If you’re the proud owner of a brand-new German Shepherd (GSD) puppy, you’re in for an amazing, frustrating, and exciting time! Obviously, a large part of owning any pet is finding them the right food so they can thrive—and they have to like it too. But there is so much dog food out there, and you may not have the time to research and shop!
We have compared the most popular foods by consumer feedback and written these reviews for the 10 best puppy foods for German Shepherd puppies. This way, you can just read, click, and buy. We hope that you’ll find just the right food for your growing puppy!
A Quick Glance at Our Favorite Choices in 2023
|Best Overall||The Farmer's Dog Fresh Dog Food||
||Click to Save 50%|
|Best Value||Iams ProActive Health Smart Large Breed Puppy Food||
|Royal Canin German Shepherd Puppy Food||
|Purina Pro Plan Large Breed Puppy Food||
|Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Puppy Food||
The 11 Best Puppy Foods for German Shepherds
1. The Farmer’s Dog Fresh Dog Food – Best Overall
|Flavor:||Turkey, Chicken, Beef or Pork|
|Size:||Calculated & preportioned per dog|
||Up to 361 kcal per 1/2 lb|
The best overall puppy food for German Shepherds is the foods from The Farmer’s Dog Fresh Dog Food. The Farmer’s Dog offers personalized plans for your dog. Not only are the foods pre-made specifically to meet your dog’s needs, but they are pre-portioned based on the individual profile you create for your pup.
Currently, they offer chicken, turkey, beef, and pork foods, and the recipes are formulated by veterinarians and nutritionists to ensure the best nutrition for your puppy. As is often the case with fresh pet food delivery options, The Farmer’s Dog foods retail for a premium price, especially for a larger puppy.
They use human-grade foods that are made without their own factory, which is held to high safety and quality standards. The eco-friendly packaging is easy to manage and open, and the pouches are easy to store in the fridge and freezer.
After you’ve placed your order, your puppy’s food will be delivered straight to your front door within days of being prepared, so you always know your dog is getting the freshest cooked foods possible.
2. Iams ProActive Smart Large Breed Puppy Food — Best Value
|Size:||15 or 30.6 lbs|
The best puppy food for the money is Iams ProActive Health Smart Large Breed Puppy Food. It’s well-priced and starts with real farm-raised chicken as the main ingredient, and it’s meant for large-breed puppies. It contains 22 essential nutrients that puppies get from their mother’s milk, including DHA derived from omega-3 fatty acid. This food is designed to support healthy muscles, joints, digestion, immune system, and brain development.
The disadvantages of this food are that it contains artificial colors and it may cause stomach upset in some puppies if they are intolerant of chicken protein.
3. Royal Canin German Shepherd Puppy Food
Royal Canin’s German Shepherd Puppy Food is a great pick because it’s food that has been specifically formulated for German Shepherd puppies 8 weeks to 15 months of age! The kibble has been made with the perfect texture and size for your German Shepherd puppy’s teeth and mouth. It contains vitamin E and antioxidants for the immune system and specific fiber for aiding in digestion because GSDs sometimes struggle with poop issues. It also includes chondroitin and glucosamine for joint and bone health.
However, this food is expensive, and it contains chicken by-products, corn, and wheat which some people prefer not to feed although they are suitable for the vast majority of pups.
4. Purina Pro Plan Large Breed Puppy Food
|Flavor:||Chicken and rice|
|Size:||18, 34, or 47 lbs|
Purina Pro Plan’s Large Breed Puppy Food is perfect for puppies that will weigh over 50 pounds when they grow into adults. The usual DHA from omega-3 fatty acid for eye and brain development is present, as are complex carbohydrates for energy. It contains live probiotics for both digestion and immune system support and a natural source of glucosamine.
It does include animal by-products (as a source of glucosamine), grains and corn, and some puppies did experience stomach upset.
5. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Puppy Food
|Flavor:||Chicken and brown rice|
|Size:||3, 6, 15, or 30 lbs|
The Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Puppy Food uses deboned chicken as the main ingredient, so it’s high in calories and protein. It has kibble mixed with LifeSource Bits, which are small nuggets of food full of nutrients and antioxidants. This food contains minerals, vitamins, calcium, and phosphorus to support bones and teeth, as well as DHA and ARA for the eyes and brain development. It doesn’t have wheat, soy, corn or any animal by-products.
The issues with this food are that not all puppies seem to enjoy eating it, and it sometimes causes stomach upset.
6. Diamond Naturals Large Breed Puppy Food
|Flavor:||Lamb and rice|
|Size:||6, 20 and 40 lbs.|
Another great choice is Diamond Natural Large Breed Puppy food. Offering pasture-raised lamb as the first ingredient and easy-to-digest rice for sensitive german shepherd tummies. Specially formulated for large breed puppies the calcium and phosphorus ratio ensures your pup will grow at the correct rate for good bone health. It contains pre and probiotics to help maintain gut health in your precious pup. With a focus on natural health this food contains blueberries, kale, spinach, oranges and coconut to name but a few of the sources of vitamins and antioxidants. Skin, coat, eye and brain health are supported with omega fatty acids. The choice of bag sizes and price point go in this food’s favour too. As with most foods some reviews commented that their pups weren’t keen to eat it.
