13 Best Dog Foods for German Shepherds in 2023

By Kevin Myers | 2023 Update

This updated guide lists all of the best dog foods for German Shepherds this year.

German Shepherds are some of the most energetic and loving breeds you’ll come across. But without a proper diet, even the most playful dogs will feel low and fatigued.

Having a sensitive digestive system, German Shepherds are at an even higher risk of malnutrition.

But don’t worry because we’ll guide you through the best dog foods for German Shepherds that will fulfill all of your dog’s nutritional needs. We’ve made a list of our top picks, as well as a special buyer’s guide, to lead you through the entire process. Rest assured, our top picks are based on our detailed 40-point inspection list to guarantee you have the best options to choose from.

Without further ado, let’s dive right in.

The Best Dog Foods For German Shepherds Reviewed

Top PicksRatingTop Ingredients
#1. Wellness Grain-Free Complete Health Large Breed Adult Dog Food
(Editor’s Choice)
4.9Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Peas, Potatoes, Chickpeas
#2. VICTOR Select Nutra Pro Active Dog & Puppy Dog Food4.8Chicken Meal, Blood Meal, Whole Grain Millet, Chicken Fat, Yeast Culture
#3. Nutro Ultra Senior Dry Dog Food4.8Chicken, Chicken Meal, Whole Grain Sorghum, Whole Oats, Whole Brown Rice
#4. Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Large Breed Chicken Canned Food4.8Chicken, Chicken Broth, Carrots, Brown Rice, Peas
#5. Royal Canin German Shepherd Adult Dry Dog Food4.7Brewers Rice, Chicken By-Product Meal, Brown Rice, Chicken flavor, Fish Meal
#6. Diamond Naturals Large Breed Adult Chicken & Rice Dog Food4.7Chicken, Chicken Meal, Whole Grain Brown Rice, Ground White Rice, Rice Bran
#7. Hill’s Science Diet Adult Perfect Weight Chicken Dog Food4.6Chicken, Cracked Pearled Barley, Brown Rice, Chicken Meal, Dried Tomato Pomace
#8. Dr. Gary’s Best Breed Holistic German Dry Dog Food4.6Chicken Meal, Oatmeal, Brown Rice, Dried Beet Pulp, Chicken Fat

#1. Wellness Grain-Free Complete Health Large Breed Adult Dog Food


Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Chicken, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Peas, 4. Potatoes, 5. Chickpeas

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Large, Giant breeds
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,464 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 32% | Fat (min.) 12% | Fiber (max.) 6% | Moisture (max.) 10%
  • Form: Dry

Supporting the optimal health of your tail-wagger, this particular recipe by Wellness is favored for all the nutritious ingredients it includes in the blend.

The natural grain-free diet is perfect for large breed dogs, including German Shepherds, because of the rich protein profile it offers via deboned chicken with essential minerals and vitamins. The additional omega acids ensure healthy skin and a manageable coat for your dog.

#2. VICTOR Select Nutra Pro Active Dog & Puppy Dog Food


Top 5 Ingredients:  1. Chicken Meal, 2. Blood Meal, 3. Whole Grain Millet, 4. Chicken Fat, 5. Yeast Culture

  • Life Stage: Puppy
  • Suitable for: Small, medium, large breeds
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,774 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 38% | Fat (min.) 18% | Fiber (max.) 3.5% | Moisture (max.) 9%
  • Form: Dry

Made from gluten-free grains, this balanced diet by VICTOR is ideal for large breed dogs with moderate to high levels of daily activity. You will find all the high-quality nutrition for your German Shepherd’s diet while steering clear of unnecessary fillers like soy and corn.

The impressive nutrient profile with chicken meal as a primary ingredient ensures a delicious blend for your Shepherd.

#3. Nutro Ultra Senior Dry Dog Food


Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Whole Grain Sorghum, 4. Whole Grain Oats, 5. Whole Grain Brown Rice

  • Life Stage: Senior
  • Suitable for: Small, medium, large breeds
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,385 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 26% | Fat (min.) 13% | Fiber (max.) 4% | Moisture (max.) 10%
  • Form: Dry

Nutro Ultra Senior Dog Food keeps your aging dog nourished and active with a blend of natural ingredients and an irresistible taste. The formula is designed from 15 superfoods that include chicken, lamb, salmon, blueberries, and kale, to name a few. All of them work together to maintain muscle mass, improve coat health, support joints, and keep your dog active all day long.

