German Shepherd Diet Essentials

German Shepherd looking into camera
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German Shepherds, known for their wolf-like appearance, are active, intelligent dogs weighing 60-80 pounds. Their unique needs demand owners who are knowledgeable about dietary requirements.

Nutritional Needs

Beautiful long-haired German Shepherd dog lying in the autumn forest, male, with
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German Shepherd breeds are active, which means they need a diet that is higher in both calories and protein. The average adult active dog should consume 1700-2100 calories a day. Obviously, this would be slightly less for an older inactive dog or a pup. Consult with your vet for a weight check and to determine the best caloric intake for your pet’s individual needs.

Protein

Shepherds need protein, which is a major nutritional requirement and a source of both calories and energy. Beyond regulating their own temperature and giving them energy, protein is also vital for keeping your dog’s immune and musculoskeletal system healthy. Protein builds and repairs muscles in the body. German Shepherds need a minimum of 22% protein to stay healthy as a puppy, while adults need at least 18%.

Fat

Dogs require fat for good health, taste, energy, and building essential bodily components. However, excess fat can lead to obesity-related health issues, including cancer, diabetes, and hypertension. Opt for healthy fats to maintain skin health. Puppies need up to 8% fat, while adult German Shepherds require up to 5% in their meals.

Carbs

In general, it’s best to formulate your dog’s meal plan that stays off high-carb foods. Instead, it its better to use high protein, grain-free foods with moderate fat content.

Best Food Choices

Dry dog food
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Being a part of the family means we certainly want to get the best food for our dogs that will enable them to grow and maintain a healthy long lasting life. There are a few different types of dog food out there and picking the right one can be hard, but it’s important to do so. The type of food you pick can impact things like your pet’s health.

Dry Food

Preferred by owners due to cost and convenience. Cold-Pressed retains nutritional value, while Kibble is widely used.

Pros:

  • Cost-effective and travel-friendly.
  • Concentrated nutrition.

Cons:

  • Shorter shelf life.
  • It can be challenging for puppies and older dogs to digest.

Canned Wet Food

Suitable for dogs with chewing difficulties or digestion issues.

Pros:

  • Hydrates dogs with low water intake.
  • Longer shelf life if unopened.

Cons:

  • More expensive.
  • Lower nutrient content due to added moisture.

Mixing

Some owners may feed their German Shepherd with a hybrid of both dry and wet foods. The pet food industry is evolving and some pet owners are switching to wet food toppings, such as gravy or sauces, when on a dry food diet. Doing so offers the best of both worlds and your furry friend will surely enjoy it!

Combining dry and wet foods offers flexibility but monitor caloric intake to prevent overfeeding.

Home-Made Diet

Most German Shepherd owners prefer to formulate or cook home-made meals for their pets. With home-made diets, you can control your dog’s food and nutrient intake. Albeit, getting the right mix of fats, protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and vitamins may be a daunting task.

Allows control over nutrients but can be time-consuming and costly. Consult a vet for a balanced homemade diet.

Raw Diet

Raw feeding seems to be gaining popularity among pet lovers. The concept of raw feeding is merely feeding your pets with raw ingredients or food they would have eaten in the wild. Although gaining popularity among pet owners, be sure to educate yourself and always consult a vet for guidance.

Meal Plans

Wet dog food
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Hungry Bark recommends these daily serving amounts for your German Shepherds.

  • 3lbs: 29-43 grams daily
  • 5lbs : 43-58 grams daily
  • 10lbs: 58-86 grams daily
  • 20lbs: 129-192 grams daily
  • 40lbs: 192-244 grams daily
  • 50lbs: 244-288 grams daily
  • 60lbs: 288-331 grams daily
  • 70lbs: 331-431 grams daily
  • 80lbs: 431-517 grams daily
  • Above 36kg (>80lbs): You should add half a cup for every additional 7kg (15 lbs).

Amount

Feeding depends on age, size, activity level, and health. Follow recommended guidelines to avoid overfeeding or underfeeding.

Frequency

Adjust feeding frequency as your dog ages: four meals for puppies (6-12 weeks), three for 12-24 weeks, and two for six months onwards. Reduce to once a day at one year.

Conclusion

Choose high-quality food, follow age-appropriate meal plans, and consult a vet if unsure. Feeding impacts overall health and well-being.

Corey Turner
Corey Turner, owner of FurBallFun.com, draws on a lifelong love for dogs and extensive pet ownership to offer a unique perspective in the pet industry. With a successful background in project management, he excels in critical analysis, precise attention to detail, and quality assurance. This expertise allows him to effectively differentiate true value from marketing hype in the pet sector. Corey’s contributions have been featured in various publications including Rockery Press Guide Books and WealthofGeeks.com. During his free time, he enjoys disc golfing, rock climbing, and bonding with his cherished FurBall friend, Harvey.