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Best Dry Dog Food For German Shepherds

Best Dry Dog Food for German Shepherds

What you feed your dog has a significant impact on their overall well-being. Their health and longevity depend on a proper diet.  If you have a GSD, you should really look into the kibble they consume.

The best dry dog food for German Shepherds are easily digested and don’t irritate their typically sensitive stomachs.  Plus, they are formulated with the right ratio of protein, fat, and carbohydrates to maintain their robust bodies and support their athleticism.  For most owners, dry dog food is the best choice, but some owners feed a mixture of wet and dry dog food.

*This article may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of the links I get a small commission at no additional cost to you 🙂 .

Benefits of Feeding Your Dog Dry Dog Food

The most apparent reason why most dog owners prefer kibble to their canned and fresh counterparts is convenience.

Dry dog food is easier to store, prepare, and serve. Plus, it doesn’t require any refrigeration, and it doesn’t spoil easily or become infested with bacteria. Dry dog food is also generally less expensive per serving, and there are more varieties to choose from.

Apart from costs and convenience, dry dog food is also generally better for your German Shepherd’s dental health. Through friction, kibble reduces plaque and tartar. That leads to cleaner teeth, healthier gums, and fresher breath. Plus, they tend to love the crunch.

Drawbacks of Feeding Your Dog Dry Dog Food

The disadvantages of feeding your German Shepherd dry dog food lies mainly in the fact that there are so many poorly formulated variants which can be detrimental to your dogs’ health.

If you don’t scrutinize your options, you might end up with over-processed ingredients, filler carbohydrates, and questionable animal parts. These don’t just make your dog more prone to malnutrition, but also digestive distress. Symptoms of which include frequent bloating, vomiting, flatulence, and poorly formed stools.

Wet food can also be better for your dog, depending on their health condition.

For example, if you have an obese GSD, they might lose weight sooner on wet food because they’ll feel fuller with smaller quantities due to the high-water content.

Additionally, if you have a senior dog or one with dental problems, wet dog food might be more beneficial.

Things to Look for in a Dry Dog Food for German Shepherds

Although German Shepherds can live on almost any kibble, their large and agile bodies thrive on high protein formulas. These allow them to build and maintain lean muscle mass.

Generally, you should avoid any brand that doesn’t have an animal source of protein listed at the top of its ingredients list.

The needs of every GSD will be different but, generally, this is the nutritional content you should look for in dry dog food:

LifestageProtein (%)Fat (%)Fiber (%)
Puppy>29>17< 5
Adult15 to 23>8
Active Adult>25>23

Additionally, you should look for a brand that doesn’t have any filler carbohydrates. Deciding on whether or not you should feed your German Shepherd a grain-free diet is up to you. Generally, dry dog food containing digestible carbohydrates like vegetables and whole grains is sufficient.

When you’re looking for a kibble brand for your GSD, take the time to look at the additional ingredients. Some variants contain supplements like omega 3 fatty acids, which are beneficial to your dog’s skin and coat. Others have probiotics for a healthy gut while several contain glucosamine for optimum joint health.

GSD eating food to gain weight

Of course, your German Shepherd’s specific health conditions will affect the type of food they need as well. If they have food allergies, make sure you scrutinize the label to keep your dog safe.

If they’re not hitting their weight milestones, they might need to consume high-calorie kibble to gain weight. If your dog has a health condition that might require a special diet, it’s always best to get dry dog food recommendations from your vet.

Best Dry Dog Food for Adult German Shepherd Reviews

Dry dog food for adult German Shepherds are formulated to support their protein and energy requirements. The best ones are also meant for optimal skin and coat health, as well as strong bones and joints. It should also be suited for their typically sensitive digestive system.

1) Taste of the Wild – Ancient Prairie Canine Recipe

The Ancient Prairie Canine Recipe by Taste of the Wild is best for active dogs because it has some of the highest protein and calorie content amongst premium dry dog food brands.

Although its top protein sources are buffalo, pork, and chicken, this variant also contains roasted venison and bison, which imparts a unique flavor that German Shepherds love.

