German Shepherd Food Guide
All You Need to Know About the Best Diet for Your German Shepherd
The German Shepherd, also known as the Alsatian, was originally bred to herd flocks all day. They are a relatively new breed, originally bred in 1899 by captain Max von Stephanitz; a captain in the German cavalry, who had with a desire to create a German breed that would be an unmatched herding dog.
Their intelligence and natural physical energy has led to this breed being one of the world’s most recognised dogs as a result of their renowned abilities as service dogs. Employed by police, military and search and rescue around the globe, they are known to be highly trainable, loyal and make excellent guard dogs. Due to their natural energy and intelligence, they thrive on having a job to do, being busy and lots of physical exercise.
In this guide we’ll take you through all you need to know about the best German Shepherd food:
- Why raw food is best
- Gut health
- Overall well-being
Why Raw Food is the Best Diet for My German Shepherd
When deciding on what is the best German Shepherd food, it’s important to consider the canine anatomy and digestive system. Dogs’ digestive tracts have not significantly evolved from when they were undomesticated wolves, and are best suited to fresh, high-protein prey-based diets. We call this ‘species-appropriate nutrition’ and is what a natural, raw diet seeks to replicate.
A dogs stomach is not anatomically designed to digest and ferment carbohydrates (the main ingredient in kibble). Even grain-free kibble often contains high levels of starchy carbs, including legumes, peas & lentils. Feeding this to a dog puts their system under pressure, creating metabolically stressful insulin, glucagon and cortisol spikes throughout the day as well as causing inflammation and putting strain on vital organs, leading, in some cases, to a host of serious health conditions.
There’s no doubt the canine species is resilient, and despite eating a diet which isn’t providing the natural components they may need, they will adapt and survive for some time. Still, there’s a world of difference between surviving and thriving.
Whether you choose Prodog Raw’s no fuss, no-nonsense raw food or you decide to create your own DIY raw food recipes at home, you can be sure the move to a natural species-specific diet will fuel well-being for your dog regardless of breed.
Read on to find out more of why raw food is the best food for your dog.
It’s no secret these days that gut health is at the centre of overall health for humans and our four-legged friends; your German Shepherd companion is no exception. An unhealthy gut leads to poor nutrient absorption and imbalanced immune response, in turn leading to systemic inflammation in the body, and a whole host of health conditions.
The gut houses an ecosystem of bacteria called the microbiome (often known as gut flora). The balance of beneficial and harmful bacteria that makes up the microbiome has now been linked, through scientific studies, to the development of several health conditions; all independent from genetic factors and calorie intake, including :
Diabetes, obesity, anxiety, food allergies and inflammatory-related conditions such as arthritis, skin complaints, asthma, allergies, digestive disorders, food intolerances and more
Most health issues can be traced back to the gut, so attention to gut health is super vital. Evidence shows that feeding a raw diet to dogs, when compared to a processed food diet, can significantly enhance the balance of microbiome by sustaining beneficial bacteria.
Processed dog food loaded with additives, synthetics, and chemicals can upset the balance of microbiome by fuelling the harmful bacteria. This type of imbalance can contribute to ‘Leaky Gut’, a condition where the intestine lining becomes permeated. There is a delicate intestinal mucosa lining protecting the gut, which allows digested nutrients to pass through the system into the bloodstream. This mucous lining provides an effective barrier against toxins passing through and entering the dog’s system. When this lining becomes compromised, food particles and toxins ‘leak’ through and trigger an immune response, prompting systemic inflammation, all of which makes your dog more prone to illness.
The immune system is the body’s natural protection mechanism; when functioning effectively will respond to toxins, pathogens and threats to your German Shepherd’s health and happiness found in everyday life.
A vast proportion of the immune system is located in the gut, and therefore the gut environment is crucial to effective immune response. With all breeds, a raw natural diet will maximise their natural immune defence by nourishing the gut environment and providing necessary immune-boosting micro-nutrients; in turn, ensuring their immune system is in peak condition to fight off all those nasties.
Maintaining appropriate healthy weight is essential for your dog no matter what breed German Shepherds are known to are known to develop joint problems when it comes to piling on the pounds, so a diet that consists of biologically appropriate protein and healthy fats, ground bone and vegetables packed with the required vitamins and minerals is essential for optimum health and performance.
