The Best Dog Food for German Shepherds: Ranked, Rated and Reviewed

Written by Austin S.
Updated: January 4, 2023
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Key Points

  • The #1 Best Overall dog food for German shepherds is Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition German Shepherd Adult Dry Dog Food.
  • German shepherds are highly intelligent, large, muscular, athletic dogs that require the proper diet to live up to their full potential.
  • Some German shepherds have sensitive stomachs or joint issues, which can be supported by certain nutrients such as the proper type and balance of fiber, glucosamine, and chondroitin.
  • Consider the age of your German shepherd. Puppies require extra nutrients to support growth, like calcium, phosphorus, fats, and protein. For senior dogs, which have slower metabolisms, be sure to monitor calories and an excess of nutrients.
  • Look for added nutrients to help prevent joint issues such as hip dysplasia, a condition common in the breed.

Loyal and courageous, German shepherds are highly intelligent and courageous and form deep bonds with their owners. It’s no wonder that, year after year, they rank as one of the top 10 most popular breeds in the United States.

Such versatile dogs with bounding energy and strong muscles combined with smarts and loyalty make for excellent service dogs. However, staying healthy and agile when you’re so big and strong requires the proper energy-rich, nutrient-dense food. Many German shepherd dogs (GSD) suffer from conditions such as sensitive stomachs and joint issues, so it’s up to you to feed them a diet that will treat and/or ward off these conditions. We’ve ranked, rated, and reviewed the best foods for German shepherds to help you choose the right one for your GSD.

  1. Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition German Shepherd
  2. Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition German Shepherd
    • Rich in fiber
    • Supports muscle and joint health
    • Boosts immunity and muscle and brain growth
    • Especially formulated for German Shepherds
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  3. Blue Buffalo Basics Skin & Stomach Care Turkey & Potato
  4. Blue Buffalo Basics Skin & Stomach Care Turkey & Potato
    • Limited ingredient recipe
    • Contains turkey as its first protein
    • No grains, artificial flavors, beef or chicken
    • Added antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  5. Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
  6. Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
    • This grain-free recipe is crafted with real meat as the first ingredient.
    • It's high in protein (32%) to support bone, joint, and muscle health.
    • It features vitamins and minerals from real fruit and superfoods and Omega fatty acids for skin and coat health.
    • K9 Strain Proprietary Probiotics, combined with antioxidants and prebiotics, support healthy digestion, immune health, and overall health and wellness.
    • It's made in the US by a family-owned brand that only includes quality ingredients sourced from trusted domestic and imported sources.
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  7. Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition German Shepherd Puppy
  8. Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition German Shepherd Puppy
    • Designed for growing GSD puppies
    • Improves digestive issues and helps with overall development
    • Contains essential minerals like calcium and phosphorus
    • Easy to absorb
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  9. Pedigree Choice Cuts in Gravy With Beef Canned Dog Food
  10. Pedigree Choice Cuts in Gravy With Beef Canned Dog Food
    • Affordable and nutritious
    • Easily digestible
    • Well balanced diet
    • Contains essential oils and minerals
    Check Chewy Check Amazon

A-Z-Animals’ Top Picks for the Best Dog Food for German Shepherds

#1 Best Overall Food for German Shepherds: Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition German Shepherd Adult Dry Dog Food

Our pick for the #1 Best Overall dog food for German shepherds is Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition German Shepherd Adult Dry Dog Food. Royal Canin is renowned for innovating and formulating breed-specific dog foods, and for good reason. This recipe, which is designed to meet the nutritional needs of purebred German shepherds 15 months old and older, includes the precise nutrients your GSD needs to thrive.

It includes highly digestible proteins and fibers selected to promote healthy digestion and optimal stool quality. EPA and DHA from fish oil support healthy skin and coat. And glucosamine and chondroitin will help maintain your GSD’s bone and joint health.

Also, like all Royal Canin breed-specific formulas, this one features kibble that’s designed specifically to be easy for German shepherds to be able to pick up and chew easily.

