What do you need to take great care of your German shepherd? Well, taking into account some breed specifics we know they are high energy, athletic, and have a coat that needs to be maintained.
These needs are on top of the dietary and age needs you already need to take into consideration. Always keep your dog’s age and breed in mind when selecting the best food for German Shepards.
So, we need to find a dog food that delivers:
- Great nutritional value
- Coat care
- Lots of energy!
- 1 Recommended Option Summary
- 2 Top 4 Best Food for German Shepherd In-depth Reviews
- 2.1 #1 – Blue Life Protection Formula: Best Dry Food for German Shepherd
- 2.2 #2 – Eukanuba Breed Specific: Best Food for German Shepherd to Gain Weight
- 2.3 #3 – Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition: Best Food for German Shepherds with Skin Allergies and Sensitive Stomachs
- 2.4 #4 – Diamond Naturals Large Breed Dry Puppy Food: Best Food for German Shepherd Puppy
- 3 Which brand is the winner?
Recommended Option Summary
After scouring the internet we found three brands that stand out for German shepherds as above the rest. There are a lot of options out there and it can quickly become overwhelming.
We are reviewing and providing as much information as possible on:
- Blue Life Protection Formula (Adult and Puppy options);
- Eukanuba Breed Specific Adult Dry Dog Food for German Shepherds;
- Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition German Shepherd Adult Dry Dog Food
We stuck with dry dog foods as German Shepherds are large sized dogs that are high energy. Wet food can weigh down your pup’s energy.
Do not be afraid to explore wet food options if you feel that it’s best for your pet. Keep in mind your priorities too when choosing food options for your pet.
This food option is really one that stands out but here are the quick facts to help decide if this option is best for you and your dog:
- 9 different formula options;
- No meat by-products contain only real meat, whole grains, and garden fruit and vegetable varieties;
- Available on most pet stores including Petsmart;
- We noticed the high-quality ingredients can help a German Shepherds coat;
The only obvious downside is that this does not breed specific.
We have got the facts tied together for our first German shepherd specific option.
- Formulas have one flavor per breed type;
- High in fatty acids like Omega 6 and Omega 3;
- Proteins are high-quality animal-based;
- Available in some pet stores, but mostly online;
- This option has a ton of benefits like tarter control and it promotes nutrient absorption;
The downside we’re seeing is the lack of options, which can deter many picky eaters.
Royal Canin Breed Specific Health Nutrition – German Shepherd Adult Dry Dog Food
Although the name is lengthy this option is about the simple options:
- Formulas have one flavor per breed type;
- Ingredients are high quality but not as transparent as other brands using keywords like “meal”;
- Available in many pet stores such as Petsmart;
- This option is really tailored to the health issues that many German Shepherds face
The downside is this option has aspects that deter many owners such as its use of grain and lack of flavor options.
This is one of the go-to choices for new German Shepherd puppy owners. The formula in Diamond Natural’s for large breed specifically uses DHA additions for brain and eye development.
- Meant for pups who are still developing
- Lots of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids for a healthy coat
- Balanced levels of healthy fats, and proteins.
- Additional L-Carnitine to keep up high energy for your German Shepherd pup!
Top 4 Best Food for German Shepherd In-depth Reviews
The three options we have been discussing the Royal Canin, Eukanuba, and Blue Buffalo are the top three we can find. These provide many different benefits for German Shepherds and often cover many ages and reproductive stages safely.
Whatever your primary goal is in identifying the best dog food for your German shepherd you will probably find an option here that fits it. From here we can really break down the needs of your German Shepherd.
#1 – Blue Life Protection Formula: Best Dry Food for German Shepherd
This product initially seems different from the other two only because it does not breed specific. But, it does not stop using Blue Buffalo from being a top contender.
The brand prides itself on high-quality ingredients with a focus on delivering only nutrient-rich products. This is also the only brand here that has flavor options. This is great for any pet owner that has a picky eater.
Picky eaters are not the only concern that pet owners have. Itchy skin, paw chewing, and weight control are all issues that dog owners turn to diet to correct.
While there is no definite one solution for these problems often changing your dog’s current diet can help in any of these issues.
Blue Buffalo Addressing Diet Concerns
Blue Buffalo offers this same Life Protection formula catered for a healthy weight. It also offers specific flavor options such as lamb, fish and even a small bite option that will help picky eaters too. So far as itchy skin and paw chewing there is not an individualized problem that can be addressed.
