Last Updated on August 27, 2022 by Amanda P. Brown
Full and proper nutrition is the key to the German Shepherd’s health and maintaining the pet’s activity throughout its life. Representatives of this breed are characterized by increased intestinal permeability and a high degree of enzyme activity. So, before feeding a German Shepherd, you need to correctly make a diet that considers the peculiarities of the animal’s gastrointestinal tract.
How to Properly Feed a German Shepherd Puppy?
The physical development of a German Shepherd dog takes 1.5 years. You can determine how well the pet’s weight gain compiles to the diet. According to the norm, in six months, the weight of a German Shepherd puppy should be from 25 to 40 kg, that is, not less than 60% of the weight of an adult dog (depending on the breed).
The nutrition scheme and the choice of food type in the first months of a puppy’s life depend not only on the age but also on what the previous owner fed him. Transfer to a new German diet should be gradual, as sudden changes can cause digestive problems.
Diet of German Shepherd Puppies
During the period of growing up, the gastrointestinal system of German Shepherd puppies is particularly vulnerable. Therefore, their diet should be well thought out and balanced regarding the need for vitamins and nutrients necessary for development.
The process of feeding puppies requires compliance with several rules:
- The puppy’s feeding time takes no more than 20 minutes. Next, the bowl of food from the young pet should take away.
- The break between feeding the puppy should not be longer than 8 hours.
- The place for feeding the animal is determined in advance and does not change throughout the pet’s life.
- The puppy should always have water. Changing it at least 3-4 times a day is advisable.
- Feeding is carried out at certain hours at the same time.
- Germans under the age of 1 month are also fed at night.
- The pet is not allowed to eat from the floor; otherwise, it will have a habit of picking up food from the ground.
Note!!! The fastest growth rate is shown in the first six months of a puppy’s life. Therefore, during this period, the quality of food and the balance of the diet plays an important role.
In 1 Month
Monthly German Shepherd puppies require the most attentive attitude and total care. In the first month of life, a young German eats breast milk. The mother’s lactation is supported by a balanced diet increased by almost 2 times and special vitamin complexes. If breastfeeding is unavailable or there is not enough of it, then the puppy is fed from a syringe or pipette with analogs – cow’s, goat’s, or sheep’s milk. The frequency of feedings can reach up to 10 times a day.
By the end of the month, the puppy’s diet can include:
- Finely Chopped Boiled Meat
- Boiled Egg
- Vegetable Puree
When the puppy is transferred to new owners, milk is reintroduced to the diet (even if the pet has already switched to other types of food).
In 2 Months
In the diet of two-month-old German Shepherd puppies, new products are already being introduced:
- Low-fat cottage cheese or curdled milk (they are replaced with milk)
- Meat and bone broth
- Semi-liquid cereals (mainly rice or buckwheat)
The puppy eats 5-6 times a day. Pieces of food should be small and accessible for chewing. Also, it is essential to monitor the pet’s appetite. Most often, refusal of food in two-month-old babies occurs for the following reasons:
- The disease: Depending on the type of ailment, you may need a special diet.
- Minimal activity. Energy does not have time to be consumed, so the appetite decreases.
- A monotonous diet: Products are combined not only for the sake of valuable content but also to improve the taste of the feed.
- Stress: This applies primarily to puppies transferred to new owners.
Note!!! Mistakes with the diet selection will result in external manifestations: diarrhea, vomiting, apathy, and developmental delay.
In 3 Months
In the diet of a three—month—old puppy, the percentage of fiber-vegetables and fruits increases. A German can already safely give carrots, apples, and zucchini at this age. Adding to them, a tablespoon of unrefined vegetable oil makes up for the lack of vitamin D.
Boiled meat can replace raw meat (to make your ears stand up). Previously, it should be placed in the freezer for three days to destroy parasites. Once every 7-8 days, you can enter fillets of sea fish.
You should still give fermented milk products (kefir, natural yogurt, cottage cheese, ryazhenka). However, they should be offered to the puppy separately from vegetables or meat. The number of meals is strictly 5 times a day. The portion size increases slightly as the puppy grows.
From 4 to 8 Months
In four months, offal can add to the German menu. Since the German Shepherd begins to change teeth at about this age, the proportion of foods containing calcium in the diet should be increased. At this age, babies are already allowed to chew on brain bones. In the menu of Germans who have not got their ears up, collagen products are introduced.
