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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 to eat.
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 German Shepherd puppies:
number of calories in the kibble, which varies from manufacturer to manufacturer
the daily energy expenditure of your pup
how sedentary or active your GSD 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 only recommendations and when in doubt check with your vet.
How Much to Feed a German Shepherd Puppy
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 ususally eats.
German Shepherd Puppy Feeding Chart
Split up the total cups of dry dog food (kibble) listed. Don’t feed this amount at every meal or your dog might get sick. Instead, use the chart found below called “How Often Should You Feed a German Shepherd Puppy?” to determine how many meals throughout the day your GSD needs.
Keep in mind, these are guidelines and you should adjust them based on your dog’s energy needs.
Total Cups of Dry Kibble
2 months old
1 – 1.5 cups
3 months old
1.5 – 2 cups
6 months old
2 – 3 cups
12 months old
3 – 3.5 cups
How Much Should a German Shepherd Puppy Eat *Guidlines only.
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.
If they refuse to eat 2 or 3 of their meals take them to your vet for a health checkup as refusing to eat could be a sign of sickness.
Always offer fresh water during their meal times. Keep the area they eat in calm and don’t pester them while they eat.
I find sitting with a book reading, just keeping my GSD puppy company, encouraged my dog to eat their meals while giving us time to quietly bond.
Daily Calories for German Shepherd Puppies
Remember that calories vary greatly between brands and manufacturers. Always read the feeding label and nutritional guidelines on the package of food you are feeding your GSD.
Here is a simple calorie chart to help.
Calories for GSD Puppy
GSD Puppy Age
8-week-old GSD puppy (weighs around 16 pounds)
8-week-old GSD puppy (weighs around 20 pounds)
12-week-old GSD puppy (weighs around 25 pounds)
12-week-old GSD puppy (weighs around 30 pounds)
Your new puppy will need to have their calorie needs met daily.
Many puppies need additional calories right before a growth spurt, then eat slightly less after the growth spurt. It’s difficult to tell when the growth spurt begins, but you might notice that your puppy always seems hungry.
If you think your puppy is trying to eat everything, including his food bowl, then offer a small bit more food. If he seems slightly chubby or fat, then decrease the food by a small bit.
How Often Should You Feed a German Shepherd Puppy?
Feedings Per Day
6 to 12 weeks old
Yes, often but healthy treats
12 weeks to 6 months old
Yes, often but healthy treats
6 months to 1 year old
1 year and older old
Break their total cups of food into multiple feedings spread thorughout the day for easy digestion.
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 as long as they are not putting on excess weight. German Shepherds usually don’t reach their full growth until 18 months of age.
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 (UCLA – Davis).
What to Feed a German Shepherd Puppy
Your German Shepherd’s athletic body, as well as his energy, health, and condition, depend in part on what you choose to pour into his 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.
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. Don’t feed your German Shepherd puppy the cheapest food you can buy. Cheaper GSD puppy food lack quality proteins that are essential for your working breed dog.
Here are some of the best top-rated German Shepherd puppy foods.
Scientifically Formulated German Shepherd Puppy Food
Rich aroma with DHA fish oil to entice puppies to finish every last bite while giving shine to their coats.
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 causing deadly heart conditions in dogs (AKC.org).
The brands recommend here 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 Nutritionists work to ensure quality control and exceed nutritional standards. (WSAVA.org).
Most GSDs are healthy and fit on commercial dog foods that are high quality. They’ll eat eagerly and have a shiny coat and bright eyes with a scientifically based commercial diet that meets their needs.
German Shepherd Puppy Feeding Chart
6 weeks old
Mostly the mother’s milk with small introductions to soaked kibble
8 weeks old
Hard kibble mixed with slightly warmed or room temperature goat’s milk that has soaked for 10 minutes, a small spoonful of natural no-sugar plain Greek yogurt added to entice the appetite
10 weeks old
Hard 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 weeks old
Hard kibble on its own, small portions of cooked eggs, pieces of minced, plain Greek yogurt, a small spoonful of cooked, plain oats, goat’s milk if you and your dog like
Use this German Shepherd puppy feeding chart to determine what to feed your GSD.
What Food Does a German Shepherd Puppy Need?
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.
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 digestibleand provides your growing GSD pup with plenty of healthy vitamins and minerals that are essential to their bodies during this critical stage of their lives.
Do not use cow’s milk as this will cause stomach upset and sickness!
Goat’s milk can be used throughout their lives, even as adults, to make their meals more enticing and encourage healthy eating habits.
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.
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.
Continue to feed the kibble. You can still offer goat’s milk as long as they enjoy it.
Watch for excessive weight gain during this time as their bones cannot take extra weight! Too much weight gain too quickly can cause joint issues as an adult and prevent healthy development.
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 and ignore the healthy kibble!
These components shouldn’t make up over 10% of the meal to avoid them gaining excess wight.
GSD puppies enjoy eating:
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)
These gentle exercises keep your puppy’s joints healthy and help them learn confidence skills while getting to bond with their favorite person…
Overfeeding and Fat GSD Puppies
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 or you’ll risk their lifelong health (PFMA.org).
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 (GSDVC.org.au). 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.
German Shepherd Puppy Feeding Amounts and Your GSD 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 by:
watching their body condition and weight gain closely
monitoring their body condition for optimal health
understanding how much to feed a German Shepherd puppy to maintain steady growth
while not overfeeding them and causing joint damage
Follow the German Shepherd feeding charts to keep your pup healthy and to know the right amount to feed your GSD.
Sounds like you’re the type of owner that’s ready to learn about Brain Training your German Shepherd puppy at home using fun games!
Do you know the right training steps to set yourself up for lifelong success with your athletic working breed GSD?
You will once you use this confidence-building online dog training! 🐾
Catherine Krasavin owns Shepherd Sense, a dog website aimed at German Shepherd owners and lovers. She has a Bachelor of Science degree, with Honors, and has been training dogs for over a decade. Catherine’s currently attending continuing education courses to keep up with the latest in animal science, as well as earning her diploma in dog training. She owns a plush coat German Shepherd who was awarded Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme Gold Award - the highest level of achievement.
You need German Shepherd training to get the best behavior from your dog and enjoy a happy life with them. Read these posts to find out what type of German Shepherd training works the best for your breed.
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