commercial food like kibble can upset your puppy’s stomach and most people choose to move away from kibble to natural foods like fresh meat.
- Buy high-quality food – Cheap food may contain poor ingredients, therefore, consider premium brands but first check the ingredients before your purchase.
- Consider grain-free food because food with grains can agitate sensitive stomachs.
- Speak with your vet to diagnose the problem causing a sensitive stomach in your puppy.
Can You Free Feed A German Shepherd Puppy
Free feeding is leaving food out for your German Shepherd puppy to eat at whatever time they want. The following are reasons why free-feeding is not good for your puppy:
- It puts your puppy at risk of becoming overweight – Puppies typically cannot control their eating. When they are bored, they can overeat which leads to obesity causing serious health issues.
- Free feeding allows the dog to access food all the time, making him find the food less appealing.
- Free feeding prevents you from keeping track of the amount of food you are feeding your dog.
Switching From German Shepherd Puppy Food To Adult Food
Switching your German shepherd puppy to adult food can be done between the ages of 9 months up to 1 year when your puppy has achieved about 90% of their adult size. The transition should be slow to prevent diarrhea and avoid upsetting your puppy’s intestinal tract.
Begin changing his diet by feeding a quarter of the adult food and three-quarters of the puppy food for about a week.
Next, feed your puppy with a portion of half adult food and half puppy food for several days and then introduce three quarter adult food and a quarter of puppy food for a few more days. Finally, introduce your puppy to adult food now.
There are lots of things to consider when choosing puppy dog food for a German Shepherd, but most importantly you need to know what your puppy likes, their activity level, and their age.
Providing your German Shepherd puppy with the right amounts of protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals in their diet will meet their nutritional requirements and ensure that they grow to be strong and healthy.
The winner of the best food for German Shepherd puppy is the Taste Of The Wild High Prairie Puppy Dog Food.
This is because this dry food has high protein content, all the necessary nutrients your puppy needs for their growth is affordable, and satisfies your puppy’s taste buds.