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5 Best Dog Food For German Shepherds (2019 Reviews)

German Shepherds are the representatives of what the German people are like, they are loyal, fearless even during adversity, confident, at times distant, however, when they get to know you they are amazing friends. That is why we believe that German Shepherds deserve the best of everything, including getting the right dog food into their body.

So, we prepared a list of 5 dog foods that we believe are the best for German Shepherds. Also, there is a buyer’s guide right below the list so that you have enough knowledge when you’re making your choice and know what’s necessary for your pup.

First, let’s get to the list!

5 Best Dog Food For German Shepherds

Nutro Max Grain-Free Dry Dog Food For German Shepherds

1. Nutro Max Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Nutro Max is a dog food that uses high-quality deboned lamb as the primary source of protein and chicken comes as the second ingredient.

Owners that are hesitant to feed their pup with the products that contain grains such as wheat or corn will be happy to hear that none of these products are used when making this dog food. Instead, manufacturers went for healthy alternatives such as peas and chickpeas, which are members of the legume family, and they are a great source of carbohydrates and also filled with fiber.

We should also mention that pea protein has not been used in this product, which is a by-product of a pea, and it is considered as a low-quality source of carbohydrates and protein. Since German Shepherds are susceptible for diabetes, such issue is best avoided by not including unhealthy carbohydrates in their dog food.

Taurine is another beneficial amino acid used in this dog food, which is helpful to distribute certain tissues in the body. Some health issues, including dilated cardiomyopathy and cystinuria, can be caused by taurine deficiency that is why supplementing that in your dog’s diet is crucial.

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Rachael Ray Dog Food with Chicken & Brown Rice For German Shepherds

2. Rachael Ray Dog Food with Chicken & Brown Rice

This is a high-quality dog food that has chicken as the main source of protein, and we believe that it is a good choice since when the meat comes from too many different sources, it might be allergic. It also contains menhaden fish oil, and it can be a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids.

Since it has rice in it, this dog food is not technically grain-free. However, it does not include grains, corn, or gluten. Instead, as the source for carbohydrates, this dog food consists of a lot of different vegetables and fruits ranging from carrots to cranberries.

We should state that it also does not contain any meat by-products if it is one of the things that you are careful about when getting your dog food.

One of the other beneficial ingredients in this dog food is flax seeds. Flaxseed is loaded with Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. Both of them are healthy fats, and they can alleviate the symptoms of arthritis and improve kidney functioning. So, this dog food is one of the best options for senior German Shepherds.

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Nature’s Recipe Dog Food with Salmon & Potatoes For German Shepherds

3. Nature's Recipe Dog Food with Salmon & Potatoes

Nature’s recipe is a premium quality dog food that is filled with all the nutrients and vitamins needed for your dog and, as well as probiotics to improve the digestive system.

Wild caught salmon is the first ingredient the main source of protein in this one. The fact that it is wild caught is essential for eliminating the concerns about antibiotics that might be used for farmed salmons. Salmon is a fatty fish and an excellent Omega-3 fatty acid source.

Instead of using grains as the source of carbohydrates, the manufacturer opted for a wide range of vegetables and fruits to give the energy that your pup needs, which comes from healthy carbs. Apples, pumpkins, and potatoes are the main sources of carbs, and all of them are filled with fiber. Fiber has a lot of benefits, including alleviating the symptoms of digestive issues, such as diarrhea and constipation.

We should mention that this dog food contains pea protein, which is considered a low-quality source of carbs and protein. However, when kept in lower amounts, it should not create any problems for your pup.

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Diamond Naturals Meat Recipe Dog Food For German Shepherds

4. Diamond Naturals Meat Recipe Dog Food

This is dog food has lamb and rice as the first ingredients, and it is also filled with lots of minerals and disease-fighting antioxidants.

The primary source of protein is lamb in this dog food, which provides good muscle growth. We should mention that this dog food also contains eggs as the protein source, so, for German Shepherds that have a sensitivity to eggs, it might not be the best option.

As for the carbohydrates, it has various vegetables and fruits such as carrots, spinach, coconut, peas, and oranges. Spinach and coconuts both are antioxidants that will help your pup to repair the damaged cells.

However, we should mention that there are lots of ingredients in this dog food and it might be allergic for some German Shepherds, so, it is best first checking the ingredients to see whether your pup is sensitive to a certain one.

 

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Whole Earth Farms Dry Dog Food Pork, Beef & Lamb For German Shephereds

5. Whole Earth Farms Dry Dog Food Pork, Beef & Lamb

This dog food has a very remarkable range of ingredients, starting with high-quality proteins, and it is getting the most carbohydrates from sweet potatoes, peas, and blueberries.

