The Best Dog Food for German Shepherds in 2023

What Do German Shepherds Eat?

Finding the best dog food for German Shepherds can be an uphill task, especially with plenty of options available. These dogs are well-known for their loyalty, intelligence, and energetic nature, making them one of the most popular dog breeds.

Providing them with high-protein foods, such as chicken, turkey, beef, lamb, and salmon, is crucial to ensure these magnificent dogs lead healthy and active lives. This article uncovers the best dog foods for German Shepherds. Let’s get started.

German Shepherd outside portrait

What’s the Best Dog Food for a German Shepherd?

Our top pick for the best dog food for a German Shepherd is Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Natural Adult Dry Dog Food. It is a bundle of dry and wet dog food packed with high protein for muscle development and energy. It provides a blend of minerals, antioxidants, and vitamins that support a healthy digestive system, skin, and shiny coats.

The Best Dog Food Brands for German Shepherds

  1. Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Natural Adult Dry Dog Food: Best overall
  2. Orijen Dry Dog Food for All Breeds, Regional Red: Best grain-free dog food for German Shepherds
  3. Rachael Ray Nutrish Premium Natural Dry Dog Food: Best affordable dog food for German Shepherds
  4. Purina Pro Plan Large Breed Senior Dog Food: Best dog food for senior German Shepherds
  5. Iams Proactive Health Adult Minichunks Dry Dog Food and Classic Pate Wet Dog Food: Best dog food for German Shepherds with sensitive stomachs
  6. Orijen Dry Dog Food for All Ages, Original: Best dog food brand for German Shepherds
  7. Wellness Dog Food and Treats Trial Bundle: Best German Shepherd dog food bundle
  8. Blue Buffalo Delights Natural Adult Small Breed Wet Dog Food: Best flavored German Shepherd dog food
  9. Hill's Science Diet Adult Large Breed Dog Dry Food: Best dog food for digestive health
  10. Amazon Brand – Wag Dry Dog Food: Best dog food with grain
Orijen Dry Dog Food for All Ages, Original, Grain Free, High Protein, Fresh & Raw Animal Ingredients, 25lb + Treats
Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Natural Adult Dry Dog Food, Chicken 24 lb Bag Wilderness High Protein, Natural Adult Wet Dog Food, Trout & Chicken Grill 12.5-oz cans (Pack of 12)
Rachael Ray Nutrish Premium Natural Dry Dog Food, Real Chicken & Veggies Recipe, 40 Pound Bag (Packaging May Vary)
Product name
Orijen Dry Dog Food for All Ages, Original, Grain Free, High Protein, Fresh & Raw Animal Ingredients, 25lb + Treats
Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Natural Adult Dry Dog Food, Chicken 24 lb Bag Wilderness High Protein, Natural Adult Wet Dog Food, Trout & Chicken Grill 12.5-oz cans (Pack of 12)
Rachael Ray Nutrish Premium Natural Dry Dog Food, Real Chicken & Veggies Recipe, 40 Pound Bag (Packaging May Vary)
Price
$114.98
$106.00
$54.99
Orijen Dry Dog Food for All Ages, Original, Grain Free, High Protein, Fresh & Raw Animal Ingredients, 25lb + Treats
Product name
Orijen Dry Dog Food for All Ages, Original, Grain Free, High Protein, Fresh & Raw Animal Ingredients, 25lb + Treats
Price
$114.98
Buy Now
Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Natural Adult Dry Dog Food, Chicken 24 lb Bag Wilderness High Protein, Natural Adult Wet Dog Food, Trout & Chicken Grill 12.5-oz cans (Pack of 12)
Product name
Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Natural Adult Dry Dog Food, Chicken 24 lb Bag Wilderness High Protein, Natural Adult Wet Dog Food, Trout & Chicken Grill 12.5-oz cans (Pack of 12)
Price
$106.00
Buy Now
Rachael Ray Nutrish Premium Natural Dry Dog Food, Real Chicken & Veggies Recipe, 40 Pound Bag (Packaging May Vary)
Product name
Rachael Ray Nutrish Premium Natural Dry Dog Food, Real Chicken & Veggies Recipe, 40 Pound Bag (Packaging May Vary)
Price
$54.99
Buy Now

Our GSD Dog Food Reviews

Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Natural Adult Dry Dog Food: Best Overall

Brand: Blue Buffalo

Item form: Dry, wet

Flavor/s: Chicken

About the Product

Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Natural Adult Dry Dog Food is one of the best dog foods for German Shepherd adults. It contains high protein content derived from real meat sources. This supports the development and maintenance of strong muscles.