For fiber and carbohydrates, this dry dog food uses ancient grains. That includes quinoa, millet, sorghum, and chia seeds. For that reason, it is highly digestible and is naturally high in omega fatty acids and antioxidants. Additionally, it is rich in probiotics that support your GSD’s gut and boost their immune system.

Nutrition Facts – Taste of the Wild – Ancient Prairie Canine Recipe
Top IngredientBuffalo
Main Protein SourceBuffalo, pork, chicken
Crude Protein (min)0.32
Crude Fat (min)0.18
Crude Fiber (max)0.03
Calories422 kcal/cup

Pros:

  • High protein for muscle maintenance
  • High calories for active and working dogs
  • Rich in omega 3 fatty acids
  • Highly digestible grains
  • Rich in probiotics

Potential Cons:

  • Too many calories for non-working dogs

2) Natural Balance LID

The Limited Ingredient Diets (LID) line of dog food by Natural Balance is suitable for German Shepherds with food sensitivities. Specifically, the Chicken & Sweet Potato Formula is a remarkable choice because it is not only grain-free but also uses a single animal protein source. In this case, it uses chicken, chicken meal, and chicken fat.

Because it is grain free, it uses alternative carbohydrate and fiber sources. Apart from sweet potatoes, it contains peas, chickpeas, and potatoes.

These ingredients provide energy and also support proper digestion. It also contains flaxseeds, which are beneficial to your GSD’s skin and coat. 

Nutrition Facts – Natural Balance LID – Grain Free Chicken & Sweet Potato Formula
Top IngredientChicken
Main Protein SourceChicken
Crude Protein (min)0.21
Crude Fat (min)0.1
Crude Fiber (max)0.05
Calories365 kcal/cup

Pros:

  • Grain free
  • Single animal protein source
  • Supports healthy digestion
  • Improves skin and coat health
  • No fillers or artificial colors and flavors

Potential Cons:

  • Not enhanced with probiotics

3) Wellness – Complete Health Large Breed (Adult)

The Complete Health Large Breed by Wellness uses deboned chicken and chicken meal as its main source of protein. It also contains salmon meal, which adds to the omega fatty acid content provided by flaxseeds.

Apart from providing optimum amounts of protein for lean muscle mass, these ingredients boost skin and coat health.

This dry dog food is further an excellent choice for German Shepherds because of its fiber and probiotic content. It boosts their digestive system and promotes optimum gut health.

Additionally, it is enhanced with antioxidants for heart and eye health as well as chondroitin and glucosamine, which are essential for strong joints.

Nutrition Facts - Wellness – Complete Health Large Breed (Adult)
Top IngredientDeboned Chicken
Main Protein SourceChicken
Crude Protein (min)0.26
Crude Fat (min)0.12
Crude Fiber (max)0.05
Calories340 kcal/cup

Pros:

  • Rich in antioxidants
  • Enriched with probiotics
  • Contains omega fatty acids
  • Supports bone and joint health
  • Protects against heart disease

Potential Cons:

  • Garlic powder is a controversial ingredient

4) Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula – Adult Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe

The Life Protection Formula line of dog food contains LifeSource Bits, which is Blue Buffalo’s proprietary blend of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Apart from boosting your dog’s immune system, this formula is enriched with everything your dog needs for healthy skin, coat, bones, and joints. Its antioxidant properties mainly come from blueberries, cranberries, and barley grass.

This dry dog food also doesn’t contain any filler carbohydrates. Rather than wheat, corn, or soy, it uses barley, brown rice, and oatmeal. It is also enriched with taurine, which is essential for both eye and cardiovascular health.

Additionally, it contains L-Lysine and L-Carnitine to boost their metabolism and enhance the absorption of nutrients, especially calcium and protein.