This dog food received overwhelmingly positive reviews, but a few pet parents reported that their dogs didn’t like it.

Pros and Cons of Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition German Shepherd Adult Dry Dog Food

ProsCons
This breed-specific dog food is formulated to meet the nutritional needs of GSDs 15 months old or older.Some dogs don’t like it.
It includes highly digestible proteins and fibers that promote healthy digestion and optimal stool quality.
EPA and DHA derived from fish oil support healthy skin and coat 
Glucosamine and chondroitin help maintain bone and joint health. 
The kibble is designed to be easy for German shepherds to pick up and chew easily. 
Best
Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition German Shepherd
  • Rich in fiber
  • Supports muscle and joint health
  • Boosts immunity and muscle and brain growth
  • Especially formulated for German Shepherds
Check Chewy Check Amazon

2. Best for Sensitive Stomach: Blue Buffalo Basics Skin & Stomach Care

If your German shepherd has a sensitive stomach, you’ll appreciate the benefits of Blue Buffalo Basics Skin & Stomach Care. This grain-free adult formula features a single animal protein source (real turkey) combined with potatoes, peas, and pumpkin, making it ideal for GSDs with sensitive stomachs.

This recipe is free from grains, chicken, chicken and poultry by-product meals, beef, corn, wheat, soy, dairy, and eggs, ingredients to which some dogs have food sensitivities. It’s also free from artificial flavors or preservatives.

It includes a precise blend of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals to support your best friend’s immune system health, life-stage needs, and a healthy oxidative balance.

Some reviewers alluded to a “Blue Buffalo lead recall.” A lawsuit filed in 2017 claimed that three Blue Buffalo dog foods contained high levels of lead, but a judge dismissed this lawsuit in 2018. According to the FDA’s Recalls & Withdrawals website, no Blue Buffalo dog food has ever been recalled.

A few reviewers reported that their dogs didn’t like this food.

Pros and Cons of Blue Buffalo Basics Skin & Stomach Care

ProsCons
This adult dog food includes real turkey as its single animal protein source.Some dogs don’t like it.
It also includes potatoes, peas, and pumpkin.
It’s free from grains, chicken, chicken and poultry by-product meals, beef, corn, wheat, soy, dairy, eggs, artificial flavors, and artificial preservatives. 
This sensitive stomach recipe includes a precise blend of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. 
No Blue Buffalo dog food has ever been recalled by the FDA. 
Best for Sensitive Stomachs
Blue Buffalo Basics Skin & Stomach Care Turkey & Potato
  • Limited ingredient recipe
  • Contains turkey as its first protein
  • No grains, artificial flavors, beef or chicken
  • Added antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals
Check Chewy Check Amazon

3. Best Grain-Free: Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Real roasted water buffalo meat is the first ingredient in Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Dry Dog Food. This grain-free recipe is high in protein (32%) to support your GSD’s bone, joint, and muscle health.

It includes vitamins and minerals from real fruit and superfoods and Omega fatty acids to support your furry best friend’s skin and coat health. A proprietary blend of probiotics, combined with antioxidants and prebiotics, support healthy digestion, immune health, and overall health and wellness.

Taste of the Wild is a U.S., family-owned brand that only includes quality ingredients sourced from trusted domestic and imported sources.

It was difficult to find negative reviews for this kibble, but a few buyers reported that their dogs didn’t like it.

Pros and Cons of Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

ProsCons
This grain-free dog food is high in protein (32%) and includes roasted water buffalo meat as the first ingredient.Some dogs don’t like it.
It includes vitamins and minerals from real fruit and superfoods.
Omega fatty acids support skin and coat health.
A proprietary blend of probiotics, combined with antioxidants and prebiotics, support healthy digestion, immune health, and overall health and wellness. 
Taste of the Wild is a U.S., family-owned brand. 
All ingredients are sourced from trusted domestic and imported sources. 
Best For Skin Allergies
Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
  • This grain-free recipe is crafted with real meat as the first ingredient.
  • It's high in protein (32%) to support bone, joint, and muscle health.
  • It features vitamins and minerals from real fruit and superfoods and Omega fatty acids for skin and coat health.
  • K9 Strain Proprietary Probiotics, combined with antioxidants and prebiotics, support healthy digestion, immune health, and overall health and wellness.
  • It's made in the US by a family-owned brand that only includes quality ingredients sourced from trusted domestic and imported sources.
Check Chewy Check Amazon