The brand incorporates its proprietary LifeSource bits into the formula. These bits are a precise blend of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that boost immune system health and overall well-being.

The wet dog food comes in easy-to-serve cans, providing a hassle-free feeding experience. It is often more palatable, making it suitable for picky eaters.

Why We Like It

  • It is easily digestible and provides plenty of energy for active dogs.
  • It promotes strong bones and teeth.

Our Concerns

  • It is more expensive than other dog food brands on the market.

Orijen Dry Dog Food for All Breeds, Regional Red: Best Grain-Free Dog Food for German Shepherds

Brand: Orijen

Item form: Dry

Flavor Notes: Beef, pork, and lamb amongst others

About the Product

The Dry Dog Food for All Breeds, Regional Red, shows Orijen’s commitment to providing high-quality dog nutrition. Specifically formulated to fulfill the dietary requirements of dogs, this grain-free and poultry-free formula, accompanied by an assortment of treats, delivers a nutrient-rich and delicious diet.

This formula boasts a high protein content, mirroring a dog’s natural diet. Protein is essential for muscle development, energy, and overall vitality, making it an ideal choice for active dogs. The treats enhance your dog’s overall feeding experience, providing additional flavors and textures.

Orijen treats are delicious, and you can use them as rewards during training sessions, fostering positive reinforcement and strengthening the bond between you and your furry friend. The assortment of treats offers a variety of flavors, catering to different taste preferences and providing a well-rounded snacking experience for your dog.

Why We Like It

  • It supports healthy digestion and immune systems.
  • It promotes healthy skin and shiny coats.

Our Concerns

  • Some dogs may need a gradual transition when switching to Orijen due to the high protein content, and abrupt changes may lead to digestive upset.
  • The rich and diverse meat ingredients may produce a strong smell, which could be an issue for some dog owners.

Rachael Ray Nutrish Premium Natural Dry Dog Food: Best Affordable Dog Food for German Shepherds

Brand: Rachael Ray Nutrish

Item form: Dry

Flavor/s:

  • Chicken & veggies
  • Chicken & veggies + chicken soup bones
  • Beef, pea & brown rice
  • Chicken & brown rice
  • Chicken & brown rice + chicken wheelies
  • Chicken & brown rice + chicken lovers variety
  • Chicken & brown rice + purrfect broths variety
  • Salmon & brown rice
  • Salmon & brown rice + salmon soft spots
  • Salmon & brown rice + ocean lovers variety
  • Chicken & brown rice + chicken & apple
  • Beef, pea & brown rice + beef & pumpkin
  • Beef, pea & brown rice + beef soup bones

About the Product

Rachael Ray Nutrish Premium Natural Dry Dog Food offers a thoughtfully crafted recipe that prioritizes the nutritional needs of your furry companion. This dog food offers holistic nutrition, addressing protein requirements and including carbohydrates, fiber, and fats to support various aspects of your dog’s health.

The recipe incorporates a variety of vegetables, such as carrots and peas, contributing essential vitamins and minerals for a balanced diet. It also contains whole grains, such as brown rice and whole-grain wheat, making it a wholesome meal.

Why We Like It

  • It is great for muscle development and overall well-being.
  • It is free from artificial additives, preservatives, and colors.

Our Concerns

  • Some formulas contain grains, which may not suit dogs with grain sensitivities.

Purina Pro Plan Large Breed Senior Dog Food: Best Dog Food for Senior German Shepherds

Brand: Purina Pro Plan

Item form: Dry

Flavor/s: Chicken & rice

About the Product

Purina Pro Plan Large Breed Senior Dog Food, specifically formulated with chicken & rice formula, is well-crafted to support the unique nutritional needs of senior dogs. This formula prioritizes high-quality ingredients to promote cognitive health and overall well-being during the golden years of your canine companion’s life.

