One of the most important aspects of caring for a dog is ensuring the food you provide is nutritious and delicious. Choosing the best food for your German Shepherd can seem complex. So many types of dog food are available, so how do you know the best diet to feed your German Shepherd for health and longevity?
In this guide, we'll take you through all you need to know about the best food to help your German Shepherd thrive:
The best dog food for your German Shepherd is raw food. Not only will a natural, whole food diet help to keep your dog healthy and happy, but it can also prevent a range of common health conditions such as obesity, joint, dental and digestive issues, and common allergy symptoms such as excessive itching and skin complaints. 
When deciding the best food for a German Shepherd, it’s essential 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-based diets consisting predominantly of meat, bones and offal. We call this ‘species-appropriate nutrition’, which a natural, raw diet seeks to replicate.
The best diet for a German Shepherd is balanced and appropriate for their life stage and energy needs. This typically includes a combination of high-quality protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and fibre from vegetables and berries.
A dog’s 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 rice, potato, legumes, & lentils. Feeding a dog kibble puts their digestive system under pressure, spikes insulin, glucagon and cortisol throughout the day, which taxes the pancreas.
These inappropriate ingredients, coupled with the intense heat processing used to manufacture kibble, denatures the nutrients leading to something called advanced glycation end-products. AGEs can cause inflammation and put strain on many vital organs, leading, in some cases, to a host of serious health conditions. 
There’s no doubt the canine species is resilient. Despite eating a diet which doesn’t provide the natural components they may need, as a scavenger, they will adapt and survive for some time. Still, there’s a world of difference between surviving and thriving.
What exactly should the diet of a German Shepherd consist of for optimal health?
1. Protein from quality meat sources
2. Essential Fatty acids and omegas
3. Small amounts of carbohydrates from vegetables/herbs/ berries
4. Natural vitamins and minerals from bone and plant sources
5. Hydration – high moisture foods and drinking water
When selecting what to feed your German Shepherd, choose a diet with high-quality animal-based protein sources, such as beef, chicken, turkey, lamb, duck, eggs, and fish.
Protein is the most critical nutrient in your German Shepherd ‘s diet; it is an essential nutrient that contributes to the optimal efficiency of all body cells, systems and functions. As such, protein impacts canine health in many ways, including:
Fat is the second most important nutrient in a dog’s diet. Properly balanced fats are essential for optimal health, and also provide energy. Dietary fat we generally refer to as a triglyceride. There are two types of triglyceride, saturated and unsaturated fat. Both are important in a dog’s diet, but getting the balance right is key.
Saturated fats come from animal sources, improve the taste and texture of your dog’s food, and aid in the absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.
Essential fatty acids are unsaturated fats such as Omega-3, (EHA , DHA and ALA), Omega-6+9, (LA + AA) are vital for the development, structure, and function of the body’s cells. In balance, they promote a healthy coat, skin, eyes, nervous system, control hormones, fuel brain and learning, and reduce inflammation.
Discover more about healthy fats and oils for dogs.
Though not considered an essential nutrient for dogs, a small amount of carbohydrates from plant-based sources serve important functions in a dog’s body. Carbohydrates, such as vegetables and some fruits, provide fibre, prebiotics (food for beneficial bacteria), and antioxidants that are lacking in meat alone.
Dogs are carnivores, but they can benefit from some vegetation in their diets for optimal health.
A raw food diet aims to replicate what dogs evolved to eat in the wild. As such, meat, bone, offal and a small amount of plant ingredients are all important ingredients in the diet of a German Shepherd, each adding highly beneficial vitamins and minerals to meal times.
Incorporating ground bone in meals or providing recreational bones for enrichment add nutrients that will support digestion, skin and bone health, and mobility. Offal is known as a natural multivitamin for dogs due to the density of macronutrients (fat, carbs and protein) and micro-nutrients (vitamins and minerals), whilst veggies and some fruits offer a diversity of phytonutrients and other compounds that nourish the body’s cells, thereby supporting optimal health of the body’s vital systems and functions.
Water is essential for the proper functioning of a dog’s physiology. In fact, a dog’s body is made up of approximately 70% water. As such, water is a vital nutrient for all cells, systems and functions, including:
A raw diet contains, on average, 70% moisture/ water, which helps to keep your German Shepherd properly hydrated.
Discover more about a raw food diet for dogs in our complete.
|Breed||Feed Amount Per Day||AVG Price Per Day|
34KG - 43KG
|680g - 860g||£2.92 - £3.70|
Not sure which food range would be best for your German Shepherd?
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Perhaps you’d like to discuss your dog’s unique needs, explore the best raw dog food bundle option for your German Shepherd or find the best value raw food bundle. Either way, the team are on hand to help.
Maintaining an appropriate healthy weight is essential for your dog, regardless of breed. A diet that consists of biologically appropriate ingredients will naturally help a dog shed excess pounds or gain healthy weight.
Expertly balanced ratios of quality protein, healthy fats, ground bone, offal and vegetables packed with vitamins and minerals are essential for optimum health and performance, but, as with any change in diet, it is essential to 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:
Ensuring the correct ratios of ingredients when creating your raw feeding recipes is essential. If you choose to buy ProDog’s “Pure” meat and ground bone 80-10-10 raw dog food range, or our “Economy Core” lower cost raw dog food range, and throw in additional ingredients; or opt for our Complete Formula meals for ease, you can check the correct feeding quantities using our raw food calculator.
Meanwhile, assessing weight regularly could help you support the ideal weight for your German Shepherd.
Switching to a natural, good-quality raw food diet will be the best thing you can do for your dog’s well-being. Whether you DIY recipes at home or make life simpler by choosing one of ProDog’s food bundles, there is no disputing dog nutritional 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 preventative support against German Shepherd related conditions or for your dog’s individual needs at any life stage, supplements will complement any dog food—added support which will bolster, fuel and nourish your faithful friend and fine-tune their nutritional intake.
Although there are certain health conditions more prevalent in particular breeds, 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 long way to mitigating and minimising the severity of some breed-related conditions. 
The key is to select natural, whole food supplements with no chemicals, synthetics or non-species appropriate ingredients, such as ProDog’s range of natural nutritional supplements for dogs, perfect to bridge any nutritional gap!
All ProDog all-natural supplements are designed as meal-toppers for the most convenient way to enhance the nutrient density of your dog’s food, and give you peace of mind that all health and happiness bases are covered.
Not sure which raw dog food or supplement ranges would be best for your German Shepherd?
Get free tailored recommendations from ProDog feeding experts.
Johanna Anturaniemi, Sara Zaldívar-López, Huub F. J. Savelkoul, Kari Elo, Anna Hielm-Björkman( 2020) The Effect of Atopic Dermatitis and Diet on the Skin Transcriptome in Staffordshire Bull Terriers. Frontiers in Veterinary Science, 7 DOI: 10.3389/fvets.2020.552251
Ramasay R, Vannucci J, Yan D, Herold K, Yan F, Schmidt AM (2005) Advanced glycation end products and RAGE: a common thread in aging, diabetes, neurodegeneration, and inflammation. Glycobiology. 15:16-28R. DOI: 10.1093/glycob/cwi053
Johanna Anturaniemi, Liisa Uusitalo, Anna Hielm-Björkman (2017). Environmental and phenotype-related risk factors for owner-reported allergic/atopic skin symptoms and for canine atopic dermatitis verified by veterinarian in a Finnish dog population. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0178771