As with any change in diet, you should pay specific attention to your dog’s weight and physical appearance as they adapt to their diet. How much you feed your dog every day depends on several factors, including:
- Your dogs metabolism
- The quality of food you are feeding
- How much exercise your dog gets
- How much they weigh
- The age and breed of your dog
- If you want your dog to (Gain, Maintain or Lose) weight
Ensuring the correct ratio’s of ingredients when creating your own raw feeding recipes is essential. If you choose to buy our Pure meat and ground bone range and throw in additional ingredients, or our Complete range, no fuss, no-nonsense, all you need in one pot, you can check correct feeding guidelines using our raw food calculator.
Weighing a German Shepherd is likely best at the vets due to their size, no vet will object to you visiting for a weigh-in. If you are super strong and can lift your furry friend, you can use a home weigh-in method, using three simple steps :
- Step on to the scales and weigh yourself
- Pick up your dog and step back on the scales.
- Subtract your weight alone from the combined weight of you and pooch, then you’ll have your dog’s weight.
A species-specific diet is undoubtedly the best German Shepherd food, fuel for overall health and happiness. You’ll notice remarkably quickly that your four-legged friend will look, feel and even smell better.
Yes we said SMELL! And when we say smell better, we’re talking about the odour your dog emits from both ends.
Firstly let’s talk about toilet habits. Your dog’s toilet habits and flatulence levels are something to pay close attention too; they’re a great indicator of gut health, and the effectiveness of their digestive system. A raw diet is much easier to ingest and digest, being precisely what the dog’s gut is designed to process. Therefore Less rubbish in, less rubbish out!
You’ll notice a reduction in flatulence and a reduction in the amount of waste excreted. Simply put, when feeding a good quality raw diet, the food is of a higher nutritional content, so their body absorbs and utilises almost all of it.
Now on to bad smell from the other end. The two most common causes of bad breath in dogs are poor digestion and gum/ teeth decay. Feeding a raw food diet helps with both. As already discussed digestion is greatly improved through the introduction of a natural species-specific diet. Mouth and dental health is improved through a reduction in processed sugars and through the introduction of raw meaty bones, which help to keep teeth clean.
What happens on the inside shows on the outside. When gut health is poor, digestion ineffective, when stress and strain is placed on organs and systems of the body, there’s always an impact on your dog’s outward appearance.
Raw feeding is proven to improve skin condition, and coat health, reduced irritation, itchy flaky skin, hair loss and an increased shine of fur are beautiful side-effects of a raw natural diet.
Your German Shepherd will be the envy of the town in no time when switching to raw.
Our mission at ProDog Raw is to help as many dogs as possible thrive. The signs of a dog thriving will be plain to see by you as their hooman companion. Increased vitality, reduced anxiety, reduced bad behaviour, less bad moods, improved mobility, increased agility and a whole heap more doggo smiles and tail wagging.
Switching to a natural good quality raw food diet will be the single best thing you can do for your dog’s well-being. Whether you DIY recipes at home, or choose one of ProDog’s Pure or Complete no-nonsense foods, there is no disputing dog science; dogs’ are designed to predominantly eat meat, organ and bone, with a little vegetation from time to time.
So Why Use Supplements?
Dietary supplementation will take your dog’s nutrition to the next level. By making certain additions for specific German Shepherd related conditions, or for your dog’s individual needs, supplements will act as a complement to food. Added support which will bolster, fuel and nourish your faithful friend and fine-tune their nutritional intake.
German Shepherds are known to be a healthy breed; still, they are prone to the following conditions:
- Hip Dysplasia
- Elbow Dysplasia
- Degenerative Myelopathy
- Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency
With all breeds, although there are certain health conditions more prevalent to that specific breed it doesn’t mean your dog will get all, or any. It’s also important to acknowledge that the right diet, providing all essential vitamins and minerals, will go a very very long way to mitigating against and minimising the severity of breed-related conditions.
The key is to select natural, whole food supplements that have no chemicals, synthetics or non-species appropriate ingredients.
ProDog offers a range of natural nutritional supplements that are the perfect way to bridge that gap! A convenient, simple way to enhance the nutrient density of their food, giving you peace of mind that all health and happiness bases are covered. For your German Shepherd, we suggest incorporating ProDog’s Protect to boost gut health and prevent/minimise the impact of allergies and/ or Flexx to maintain joint structure/ function, promote mobility/flexibility and help to prevent and ease stiff joints.
So there you have it! Your complete guide to the best German Shepherd food. If you have questions about making the transition to raw feeding check out our ditch the dry knowledge centre, join the gang on Facebook at The Canine Collective, or drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll do all we can to help give you the answers you need to make a move to raw feeding.
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