German Shepherd looking down

Best Dog Food for German Shepherds: Top 5 Picks in 2022

• Updated on November 22, 2022

  • This review contains affiliate links. Read more here.
  • Not a substitute for professional veterinary help.

The best dog food for German Shepherds is the Royal Canin Adult Dry Food , in case you are in a hurry and just want to find out what our top recommendation is.

German Shepherds aren’t considered high maintenance, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t require some special care.

They’re a large breed that’s pretty active, so you have to offer them the necessary protein, carbs, and nutrients they need to meet their energy levels.

You also want to feed them the right food that promotes skin and coat health.

To make it easier on you, we created this article to help you pick the best German Shepherd food for your pooch.

Let’s begin!

The 5 Best German Shepherd Food Products

Now that you understand what your dog needs in his diet, let’s begin the hunt for the best food for GSDs.

To make it easier on you, we created a list of our top 5 recommendations.

OUR PICK

Royal Canin knows what makes your German Shepherd magnificent is in the details. While these faithful watchdogs are highly intelligent and protective, they’re also big softies with thick double-layered coats.

Royal Canin Adult Dry Food is made specifically for adult purebred German Shepherds over 15 months.

It’s formulated with highly digestive proteins and fibers to maintain digestive health.

If your furry friend struggles with poor stool quality, this dry food is a good choice for him.

The kibble shape and texture are designed specifically for your buddy’s teeth to encourage him to chew.

The product also contains omega-3 fatty acids for healthy skin and coat as well as glucosamine and chondroitin, which help with bone and joint health.

You can get Royal Canin Puppy Dry Dog Food if you own a GSD puppy.

  • Pros
  • Good for dogs with poor digestion
  • Kibble shape for GSDs’ teeth

  • Contains omega-3 fatty acids
  • Helps with bone, joint, and cartilage health
  • Available for GSD puppies as well
  • Cons
  • Not the most affordable option
  • Kibble shape for GSDs’ teeth

  • Contains omega-3 fatty acids
  • Helps with bone, joint, and cartilage health
  • Available for GSD puppies as well

RUNNER-UP

Because puppyhood is such an important stage in any dog’s life, Blue Life Protection Formula Puppy Large Breed Dry Dog Food features ingredients that support the healthy growth and development of large-breed puppies.

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula is made with real meat, which is perfect for supplying your puppy with the amount of protein he needs.

If you’re worried about feeding your pooch grains, this formula uses whole grains that are easily digested.

It’s also packed with omega fatty acids, essential minerals, and loads of vitamins.

The shape and texture of the kibble are designed specifically for your puppy’s small jaws and to promote tartar removal.

This product is also available for adult German Shepherds.

  • Pros
  • Deboned chicken is the first ingredient
  • Uses a mix of chicken and fish for protein

  • Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids
  • Packed with essential vitamins and minerals
  • Puppy-sized kibble that promotes tartar removal
  • Cons
  • Relatively expensive
  • Uses a mix of chicken and fish for protein

  • Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids
  • Packed with essential vitamins and minerals
  • Puppy-sized kibble that promotes tartar removal

ALSO GREAT

Your active big dog is one-of-a-kind… that’s why IAMS makes a dry dog food that’s just as unique as they are. IAMS Adult Large Breed Dry Dog Food with Real Chicken is formulated to support large breed active dogs by maintaining bone and joint health.

It can be hard to find affordable, high-quality dry food for your German Shepherd.

Luckily, we stumbled upon Iams Adult Large Breed Dry Food.

The first ingredient is real farm-raised chicken to fuel your dog’s protein needs.

This product is also jam-packed with vitamins and minerals.

Iams Dry Food does wonders for your dog’s skin and coat health.

So, if your dog is struggling with his skin and coat health, this product contains the essential ingredients that can help him with that.

On top of all that, Iams uses a blend of prebiotics and fibers that support your dog’s immune system and aid with digestion.

  • Pros
  • Uses real farm-raised chicken as the first ingredient
  • Contains plenty of vitamins and minerals
  • Includes prebiotics and wholesome fibers
  • Promotes skin and coat health
  • Wallet-friendly
  • Cons
  • Uses caramel color
  • Contains plenty of vitamins and minerals
  • Includes prebiotics and wholesome fibers
  • Promotes skin and coat health
  • Wallet-friendly

ALSO GREAT

Blue Wilderness natural dry dog food satisfies the spirit of the wolf in your canine with more of the meat dogs love. This high protein, grain free formula starts with delicious, protein-rich chicken, features antioxidant-rich LifeSource Bits and is enhanced with vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.

If your dog’s health conditions call for a grain-free diet, Blue Buffalo Wilderness Grain-Free Dry Food is a great option.

It provides your dog with high protein content and the first ingredient is real chicken.

In addition, it offers healthy carbs from fruits and veggies to help keep up with his active lifestyle.

As always, Blue Buffalo products are packed with vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.

It’s quality dry food, so you get why it’s not the most affordable option out there.