4. Best Dog Food For German Shepherd Puppies: Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition German Shepherd Puppy

Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition German Shepherd Puppy is as nutritious and beneficial as its adult-specific counterpart above. However, it’s specially formulated to cater to the special needs of developing German shepherd puppies. This dry food provides all the essential nutrients and supplements they require to grow up big and strong and is suitable for pups eight weeks to 15 months old.

This breed-specific recipe features an exclusive complex of antioxidants, including vitamin E, to protect your puppy’s immune system. Glucosamine and chondroitin help their bones and joints to support their large, developing body. And a highly digestible blend of proteins and specific fibers aid digestion and promote optimal stool quality.

The kibble is designed to be easy for your GSD puppy to pick up and chew with their long muzzle.

Some reviewers said that their puppies wouldn’t eat it, and a few said that they experienced allergic symptoms after eating it.

Pros and Cons of Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition German Shepherd Puppy

ProsCons
This breed-specific recipe is specially formulated to meet the nutritional needs of German shepherd puppies.Some puppies won’t eat eat it.
It’s made to meet the needs of puppies eight weeks to 15 months old.Some puppies may have experienced allergic symptoms after eating this food.
It includes an exclusive blend of antioxidants to protect puppies’ immune systems and glucosamine and chondroitin to support bone and joint health.
A highly digestible blend of proteins and specific fibers aid digestion and promote optimal stool quality. 
The kibble is specially designed to be easy for GSD puppies to pick up and chew with their long muzzles. 
Best for Puppies
Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition German Shepherd Puppy
  • Designed for growing GSD puppies
  • Improves digestive issues and helps with overall development
  • Contains essential minerals like calcium and phosphorus
  • Easy to absorb
Check Chewy Check Amazon

5. Best Wet Dog Food for German Shepherd: Pedigree Choice Cuts in Gravy With Beef

If your adult German shepherd prefers wet food, consider Pedigree Choice Cuts in Gravy With Beef. This affordable canned food features real meat in gravy for the taste of beef your dog will find irresistible.

This nutrient-rich wet food is also ideal for senior dogs since it will entice them to eat when dry food won’t. Plus, it’s easier for them to chew, even if they have dental problems.

This balanced recipe provides the complete nutrition that adult dogs need and is highly digestible so its nutrients are easily absorbed. The recipe includes optimal levels of oil and minerals to nourish skin the skin and give your dog’s coat a luxurious shine.

Its soft texture adds flavor and variety to your dog’s diet. You can serve it as a complete meal or mix it with kibble as a “topper.”

Pedigree is made in the US.

It was difficult to complaints about this food, but a few reviewers said that their dogs didn’t like it and a couple reported that the product was watery.

Pros and Cons of Pedigree Choice Cuts in Gravy With Beef

ProsCons
This balanced recipe is formulated for adult dogs that prefer wet dog food.Some dogs don’t like it.
It’s highly digestible so nutrients are easily absorbed.A few buyers reported that it was watery.
It includes optimal levels oil and minerals to nourish skin and coats.
You can serve it as a complete meal or mix it with dry food. 
It’s made in the US. 
Best Wet Food
Pedigree Choice Cuts in Gravy With Beef Canned Dog Food
  • Affordable and nutritious
  • Easily digestible
  • Well balanced diet
  • Contains essential oils and minerals
Check Chewy Check Amazon

Choosing the Best Dog Food for German Shepherds: What to Look For

German shepherds are some of the most loyal, intelligent and athletic dogs you’ll ever meet. However, the breed is also known for having weak stomachs, and introducing new dog foods to their diets must be done as carefully as possible. Here are a few things to consider when buying dog food for your GSD.

