How to Choose the Best Dog Food for German Shepherds


From the moment you first bring home your German shepherd puppy, you probably want to find quality food that will nourish them throughout their lives. The right dry dog food for your German shepherd dog (GSD) can support your pet’s immune system, help them build lean muscles, and support them as they grow into strong and healthy dogs. 

As many people realize, a large-breed puppy (and, later, a large-breed adult dog) has different dietary needs than other types of dogs. You want to know the top picks for your special animal so that you can confidently provide them with the optimal diet. 

When you look at the wall of dog food choices at the store, it can be easy to feel a bit overwhelmed with the range of selection. Bully Max will help you uncover what to look for when finding food to support your dog’s long-term health.

What Makes German Shepherd Food Requirements Different?

German shepherd dogs have a large chest and are active dogs. These traits mean they have unique dietary requirements when it comes to achieving optimal health. Their high-calorie needs allow them to be high-energy and hard-working animals. 

Unfortunately, German shepherds can be at risk for a life-threatening condition known as bloat. Foods that are high in fillers, additives, and poor-quality ingredients — including those using too much corn, wheat, oats, or rice — can increase the risk for this condition. Symptoms of bloat in your giant breed can include:german shepherd dog

  • Attempting to throw up and unable to do so
  • A painful or swollen-looking abdomen
  • Rapid breathing without doing intense exercise
  • Excessive drooling beyond what you’d expect from your dog
  • Appearing restless or otherwise in distress or pain

If this is the case, bring your dog to the vet immediately. Bloat can be very dangerous for dogs. 

The large size of German shepherds also means they should eat puppy food designed for their size. Puppy food for smaller dogs often has a different balance of minerals, such as calcium, that can disrupt the dog’s ability to grow properly.

How Often Should You Feed Your Adult German Shepherd?

Your adult German shepherd dog will eat differently than they did as a puppy. While younger dogs may eat their puppy food a few times throughout the day, adult German shepherds should generally eat twice a day. Keep in mind that the calories adult dogs need will vary depending on factors like:

  • Age
  • Activity level
  • Overall size

The best dog food should provide your dog with the nutrition they need on this twice-a-day schedule. To help you further ward off bloat, it’s best to avoid giving your dog heavy exercise immediately after eating.

A high-protein food like Bully Max’s 30/20 High Performance Dog Food can help your dog meet their nutritional requirements on this recommended feeding schedule. This will help your dog remain a healthy weight as they grow. Maintaining a healthy weight is an important part of dog ownership, as dogs that become overweight can put excess weight on their joints. This can cause or exacerbate health problems, such as hip dysplasia, as the dog ages.

What to Look for in Quality German Shepherd Food

The right dog food for your German shepherd will help you:

  • Maintain their digestive health
  • Benefit their joint health
  • Promote healthy skin
  • Help prevent bloat and health issues by avoiding poor-quality ingredients

Therefore, promoting active German shepherd wellness comes down to paying attention to three main dietary conditions:

  • The food should be derived from high-quality, protein-rich ingredients. Remember that German shepherds need high-quality protein from trusted protein sources throughout all their life stages.
  • The food contains only natural ingredients. High-quality ingredients will meet your large breed dog’s nutritional needs without trying to fill out the food with poor ingredients, like excess corn. 
  • The food is made in a place with high health standards. You want to be able to trust that the high-quality ingredients are as described and don’t contain any mysteries.

Check for the Optimal Ingredients

While some dog owners may want to feed their dogs grain-free food, the biggest requirement in GSD food is finding kibble or wet food that has high protein concentrations for a large breed dog. This animal protein should come from identified meat sources, such as lamb meal, fish meal, or chicken meal, as you can find in Bully Max’s High-Performance Dog Food. The food should also contain plenty of rich fat, such as chicken fat. 

german shepherd eatingOther ingredients should also come from quality carbohydrates and whole food sources, such as sweet potatoes, blueberries, and whole grains. Omega-3s and omega-6 fatty acids should also come from quality ingredients, including fish oil. Preservatives should be minimal to nonexistent, as many are bad for your dog’s health. When they’re included, natural preservatives will serve your dog best. High-quality food like this will help your German shepherd’s digestive system and get them the nutrients and calories they need throughout their lives.

To gain a better understanding of how dog food meets those standards, look at the first ingredients. A quality source of protein should be listed at the top. You want to see types of meat and nutritious sources of fat content, minerals, and carbs that you recognize, as well. 

If the manufacturers only list the protein source as byproducts and don’t provide information about the type of meat it comes from, that’s not a good sign. Byproducts can come from a variety of poor sources, including chicken feet, that provide little nutritional value. Examining the package itself can also give you some insight, as you can see if the food contains other helpful ingredients like antioxidants and probiotics, which can help further boost your dog’s health.

If you look at Bully Max’s ingredient lists, for example, you’ll see every ingredient spelled out for you. There should be no mystery ingredients when it comes to feeding your dog. This allows you to feel confident in the food you pour into your German shepherd’s bowl.

Even with these guidelines, keep in mind that your dog might have other dietary requirements. For example, some may have a sensitive stomach when on a completely grain-free dog food. Others might also show signs of a food allergy to certain ingredients or byproduct meals. If you see symptoms of potential allergies or gastrointestinal distress in your German shepherd, speak to a vet immediately.

If your dog has unique health needs, you might want to turn to additional supplements to help meet your pet’s health requirements. For example, to support joint health, supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin can be beneficial. Bully Max’s Total Health Powder can help boost your German shepherd’s overall immunity, maintain healthy hips and joints, and increase their digestive health, among other things.

As you select your food, also make sure that you choose one for the right stage of life for your dog. Puppies have different dietary needs than adult dogs, as they often need to consume a higher percentage of their calories from fat and need different proportions of vitamins and minerals to help them grow into an adult dog. Always read the packaging carefully to make sure you get a product designed for your pet’s life stage. For example, Bully Max’s 31/25 Ultra Performance Dog Food is designed for all life stages, ensuring your German shepherd gets the right nutrition at the right time. 

Discover How Bully Max Can Help Improve Your German Shepherd’s Health

When it comes to feeding your German shepherd, you can trust Bully Max to provide the high-quality ingredients that large breed dogs need to meet their nutritional needs and grow healthy and strong. Our USA-made food offers high protein content and vet-trusted formulas designed for dogs just like yours. 

We’ve designed our products to fill the nutritional needs of active, strong dogs just like your German shepherd. Discover how Bully Max’s products can supply your dog with the nutrition you can trust.


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John Schorr on Feb 17, 2024

Thank you for all the information that was provided very helpful in deciding the right food for my german shepherd puppy

Gustavo Russnak on May 19, 2023

I’m constantly amazed by the breadth of topics you cover on your blog.