The meal count is reduced to four. The volume of one serving is 400 ml. With natural feeding, the total amount of food consumed by the puppy should not exceed 1.5 liters daily.
From the fifth month, the puppy begins to eat new vegetables: pumpkin, cabbage, and beets. Ground eggshells are mixed into the feed to increase the calcium content, and 1 g of brewer’s yeast is added to form a healthy microflora.
After six months and up to 9 months, the German is fed 3 times a day. At the same time, meat should occupy at least 30% of the volume of food consumed. It is given raw, pre-frozen.
From 9 Months to 1 year
Nine-month-old puppies are not much different from an adult German Shepherd. Qualitatively, their diets are almost similar, only the amount of servings growths. Feed the dog 2-3 times a day.
To improve the color in the puppy’s menu, you can enter sea cabbage. Depending on the German’s state of health, his diet also changes the content of calcium and collagen increases, and caloric content is regulated.
Daily Food Allowance for a German Shepherd Puppy
A German Shepherd should not be overfed. The average puppy meal time is 15-20 minutes. The daily rate of food depends on the age and is:
- 5 months – 150-160 ml
- 0.5-1 month – 400 ml
- 1-2 months – 500-750 ml
- 2-3 months – 750-900 ml
- 3-6 months – 900-1100 ml
- 6-12 months – 1.5 litres
If a German Shepherd puppy has too much weight gain, the caloric content of the diet should reduce.
Sample Menu of a German Shepherd Puppy
The choice of food type depends on the host. Some dog owners believe that high-quality industrial feed is enough because it contains meat and vegetables and all the necessary complex trace elements.
Ready-made food is convenient without developing a diet and calculating portion volume. On the product packaging, you can see all of this. Having chosen in favor of the finished mixture, you should not save on it by purchasing an economy option.
It is essential to realize that the quality of nutrition is crucial for a dog under the age of one year. In addition, the cheap feed contains few vitamin supplements and trace elements. A significant disadvantage of ready-made mixes is their caloric content. Failure to comply with the dosage can lead to overfeeding and future obesity in German.
When using natural food, the owner is always sure of the freshness of the components. Moreover, the puppy’s diet is much more diverse than when using dry pellets.
If we talk about the menu of German Shepherd puppies, it changes with the passage of age:
- Up to month-breast milk or analogs-cow’s or goat’s milk heated to 27 °C;
- From a month-liquid milk porridge, boiled minced meat, mashed vegetables;
- 2 months-porridge with the addition of pieces of vegetables and meat, cottage cheese, and kefir (separately);
- 3 months – porridge with meat, offal or boiled minced fish, vegetables, yogurt without additives or kefir (separate meal);
- 4 months – thick porridge with the addition of raw meat, liver or eggs, boiled cartilage and calf bones, fermented dairy products;
- 5-7 months – porridge with meat broth, fillet of sea fish, raw meat or sea fish, fruits, and vegetables.
Note!!! After six months, meat and offal should occupy at least 30% of the diet, and after a year, at least 50%.
How to Feed an Adult German Shepherd
Although meat is the main component in the diet of an adult German Shepherd, it is impossible to feed the dog with this product alone. When organizing the feeding of a black, zonal, or cheprachny German Shepherd at home, it is necessary to follow the following principles for drawing up a daily diet::
- 50% Protein
- 30% Carbs
- 20% Fat
The protein can be meat, eggs, cottage cheese, fish, or offal, which dogs eat perfectly. Carbohydrates are most often represented by vegetables and porridge, fats-vegetable oil.
In 1 Year
The daily volume of food of a one-year-old German Shepherd dog with two meals is 1.2-1.3 kg; that is, at one time it eats from 500 to 650 g. Up to 1.5 years of age, the German Shepherd is still forming bones, so the menu should include foods rich in calcium, special vitamin complexes, or the usual calcium gluconate.
At 2 Years Old
After the 1st year of life, you can try a combination diet. Experiments should be delayed in case of diarrhea, vomiting, or decreased activity.
In 2 years, the dog’s nature becomes clear, so experts advise you to make a diet considering the German’s activity and behavior. So, too active dogs need more carbohydrates, a source of energy. Calm phlegmatic people are shown protein and simple carbohydrates, but at the same time, fats in their diet should minimize.