Life Stage

It’s important to feed your dog food that’s formulated specifically for their stage of life: puppy, adult, or senior. Manufacturers formulate dog food specifically for certain age groups, and it could lead to serious complications if fed to the wrong age group. Be sure of your dog’s age and note it while shopping.

Wet or Dry Food: Your Dog’s Preference

Some dogs prefer wet food over dry and vice versa. Experiment with your GSD and see which they like best before purchasing their dog food. Wet food is also a great choice for senior dogs, which may not be interested in dry food or able to chew kibble due to dental issues.

Carbohydrate Content

The ingredient list is the most important information for any dog food. Your German shepherd will greatly benefit from a diet consisting of mostly protein and fats for lots of energy and mental alertness. Carbs are the main energy source for your German shepherd, and you can find a safe amount in grains and potatoes. Avoid carbohydrates from wheat as some GSDs are allergic to wheat.

Proper Balance

Your German shepherd is a large and powerful breed and, as such, they need a well-balanced diet. Ensure that the dog food you’re considering can provide your dog with balanced and complete nutrition.

Protein Content

Protein is important in helping your GSD to build muscle. Proteins come from plant or animal sources and should make up 30-40% of your dog’s food.

Fat Content

Fat is a great energy source for your dear pooch and plays a significant role in giving them a healthy and shiny coat. Fat is mostly present in dairy products, but some German shepherds can be lactose intolerant. If your dog is lactose intolerant and keep that in mind when dog food shopping. Omega fats in fish oil are a good alternative and great immunity boosters.

Added Nutrients and Supplements

Large dogs like German shepherds often suffer from joint issues and conditions like hip dysplasia as they age. The best dog foods for German shepherds contain added nutrients and supplements.

Our Criteria: How We Chose the Best

Your beautiful German shepherd needs fuel to maintain its active lifestyle. That’s why we chose dog foods that contain all the key nutrients for a well-balanced diet. In our top choices, we included food packed with high-quality proteins derived from animals, such as chicken, pork, beef, lamb, and fish. These provide additional nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and fats.

In our list, we also included special dog food for German shepherds with skin allergies and sensitive stomachs. Hypoallergenic food are grain-free and use alternative protein sources or limited ingredients that are easy to digest.

Many German shepherd owners find it difficult to purchase dog food that’s safe enough for their fur babies and tasty enough to keep them interested. The trick is to familiarize yourself with their dietary requirements and their personal preferences. Chances are that your GSD will thrive on one of the selections from our curated list.

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About the Author

Growing up in rural New England on a small scale farm gave me a lifelong passion for animals. I love learning about new wild animal species, habitats, animal evolutions, dogs, cats, and more. I've always been surrounded by pets and believe the best dog and best cat products are important to keeping our animals happy and healthy. It's my mission to help you learn more about wild animals, and how to care for your pets better with carefully reviewed products.

The Best Dog Food for German Shepherds: Ranked, Rated and Reviewed FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

How much dry food should I feed my German shepherd?

You should feed your adult German shepherd 2.5 to 3.5 cups of high-quality, breed-appropriate dog food a day, divided into two separate meals.

If your GSD is relatively inactive feed it 2.5 cups per day, because excess calories will cause it to gain weight. If your dog is active, feed it 3.5 cups.

Can I feed my GSD bananas?

Yes! You can feed your German shepherd bananas as an occasional treat. Bananas are rich in vitamins and nutrients, including magnesium, potassium, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, and biotin. Plus, they’re a great source of fiber and low in cholesterol and fat.

Keep in mind that human food should make up no more than 10% of your dog’s daily diet. And many foods that are healthy for humans, such as chocolate, garlic, and onions, can be toxic, or even lethal, to dogs. For a list of foods that your dog can eat safely and those that are dangerous, check out this article from A-Z Animals. We suggest that you bookmark it on your computer’s browser so you can refer to it before you feed your dog something off your plate.

 

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