2020’s Best Dog Food for German Shepherds

Best Dog Food for German Shepherds

Our Pick: Taste of the WildTaste of the Wild large breed dog food without grains for German Shepherds

Our #1 choice for German Shepherd-specific dog food is Taste of the Wild!

It’s a grain-free dog food that’s perfect for many active adult German Shepherds with no specific health needs. Other reasons why we like it so much are covered below, but you can find a more in-depth review here!


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Table of Contents

When you’ve brought home a new breed of dog, the breed may not seem to matter much at first.

They’re adorable and your new best friend, and that’s all that really matters.

Depending on what kind of dog you get, this may be true. However, some breeds require a different level of care than others.

German Shepherds are one of these breeds.

Read on to learn everything you need to know about what the best foods are for German Shepherds, so you can be confident that your pup is the happiest they can be.

Have another type of dog? We have you covered with that, too! Check out this article to help you figure out which food is best for your dog.

Common German Shepherd Health Problems

what foods do german shepherds prefer to eat best tasting

“No need to read the whole thing hooman, just bring me a live chicken!”

Every dog owner should be prepared for the health problems their dog may face later on in life.

It’s easy to get lost in puppy love, but your dog will eventually reach adult and seniority.

German Shepherds in particular are more likely to develop certain health problems than others.

Make sure you learn about what these might be so you know which symptoms to look out for.

Food Allergies

Larger dogs often have hip problems as they grow older, but German Shepherds can actually be born with food insensitivities

Dogs may develop food allergies as they grow, so it’s important to monitor your dog for symptoms such as constant itching or disruption of their daily bowel movements.

Skin Problems

Their thick coat may protect German Shepherds from sunburns, but it doesn’t prevent them from having skin problems.

They may show signs of constant itching and rashes, which can be caused by genetic conditions.

Your vet will be able to best determine the cause of your dog’s skin problems with closer observation.

all about feeding german shepherds perfect diet for active dogs


The pancreas has an important role in aiding digestion and nutrition absorption, but German Shepherds often struggle with exocrine pancreatic insufficiency. This illness causes the pancreas to reduce its secretion of digestive enzymes.

Symptoms include the afflicted dog losing weight while eating frequently and in large quantities.

While they may act normal, they can be in immense amount of pain in later stages of the disease.

What Foods Are Bad for German Shepherds?

Most foods that are bad for German Shepherds are bad for all dogs, so that will make it easier to remember the list.

Make sure your German Shepherd is never allowed to eat:

  • Raisins
  • Macadamia Nuts
  • Chocolate
  • Onions
  • Peaches

Even something like a sugar substitute can trigger allergies or severe complications.

It’s a safe bet to stick with regular dog food and do research before giving them anything not made specifically for dogs.

How Much Should You Feed Your German Shepherd?

how much feed active outdoor dog german shepherd every day

While there are general guidelines for each breed depending on their size, always take your dog’s specific lifestyle and case before making a judgement call about food.

You may need to reduce the amount of food if they’re not very active or if they’re done growing.

Generally, you can follow these guidelines to figure out how much to feed your German Shepherd:

  • Three months old: ¼ cup at a time, multiple servings
  • Six months old: ½ cup at a time, multiple servings
  • One year old: 1-2 cups at a time, multiple servings
  • Adult lifestyle: 2-4 cups in one day, multiple servings
  • Senior lifestyle: 1-3 cups in one day, multiple servings

Talk with your vet and let them know what food you plan on feeding your dog, as the nutritional content will change how often and how much they should eat.

How Many Times a Day Do You Feed a German Shepherd?

what should I feed a german shepherd puppy to help them grow big and strong

German Shepherds are an energetic breed, and they grow quickly during their first few years of life.

A general rule for how often to feed your dog follows by age:

  • Three months old: three to four times each day
  • Six months old: three times each day
  • One year old: twice a day
  • Adult lifestyle: twice a day
  • Senior lifestyle: twice a day

Watch your dog as you learn their eating schedule.

Too much eating will result in food grazing, lethargy and weight gain. Too little will stunt their growth.

Talk about your concerns with your vet if you’re ever questioning your dog’s food schedule.

Ideal German Shepherd Diet

ideal diet for adult puppy german shepherds what should they eat

Or, according to one German Shepherd I know, the ideal food is a live chicken

Because German Shepherd are so active, have a thick coat, and are meant to run, they need a specific nutritional diet.

Aim for an adult diet that contains these nutrients so your dog can be their happiest, healthiest self:

  • 1,272-2,100 calories per day
  • 18% protein per meal
  • 5% fat per meal

The ideal food will also contain some amount of Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins E or C to maintain their coat and general health.