It contains a wide range of high-quality animal proteins such as pork, beef, lamb, and salmon. The manufacturer excluded the poultry in this product for the dogs that have allergies to chicken and eggs. Therefore, for German Shepherds that have allergies to such ingredients, this dog food might be one of the best options.

There are a variety of vitamins and minerals in this dog food to help your pup to get a healthy and sustainable diet.

This dog food does not contain any relatively nutrient-poor ingredients, such as pea protein and tomato pomace.  Moreover, it does not include any allergic ingredients such as wheat gluten or corn related products.

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German Shepherd lying on a lawn

Buyer’s Guide

What Should Be In Your German Shepherd's Food?

High-Quality Protein

Protein might be the most crucial part of your dog’s diet because all the essential amino acids that it needs found in protein. German Shepherds, like any other dog, should consume a lot of different food high in protein, and the best sources for protein include animal proteins such as chicken, fish, beef, muscle meat, organs.

Protein is essential for the development of the muscles; it supports the growth of body tissues, and also dietary protein intake and also has a significant effect on your pup’s skin and coat. Since German Shepherds is a very athletic dog, it will need a lot of protein to stay healthy and develop. So, getting an adequate amount of high-quality protein is essential for your German Shepherd.

Generally, a healthy adult dog should get 20-25% of its food intake from protein.

Fat

Fats play a serious role in the system of a canine to function, just like humans. They are a vital source of energy, and it plays a role in the functioning of the kidney and the absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, E, and K.

However, despite all the benefits of the fat, owners should always be mindful of the amount of the fat their pup consumes. A healthy adult dog should get 12% of their diet.

 

Carbohydrates

Along with protein and fats, carbs are one of the three major nutrients found in food. They can be a source of energy in dogs. However, we should mention that carbohydrates are not required in a dog diet. That does not mean that carbs are always bad, though.

There is a difference between good carbohydrates and bad carbohydrates. Good carbs come from vegetables and whole fruits, and they can also be a good source of fiber, which is very beneficial. Fiber is beneficial for the digestive system and also helpful for reducing the risk of diabetes.

On the other hand, bad carbs could be found in ingredients such as corn syrup and gluten; and, not only they don’t have any health benefits, they also might cause a lot of problems for your pup, which we’ll we get to below.

Most commercial foods contain as much as 50-70% of carbohydrates because it is cheaper than meat. However, low-carbohydrate dog foods should include around 35 percent or fewer carbohydrates.

You should always be cautious with amounts of carbs that are in your pup’s diet. Even though carbohydrates can be included in your dog’s diet, to keep their blood sugar steady, the modest amount should not be exceeded. Otherwise, health problems such as obesity and diabetes can occur.

Micro-Nutrients

Micro-nutrients are trace elements such as vitamins and minerals. Even though they are needed in smaller amounts than macro-nutrients (proteins, fats, and carbohydrates), they are still required for your dog to develop properly, and they also play a role in boosting metabolism.

Ingredients You Should Look Out For When Getting A Dog Food For Your German Shepherd

Corn Syrup

Corn syrup is pure glucose, which is sugar often used to sweeten the taste of the palate of your dog’s food. Corn syrup does not involve any essential nutrients, and when consumed too much, it will cause to weight gain, diabetes, and other health related issues in your pup.

Wheat Gluten

Wheat gluten is a grain by-product and provides a cheaper alternative to muscle meat protein. That is the reason why they are included in most commercial dog foods.

Even though most dogs are receptive to gluten, many of them develop issues such as allergies when gluten is in their diet. Considering that German Shepherds are prone to food allergies because of their genetics, getting a dog food that does not include gluten might be one of the best things you can do for your pup.

By-Products

By-products are the parts of the animals that are left after the meat is removed. They can include organs such as lungs, heart, liver kidneys.

By-products in dog foods are always a controversial one. Because, dogs are derived from predators who hunted their meals, and when they caught their preys, they probably ate them as a whole. So, organ meats should always be included in your dog’s diet because they are high in some vitamins and nutrients.

However, the questions regarding the methods food companies use when separating by-products from the meat can always be raised. That is why owners of German Shepherds like every other breed, should be cautious when choosing the dog food for their pup, and it is always best purchasing from reliable companies.

German Shepherd looking at his food

Health Issues In German Shepherds

Hip Dysplasia

Just like any other large dog breed, German Shepherds are easily susceptible to hip dysplasia, and it is the most common health problem they encounter during their lifetime. The dogs that overeat, exercise too much, or get injured in the early stages of their lives might hurt their hips.

