How Much Should You Feed A German Shepherd Puppy (By Age)

Watching your German Shepherd puppy grow from newborn to senior is a pleasurable experience, but feeding them can get confusing for first-time dog owners. Newborn German Shepherd puppies require being fed at least once every 3-4 hours. As they grow older, this will slowly decrease to only twice per day.

In this article, you will learn how much to feed a German Shepherd puppy and the diet restrictions of this friendly, hyperactive breed.

Table of Contents

How Much Should You Feed A German Shepherd Puppy (By Age)

The amount of times you feed your German Shepherd puppy each day varies by its age.

A newborn pup will be fed every few hours; meanwhile, a senior dog will be fed only twice per day. This schedule is significantly different, but it is critical for your dog’s growth and weight maintenance.

Consider how much time you can dedicate to feeding your puppy and the amount of money you can spend before adopting a dog. Raising a newborn pup takes time and commitment. Someone who does not have enough time to attend a puppy’s side every six hours may want to adopt an adult dog.

How Much Should Newborn German Shepherds Eat

In the place of a German Shepherd’s mother, you should feed newborn German Shepherd puppies every two hours for the first few weeks of their lives. Feeding your puppy every couple of hours will emulate how the ease of accessibility it would have had with its mother. 

Feed your German Shepherd through a baby bottle or feeding syringe. The syringe can be easier to measure out. On the other hand, the baby bottle is a great way to give your pup a natural experience!

After six weeks old, German Shepherds should begin eating between ½ cup and ¾ cup of warm goat milk, soaked kibble 3 to four times per day.

How Much Should German Shepherd Puppies Eat

At two months old, German Shepherd puppies begin eating around 1 cup of food per day. Slowly begin adding half a cup to their diet over the course of a few months. At twelve months, they should be eating between 3 and 3 ½ cups of dry kibble each day.

How Much Should Adult German Shepherds Eat

Adult German Shepherds should eat at least 2 ½  to 3 ½ cups of food per day. The amount of food that every dog should eat varies based on its size and age. German Shepherds that are larger in stature should have their diets modified accordingly.

How Much Should Senior German Shepherds Eat

Senior German Shepherds should eat a diet of 2 ½  to 3 ½ cups of food every day. Modifications for age and size can be made as well as any ailments too.

How Many Daily Calories Do German Shepherd Puppies Need (By Age)

The age of your German Shepherd determines the number of calories they need to consume. You will notice as your dog gets older, the demand for a high-calorie diet lowers. The reason the demand for a high-calorie diet decreases is because your dog is no longer as active as they were in their youth. 

Cutting back on food intake is important, so you are not contributing to potential health problems like obesity. Obesity can be problematic for your dog because it puts pressure on the joints. German Shepherds are already known for their weak joints. 

Newborn German Shepherd Daily Caloric Intake Requirement

Measuring with kitchen devices is a better idea than counting calories when you are taking care of a newborn pup. It is dangerous to use caloric intake because your pup is constantly growing. Focusing on caloric intake can prevent your puppy from growing.

Purchase measuring cups, a doppler, a feeding syringe, measuring spoons, bottles, and more.

German Shepherd Puppy Daily Caloric Intake Requirement

Since every pup varies in size and requires its own calculations based on a chart provided by the food brand (typically on the back of your food), using caloric intake as a measurement to feed puppies can be inaccurate. It is best to use measuring cups instead.

Adult German Shepherd Daily Caloric Intake Requirement

An active adult German Shepherd requires at least 1,700 calories per day. A less active German Shepherd will need between only 1,200 and 1,500 calories per day. The difference in caloric intake depends on activity level and size!

Senior German Shepherd Daily Caloric Intake Requirement

German Shepherds become lazier as they age, which can eventually lead to obesity if you are not careful. Senior German Shepherds become vulnerable to bone and joint issues like hip dysplasia. 

Restrict your dog’s daily food intake if you notice that your dog is rapidly gaining weight. Permitting weight gain can lead to pain and potential immobilization if it gets bad enough.

What Food Does Your German Shepherd Puppy Need? (By Age)

Every age of German Shepherd requires a different type of food. Specialty food like puppy formula helps your dog gain weight. It is important to find a food that your German Shepherd enjoys. However, you should not change its food many times throughout its puppyhood.

As your puppy gets older (around 10 weeks), you can begin to incorporate a wider variety of foods into their diet. 

Food for Newborn German Shepherds

Newborn pups should be nursing as newborn pups between ages 0 weeks and 8 weeks old. By the chance that your pup cannot nurse such as it was a reject, you will need to substitute its mother’s milk with formula. 