Best Dog Foods for German Shepherd Puppies

Not all puppy foods are meant for all puppies to eat.

You’ll want to look specifically for a puppy food that will encourage growth in large breed dogs, such as German Shepherds. Any puppy food labeled for large breeds will be a good place to start.

To get you on the right track, check out some of these puppy foods that are popular for German Shepherd families.

Not sure when to switch your puppy to adult dog food? Don’t worry, we wrote a whole article to help you decide
ProductLife StageSpecial FeatureRatingPrice
Purina Pro Plan Large Breed Puppy Dry Dog FoodPuppyHigh in protein4.4$

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Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition German Shepherd Puppy Dry Dog FoodPuppyGood for sensitive stomachs4.4$$$

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Purina Pro Plan Large Breed Puppy Dry Dog Food – Best Food for Young German Shepherd Puppies

SpecsPurina Pro Plan Large Breed Puppy Dry Dog Food

  • High protein
  • Includes fish oil
  • Chicken is the number one ingredient

See full ingredients


This is an excellent food to start your puppy out on.

It has all the right ingredients, in tiny kibble bits that will win over any pup.

What I Liked

Protein comes first with this food, which is so important for growing puppies. It also has natural glucosamine, an ingredient that protects joints and cartilage.

Another worthy note is that it has the omega-rich fish oil every German Shepherd pup should eat.

This helps their coat and skin to develop in the right ways.

What I Didn’t Like

The cost can be a bit high, depending on where you buy it from.

It’s also not for sensitive stomachs, which may cause problems if you switch to this food from whatever food your dog was used to eating.

Just in case, here’s a guide to help you when you need to switch your dog’s food.


You’ll be putting your money into quality food with this brand, as long as you keep an eye on your dog for sensitive stomach reactions such as vomiting or diarrhea.

Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition German Shepherd Puppy Dry Dog Food – Best Food for German Shepherd Puppies with Sensitive Stomachs

SpecsRoyal Canin Breed Health Nutrition German Shepherd Puppy Dry Dog Food

  • Designed specifically for German Shepherds
  • Helps develop intestinal flora
  • Contains calcium and phosphorus
  • Includes antioxidants

See full ingredients


The German Shepherd puppy on the front of this bag is as irresistible as the food inside if your puppy is having stool problems.

It’s definitely worth a try with your own dog.

What I Liked

When puppies come home, they get a natural shock to their system with the major change in scenery. This food will help them get back on their regular stool schedule, since it has intestinal flora.

The antioxidants are also great!

Puppies are vulnerable to so many diseases until they finish their first year of shots, so anything that helps them develop their immune system is a plus.

This brand also comes in an adult version.

One less reason to cause your dog an upset stomach in the future!

They won’t need to change up what they eat.

What I Didn’t Like

I wasn’t a fan of the relatively sharp texture of the kibble bits.

It’s advertised to be easier for puppies to pick up, but I was worried that if our dog didn’t chew her food enough, it would hurt when she swallowed.

I’m also never a fan of a food when it contains any “by-product” meats, and this contains chicken by-product.

Why not just use real chicken?


While I’d prefer for dog food to contain actual meat, it may be a lifesaver for puppies during their first few weeks at home.

Best Dry Dog Foods for Adult German Shepherds

Adults have an easier time adjusting to foods.

By that point, you’ll already know what their allergies are and nutrients they need.

Check out some of these great options that are sure to please any adult German Shepherd.

ProductLife StageSpecial FeatureRatingPrice
Taste of The Wild Grain Free Premium High Protein Adult Dry Dog FoodAdultHigh protein and grain-free4.3$$

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Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free Adult Dry Dog FoodAdultNo byproducts and grain-free4.3$$$

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Holistic Select Natural Adult Dry Dog FoodAdultBotanicals4.3$$$$

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EUKANUBA Breed-Specific German Shepherd Dog FoodAdultDentadefense System for mouth health4.4$$

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IAMS PROACTIVE HEALTH Adult Dry German Shepherd Dog FoodAdultGood for sensitive stomahcs4.3$

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Taste of The Wild Grain Free Premium High Protein Adult Dry Dog Food – Best Food for Active German Shepherds

SpecsTaste of The Wild Grain Free Premium High Protein Adult Dry Dog Food

  • Grain free
  • High amounts of protein
  • Contains live microorganisms
  • Has lots of vitamins

See full ingredients


Dog owners have had mixed reactions to this food, so keep an eye on your dog if you decide to let them try it out.

What I Liked

The live microorganisms in this food is a unique addition that can be great for some dogs.

Sensitive stomachs may be caused by a lack of digestive organisms in the gut, which this food can help restore.

What I Didn’t Like

It seems as though this food may cause vomiting and diarrhea for some dogs.

