Large breed dogs are a tricky bunch. They can take from 12 to 18 months to reach adulthood and run the risk of joint issues as they age due to a diet high in calcium. Reading hundreds of dog food labels can get stale over time. So, what are the best foods for German Shepherd puppies?
What German Shepherd Puppies Should Eat
With a muscular body, a German Shepherd has an appetite to match it’s quick growing size. German Shepherds are among the best dogs with courage, intelligence and strength. The problem is, with all large breed dogs, this courageous dog will age and experience pain with a bad diet.
Proper diet is very essential for the breed, in particular for the pre-adulthood months. Due to the complexity of the balance of nutrients for a large breed, an organic diet may not be ideal. Before selecting a brand of dog food you need to get down to the basics of dog food.
Protein, Fat, and Grains
This is the main combination of all commercial dog food. But quality makes a huge difference. Even popular brands struggle with market deception and throw labels out that say ‘100% Whole Grain’.
When it comes to dog food for a large breed dog, you need to make sure you have plenty of protein, a good amount of fat, and a limited amount of high quality grain. Cap that off with a low amount of calcium to prevent bones developing too quickly.
Best Ingredients for German Shepherd Puppy Food
The problem with most brands is you encounter the ‘contains whole chicken’. Or substitute chicken for any other meat of your choosing. The problem is meat in dog food is mostly moisture. The solution?
Meat – Meal. Labels with chicken meal, for examples, is better than the fresh chicken. Why? It has more protein in it! Up to 300% more protein than regular ‘meat’.
Essential Oils are huge for joint heal. Next to chicken, you want a high amount of fish. Tuna, Salmon and White Fish are my top fish to give to a large breed dog.
When it comes to grain, less is more. I prefer grains such as oats and rice. I avoid bread or flour based grain. The more natural the better.
The German Shepherd Puppy Food Check List
- Plenty of Protein
- Good Amount of Fat
- Moderate to Low Amount of Grain
- Low to No Dairy
- Puppy Safe Vegetables (Carrots, for example)
- Puppy Safe Grain (Rice, for example)
- Dog Safe Meat (Chicken, Fish, Beef)
If the dog food you pick out for your German Shepherd puppies meets these requirements, you are good to go. Always think about the ingredients as if you were to cook for your dog. You would give your dog tuna or chicken. But you would never give your dog pork.
You would give your dog rice and pumpkin when they have an upset stomach, but would avoid a diet constantly high in rice. But these foods, and good dog food brands tend to be high in calories. This means you need to give your dog outdoor exercise to prevent weight related health issues.
German shepherd puppies are fantastic and loyal dogs, but need the right nutrition to live a long and healthy life. If the ingredients on the label are something you would cook for your dog, then it is safe to have in the dog food.
I personally like Acana or Orijen dog food for my large breed dogs. German Shepherd Puppies love the fishy taste (You will hate the smell) but both sister brands have excellent large breed puppy formulas which are hard to find. They are both substantially better than a natural diet for a large breed dog.