The Best Dog Foods for German Shepherds

Adult German Shepherd Lying Down

When looking for the best dog food for a German shepherd, it’s important to choose a food that’s safe for your pet’s age.

That’s because German shepherds are considered large breed dogs.

Which is not a problem… for adult shepherds.

However…

German shepherd puppies have a higher risk of developing a devastating form of canine hip dysplasia… unless they’re fed a dog food that’s designed to be safe for large breed puppies.1

All dog foods listed below were chosen by The Advisor’s research team because they meet AAFCO2 nutrient guidelines for adult German shepherds.

And where noted… for puppies, too.

Keep in mind, German shepherd puppies don’t stop growing and aren’t ready to eat adult dog food until they reach 12 to 24 months of age.3

Got a puppy? View a list of our most recommended large breed puppy foods.

Buying tip: Many of the 4-star selections below are superior to 5-star brands when you also consider the companies that produce them… and their pricing.

Best Dog Food for German Shepherds
for December 2019

Here are The Dog Food Advisor’s top 10 best dog foods for German shepherds for December 2019.


Dr Garys Best Breed German Dog Diet

Dr. Gary’s Best Breed German Dog Diet

Rating:

Dr. Gary’s Best Breed German Dog Diet is one of 13 recipes included in our review of Dr. Gary’s Best Breed Dog Food.

  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken meal, oatmeal, brown rice, dried beet pulp, chicken fat
  • Type: Grain-inclusive (contains grain)
  • Profile: All life stages
  • Best For: Adult German shepherds and puppies

Dr. Gary’s Best Breed German Dog Diet contains 36% protein, 22% fat and 34% (estimated) carbs… creating a fat-to-protein ratio of 63%.

Why We Like This Brand
Meat ingredients clearly noted to help identify food allergies
Formula balanced for both puppies and adults
No plant protein concentrates for healthy amino acid balance
High-protein, low fat recipe for better nutrient profile
Includes zinc proteinate and other chelated minerals for superior nutrition

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Merrick Grain Free Large Breed Dog Food

Merrick Grain-Free Large Breed Real Chicken and Sweet Potato

Rating:

Merrick Grain-Free Large Breed Real Chicken and Sweet Potato is one of 14 recipes included in our review of Merrick Large Grain-Free Dog Food.

  • First 5 ingredients: Deboned chicken, chicken meal, peas, sweet potatoes, potatoes
  • Type: Grain-free
  • Profile: All life stages
  • Best For: Adult German shepherds and puppies

Merrick Grain-Free Large Breed Real Chicken and Sweet Potato contains 35% protein, 17% fat and 40% (estimated) carbs… creating a fat-to-protein ratio of 48%.

Why We Like This Brand
Meat-based protein derived from real chicken and chicken meal
Includes multiple probiotics for better digestion
Contains rich salmon oil for healthy skin and coat
Safe natural antioxidant preservatives. No risky BHA
Nutritionally complete, grain-free recipe

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Instinct Raw Boost Real Duck

Instinct Raw Boost with Real Duck

Rating:

Instinct Raw Boost with Real Duck is one of 15 recipes included in our review of Instinct Raw Boost dog food.

  • First 5 ingredients: Duck, chicken meal, peas, egg product, turkey meal
  • Type: Grain-free
  • Profile: All life stages
  • Best For: Adult German shepherds and puppies

Instinct Raw Boost with Real Duck contains 38% protein, 23% fat and 31% (estimated) carbs… creating a fat-to-protein ratio of 61%.

Why We Like This Brand
Protein-packed with real duck as the first ingredient
Made without grain, corn, potato, wheat or soy
Probiotics included to support healthy digestion
No artificial colors or toxic preservatives
Antioxidants from fruits and veggies for immunity health

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Victor Purpose Nutra Pro Active Dog and Puppy for German Shepherds

Victor Purpose Nutra Pro Dog Food

Rating:

Victor Purpose Nutra Pro is one of 6 recipes included in our review of the Victor Purpose dry product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken meal, blood meal, whole grain millet, chicken fat, yeast culture
  • Type: Grain-inclusive (contains grain)
  • Profile: All life stages
  • Best For: Adult German shepherds and puppies

Victor Purpose Nutra Pro contains 46% protein, 24% fat and 22% (estimated) carbs… creating a fat-to-protein ratio of 52%.

Why We Like This Brand
Rich in low-glycemic carbohydrates for sustained energy
Superior digestion from added probiotics
Includes chelated minerals for optimal absorption
Omega fatty acids to support healthy skin and coat
Made with gluten-free, fiber-rich millet

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Wellness Complete Health Grain-Free Large Breed

Wellness Complete Health Grain-Free Large Breed

Rating:

Wellness Complete Health Grain-Free Large Breed is one of 6 recipes included in our review of the Wellness Complete Health Grain-Free sub-brand.

  • First 5 ingredients: Deboned chicken, chicken meal, peas, potatoes, chickpeas
  • Type: Grain-free
  • Profile: Maintenance
  • Best For: Adult German shepherds only (not for puppies)

Wellness Complete Health Grain-Free Large Breed contains 33% protein, 13% fat and 45% (estimated) carbs… creating a fat-to-protein ratio of 40%.