  • Pros
  • Grain-free
  • Uses real meat and provides high-protein content
  • Healthy carbs from fruits and veggies

  • Features plenty of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients
  • Only natural flavors and colors
  • Cons
  • Not the most affordable option
  • Uses real meat and provides high-protein content
  • Healthy carbs from fruits and veggies

  • Features plenty of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients
  • Only natural flavors and colors

ALSO GREAT

American Journey Active Life Formula Large Breed Salmon, Brown Rice & Vegetables Recipe Dry Dog Food

Well-rounded, balanced diet provides 24% high-quality protein from real, deboned salmon as the first ingredient. Formulated for large-breed dogs, with a precise blend of nutrients and antioxidants to support a healthy immune system and overall well-being.

This is a somewhat affordable option that features deboned salmon and menhaden fish meal as the very first ingredients.

The formula also contains grains. However, it uses wholesome, easy-to-digest grains, so you don’t have to worry about your dog reacting to it.

What’s more, it contains vegetables that are rich in antioxidants and nutrients.

There are no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.

  • Pros
  • All-natural ingredients with no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.
  • Suitable for puppies and adults

  • Provides 24% of natural, deboned salmon
  • Uses several different veggies for antioxidants and nutrients
  • Affordable than most options
  • Cons
  • The kibble is a bit small and might not be the best option for your adult puppy
  • Suitable for puppies and adults

  • Provides 24% of natural, deboned salmon
  • Uses several different veggies for antioxidants and nutrients
  • Affordable than most options

Everything we recommend

Our Pick
Royal Canin Adult Dry FoodRoyal Canin Puppy Dry Food Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Puppy FoodBlue Buffalo Life Protection Natural Adult FoodIams Adult Large Breed Dry FoodBlue Buffalo Wilderness Grain-Free Dry FoodAmerican Journey Active Life Formula Dry Food
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Table of Contents

What to Look For in Your German Shepherd’s Food?

German Shepherd running on the snow with a wood stick in his mouth

All dogs need a balanced and healthy diet that contains all the essential nutrients, calories, fats, and protein to help them grow healthy and stay active.

However, it can be a little bit different for larger breeds like German Shepherds.

An adult GSD is about 50 to 90 lbs, so you have to control the fats and calories you give to your dog to prevent obesity, especially since GSDs have a slow metabolism.

The same thing goes for your German Shepherd puppy.

It’s not okay for them to grow rapidly as it can lead to bone and joint problems in the future.

Your German Shepherd puppy should eat puppy-specific food.

Similarly, a senior GSD needs to eat food that’s intended for senior dogs.

Now that you have an idea of why German Shepherds are different when it comes to their food, let’s see what ingredients you should look for in your GSD’s food:

Protein

This should be the first ingredient on your dog’s food list.

Adult German Shepherds need at least 18% of protein daily, while puppies need a higher percentage of at least 22%.

Protein is crucial for GSDs to build and maintain their lean muscle mass.

Look for high-quality dog food that contains a high percentage of animal-sourced protein like beef, chicken, lamb, and fish.

Fats and Carbohydrates

Fat is also necessary for the German Shepherds’ diet as it helps them gain the energy they need for their day-to-day activities.

Adults require about 5% fat daily and puppies require 8% fat.

While we want to prevent our GSDs from becoming obese, we shouldn’t stop them from eating carbs.

Carbohydrates are extremely important for larger, active breeds like GSD.

Of course, the amount of fat and carbohydrates your dog needs depends on the dog’s activity level and health.

Vitamins, Minerals, Nutrients, and Fibers

Just like we need vitamins and minerals to keep us healthy, your dog needs them too.

Nutrients are needed as well, especially omega fatty acids, as they help keep your pooch’s coat and skin healthy.

Fibers aren’t out of the equation either. Your dog needs a good amount of water content to aid with digestion.

Your dog needs at least 5% of fiber-content a day.

Should I Feed My German Shepherd Grain-Free Food?

bowl of dog food

This is quite a controversial topic, so let’s settle it once and for all.

Whole grains are highly packed with nutrients, fibers, and energy that your dog needs.

Some people believe that it causes allergies, but this isn’t all true.

Grains don’t necessarily cause allergies to German Shepherds, but they can be the target of allergies.

The best thing to do here is to consult your vet. They’ll give you the best answer for that.

As a general rule, though, don’t go for grain-free diets unless your dog doesn’t like dog food that contains grain, or if your dog is allergic to it.

The Wrap-Up

German Shepherd looking with one ear up and the other down

There you have it; our 5 best German Shepherd food recommendations.

Make sure to check the ingredient list and the feeding instructions for each product.

We also recommend you go check with your dog’s vet if you’re frustrated and don’t know exactly what to feed your dog.

About Alex Vicente

Dog Lover, Founder & Chief Editor at Paws Insider

I’ve been rescuing dogs since a very early age. I got my first dog when I was 9 years old and I remember how he, out of a litter of 6 puppies, started running towards me. He’d just chosen me. Ever since then, my love for dogs only grows stronger and I want what’s best for them. My mission is to let our readers know about the best products in the market for our best friends, as well as providing guides and tips on how we can take better care of them.