The Best Dog Food for Young German Shepherd

Dogs would probably eat any food they’re offered, including cat food! But, we already know that some types of food wouldn’t benefit them that much. And certain food mixes, could have detrimental effects on the puppy’s health. 

If you want your German Shepherd to grow healthy and reach its full size, then read on! This is a selection of the finest dog food brands for this breed. And by the end of the article. We’ll reveal the best dog food for your German Shepherd. 

The 5 Best Types of Dog Food for your Young GSD

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Here’s a roundup of the best dog food brands you can offer your German Shepherd pup. They have the right amount of nutrients and they come from clean sources. We picked them at different price points, so there’s a clear flexibility for any budget. 

Wellness Complete Health Large Breed Puppy Recipe

Wellness Natural Pet Food Complete Health Natural Dry Large Breed Puppy Food, Chicken, Salmon & Rice, 30-Pound Bag
  • This large breed puppy dry dog food's #1 ingredient is chicken; high quality protein with wholesome grains like rice
  • Our crunchy kibble has no meat byproducts, fillers, or artificial preservatives
  • Designed to support the unique health needs of larger dogs through nutrient-rich whole foods
  • Made in the USA using only the finest globally sourced ingredients
  • Spend a lifetime with Wellness natural dog food; we offer recipes for puppy, adult, and senior dogs as well as grain free dog treats, meal toppers, and wet food options too

Rich in a variety of vitamins and minerals that come from fresh and raw all-natural ingredients, it contains proteins to maintain healthy muscles and keep up your dog’s energy. You’ll also find omega-3s and omega-6s for the healthy development of your GSD’s brain, eyes, and his coat.

This formula contains deboned chicken, salmon meal, and ground brown rice. There are also fruits and vegetables, such as apples, blueberries, sweet potatoes, peas, and carrots. All these ingredients work at preventing health problems and provide him with the right balance of nutrients and minerals.

There are no animal by-products, artificial colors or flavors, preservatives, grains or gluten. This makes it a healthy, nutritious choice that meets all of your growing puppy’s needs.


  • Has fresh and raw ingredients like boned chicken
  • Contains blueberries and spinach for antioxidants
  • The ingredients include flax seeds for a better coat
  • Rich in protein, omega-3, and omega-6 fatty acids
  • Gives energy of about 402 kcal/cup


  • Contains rice which could be an allergen for some German Shepherds
  • The Ziploc-type closure at the top doesn’t always close properly
  • It’s a bit pricey

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Large Breed Puppy Food

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Natural Puppy Large Breed Dry Dog Food, Chicken and Brown Rice 30-lb
  • REAL MEAT FIRST: Blue Buffalo foods always feature real meat as the first ingredient; High-quality protein from real chicken helps your dog build and maintain healthy muscles; Plus they contain wholesome whole grains, garden veggies and fruit
  • FOR LARGE BREED PUPPIES: BLUE Life Protection Formula Large Breed Puppy Food supports healthy muscle growth and contains DHA and ARA (important fatty acids found in mother’s milk) to support cognitive function and retinal health
  • ANTIOXIDANT-RICH LIFESOURCE BITS: A precise blend of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals carefully selected by holistic veterinarians and animal nutritionists to support immune system health, life stage needs and a healthy oxidative balance
  • A NATURAL DOG FOOD: BLUE dry dog food is made with the finest natural ingredients enhanced with vitamins and minerals; BLUE contains NO chicken (or poultry) by-product meals, corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors or preservatives
  • Contains one (1) 30 lb. Bag of BLUE Life Protection Formula Large Breed Puppy Dry Dog Food, Chicken and Brown Rice

This is one dog food that has it all, everything from protein to veggies to fruits to brown rice. It’s also rich in antioxidants to help maintain a healthy immune system, plus probiotics for smooth, problem-free digestion.

In addition, there are also healthy levels of vitamins, such as vitamin B12, D, and many others. Blue Buffalo has also included healthy sources of omega-3 fatty acids, such as Menhaden Fish Meal, and sources of omega-6 fatty acids, such as Flaxseed.

Blue Buffalo vehemently opposes any artificial ingredients. So this formula contains no by-products, grains, artificial colors or flavors, and no gluten.