The food also tastes delicious and is readily accepted by even the pickiest German shepherds. It also caters to sensitive dogs and eliminates all preservatives, wheat, corn, or soy ingredients that might cause digestive problems. 

#4. Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Large Breed Chicken Canned Food


Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Chicken Broth, 3. Carrots, 4. Brown Rice, 5. Peas

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Large, Giant breeds
  • Caloric content (per can): 493 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 10% | Fat (min.) 1.5% | Fiber (max.) 7.5% | Moisture (max.) 78%
  • Form: Wet Food

German Shepherds can be picky eaters. And if that sounds like your dog, check out Blue Buffalo’s Chicken Dinner Canned Food. This protein-packed pate food is filled with tender pieces of chicken and tasty veggies that can make any dog drool. The formula is made for muscle nourishment and fuels your dog’s body so they can stay energetic throughout the day.

Another common issue that German Shepherds suffer from are joint problems. To cater to that, the recipe is enriched with glucosamine and chondroitin so they can remain active well into their senior years. You also don’t have to worry about allergies or digestive upsets as the recipe is free from artificial flavors, preservatives, wheat, corn, and soy.

#5. Royal Canin German Shepherd Adult Dry Dog Food


Top 5 Ingredients:  1. Brewers Rice, 2. Chicken By-Product Meal, 3. Brown Rice, 4. Chicken flavor, 5. Fish Meal

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Large breeds
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,771 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 22% | Fat (min.) 17% | Fiber (max.) 5.5% | Moisture (max.) 10%
  • Form: Dry

A diet that’s designed for a specific breed is much more fulfilling than a regular one. Keeping that in mind, Royal Canin has created a special formula especially for German Shepherds and their dietary needs. Some noteworthy features of the breed-specific diet include special dietary fibers that cater to the sensitive digestive system of German Shepherds and a mix of nutrients that nourish and support their skin and coat.

The recipe is designed with highly-digestible proteins to encourage muscle growth and nourishment. Moreover, it contains both EPA and DHA to support bone and joint health, which is a common issue with most adult and senior German Shepherds.

#6. Diamond Naturals Large Breed Adult Chicken & Rice Dog Food


Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Whole Grain Brown Rice, 4. Ground White Rice, 5. Rice Bran

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Large, Giant breeds
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,499 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 23% | Fat (min.) 13% | Fiber (max.) 3.5% | Moisture (max.) 10%
  • Form: Dry

For what it costs, Diamond Natural Large Breed is an excellent value food that’s equally nutritious and high-quality as the more expensive options. It’s made from a handful of premium ingredients like cage-free chicken, brown rice, and veggies that provide a holistic diet for your Alsatian.

After switching to this dog food, many owners said they saw an improvement in digestion and coat health. The formula is also enriched with probiotics, glucosamine, and chondroitin — nutrients that are crucial for German Shepherds as they are prone to digestive and joint problems. Moreover, the recipe is free from common allergens like corn, wheat, and soy, so the diet sits well with your dog’s stomach.

#7. Hill’s Science Diet Adult Perfect Weight Chicken Dog Food


Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Cracked Pearled Barley, 3. Brown Rice, 4. Chicken Meal, 5. Dried Tomato Pomace

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Small, medium, large breeds
  • Caloric content (per cup): 291 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 24% | Fat (min.) 9% | Fiber (max.) 5% | Moisture (max.) 13%
  • Form: Dry

If your dog has put on some pounds recently and is unwilling to try new foods, then Hill’s Science Diet Perfect Weight is ideal for them. The food is packed with whole fibers that make your dog feel satisfied after each meal, while still maintaining their muscles.

It’s also highly appetizing and a favorite of picky eaters. The formula is infused with essential high-quality protein, vitamins, and minerals that promote general wellness and increase energy levels. It is a popular choice among owners who have reported steady weight loss after switching their dogs to the food and offers decent value for the price and quality. 

