The German Shepherd is a large high-performance dog.
To maintain their active lifestyle, they require a balanced and high-quality diet to ensure they grow healthy, strong and with minimal health issues.
This leaves us with one important question, how much should a German Shepherd puppy eat?
If you are struggling with how much to feed a German Shepherd puppy, you are not alone.
Plenty of pet parents with GSD pups are also trying to figure out the right nutrition needs for their furry friends.
Getting the nutrition puzzle right, when the GSD is still a puppy, determines if your pooch grows into a healthy or frail individual.
💡 Keep in mind
The puppy period of a German Shepherd, and any other breed, is just one year.
Within this period, you have to ensure your German Shepherd puppy is getting as many nutrients as they need.
You also need to be careful not to overfeed the dog and plunge him into obesity.
The only way to balance nutrition to body ratio in a German Shepherd is by partnering with the dog’s breeder and vet.
What breeders will tell you
A breeder will advise you to keep your GSD pup on the same food the breeder was feeding it.
This is important for a few reasons;
- The immune system of the German Shepherd puppy is still developing. They may not have the strength to fight off any pathogens contained in a new diet.
- Abrupt switching of the puppy’s diet can lead to stomach upsets, vomiting, and diarrhea.
As a rule of thumb, wait until the puppy is 12 weeks old before you start switching their diet.
Once this grace period is over, you have several options to choose from for your puppy food.
A German Shepherd puppy can thrive on four types of food;
- Dry kibble
- Homemade food
- Wet food
- Raw food
1. Dry kibble
Cheaper and easy to obtain for your German Shepherd.
Yet, not all commercially dry kibble carries the necessary nutrients required by your German Shepherd puppy.
Always read the ingredients label to see what is going into your puppy’s plate.
2. Homemade food
maybe more nutritious but requires time to prepare.
You also have to ensure that you are balancing the nutrients right to keep your puppy strong and prevent obesity.
This option is favorable if there is always someone at home to maintain the puppy’s feeding needs.
3. Wet foods
Ideal supplementation for dry kibble.
They are also highly nutritious, especially if you go for meat options such as beef, chicken, pork, or turkey.
One downside of wet foods is that they can easily cause tartar and cavities in your puppy.
Especially if the puppy does not maintain good oral hygiene.
4. Raw food
A great substitute for commercial dry kibble.
Raw food delivers all the nutrients required by your puppy unprocessed.
But just like homemade food, raw food requires time to process.
It can also get expensive feeding your dog raw food, especially if it is a meat diet.
It is totally up to you to decide which of these four options is best for your German Shepherd puppy.
Whichever food option you choose, you have to ensure that it carries all the nutrients required by your GSD puppy.
Here is a quick guide on how to select the best puppy food for a German Shepherd puppy;
- Puppies eat more food than adult dogs to help them grow bigger and stronger faster
- A puppy’s diet should comprise of 26% healthy fats and about 18% of proteins
- While buying commercial food, go for those brands that are formulated for large dog breeds like a German Shepherd.
- Only supplement your puppy’s diet with vitamins and minerals if your vet gives the go-ahead
- Provide plenty of fresh water with every meal and in-between meals
- Male German Shepherd dogs are twice as big and stronger than the females so their food portions should be higher.
How much should a German Shepherd Puppy Eat?
Once you have the right meal plan mapped out for your GSD puppy, the next step is to establish an ideal feeding schedule for them.
The feeding schedule recommended here is for a German Shepherd puppy that leads an active lifestyle. Always adjust your puppy’s feeding plan to fit its activity level.
Puppies eat more than adult dogs so they at least three servings of food a day.
Some GSD breeders prefer four servings a day to kickstart the weaning process.
Once the puppy is one year old, you can reduce its ration to two servings a day.
An adult dog can survive on one serving of food a day.
Here is a clear guideline on how much to feed a German Shepherd Puppy;
- Puppies that are at most 16 weeks old will need half to a full cup of food per serving
- Puppies 16 weeks to 9months old can consume one cup to one three-quarter cups of food per serving
- Any puppy between 9 and 12 months can eat two to two and a half cups of food per serving
- Puppies that are at least a year old require two and a half to three and a half cups of food per serving.
How much you feed your German Shepherd puppy depends on their age and activity level.
Consult with a professional vet to help you come up with a unique diet plan for your puppy.
Always monitor the puppy’s feeding habits to help you adjust their portions accordingly.
Frequently Asked Questions
A puppy that is 16 weeks old should eat half to a full cup of food. Puppies that are 16 weeks to 12 months old should eat 1 cup to 2 half cups of food per meal. A German Shepherd puppy that is 12 months old can eat at least three and a half cups of food per serving.
A German shepherd puppy can eat raw meat after they are 1 year old. As a rule of thumb, introduce the raw food diet in small portions while you continue feeding the old diet. This gives the puppy time to adjust to the new diet and prevent any health issues.
A German Shepherd puppy requires 18% of proteins in its diet. Great meat sources of protein for the puppy include chicken, turkey, pork, and beef. Also, incorporate 26% of healthy fats into the puppy’s diet to promote healthy skin and coat.
Puppies should eat three to four times a day after weaning. As they grow older, they can feed once or twice a day to maintain the same weight and health. Also, observe at what times of the day your puppy is most hungry. This should help you come up with a feeding plan tailored just for them