  • High content of real meat
  • Has a good mix of fruits and vegetables
  • Has a calculated amount of minerals and vitamins
  • includes healthy fatty acids
  • Contains sufficient antioxidants
  • Offers 386 kcal/cup
  • Budget-friendly price


  • May cause loose stool

Orijen Puppy

ORIJEN Dog Puppy Recipe, 13lb, High-Protein Grain-Free Dry Puppy Food, Packaging May Vary
  • ORIJEN Puppy dog food delivers a diet rich and varied in fresh, whole animal ingredients from free-run chicken and turkey, wild-caught fish, and cage-free eggs
  • With 85% quality animal ingredients, ORIJEN nourishes dogs according to their natural, biological needs
  • Using fresh and raw animal ingredients, including meat, organs, cartilage, and bone, ORIJEN is the Biologically Appropriate, grain-free diet that dogs have evolved to eat
  • Our Fresh Regional Ingredients are supplied by people we know and trust, and are delivered to our kitchen fresh or raw, in their most natural and nourishing form

Orijen is a product that prides itself on making high quality, all-natural dog food that aims at meeting all your dog’s nutritional needs. It contains chicken and turkey meat, cartilage, bone, and organs. There’s also cage-free eggs.

You’ll also find wild-caught fish, such as mackerel, herring, and flounder. All these ingredients together provide your GSD with a well-balanced, nutritious diet to preserve his energy and his health, both on the outside and the inside.

Orijen Puppy is grain-free and gluten-free. Plus, it’s low in carbs, giving your dog the same ratio of ingredients that he needs to grow and develop.


  • Grain-free diet for muscular strong dogs
  • Varied proteins from different sources
  • High percentage of natural dog food
  • Naturally enhanced flavors
  • Has a low-glycemic factor
  • Gives around 454 kcal/cup of energy


  • Change in manufacturing from Canada to Kentucky varied the recipe a bit
  • Might cause a change in stool consistency and a dull coat in some GSDs

Instinct Raw Boost Grain-Free Recipe for Large Breed Puppies

Instinct Raw Boost Large Breed Puppy Food, Grain Free High Protein Kibble + Freeze Dried Raw Dry Puppy Food, 20 lb. Bag
  • GRAIN FREE PUPPY FOOD WITH FREEZE DRIED RAW CAGE FREE CHICKEN: Instinct Raw Boost dry dog food combines high protein, grain free kibble with all natural bites of freeze dried raw chicken. Cage free chicken is the #1 ingredient - for energy to grow & play
  • PUPPY DOG FOOD PLUS FREEZE DRIED RAW PIECES: Made with calcium & phosphorus for strong teeth and bones plus natural DHA for brain & eye development. Made without grain, potato, corn, wheat, soy, by product meal, artificial colors or preservatives.
  • THE FIRST RAW BOOSTED LARGE BREED PUPPY KIBBLE: Raw Boost mixes natural, high protein, grain free dog food with our freeze dried raw dog food toppers in one bag. Also includes probiotics and omegas. Complete & balanced nutrition for large breed puppies.
  • POWER OF RAW INGREDIENTS: Our dog food is made with the pure, real nutrition of raw. Raw is natural, made from real meat & whole food ingredients, protein packed & minimally processed. Made in the USA with the finest ingredients from around the world.
  • OUR BEST DOG FOOD FOR PUPPIES BOOSTED WITH RAW: We craft dry & wet dog food from real ingredients. Compare Instinct to Blue Buffalo, Rachel Ray, Hills Science Diet, Purina One, Taste of the Wild, Merrick, Natural Balance, Wellness, Orijen, Royal Canin.

This hearty formula is rich with nutrients and minerals, such as protein for strong muscles and a shiny coat. It’s also rich in DHA, one of the 3 omega-3s which helps maintain the healthy development of your dog’s eyes, skin, and brain.

There’s also a fine balance between calcium and phosphorus, both which work at keeping your dog’s gums and teeth in good shape. It’s grain-free and gluten-free.

It’s also low in carbs, yet high in antioxidants which strengthen the immune system, and probiotics to maintain the flow of the digestive system.


  • High protein fortified with raw ingredients
  • Rich in healthy fatty acids
  • Offers approximately 495 kcal/cup of pure energy


  • May contain allergens that cause diarrhea

Royal Canin Large Puppy Dry Dog Food

Royal Canin Large Puppy Dry Dog Food, 35 Pounds
  • Royal Canin large puppy dry dog food (formerly Maxi Puppy) is tailor-made for large breed puppies with an expected adult weight of 56-100 pounds
  • Promotes healthy growth for their bones and joints through a specialized blend of minerals
  • Supports developing immune systems with an exclusive blend of antioxidants and vitamins
  • Exclusive kibble design encourages puppies to chew thoroughly
  • Highly digestible proteins and prebiotics help promote optimal digestive health and stool quality

One of the unique factors found in this dog food is its exclusive kibble design that allows for easy chewing. It’s a great formula that consists of all the right balance of ingredients that promote your GSD’s health and development.