However, if you know your pup faces particular allergies you can more easily navigate the food options to discourage itching and paw chewing. Unfortunately, a grain allergy can’t be remedied by this formula.
We really liked that all of Blue Buffalo’s ingredients in the Life Protection formula naturally lined up with what German Shepherds need. It has a rough texture which encouraged chewing.
We have definitely seen even pup German Shepherds inhale whole bowls of food without chewing. So this texture discourages this type of laziness and helps keep their teeth strong.
Blue Buffalo Keeping Energy Up
Another benefit that hits home with German Shepherds is the focus on the protein being from the animal itself and not derived from animal byproducts. What this does is help dogs build lean muscle.
Since German Shepherds are really active and are prone to having hip problems strong muscles can assist in reducing some of the stress they place on their body.
What makes Blue Buffalo one of the top products in this roundup?
- High vitamin and mineral concentration in the formula;
- Focus on quality proteins;
- Natural ingredients
Blue Buffalo’s Downside
What we did not like was the lack of it being breed specific. While it is the cheapest of the three options here it is not specifically formulated for the breed.
This means that things like their undercoat, known digestive problems, and skin issues aren’t being addressed fully. If this formula addressed these issues while maintaining this price it would probably be the only option listed here!
#2 – Eukanuba Breed Specific: Best Food for German Shepherd to Gain Weight
This option clearly stands out as our most expensive. But, it delivers so much more than just a higher price. What we have here is a well-rounded product.
Just to list a few of the benefits that Eukanuba German Shepherd’s formula offers:
- Eukanuba’s “3D Dentadefense”;
- Proteins focused for lean muscle development;
- Fiber system for nutrition absorption;
- Extra Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids for skin and coat care.
How about we see what each of these is really about?
Eukanuba’s Benefits we Love
Eukanuba’s 3D Dentadefense isn’t just about preventing tartar buildup. Eukanuba delivers a 28-day reduction in tartar buildup. While this might impress your vet, the difference you will probably notice is their breath.
Tartar builds up is one of the primary things that lead to well, dog-breath. How do we stop dog breath? We do not really know. You can brush your pup’s teeth, give them treats that are supposed to fight bad breath germs and still dog breath prevails.
Dentadefense is not a guarantee on anything other than a little more oral care for your dog. This even in a small dose like this can go a long way.
Speaking of going a long way, let’s talk about your dog’s energy. Do you notice your German shepherd’s energy slipping? As an active breed, it seems like German Shepherds literally run off their energy and then crash.
The proteins in the Eukanuba formula for German Shepherds are selected specifically for lean muscle development. This means they can go longer without crashing as they build up that muscle.
Their fiber system hits where German Shepherds silently struggle. Many do not know that German Shepherds often suffer from digestion problems. From either general tummy issues to obvious upset stomach, this can be difficult for dog owners to see.
The fiber system helps deliver nutrients throughout the digestion process. So their stomachs aren’t overloaded every time they eat and they don’t have difficulty with the rest of digestion either. Although it doesn’t soothe stomachs this can possibly make a big impact on long-term results.
Finally, the extra Omega fatty acids address a very breed specific issue. Sensitive skin, which leads to paw chewing, itchy skin and sometimes worsening skin conditions. This would have been great to know when we saw the constant grass rolling. We had no idea she was terribly itchy!
These are all the benefits we love about Eukanuba’s German shepherd formula. What missed the mark?
The ingredient’s list displays a lot of the real quality. We see corn listed as the second ingredient followed immediately by a by-product of chicken. What this means for ingredients is that there is more of these two than most other things.
#3 – Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition: Best Food for German Shepherds with Skin Allergies and Sensitive Stomachs
This stands out as the most specialized towards German Shepherds. Royal Canin does a lot of research into the breeds they cater to and it shows. The packaging offers a ton of information for the new pet owner and focuses heavily on education.
Royal Canin identifies the following on their packaging as some of the most pressing issues that German Shepherds can experience:
- Double-layered coat with sensitive skin;
- Likelihood for hip dysplasia;
- Bone and joint issues;
- Digestion struggles
Then they offer solutions for each!
