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Hi guys, this is David from K9 SuperHeroes and today we are going to look at 11 Proven German Shepherd Diet Tips.
It’s easy to tell between a healthy German Shepherd and an unhealthy one. Healthy German Shepherds have bundles of energy, a shiny coat, and bright, awake and alert eyes.
With German Shepherds, their health can be determined by many factors, some of it is genetic, some of it environmental and some of it nutritional.
Your GSD’s nutrition is going to play the biggest factor outside of genetics for their health and life expectancy, so make sure you get it right.
Having worked with thousands of GSD owners around the world I cannot tell you how many owners have got nutrition wrong. Some owners are ignorant and some owners want to save money buying cheap food.
It can be tough to know what to do sometimes, but when it comes down to GSD nutrition, it’s really simple, just follow these 11 proven tips.
1) Correct Feeding Amounts
This is a big one that owners get wrong a lot, they overfeed or underfeed, and to be fair, it’s tough to know what amount to feed as there is no ‘set’ amount.
Most manufacturers will have a recommendation of how much to feed based on size, but you also have to take into consideration, age, energy levels, exercise, and metabolism.
I recommend consulting your vet if unsure.
And if you notice significant weight gain or loss, adjust their food accordingly. One tip that a lot of owners use are food delivery providers, who make breed-specific food for your dogs, size, and age, and delivery it all straight to your door, check out MyOllie.com who make the highest quality GSD food.
2) Dogs Can Eat Healthy Human Food Too
It’s a myth that dogs can’t eat human food. In fact, you should, but be careful about how much and what food that is. You can feed your GSD 15% of their diet on human food.
This can be certain fruits, bread, vegetables, and meat. Fresh food is especially good for GSD’s because of the natural enzymes that are present in them. Commercial dog foods don’t have these enzymes.
3) Feed Your German Shepherd Several Times a Day
I’ve seen and heard of a lot of owners who simply fill their dogs bowl up once a day and leave it out. This is bad practice for several reasons.
Firstly, it’s not hygienic, if left out all day, all sorts of bugs and germs will find their way in. Secondly, if your GSD is a puppy and they are being trained, it’s going to make their job harder because food routines work in conjunction with their need to relieve themselves, which is usually done after eating.
Lastly, and possibly most importantly, your dog needs to know that you are the provider of the food, this aids with training, obedience, and general attitude towards you. Aim to feed them 2-3 times per day.
4) Be wary of dog food advertisements in general
The pet food industry is gigantic in the USA, the market is worth $24.6bn per year and a large segment of that market is dog food. There are literally thousands of brands to choose from, some good, some bad.
So, when you watch adverts of healthy-looking dogs on adverts, remember, the goal is profit for these companies, which isn’t always a bad thing, but sometimes they do take shortcuts and your dog pays the price for it.
Back in 2007, there were huge recalls across the USA for dog food as they were contaminated by melamine.
This resulted in many pets having lethargy, kidney failures, depression, diarrhea, and vomiting. According to the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA), there were almost 8,500 deaths during this time.
Even in much less extreme circumstances, a lot of these manufacturers do not provide adequate nutrition in their food. You will notice this in foods that are very high in grains which have almost no nutritional value in them.
You may also notice this in foods that are a by-product of kidneys, stomach, bone, intestines, and spleen, avoid these foods, they will do your dog no good as the protein in them metabolizes poorly.
To ensure you are feeding your GSD the right food, check the labels, and consult your veterinarians. You want to be maintaining a healthy balance of protein, carbohydrates, and fats. The protein needs to be coming from food that uses muscle meat.
It can be hard to know which foods to trust and buy.
From us talking to literally thousands of German Shepherd owners, there is a real range of different companies who make great food and bad food. There are 2 that companies that owners generally seem to be very happy with:
Royal Canin German Shepherd Food for Adults – You can buy this from Amazon here.
Royal Canin German Shepherd Food for Puppies – You can buy this from Amazon here.
Victor Hi-Pro Plus – You can buy this from Amazon here.
5) If Commercial Dog Foods Don’t Work for your GSD, Feed them Homemade Diets
Some German Shepherds are unlucky and have allergies to a lot of the ingredients found in commercial foods, such as beef, wheat, and lamb.
