Homemade Dog Food for German Shepherd – A Full Guide

Whether you’re considering putting your German Shepherd on a purely homemade food diet, or you just want to give your dog the occasional homemade meal, this article is for you.

Today, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide with all the necessary information to help you make homemade dog food for your German Shepherd. We also included a few delicious recipes that you can try, so let’s not waste any time and get started!

What Nutrients Does Your German Shepherd Require?

Just like you, your German Shepherd needs a balanced diet to grow up healthy and strong. To achieve such a goal, your dog’s homemade diet should include 6 indispensable nutrients: water, proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals.

Keep in mind that the correct amounts of these nutrients vary from one dog to another depending on their weight, size, activity level, and health condition.

Here’s a breakdown of each component and why it’s an important part of your dog’s diet:

Water

As very active dogs, German Shepherds tend to lose a lot of water pretty quickly. If a dog ends up losing too much water, they can get seriously sick to the point of lethal consequences.

For this reason, hydration is vital to maintain the good health of your German Shepherd. So, make sure your dog has access to water at all times, and remember to refill their water bowl multiple times throughout the day.

Proteins

Proteins play a crucial role in the well-being of your German Shepherd. This particular nutrient is responsible for building and repairing muscles, growing hair, as well as making new skin cells. Protein also helps in the production of essential enzymes and hormones to ensure proper functions inside the body.

Sources of protein for your German Shepherd include chicken, turkey, lamb, beef, cooked eggs, yogurt, and fish.

Fats

Sourced from meats and oils (such as olive oil, fish oil, sunflower oil, and canola oil), fats provide your German Shepherd with high-quality energy. It’s also a key requirement for normal development and function of cells, nerves, muscles, and other body tissues.

Carbohydrates

Carbs are the main source of energy for dogs. Foods rich in carbohydrates (for example, potatoes, oats, and brown rice) supply their bodies with glucose.

Glucose is an essential nutrient for critical organs of the body, such as the brain and nervous system, to function properly.

Vitamins

Vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K have many benefits to offer when it comes to the general health of your German Shepherd. Vitamins help keep their skin/coat lively and shiny, strengthen their teeth and bones, as well as contribute to hundreds of body’s metabolic functions.

Minerals

Minerals (such as iron, zinc, calcium, sodium, potassium, and magnesium) are involved in vast functions inside your dog’s body including the formation of bone and cartilage, workings of nerves and muscles, regulating fluid balance, transporting oxygen in the blood, as well as producing hormones.

How Many Calories Does a German Shepherd Need Per Day?

As you probably already know, German Shepherds are quite large dogs. They typically fall somewhere between 60 and 90 pounds. 

According to the National Research Council of the National Academics, active dogs within this weight range should consume between 1,740 and 2,100 calories per day, whereas inactive or older dogs need between 1,272 and 1,540 calories per day.

If you’ve got a high-energy German Shepherd on your hands, then you should feed them according to the caloric requirement of active dogs. 

However, if your dog has arthritis or a hereditary condition (such as hip dysplasia) that caused them to be less active, then a lower-calorie diet would be a better approach to keep their weight down and avoid adding pressure on damaged joints.

Homemade Dog Food for German Shepherds – Recipes

Before putting your chef’s hat on to make any homemade dog food recipe, you should first consult your vet and run the ingredients by them to get it approved for your German Shepherd. 

They can even help you create a feeding schedule and give you insight on foods your dog can or can’t eat (certain allergies can prevent your dog from eating specific foods). 

Also, note that we didn’t include serving size in the following recipes since the portions will change depending on the weight, age, activity level, and general health condition of your German Shepherd.

That being said, let’s get down to business!

Turkey, Rice, and Vegetables Mix

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups of water
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 2 cups white or brown rice
  • ½ cup mixed frozen veggies like broccoli, cauliflower or carrots
  • Optional – 1 teaspoon dried rosemary

Directions:

  • Place all the ingredients, except for the frozen veggies, in a large pot, stir until the turkey is broken up then bring the mixture to a boil over high heat.
  • Lower the heat and let it simmer for about 20 minutes.
  • Add the frozen veggies and let the mixture cool for 5 minutes.
  • Remove, leave it to cool, and serve.

Chicken Casserole

Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • ½ cup carrots (chopped)
  • ½ cup broccoli (chopped)
  • ½ cup green beans (chopped)
  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • 4 cups of low-salt chicken broth 

Directions:

  • Remove excess fat from the chicken breasts and chop them into small chunks. 
  • Cook the chicken in a pan over medium heat until the pink color is gone.
  • Place the chicken along with the rest of the ingredients in a large pot and let the mixture cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes.
  • When the carrots become tender, remove the mixture from heat, leave it to cool, and serve.

Chicken, Quinoa, and Spinach Mix

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound chicken breast
  • 3 cups organic quinoa
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1cup frozen peas and carrots
  • 1 clove garlic (minced)
  • ½ diced apple (NO seeds)
  • 1 teaspoon parsley
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Directions: 

  • Cook quinoa using a rice cooker.
  • Cook the chicken and garlic over medium heat in a large pot with oil added until brown.
  • Add cooked quinoa to the pit and stir.
  • Lower the temperature, add the rest of the ingredients, then stir well for 3 minutes.
  • Remove, leave it to cool, and serve.

Toxic Foods You Must Never Give to a German Shepherd

You should be extremely mindful of ingredients you add in your homemade dog food for your German Shepherd. The following list includes foods that are toxic to dogs:

  • Avocado
  • Chocolate
  • Coffee
  • Grapes
  • Nuts
  • Corn on the cob
  • Mushrooms
  • Milk and dairy products
  • Raisins
  • Onions
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Raw fish
  • Yeast
  • Chives
  • Cat food
  • Cooked bones 

Final Thoughts

Incorporating the homemade factor in your German Shepherd’s food routine is an excellent way for you to control what goes into your dog’s tummy, introduce them to a healthier diet, or even tailor meals to suit certain health conditions of your dog.