5 Best Dog Food For German Shepherds (2022)

Do you know what can happen to your German shepherd if you give them the wrong food?

If they eat foods that have started to decay they can end up getting liver failure, which is a very uncomfortable disease featuring vomiting, restlessness, seizures, and a high temperature.

The solution of course is to provide your dog with the right food for their needs. Providing your German shepherd with the best possible macro and micronutrients is key to both their short term and their long term health, and doing it right can mean fewer trips to the veterinarian.

We’ve been checking out the best dog foods for German shepherds on the market, and after much deliberation we were able to put together a shortlist of our top 5 favorites, and we’re going to be reviewing them here for you today. Our reviews are unbiased and feature both pros and cons.

But we totally get how tricky it can be to pick one, which is why we’ve also put together a buying guide that will walk you through some of the key things to think about before you buy.

Then, we’re going to top that off with a section where we answer some of your most frequently asked questions on the subject.

And without further ado, let’s get started!

Royal Canin German Shepherd Adult Dry Dog Food

Royal Canin German Shepherd Adult Dry Dog Food, 30 lb bag

Now, this particular pack of dog food has earned the title of “Amazon’s Choice” in the category of “dog food for German shepherds”.

Such a title is only given to products that are both of excellent quality and are available at a good and reasonable price.

This dog food is not just some regular large breed dog food, it has been specifically formulated for purebred German shepherds.

Even the shape of the kibble is specially designed for the German shepherds long strong muzzle, and it encourages chewing.

The macronutrient makeup of the formula is as follows: 22% protein for muscles, 17% fat for energy, 10% moisture, and 5.5% fiber. This promotes healthy digestion and optimal bowel movements.

It also features EPA and DHA derived from fish oil, which reinforces your dog’s skin barrier with essential nutrients for their skin and coat.

And it features chondroitin and glucosamine, which are important for bone and joint health, especially for large breeds such as German shepherds.

There’s even a guide on the back of the pack explaining how much kibble to give your German shepherd according to their weight and activity level. Super handy.

We tried giving this food to a German shepherd, and they definitely seemed to like it.

It’s also worth noting at this point that Royal Canin also does a special dry dog food specifically for German shepherd puppies.

This dog food is available on Amazon’s Subscribe and Save scheme, where you can set up regular deliveries and save 5% on them. Five percent may not sound like much, but it does add up over the course of a year. 

Pros

  • Winner of Amazon’s Choice title
  • It promotes healthy digestion
  • Supports healthy skin and coat
  • It promotes bone & joint health
  • Save up to 5% on repeat deliveries

Cons

  • Some would argue that the price is somewhat inflated

Also available to purchase at:

Royal Canin German Shepherd Adult Dry Dog Food, 30 lb bag
  • FORMULATED FOR PUREBRED GERMAN SHEPHERDS: Royal Canin German Shepherd Adult Dry Dog Food is designed to meet the nutritional needs of purebred German Shepherds 15 months and older
  • SPECIALIZED KIBBLE: Unique kibble shape is designed for a German Shepherd’s long, strong muzzle to encourage chewing
  • HEALTHY DIGESTION: Highly digestible proteins and specific fibers promote healthy digestion and promote optimal stool quality
  • SKIN AND COAT: Supports healthy skin and coat with EPA and DHA from fish oil and reinforces the skin barrier with essential nutrients
  • BONE AND JOINT: Glucosamine and chondroitin maintain bone and joint health and support large breed bodies

Best Breed German Dog Diet

Best Breed German Dog Diet Made in USA [Natural Dry Dog Food]- 30lbs

Now, here we have another dog food formula that has been specially designed with large German breeds of dog in mind, including German shepherds and one or two others.

It was formulated in the 1990s by one Dr. Gary Cotton, a trusted veterinarian, and is made right here in the USA.

The inspiration for the formula came from when Dr Gary frequently saw German Shepherds coming to his clinic with GI tract and skin issues, so he designed his formula to protect against these issues.

The ingredients are all natural, and include the likes of chicken, mussels, brown rice, and eggs. The ingredients undergo a unique slow-cooking process designed to ensure both easy digestion and optimum absorption of the nutrients, including vitamins and minerals.

