GSD Nutrition 101: How Much to Feed a German Shepherd Per Day?

The German Shepherd is probably one of the most famous and popular dogs in the world.

Due to the background of its breeding, the herding of animals and its therefore active mind, which strives for movement and performance, the German Shepherd needs a diet that is adapted to him.

Since the German Shepherd is also a dog that is prone to joint problems, the right feeding is particularly important in order to ensure the animal’s health.

But first, let’s answer today’s question: How Much to Feed a German Shepherd Per Day?

how much to feed a german shepherd per day

How Much to Feed a German Shepherd Per Day?

The correct amount of food is always a question of the weight, size and activity of a German Shepherd. It is therefore not possible to give a general answer. Basically, however, your German Shepherd should be given continuously increasing amounts of food until he is fully grown (approx. 12-14 months).

When eating dry food, the amount of food should increase from 250 grams to 480 grams by the age of six months. At the age of six to twelve months, from 480 grams to 550 grams, although you should maintain the latter amount as your dog ages.

When feeding with wet food or BARF, the amounts of food are often larger. By the age of six months, you should increase the amount of food from 850 grams to 1500 grams. At the age of six to twelve months from 1500 grams to 1700 grams, with the latter amount then being maintained again.

However, these values ​​are only general values ​​that you can adjust depending on the activity and general development of the dog. Since the German Shepherd generally tends to be overweight, this should be avoided at all costs, as it is very difficult for the dog to lose excess weight afterward.

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You should reduce the feeding times at regular intervals from the puppy age until it is fully grown. A puppy can be fed up to four times a day, while one to two feedings a day is more recommended for an adult German Shepherd. As long as you keep an even interval between feeding times, the times are of secondary importance.

Particularities in the Feeding of Puppies

When feeding German Shepherd puppies, it is very important that you take care not to give your dog too much food. This can cause significant damage to health that will affect the dog’s later life.

An excessive amount of food would result in the unnaturally rapid growth of the puppy, which has a negative effect on physical development. Since bones and muscles grow in different proportions, imbalances often occur, which cause joint and bone problems.

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As already mentioned, the German Shepherd Dog is predestined for these physical complaints, which is why you should never overfeed your puppy.

In addition, the puppy food should have a sufficient supply of minerals, vitamins and trace elements, as well as calcium and phosphorus in particular. This can improve bone structure and strength.

The Right Wet Food

The wet food is a higher-quality selection of food for your German Shepherd. Since the dog belongs to the larger breeds and is usually very active, wet food is particularly suitable for him, as it has a high proportion of meat and water.

You should also pay attention to this when buying. This ensures that the German Shepherd is optimally supplied with species-appropriate food and that its water balance is also supported. In addition, wet food is very low in energy per weight compared to others. This is very beneficial for German Shepherds in particular, as they can eat more, are more full and still do not consume too much energy.

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This can help balance your dog’s cravings with preventing obesity. Especially with regard to the already mentioned bone and joint diseases, this can be seen very positively in wet food.

The Right Dry Food

Dry food is usually very rich in energy and therefore the cheaper variant of nutrition compared to wet food, as smaller amounts are fed. However, you should also make sure that this one is high in meat and low in grain. Since shepherds in particular often struggle with dull fur and increased hair loss, as well as diarrhea, you should make sure that the dry food contains all the important nutrients your dog needs.

Since dry food usually tastes worse for the dog, it is often provided with flavor enhancers. Because of the aforementioned issues, you should avoid dry food products that are high in artificial additives.

As already mentioned, obesity in a German Shepherd must be prevented as much as possible, which is why the energy value of the dry food must not be too high.

Often there are also allergic reactions to all types of grain in the German Shepherd. At best, you should therefore make sure that this proportion is not only very low but that the dry food is gluten-free and therefore does not contain any components of any type of grain.

Nutrition with BARF Food

BARF food is a particularly high-quality alternative to both dry and wet food. This contains only raw and natural ingredients and completely dispenses with grain, so that you do not have to worry about previously mentioned problems.

The BARF food often consists of offal, bones, fish and sometimes vegetables. Therefore, a very high meat content is achieved, which is ideal for the German Shepherd. Since this is one of the predators and, unlike other dogs, still resembles the wolf, meat should be the main component of the diet, which is safely achieved with the BARF food.

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Additional Feed Alternatives

Due to the high water and nutrient content, it is advisable to give your German Shepherd fruit and vegetables in addition to normal food. However, not every fruit/vegetable is suitable for the dog, some are even poisonous. But more on this in the next chapter.

For example, you can easily feed carrots, cucumbers, lettuce, apples, bananas and melons to your German Shepherd. However, cores should be removed beforehand. It is also useful to puree fruits/vegetables to make them easier to digest.

If you consider this, your dog can be supplied with nutrients and water even more successfully with these additional food alternatives.

Food that German Shepherds Should Avoid

Despite the additional food alternatives, the German Shepherd is by no means an omnivore. Some foods that are essential in the human diet can cause extreme physical discomfort in your German Shepherd. Therefore, you should take special care that you do not give your dog everything that appears healthy to you.

Raw pork can potentially be affected by Aujeszky virus, which can kill dogs in a matter of days because there is no cure.

Garlic, onions, beans, potatoes, and eggplants cause vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach upset, although a large overdose can theoretically be fatal.

Grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure, which can also be fatal.

Finally, your German Shepherd must not ingest chocolate, as it contains a substance that is toxic to dogs. Even in small amounts, this poison can be fatal to your German Shepherd.

With feeding that goes beyond normal dry/wet food, you have to pay very close attention to what you give your dog to eat.