Special Diet for a German Shepherd Dog

As their name suggests, German shepherds originated in Germany.

As their name suggests, German shepherds originated in Germany.

Modern-day dog guardians generally have access to a wide range of pet foods, each with a spectrum of ingredients. Indeed, including a variety of fresh foods such as meats, vegetables and healthy oils is beneficial to a dog's health. However, there are also specific whole foods that may optimize the wellness of individual breeds.

Geographic History of Dogs' Diet

In many cases, the history of dogs' diets is rather specific. As with human cultures, dogs historically dined on foods specific to their corners of the globe. When dogs began living with our ancestors, certain foods were likely either dietary staples or not available at all. Hence, humans and dogs ate what was local and accessible. Generations of dogs have since evolved, but their bodies are still genetically programmed to recognize foods offered to their ancestors.

Preferred Meats for German Shepherds

As most dog guardians likely know, dogs are generally ravenous for any type of meat. But due to the geographical history of German shepherds and their past diets, beef and lamb are two examples of potentially beneficial meats. Many cuts of beef and lamb are available in grocery stores nationwide, and it is best to begin with lean cuts of meat in order to minimize acid reflux and other potential side effects of overly fatty foods.

Preferred Vegetables for German Shepherds

Although meat is the base of most dog diets, produce should also be included. Wild members of the dog and wolf family eat the meat of their prey, along with partially digested vegetable matter remaining within the prey animal. It is important to try to replicate this in the modern dog diet. Breed-specific vegetables for German shepherds include alfalfa, cabbage and leafy greens. If not accustomed to vegetables, feed small amounts in cooked form.

A Slow Transition is Best

Any alteration in a dog’s diet should be done in a gradual manner. If a dog is given too much unfamiliar food at once, he can experience intestinal upset and other side effects. A German shepherd’s genes may recognize lamb and cabbage, but it is unlikely his current diet contain these ingredients in whole, fresh form. Therefore, a slow transition is best. A general guideline is to add 10 to 25 percent of the new food per week.

Better Health, Stronger Bond Between You and Your Dog

With care and a watchful eye, German shepherd guardians can add healthy options to their dogs’ diets. Slowly adding lamb, beef, cabbage, leafy greens or alfalfa can improve your dog's health and vitality. However, every dog is an individual and each will respond in his own way. If your shepherd pup does not respond well to any of these ingredients, it is crucial to remove those ingredients from the menu.

 

About the Author

Sarah Whitman's work has been featured in newspapers, magazines, websites and informational booklets. She is currently pursuing a master's degree in nutrition, and her projects feature nutrition and cooking, whole foods, supplements and organics. She also specializes in companion animal health, encouraging the use of whole foods, supplements and other holistic approaches to pet care.

Photo Credits

  • Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images