Newborn puppy formula can be purchased at your local pet store. Always pay attention to the age parameters on your bottle to confirm you are feeding your puppy age-appropriate food.

Food for German Shepherd Puppies

By the time your puppy is 8 weeks old, your German Shepherd is ready to eat moistened kibble. It is a good idea to feed puppies a diet of large-breed growth food to help your puppy grow strong bones. The lean growth leads to a decrease in the severity of hip hyperplasia in adults later on.

Food for Adult German Shepherds

Unless your German Shepherd suffers from an ailment, they will be highly active and thus require lots of calories. Adult German Shepherds require a high-energy diet with plenty of fresh ingredients mixed in. Many food brands offer specialized formulas made for your German Shepherd specifically.

Food for Senior German Shepherds

As your dog gets older, you should begin adding different proteins and supplements to its diet. One of the most beneficial supplements is Calcium. Calcium can help German Shepherds who struggle with weak bones and joints build stronger bones. A reduced-fat diet may also be suggested for a senior dog since senior German Shepherds tend to be less active than younger dogs!

What Nutrients Should A German Shepherd Puppy Have?

Puppies require a proper diet to grow big and strong. One of the most important components of a newborn German Shepherds’ diet is Calcium so your dog’s bones and joints can grow strong. 

Without strong bones and joints, your German Shepherd is even more prone to developing hip issues. 

Other essential nutrients that a growing German Shepherd puppy should have include: 

  • Proteins
  • Fats
  • Fiber

How Often Should You Feed A German Shepherd Puppy (By Age)

Dogs, German Shepherds especially, are fans of routine, which is why setting a daily feeding schedule is important. Developing a strict feeding routine can help eliminate your dog’s stress and help set expectations for your dog.

There is no reason to blame your beloved dog for interrupting you mid-sleep when they have no real feeding schedule to go by! Do not yell at them either when they beg you for scraps in the middle of your important meal. 

Set strict expectations with your dog by feeding them an appropriate amount of food at the same time, in the same feeding area each day!

How Often to Feed a Newborn German Shepherds

Newborn pups require enough food in their first few weeks so they can grow big enough to eat solid foods. A newborn German Shepherd should eat at least once every 3-4 hours. As they get older, this time will expand to every 6-8 hours. 

If your puppy is nursing with their mother, they will typically go to eat by themselves. However, you should still pay attention to their feeding schedules and be sure each puppy is getting their fill. Sometimes newborn puppies can have a difficult time competing with their siblings.

How Often to Feed a German Shepherd Puppies

Depending on their size, German Shepherd puppies will typically eat different amounts. You should feed your puppy at least three to four times per day. Do this until your dog reaches around four months and then begin to wean them to a regular twice a day feeding schedule.

How Often to Feed an Adult German Shepherd

An adult German Shepherd should be fed at least two times per day: Once in the morning and once at night. It is best to abide by a strict schedule. 

If your German Shepherd has allergies or is suffering weight problems, there might be some dietary restrictions.

How Often to Feed a Senior German Shepherds

Senior dogs should be fed at least twice per day. Keep in mind that the activity level of your senior dog tends to decrease with their age. 

Adjust the amount of food you feed them at both times per day based on how active your companion is.

What Are the Signs You’re Overfeeding Your German Shepherd Puppy?

There are quite a few signs that you have been overfeeding your German Shepherd. Luckily, most of these are visual and easy to identify!

Sudden Increased Weight

A sudden increase in weight is a clear sign that you have been overfeeding your German Shepherd. The beautiful dog breed is supposed to be lean, but when you feed them too much food, they can get fat. 

Fattening up your German Shepherd is dangerous for their hips which are prone to damaging later in life.

Pay attention to the size of your pet and take them into routine vet visits. If your vet tells you that your dog needs to lose weight, do not take this request lightly. Too much weight can be dangerous!

Food is Being Left in the Bowl

When your dog leaves food behind in their bowl, this shows that you are giving them too much food. To eliminate the chance of harmful bacteria getting on your German Shepherds’ food, you should throw out their food every few hours.

Take note of any leftover food. If there is a considerable amount left, this indicates that you are giving your dog way too much food. It is time to reconsider the amount of food you give your dog!

German Shepherd is Eating Too Fast

Gluttonous dogs can be difficult to manage at times, especially when giving them wet food and yummy treats. The best thing to do with a fast eater is to try and teach them to eat slower. If you can teach a dog to eat slower, then you do not need to worry about them throwing up or developing a serious condition like gastric dilatation and volvulus syndrome (GDV).