Nutrition Facts – Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula – Adult Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe
Top IngredientDeboned Chicken
Main Protein SourceChicken
Crude Protein (min)0.24
Crude Fat (min)0.14
Crude Fiber (max)0.05
Calories377 kcal/cup

Pros:

  • Rich in antioxidants
  • Boosts the immune system
  • Enhances nutrient absorption
  • Supports bone and joint health
  • Contains taurine for eye and heart health

Potential Cons:

  • Some dogs are allergic to dried yeast
  • Garlic is a controversial ingredient

5) Diamond Naturals – Adult Dog Beef Meal & Rice Formula

The Adult Dog Beef Meal & Rice Formula by Diamond Naturals uses pasture-raised beef as its main protein source. This is enhanced by superfoods like quinoa and chia seeds, which are not only rich in protein but also offer several health benefits.

Additionally, it is enriched with the proprietary K9 Strain probiotics, which is incredibly beneficial to your German Shepherd’s gut health and immune system.

This dry dog food is also rich in omega fatty acids, thanks to its addition of flaxseeds and coconut. These help your dog maintain healthy skin and a shiny, luxurious coat.

Lastly, it is rich in fruits and vegetables like blueberries, papaya, spinach, and kale. These aren’t just a healthy source of fiber but are also powerful antioxidants that keep your dog young and energetic.

Nutrition Facts – Diamond Naturals – Adult Dog Beef Meal & Rice Formula
Top IngredientBeef meal
Main Protein SourceBeef
Crude Protein (min)0.25
Crude Fat (min)0.15
Crude Fiber (max)0.035
Calories329 kcal/cup

Pros:

  • Contains K9 Strain probiotics
  • Uses pasture-raised beef
  • Rich in antioxidants
  • Contains various superfoods
  • Maintains healthy skin and coat

Potential Cons:

  • Some dogs are allergic to dried yeast

Best Dry Dog Food for German Shepherd Puppy Reviews

Feeding your young GSD a puppy variant of dry dog food is essential not just because of the smaller kibble size but because puppies have very specific health requirements.

Puppy dog food recipes are more densely packed with protein to support their growth. These are also formulated specifically to support optimum bone development.

1) Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula – Puppy Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe

The Puppy Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe by Blue Buffalo offers the same excellent benefits as the adult variant. But apart from a smaller kibble size suited from smaller jaws, it also contains slightly more protein and crude fat. This makes it more beneficial for dogs in the critical stages of development.

Among the most important benefits of this dry dog food is the inclusion of LifeSource Bits, which is Blue Buffalo’s exclusive blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals formulated to support your dog’s overall health.

In addition, it doesn’t contain any wheat, corn, or soy. Instead, it uses brown rice, barley, and oatmeal as its source of energy and fiber. Lastly, it is enriched with probiotics to ensure proper digestion and gut health.

Nutrition Facts – Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula – Puppy Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe
Top IngredientDeboned Chicken
Main Protein SourceChicken
Crude Protein (min)0.27
Crude Fat (min)0.16
Crude Fiber (max)0.05
Calories398 kcal/cup

Pros:

  • Ideal kibble size
  • Rich in antioxidants
  • Vitamins & minerals for overall health
  • No filler carbohydrates
  • Enriched with probiotics

Potential Cons:

  • Some dogs are allergic to dried yeast
  • Garlic is a controversial ingredient

2) Merrick – Grain-Free Real Chicken + Sweet Potato Puppy Recipe

The Grain Free Real Chicken + Sweet Potato Puppy Recipe by Merrick lists deboned chicken as its first ingredient but also uses salmon as a source of protein as well as omega fatty acids.

These fatty acids are essential to skin and coat health. Additionally, this kibble is enriched with DHA, which is essential to your puppy’s brain development.

This grain-free formula uses whole foods as the main source of carbohydrates and fiber. That includes sweet potatoes, apples, peas, and blueberries. With this diet, your puppy will also consume supplements that are essential to the development of strong hips and joints.

Plus, it has all the probiotics needed for a healthy gut microbiome.

