Known once as a guide dog, the German Shepherd ranked 2nd as the most popular breed in the US in 2016.
These dogs are known for their high level of intelligence and are often seen in competitions such as agility trials.
Because of their intelligence, loyalness, and calm nature, they make the perfect companion.
The German Shepherd was known as the Alsatian Wolf Dog in the United Kingdom until 1977, at which time they changed it back to German Shepherd.
These dogs originated from Germany, hence their name, and were bred for herding sheep and other livestock.
The military used them extensively to warn soldiers of enemies and foreign entities and as messenger and guard dogs.
German Shepherds have a strong sense of smell and can work without distraction. This allows them to serve in roles such as search and rescue, explosives, and narcotics detection, among others.
Feeding Your German Shepherd Puppy
Once you bring your puppy home, focus on feeding it high-quality puppy food filled with vitamins and minerals to ensure it is getting proper nutrition.
Start by feeding your puppy two cups of food daily, but break this amount up into smaller servings to be fed three to four times per day.
Eating smaller meals throughout the day will help with digestion. You will notice, the meals according to age start at eight weeks.
Puppies are usually fully weaned around six weeks of age, and generally by the age of eight weeks a puppy can leave its mom and go to its new home.
Meals According To Age
|8-24 weeks||3-4 meals per day|
|4-6 months||3 meals per day|
|6-10 months||2-3 meals per day|
|10 months||up 2 meals per day|
|8-16 weeks||1-2 cup|
|16 weeks-9 months||1 ½-3 cups|
|12-18 months||3-4 cups|
|18 months and up||4 ½-5 cups|
If your puppy seems hungry after each meal, consult with your veterinarian on whether to increase the amount of food given at each serving.
Best Food To Feed Your German Shepherd Puppy
With so many brands of food on the market, it’s no wonder choosing one can sometimes be a frustrating task.
One may question whether a breed-specific brand may be a better option. There is no scientific evidence in supporting the claim that breed-specific is best, however, it’s always best to consult with a veterinarian.
If your puppy develops a health condition, then it might be best to opt for food specifically tailored to its condition, otherwise, choose one containing a high nutritional value.
Brands containing protein, healthy fats such as omega-3 and fiber should be on the list of ingredients. Some veterinarians recommend dry food as it is better for their dental health.
Pros of Dry Food
- Many brands and types available depending on requirements
- Better for dental health
- Easy to store
Cons of Dry Food
- Preservatives are high on the list for some brands
- Many brands have cheap ingredients and can cause digestive issues
Growth and Weight
The corresponding growth and weight below are estimates based on a veterinarian’s advice. It’s always a good idea to consult with a veterinarian of your choosing to ensure your German Shepherd is growing accordingly.
By the time your puppy reaches 6 months of age, it may have already reached a weight of close to 60 pounds.
German Shepherds grow at a much slower rate compared to other dogs. This breed usually matures by the time they are two years of age but may continue to develop until the age of three.
|1 Months||6-12 lbs|
|2 Months||11-20 lbs|
|3 Months||18-30 lbs|
|4 Months||19-37 lbs|
|5 Months||31-49 lbs|
|6 Months||46-60 lbs|
|7 Months||52-64 lbs|
|8 Months||56-68 lbs|
|9 Months||57-70 lbs|
|10 Months||63-72 lbs|
|11 Months||65-75 lbs|
|1 Year||72-80 lbs|
Foods Not To Feed A German Shepherd Puppy
German Shepherds are prone to irritable bowel syndrome, so it’s important to monitor what snacks you are sharing with your furbaby.
Just like humans, there are certain foods that dogs need to avoid. Although some may only cause a mild irritant, other foods can cause your dog to become very ill.
Consult with your veterinarian if you suspect your puppy has consumed any of the following.
Chives belong to the allium family and contain a compound called sulfur. Although chives are perfectly safe for humans, they need to be kept away from dogs, as sulfur is toxic to dogs if ingested.
Some signs that your German Shepherd may exhibit are:
- Loss of appetite
- Elevated heart rate
- Yellowing of the eyes
- Loss of consciousness
Most mushrooms purchased in grocery stores are harmless, however, wild mushrooms found outside in wooded areas or lawns need to be avoided as they are toxic to dogs.
Some symptoms associated with mushroom toxicity are:
- Excessive drooling
Consuming this can cause hypoglycemia in your dog. This artificial sweetener is poisonous and is found in some diets chewing gum, snacks, and other treats.
Hypoglycemia causes a rapid decrease in blood sugar. If you think your puppy may have ingested xylitol, here are a few signs to watch for:
- Muscle weakness
*Symptoms may develop immediately or take up to twelve hours after consuming.
Grapes are a sweet treat, and although your puppy would probably enjoy the taste, they need to be avoided. The cause is unknown, but grapes are toxic to dogs and may lead to kidney failure.