Looking into your dog’s throw-up can be telling -and necessary. If it is brown and comprises mainly of food, the food did not touch their stomach acids. Your German Shepherd did not swallow their food before throwing up.

If blood, worms, or bile are present, your German Shepherd might be puking for a more serious reason than gorging on giblets.

Your German Shepherd Has Tearstains

If tearstains are beginning to develop in the corner of your German Shepherds’ eyes, then that means your dog is being overfed. An overfed dog cannot process toxins, and this leads to health problems.  

Health problems associated with tear staining can be eliminated with a proper diet.

Your German Shepherd Has Food Bloat

Food bloat, also called gastric torsion, happens when your puppy does not know how to stop themselves from eating. Puppies do what puppies do, and their gluttonous behavior leads them to become carried away with themselves. 

Puppies who experience food float feel “stuffed,” so they get tired and lazy. Food bloat may lead to more severe gastric dilatation and volvulus syndrome (GDV), which is a disease that can be fatal unless treated immediately. In addition to GDV, secondary conditions often arise. Treatment is rigorous.

What Are The Signs You’re Underfeeding Your German Shepherd Puppy?

The most prominent way to tell that you are underfeeding your puppy is when you can easily see or feel its bones through its skin. There are many other signs in addition that you might be underfeeding your German Shepherd puppy.

German Shepherds are not supposed to be fat, but they are supposed to be bulky with muscular frames. Raising your German Shepherd to be lean and fit will help them later on in their highly active lifestyle. 

You Can Feel (And See) Your German Shepherds’ Bones

There is something wrong if you can feel the dog’s ribs when petting them. If there is no fat between your German Shepherds’ skin and bones, you should begin working on helping them gain weight.

Your German Shepherd is Lethargic or Constantly Tired.

If your dog is constantly sleeping or refusing to play despite appearing interested, this is a sign that they may not have enough energy. Everyone gets their energy from food. So, to fuel your pup, you will need to give them more food.

Evaluate your German Shepherds’ diet and perhaps consider adding more protein-rich foods to their daily menu. Foods that are high in fat content can help your dog gain weight.

Your German Shepherd is Constantly Begging You for Food

Dogs love to beg for food, but there is a difference between lip-licking whines and stomach-growling groans. If your dog is begging for food even after feeding them, you might want to pay attention to some of its other behaviors too. 

As your canine grows, it is easy to forget about how much they have changed. To avoid any disasters, accounting for their size changes is critical!

If you notice any signs that your canine comrade might be going hungry, you should begin working to increase your German Shepherds’ weight immediately. Even runts of the litter can bring their weight up if you put enough effort toward it.

Ways to increase your German Shepherd puppy’s weight include:

  • Feed your puppy (a little) more 
  • Feed your puppy a snack between meals as a supplement.
  • Feed them high protein foods
  • Mix in puppy milk supplement.

Why Is Your German Shepherd Puppy Not Eating?

There are many reasons why your German Shepherd puppy may not be eating. It can be mood-related or even the taste of the food. In any case, you should pay close attention to your puppy’s attitude. If it begins acting lethargic or aggressive to other pets, there might be something wrong with them. 

Furthermore, a puppy who misses more than one meal should be taken to see the vet. Missing heals is one of the first signs of sickness and treating sickness is critical. Many diseases and infections can be treated if they are caught early. 

The Food Does Not Taste Good

One of the main reasons your German Shepherd may not be eating their food is because they do not like the taste of it. This can be easily fixed by changing the type of protein that you are feeding them. 

It is always recommended that you consult with a veterinarian first before switching your puppy’s diet!

It is the Wrong Time 

German Shepherds have an acute sense of time. Your furry friend might not eat their food because you are feeding them at the wrong time. 

Leave a bowl of food out and observe the times they approach their food bowl. Adjust your feeding schedule accordingly and see if that solves your problem!

Your German Shepherd is Sick

The most common sign of illness in dogs is to go without eating. If you notice that your German Shepherd is not eating, look for other signs of sickness. 

A German Shepherd who is showing signs of lethargy or starvation should be taken to your vet for a check-up. Waiting until the last minute can be dangerous, and there is no time to spare when it is your best friend’s life on the line.

Your Dog Wants Company While They Eat

Oddly enough, some dogs want company while they eat. Sitting with your German Shepherd during dinnertime may encourage them to eat. 

Keeping your pup company is the solution for dogs with separation anxiety or those who are being fed far away from the family. Sometimes isolation seems like a good idea but, really, your dog is a part of the family and wants to eat with you, too!