Why We Like This Brand
Omega-rich flaxseed for healthy circulation
Chicory root included to promote intestinal health
Grain-free. No corn, wheat or soy.
Contains iron proteinate and other chelated minerals for better absorption
Antioxidant-rich spinach and blueberries for disease resistance

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Taste of the Wild Southwest Canyon Dog Food

Taste of the Wild Southwest Canyon

Rating:

Taste of the Wild Southwest Canyon is one of 9 recipes included in our review of Taste of the Wild dry dog food.

  • First 5 ingredients: Beef, peas, garbanzo beans, lamb meal, canola oil
  • Type: Grain-free
  • Profile: All life stages
  • Best For: Adult German shepherds and puppies

Taste of the Wild Southwest Canyon contains 32% protein, 17% fat and 43% (estimated) carbs… creating a fat-to-protein ratio of 52%.

Why We Like This Brand
Salmon oil with DHA to support cognitive function
Antioxidant-rich blueberries included to build immunity health
Real beef is the first ingredient
Made in the USA by a family-owned company
No artificial colors or toxic preservatives

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Eagle Pack Power Adult for German Shepherds

Eagle Pack Power Adult Dog Food

Rating:

Eagle Pack Power Adult is one of 7 recipes included in our review of the Eagle Pack dry product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken meal, pork meal, ground brown rice, peas, chicken fat
  • Type: Grain-inclusive (contains grain)
  • Profile: Maintenance
  • Best For: Adult German shepherds only (not for puppies)

Eagle Pack Power Adult contains 33% protein, 21% fat and 38% (estimated) carbs… creating a fat-to-protein ratio of 63%.

Why We Like This Brand
Contains safe antioxidant preservatives. No BHT or ethoxyquin
Grain-inclusive design. No legume concentrates
Made by great company with excellent safety record
High protein, low carb design for better health
Contains multiple prebiotics for healthy digestion

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Blue Buffalo Wilderness Adult Salmon

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Salmon Recipe

Rating:

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Salmon Recipe is one of 18 recipes included in our review of Blue Buffalo Wilderness dry dog food.

  • First 5 ingredients: Deboned salmon, chicken meal, peas, pea protein, menhaden fish meal
  • Type: Grain-free
  • Profile: Maintenance
  • Best For: Adult German shepherds only (not for puppies)

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Salmon Recipe contains 38% protein, 17% fat and 38% (estimated) carbs… creating a fat-to-protein ratio of 44%.

Why We Like This Brand
Grain-free, protein-rich formula
Multiple recipes ideal for rotational feeding
No cancer-causing chemical preservatives
Balalnced recipe for adult dogs
Contains no anonymous meat ingredients

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Blackwood 3000 All Life Stages Dog Food

Blackwood 3000 All Life Stages Everyday Diet Dog Food

Rating:

Blackwood 3000 All Life Stages Everyday Diet is one of 5 recipes included in our review of Blackwood Everyday Recipes.

  • First 5 ingredients: Lamb meal, brown rice, oat groats, millet, chicken meal
  • Type: Grain-inclusive (contains grain)
  • Profile: All life stages
  • Best For: Adult German shepherds and puppies

Blackwood 3000 All Life Stages Everyday Diet contains 27% protein, 16% fat and 50% (estimated) carbs… creating a fat-to-protein ratio of 58%.

Why We Like This Brand
Omega-3 menhaden fish oil for healthy skin and coat
Contains antioxidants for healthy arteries
Nutritionally complete grain-inclusive design
Zinc proteinate and other chelated minerals for superior absorption
Contains digestible fiber for healthy stools

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Holistic Select Large and Giant Breed Dog Food

Holistic Select Large and Giant Breed Adult Health Dog Food

Rating:

Holistic Select Large and Giant Breed Adult Health is one of 5 recipes included in our review of Holistic Select dry kibble.

  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken meal, rice, oatmeal, oats, chicken fat
  • Type: Grain-inclusive (contains grain)
  • Profile: Maintenance
  • Best For: Adult German shepherds only (not for puppies)

Holistic Select Large and Giant Breed Adult Health contains 27% protein, 16% fat and 50% (estimated) carbs… creating a fat-to-protein ratio of 58%.

Why We Like This Brand
Specially formulated for large breed dogs
Traditional grain-inclusive formula
Cranberries and other antioxidants to boost a dog’s immune system
Contains no plant-based protein concentrates
Glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health

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More Choices

Readers interested in finding the best dog food for a German Shepherd may also wish to check out these popular pages, too…


References

  1. Lauten SD, Nutritional Risks to Large Breed Dogs: From Weaning to the Geriatric Years, Vet Clin Small Anim 36 (2006) 1345–1359.
  2. AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles, Association of American Feed Control Officials, 2018 Official Publication, pages 155-159.
  3. IAMS: How to Transition Your Puppy to Adult Food, IAMS