#8. Dr. Gary’s Best Breed Holistic German Dry Dog Food


Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken Meal, 2. Oatmeal, 3. Brown Rice, 4. Dried Beet Pulp, 5. Chicken Fat

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Small, medium, large breeds
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,941 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 25% | Fat (min.) 12% | Fiber (max.) 4.5% | Moisture (max.) 10%
  • Form: Dry

This nutritionally dense kibble is specially crafted for your German Shepherd and includes highly digestible ingredients that support maximum nutrient absorption.

This wholesome diet is not only a delicious blend that your dog will crave, but includes high-quality proteins that come from eggs, chicken, and menhaden fish to promote health maintenance and muscle development for maximum activity.

#9. Purina Pro Plan Adult Sensitive Dog Food


Top 5 Ingredients:  1. Salmon, 2. Barley, 3. Rice, 4. Oat Meal, 5. Canola Meal

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Small, medium, large breeds
  • Caloric content (per kg): 4,049 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 26% | Fat (min.) 16% | Fiber (max.) 4% | Moisture (max.) 12%
  • Form: Dry

Nothing beats a dog food that takes care of sensitivity and offers improved overall health in one package. And that’s exactly what this recipe from Purina is all about. It’s formulated with salmon and rice, two highly-digestible yet nourishing ingredients that supply protein and carbs for energy.

Additionally, the food is enriched with prebiotic fiber and live probiotics that improve digestion and reduce instances of gas and bloating. Moreover, the omega fatty acids in the food make your dog’s coat softer and give them a healthier appearance. And to avoid allergic reactions, the food is also kept free from wheat, corn, and soy.

#10. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Salmon Grain-Free Dry Dog Food


Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Duck, 2. Duck Meal, 3. Oat Groats, 4. Whole Sorghum, 5. Duck Liver

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Small, medium, large breeds
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,592 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 34% | Fat (min.) 15% | Fiber (max.) 6% | Moisture (max.) 10%
  • Form: Dry

Truly inspired by the natural diet of wolves, this recipe by Blue Buffalo Wilderness features grain-free ingredients and other protein-rich sources to balance the nutrition of large-breed dogs.

Feed your German Shepherd dog a bowl filled with wholesome goodness and nourishment loaded with antioxidant-enriched ingredients for ultimate development and maintenance.

#11. Nom Nom Pork Potluck


Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Ground pork, 2. russet potatoes, 3. green beans, 4. squash, 5. kale

  • Life Stage: All
  • Suitable for: Small, medium, large, giant breeds
  • Caloric content (per kg): 1,246 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 7% | Fat (min.) 5% | Fiber (max.) 2% | Moisture (max.) 75%
  • Form: Frozen

Nothing can compete with the nutrition and taste of fresh homemade dog food that Nom Nom provides. The option we recommend for German Shepherds is Pork Potluck. It is made in-house from ground pork, potatoes, green beans, squash, and a range of essential micronutrients.

However, the food truly shines when it comes to taste. Your dog will start to gobble up each and every one of these delicious meals. Plus, Nom Nom tailors it to your shepherd’s age, height, and activity levels. The package is easy to store in fridge compartments and opens up with a tearable seal. If you can afford the subscription, this dog diet is an excellent choice.

#12. Taste of the Wild Wetlands Grain-Free Dry Dog Food


Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Duck, 2. Duck Meal, 3. Chicken Meal, 4. Sweet Potatoes, 5. Peas

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Small, medium, large breeds
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,750 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 32% | Fat (min.) 18% | Fiber (max.) 4% | Moisture (max.) 10%
  • Form: Dry

Give your big-breed German Shepherd a wholesome diet that combines the goodness of grain-free and a variety of other nutritional ingredients.

The tempting flavors not only serve as a savory option for your big pooch, but the balanced nutrients ensure healthy overall development and a great level of activity. The recipe is free from by-products and fillers and features just the right amount of nutrition perfect for your German Shepherd dog.