This is especially true for German Shepherds, and one of the main precautions you can take is to feed them the dog food that is best suited for their lifestyle and health. If you have a highly active dog, going for the products that have high protein and fat would be the right choice because they help the muscle growth and bone strength.

On the other hand, if your dog is not getting enough exercise, you should at least avoid the excessive amounts of carbohydrates and fat to prevent it from getting overweight.

Just like any other large dog breed, German Shepherds are easily susceptible to hip dysplasia, and it is the most common health problem they encounter during their lifetime. The dogs that overeat, exercise too much, or get injured in the early stages of their lives might hurt their hips.

This is especially true for German Shepherds, and one of the main precautions you can take is to feed them the dog food that is best suited for their lifestyle and health. If you have a highly active dog, going for the products that have high protein and fat would be the right choice because they help the muscle growth and bone strength.

On the other hand, if your dog is not getting enough exercise, you should at least avoid the excessive amounts of carbohydrates and fat to prevent it from getting overweight.

Diabetes

Due to their large size and their inclination to overeat whenever they have access to food, diabetes is quite common among German Shepherds. Diabetes is strictly related to the amount of exercise your pup is getting and the food it is eating.

As for the diet, diabetes is mostly caused by having a high blood sugar, which is usually what happens after your pup consumes too many unhealthy carbohydrates. As stated above, unhealthy carbs should not be included in your dog’s diet, and most of the unhealthy carbohydrates found in dog foods come from gluten and corn syrup.

So, when making your choice, don’t forget to check out all the ingredients and make sure these products are not included in your pup’s diet. On the other hand, healthy carbohydrates that come from vegetables and fruits such as apples, peas, pumpkins, and spinach are beneficial, and most of them are good sources of fiber. Also, most of the dogs love vegetables.

We should also mention that if you’re not able to keep your dog very active, feeding it the right food is even more essential. Because getting mild exercise and eating healthy won’t probably cause as much problem as not getting enough exercise and having a bad diet. So, for owners of the German Shepherds that are not heavily active, we suggest feeding them the right dog food and the best way to do that is getting your pup’s food from reliable manufacturers

Allergies​

Dogs, just like humans, can get allergies. These can be in the form of environmental and seasonal allergies, such as having an allergic reaction to grass or certain types of pollen, or they might be food-related allergies.

German Shepherds tend to get food and seasonal allergies more quickly than other dog breeds, and the best way to avoid that is excluding the products that can initiate allergic reactions for most dogs in your pup’s diet. Gluten and corn syrup are often allergic and should be avoided as much as possible.

However, we should mention that there is no single list of allergic dog foods, and it depends on your tail-wagger. For most of the dogs, grain-free dog foods with no gluten will do the job, but as mentioned, there is no definite answer.

Some German Shepherds might be allergic to dairy products or eggs, some of them may be allergic to certain types of vegetables, and even some of them can be allergic to certain kinds of meats, so the best way to understand is trying different options and find the dog food best suited for your pup.

Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis is a health issue that happens when the pancreas gets inflamed. There is a chance that this will occur one time in your dog’s life. Also, it might happen more than once, or it might not happen at all. Most of the time, it depends on your pup and his diet.

Consuming dog foods that have too much fat when it is not used to might be the cause of this issue. We want to state that consuming fat is not a problem and it’s very healthy for your pup even if it gets an adequate amount of exercise. However, if you suddenly increase the amount of fat it eats, making it accustomed, it might be a recipe for potential issues.

Cancer

Cancer is a common disease that might happen in all dog breeds, and some of the breeds are more susceptible to it than the others. Unfortunately, German Shepherds are one of them.

There are different types of cancers, and the causes of them may vary. Frankly, from cleaning products to cosmetics, there is a chance that most of the items we use might be carcinogenic for your dog, and since they live in the same household with us, they can always be exposed to cancer-causing products.

Also, in some products that are used in dog foods, molds called aflatoxins have been found, and they are carcinogenic. Corn is one of the primary sources of the aflatoxins; that is why they should be avoided when making your choice.

To eliminate or reduce the risk of your dog getting cancer, you should always go for the products that are filled with healthy fat, protein, and carbs. This is especially true for German Shepherds because they are more susceptible to cancer and consuming the right dog food is essential for their health in the short term and a long time.

Conclusion: 5 Best Dog Food For German Shepherds

German Shepherds are amazingly loyal and smart creatures. So, their health is essential for us. Eating the right food is a big part of that, so we created a list of the best dog foods that we believe suit best for German Shepherds. 

We tried to include products with different ingredients and did not give a place for the products that contain harmful ingredients for your pup. We hope that you read all the items carefully and were able to make a suitable choice for your dog.