The reasons vary, so be aware of this issue when purchasing this brand. If your dog shows any symptoms, this may not be the brand for them.


This can be a great food for adult German Shepherds who are very active, need high amounts of protein, and also need help with their digestive enzymes.

Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free Adult Dry Dog Food – Best Food for Healthy Fur and Skin

SpecsBlue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free Adult Dry Dog Food

  • No by-products
  • Contains antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals
  • Balances Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids

See full ingredients


This brand is perfect for dogs who need help with their coat and skin, and it also won’t upset any sensitive stomachs.

What I Liked

Anything grain-free is always a bonus.

I know when it comes to the dogs in my life, I always prefer to start them on grain free food, so they don’t have to come across any food that’s an irritant.

What’s also great about this food is that it targets both the coat and the skin.

A dry coat and itchy skin can be naturally taken care of through fatty acids, preventing trips to the vet.

What I Didn’t Like

Some dog owners have reported their dogs reacting differently to different bags of line of Blue Buffalo’s food.

The formula may change slightly with each shipment, even though the core ingredients are the same.


[???]Dogs with allergies related to meats, like chicken allergies, will find themselves at home with this non-meat based food.[???]

Holistic Select Natural Adult Dry Dog Food – Best All-Natural German Shepherd Health Food

SpecsHolistic Select Natural Adult Dry Dog Food

  • Made with a holistic approach
  • Contains digestive botanicals
  • Has natural fiber

See full ingredients


While a bit pricey, this all natural dog food tackles both coat and digestive problems without added preservatives.

What I Liked

This food is easy on dogs’ stomachs because it contains all natural ingredients.

Its digestive botanicals mixed with the natural fiber it contains pack a powerful but easily digestible punch.

Owners have also reported that they’re able to switch from the dry food to the wet food brand without any digestive upsets in their dogs.

Some dogs like to eat grass. This food gives them the greens they need without resulting in a green puke pile on your carpet.

What I Didn’t Like

Because it’s made with a holistic and all natural approach, this food will cost a bit more.

Still, it may be worth the price for owners who can’t find a food their dog loves with the benefits this brand provides.


Shelling out a few extra bucks each month may be worth it with this brand, depending on how often you have to refill your dog’s food supply.

EUKANUBA Breed-Specific German Shepherd Dog Food – Best Dog Food for Healthy Teeth and Gums

SpecsEUKANUBA Breed-Specific German Shepherd Dog Food

  • Fights tartar with Dentadefense System
  • Contains omega 3 and 6 fatty acids
  • Uses animal-based proteins

See full ingredients


Eukanuba’s German Shepherd dog food blend stands out from the crowd.

It has the essential nutrients German Shepherds need, along with very important dental aids.

What I Liked

Not enough can be said about a dog food brand that doubles as a tartar fighter.

Many dog owners forget about their dog’s dental health, since they don’t brush their teeth every night

This food could prevent many dogs from facing dental health issues.

What I Didn’t Like

It takes at least 28 days for the Dentadefense System to kick in, so it’s not a quick fix for dogs who need dental relief. It also costs a bit more than the average dog food, so it’ll strain a tight budget.


German Shepherds who have dental issues should try this food out, even if buying the first bag is a surprise for a budgeting dog owner.

IAMS PROACTIVE HEALTH Adult Dry German Shepherd Dog Food – Best Food for German Shepherds with Sensitive Stomachs

SpecsIAMS PROACTIVE HEALTH Adult Dry German Shepherd Dog Food

  • Contains whole grain corn
  • Rich in fatty acids
  • Easy on sensitive stomachs

See full ingredients


Iams worked magic to create a sensitive stomach blend for German Shepherds that still has healthy whole grain corn.

What I Liked

This kibble does not shy away from the size of their kibble pieces.

They’re large enough for adults to easily sweep up with their tongues, while other brands typically have smaller kibble bits.

It’s great that this food helps fur and skin issues while also feeding dogs whole grain corn.

It’s still able to be fed to dogs with sensitive stomachs, so it has the right balance of grains for dogs who need a little digestive help.

What I Didn’t Like

Even if you get this food shipped regularly, the price isn’t locked in.

This bag of food is known for adjusting its price every so often, so that may affect families who need to watch their budget carefully.


Changing prices can be aggravating, but this is a dependable food for your dog to try, especially if they’re a bigger dog who needs bigger pieces of food.

Best Wet/Canned Dog Foods for German Shepherds

Many dog owners prefer to buy their dogs wet food instead of dry.

It’s an easy way to make sure your dog stays hydrated. It’s also much more potent for older dogs who don’t smell as easily, so they’ll get a better taste and scent from it and have more fun with their meals.

Here are some of the best wet and canned dog foods for German Shepherds.