#13. Eagle Pack Chicken & Pork Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food


Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken Meal, 2. Pork Meal, 3. Brown Rice, 4. Oat Groats, 5. Rice,

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Large, Giant Breeds
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,546 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 25% | Fat (min.) 11% | Fiber (max.) 4% | Moisture (max.) 10%
  • Form: Dry

The power-packed recipe is balanced with nutrition derived from an excellent combination of high-quality ingredients. The proportions of protein, fat, and carbs in this crunchy kibble not only help your German Shepherd maintain a healthy weight but also help in developing stamina and muscle tone for sustained endurance.

The flavor-dense formula ensures excellent nutrition for active adult dogs.

How to Switch Dog Food Without Getting Your Pup Sick

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The Best Dog Food for German Shepherds – A Buyer’s Guide

German Shepherds are known for their extraordinary toughness and courage. To ensure they maintain their vitality and continue to grow, it’s crucial to provide them with a high-quality diet that meets all their nutritional needs. The best way to achieve this is by choosing the appropriate dog food.

So what are the dietary requirements of German Shepherds? And which dog food would suit yours best? Let’s find out.

Basic Dietary Requirements For German Shepherds

Like every other dog, German Shepherds also need a complete and balanced diet to stay healthy and active. Here are some of the basic nutritional needs of this breed:

  • Proteins: German Shepherds have a very muscular physique and are quite energetic. Because of their high muscle composition, they need lots of high-quality proteins so they can maintain their muscle mass. The best proteins for German Shepherds are the ones that are derived from real meat such as chicken, beef, fish, and lamb. These contain all the essential amino acids to aid muscle nourishment and support other bodily functions dependent on protein.
  • Carbohydrates: Carbs are mainly responsible for fueling your dog’s energy levels. Since German Shepherds are very active, they need about 40-50% carbohydrates in their dog food. Make sure that the carbohydrates are obtained from non-grain sources such as potatoes, peas, and other vegetables, as grains can irritate their digestive system.
  • Fat: Some common types of fats that German Shepherds require include Omega-3, Omega-6, DHA, and EPA. These aid in cell repair and tissue development, and provide nourishment to your German Shepherd’s skin and fur. Adults need only around 5% fat in their total diet, while puppies need around 8%.
  • Other nutrients: While proteins, carbs, and fats do fulfill the basic nutritional needs of a German Shepherd, they also require a variety of micronutrients to support other organs and body functions. These micronutrients include vitamins, minerals, probiotics, and antioxidants, as well as glucosamine and chondroitin.

Choosing the Right Diet for German Shepherds – Factors to Consider

Each dog is different, so they also need different amounts of calories and nutrients. To buy the right dog food for your German Shepherd, consider the following factors:


At each stage of life, a German Shepherd will have different dietary requirements. A growing puppy will need more of each nutrient such as proteins, carbs, and fats to have steady muscle growth and organ development. An adult will need fewer fats and carbs than a puppy to maintain a healthy weight and receive adequate muscle nourishment.

Similarly, an aging senior German Shepherd will need a protein surplus to counter wasting muscle mass and more glucosamine to support bone and joint health. And a nursing or pregnant German Shepherd will require more of each nutrient to support her baby and her own body.

Energy Level

Most German Shepherds are highly active dogs that train and play several hours each day. Because they’re burning so many calories, they need a calorie-rich diet too. A highly-active German Shepherd will need around 2500 to 2800 calories a day on average to maintain a healthy weight, compared to a moderately active Shepherd that only needs 1700 to 2100 calories.

Also, make sure that the calories are being derived from natural and possibly non-grain sources. Most dog food manufacturers use fillers such as grain by-products to spike up the calorie count, but these calories barely do any good. Look for grain-free dog foods that source carbs from vegetables such as sweet potatoes and peas for a more wholesome and nutritious diet.

Health Problems

Many German Shepherds have one or two health issues that require them to take supplements. Most common of all these health problems are allergies, bone and joint problems, and digestive issues such as bloating or gas.