At 3 Years Old
The diet of a three-year-old German Shepherd is considered already established. The dog has developed certain eating habits; the owner knows what his pet prefers to eat. The basis of the menu is still raw meat or offal; any vegetables and herbs are used as fiber.
Note!!! Adult German Shepherds are not averse to eating fruits and berries. From cereals, they eat buckwheat, barley groats, and rice well.
Dry Food Supply
Dry food is an option for those who want to save time and want the pet to receive all the necessary vitamins and trace elements. You can give such food to a German Shepherd no more than twice a day. If we are talking about a combined diet, it is better to feed the dog in the evening since the finished product is more calorific and nutritious.
How to Feed a German Shepherd?
All industrial feeds are divided into 3 categories:
- Super-premium class and holistic features
- Premium class
- Economy class
The difference between feeds is not so much in the cost but their composition. When making an economy class product, cheap offal, low-grade cereals, and soy are used.
Proper dog feeding organization involves using super-premium, premium-class, or holistic feeds. High-quality industrial feed will allow you to maintain the health and activity of the German Shepherd throughout its life.
How Much Should a German Shepherd Eat a Day?
Often, owners of German Shepherds have a question about how much dry food a German Shepherd eats per day and whether it is necessary to introduce natural ingredients (vegetables, sour milk) into its diet. An adult German Shepherd dog eats 2 times a day: during the day and in the evening.
It is suggested to provide the dog food according to the feeding schedule. The manufacturer indicates the optimal dosage on the packaging. The dry food volume depends on the dog’s weight and activity. For an adult dog, 250-350 g of dry food is enough for one meal. However, it can vary from 450 to 530 g per day, subject to normal activity.
Since the composition is balanced, you do not need to feed a straight dog. The daily norm of German Shepherd food is 1.5 litres if we are talking about a straight woman. You can diversify the diet with wet food (ready-made canned food), which should not mix with anything.
Feeding With Natural Food
You must be prepared for significant time costs when organizing food with natural food.
Table of feeding a German Shepherd dog with natural food with the division of the diet into BZHU.
|BZHU and vitamins||Source products|
|Squirrels||Beef, sea fish (boneless), poultry, eggs, cheese (small amounts)|
|Fats||Vegetable oil (sunflower, linseed, sesame, olive), fish oil|
|Carbohydrates||Cereals, breadcrumbs (lightly dried rye bread)|
|Vitamins||Ground eggshells, calcium gluconate, fruit (apples, watermelon)|
|Probiotics||Cottage cheese, kefir, natural yogurt, curdled milk|
|Additional supplements||Gelatin, brewer’s yeast|
Black German Shepherds are happy to eat a straight dog, but this type of food requires the additional introduction of vitamin complexes into the diet since it is tough to balance such a diet on your own.
Many breeders practice combined nutrition, in which the dog’s diet includes both natural and industrial feeds. The key guideline is that you can’t mix dry straight food and pellets. It is advisable to follow. The best option is to give ready-made food in the morning and natural in the evening. At the same time, the volume of industrial feed should be reduced by half.
Read More: Can an Adult Dog Eat Puppy Food?
Menu for an Adult German Shepherd
When making a menu for an adult German Shepherd, you need to consider the feeding regime, the dog’s activity, and the peculiarities of its health.
Daily and daily rations must include cereals, fermented dairy products, raw or baked vegetables, and meat. It is equally important for the German Shepherd to observe the drinking regime.
Fruits, berries, and fish should be introduced carefully, following the body’s reaction, and no more than 2-3 times a week.
A table can represent the weekly menu of a German Shepherd dog on a natural diet.
|Day of the week||Morning||Evening|
|Monday||Buckwheat porridge with meat or offal, grated carrots or bell pepper||Rice with cottage cheese, breadcrumbs|
|Tuesday||Buckwheat porridge with chicken, grated zucchini||Pearl barley with offal, egg|
|Wednesday||Buckwheat with boiled sea fish, greens with vegetable oil||Kefir, buckwheat porridge, dried bread|
|Thursday||Rice with liver, apples, zucchini||Cottage cheese, greens, buckwheat porridge|
|Friday||Boiled offal with grated carrots, buckwheat||Yogurt, crackers, vegetable oil, fruit|
|Saturday||Oatmeal porridge, pumpkin, raw tripe||Fermented baked milk, barley porridge, apple|
|Sunday||Beef, rice, radish, vegetable oil||Egg, boiled fish, rice, herbs|
Fish and eggs should give no more than twice a week; otherwise, it will lead to vitamin B deficiency and digestive disorders.
