How Much to Feed a German Shepherd Puppy (Stop Guessing with Their Health)

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Do you know how much to feed a German Shepherd puppy for the best growth and health?

And what foods will supply your active puppy the energy he needs to stay strong?

By the time you’re done reading this, you’ll learn the right amounts to feed your pup to grow strong and fit and keep you on the right track to a lifetime of health.

Let’s get started and find out how much, how often, and what foods your GSD pup loves.

German Shepherd Puppy Feeding Amount

How much you should feed a German Shepherd puppy really depends on a number of factors that you have control over. Your GSD pup should eat enough to maintain their growth and energy, while not carrying any extra fat.

Consider the following factors for how much to feed:

  • number of calories in the kibble, which varies from manufacturer to manufacturer
  • the daily energy expenditure of your pup
  • how sedentary your pup is

Refer to the following charts as a starting point. Adjust how much you feed your GSD based on your pup’s energy needs and growth. These formulas are a  recommendation.

How Much to Feed a German Shepherd Puppy per Day

Knowing how much to feed a German Shepherd puppy helps you to keep track of their growth and habits. It’s good to chart how much you’re feeding them so that you can monitor their weight gain and appetite.

This chart is a guide for how much food a German Shepherd puppy gets fed.

Puppy AgeCups
2 months1 – 1.5 cups
3 months1.5 – 2 cups
6 months2 – 3 cups
12 months3 – 3.5 cups

Offer your dog their food and if they don’t eat their meal in 10 to 15 minutes remove their dish. Wait an hour and offer them the same meal to see if they’ve changed their mind about eating.

Always offer fresh water during their meal times.

How Often Should You Feed a German Shepherd Puppy

AgeFeedings Per DaySnacks?
6 to 12 weeks4Yes, often
12 weeks to 6 months3Yes, often
6 months to 1 year2Yes, occasionally
1 year and older2Yes, limited

How often you should feed a German Shepherd puppy depends on their age and their activity level.

Feeding smaller meals throughout the day also supports your puppy’s blood sugar and energy level which helps them grow steadily and behave better in your home.

When you know how many times to feed a German Shepherd puppy per day it’s easy to see the need for a regular feeding schedule to keep track of his meals!

When should you stop feeding your German Shepherd puppy food?

Puppies can begin adult kibble when they are approximately 80 percent of their adult weight. This usually occurs around 8 to 10 months of age, but you can safely feed puppy food up to one year old or longer as long as they are not putting on excess weight. Some German Shepherds don’t reach their full growth until 18 months of age and can be switched over to adult food during this later time.

It isn’t harmful to keep a German Shepherd on puppy formula until their growth plates have fused over (which is generally around 12 to 18 months of age).

What to Feed a German Shepherd Puppy

what to feed a german shepherd puppy

Your German Shepherd’s athletic body, as well as its energy, health, and condition, depend in part on what you choose to pour into its bowl and knowing how much to feed your German Shepherd puppy.

This means choosing what to feed a German Shepherd puppy is even more serious and intimidating!

Most dog foods on the market will adequately sustain your dog’s life. But you don’t want adequate. You want your dog to bloom with health!

Your GSD pup eats nearly double the amount of an adult in order to maintain growth rate and their higher daily energy needs.

The Kennel Club

Balanced formulas keep their bones and muscles strong throughout their growing periods and can ward off later joint issues, a common breed problem, as they mature.

There is a greater demand for quality nutrition during the early growth stage. For these reasons, you must feed high-quality food.

Foods Your German Shepherd Puppy Will Love

These food formulas are all recommended for large breed puppies and meet and exceed regulated nutritional standards. The better the food, the healthier your pup will be inside and out.

01

Royal Canin Large Breed Puppy Formula – Size Nutrition

Packed with nutrients to help limit inflammation of the joints and ease digestion.

02

Purina Pro Plan Large Breed Puppy Focus Formula – Lamb

Easily digestible formula for puppies prone to allergies and sensitive stomachs.

03

Hill’s Science Diet Large Breed Puppy Lamb with Rice

Controlled levels of calcium for sustained, steady growth to keep joints healthy.

Feed a high-quality kibble from a name-brand company. Don’t buy boutique formulas, as these companies don’t always quality check or feed test their formulas, and many have been found linked to DCM (dilated cardiomyopathy).

The brands recommend meet the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) criteria and have no reported cases of DCM. Purina and Hill’s all have boarded Diplomates of ACVN on staff, and Ph.D. Animal Scientists and Ph.D. Nutritionists that work to ensure quality control and exceed nutritional standards.

