German Shepherd Nutrition

German Shepherd Puppy - Lady Lake FloridaGerman Shepherds are a muscular and agile breed of working dogs known for their high levels of intelligence and energy. As with any dog breed, German Shepherds have some specific nutritional requirements you should be aware of to help ensure their long-term health. 

Select your German Shepherd’s food based on quality, age, weight, and activity level. Keep in mind that any dietary changes should be made gradually over several weeks to ensure that your dog has a safe and well-tolerated transition to their new diet.

High-Quality Dog Food

Nutrition is crucial for the long-term health of your German Shepherd. A high-quality dry kibble or canned food should have meat (poultry, fish, or beef) listed as the first ingredient. Many of the cheaper kibbles contain fillers and animal bi-products that could potentially harm your dog, so opt for foods that contain no fillers. Foods that contain grains like barley, rice, and rolled oats are preferable over soy, wheat, and corn as they are more easily digested by your dog. 

Adult German Shepherds

The average adult German Shepherd requires somewhere between 1,740 and 2,100 calories. At this time around 18%-22% of your dog’s diet should be protein. This protein is essential to growth, the building and repairing of muscle, and immune system function. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration mandates that ingredients are listed on packaging by weight, so choose foods that list protein sources first followed by carbs, grains, fats, and veggies. The best sources of fat will contain Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids and should make up about 5% of your dog’s diet at this stage.

German Shepherd Puppies

Your German Shepherd is considered a puppy from birth till around 12 weeks. It is recommended that your puppy rely solely on its mother for nutrition until somewhere between 8 and 10 weeks. As you wean your puppy you are looking to create a wet food or kibble mush that is about 85% moisture. The kibble or canned food should be specifically formulated for puppies and contain about 22% protein and 8% fat. Puppies will need to eat more frequently than adult German Shepherds, so we recommend serving them 3-4 small meals per day to ensure they are getting enough food for their growing bodies.

We recommend that you continue any diet your puppy was on with the breeder for 8-12 weeks after adoption and then, if you choose to change their diet, slowly introduce the new food over a few weeks.

Senior German Shepherds

Your senior German Shepherd is likely to be less active in its later years. At this stage (around age 8 or so), you will begin to notice your dog slowing down a bit and their hair turning silver in the muzzle area. At this stage, it remains important to keep your dog on a high-quality diet. Switching to a senior diet is not always necessary or tolerated well by your dog, so it is best to consult your veterinarian before switching to a senior formula. The average senior German Shepherd requires a bit fewer calories (around 1,272 to 1, 540), with around 18% of their diet being protein.


Many German Shepherd owners choose to prepare food at home for their pets or opt for a raw food diet. It is very important that you consult with a veterinarian or animal nutrition expert before changing your pet’s diet in this way. It is crucial that your German Shepherd’s meals contain just the right amounts of proteins, fats, caloric content, and trace minerals.

The breeders at family-owned Florida German Shepherd Puppies have over 20 years of experience working with this beloved dog breed. We are passionate about providing families with a loyal companion, education about our puppies, and support throughout the process. Contact us today to find out more.

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