The Bright Mind formula contains enhanced botanical oils that provide an additional energy source for the aging brain. Real chicken is the primary protein source, contributing to muscle maintenance and providing a palatable flavor that dogs love.

Large breeds, especially seniors, may experience joint issues. It contains glucosamine, which helps maintain joint health and mobility, promoting an active lifestyle.

With a history of providing quality pet nutrition, this brand has earned the trust of professionals and pet owners alike.

Why We Like It

  • It contains probiotics essential for a healthy digestive system.
  • It contains antioxidants to support the aging immune system and fight oxidative stress.
  • It supports healthy skin and shiny coats, addressing common senior dog skin issues.

Our Concerns

  • Some formulations may include corn and soy, common allergens for some dogs.
  • It is pricier compared to some budget dog food options.

Iams Proactive Health Adult Minichunks Dry Dog Food and Classic Pate Wet Dog Food: Best Dog Food for German Shepherds With Sensitive Stomachs

Amazon’s Choice in Dry Dog Food by Iams

Brand: Iams

Item form: Dry, wet

Flavor/s: Chicken & whole grain

About the Product

Iams Proactive Health Adult Minichunks Dry Dog Food and Classic Pate Wet Dog Food Cans offer a dual approach to canine nutrition, combining the benefits of dry kibble with the palatability of wet food. This pairing caters to adult dogs’ diverse preferences and nutritional needs, ensuring a balanced and flavorful diet.

The Adult Minichunks feature small-sized kibble, making it suitable for dogs of various sizes, including those with a preference for smaller bites. It has fiber and prebiotics that support healthy digestion, promoting optimal nutrient absorption and a well-functioning digestive system.

The Classic Pate, conversely, features a smooth and palatable texture that many dogs find enticing. This can be beneficial for picky eaters or those with dental sensitivities. The moisture content in wet dog food helps keep dogs hydrated, contributing to overall well-being. This is especially advantageous for dogs needing to drink more water throughout the day.

Why We Like It

  • It provides energy and vitality in adult dogs.
  • It supports muscle development.
  • It is often more budget-friendly compared to some premium dog food brands.

Our Concerns

  • This formulation includes grains, which are potentially allergens for some dogs.
  • Once opened, wet dog food has a shorter shelf life than dry kibble, requiring prompt consumption or refrigeration.

Orijen Dry Dog Food for All Ages, Original: Best Dog Food Brand for German Shepherds

Brand: Orijen

Item form: Dry

Flavor Notes: Turkey, seafood, chicken amongst others

About the Product

Orijen’s Dry Dog Food for All Ages, Original, sets the bar high for providing dogs with a nutritionally balanced and biologically appropriate diet. With a focus on fresh and raw animal ingredients, a grain-free formulation, and a bonus assortment of treats, this package offers a comprehensive solution to meet the diverse dietary needs of dogs at any life stage.

It has a variety of vegetables, providing dogs with essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants for overall health.

The accompanying treats add an extra layer of delight to your dog’s daily routine, offering flavors and textures that complement the nutritional excellence of this product. The treats are valuable rewards during training sessions, providing your dog with a diverse and enjoyable snacking experience.

Why We Like It

  • It supports muscle development and overall vitality.
  • Great for GSDs prone to or diagnosed with joint issues or diabetes

Our Concerns

  • It’s pricier than similar dog foods.

Wellness Dog Food and Treats Trial Bundle: Best German Shepherd Dog Food Bundle

Amazon’s Choice in Dog Treat Cookies, Biscuits & Snacks by Wellness

Brand: Wellness

Item form: Dry

Flavor/s: 

  • Lamb & whitefish
  • Lamb & Salmon
  • Beef & Turkey
  • Chicken & venison
  • Chicken & lamb
  • Trial bundle – whitefish
  • Turkey & duck

About the Product

The Wellness Dog Food and Treats Trial Bundle, featuring complete health dry food, offers a comprehensive introduction to a nourishing and balanced canine diet. This product is crafted with high-quality ingredients and offers your dog a well-rounded and nutritious meal.