What Should You Do If Your German Shepherd Puppy Doesn’t Eat?

There are a few methods that you can try if you are struggling to get your German Shepherd puppy to eat. Puppies who are developing their appetite might be struggling to acquire a taste for new foods. 

Cook strong-smelling meat to entice your puppy. Waft the smell of the meat toward your puppy and use it as an encouragement to eat. Human meat and processed foods are bad for puppies, so do not feed your German Shepherd any of the cooked meat. 

What’s The Best Dog Food For A German Shepherd Puppy?

German Shepherd puppies will begin with a very strict diet. As they grow older, they will be introduced to new and amazing foods. With this comes the danger of finding out allergens that can lead to skin irritations. 

Great dog food for German Shepherd puppies include:

PetLac Puppy Milk

The puppy milk PetLac is the only real way to feed a German Shepherd newborn puppy! This advanced stand-in puppy milk formula is perfect for people who are raising their German Shepherd from an abandoned pup.

PetLac puppy milk is a replacement for your puppy’s mother and should be used as a part of your normal feeding regimen. 

  • Easy to use
  • Top rated
  • Good for puppies up to six weeks old
  • Made for bottle feeding puppies
  • Affordable
  • Vitamins and minerals
  • Recommended for orphaned puppies

Esbilac Puppy Milk (Powdered)

Esbilac puppy milk is made from all-natural powdered goat milk. Puppy milk is used as a replacement for the mother’s milk. The Esbilac brand specifically is a brand of puppy milk recommended for abandoned and rejected puppies. 

All breed sizes are approved to use Esbilac and are packed full of helpful nutrients and amino acids to help your German Shepherd grow big!

  • Affordable
  • Powdered and ready to mix
  • Nutrient-packed
  • All-natural goats milk
  • Easily digestible
  • Can be an additional caloric supplement

Esbilac Puppy Milk (Liquid)

The liquid Esbilac puppy milk is a liquid, canned version of the all-natural puppy milk replacement for dogs. It is made for puppies ages 8 weeks and older with the intention to be a replacement for the mother’s milk. 

The canned design makes this version of the Asbilac puppy milk more convenient than ever before. Simply pop it open and either pour the puppy milk into trays or use a clean feeding syringe to carefully fill your bottles!

  • Affordable 
  • Convenient 
  • Canned  
  • Ready-to-use
  • Vitamins and proteins

Science Diet Dry Food

The small bite puppy food from Hill’s Science Diet is a veterinarian-recommended dog food that is dedicated to providing you with the highest quality products. From its top-grade proteins to fresh ingredients, Science Diet gives your German Shepherd the food they deserve!

Science Diet specializes in creating formulas for every unique allergy so your German Shepherd can eat high-quality, healthy food at an affordable cost. As your German Shepherd grows older, Science Diet can grow older with you. Hill’s has a formula for every age, ailment, and condition.

  • High-protein
  • Special formula
  • Affordable
  • Fish oils
  • Extra small kibble
  • Dry and wet foods are available
  • Balanced minerals promote strong bone health.

Royal Canin Dry Food

The Royal Canin dry food for Large Puppies is a great option for German Shepherd puppies. Just look at the front of the bag! German Shepherd’s require a high-calcium diet as they develop through puppyhood.

The formula of the Royal Canin large puppy food promotes the healthy bone and joint growth of your German Shepherd by its unique blend of vitamins and minerals.

  • Digestible proteins make good stool quality.
  • Vitamin-rich
  • Moderate price range
  • Dry food provides a “teeth brushing” effect

What Human Food Can You Feed A German Shepherd Puppy?

There are a few healthy human foods that you can enjoy with your German Shepherd puppy, like carrots, peanut butter, and sweet potatoes. German Shepherds are known for being high-energy animals. 

Providing your canine companion with fresh ingredients will give them a surge of energy they need! Remember to de-seed all your fruits before making your German Shepherd a scrumptious fruit salad.

The following list includes human foods that are safe for your German Shepherd to consume:

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Apples
  • Cooked potatoes
  • Broccoli
  • Squash
  • Turkey (unseasoned)
  • Pumpkin
  • Duck (unseasoned)
  • Cucumber
  • Mango
  • Peanut butter
  • Bell Pepper
  • Venison (unseasoned)
  • Lamb (unseasoned)
  • Cantelope
  • Zucchini
  • Oranges 
  • Carrots
  • Melon

What Human Food Should You Avoid Feeding A German Shepherd Puppy?

German Shepherds are at high risk for developing allergic reactions to food. Allergic reactions in dogs show in a similar way that they do in humans, such as itchiness, skin irritation, hair loss, and more.

