Our Favorite: Dr. Gary’s Best Breed Breed German Dog Diet
Why We Choose It:
- Includes whole grains.
- Helps and activates digestion.
- Promotes healthy skin and coat.
- Meets the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO formula.
- EU-approved natural ingredients (pays premium).
- Dense kibbles.
Your furry pal enriches your life, so you certainly want to choose the best dog food for Fido! It is important to choose a food that is fitting for both the age of your German Shepherd as well as a food that is nutritionally sound and overall healthy. There are many dog foods on the market today, but not all of them may fit your German Shepherd’s particular needs. Unfortunately, not all dog foods are equally made. However, if you study up on what your dog’s nutritional needs are, you can successfully choose the best food for your German Shepherd’s requirements.
The Best Dog Food for German Shepherds in 2021
We reviewed several of the current dog food for German Shepherds within the scope of this article. Our results point out that Dr. Gary’s Best Breed Holistic German Dry Dog Food is the best dog food for German Shepherds. This is a nutritionally dense food that is specifically designed for large breed dogs, including German Shepherds, Rottweilers, and Dobermans.
Dr. Gary’s ingredients are all-natural, and the formula uses absolutely no fillers, no grains, and no meat by-products. The food also incorporates nutrients for joint health as well as fiber to aid in digestion. This is important as German Shepherds are often prone to both digestive health issues as well as joint problems. Dr. Gary’s food is also specifically formulated for not just large breed dogs, but for German Shepherds! You can rest assured that your dog is getting everything nutritionally that he needs to be happy and healthy.
Our Favorite: Dr. Gary’s Best Breed Breed German Dog Diet
- balanced nutrition for large breeds using chicken and fish as the first proteins
- omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids to promote the health of your German Shepherd’s coat
- Ingredients promote both gastrointestinal health and joint health
- Somewhat pricey; the four lb. bag is just over $13
Dr. Gary’s Best Breed Holistic German Dry Dog Food is chock full of nutrition for your German Shepherd. The first ingredients are chicken, menhaden fish, and eggs. Glucosamine and chondroitin are included in the formula to promote joint health. This food also includes a healthy dose of fiber to promote healthy weight as well as overall gastrointestinal health. German Shepherds will get everything they need to not only stay trim (some German Shepherds are prone to weight gain) but also have healthy joints as well a healthy digestive system.
For Optimum Antioxidant Ingredients: Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula
- high-quality protein with real meat as one of the first ingredients
- packed with essential vitamins that protect the dental health and joint health of your dog
- No by-products (chicken meal, corn, etc.)
- Not specifically formulated for large dogs
Blue Buffalo’s Life Protection Formula utilizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and real meat in this dry dog food. The scientists at Blue Buffalo also added LifeSource Bits, which include a host of antioxidant-rich ingredients. Calcium, as well as essential vitamins including phosphorus, have been included for joint and bone health. One penchant for this food is the intentional use of real meats rather than meat by-products, which means you can rest assured your dog is getting food made with quality ingredients. Blue Buffalo is also known for pleasing even the pickiest of eaters.
Specifically Designed for Adult German Shepherds: Royal Canin
- Lots of fiber and easily digestible proteins
- Vitamins and nutrients to support a healthy coat
- Includes DHA and EPA for joints and bone health
- A 30 lb bag costs over $75
Royal Canin designed this particular food for the German Shepherd breed, particularly those over fifteen months of age. This food is perfect for German Shepherds who have shown signs of digestive issues, such as bloating or recurring upset stomachs. The Royal Canin for German Shepherds is even formulated to promote skin and coat health! The only real downside to the Royal Canin choice is the price – a 30 lb bag is between $75 and $80, depending upon if you order it and have it shipped (some online retailers will give a discount for “autoship” as well as free shipping). However, this food is not only designed specifically for German Shepherds, it addresses some specific nutritional needs of the breed. If your dog is prone to health issues, then spending the extra dough for this special formula food may be well worth it!