Nutrition Facts - Merrick – Grain Free Real Chicken + Sweet Potato Puppy Recipe
Top IngredientDeboned Chicken
Main Protein SourceChicken
Crude Protein (min)0.3
Crude Fat (min)0.16
Crude Fiber (max)0.045
Calories400 kcal/cup

Pros:

  • Grain free
  • Rich in omega fatty acids
  • Enriched with DHA for brain development
  • Contains hip and joint supplements
  • Has probiotics for gut health

Potential Cons:

  • Considerable part of protein content is plant-based

3) Orijen – Puppy Large

Orijen’s Puppy Large gives your young German Shepherd access to biologically appropriate dry dog food. It is composed of 85% premium animal ingredients. That includes chicken, turkey, eggs, herring, and flounder.

Given its large portion of named animal ingredients, it’s no surprise that this kibble offers some of the highest protein content to benefit your large breed puppy’s bone development and muscle growth.

Additionally, this kibble uses the whole prey—including the cartilage and organs—so it closely resembles what your pup would get in the wild. These ingredients are also specially processed so that they’re as close to fresh and raw as possible.

To further mirror dogs’ diet in the wild, this dog food does not contain any grains. Its carbohydrate and fiber content mostly comes from lentils.

Nutrition Facts - Orijen – Puppy Large
Top IngredientFresh chicken meat
Main Protein SourceChicken, turkey, eggs, herring, flounder
Crude Protein (min)0.38
Crude Fat (min)0.2
Crude Fiber (max)0.06
Calories429 kcal/cup

Pros:

  • 85% named animal ingredients
  • High protein content
  • Biologically appropriate
  • Meat sources are closest to fresh and raw state
  • Grain free

Potential Cons:

  • Five protein sources might be detrimental for dogs with food sensitivities

4) Wellness – Complete Health Puppy

The Complete Health Puppy dog food variant by Wellness uses deboned chicken and chicken meal as its main source of protein. It also contains salmon, which is not just a good source of protein but also various vitamins, minerals, and omega fatty acids. These ingredients support your GSD’s bone and muscle growth as well as their brain and eye development.

For carbohydrates and fiber, this kibble uses whole grains like oatmeal and barley. It is enriched with probiotics that don’t just support a healthy gut but also a strong immune system.

Additionally, it has potent antioxidant properties, thanks to its use of fresh fruits and vegetables like tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and blueberries.

Nutrition Facts - Wellness – Complete Health Puppy
Top IngredientDeboned chicken
Main Protein SourceChicken
Crude Protein (min)0.29
Crude Fat (min)0.18
Crude Fiber (max)0.045
Calories450 kcal/cup

Pros:

  • Rich in omega fatty acids
  • Uses whole grains
  • Contains probiotics for a healthy gut
  • Boosts the immune system
  • Potent antioxidant properties

Potential Cons:

  • Garlic powder is a controversial ingredient

5) Nutro – Wholesome Essentials Puppy

The Wholesome Essentials Puppy kibble by Nutro uses farm-raised chicken as its main source of protein. It is rich in omega fatty acids that support overall development, which is critical while your dog is growing.

Additional essential fatty acids come from its fish oil content. This kibble is also enriched with calcium to support your puppy’s bone development.

This Nutro variant of dry dog food uses oatmeal as its main source of carbohydrates and fiber. This is a gluten-free grain that is especially beneficial to dogs with food sensitivities.

Additionally, oats are rich in B vitamins, which help convert carbohydrates into energy more efficiently.

Nutrition Facts - Nutro – Wholesome Essentials Puppy
Top IngredientChicken
Main Protein SourceChicken
Crude Protein (min)0.29
Crude Fat (min)0.16
Crude Fiber (max)0.03
Calories387 kcal/cup

Pros:

  • Rich in omega fatty acids
  • Enriched with calcium
  • No corn, wheat, or soy
  • No artificial preservatives or flavors
  • Non-GMO ingredients

Potential Cons:

  • Brewers rice is a by-product of milling whole rice

Final Thoughts

When you feed your German Shepherd excellent quality dry dog food, it shows. Their bodies are in good shape and their coat is shinier. Their breath also tends to be fresher and their digestive system less sensitive. It also shows in their behavior as they tend to be more sluggish on poorly formulated food.

Apart from finding the right food, however, consider giving your dog some joint supplements, since GSDs are more prone to joint mobility issues because of their size.

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