Royal Canin Solves Problems with Science
Royal Canin takes on the issue of sensitive skin with a double layered coat with quality ingredients. Using EPA and DHA to help build the skins defense it can help to reduce grass rolling, biting and rubbing. These habits are all from itchy skin and can destroy their undercoat.
Hip dysplasia or really all bone and joint issues can’t be entirely avoided but as pet owners, we can take steps to help build muscle and support joint health. This can only really be done through lean proteins. This isn’t the newest thing.
Both of the other options also had lean protein focus but here the proof is in the ingredients list! Right up top is our lean proteins. Royal Canin is serious about drilling down into what help build muscle.
But what about the ongoing issue of digestion? This is a sensitive subject for so many pet owners and dogs suffer from different symptoms or effects of poor digestion. Royal Canin fell back onto their educational stance to take this on.
Not just the ingredients list is part of healthy digestion in this formula. The shape of the kibble is supposed to aid in digestion too.
They used the science behind the digestive differences of German Shepherds to other breeds to build a kibble that would breakdown throughout digestion.
What did we not like about Royal Canin? Well, it’s kind of expensive but it’s worth it. Other than that there isn’t a real downside.
#4 – Diamond Naturals Large Breed Dry Puppy Food: Best Food for German Shepherd Puppy
This dog food option for puppies came up repeatedly in our research and with good reason! The ingredients aren’t what you would see in standard dry dog food.
They also aren’t what you would see in most puppy formulas. Diamond Naturals focuses on the needs of your soon to be very large dog.
The large breed mindset keeps the ingredients geared towards keeping their energy up and promoting great health. How do they accomplish both?
Diamond Naturals uses probiotics (live, good-for-your-dog, bacteria cultures) combined with superfoods and DHA.
The probiotics you can find in this formula are extraordinarily different from what we are used to hearing called probiotics. These are specifically for K9 consumption, and to support their immune system. The probiotics also help as a digestive aid, which can be a relief for your pup.
Then Diamond’s use of superfoods ensures that the entire calorie intake your little German Shepherd is getting is valuable. A variety of superfoods, like pumpkin, kale, and blueberries also means a wider variety of vitamins. All the while additional DHA helps aid in continued brain and eye development. A plus is a shiny coat!
Keep in mind this formula is not grain free! However, the first ingredient is meat which is not typical in most puppy formulas.
The Lamb with Rice ingredients is probably one of the best options with the first ingredient of lamb, the second being lamb meat and then rice. So meat is the primary ingredient.
What we don’t like about Diamond Naturals Large Breed Dry Puppy Food
Although many puppies have sensitive stomachs, German Shepherds are known to experience gastrointestinal distress from time to time, especially when their food changes. Loose stool is one of the top complaints people have when switching to Diamond Naturals.
This formula has a ton of digestive aids. However, this added benefit of the many digestive aids can also be its undoing. Any puppy new to the formula may not be used to getting all of this extra digestive help.
As a new owner, it can be difficult to see, or deal with, loose stool or gassiness. For new German Shepherd owners, keep in mind that this is normal for any dog food change. Most owners report a two week transition period, even for grown German Shepherds.
A quick tip on helping your German Shepherd puppy through a diet change? Mix it in!
With any food change, you should always mix your dog food. Either mix what your dog is used to eating with increasing amounts of the new food, or mix the new food with a bit of boiled chicken and rice. It makes it easier for them to digest and caters to sensitive stomachs.
Mix their food for about a week and then start slowly withdrawing the mix. So start low, hit a peak, and then back off when you are adding their old favorite or boiled chicken with rice.
Which brand is the winner?
Hands down Royal Canin takes the win here. There are so many benefits, it’s affordably priced, and tailored specifically for German Shepherds.
What really caught our attention, and if you were walking in a pet store it probably would have caught yours too: the focus on education. Royal Canin takes an approach that doesn’t seem like it’s only about the product. It’s about you and your pet.
This focus is to get a great feeling from the food you buy for your dog. You know they understand your breed’s struggles. Then to know that they’ve taken the steps to find out how to fight these issues.
Another plus is that there is a puppy option. If you are a new German shepherd owner or you’ve had your extra fluffy friend around for years this is an all-around great brand and great formula. It is a value that is unmatched in breed specific formulas for German shepherds.
When looking for your pups preferred option, be sure that it hits on all of the breeds specific issues you could come across. Keep in mind also that healthy diet can support your dog through a lot of struggles they could face because of their breed.