German Shepherds are active animals, therefore it is important to have a high protein diet to maintain the health and energy of the animal.
Food should be nutritious and easily digestible, and a balanced diet will provide the body with the necessary nutrients to meet the specific needs of the puppy and adult dog.
Regardless of the type of feeding, it is important that the dry food is of high quality, and the natural food contains the number of vitamins and minerals necessary for the normal development and maintenance of the dog’s health.
German Shepherd Diet Chart
Up to 6 weeks of age, the puppy should eat milk 5-7 times a day. German Shepherd puppies are fed frequently but in small portions.
At 7-8 weeks, the number of feedings for the puppy is reduced to 3-4 times a day. From the age of one, puppies are transferred to a diet for adult dogs and fed 2-3 times a day.
Dogs over 5 months old should weigh 20 kg (females 10% less). From the age of two, it is recommended to feed the German Shepherd 2 times a day, and adult dogs whose growth has stopped, and older animals (over 7 years old), whose body consumes less energy, are allowed to feed once a day.
The calorie content of food for active animals is 1740-2100 calories. The calorie content of food for elderly and inactive dogs is reduced to 1270-1540 calories per day.
It is important to feed strictly on schedule. If a puppy or an adult dog refuses to eat, and there are no signs of illness, then 10-15 minutes after the bowl of food was in front of the animal, it is removed before the next feeding. If your dog has lost appetite for two or more days, you should immediately contact your veterinarian.
It is important to keep the food bowl clean at all times, otherwise, old food will spoil, pathogenic bacteria enter the dog’s stomach with fresh food, and cause stomach upset.
You can not feed your pet late in the evening or at night, you should always refrain from feeding immediately after a walk, training. You need to wait 30-60 minutes before eating and for the same amount of time after feeding do not play with animals and do not expose them to physical stress.
How Much to Feed a German Shepherd Puppy
In the diet of 4-week-old puppies, you need to introduce solid food, namely meat (scraped meat, ground beef) in small quantities. Gradually, the portions of solid food are increased.
Puppies grow quickly, with an unbalanced diet, the skeleton does not have time to form evenly with weight gain, resulting in arthritis and osteoarthritis. High calcium content in food causes the most problems with the proper development of bones. Therefore, you need to feed the German Shepherd puppies with foods that are low in calcium. Such a diet contributes to the proper development of the skeletal system. After the dog reaches 1.5 years of age, the skeletal system is stabilized.
Food for German Shepherd puppies should contain a high percentage of protein and fat to maintain proper energy levels, nutrients for the development of intelligence, and a lower percentage of calcium and phosphorus, which have an effect on bone development. Therefore, you should select special dry food for puppies, and after reaching 12 months it is necessary to make changes in the pet’s diet, transferring it to food for adult dogs.
It is important to gradually switch or introduce new foods, but some animals may have diarrhea during the first few days until they get used to the new food.
It is not recommended to give the puppy wet canned food, as they cause loose stools and prolonged diarrhea causes dehydration.
German Shepherd Feeding Guide: Natural Food
The natural diet should be made only of high-quality products. The main component of the diet is protein, the source of which can be beef, lamb, rabbit meat, goat meat, poultry, as well as meat by-products (liver, kidneys). The offal is served boiled, with the exception of the tripe, which can be fed raw. Saltwater fish should also be present in the diet of a German shepherd. Smelt, mackerel, and sardine are high in Omega-3.
Other sources of protein include cottage cheese, plain yogurt, and eggs, which are provided in small quantities.
The natural diet of a German Shepherd can include plant foods – carrots, squash, pumpkin, broccoli, cabbage, which are fed raw, chopped or lightly stewed. Fresh fruits and berries are rich in vitamins and are antioxidants, so they can also be fed to your pet as a treat.
You can include in the diet a small amount of easily digestible carbohydrates, which include rice, oats, barley.
It is recommended to give eggs boiled since raw eggs contain avidin, which binds biotin and does not allow it to be absorbed by the body. Biotin is important for coat and skin health.
Sources of essential fatty acids are fish oil and vegetable oils, of which it is recommended to give flaxseed oil. It is enough to add one teaspoon of oil to food per day (daily).
Sources of calcium include dairy products such as cottage cheese and yogurt and raw beef. Increased calcium content in food leads to diseases of the skeletal system.
As a treat, it is permissible to give sometimes large fleshy bones, but not chicken bones, which can damage the stomach. Bones should be strong and of a size that the dog cannot swallow, as bones do not provide significant benefits, but can cause serious digestive problems.
In addition to fresh food, which contains most of the nutrients, vitamins should be given to animals, in particular vitamin A, D, E, K. In healthy dogs, vitamin C is produced in the liver, so there is no need to include foods rich in vitamin C in the diet. , because its excess leads to health problems.
How Much Should a German Shepherd Eat: Dry Food?
There is a huge variety of dry food on the zoo market and the choice of brand in most cases depends on the budget, and only then on the quality of the food, which is completely wrong. It is necessary to select dry food individually, since dogs of the same breed, of the same age, may have different reactions to the same food.
The main ingredient of dry food should be meat, such as beef, poultry, or fish, then the list continues with easily digestible carbohydrates – rice, oatmeal, barley. The presence of wheat, corn, and soybeans in dry food should be alarming since this type of grain is poorly absorbed and causes food allergies.
Vegetables are not only a source of carbohydrates but also fiber for better digestion.
It is imperative that dry food for German Shepherds contains foods containing fats, such as fish oil, vegetable oils, and foods that are a source of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids.
High-quality dry food contains a complex of vitamins and minerals, which eliminates the need for additional vitamin and mineral supplements in the diet.
Wet foods are not essential in the German Shepherd’s diet. Canned food has a soft structure, and with constant feeding, the dog’s teeth will suffer, which will ultimately lead to dental problems. Wet canned food is a source of fluid, this is their advantage, but constant access to freshwater will help avoid fluid deficiency in the animal’s body.
High-quality dry food helps to clean teeth from plaque and also satisfies the need of the dog to gnaw something. Dogs, on the other hand, prefer to eat canned food rather than dry granules, and this is due to the fact that canned food tastes better. Canned food contains about 80% moisture, but dry granules contain about 90% of the nutrients. If the pet does not eat dry food well, then it is allowed to mix it with a small amount of canned wet food to improve the taste.