The formula contains essential proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. This supports your dog’s overall health, energy levels, and vitality. Including real meat as the primary protein source helps promote muscle development and maintenance.

This formula contains antioxidants, omega fatty acids, and probiotics. The brand prioritizes the natural goodness of ingredients and avoids artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. This ensures a clean and pure nutritional profile for your dog.

Why We Like It

  • It supports a well-functioning digestive system.
  • It promotes healthy skin and shiny coats.
  • It provides grain-free options for dogs with sensitivities or dietary preferences.

Our Concerns

  • Some dogs may have sensitivities or allergies to specific components, such as turkey and venison, requiring careful monitoring.

Blue Buffalo Delights Natural Adult Small Breed Wet Dog Food: Best Flavored German Shepherd Dog Food

Amazon’s Choice in Canned Dog Food by Blue Buffalo

Brand: Blue Buffalo

Item form: Wet

Flavor/s: 

  • Turkey
  • Chicken
  • Angus beef
  • Bacon, egg & cheese
  • Roasted turkey & grilled chicken
  • Filet mignon
  • Top sirloin
  • Top sirloin & grilled chicken
  • Porterhouse
  • Filet mignon & porterhouse

About the Product

Blue Buffalo Delights Natural Adult Small Breed Wet Dog Food offers a delectable and nutritionally balanced meal for small breed dogs and German Shepherds. The pate-style texture of these wet dog food cups offers a smooth and easily manageable consistency that appeals to these breeds of dogs.

This wet dog food balances proteins, fats, and essential nutrients in appropriate portions. It comes in various flavors, allowing you to cater to your small dog’s taste preferences.

The individual cup packaging is convenient, allowing for easy portion control and storage. It’s a hassle-free way to provide your dog with a fresh and delicious meal. Additionally, its moisture content contributes to your dog’s overall hydration, especially for dogs with a lower water intake.

Why We Like It

  • It provides higher energy required by active dogs.
  • It is grain-free and suitable for dogs with grain sensitivities or dietary preferences.

Our Concerns

  • Some dogs may have sensitivities or allergies to specific components, such as eggs and cheese, requiring careful monitoring.

Hill's Science Diet Adult Large Breed Dog Dry Food: Best Dog Food for Digestive Health

Brand: Hill’s Science Diet

Item form: Dry

Flavor/s: Chicken

About the Product

Hill’s Science Diet Adult Large Breed Dog Dry Food is a top-notch choice for large adult dogs. This perfect digestion formula focuses on promoting a healthy digestive system. It is one of the best dog foods for EPI in German Shepherds. It contains prebiotic fibers that support beneficial gut bacteria, aiding nutrient absorption and maintaining digestive balance.

This formula provides a balanced blend of fats, proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals, ensuring comprehensive nutrition for large-breed adults. This makes it one of the best dog foods for adult German Shepherds. It also has essential fatty acids that contribute to a healthy coat and skin, enhancing your dog’s overall appearance.

Why We Like It

  • It supports muscle maintenance and overall vitality.
  • It has no artificial additives.

Our Concerns

  • Hill’s Science Diet is a premium dog food brand, and the cost may be higher than some budget options.

Amazon Brand – Wag Dry Dog Food: Best Dog Food With Grain

Amazon’s Choice in Dry Dog Food by WAG

Brand: WAG

Item form: Dry

Flavor/s: Salmon, beef, lamb, chicken

About the Product

Amazon Brand – Wag Dry Dog Food features real meat as the primary protein source, offering essential amino acids for muscle development and maintenance. It also has brown rice to provide a complex carbohydrate source, delivering sustained energy for your dog’s daily activities.

This formula is free from artificial colors and flavors, focusing on natural ingredients to enhance palatability. The inclusion of antioxidant-rich ingredients helps support your dog’s immune system, promoting resilience against environmental stressors.

This formula excludes common allergens like corn, soy, and wheat, making it suitable for dogs with sensitivities or allergies. Whether you have a puppy, an adult dog, or a senior companion, this product fulfills the nutritional requirements of German Shepherd dogs at all life stages.