Give your dog a taste of these and you’re bound to quickly find their new favorite food.

ProductLife StageSpecial FeatureRatingPrice
NomNomNowPuppy and AdultHandmade, subscription service4.2$$

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CANIDAE Grain Free Pure Dog Wet FoodAdult (Puppy Available)Grain-free4.0$$$

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Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition German Shepherd Wet Dog FoodAdultFor German Shepherds with special dietary needs3.0$$$

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NomNomNow – Best Handmade German Shepherd Food

SpecsNomnomnow Porkalicious Potluck handmade dog food monthly subscription food for german shepherd dogs

  • Made with fresh food
  • Guarantees whole vegetables
  • Uses only all-natural ingredients

See full ingredients


Every shipment of food is handmade by a team who cares about dogs, so your pet will get a blend made with love.

What I Liked

It’s fantastic that so much care is put into the making of this food.

Added to the fact that they use all-natural ingredients and I can recognize every ingredient in each blend, I’d say this brand has won me over.

They also advertise that 1% of their sales go towards learning more about pet nutrition.

They’ll always be improving their food and making it even better for the dogs that enjoy it.

What I Didn’t Like

Unless you know what foods your dog specifically can’t digest, it’s hard to figure out which blends are for sensitive stomachs. (PS—it’s the one with the rice and sweet potatoes.)

You also need to reach out to customer support in order to personalize the ingredients and portion sizes, which can take up some time.


You can trust that this brand will provide your dog with the best fresh food, even it takes a few tries to find the blend that’s right for your German Shepherd.

CANIDAE Grain Free Pure Dog Wet Food – Best Grain-Free Canned Dog Food for German Shepherds

SpecsCANIDAE Grain Free Pure Dog Wet Food for German Shepherds

  • Features lamb meat
  • Grain free
  • Limited ingredients but plenty of flavor

See full ingredients


This brand is what you want to give your dog if they need wet food and also have a sensitive stomach.

It doesn’t compromise flavor or texture to make sure your dog has safe food to eat.

What I Liked

Safe food is the best food, and this brand was specifically designed for dogs with food allergies.

The texture is smooth, so you’ll never find any chunks stuck to their bowl after they’re done eating.

What I Didn’t Like

The food is based in lamb, but also contains some fish, and you can definitely smell it.

The smell won’t be an issue for dogs that eat outside or in the garage, but indoor dogs will leave a stench wherever they eat their food.


If you’re willing to work around the smell, this food is a safe bet to give your dog if they need protein rich, wet food in their diet.

Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition German Shepherd Wet Dog Food – Best Canned Dog Food for German Shepherds with Dietary Needs

SpecsRoyal Canin Breed Health Nutrition German Shepherd Wet Canned Dog Food

  • Made for most ages
  • Contains chondroitin for bone and joint health
  • Can be mixed with dry food

See full ingredients


Dogs that are aging from puppy to adult food will love this brand, especially because it contains all the essential elements they’ll need to grow.

What I Liked

It’s great that this food can be mixed with dry food.

That makes it so much easier for puppies on kibble to shift to wet food, and the same goes for adults who need a change in their food.

It’s also a plus that German Shepherds can grow up on this food. It truly has everything they’ll need from the time they’re fifteen months and older.

What I Didn’t Like

The cans can be a little small for the price, depending on where you buy it from.

Keep an eye out for deals offered at different stores and compare it to buying it online with promo codes.


The ease that this food provides aging dogs with sensitive stomachs will make the price point worth it.

Best Foods to Gain Weight

Taste of the Wild best dog food for healthy weight gain german shepherd

Taste of the Wild will help your dog put on healthy muscle mass, not turn your doggo into a chonk

Dogs that need to gain weight should have a diet rich in protein, not carbs.

With the right amount of exercise, they’ll gain healthy muscle mass.

These brands had the most protein:

Best Foods for Sensitive Stomachs

Sensitive stomachs need foods that are grain free or limited in diet.

These were the brands that stood out as being the best for dogs with special food needs:

Best Foods for Skin Allergies

What your German Shepherd needs in order to resolve their skin allergies can only be found out through trial and error.

Look for brands like these that have plenty of fatty acids:


Any of these foods would be great for German Shepherds.

As long as you choose a food that has the right amount of protein for their activity levels, fatty acids and vitamins, your dog will be just fine.

Test out the dry, wet, or a mix of both foods to see which one your dog likes best.

You can also always talk to your vet about the brands you’re trying so they can more closely analyze which features are helping your dog and what they could use more of from their food.

About the author

Emily Pierce

Emily Pierce is a self-published novelist, award winning short story writer, and freelancer. When she’s not writing, she enjoys baking and making clothes for dogs.