How to Properly Feed a German Shepherd?
The organization of proper feeding of a German Shepherd dog implies the implementation of several recommendations:
- Food should be at room temperature.
- A bowl of water should always be filled.
- You cannot feed the animal immediately before or after the walk (it is fraught with inversion of the intestines).
You can calculate a dog’s daily food allowance and serving size using special online calculators, where you need to specify the weight and age of the pet.
Vegetables for the German Shepherd
Vegetables German Shepherd can eat both raw and in boiled or baked form. Tomatoes must first peel, and the rest of the vegetables should preferably be cut into small pieces or grated.
Read More: Healthy Vegetables for German Shepherd
What Kind of Porridge (Groats) is Better to Feed a German Shepherd?
Oatmeal, buckwheat, barley groats, pearl barley, rice, including wild-all these cereals can be safely introduced into the diet of the German Shepherd. For puppies, porridge is cooked in milk; for adult dogs-in meat broth or water with the addition of meat, fish, or offal.
What Kind of Meat Can You Give a German Shepherd?
Meat is the main source of protein. The diet of an adult German Shepherd can include beef, poultry, offal, beef ears and noses, and chicken necks. The exception is pork, which is not allowed for dogs.
How Much Meat Does a German Shepherd Need Per Day?
A healthy adult dog can eat up to 700-800 g of meat daily. An adult German Shepherd needs approximately 300-350 grams of raw beef or poultry daily during one meal.
Fish and Eggs in the Dog’s Diet
Sea fish, previously peeled from the bones and boiled without salt and spices, is given to the German Shepherd 1-2 times a week. The same goes for eggs. They are given both raw and boiled, but according to experts, raw protein is more beneficial for an adult German Shepherd.
Vitamin and Mineral Supplements for Dogs
The best way to balance your diet is to purchase special vitamin and mineral complexes. German Shepherds, especially puppies, are sensitive to their food’s calcium, retinol, and vitamin B content.
In the absence of such complexes, calcium glycerophosphate can be added to the feed (for puppies). The source of ascorbic acid for an adult dog will be Bulgarian pepper; such complexes will compensate vitamin D as Kanvit or Polydex Gelabon Plus and glucosamine (prevention of dysplasia) – by the drugs Chondro and Gelakan Darling.
German Shepherd’s Favorite Food
Like all dogs, German Shepherds’ favorite food is meat. They especially like beef ears because of their high protein content. As a treat, dogs perceive some sweet fruits and berries, for example, strawberries, raspberries, and apples. All of these items can be given to a shepherd dog as a reward during training.
What Foods Should Not Be Given to a German Shepherd?
The German Shepherd is strictly forbidden for a variety of products. These are:
- Potatoes and legumes
- Grapes and citrus fruits
- Sorrel and rhubarb
- Chocolate, sugar-containing products
- Baked goods and soft bread
- Sausages and smoked products
Also, German Shepherds should not be given chicken or pork bones (unlike beef).
Read More: What Can German Shepherds Not Eat?
How to Feed a Foaled German Shepherd?
When the dog is foaled, its diet increases the content of fermented milk products and reduces the amount of meat, replacing it with fish – a natural source of phosphorus and calcium. They also increase the number of vegetables and fruits and give special vitamin complexes along with the food.
Nutrition of German Shepherds With Health Problems
German Shepherds often suffer from obesity, dysplasia, pancreatitis, and liver diseases. These diagnoses require a review of the usual diet.
If you are obese, reduce the number of portions, remove crackers from the menu, reduce the volume of cereals, replacing them with vegetables. Dysplasia can develop as early as two months of age; in this case, the protein component is increased in the diet, and chondoprotectors are prescribed. Pancreatitis in a German Shepherd is accompanied by a decrease in fiber, a decrease in calories, and a breakdown into a larger number of meals (up to 4 times a day).
A Proper Diet is a Key to Your Dog’s Health.
Choosing the type of food, feeding regime, and drawing up a diet falls on the shoulders of the owner of a German Shepherd. Quality should always be a priority because a well-designed diet guarantees your beloved pet’s health and long life.
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