Why We Like It

  • Being an Amazon brand, you can conveniently order online and have it delivered to your doorstep.
  • It is more budget-friendly compared to some premium dog food options.

Our Ranking Criteria

When ranking the best dog food for German Shepherds, we considered specific criteria that cater to this breed’s unique nutritional needs and characteristics. Here are the key factors we included in our ranking criteria:

  • Protein Content: Optimal protein levels are crucial for dogs’ muscle development and overall energy. We looked for dog foods with a high-quality protein source as the main ingredient.
  • Digestibility: These dogs can have sensitive digestive systems. We chose dog foods with easily digestible ingredients that promote optimal nutrient absorption.
  • Balanced nutrition: We also considered dog foods that provide a balanced blend of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, minerals, and vitamins to meet the specific nutritional requirements of dogs at different life stages.
  • Price vs. value: We compared the price of each dog food to the value it provides. Additionally, we considered the quality of ingredients and the nutritional benefits relative to the cost.
German Shepherd in the yard

FAQs

Are Allergies Common in GSDs?

Yes, allergies are relatively common in German Shepherds, as they can be in many dog breeds. These allergies can manifest in various forms, such as

Skin Allergies

Symptoms: Itching, scratching, redness, hot spots, hair loss, and recurrent ear infections.

Causes: Environmental allergens (pollen, dust mites), food allergies, or contact allergies (certain materials, shampoos).

Food Allergies

Symptoms: Digestive issues (vomiting, diarrhea), skin problems, ear infections.

Causes: Sensitivity to specific ingredients in their diet, often proteins or grains.

Environmental Allergies

Symptoms: Similar to skin allergies, including itching, redness, and ear infections.

Causes: Pollen, grass, mold, dust mites, or certain plants.

Contact Allergies

Symptoms: Red, itchy skin, rashes.

Causes: Reaction to materials like certain fabrics, carpet cleaners, or grooming products.

Inhalant Allergies

Symptoms: Respiratory issues, coughing, sneezing.

Causes: Sensitivity to airborne allergens like pollen or mold spores.

Allergic Dermatitis

Symptoms: Itching, redness, inflammation.

Causes: Allergies to substances coming into contact with the skin.

What Are the Most Common Health Issues Associated With German Shepherds?

German Shepherds are generally robust and healthy dogs, but like any breed, they may be prone to specific health issues. Here are some common health concerns:

Hip Dysplasia

Description: An inherited condition where the hip joint doesn’t develop properly, leading to arthritis and pain.

Prevention/Treatment: Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and avoiding excessive growth in puppies can help. Surgical options may be a solution in severe cases.

Elbow Dysplasia

Description: Similar to hip dysplasia but affecting the elbow joint.

Prevention/Treatment: Controlled exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and avoiding rapid growth in puppies. Surgical intervention may be a solution in some cases.

Degenerative Myelopathy

Description: A progressive spinal cord disease that affects mobility.

Prevention/Treatment: There is no cure, but maintaining a healthy weight and frequent exercise may help slow its progression. Genetic testing can identify carriers.

Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI)

Description: Inadequate production of digestive enzymes by the pancreas.

Prevention/Treatment: Enzyme supplements added to food can manage EPI. Frequent veterinary check-ups are crucial for early detection.

Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (Bloat)

Description: Rapid stomach expansion, often followed by twisting, which is a life-threatening emergency.

Prevention/Treatment: Feed smaller, more frequent meals, avoid exercise immediately after eating, and consider a raised feeding bowl. Prompt veterinary intervention is necessary in case of bloat.

Panosteitis (Panostitis or “Pano”)

Description: Painful inflammation of long bones, commonly seen in growing puppies.

Prevention/Treatment: Typically resolves with age. Pain management and rest are advisable during episodes.

Hemophilia

Description: A blood clotting disorder more common in male German Shepherds.

Prevention/Treatment: Genetic testing can identify carriers. Treatment involves managing bleeding episodes with veterinary care.

Cancer

Description: German Shepherds may be prone to certain cancers, including hemangiosarcoma and osteosarcoma.