German Shepherd Puppy Feeding Guide

Age Feeding Guidelines
6 weeksMostly the mother’s milk with small introductions to soaked kibble
8 weeksHard kibble mixed with warm goat’s milk that has soaked for 10 minutes, a small spoonful of natural no-sugar Greek yogurt added to entice the appetite
10 weeksHard kibble with or without warm goat’s milk, a small spoonful of natural no-sugar Greek yogurt, a small spoonful of cooked, plain oats, canned pumpkin without spices
12 weeksHard kibble on its own, small portions of cooked eggs, pieces of minced, plain Greek yogurt, a small spoonful of cooked, plain oats

What Food Does a German Shepherd Puppy Need?

6-Weeks-Old

Your pup should be with its mother nursing during this stage. Tiny portions of canned, wet foods are introduced.

But they still derive the bulk of the nutrients from their mother’s milk. The mother’s milk contains colostrum, antibiotic milk that protects the young pup during the first 8 to 10-weeks of their lives.

8-Weeks-Old

At 8-weeks-old, your GSD pup should be fed hard kibble moistened with warm goat’s milk left to sit for 10 minutes.

This goat’s milk is highly digestible and provides your growing GSD pup with plenty of healthy vitamins and minerals that are essential.

At 8-weeks-old a GSD pup is eating more solid foods and develops a better appetite for kibble and other foods.

Add in only a couple of small spoonfuls of canned plain pumpkin, unsweetened Greek yogurt, or cooked oatmeal to entice your pup to eat.

10-Weeks-Old

Continue feeding the same as the 8-week-old diet. Don’t change kibble brands if you find one your dog eats, enjoys, and shows positive, healthy results.

Don’t change your dog’s diet as long as they are enjoying their food, have plenty of energy for daily activities, and a beautiful, full, shiny coat.

12-Weeks-Old

Continue to feed the kibble. You can offer goat’s milk as an occasional treat.

Watch for excessive weight gain during this time!

Mixing in Fresh Ingredients

I add small portions of fresh components to my dry kibble for taste and flavor. But don’t add more than a spoonful or two so your dog doesn’t eat only the fresh ingredients.

These components shouldn’t make up over 10% of the meal.

GSDs enjoy:

  • cooked and raw carrot pieces
  • small dollops of unsweetened Greek yogurt
  • scrambled and cooked eggs
  • canned pumpkin, without spices
  • cooked, plain oatmeal without sweeteners
  • fresh or frozen blueberries
  • goat’s milk (it’s easier on GSDs sensitive digestion than cow’s milk)

If you prefer premade treats, pick one from this list of healthy German Shepherd treats that are tasty and nutritious.

Feeding and Exercise Warning

Give your dog the time to digest its food. Never let your pup play hard (running, fetching, jumping) right after you feed them.

Wait 2 hours before and after feeding your dog its meal before exercising them or playing hard with them to avoid any gastric problems.

A light, slow walk is fine after eating if it’s not long and doesn’t stress your dog.

Be sure to use the gentle exercises for a growing German Shepherd puppy to avoid injury and teach your dog valuable coordination and balance skills.

Overfeeding Warning

overfeeding warning

Are you making the mistake of letting your pup free feed all day? Do you let them eat until they are too full and their bellies are plump and round?

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking your little pup needs a plump round belly by overfeeding him. Your growing dog needs more food than an adult, but watch your pup’s waistline.

Monitor the weight of your puppy during the rapid growth period of 3–6 months. It’s crucial you don’t overfeed during this stage.

A veterinarian study also confirms that puppies who are overfed and overweight develop later obesity-related health conditions in adulthood.

Rapid growth is one of the contributing factors known to increase this risk of hip dysplasia in German Shepherds. You must understand how much to feed your German Shepherd puppy to avoid any health issues.

It’s crucial that you don’t encourage your dog to gain a lot of weight for rapid growth.

You don’t want fast growth. You want steady growth.

Food and Your German Shepherd Puppy’s Health

Once you select a quality premium food your job isn’t done.

You still need to keep close watch over your dog’s response to the food. Watch their body condition closely, especially given the nature of this breed.

Watch their food intake and monitor their body condition for optimal maturity. Understand how much to feed a German Shepherd puppy to maintain steady growth, and don’t overfeed them.

Follow this feeding guide to keeping your pup healthy know the right amount to feed your GSD. Learn more about owning a German Shepherd puppy for the first time to set yourself up for lifelong success.

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