It features a synergistic blend of both insoluble and soluble fiber, which is perfect for the German shepherd’s sensitive digestive system, keeping it both active and healthy.

It also features chondroitin and glucosamine, thanks to the mussels, which are very important for your German shepherd’s bone and joint health.

We tried giving this food to a German shepherd, and they really seemed to enjoy it.

It’s available in packs of different sizes, including 4 pounds, 15 pounds, and 30 pounds.

This dog food is available on Amazon’s Subscribe and Save scheme, where you can set up regular deliveries and save 5% on them. Five percent may not sound like much, but it does add up over the course of a year. 

Pros

  • It was developed by a veterinarian
  • Designed for German shepherds
  • Great for a sensitive digestive system
  • Optimum absorption of the nutrients
  • Ingredients for bone and joint health
  • Save up to 5% on repeat deliveries

Cons

  • The main ingredient is chicken meal rather than chicken

Also available to purchase at:

Best Breed German Dog Diet Made in USA [Natural Dry Dog Food]- 30lbs
  • VETERINARIAN DEVELOPED HOLISTIC NUTRITION - Founded in 1994 by Dr. Gary Cotton, a veterinarian who was inspired to develop a truly healthful, holistic line of dog and cat foods after repeatedly seeing health issues in his clinic that he believed were caused by low-quality nutrition.
  • FORMULATED FOR A PURPOSE - Developed by Dr. Gary after he repeatedly saw German Shepherds come to his clinic with bad GI tract and skin issues. Excellent for German Shepherds, Rottweilers and Dobermans.
  • SPECIALLY FORMULATED FOR DIGESTIVE HEALTH – synergistic blend of soluble and insoluble fiber does an excellent job of keeping the large breed dog’s sensitive digestive system active and healthy. Enriched with taurine.
  • NATURAL JOINT CARE - New Zealand Green-Lipped Sea Mussel (natural source of glucosamine and chondroitin) supports proper joint and connective tissue health.
  • NATURAL INGREDIENTS (enhanced with vitamins and minerals) COOKED TO PERFECTION - Made in Ohio, Best Breed formulas are hand-crafted using a unique, slow-cooking process to ensure easy digestion and optimum nutrient absorption. Formulas use EU-approved ingredients, which means if an ingredient is not good enough for you and your family, it is not good enough for Best Breed food! NO corn, wheat or by-product meals.

Iams Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food

IAMS Adult High Protein Large Breed Dry Dog Food with Real Chicken, 30 lb. Bag

What we love the most about this dog food is that the number one ingredient is real chicken. And the protein in the chicken helps to support strong muscles, including those of the heart.

It features a blend of wholesome fibers and prebiotics specially tailored for large breeds such as German shepherds, to promote both healthy digestion and their immune system.

And it features chondroitin and glucosamine, which are important for bone and joint health, especially for large breeds such as German shepherds.

It features 100% nutrition, with no unnecessary fillers. And there are no artificial preservatives or flavors to worry about. 

We tried giving this food to a German shepherd and found that they really seemed to enjoy it.

We also spoke with some veterinarians about what dog food they would recommend for a German shepherd, and this was a brand that kept coming up.

It’s available in packs of different sizes, and if your dog doesn’t like the chicken option, you could try them on the lamb and rice version instead, which has just as much nutritional value.

Amazon occasionally has deals on this particular dog food – simply click on “check price” to see if there happens to be a deal on now.

Pros

  • 1st ingredient is real chicken
  • Wholesome fibers and prebiotics
  • Ingredients for bone and joint health
  • No unnecessary fillers or additives
  • Veterinarians recommend IAMS

Cons

  • The kibble size is rather small

Also available to purchase at:

IAMS Adult High Protein Large Breed Dry Dog Food with Real Chicken, 30 lb. Bag
  • Contains (1) 30 lb. bag of IAMS Adult Large Breed Dry Dog Food Chicken
  • 1st ingredient is real, farm-raised chicken, and features smaller kibble size
  • Maintains bone and joint health with a formula tailored to support large breed active dogs
  • Promotes healthy digestion and immunity with a tailored blend of wholesome fibers and prebiotics
  • IAMS Large Breed Dry Dog Food promotes strong muscles with quality protein sourced from real chicken

Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food Large Breed

Hill's Science Diet Adult Large Breed Dry Dog Food- Shippable Frustration Free Packaging Box, Chicken & Barley Recipe, 35 lb bag

We felt that this dog food also deserved a spot on our shortlist because it’s specially formulated to meet the energy needs of large breed dogs such as German shepherds, and it features a large kibble size.

