From their keen alertness to their unbridled loyalty, the German Shepherd (GSD) is one of the favorite breeds for many dog keepers. These creatures are lovable, intelligent, and smart, but a big part of taking care of them is knowing what they feed on. So, what do German Shepherds like to eat?
German Shepherds like to eat most human foods, including meat, fish, milk, beans, vegetables, and certain fruits. They are not picky eaters and will consume virtually any food you place in front of them. However, not all foods are safe for your German Shepherd to eat.
The article will explain in detail the various foods that German Shepherds eat, human foods you can feed them and those you should avoid, and how much is safe for them to eat.
What Human Foods Do German Shepherds Eat?
Although each dog has its preferences, a German Shepherd will eat cheese, fruits, vegetables, and anything containing beef, seafood, and chicken.
Examples of these foods are hot dogs, watermelon, apples, beef, pork, carrots, potato, rice, yogurt, and cooked eggs. These are foods that German Shepherds naturally get attracted to. However, not all these foods agree with their stomachs.
Unlike other dogs who only develop sensitive stomachs much later in life, GSDs have them from birth. By including certain things in their diet, you’re putting them at risk of digestive problems and gastrointestinal issues. This may not be a problem with every German Shepherd, but it is common in most of them.
No one wants to see their dog with an upset stomach. So, it is important to control what your GSD eats and keep an eye on him always. If you notice any changes in his outputs, talk to your vet immediately. If your GSD has a very sensitive stomach, you may have to take him for tests to find out what to eliminate from his diet.
What Should You Feed Your German Shepherd?
German shepherds, both puppies and adults, require meals balanced in nutrients and proportions to enable them to keep up with agility expectations. They are large and energetic dogs and require protein in large quantities. It helps to build up their energy and develop their muscles.
Also, fat is necessary for the maintenance of a fine coat. Good sources of dietary fat include fish oil, peanuts, and peanut butter. A good quality German Shepherd should also contain some calcium and phosphorus in the ratio 1:1 for puppies and 1.2: 1 for adults.
Meats provide GSDs with the right amount of protein, fat, and other important nutrients. GSDs are essentially carnivores and would happily share your steak or sardines with you. Pork, beef, turkey, chicken, and lamb are good sources of protein to give to your GSDs.
Keep in mind that the amount of protein in each meat varies, and you should only serve them to your dogs in moderation. Some recommend giving GSDs raw meat, but it’s best to cook or bake them to avoid food contaminations.
Bones are an essential source of calcium for your GDSs, and they are best served raw. If your GSD has a very sensitive stomach, avoid serving them cooked chicken bones.
Canines, like their feline counterparts, can tolerate and digest fish and other seafood. Fish, including salmon, sardines, trout, mackerel, and tuna, and other seafood such as shrimp and shellfish, are important sources of vitamins and minerals for your GSDs, especially in their first year of life.
Seafood, particularly raw fish, can contain salmonella and other harmful bacteria and should be served cooked. Be sure to remove small bones from the fish to avoid choking them. The recommended serving for your dog is twice per week. You may also include liver, kidneys, and gizzard in their diet but in small quantities.
Not all vegetables are safe for your dog to eat. Even those that are safe should be served in moderation. It is also a good idea to vary the kinds of vegetables to serve your dogs to ensure they’re getting enough vitamins and minerals.
Carrots are generally safe for dogs. These vegetables are a good addition to your GSD’s diet as they massively contribute to their dietary requirements. Dog food manufacturers know this, and they include it as one of the main ingredients. However, carrots should be cut into sizable chunks to avoid the possibility of choking, especially in pups.
Other vegetables that are safe for GSDs include green peas, plain or store-bought mushrooms, celery, potatoes, beets, corn, cucumbers, lettuce, green beans, spinach, and ripe tomatoes.
If you’re serving your dog tomatoes, remove the stem, leaves, and green parts. These parts contain solanine, which can cause seizures, tremors, or cardiac arrests in dogs. Potatoes should also be baked or boiled before being served to reduce solanine to harmless levels.
Just like vegetables, some fruits are harmful, some healthy, and some you need to be cautious about. Fruits don’t really count much toward your dog’s dietary requirements, but you can always give them as treats in place of dog sweets and biscuits.
Fruits such as apples, cherries, apricots, and pears are not harmful in themselves, but the seeds and pits can be extremely dangerous for your dogs. The seeds of these fruits contain cyanogenic glycosides, a potential source of cyanide poisoning for your dog. If cyanide poisoning is not immediately taken care of, it can result in the death of your dog.
If you’re giving your GSDs avocado treats, do so in moderation. Too much avocado can put your dog at risk of vomiting and diarrhea caused by a fungicidal substance known as persin.
You can also serve your dog melons and bananas but ensure you remove the peel or rind. Oranges are also safe, but some dogs don’t react to it well. Watch out for a reaction in your GSD after feeding him an orange.
Other foods you can serve your German Shepherds are nuts, wheat and grains, quinoa, rice, barley, peanut butter, and honey. You may also give them unbuttered or unsalted popcorn, and bread, although it contains no real nutritional value.
Foods You Should Never Give to Your German Shepherd
While you can feed your German Shepherd just about anything, there are certain foods you need to avoid giving them. Some of these foods are either toxic or may cause allergic reactions and digestive problems in your German Shepherd.
Here’s a list of foods you should keep out of your GSD’s reach:
- Wild mushrooms
- Chocolate, coffee, and caffeine
- Avocado in large quantities
- Onions, garlic, chives, leeks
- Fruit seeds or pits
- Fresh or dried grapes (resins)
- Rhubarb leaves
- Dairy and ice cream (depending on how your dog handles it)
If your GSDs accidentally consume one or more of these foods, consult your vet immediately. If you’re able to take care of them immediately, chances are they’ll be fine.
How Often and How Much Should You Feed Your GSD?
Naturally, the growing GSD pups are more ravenous than their mature counterparts. This is because they have higher energy levels and require a lot of calories to stay healthy and happy. You should feed your German Shepherd puppy at least 500 calories per day. As soon as he becomes a young adult, increase it to 1,500 to 1,700 calories per day.
It’s best to start with wet food for weaned puppies, at around seven weeks old. Puppies younger than four months should be served four meals per day. At about four months, reduce the meals to 3 per day until about nine months. This is the ideal time to start introducing your dog to live animal products such as eggs, liver, and bones. Avoid giving them too much of these foods.
After nine months, your puppy should be able to eat fewer meals – 2 to 3 per day. You may also give them more live animal products at this age. If you’re not sure the total amount of food to feed them per day, ask your vet for advice.
When your GSD becomes a year old, his metabolism will start to decrease slowly. At this point, they need less food, and you can serve them one large meal per day, or two regular-sized meals per day.
German Shepherds gravitate toward most human foods, but not all these foods are safe for them. GSDs have sensitive stomachs from birth, and certain foods can put them at risk of digestive problems and gastrointestinal issues.
Foods such as chocolate, coffee, caffeine, cinnamon, and alcohol should be kept out of reach of your dog. Whatever you feed to your dog, ensure it agrees with his stomach. If you’re not sure what type of food to give to your GSD, ask your vet for advice.