German Shepherds make great family dogs – they are loyal, intelligent, and have lots of energy! But one of the biggest worries pet parents have is whether they are getting their dog’s diet right. A good diet is key to giving your pet a long and healthy life, and the wrong diet can lead to a number of health problems. German Shepherds are big dogs with active lifestyles, so making sure they get the right nutrition at different stages throughout their lives is essential. We’ve put together this guide to walk you through some of the best advice on how much to feed, what to feed, and how much you can expect your German Shepherd to eat!
Puppies are growing rapidly and have very specific nutritional requirements. Puppy food tends to be high in calories and protein as they are bundles of energy at this age! Feeding your German Shepherd puppy a good quality balanced diet is essential to ensure that they grow up to be healthy adults. There are some foods designed specifically for large breeds such as German Shepherds, which provide extra support for their growing joints. You should look out for these foods in the pet store and ideally choose one of these large breed diets. You should always follow the directions on the packaging to ensure you feed the right portion size according to your pup’s weight. Regular weigh-ins at the vets will help to make sure you aren’t under or overfeeding your pup. You can find further general puppy feeding guidelines and advice via the AKC as well as specific German Shepherd facts and info.
Puppies need to be fed more frequently than adult dogs to support their rapidly growing bodies. German Shepherd puppies should be fed 4 meals a day until they are 3 months old, then reduce to 3 meals a day until they are 10 months old when their growth rate starts to slow down. Once they reach this age, they need 2 meals a day. You should still check the packaging from the individual manufacturer of your puppy’s food, and speak to your vet for advice if you are ever unsure.
Puppies must stay on puppy food until they reach adult size. German Shepherds are large dogs and tend to reach adult size later than smaller dogs. They are usually fully matured at 18-24 months. German Shepherds should stay on puppy food until they are 10-12 months old, then they should move on to an adult diet.
An adult German Shepherd will weigh around 65-90 lbs and need at least an hour of exercise every day, so their diet needs to reflect this. It might seem like your dog is eating a lot, but they need to replace the energy they burn off and eat enough of the right nutrients to sustain them! If you suspect your dog isn’t eating enough, take a look at this guide.
Adult dogs should be fed two meals a day. Treats should only make up 10% of your dog’s daily food intake.
As dogs get older their nutritional requirements change again. They are less active, and German Shepherds are more prone to joint problems such as osteoarthritis. You should consider switching to a senior diet at around 8 years of age. Senior foods contain the right balance of calories, protein, and calcium to support your dog’s body.
German Shepherds have a good appetite and aren’t very fussy, but they do tend to prefer a meat-based diet. Whichever diet you pick, you should ensure it is suitable for large dogs or working breeds and that it has plenty of protein and calcium, and also includes some type of doggy superfoods, too. Commercially prepared foods are the best way to ensure your dog gets a balanced diet with all the nutrients they need to stay healthy, and they come in wet or dried forms. Some dogs prefer one or the other, whilst some enjoy a variety and mix of both.
Dried food is cheap, easy to feed and store, and has lots of benefits for your dogs. The kibble is crunchy and helps to keep your dog’s teeth healthy, however, it has a lower water content. Dogs fed a dried food diet will drink more water, and you can soak the kibble to add a bit extra if you like.
Wet foods contain more water than dried, and often resemble meat which some dogs love. The food is usually in chunks with jelly or gravy, and some dogs prefer it to dried. However, it tends to spoil easily and is not as good for your dog’s dental health.
German Shepherds are large and active dogs with demanding nutritional requirements throughout their lives. They go through a rapid growth stage as puppies, and as adults need the right balance of nutrients to replenish the energy they burn off exercising. They need to eat a diet that has the right balance of protein, calcium, and other essential nutrients, and ensure they get the right number of meals a day to maintain good physical and mental health. There are specific foods for large breeds, and you can choose between wet or dried food according to your dog’s tastes.
Puppies should eat 3-4 meals a day until they are around 10 months old then they should eat 2 meals a day as adults.
German Shepherds are large dogs so naturally, eat larger portions than smaller breeds. They are active dogs and need lots of protein and energy to keep them healthy.