Prevention/Treatment: Regular veterinary check-ups, early detection, and prompt treatment are crucial. Some cancers are more common in older dogs.

Epilepsy

Description: A neurological disorder leading to seizures.

Prevention/Treatment: Medication can help manage seizures. Regular veterinary monitoring is essential.

Cardiac Issues

Description: German Shepherds may be prone to heart conditions, including dilated cardiomyopathy.

Prevention/Treatment: Regular veterinary check-ups, a balanced diet, and maintaining a healthy weight greatly contribute to heart health.

Thyroid Issues

Description: Hypothyroidism is more common in German Shepherds and can affect metabolism.

Prevention/Treatment: Regular thyroid testing and medication if necessary.

What Should I Consider When Choosing Dog Food for my GSD?

Choosing the correct food for your dog is vital for their health and well-being. Here are some essential factors to consider:

Age and Life Stage

Choose a dog food formula corresponding to your dog’s age (puppy, adult, senior) to meet its nutritional needs at different life stages.

Size and Weight

Opt for a dog food formula appropriate for large breeds, considering your dog’s weight and size.

Joint Support

This dog breed is prone to joint issues. Consider dog food containing glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health.

Whole Grains or Grain-Free

Some dogs may have sensitivities to grains. Choose dog food with whole grains or grain-free alternatives based on your dog’s dietary needs.

Protein Content

GSDs are active dogs that benefit from a higher protein content in their diet. Look for dog food with a protein source as the primary ingredient, such as real meat or meat meal.

Budget Considerations:

While quality is essential, consider your budget. High-quality dog foods are available at various price points.

How Can I Tell if the German Shepherd Dog Food is High-Quality?

Here are some key factors to consider when evaluating the quality of German Shepherd dog food:

1. Real Meat as the Main Ingredient

High-quality dog food lists a named meat source, such as chicken, beef, pork, lamb, salmon, etc, as the primary ingredient. Look for whole meats or meat meals rather than by-products or vague terms like “meat.”

2. Balanced Nutrition

The dog food should provide a balanced blend of protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. Make sure it meets the specific nutritional requirements for German Shepherds, considering factors like age, size, and activity level.

3. Limited Fillers and Grains

High-quality dog foods guarantee minimal use of fillers, artificial preservatives, colors, and additives. Look for grain-free options or foods with whole grains for digestibility.

4. Natural Ingredients

Look for dog food with natural ingredients, avoiding artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives. A shorter ingredient list with recognizable items often indicates a higher quality.

5. Presence of Antioxidants

Antioxidant-rich ingredients like fruits and vegetables contribute to overall health. High-quality dog foods often include these natural sources of antioxidants.

6. High-Quality Protein Sources

Protein sources, such as deboned meats, meat meals, or fish, should be of high quality. Avoid foods that contain majorly plant-based proteins.

7. Probiotics and Prebiotics

Some high-quality dog foods include probiotics and prebiotics to support a healthy digestive system.

Can I Give My German Shepherd Dog Human Food?

Although some human foods are safe and healthy for dogs, it’s essential to be cautious and selective when offering human food to your German Shepherd. Dogs, including German Shepherds, have different nutritional needs, and certain human foods can be harmful or toxic.

German Shepherds eating ice cream

The Final Say

In the quest for the best dog food for German Shepherds, the primary goal is to provide sustenance and tailored nutrition that aligns with the unique needs of this remarkable breed. Our exploration into various top-rated options reveals a diverse landscape of formulations; each crafted precisely to address critical aspects of this breed’s well-being.

As a dog owner, the responsibility goes beyond selecting a dog food brand; it extends to observing your furry friend’s reactions, monitoring their health, and consulting with a veterinarian for personalized guidance.

We recommend Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Natural Adult Dry Dog Food. It is easily digestible, ensuring your dog gets all the nutrients it provides. Also, it supports strong teeth and bones and provides sufficient energy for active dogs.

Remember that the best dog food may vary based on individual health considerations. Regular monitoring of your dog’s health, coat condition, and overall well-being can help determine if the dog food meets their nutritional needs effectively. Always transition to new foods gradually to avoid digestive upset.

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