Every pet parent who owns a German Shepherd knows that this adventurous, energetic, and oh-so-adorable breed has a voracious appetite. However, feeding your German Shepherd Dog is much more than just preventing hunger. Therefore, it is very important for you to know about the best foods for German Shephards to parent them well.
What you offer at mealtime (and how much of it) can have a big impact on your German Shepherd’s overall health, development, and lifespan. So it is very important to know what are the best foods for German Shephards if you adore them as one of your little family members.
The dental anatomy, double coat, muscle mass, energy level, and rapid growth rate of German Shepherd puppies are all distinctively important in influencing their nutritional demands. German Shepherds’ health can be improved by providing them with not just adequate diet, but also optimal nutrition.
But what does an ideal diet for German Shephard Dogs entail? Many factors influence the answer, including age, weight, and health concerns like dietary allergies and sensitivities. With so many variables to consider, here’s a guide to assist you in selecting the best dog food for your German Shepherd at every stage of life.
Choosing the Best Dog Food for German Shepherds
When it comes to your dog’s diet, there are many alternatives available, ranging from one-size-fits-all recipes to customized ones tailored to your dog’s specific needs. Although the task may appear daunting, there are various techniques to limit your options in order to pick the best food for your German Shepherd.
To begin, you might seek advice from professionals to determine what ingredients should be included in your dog’s diet. Keep up with the latest advice for large breed puppies, on the health dangers of overfeeding, fast growth, and excessive calcium and phosphorus levels in food.
However, your German Shepherd’s special nutritional requirements do not cease with puppyhood. The ideal dog food for your German Shepherd is one that is specifically customized to his or her nutritional requirements and health issues.
German Shepherds are prone to hip dysplasia, osteoarthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and bloat, all of which can be influenced by your dog’s food, either positively or adversely. One method to prevent or control some of these issues is to help your German Shepherd maintain a healthy weight. However, more than tracking calories is required to manage your German Shepherd’s general health and wellness. The nutritional composition of the diet is the most essential factor.
Nutritional Needs of German Shepherds
When reading dog food labels, you may notice text claiming that the meal is “complete and balanced” based on nutritional requirements specified for a given life stage. According to experts, “complete and balanced” does not tell the entire story about what your German Shephard is getting from the food and how it may affect their health. To assist you in making your dog food selection, we’ve highlighted five critical nutrients to consider when selecting dog food for your German Shepherd, as well as why they’re so important.
Protein has an impact on the immune system, cardiac health, muscular development, skin, and coat of German Shepherds. As a result, it’s critical to consider protein quality, source, and bioavailability. The amount of a nutrient taken into the body where it can benefit your pet is referred to as bioavailability. Certain protein sources, such as muscular meats or eggs, offer a high concentration of critical amino acids that dogs may quickly utilize. Your dog food must be easily digestible if you want to get the most nutritional value out of it. And the higher the quality of the components, the more easily the dog food may be digested.
As a result, it’s critical to look for dog diets that use high-quality ingredients to increase bioavailability. If your pet is allergic to specific proteins (such as beef, poultry, or dairy), you should avoid them, no matter how high-quality they are. Food allergies might result in gastrointestinal and digestive problems, limiting bioavailability. In case you face such a problem, you must select the right food to keep your German Shephard healthy.
Omega-3 & Omega-6 Fatty Acids
Fatty acids, both necessary and non-essential, can affect a dog’s hair coat, skin integrity, and even nail health. German Shepherds can show imbalances or insufficiencies in certain fatty acids due to their thick double coats.
Even a comprehensive and balanced dog diet with the required fatty acid levels may not be ideal in some circumstances. Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI) is a condition that causes maldigestion and malabsorption of meals, with fat intolerance being the most noticeable symptom.
Although all dogs require an adequate amount of zinc in their food, some German Shepherds can develop zinc-responsive dermatitis, which manifests as hair loss and redness around the eyes and muzzle. Affected dogs have trouble absorbing zinc and require additional supplementation beyond what is found in their diet. Because high doses of zinc can be harmful, this should only be done under the supervision of a veterinarian.
Calcium & Phosphorus
Large-breed puppies have special nutritional requirements, which are based on avoiding too quick growth, which can lead to a variety of orthopedic problems. It is possible to avoid lifelong joint illness by ensuring that their food contains not only adequate levels of calcium and phosphorus but also an ideal calcium-to-phosphorus ratio and a moderate energy density.
In German Shepherds, a varied mix of soluble and insoluble fibre can help to maintain a healthy microbiome and gastrointestinal tract. Dog food labels, on the other hand, may not specify whether the fibre is soluble or insoluble. As a result, it’s best to check the ingredient list. Soluble fibre dissolves in water and benefits the large intestine’s overall health as well as the bacteria that live there. Oats, barley, beet pulp, and certain fruits and legumes are examples. Sources of insoluble or “woody” fibre include cellulose and wheat bran. It isn’t soluble in water and isn’t even digestible. However, its robust structure aids in digestion, allowing the body to absorb more nutrients.
Best Food for German Shephard Puppies
It’s critical for German Shepherd puppies to eat a diet that supports calm, consistent growth. Accelerated growth in puppyhood, on the other hand, can put a puppy in danger of having crippling bone and joint disorders later in life, such as hip dysplasia.
Puppies require a moderate calorie density, with a concentration on protein, as well as adequate calcium and phosphorus levels – two elements essential for proper bone formation.
Obesity prevention at a young age is also crucial in terms of nutrition. According to experts, the breakdown of nutrients in dog food for large breed puppies in the “growth” period should include:
- A minimum of 22.5% crude protein
- A minimum of 8.5% crude fat
- A minimum of 1.2% and a maximum of 1.8% calcium
- A minimum of 1.0% and a maximum of 1.6% phosphorus
For younger puppies under 4-5 months, we recommend feeding 3-4 times a day. At about 6 months, the transition tends to slow to twice a day.
Best Food for German Shephard Adults
Obesity prevention is critical for adult German Shepherds, as excess weight can exacerbate several of the breed’s health issues. Furthermore, although being energetic and bred to work, German Shepherds’ metabolism is slower than that of smaller adult dogs, making it simpler for them to gain weight. Whiskee Pet Zone suggests picking a well-balanced dog food that supports lean muscle mass and has “highly bioavailable protein and fat sources, as well as excellent carbohydrate and mixed fibre sources,” including the right amount of soluble and insoluble fibre to keep your dog’s stomach healthy. Supplements that enhance joint health may also be of interest to pet parents. Some dogs may benefit from supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin.
Best Food for German Shephard Seniors
Senior German Shepherds require food with a protein content that corresponds to their physical demands, which might be difficult to achieve. Senior dogs are less active, but they also have a higher risk of losing lean muscle mass. They can benefit from supplementary Omega-3 joint supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin, as well as a lower calorie density to match their activity level. Many factors influence the optimal food for your German Shepherd, including your dog’s age, health, and dietary allergies or sensitivities. Working with a veterinary nutritionist or your veterinarian can help you identify the optimal food and nutrition for your dog’s needs. And, thanks to advancements in pet nutrition, it’s now easier than ever to select a customized diet that’s just right for your pup.