Joint and Bone Health
Because German Shepherds are large dogs, they can put a lot of stress on their joints and bones, especially over time and as they age. This is only enhanced by their typically active lifestyles. As such, you should look for dog food that has been specially formulated to boost the health of your dog’s joints and bones.
For most dog foods, this will come via the inclusion of chondroitin and glucosamine. Don’t settle for just any dog food that contains those nutrients. Instead, make sure that your chosen dog food actually has them in sufficient quantities.
Without these nutrients, your German Shepherd will have a higher risk of joint and bone diseases in the future, such as hip dysplasia or arthritis. Including them in your dog’s diet serves as a preventative measure that helps boost his overall health later in life.
German Shepherds are known for their gorgeous thick coats in that combination of tan and black. You want to find a dog food that will allow your dog to maintain that coat throughout his life, so look for ingredients that support the overall health of coats. Ingredients like fish oil contain EPA and DHA that will boost the health of your dog’s coat, helping him maintain the protective thickness and beauty for years to come.
Omega fatty acids are also a good ingredient to look for as a way to support the coat health of your German Shepherd.
Size and Shape of the Pieces
Because German Shepherds are large breeds, they require larger pieces of dog food. Otherwise, your dog would waste too much effort picking up and chewing the dog food. German Shepherds are also more likely to appreciate the larger pieces compared to smaller ones. This should not be a problem, as most dog foods for large-breed dogs contain bigger pieces.
Some of the best dog foods go a step above and have unique shapes that work best with the mouth shape of a German Shepherd. They have long muzzles, which require a slightly different shape of the dog food than other large dogs with wide short muzzles. Choosing the right shape of the dog food will not only make it easier for your dog to eat the food, but also boost oral health. Chewing dry dog food helps clean your dog’s teeth via the texture and the right shape of food will encourage this chewing action.
Pay close attention to the ingredient list as you browse dog foods for your German Shepherd. You want to avoid fillers, as they provide no nutritional value and your large breed needs all the nutrition he can get. Avoid artificial flavors and preservatives for the same reason. Additionally, some artificial preservatives have been linked to health problems, giving you another reason to avoid them.
Look for high-quality protein sources, with a focus on the actual meat instead of meals made from meat by-products. Many low-quality dog foods will use those by-product meals as a cost-saving measure, but they are not as healthy and are not as strong of protein sources. Choosing dog food with high-quality protein sources will help ensure your German Shepherds muscles remain strong and lean. Avoid products that rely on plant-based protein sources, as those are harder for your German Shepherd to put to use and less effective for his needs.
Check that the dog food contains vegetables and/or fruits to provide essential vitamins and minerals in a natural way. These natural sources are a much better choice than artificial ones.
German Shepherds are known for having a good amount of energy. Therefore, grain free dog foods do not always make the cut as the best dog food for german shepherds. Grain free dog foods lack the ingredients that provide energy for these pooches to go about their active lifestyle.
While you cannot do away with grain free dog foods for german shepherds, you can opt for low-glycemic carbohydrates instead of grain-based carbs. Some grain-based carbs are perfectly fine for more German Shepherds, but your dog will appreciate it more if you opt for low-glycemic sources, such as sweet potatoes. You should also avoid those grain-based carbs if your German Shepherd has any allergies and wheat, soy, and other grains are all common allergens.
These low-glycemic sources are easier for your dog to convert into a constant state of energy and help maintain steady blood sugar levels.
You will also want to pay attention to overall brand quality and reputation as a way to ensure you choose a high-quality food that supports your German Shepherd’s activity levels.