Its number one ingredient is chicken, and there’s no chicken by-product, so your dog gets high quality protein to support the functioning of their lean muscles. There’s also omega-6 and vitamin E present for healthy skin and a nice, shiny coat.

And it features chondroitin and glucosamine, which are important for bone and joint health, especially for large breeds such as German shepherds. And there’s vitamins C and E and antioxidants to support the dog’s immune system.

We were also reassured to learn that it’s made right here in the USA.

We tried giving this food to a German shepherd, and they really seemed to enjoy it. We also spoke with some veterinarians about what dog food they would recommend for a German shepherd, and this was a brand that kept coming up.

And if all that’s not enough, it comes backed by a satisfaction guarantee, so you have nothing to lose by trying a pack.

It’s available in packs of different sizes, including 4 pounds, 15 pounds, and 30 pounds.

Pros

  • Number one ingredient is chicken
  • Healthy skin and a nice, shiny coat
  • Ingredients for bone and joint health
  • Support the dog’s immune system
  • Made right here in good old USA
  • Recommended by veterinarians 
  • Backed by a satisfaction guarantee

Cons

  • Some would argue that the price is somewhat inflated
  • No mention of how the formula may help with a sensitive digestive system

Also available to purchase at:

Hill's Science Diet Adult Large Breed Dry Dog Food- Shippable Frustration Free Packaging Box, Chicken & Barley Recipe, 35 lb bag
  • A dry dog food specially formulated to fuel the energy needs of large breed adult dogs
  • Supports your grown dog's joint health with natural sources of Glucosamine & Chondroitin
  • Maintain your senior dog's healthy skin and shiny coat with nourishing omega-6 fatty acids & vitamin E
  • Promotes lean muscle in large dogs with high-quality protein
  • Made in the USA with global ingredients you can trust

Purina ONE SmartBlend Natural Large Breed Formula Adult Dry Dog Food

Purina ONE Natural Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food, +Plus Formula - 31.1 lb. Bag

When carrying out our research for this article, we spoke with several veterinarians about what dog food they would recommend for a German shepherd, and this was a brand that kept coming up, which is why we felt it deserved a spot on our shortlist.

Its number one ingredient in the chicken options is real chicken, rather than chicken by-product, so your dog gets high quality protein to support the functioning of their muscles, including those of the heart.

And in addition to the natural ingredients, there’s also added vitamins, minerals and nutrients, and these serve to provide healthy energy, a radiant coat, and support the immune system to boot.

It also features that all-important glucosamine which is vital for bone and joint health, especially for large breeds such as German shepherds

We were also reassured to learn that it’s made right here in the USA.

It’s available in packs of different sizes, specifically 16.5 pounds, 31.1 pounds, and 40 pounds.

We tried giving this food to a German shepherd, and we found that they really seemed to enjoy it. 

It’s worth noting at this point that there’s also a special version of this formula with extra doses of ingredients, such as fish oil, aimed to boost your dog’s joint health.

Pros

  • The number one ingredient is chicken
  • Provides plenty of energy & a shiny coat
  • Ingredients for bone and joint health
  • Support the dog’s immune system
  • Made right here in good old USA
  • Recommended by veterinarians 

Cons

  • Some German shepherds find it dry and prefer it with water on

Also available to purchase at:

Sale
Purina ONE Natural Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food, +Plus Formula - 31.1 lb. Bag
  • One (1) 31.1 lb. Bag - Purina ONE Natural Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food, +Plus Formula
  • This large breed dry dog food made with real chicken as the first ingredient supports strong muscles, including a healthy heart
  • A SmartBlend of high-quality ingredients in this large dog food formula supports the health of large breed dogs
  • Purina large breed dog food includes four antioxidant sources for a strong immune system and omega-6 fatty acids, vitamins and minerals for a shiny coat and healthy skin
  • Deliciously crunchy bites and tender meaty morsels deliver great taste in a dog food kibble recipe made with no artificial flavors or preservatives

Buying Guide

Best Dog Food For German Shepherds

As promised, here’s your buying guide. Let’s walk you though some of the key things to think about before you buy.