Some symptoms which may occur are:
- Increased thirst
- Decreased urine
It’s nice to know that there are a few beneficial foods in which we can share with our fur baby.
Treats are great to use as training tools and can keep your puppy busy if served in the right way.
Take peanut butter, for example. Most dogs love the smell of peanut butter and will work hard to get the taste of it.
Inserting a bit of this into a dog toy such as a Kong will offer a great tasting treat while teaching your puppy problem-solving skills.
Listed below are a few treats you and your puppy can enjoy together.
As mentioned above, peanut butter is a great-tasting treat for your German Shepherd puppy.
It will keep them busy longer and it offers many nutritional benefits such as vitamin E and B. Purchase natural peanut butter to avoid added sugar and salt.
Pumpkin offers many benefits for dogs, especially those who are prone to gastrointestinal issues such as the German Shepherd.
It contains vitamins A, C, and E, and is great for controlling both constipation and diarrhea.
Whole cooked pumpkin is the best option, but if you find that process too time-consuming, pureed pumpkin in a can will do.
Make sure when purchasing, you don’t accidentally grab a can of pumpkin pie filling. Sugar, salt, and fillers added to the pie filling will cause gastrointestinal upset.
Chicken is a great option for treats. As long as it is cooked and unseasoned. Remove the fat and bones before serving.
The fat can contribute to gastrointestinal issues commonly found in German Shepherds.
The bones found in the chicken are not good for any dog, as they are brittle and might become a choking hazard.
A chief source of omega-3, magnesium, and zinc makes this one of the best options to share with your puppy when choosing fish.
Always make sure fish is cooked properly before serving to avoid the risk of parasites.
Health Conditions German Shepherds Are Prone To
Like other breeds, German Shepherds are prone to certain conditions.
This disease progresses within the spinal cord and presents itself in much the same way as ALS. It usually occurs after the age of seven and is associated with a gene mutation.
Paralysis usually occurs in the later stages of this disease. There are no known treatments, but swimming and light exercise in the early stages are known to be beneficial.
Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency
An insufficient amount of digestive enzymes characterizes this condition within the pancreas.
The lack of these enzymes creates the inability to digest and absorb nutrients within the body.
Some common signs of this condition are weight loss, grey or yellow-looking stools, diarrhea, and excessive thirst.
Fortunately, there are enzyme supplements to treat this condition that can easily be added to your dog’s food.
This condition occurs when the stomach becomes distended because of excess gas, usually after consuming an enormous meal or eating too quickly.
Dogs prone to gastrointestinal issues and those with deep narrow chests such as the German Shepherd are more liable for inheriting this condition.
Some symptoms to observe are a distended stomach, retching with no vomit, decreased appetite, and pacing.
Gastric dilation is an emergency and must be evaluated by a veterinarian.
A preventative measure of this condition is to supply your puppy with a slow feeder bowl which can be found in most pet stores or online.
Painful inflammation of the ear known as otitis externa is a prevalent condition commonly seen in German Shepherds.
The cause of this is usually due to the size, and opening of the ear, which allow more substances to enter when compared to other dogs.
German Shepherd Feeding FAQS
How Long Should I Keep My German Shepherd Puppy On Puppy Food?
Puppies should be kept on puppy food until they reach the age of eight months to one year.
This enables your puppy to receive the proper nutrients needed for its development in the early growth stages.
What Should I do If My German Shepherd Puppy Appears UnderWeight?
The best thing to do in this situation is to schedule a vet visit. There may be a few reasons your puppy is underweight.
It could be as simple as increasing the portions of food; to a treatable condition known as hypothyroidism. Either way, your veterinarian will guide you.
How Do I Know If My German Shepherd Puppy Is Gaining Too Much Weight?
If your puppy seems to pant or needs to rest more often upon regular exercise, this could be a sign of weight gain.
Just like in humans, weight gain can lead to adverse health conditions and is important to gain control of.
Reducing treats and incorporating daily walks will help. Consulting with your veterinarian is the best advice.
Can I Feed My German Shepherd Puppy A Raw Food Diet?
There are no right or wrong answers when it comes to answering this question. It’s a personal choice.
Make sure to refrigerate meat intending to use within three days, or freeze as soon as it is purchased to avoid decay and pathogens that may make your puppy sick.
Adding in vegetables and fruits is a great way to balance your puppy’s nutrient requirements.
Can I Change My German Shepherds Puppy Food?
If your puppy is thriving on its current food, and it meets all the nutritional requirements, then why would you want to?
However, you can change its food by incorporating small amounts of the new food into its existing food daily.
This article is based on facts surrounding a German Shepherd puppy’s feeding schedule.
Hopefully, this will allow the reader to obtain the basics needed. It’s always best to consult with a veterinarian on the health of your puppy.