Best Dog Food for German Shepherd Puppies

It’s so important that you find the best dog food for German shepherd puppies because these dogs are really one in a million! Whether they are your family’s loyal furry friend, serving as a K-9 officer, or helping to keep people safe while working, these dogs have nutrition needs that MUST be followed.  

In this article, we are going to talk about what German Shepherd puppies need when it comes to their nutrition. The findings may surprise you, so keep on reading to make sure your puppy gets all he needs to grow up happy and healthy.  

What to Look for When Purchasing the Best Dog Food for German Shepherd Puppies? 

In this section, we will go over what to look for in food when it is finally time to buy. 

German Shepherd Puppy Nutrition: Read Those Labels 

All major pet food companies use recipes that are formulated and manufactured with your puppy in mind.  

They examine the nutritional needs of large breed dogs like the German Shepherd and create their puppy formulas to keep your dog healthy and to help him grow into an energetic adult dog. After about a year old, your puppy can be moved onto an adult diet. 

The good news is, many pet food manufacturers formulate their puppy foods to meet or exceed the nutrition standards required by the AAFCO, or Association of American Feed Control Officials. It is an organization that regulates the sale and distribution of animal foods and drugs designed for use on animals. 

As a result, most commercial dog foods are generally safe for your German Shepherd puppy to eat. However, some foods are higher in quality than others, so you should not just buy the first thing or cheapest item you see on the shelf.  

Here are some helpful phrases to look for when you shop: 

  • Complete & Balanced Nutrition 
  • Complete & Balanced Nutrition Based on AAFCO Trials 
  • Meets Nutritional Standards as Established By AAFCO 

Choosing Food Based on Age 

You should choose a food that is labeled “For all stages of life,” or made just for puppies. 

You will also want to choose a bag that will suit your puppy’s age. Puppies eat multiple times a day, so it may be best to buy in bulk, so you don’t run out. Here is the frequency at which pups eat: 

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  • Age 2-3 months means eating 4 meals each day 
  • Age 3-6 months means eating 3 meals each day 
  • Age 6 to 12 months means eating 2 meals each day 

You may also wish to find a food that is wet, or easy to mix with water. Puppies are still used to milk from their mother, and sometimes need a softer food to eat. Wet food is one option but adding warm water to the kibble will give your German Shepherd pup a nice, soft meal to eat without stress or strain on her teeth.  

Choosing the Best Dog Food for German Shepherd Puppies: Nutrients 

Most of the best dog food for German shepherd puppies are well-balanced and have all your puppy needs to be healthy and grow up strong. However, it never hurts to see what others think. Check-in with your vet or breeder to see what they feed their dogs. 

Your German Shepherd puppy is a carnivore, meaning they need a meat-based diet. As a result, the first ingredient you look for in your dog’s food should be a meat product, such as a chicken meal. 

There are other vital nutrients that go into making quality dog food. Let’s look for what should appear on the labels as you buy. 

Protein

 Meat provides protein, which German Shepherd puppies need to promote muscle recovery and growth and build the tissue inside the body of your pup.  

Carbs

Being carnivores, German Shepherds don’t need lots of carbs. But they are okay to have in dog foods because they do give the animal energy once turned into glucose. As carbs get digested in the small intestine of the animal, they produce heat, which helps your dog keep his body temperature in a safe spot.  

Fats

These keep your dog’s hair looking and feeling soft and shiny. These are also critical in making sure your dog’s skin is healthy. Fats are also promoters of good vision and a healthy, sharp brain. Fats enable the dog to absorb vitamins from food.  

Vitamins and Minerals 

There are also some critical nutrients that you should be looking for when it comes to shopping for dog food. Thankfully, many of these are already included in quality dog food blends, but it never hurts to check the label.  

Look for these as you shop:  

  • Vitamin A- Helps promote cell function, good eye function, and immune system health 
  • Vitamin B- Regulates the dog’s energy, aids in enzyme function, helps energy metabolism 
  • Vitamin C- Although dogs can synthesize their own Vitamin C; it is vital the food served has some in it, too. This vitamin reduces cognitive aging, fights free radicals, and lowers inflammation. 
  • Vitamin D- This helps the dog maintain healthy bones. 
  • Vitamin E- Guards your dog against oxidative harm. Vitamin E is fat-soluble and is necessary for fat metabolism and proper cell function. Without enough of this, muscle degeneration and eye problems can happen. 
  • Vitamin K- This helps dogs’ blood clots, which is essential in the event the animal suffers a laceration or some other injury. For example, if a dog accidentally eats rat or mouse poison, the dog’s ability to utilize Vitamin K can be lowered, and this could lead to death if not treated by your vet. 
  • Choline- This promotes a healthy brain and liver and may also be used if a pet is suffering from epilepsy. 

Should I Feed Supplements?  

Some people worry that their dog may not be getting enough -after all, your German Shepherd puppy means the world to you, and you certainly would not want her to be lacking in vitamins and minerals. 

But, it’s best to just stick with quality food and feed it accordingly, as too many supplements could harm your dog. 