Typically, a good rule of thumb is that you should never give your German Shepherd any kind of human food. Human foods can be dangerous to your dog and, in some cases, even cause them to die. 

The following list includes foods that you should avoid feeding to a German Shepherd puppy: 

  • Red/Green/Yellow/White Onion, Chives, Leeks, and Shallots
  • Pork
  • Rice
  • Chocolate
  • Caffeine 
  • Lemon
  • Coconut
  • Rhubarb Leaves
  • Cherries
  • Mushrooms
  • Dairy (milk and egg products)
  • Almond
  • Green tomatoes
  • Avocado
  • Grapes and Raisins
  • Wheat
  • Processed meat
  • Processed food
  • Salt 

The list above contains foods that are toxic to German Shepherd dogs. If your German Shepherd ingests any of these foods, take them to the emergency vet immediately. Depending on the severity of the item consumed, different medical procedures might have to be performed. 

For instance, chicken might be your dog’s favorite protein, but before you share it with them at dinnertime, think about what you have on it. Humans use many seasonings (pepper, nutmeg, garlic, salt, etc.) that dogs are allergic to. The seasonings on our chicken make these entrees lethal to our cherished canine companions.

Should You Supplement Your German Shepherd Puppies Diet?

There are a few times that you should consider supplementing your German Shepherd’s diet, like if they are the runt of the litter. In other words, the puppy is struggling to mature at the same rate as the rest of the litter.

When Should You Switch Your Puppy To Adult Food?

After eating adequately moistened kibble for a year, your puppy can be weaned from puppy food and to regular adult food. A puppy should begin weaning from their mother’s milk and to puppy food when they are around three to four weeks old. 

Remember, adult food is harder to chew and can be difficult in the first year of your puppy’s life as its teeth come in. To make the process easier on your puppy, moisten the food and add soft, fresh ingredients.

Once your German Shepherd’s teeth are in around 9 months, feel free to start lessening the amount of moisture you put in your puppy’s food and let them eat hard kibble.

12 months is typically the “right” time to switch to adult food. Before making the change to adult food, check with your vet first.

Want To Train Your German Shepherd With Peace Of Mind?

If you haven’t trained your German Shepherd properly, then this is the perfect time to start. Whatever bad behavior your shepherd has, whether it’s barking at night or other bad behaviors, using the right training program is the key to having an obedient and happy pup.

The training program I love and highly recommend is Brain Training For Dogs.

With Brain Training For Dogs you’ll save yourself a ton of time and effort. Instead of banging your head against the wall trying to figure out why your dog won’t listen, you’ll follow a path that has been tried, tested, and most importantly, that’s given proven results. Not to mention the fact, you’ll be able to fit the course around your schedule, not fit your schedule around a trainer or obedience class.

So instead of worrying about whether they’re going to be well-behaved or not, you’ll only have to worry about how much fun you’ll have with them!

And in most cases it’s still going to be:

  • Cheaper than hiring a professional.
  • Cheaper than replacing everything they might break.
  • And definitely cheaper than a lawsuit against you, if they decide to bite someone.

Just imagine how great it will feel to finally be able to trust your german shepherd completely and never worry whether they’ll be naughty or not. Instead, you’ll have the peace of mind that you have a well-behaved pup, and the boundaries you set for them, will always be there, EVEN IF YOU’RE NOT.

And the best part is it also has a 60-day money-back guarantee! So there’s no reason not to give Brain Training For Dogs a try!

So if you’re tired of your dog’s bad behavior, or how they react around other people and pooches, then give it a try! You’ll be amazed by the results!

(You can also check out a full review here, to learn exactly what the course has to offer!)


Watching your German Shepherd grow from a fluffy puppy into a fully-grown dog is a pleasurable experience. But for first-time dog owners, this can be daunting. Puppies require specific diets to help them grow strong, and the weaning process can be confusing. Luckily, this guide has covered everything about German Shepherd diets!

German Shepherd puppies should be fed a require anywhere from 1 to 3 cups of food each day as they can grow. In its adult years, your German Shepherd should eat at least 2.5 cups of kibble per day. The food you feed your dog should be high in protein and the amount adjusted based on your dog’s age and size.

A German Shepherd puppy should be weaned from its mother’s milk around three weeks old. After weaning from their mother, slowly introduce them to dry food by wetting their food with puppy milk or coconut milk. Never use cow milk since this can be troublesome to your dog’s stomach. By the time your dog grows their teeth, it will be ready to eat dry food!