Lots of Nutritional Ingredients for a Reasonable Price: Purina Pro Plan
- Easily digestible ingredients, a particularly beneficial quality for German Shepherds
- Includes ingredients that promote a healthy coat
- The first food on our list with live prebiotics and probiotics
- It May be difficult to find as Purina is “transitioning” this product
This dry dog food features salmon as its first ingredient, which means you can trust this product is not made with any by-products or fillers. This product also contains lots of omega fatty acids that will not only promote a healthy coat but also healthy joints. Another great point of this particular brand is this is the first on our list to include both prebiotics and probiotics in order to promote digestive health. As a German Shepherd owner, you know that our furry pals often suffer from sensitive stomachs. The inclusion of these live (good) bacteria will actually strengthen your dog’s digestive system as well as his immunity. This product is also less pricey than similar dry dog foods of the same weight.
One note on this product— Purina is transitioning this food from the Pro Plan FOCUS, so some may confuse the two. It may also be difficult to find the new formula during the transition. However, joining a site that offers autoship should ensure that you get the food you’re looking for.
Great Ingredients at a Great Price: Iams Proactive Health
- Specifically formulated for large dogs
- Offers digestive fiber and probiotics to promote your dog’s digestion system
- Relatively low-priced for the ingredients
- Some owners state their dogs were gassy after a few feedings of this brand
Iams is a name that many pet parents trust, and for good reason. Iams has had a long history of providing quality food to pets, and they have one of the best prices for the ingredients. The first ingredient of the Iams brand is real chicken; however, there are some grains in this food. There are also a few by-products included in the food— chicken by-product meal, for instance. So if your dog has any type of allergy, you might want to choose another food on our list. Also, where many other foods include glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health, Iams adds Vitamin E, Vitamin B12, and some others instead. There are also some preservatives in this food, so, if you don’t want your dog eating food with any kind of chemicals or preservatives, choose a different food. Otherwise, Iams offers a quality product that many German Shepherd owners swear by. It’s a dog food that’s good for adult German Shepherds.
The All-Natural High Protein Dry Dog Food: Crave Grain Free High Protein
- The first ingredient is farm-raised chicken
- Not only includes high protein meat ingredients but high protein veggies too
- No preservatives, no by-products, nothing artificial
- Not specifically targeted for German Shepherds or other large breed dogs
This dog food is marketed to give your dog a diet that is as close to that of his “wild ancestors.” The first ingredient is farm-raised chicken (read: no steroids). The manufacturer also promotes the idea that this food has no by-products and no grains. The food boasts a thirty-four percent protein content, one of the highest on our list of foods. However, this food is marketed for all breeds, large and small. This food is reasonably priced for the quality of ingredients in the food. Another selling quality— the food is strictly processed in the United States (this is meant to give the consumer peace of mind due to FDA regulations).
Vet-Formulated Wet Food for Picky Eaters: Canidae Life Stages Canned Dog Food
- Formulated by veterinarians
- Wet dog food may be more appropriate for growing puppies as well as older dogs with dental issues
- No grains included in the food
- One case (twelve cans) is just under $40.
Some dogs are more apt to gobble down wet food while turning their nose up at dry dog food. If so, this canned food specially formulated by vets is the one for your pup! The ingredients are superb; with lots of protein for a healthy working (or hard-playing) German Shepherd. The first ingredients include chicken, chicken liver, and chicken broth. However, there are some preservatives in this wet food. You can be assured that there are many vitamins and nutrients in the food. Another neat additive – biotin, which promotes a healthy coat and skin.