If you still feel the need to supplement your dog’s diet, make sure to speak with your vet about how to include a supplement in your pet’s diet safely. 

What to Avoid When Purchasing Best Dog Food for German Shepherd Puppies? 

There are a few things to watch out for when you shop for the best dog food for German shepherd puppies.  

In this section, we will go over what to avoid as you shop around.  

Unnecessary Ingredients 

Sometimes, ingredients that look benign are simply not good for dogs. Let’s talk about some ingredients that you should avoid or at least be cautious about when it comes to your dog’s food.  

Sweeteners 

More often than not, sweeteners will be in fructose form, as sugar, or fruit. Fruit is actually okay for dogs; for instance, cranberry, pumpkin, apples, and cherries are great for dogs as part of a balanced meal. Even refined sugars like honey are okay.  

However, fructose and honey do NOT have a place in your dog’s food and supply no necessary nutrients. They are simply inserted into the formula to make it more palatable for the animal. These do nothing except increase your pet’s risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. 

Rendered Fat 

These are something of mystery meat when referring to pet food. Rendered fats can come from ANY animal, and it’s hard to trace where these fats were sourced. They could be from slaughtered cows, pigs, lambs, chicken, and even roadkill.  

It is a meat by-product with a shadowy past and could even be prepared with harmful chemicals such as sodium phenobarbital, which vets use when euthanizing animals. Even some antibiotics may end up in these fats. 

Preservatives 

This may seem questionable; after all, if you cannot get to the store for a while, a preservative can keep your dog’s food fresh. But it’s best to err on the side of caution and avoid pet foods with preservatives. In some cases, BHA and BHT are used to preserve the food.  

These are carcinogenic to animals and may cause organ damage. Their purpose is to keep the fats in dog food from becoming rancid. BHT also increased the instances of pituitary and pulmonary tumors in mice. 

Ethoxyquin is also something to avoid when you shop around. It is no longer permitted for use in human food but can be used when manufacturing pet food. The chemical is not injected directly into the formula but comes about as a result of being used in poultry or fish meals destined for dog food.  

It may not be listed on most cheaper brands of dog foods, as it is not a direct ingredient. It may lead to hemorrhaging, cancer, or damage to your pet’s kidney or thyroid. 

Fillers 

Fillers are usually in the form of things like “oat hulls,” “soybean hulls,” or “modified cornstarch.” These are not harmful to dogs, but they have no nutritional value. They are mostly used to bulk up the food, make more of the product in a single batch, and sell it at a lower price, enticing consumers and making money. 

Colors 

Dogs do not need artificial coloring in their food. After all, they are colorblind. Humans are the only ones benefiting from the coloring of dog food- they may think it is somehow healthier if it is colored brightly.  

Low-quality dog foods may include colors like Yellow 5, Red 40, Yellow 6, or Blue 2, to name a few. Also, you may find titanium dioxide as part of the food, which is a dough conditioner. There is no need for this in your dog’s diet. 

Allergens 

You will not know your dog has an allergy until you encounter something that makes her react. That being said, you will want to look out for the following allergens if your dog has a reaction:  

  • Wheat 
  • Fish 
  • Lamb 
  • Corn 
  • Eggs 
  • Soy 
  • Yeast 

While humans may have a mostly gastrointestinal reaction to food they are allergic to, dogs will show their reaction in a different way. Your dog may develop skin issues after eating new food, such as dry, inflamed, and itchy skin. Ear infections are another indicator that your dog may be having a reaction. 

Corn 

Corn is not always bad, and some of the foods we feature on our list include it. After all, it does provide digestible fiber. But if corn is the first ingredient listed on the bag, it is nothing more than a filler food. Some dogs also have a corn allergy. 

Propylene Glycol 

This stuff is found in antifreeze, and sadly some dogs have died as a result of consuming the stuff. Propylene Glycol may be found in dog food to reduce moisture and inhibit the growth of bacteria.  

Your dog does need some bacteria in the intestine to digest and benefit from his foods properly, and since this ingredient lowers the growth of bacteria, it reduces the amounts of these good bacteria.  

It also lowers the moisture levels needed in your dog to maintain digestion. The end result is that some dogs can develop intestinal blocks or cancerous lesions. 

So What Is The Best Dog Food For German Shepherd Puppies?

Here are our top five picks for your dog- the best dog food for German shepherd puppies. Not only did we choose foods with great ingredients, but they are all favorably reviewed by owners like yourself! 

Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food For Large Breeds 

Bigger dogs like the German Shepherd need a little something extra in their diet, and Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food For Large Breeds is that stuff! It has chicken and plenty of calcium, so your dog’s bones can grow big and strong. Helpful minerals are also included in the formula, including DHA from fish oil that supports the eye health of your puppy and promotes good brain function. The protein is high quality, and your dog will love the taste.  

The food is made in the United States, has no artificial colors or preservatives, and is the number-one veterinarian recommended brand. You can get this in either a 15 lb. bag or a 30 lb. bag, making it great for people who have multiple puppies or very hungry German Shepherd puppies. 