It contains an array of antioxidants to boost his immune system, in addition to healthy fatty acids. It’s also rich in probiotics and prebiotics to help promote the health of your dog’s digestive system.

It’s free of grains, gluten, preservatives, artificial colors, and flavors.


  • Carefully formulated ingredients 
  • Targets healthy growth in all aspects
  • Exclusive kibble design
  • Gives a moderate amount of energy 352 kcal/cup


  • It’s an expensive product
  • May cause loose stool due to the presence of corn and rice

How The Type of Food Affects Your German Shepherd? 

The first thing that pops into your mind when you think of German Shepherds, or GSDs, is how versatile they are, and their ability to adapt to almost anything they’re trained to do.

Their love of physical exercise puts them at a higher risk of putting extra strain on their joints than other kinds of dogs. Their skin is also more sensitive in spite of their denser coat which must be carefully brushed quite a few times a week.

All these factors combined make finding the right dog food for young GSDs an absolute necessity to maintain his health and development from his puppy days all the way into adulthood.

You can prevent your GSD from acquiring almost any type of disease by choosing the best dog food for your young German Shepherd.

  1. As a newborn, your GSD should nurse on milk for the first 6 – 8 weeks. This greatly boosts his immune system. It also maintains a healthy blood flow, ensuring that his organs are working and developing at a normal rate.
  2. From 6 – 8 weeks, feed him a large-breed puppy dog formula until he’s 12 – 16 weeks.
  3. Finally, swap the puppy formula with a large-breed adult formula that has more protein to sustain your GBD’s muscle mass.
  4. It’s important to remember that augmenting your dog’s diet with glucosamine and chondroitin, 2 dietary supplements, will help strengthen his joints and bones.

The Essential Ingredients of Dog Food

According to the AAFCO nutrient profiles, these are the best components for your dog:

Healthy Fats and Oils

Healthy fats and oils aid your dog’s body in the absorption process of certain vitamins (A, E, K, and D). They also maintain the health of his coat and skin.

Meat Proteins

Proteins provide your GSD with amino acids which play a vital role in cell production. Proteins also boost his immune system and keep your dog’s coat healthy and shiny

The Right Ratio Between Calcium and Phosphorus

This is important to prevent a surplus or insufficient supply of calcium because both can lead to major and painful bone problems. 

GSDs have a high risk of musculoskeletal problems that can start while they’re small and continue well into their adult years.

Omega-3s and Omega-6s

Many types of healthy fatty acids that fall into this category, like DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid which is crucial for healthy brain and eye development. 

One type of omega-6 is ARA which is crucial for cognitive health, as well as keeping the retina healthy and problem-free.

How Often Should I Feed my GSD Puppy

At about 4 weeks old, your puppy should be getting 4 meals a day of solid food. Once he turns 4 months old, he can start eating from 2 to 3 meals per day. Then from 12 months onward, give him 2 meals a day.

According to the Canine Journal, each meal should be as follows:

  • Newborn puppies up to 16 weeks old: ½ cup – 1 cup
  • From 16 weeks – 9 months old: 1 cup – 1 ¾ cup
  • From 9 months – 12 months old: 2 cups – 2 ½ cups
  • From 12 months Old to Adulthood: 2 ½ cups – 3 ½ cups

This break down of meals protects your dog from bloating which is a serious problem for GSDs. It occurs if they eat too much at one time, or are active right after eating. So remember to give them a chance to rest for at least thirty minutes after each meal.

Easy access to fresh water is necessary for your dog. They’re so active, they can get dehydrated if they’re not given ample amounts of water throughout the day.


For an exclusive kibble design that facilitates chewing and swallowing, then you should give Royal Canin Large Puppy Dry Dog Food a try. Besides containing all the necessary ingredients to maintain your puppy’s health, it’s designed to ease the digestive process and prevent any health problems from occurring.

For the best price, definitely go with the Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Large Breed Puppy Food. It’ll provide your puppy with all the nutrients he needs and at a great price.

Make sure you check with your veterinarian to ensure you’ve picked the best dog food for your young german shepherd. Choosing the right food for him will ensure a diet full of healthy nutrients that’s full of delicious flavor as well.