Tons of Protein for your Active Dog: Taste of the Wild Sierra Mountain Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
- Twenty-five percent of the food is simply protein
- Includes vitamins and minerals from real fruits
- Includes probiotics, prebiotics, and omega fatty acids
- The product does contain some preservatives
This product is touted as “formulated with novel proteins,” and claims to be highly digestible, which is a boon for German Shepherds with digestive issues. The first ingredient is lamb, and it is chock full of probiotics and prebiotics that are meant specifically for canines. The company is U.S. based, and they strive to provide food that includes ingredients from “sustainable, local” sources. This food does not contain artificial colors or flavors, and there are no grains included in the ingredients. One notable point – Taste of the Wild is the only food on our list so far to include dried chicory root for ease of digestion.
Absolute no GMO: Wellness Complete Health Adult Whitefish & Sweet Potato Recipe Dry Dog Food
- Contains glucosamine, taurine, and antioxidants
- No GMOs, no meat by-products, and no fillers
- Includes “wholesome” grains
- A very high-calorie food, may cause weight gain in German Shepherds
Although there are preservatives in this food, they are completely natural, unlike some other brands we’ve featured. Wellness includes “carefully chosen ingredients” in the form of sweet potatoes and oatmeal. One great quality of this food is glucosamine in addition to fatty acids that promote healthy joints. Wellness promotes this as food designed to promote “whole body health”— so ingredients include everything from those that encourage joint health to those that provide extra energy for a busy dog. This is the first food on our list to purposely leave out any GMO ingredients.
A Reasonably Priced All Natural Food Made Specially for Large Dogs: Nutro Natural Choice Large Breed Adult Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food
- non-GMO ingredients
- essential antioxidants as well as natural fiber
- Made specifically for dogs eighteen months and older
- Not for younger German Shepherds
This dry dog food, available in a thirty-pound bag for under $50, is made from all-natural ingredients. Chicken is the first ingredient, and it is meant to be flavorful as well as nutritious. There are no by-products as well as no soy. This food also includes glucosamine and chondroitin for healthy joints. Remember, though, that this is not a grain-free food; however, the grains included in this food are easily digestible.
Do German Shepherds need special food?
German Shepherds do not necessarily need special food, but you should look for certain ingredients in their food in order to provide the vitamins and nutrients a large, energetic dog breed needs. German Shepherds are prone to joint issues, especially as they age. Therefore, you want to provide your dog with nutrients that will promote healthy joints. German Shepherds are also a highly energetic breed, so they need lots of protein.
Another issue that seems to plague some German Shepherds is digestive issues. Some Germans have sensitive stomachs. They may not digest wheat or other grains well. Keep this in mind when choosing dog food. Keep in mind that some dogs will exhibit food allergies. This can lead to loss of hair from your dog scratching or biting at his skin. If food allergies are the culprit, you’ll want to steer clear of grains— even something as nutritious rice.
What should I look for in high-quality dog food?
Any time you pick up a bag of dog food, immediately flip it over and look at the list of ingredients. One of the first things you should do is look at the first ingredient. High-quality dog food will list real meat as its first ingredient.
Next, look at the remaining ingredients. Do you see the term “by-product” anywhere on the list? If so, you might want to look for another food. Words like “chicken (or any meat)by-product” mean that you’re not getting real meat. Truthfully, you could be getting leftover meat products that would be thrown away otherwise. These are often very unhealthy for your dog.
Look for grains in the list of ingredients. You want to avoid corn and wheat products. Soy is also often an ingredient in dog food, but dogs with allergies or sensitive tummies often have difficulty digesting soy. Look for natural grains, such as rice. Again, some dogs can’t eat grains at all, so keep that in mind as well.
Finally, if you can’t pronounce a lot of the names on the list of ingredients, then you know you have a food with preservatives, chemicals, and artificial ingredients. Avoid these for the health of your dog.
What foods are bad for German Shepherds?
German Shepherds need a lot of protein, but this needs to be balanced with natural fibers that will promote digestion. Always look for dog food that includes plenty of protein but also offers natural fiber such as pumpkin or carrots.