The ingredients are top quality and consist of chicken meal, whole grain wheat, whole grain oats, and helpful vitamins like Vitamin E, Vitamin A, and Vitamin B12. 

Pros 

  • It is the number-one recommended brand by veterinarians. 
  • Chicken meal is the first ingredient.  
  • It is specially formulated to meet the needs of large breeds. 

Cons 

  • Only one flavor was available at the time of this writing.  

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Puppy Dog Food 

You can start your puppy out on the right foot by giving them Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Puppy Dog Food. Real meat is the first ingredient, giving your pup the quality protein needed to grow and build muscle. There are also helpful whole grains and even some fruit for added benefits.  

Lifesource Bits are a hallmark of this food, and they’re a blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals chosen by holistic veterinarians and included in this food.  

These are great at supporting the dog’s immune system and oxidative balance. The food contains DHA and ARA, which are found in mother’s milk and great at supporting retinal health and cognitive function. 

The food contains no chicken by-products, and no corn, wheat, soy or artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. The food is sold in a 30 lb. bag, which is perfect for those of you with multiple German Shepherd puppies or those of you that want food that can last a while. 

Pros 

  • Contains DHA and ARA 
  • Comes in two flavors-chicken and rice, or Oatmeal and Lamb 
  • Generously sized 30 lb. bag  
  • Price is fair 

Cons 

  • Some users complained their dogs experienced diarrhea after consuming this food. 

Royal Canin Breed Health German Shepherd Puppy Dry Dog Food 

The first thing you notice about Royal Canin Breed Health German Shepherd Puppy Dry Dog Food is the cute German Shepherd puppy on the outside. The second thing is the price-at nearly $80 a bag it can be quite expensive! However, the quality is there, and it is specially formulated to meet the needs of German Shepherds aged 8 weeks to 15 months.  

The kibble is designed in such a way that it is easier for German Shepherds to eat, and the inclusions of Vitamin E and other helpful vitamins help keep your puppy’s immune system growing strong. The formula also aids in promoting good digestive health thanks to the proteins and fibers that help your dog eliminate more efficiently. 

Pros 

  • Kibble is raised up, so it is easier for German Shepherds to eat 
  • It is formulated to meet the needs of the growing German Shepherd, providing glucosamine and chondroitin 
  • Sold in a 30 LB bag, perfect for hungry pups 

Cons 

  • The price is quite high. 
  • The bag comes in only one size.  

Purina ProPlan Focus Puppy Wet Food 

If your German Shepherd puppy loves wet food, Purina ProPlan Focus Puppy Wet Food is a nutritionally complete meal your dog will go nuts for. It is formulated to support brain and vision health and is rich in vital Omega-6 Fatty Acids for a coat that will shine.  

Real chicken is the main ingredient in the food. You can also choose grain-free versions of this great food. The can is large enough to satisfy a hungry puppy, or you can serve some now and save the rest for later or give it to another puppy. You can also buy a 5 oz can, too.   

The food contains other great ingredients like Vitamin A, Vitamin E, and Choline. The fact that it is a wet food makes it an excellent way for your dog to get a little hydration. It is an excellent way for puppies that need wet food to get the nutrients they need. 

Pros 

  • The price is fair for the product.  
  • You get multiple cans in one shipment.  
  • Grain-free options are available 
  • Two can sizes are available 

Cons 

  • Flavor selection is limited-only chicken and turkey 

Eukanuba Puppy Dry Dog Food 

Eukanuba Puppy Dry Dog Food is excellent for large breeds and provides that “complete and balanced” nutrition we told you to look for! It is excellent for pups up to 15 months old, that will weigh over 55 lbs. upon reaching adulthood.  

It is made with high-grade animal proteins and contains adequate levels of calcium and phosphorus to keep your dog growing and satisfied.  

DHA promotes healthy brain development, while energy from fat and carbs provides your puppy with the juice they need to play, grow, and feel great. The fiber and prebiotic blend help your puppy’s digestion.  

Chicken is the first ingredient, followed by cornmeal. You will also find Vitamin E, Choline, B12, and Vitamin D, plus many others included in the kibble. 

Pros 

  • Available in three different bag sizes 
  • Price is reasonable for the quality of food provided 
  • Specially crafted to suit dogs of a larger breed 

Cons 

  • Only one flavor to choose from 

Recap 

After all, we came to know about these various brands of dog foods; we decided that Hill’s Science Diet was the number one choice. That conclusion was reached because of the following reasons: 

  • It is created just for dogs of a larger breed 
  • It is formulated with nutritious ingredients and no fillers 
  • It has vitamins and minerals, plus all vital nutrients, for your growing dog 
  • The price is reasonable for the quality. 

As a reminder, you should look for dog foods that feature protein as the first ingredient, and avoid foods using fillers like corn or soy.  

Make sure you know about the harmful additives in dog food like BHA and BHT, sweeteners, preservatives, artificial colors, and rendered fat so that you can avoid them. 

Conclusion 

We hope this guide has been helpful to you in shopping for the best dog food for German Shepherd puppies. Go forth and check out any of these foods for yourself to see what others had to say and have fun with your German Shepherd puppy!