German Shepherds are known for their size and energy. They are excellent guard dogs and need a nutritious and wholesome diet to keep them healthy throughout the day. There are a lot of factors that need to be considered when deciding how much dogs are supposed to eat every day, as not feeding your dog the right quantity can cause obesity or malnutrition.
An adult German Shepherd must be fed at least twice a day, preferably in the morning and evening. They require about 2.5 to 3.5 cups of food per day, depending on their size, weight, age, gender, and physical activity.
It is important to remember that every German Shepherd is unique as it lives in different environments. Hence, you will need to consider quite a few factors to avoid over or under-feeding your dog. These factors vary between dogs, so you need to look into each category carefully before deciding upon a meal plan. Let’s dive into the details!
Size and Weight
The size and weight of your dog play a part in how much your dog must eat. When it comes to the size, you must remember that your German Shepherd comes under a category known as large-breed dogs.
This is an important factor because dog food manufacturers make kibble for two types of dogs, large-breeds and small-breeds. This ensures that your dog receives the nutrition it requires in the right quantity. So if you end up feeding your German Shepherd small-breed dog food, it can prevent your pet from getting the nutrition it needs.
If you are looking for high-quality large-breed dog food, I suggest you check out Purina Pro Plan Large & Giant Breed, which is a large-breed dog formula and is one of the highest-rated dog foods on Amazon.
When considering the weight of the dog, most German Shepherds weigh almost the same, which is around 66 to 88 pounds (30 to 40 kg). However, in certain cases, dogs can either be obese or malnourished. So if you find your dog weighing way over or under the average weight, you may want to increase or decrease the quantity of food accordingly.
Age plays an important role in deciding the quantity of food your pet must eat. There are three main age categories that help decide the feeding plan of a dog. Let us have a look at this below.
German Shepherd Puppy
German Shepherd puppies grow rapidly between the first 6 to 8 months. During this time, they require a lot of nutrition to help them grow into healthy adult dogs. However, feeding them adult dog food or even small-breed dog food can greatly affect their bodies as they may ingest the wrong quantities of calories, carbs, and calcium. Hence, it is best to find large-breed puppy food, which will give them the right quantity of food and nutrition that they need.
Purina Pro Plan Dry Puppy Food is a variant that is designed for large-breed puppies and can be used for the first 12 months of their lives. During this time, it is ideal to give them 3 or 4 regulated small servings per day. As they grow older, you can increase the quantity gradually.
Adult German Shepherd
After about a year and a half, German Shepherds have usually reached their full height and weight. Your German Shepherd can now begin to have proper adult food. As an adult, they can be fed 2 to 3 cups of food per day. It is also important to remember that as an adult, their metabolism slows down so they may not have as much of an appetite as they did when they were puppies.
Senior German Shepherd
A senior German Shepherd may need to be fed a little less when compared to a healthy adult. This is because his physical activity may have reduced, causing him to not use his energy.
If your dog’s weight is still on the healthier side, you don’t need to worry about over-feeding him. It is also good to consult your vet about his diet once he is over seven years old, as he may be in need of supplements for bone and hip health.
Male German Shepherds always weigh a little more than female German Shepherds; hence, you may have to reduce the feed for a female. While an adult male weighs around 66 to 88 pounds (30 to 40 kg), a female weighs only around 48 to 70 pounds (22 to 32 kg).
Some dogs are physically active and require more energy than dogs who are not active. To know how much food your dog needs, just remember that an active adult German Shepherd will require 55 calories per pound/kg of their weight. So if an adult weighs 77 pounds (35 kg), they will need to ingest 1925 calories per day.
Similarly, if the adult German Shepherd is fairly inactive, you will only need to feed it 40 calories per pound/kg of their weight. So that will add up to 1400 calories per day for an adult who weighs 77 pounds (35kg).
Take note that the calculation may differ if your dog suffers from health problems that are related to its metabolism or digestion. In such cases, it is best to visit the vet and find the right amount of food intake your dog will need.
Dry Food and Wet Food
If you haven’t had a dog before, this may come as a surprise to you. Dogs have two types of food, dry and wet. The Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition recommends feeding your dog a balanced diet where he gets 50% of calories from wet food and the other 50% from dry food. If you haven’t tried out wet foods before, you can check out PEDIGREE Chopped Ground Dinner.
The main difference between wet and dry food is moisture content. By giving your dog a mix or wet and dry foods, you help with his digestion and also help him hydrate if he doesn’t drink enough water. If you’re following a diet that involves both wet and dry foods, you can feed him wet food during the day and dry food for his evening meal, or vice versa!
An additional benefit of using both types of food is that your dog will not get tired of having just one type of food, and this will help diversify his diet.
It is recommended that you keep your dog treats under 10% of the total amount of calories he eats in a day. This is because over-feeding your dog with snacks can end up spoiling his appetite and will result in him not being able to consume a full and nutritious meal.
All dogs require a wholesome diet, which gives them the right amount of protein, fats, carbohydrates, fibers, vitamins, and minerals. When choosing the diet for your German Shepherd, the most important factors you need to take into consideration are his size, weight, and physical activity.
If you are unsure about the calorie intake for your pet, you can use a reliable online calculator like Pet Nutrition Alliance, which will help you with nutritional assessments and recommendations.
This article summarizes all the facts you must consider before deciding on how much you feed your dog. Based on the information presented here, you must be able to come up with the right feeding plan for your German Shepherd.