Learn How Much to Feed a German Shepherd–Diet and Health of German Shepherd

Pet Care


July 14, 2024

German shepherds are a breed known for their loyalty and smarts. These hard-working dogs excel as service dogs and police dogs. They also make great pets who learn quickly and create strong bonds. German shepherds typically live for 7-10 years and grow to be around a couple of feet tall. The average German shepherd weight is about 70 pounds.

Like any household animal, German shepherds need a balanced and healthy diet to stay happy, energetic, and sharp. It’s important to know which foods are good for your German shepherd, which foods you should stay away from, and how much to feed a German shepherd. The following article will go over the specific diet needs and best dog food for German shepherds to help your pooch thrive.

How Much to Feed a German Shepherd

Your dog’s age, size, and activity level will affect how much food you should give them every day. The best thing to do is to consult your dog’s veterinarian about what a healthy weight for your dog is and what portion sizes are appropriate. But there are also other ways to make sure you’re not underfeeding or overfeeding your German shepherd.

Most packaged dog food will come with a recommended feeding chart on the back that tells you how much to feed your dog on a daily basis, based on their age and weight. The brand’s website might also have a more specific calculator to figure out how much to feed your German shepherd.

Keep in mind that a very active German shepherd will need to eat a bit more than recommended in these guidelines. If your German shepherd exercises quite a bit, such as accompanying you on long walks and runs, you will want to add extra food to their dish to make up for the calories burned throughout the day. Like us, dogs tend to be hungrier the more they physically exert themselves.

As dogs grow elderly, they tend to become more sedentary and might spend a large portion of the day sleeping or lying down. In this case, you would feed your German shepherd slightly less than the recommended amount to make up for their lack of movement.

Don’t worry, this won’t leave your German shepherd feeling hungry. Since they’re not exercising and burning calories, they won’t need as much food.

Average German Shepherd Weight

If you’re raising your German shepherd from a puppy, they will steadily gain weight as they grow into adulthood. The average German shepherd weight for adults is between 50 and 90 pounds;normally, between 66 to 90 pounds for males and between 50 to 71 pounds for females. This will be affected by the dog’s sex, activity level, height, and overall health. Your vet will be able to tell you what a healthy weight is for your canine friend.

It’s a good idea to keep an eye on your dog’s weight over time. Severe weight gain could mean you’re feeding your German shepherd too much or not exercising them enough, and weight loss can tip you off to a potential health issue. It’s normal for weight to fluctuate to a small degree, but significant or sudden changes are something you should bring up with your vet.

German Shepherd Weight Chart

For current and soon-to-be owners of a German shepherd of any age, it can be informative to compare your dog to a German shepherd growth chart. This can give you a general idea of whether your German shepherd’s weight is typical for a dog of their age. Remember that these charts are an approximation, so don’t worry if your canine’s weight doesn’t match up exactly.

Best Dog Food for German Shepherds

Now that you understand how to calculate the amount of food to give your German shepherd and their healthy weight range, you can take a closer look at which specific foods will work best for them. The first thing you should determine is whether your dog needs puppy or adult food. German shepherds can switch to adult food at six months of age.

Many packaged dog food brands will contain all of the necessary nutrients for your German shepherd to stay healthy. Reading the information on the package will tell you more about the product. Your veterinarian is the best source to find out the best dog food for your German shepherd. There are also plenty of reviews online for the most well-known brands.

Diet Recommendations for German Shepherds

It’s well-known that dogs like meat, and a diet rich in animal protein is indeed essential to keep a German shepherd healthy. Healthy fats, fatty acids, and a small amount of fiber are also important. Pay attention to the ingredients of any packaged food you buy – protein should be the first ingredient for high-quality food. Try to avoid artificial colors and flavors.

A well-balanced diet will contain at least 18-22% protein and 5% fat. Daily caloric levels should be between 1,200 and 2,100, depending on your dog’s age and activity level. Making sure to adhere to these recommendations will ensure that your four-legged friend has plenty of energy to romp and play each day.

How Often to Feed a German Shepherd

Adult German shepherds should eat two meals a day. Puppies need to eat three or four times a day until they grow to be six months of age. Dogs digest their food more easily after chewing, so if possible, you should encourage your German shepherd to take their time instead of gobbling the food quickly.

As tempting as it might be, it’s crucial to refrain from giving your own food scraps to your canine. Ingredients in the food we eat usually aren’t as healthy for dogs, which can also lead to weight gain in your dog from unnecessary calories. If you want to give your puppy something special to eat, look into dog treats for your German shepherd.

Even with dog treats, you should practice moderation. Don’t feed your German shepherd too much. Save treats for special occasions, like when your furry companion successfully performs a new trick or exhibits good behavior. There are a variety of treats out there to choose from. Some have extra health benefits like aiding in dental health or digestion.

Food-Related Health Issues in German Shepherds

Because diet plays such a significant role in overall health, it’s essential to be aware of German shepherd health concerns when it comes to food. Making small changes in your dog’s diet can affect their health for better or worse, so make sure to do your research and put together a balanced regimen. Your vet can be a valuable resource when doing this.

  • Allergies

German shepherds can sometimes develop food allergies. The most common allergens include corn, wheat, chicken, and beef. You may want to pick food that doesn’t contain these ingredients to lower the chances of upsetting your dog’s stomach. Instead, look for lamb and rice, which are two ingredients that German shepherds are known to digest easily.

  • Bloat

Gastric bloat is common in German shepherds due to their deep-chested body shape. Bloat can quickly become life-threatening if not adequately treated. We don’t know what causes bloat, but some possible factors are eating too fast or exercising too soon after a meal. When bloat happens, the stomach expands and can cut off circulation to vital organs.

Being able to recognize the symptoms of bloat is important. These include excessive salivation, retching, distended stomach, lethargy, and collapse. If you notice these symptoms in your German shepherd, get them to a veterinary clinic right away.

  • Obesity

If you feed your German shepherd too much and don’t provide them with enough exercise, they’re at risk of gaining weight and becoming obese. If you cannot feel your German shepherd’s ribs, they’re overweight. This extra weight can negatively impact other common health issues, such as arthritis or hip dysplasia. 

If your chubby puppy needs to lose some weight, you might worry they will feel hungry eating less food each day. One suggestion is to add some veggies along with your dog’s regular food. Vegetables are healthy for dogs, are a great source of fiber, and will help your dog feel more full while reducing the number of calories.

  • Weight loss

Some conditions like exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI) and small-intestine disease can stop your German shepherd from properly or fully absorbing the nutrients in their food. This means that even with a healthy diet, the dog will lose weight and become malnourished. If you notice your German shepherd losing weight even though they’re eating regularly, bring them to the vet.

Food Health for German Shepherds

Now you have the information you need to help your German shepherd thrive through diet and exercise. Once you’ve figured out the right food regimen for your dog, it’s just a matter of maintaining it day to day while staying attentive to your furry companion’s weight and eating habits. Give your German shepherd a long, happy life by treating it right when it comes to mealtimes, and consult your vet whenever any questions or issues arise.