This can prove a real worry for owners because they find themselves out of options very quickly. If you find yourself in this situation, consult a dog food expert to find out what homemade meals could be used for your GSD.
Make sure that the correct nutrition is maintained and watch out for overfeeding as this can become common with homemade meals.
6) Foods That You Should Avoid Giving Your Dog
There are some foods that are an absolute no-go for your GSD. Avoid chocolate, raisins, grapes, macadamia nuts, and onions which are all toxic. Also avoid spicy, greasy, or too salty foods which can lead to sickness, destroying your carpet in the process.
7) Do Not Change the German Shepherd Diet Abruptly and Give Time for Nutritional Changes
If you do decide to change your dog’s German Shepherd diet for any given reason, be sure not to do it all at once.
You should mix the foods such that your dog has 25% new food and 75% old food for a week.
Then if your dog is doing well with this change, increase it to a 50-50 proportion for another week.
Finally, change this proportion to 75% of new food and 25% of old food during week 3 before completely changing your dog’s diet in week 4. The reason for this is to not upset your dog’s stomach.
A similar approach for nutritional changes, give your dog time to get used to new diets, don’t go changing the nutritional value week in, week out.
8) Supplements Are Key
This is a big one that the vast of GSD owners don’t do often enough.
Supplements are a key factor in supporting your GSD’s nutrition. Supplements are not wonder drugs; they are supposed to work alongside a correct diet.
The most key supplement is for your GSD’s joint, as we all know, they can suffer awfully from arthritis & his dysplasia. Make sure you get your dog onto supplements ASAP as they are kind of like having thousands of little vets working inside your dog to keep their joints well lubricated and healthy.
Even dogs already experiencing these problems, can have great pain relief and mobility improvement qualities.
Glucosamine, Chondroitin, and MSM are the main ingredients you should look out for.
There are plenty of other supplements out there, hemp oils & CBD treats, in particular, seem to be very popular, even with no official evidence released just yet, the anecdotal evidence seems overwhelmingly positive when administered to dogs, improving mobility, decreasing pain, and improving overall mood.
9) Don’t Underestimate the Power of Water
Just like with humans, water plays a huge role for your dog, 70% of their body weight is water! And while food is important, water is equally as important.
Make sure their bowl always has water in it and don’t assume that tap water will be fine for them. If traveling, make sure you bring water from home as taps in the outside world can cause stomach upsets.
10) Feeding Bones to Your German Shepherd?
While German Shepherd dogs have powerful jaws and could crack, splinter, and swallow smaller bones, this can cause not only choking but also damage to the gastrointestinal tract of your dog.
Be extremely careful about giving your German Shepherd any bones. One of my old Lurcher dogs passed away from this sadly.
Avoid cooked bones. If you are going to give them one, make sure it’s a sturdy bone for their size, and if it’s raw make sure you supervise them.
If you are wanting to avoid bones but are struggling to find suitable toys, consider using the Super Chewer box made by Barkbox, this is a monthly box that is filled with durable toys and chews made for large breeds like German Shepherds. You can check them out here.
11) Use Food Delivery Services For The Perfect German Shepherd Diet
This option is becoming more and more popular for dog owners. Getting the diet right is tough and the truth is, there are companies out there who do it right. These are great because they save you all the hassle, preparation, and time involved with feeding.
There are some providers out there who make very high-quality breed-specific foods, taking into consideration, age, size, and energy levels of your dog and delivering them straight to your doorstep.
On another note, as an owner are you worried about German Shepherd joint & hip problems? If so, get our FREE guide called ‘The Experts Guide to Avoiding Joint Problems in German Shepherds’ here.
So, in conclusion, your GSD’s diet is vital for their health. It can take some time and some effort to learn what is best for them, but make sure you take this seriously as some owners just don’t, which then comes back to bite them in large vet bills or a dog that doesn’t live as long as it should. There are tons of resources you can use to help, such as the delivery services.
I hope you have found these tips useful. Also, check out our blog post on 8 Proven German Shepherd Health Tips, for more awesome general GSD health information.
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