The best way to figure out which supplements your dog needs is to talk to your vet. A vet will determine which health problem your dog suffers from and which supplements they need to control that problem. German Shepherds with allergies and digestive issues are usually advised to be put on a low ingredient diet. Similarly, those that suffer from bone and joint problems are recommended dog foods with high glucosamine content.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do German Shepherd puppies need special nutrients?

To keep up with the rapid growth of German Shepherd puppies, it is important to offer them a diet that is specifically designed with large-breed puppies in mind. German Shepherd pups require an appropriate combination of calories, calcium, carbohydrates, fats, and proteins to ensure maximum nourishment.

Do adult German Shepherd dogs need special nutrients?

German Shepherds often develop digestive problems due to a shorter colon. This can lead to a sensitive stomach. Therefore, it is important to give a very precise diet to avoid triggering sensitivities and also contribute to optimal health maintenance. Provide your adult German Shepherd a balance of meat protein, fiber, carbohydrates, fat, minerals, and vitamins.

How many calories do I need to feed my German Shepherd?

German Shepherd puppies should be fed 500 calories a day, with an increase in the calorie levels as they grow. For adult dogs, calorie consumption should be between 1700 and 2400 calories per day, keeping their activity level in mind.

How often should I feed my german shepherd puppy?

Serve puppies younger than 4 months four small meals every day. Reduce the meals to three between 4 and 9 months. From the 9th month onwards, your puppy can eat two to three large meals during the day. Consult your vet or read the labels for calorie content to ensure you are serving the right amount.

What types of food are appropriate for german shepherd dogs?

The most popular type of food for your German Shepherds is dry kibble. However, for puppies and senior dogs, you should consider a variety of wet food options too. Other varieties you can serve include semi-moist form and freeze-dried food. For owners who don’t mind preparation and handling, frozen-then-thawed food is a viable option too.

What types of food should never be given to german shepherd dogs?

Avoid foods with animal by-products, preservatives, artificial coloring, fillers, soy, and wheat in them. Always check the labels before buying the best dog food for German shepherds.

What’s the best form of protein for your German Shepherd?

German shepherds require a diet dense in protein content at all stages of their lifecycle. This breed can eat almost every type of protein. Meat from birds is considered a healthier option. Foods with eggs as one of the primary ingredients is a good option too.

Is salmon good for feeding a German shepherd?

Salmon is great for German shepherd dogs. Foods that contain salmon as a primary ingredient are often recommended by veterinarians.

What are the best food choices for German shepherds?

To pick the best option from the variety available in the market, learn to read the labels. The best food choices for German shepherds include rich animal protein, moderate fat content, wholefood ingredients, digestible carbohydrates, and beneficial supplements.

What fruits can I feed my German shepherds?

The fruits allowed include coconut, blueberries, mango, papaya, melon, bananas, watermelon, strawberries, raspberries, and pineapple. Apples (avoid apple seeds), apricots, and oranges can be given in moderation. Completely avoid plums, persimmons, grapes, and avocados.

Can I give all types of vegetables to my German Shepherd dog?

Almost all the common vegetables can be fed to your German shepherd. However, it is best to avoid onions, chives, garlic, and leeks.

Are nuts healthy for German shepherds?

Nuts are often used as treats that dogs love. They are also nutritious in terms of protein content. However, nuts are extremely high in calories and not recommended for dogs in the weight maintenance stage. Also, they pose a risk of choking and should only be given in strict moderation.

How long should I wait to switch my puppy to adult food?

The recommended time to switch your puppy to adult food is around 12 weeks. Keep the transition smooth by keeping the process slow and gradual. It is okay to stick to dry food and avoid canned food during the transition.

Can I give milk to my German Shepherd?

Milk shouldn’t be given to any dog, let alone a German Shepherd. Most dogs have sensitive digestive systems and are unable to digest milk with lactose as they grow. Drinking milk can cause GI issues like vomiting and diarrhea in dogs.

Do German Shepherds have food allergies?

It is very common for German shepherds to have allergies to grains. Also, dogs with a sensitive digestive system can be intolerable to a number of foods. It is best to always pick a grain-free food option and visit a vet to have comprehensive detail about what you can feed your German shepherd.

Further Reading: