The German Shepherd can rightfully be considered a versatile breed. They can be a faithful friend, a good companion, excellent watchdogs, and service dogs, performing many tasks assigned to them. The Germans are smart, easy to learn and trainable, unpretentious in their care. Many people dream of having just such a dog. But before you bring your four-legged friend home, take a responsible approach to this issue. The eating habit of a German Shepherd is the key to a long, healthy life. And although these German dogs are undemanding in food, for a large breed, careful selection of the diet and menu is required, which is quite troublesome and entails considerable costs. The question of how to feed a German shepherd dog is devoted to a mass of special literature, where the schemes of proper feeding are described in detail and there are even recipes for dishes.
The diet of a German shepherd should take into account not only the composition of the feed, its calorie content but also the amount of load and the temperament of the animal. If the dog walks a lot, is physically and emotionally involved, the extra calories will be burned easily. Such a pet will not be hurt by a large amount of fatty and carbohydrate foods. An excess of nutritious food is contraindicated in a calm, sedentary shepherd dog.
It is important not to overfeed your dog, which can lead to poor overall health, vascular disease, and obesity. Overeating is especially dangerous for pets who are excessively mobile after eating. The stomach of German Shepherds is too loose in the abdominal cavity and can twist under active loads.
Experienced dog owners advise to adhere to the following rules:
- food is given to the German twice a day, at the same time, in a slightly warm state;
- feeding is done only after a walk;
- the food should be thick – the shepherd’s stomach does not absorb liquid food well;
- for the correct development of the German dog’s musculoskeletal system, it is recommended to purchase a special stand that raises the bowl to chest level;
- make sure that the German dog always has clean water;
- when refusing to eat, if the edible has remained intact for half an hour, the bowl is removed;
- do not spoil with treats from the table;
- not allowed to growl when touching the bowl, allowing the dog to feel superior to the owner;
- from an early age, they teach the dog to fresh vegetables;
- meat is preferable fresh, but with the condition of regular processing of the animal from worms.
How much and how often to feed?
How much a German shepherd eats per day depends on the age of the animal, activity, health status of the dog.
How many times a day should your German shepherd puppy be fed? A large amount of food at an early age will cause obesity in a dog already in a year. Breeders recommend:
- in the absence of mother’s milk, newborn German shepherd puppies are watered for a month on their own six times a day;
- at 1-2 months, the dog is given one glass of food, divided into portions, in 5 doses;
- from 2 to 3 months -1.5 cups for 5 feedings;
- from 4 months to six months – fed with a liter of food, divided, as for young dogs, into 4 meals;
- further, up to a year – they give 0.5 liters per day, feed 3 times a day.
In a year, the dog is considered an adult, it is transferred to two meals a day with a volume of one and a half liters. In the summer, in the heat, it is permissible to feed an adult dog once. After giving birth, the Shepherd is fed often, at least 4-5 times a day.
An old or sedentary dog is given food 2-3 times a day. At the same time, the daily feed intake is not increased: a whole portion is given in the morning, in the afternoon, and in the evening – half the norm.
What should a German shepherd dog diet contain?
The diet of a German shepherd should contain from 50 to 70% of protein food in the form of meat pulp, devoid of bones, fat, and skin, offal, eggs, cottage cheese, and milk. Carbohydrates are allowed 20-30%. These are cereals (cereals) and vegetables and fruits. Fat, animal, and vegetable, you need about 10-20%. It is better if these are unrefined vegetable oils.
For the correct formation of the skeleton, the shepherd must include in the menu mineral supplements containing bone meal, phytin, and calcium.
Meat, fish, vegetables can be given raw to the dog.
What is not allowed to feed German dogs?
Nutritional advice can be given by the breeder or the club through which the dog was purchased. The following prohibited foods should be excluded from the menu:
- flour, pasta including;
- sausages, sausages, smoked meats;
- raw river fish;
- pickles, pickled foods;
- The small and sharp bones of a bird are not absorbed in the body, they damage the walls of the stomach and intestines.
Feeding a German Shepherd is easy, the choice of food is huge. Both natural food and ready-made industrial food are suitable for the dog. Which of these is better, the owner will choose on his own.
Preparing dishes for a natural menu will take a lot of time. But such food is useful, contains all the vital components. A variety of products will allow you to prepare a lot of mouth-watering dishes for every taste.
It is convenient to use dry food, they are stored for a long time, you can take them with you on a trip. The amount of feed for one time is small.
Features of feeding dry food and ready-made food
When choosing ready-made feed, it is advisable not to purchase licensed products, usually, they are much worse than branded ones.
Pay attention to the composition of the package:
- high-quality food does not come with brightly colored green and red flowers;
- soybeans and beans are prohibited, but cereals are permitted;
- puppies and pregnant bitches should not be given fat granules;
- protein should be from 30 to 50%.
It is better to choose food in sealed factory packaging: when buying loose granules, there is a high probability of purchasing old or damp food.
The plaque that has appeared from drying can be eliminated by introducing boiled cartilage into food once a week.
If you decide to regale your dog with dry food, buy only premium and super-premium brands, economy class products are not recommended for German shepherds. The best feeds are sold in specialty pet stores and pharmacies, they are produced from excellent quality products, there is no such bait in the departments of ordinary stores. High-quality drying is often recommended by veterinarians for certain breeds. It takes into account the activity of the dog, weight, age, and can be prescribed for medicinal purposes. Special dietary feeds help to solve the question of what to do, what to feed so that the shepherd can lose weight. The diet for such a dog includes drying with a low content of nutrients, more vigorous exercise, and frequent walks are also recommended.
The best in quality and cost is the Czech dry product for dogs – Brit food, produced in convenient sealed packages. It is suitable for dogs of different breeds, all ages, and various physical activities. Brit is produced for absolutely healthy dogs and dogs with immune problems.
Economy class drying can be used in case of emergency, no more than once a month. These products have an unbalanced composition, a lot of dyes, flavor enhancers, lack of vitamins and minerals. Made from low-quality low-grade raw materials.
The daily norm of premium dry food for German shepherds is usually about 750 g, super-premium class – 600 g.
Drying can be soaked with water or kefir if the dog is reluctant to eat it.
Features of feeding with natural food
Many dog breeders feed their pets with natural products, although the time required to prepare such food is considerable. But the owners are confident in the freshness of the products and that the meat is better than any super-premium product.
How to feed your German Shepherd with natural food? A dog’s menu should consist of a third of animal protein – lean beef, rabbit, horse meat. Usually, it is cut into pieces and served raw, but it can be fed boiled. Boiled by-products are acceptable: beef heart, liver, stomachs.
You can offer the shepherd dog raw sugar bones to prevent tartar and develop the muscles of the skull. Tubular bones are prohibited: sharp fragments of them can damage the delicate walls of the stomach, causing perforation.
The nutritional value of fish is significantly lower than that of meat, so the portion with it should be 3 times larger.
Two times a week, raw chicken yolks or hard-boiled eggs are allowed, since the shepherd does not digest raw protein.
One-third of all German food is made up of fermented milk products: cottage cheese, yogurt, fermented baked milk, kefir. Milk is harmful to an adult dog: it causes upset stools. This food is only suitable for German shepherd puppies.
Cereals make up a small fraction of all the food you need. What cereals can be fed to shepherd dogs: it can be wheat, oatmeal, buckwheat, millet, cooked in the form of cereals.
Vegetables are given raw. Jerusalem artichoke, zucchini, carrots, chopped beets are useful. It is useful to add finely chopped greens to dishes.
Fruit is offered as a delicacy. For better assimilation, vegetable oils or sour cream are added.
When using natural (natural) food for feeding your dog, it is important to introduce mineral and vitamin supplements.
Table – Feeding the German Shepherd with natural food, diet.
|Day of week||Menu|
|Monday||1. Salad of grated carrots with sour cream, rye bread croutons. 2. Beef meat, oatmeal, egg yolk.|
|Tuesday||1. Young milk, biscuits. 2. Boiled liver, cut into pieces, baked pumpkin.|
|Wednesday||1. Ryazhenka. 2. Boiled sea fish, buckwheat, vegetable oil, finely chopped greens.|
|Thursday||1. Low-fat cheese, dried fruits. 2. Chicken, cut into pieces, cabbage, and zucchini, raw, grated.|
|Friday||1. Low-fat cottage cheese. 2. Boiled beef kidneys with buckwheat and carrots. Grated apple.|
|Saturday||1. Sour milk, gray bread croutons. 2. Veal heart, rice porridge. Rutabaga, greens.|
|Sunday||1. Fermented baked milk, grated apple, sunflower oil. 2. Chicken necks, rolled oats. Stewed zucchini, carrots, tomatoes, sunflower oil, herbs.|
Features of feeding during pregnancy and after childbirth
A shepherd dog carrying offspring is fed three times a day, while the portions of food are increased by a third. To increase the intake of calcium and phosphorus, the dog is given fish 2-3 times a week, the consumption of cheese and cottage cheese is increased. From the second half of pregnancy, the amount of vegetables and fruits also increases. In winter, vitamins A and D are additionally introduced into the diet, in summer there is no shortage of them.
From the second month of gestation, meat products are completely replaced by fish products at the rate of 150 g of fish instead of 100 g of meat. In the last week of pregnancy, the dog is offered food at least 5 times a day.
In the postpartum period, the dog is given food at least 4 times. These should be special industrial or natural feed. A lactating shepherd dog is returned to its usual regime and type of nutrition after it stops completely feeding its offspring. On the first day after childbirth, the mother’s diet should consist of fermented milk products when fed with natural. Until the second week, you cannot give meat and fish to the dog. From the second week, the menu of a shepherd dog feeding babies should be calcium-containing dishes with vitamin supplements.
Dog breeders recommend giving milk porridge to lactating bitches to increase lactation, but if milk causes digestive upset, diarrhea or the dog refuses to eat it, the animal should not be forced.
Refusal to eat: possible causes
If your loyal friend unexpectedly refuses to eat or eats poorly, this is not always a sign of illness, especially if the dog behaves, as usual, he is active and playful, and his appearance does not give cause for concern.
The reasons for refusal can be the following:
- usual fasting days, sometimes arranged by dogs;
- changing the usual diet or type of food (the dog is gradually accustomed to a new product or type of feeding, introducing unusual food gradually, starting with small doses);
- stressful situations and physical overload;
- sexual activity, pregnancy (the dog may vomit due to toxicosis).
But sometimes refusal to eat can cause more serious reasons, the consequences of which cannot be eliminated at home, you need to contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. What to do if the dog does not eat, what symptoms require the help of a doctor:
- if your shepherd has become lethargic, sleeps for too long, it has decreased physical activity;
- the animal is trembling, there is frequent vomiting;
- the back of the dog is hunched over;
- she became irritable, aggressive;
- the animal does not eat anything, breathes heavily, the body temperature has increased.
A decrease in interest in food and a deterioration in general condition can cause various serious infections and injuries. Perhaps your German Shepherd is allergic, then you need to transfer it to special food. But in all the cases described above, one should not hesitate to contact a specialist: the animal may die.
Keep a close eye on your pet, take care of him, provide him with a correct, balanced diet. Remember that whatever type of food you choose, the product must be fresh and of the best quality. Only then the pet will be healthy and happy, will repay you with his dog’s friendship and devotion, will serve you faithfully all his life.