Nutritional Profile

Dog Foods for Large Breeds

As we discuss in our FAQ section a little later, it’s important that you feed your German Shepherd dog food that’s designed for large breeds, even when they are a puppy.

And while there are some brands that are designed specifically for German Shepherds, and for dogs within the German category, the truth is that German shepherds generally tend to do just fine with just about any dog food, so long as it’s aimed at large breeds.

Nutrients Available

All dog food on the market features all of the main macronutrients dogs need, such as protein from meats, carbohydrates from grains, and fats from vegetables.

But where they tend to differ a little is in what vitamins and minerals they contain, and how much fiber they provide, so this is where you need to concentrate your attention.

But there is one aspect of the German shepherd diet to which we hold particular importance, and that’s joint health.

For this reason, we only included dog foods in our shortlist that feature glucosamine (and sometimes other such ingredients) which is particularly beneficial for bone and joint health.

You may also want to consider formulas that aid in the following:

  • Providing adequate energy
  • Supporting of lean muscle
  • Supporting of a sensitive digestive system
  • Supporting of the immune system

Enjoyment

Beyond nutritional requirements, it’s also very important that your dog enjoys the food they are given.

If you give them a new brand of dog food, and they don’t seem to want to eat it, then you should switch brands. Because it’s important that they get at least some nutrition, even if it’s not your preferred brand.

(And if you are introducing a new food to your dog, you should introduce it gradually, mixed in with their previous food.)

We tested out all the products on our shortlist with a German shepherd (Ben), and he certainly seemed to enjoy all of them.

Brand

There’s a lot to be said for buying from a well known brand that you know and trust. Such brands have a reputation to maintain and simply can’t afford to sell you inferior quality products. The top brands are bestsellers for a reason.

Veterinarian Recommended

Veterinarians are the ones who end up treating dogs when they get ill, and they can be trusted to let you know what sort of formula is best for your dog.

We made a point of speaking to several veterinarians as part of our research, and have included several dog foods in our shortlist that are recommended by clinical veterinarians.

Value for Money

If you’re anything like us, you may feel like you can’t put a price on your dog’s health. But let’s be real, the cost of dog food does add up over the course of a year (or even a month). 

That’s why we encourage you to check out the price per kilogram, rather than the price per pack because they can come in different sizes.

Repeat Purchases

If you buy through online retailers such as Amazon, some dog foods are often available on Subscribe and Save schemes, whereby you can save anywhere between 5 and 15 percent on repeat purchases that you can have automatically delivered at intervals of your choosing.

Answers To Your Most Frequently Asked Questions

Do German Shepherds Need Special Food?

Most of our sources confirm that German shepherds don’t really need special food just for their breed. The adults can eat just about any brand. 

However, to help lower the risk of developing hip disease, we recommend that even when your German shepherd is still a puppy, that you give them a diet suitable for large breeds.

If you’re really particular about getting a brand of dog food that’s perfect for your German shepherd breed, you should check out our number one pick, the Royal Canin German Shepherd Adult Dry Dog Food.

What Is A Healthy Diet For A German Shepherd?

The most important macronutrient in a German shepherd’s diet is protein, and their ideal diet should consist of at least 18 percent protein, if not as much as 22 percent protein.

This can come from any natural source, although we have found that chicken seems to be the most popular source of protein, both with dog food manufacturers and with German shepherds themselves.

But that’s not all, of course. They also require fats for energy which can be derived from grains and fish, and they also require fruits and vegetables for not only fiber but also for essential vitamins and minerals which can aid their health in all sorts of ways.

Which Dog Food Is Best For A German Shepherd?

If you have a purebred German shepherd, we would recommend that you invest in our number one pick for dog foods for German shepherds, which is Royal Canin German Shepherd Adult Dry Dog Food. Here’s a reminder of why we like it:

  • Winner of Amazon’s Choice title
  • It promotes healthy digestion
  • Supports healthy skin and coat
  • It promotes bone & joint health
  • Save up to 5% on repeat deliveries

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