Let’s talk about foods that could be toxic to your German Shepherd. No dog should ever be given chocolate, but German Shepherds have a special sensitivity to chocolate. You should also make sure your German Shepherd never eats salt, macadamia nuts, grapes, onions, avocados, walnuts, and wild mushrooms. Never allow your German Shepherd to eat dough including yeast, green tomatoes, raw potatoes (sweet or otherwise), any moldy food, and the sweetener xylitol.
Always make sure your German Shepherd has a diet that includes vitamins and nutrients such as glucosamine, natural fibers, and real meat. Avoid dog foods with preservatives and fillers.
How do I switch to a new food without making my dog sick?
First, you want to find a dog food that is already similar in its formulation to that of your dog’s current food. Any changes you make to your dog’s diet should be done so gradually so that her digestive system isn’t shocked. If your dog has been eating a food that has its first ingredient as chicken, then stay with food that uses chicken as its first ingredient as well. A good rule of thumb is to look at the ingredient list; if the first few ingredients are the same, then you should be safe to switch.
You should first begin by offering the new food in multiple, smaller servings. (For instance, if your dog eats twice a day, break the meals down to three or four smaller meals using smaller servings.) If your dog can eat these smaller servings without getting sick or having any tummy issues, then you can likely start increasing the servings back to the two meals a day she is used to and the larger amount per serving.
You may have to choose a formula that is easily digestible, especially if your dog has a sensitive stomach in the first place. You may have to gradually mix what you’ve chosen to replace the original food with and the easily digestible formula together until you can feed the new formula on its own.
If all else fails, talk to your vet about choosing a new food for your pet.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best food to feed German shepherds?
While we chose Dr. Gary’s Best Breed Holistic German Shepherd dry dog food as our favorite, you should choose a dog food that best fits your particular dog’s needs.
You want a dog food that will offer the right amount of protein in addition to natural fibers that will help your dog to digest such a large amount of protein. (Yes, as paradoxical as that sounds, German Shepherds need a lot of protein, but their sensitive stomachs sometimes can’t digest that protein very well.) Look for natural fiber such as that found in sweet potatoes or pumpkin.
You want a dog food that offers antioxidants, omega fatty acids, and glucosamine. This will help to promote not only a healthy immune system but also healthy joints and a healthy digestive system.
What is the best dry dog food for my German shepherd?
The best dry dog food for your German Shepherd is one that incorporates the right amount of protein, natural fibers, and nutrients. You may have to test a few different brands before you find the one that your dog not only loves but also does not cause digestive issues. German Shepherds can be quite finicky! Unfortunately, some Germans may find a food that they really enjoy, but it may cause them to be gassy or to have an upset tummy. If this is the case, you’ll need to switch to another food.
We suggest a dry dog food that offers around twenty-five percent protein with natural fibers (remember, look for sweet potatoes or pumpkin in the list of ingredients). Look for glucosamine and chondroitin in the list of ingredients as well. These two ingredients are pivotal in promoting joint health. German Shepherds may experience joint issues such as hip dysplasia; eating a diet with glucosamine and chondroitin can help to mitigate this issue.
Look for meat as one of the first ingredients in your dog’s dry dog food. Foods that are naturally processed (via drying, etc) are much better for your dog’s digestive health as well.
What foods are bad for German shepherds?
You should be careful not to give your German Shepherd table food, as it may contain salt or an artificial sweetener called xylitol. Therefore, keep table food and scraps away from your dog.
Avocados, raw potatoes, and peanut butter are also not 100% safe for all German Shepherds. If you choose to feed your dog a natural food diet, it’s better to avoid these foods.
Make sure your dog never eats chocolate. Chocolate of any kind can be toxic to the German Shepherd! Dark chocolate is especially toxic to German Shepherds.
Do German shepherds need grain-free food?
While grain-free food is not necessary for the health of your German Shepherd, if you notice your dog presenting digestive issues or skin issues, you may want to go grain-free. Always avoid grains such as corn and wheat. Some German Shepherds can have natural grains in the form of rice, while others may not digest rice very well.