7. Purina ONE SmartBlend Large Breed Puppy Food
|Size:||16.5 or 31.1 lbs|
Purina ONE’s SmartBlend Large Breed Puppy Food has real chicken as the first and primary ingredient and includes things like rice, which is easy on a puppy’s stomach. It contains antioxidants, which include zinc, selenium, and vitamins A and E for immune system support. The kibble is a combination of hard, crunchy bits and softer, tender morsels, which puppies will love to eat. It also has DHA and omega-6 fatty acids for a shiny coat and healthy skin, and it doesn’t contain artificial colors or preservatives.
This puppy food contains by-product meal, corn and grains, and the tender morsels can be inconsistent from bag to bag. Some bags have the regular amount, and others have almost none.
8. Hill’s Science Diet Large Breed Puppy Food
|Flavor:||Chicken meal and oats|
|Size:||15.5 or 30 lbs|
Hill’s Science Diet Large Breed Puppy Food is made specifically for puppies that will weigh over 55 pounds as adults. It is designed to assist with the bone growth of larger breed puppies with the right ratio of calcium and phosphorus. It has vitamins E and C and antioxidants to support the immune system. It’s made in the U.S. and doesn’t contain any artificial preservatives, flavors, or colors.
The disadvantages are that it’s relatively expensive, and you might find that it smells bad. Also, some puppies become gassy and experience diarrhea after eating, and other puppies don’t enjoy this food.
9. Taste of the Wild High Prairie Puppy Food
|Flavor:||Bison and venison|
|Size:||5, 14, or 28 lbs|
The main ingredients are roasted venison, lamb and water buffalo and bison that were pasture-raised and contain probiotics for a healthy gut. The kibble is small enough for those puppy teeth, and they contain omega-3 fatty acid for healthy skin and coat, which includes DHA for vision and brain development. This food also has dried chicory root with prebiotics and various ingredients, such as sweet potatoes and blueberries, that have antioxidants. Finally, it doesn’t contain artificial colors or preservatives or any grain, wheat, or corn.
The flaws with this puppy food are that it’s relatively expensive, and it has an odor that not all people seem to appreciate. It is also high in pea and pea protein which are subject to ongoing investigation with relation to heart health.
10. Purina Pro Plan Development Canned Puppy Food
|Flavor:||Chicken and rice|
|Size:||13 oz cans x 12|
The Purina Pro Plan Development Canned Puppy Food is priced well and has chicken as the primary ingredient. Like many others, it has included DHA for vision and brain support and 23 essential minerals and vitamins that aid in overall health. It’s manufactured in a U.S. facility and doesn’t contain any artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.
It did cause stomach upset in some puppies, so take time when transitioning foods. It has animal by-products and grains.
11. ORIJEN Large Puppy Food
|Flavor:||Chicken, turkey, and fish|
|Size:||13 or 25 lbs|
ORIJEN’s Large Puppy Food has wild-caught, free-run, or sustainably farmed poultry and fish as the first five ingredients. About 85% of the ingredients come from premium animal sources, making for a puppy food full of protein, vitamins, and minerals. The kibble is also freeze-dried coated, which adds a tasty burst of flavor, and the food is all-natural.
However, this puppy food is expensive, and it did cause some puppies to have an stomach upset (diarrhea being the most common symptom).
Buyer’s Guide: How to Pick the Best Dog Food for German Shepherd Puppies
Here are a few points that can help explain a few things when it comes to choosing a food for your German Shepherd puppy.
Puppy food is typically quite high in calories in order to keep up with a growing puppy’s energy needs. It also tends to be high in protein. Food that is high in protein and calories will provide your puppy with the energy that they need and help them gain the right amount of weight as they grow up.
Most puppy food will have DHA listed as a special ingredient because it helps with the puppy’s brain and eye development. This is an essential element derived from the omega-3 fatty acids and supports the puppy’s central nervous system, and it will lead to stronger eye function and healthy brain development.
Minerals and Vitamins
Many of the ingredients in your puppy’s food will provide much of the necessary vitamins and minerals essential for a healthy puppy. Most puppy food also includes vitamin and mineral supplements, such as calcium and phosphorus, for healthy and strong bones and teeth. The balance needs to be just right because you don’t want your large breed puppy to grow too quickly as it can lead to developmental bone problems. You should speak to your vet to ensure that you have the right food and are feeding your puppy the proper amount.
Our pick for the best overall puppy food is The Farmer’s Dog Fresh Dog Food. This food is made from all-natural, whole ingredients and it’s recipes include vitamins and minerals, making this option the perfect nutrient dense diet for a growing German Shepherd. Iams ProActive Health Smart Large Breed Puppy Food is well-priced and contains 22 essential nutrients that are commonly found in the puppy’s mother’s milk. Lastly, Royal Canin’s German Shepherd Puppy Food is expensive, but it’s a great pick because it’s been specifically made for German Shepherd puppies from 8 weeks to 15 months of age.
We hope that these reviews have helped you decide on the right food for your German Shepherd puppy. Remember to stick with large-breed food because it usually has the correct ratio of vitamins and minerals to give your GSD puppy all the suitable nutrition that they need so they can grow up strong, healthy, and happy.
Featured Image Credit: Victoria Antonova, Shutterstock