Best Dog Food for German Shepherds Young and Old: What Is Best?
The first thing to understand is that there are different types of dogs. There are those which have been bred to hunt, guard, protect their family members and so forth. Then there are those which were not bred for such things but rather they just happen to like them. These type of dogs do not require any special diet or supplements because they do not need it in order to live long lives. They will live up to 20 years if cared for properly.
There are also other breeds of dogs which are considered “old” and they do require some extra care in order to keep them healthy. For example, these include the Great Dane, the Saint Bernard, the Doberman Pinscher and many others.
In addition to all these breeds there are also various age groups within each breed. Some breeds are considered “younger” than others. A good example would be the Golden Retriever.
All Golden Retrievers should receive the same kind of nutrition since they all belong to one breed and they are all very similar in terms of size, weight and general physical characteristics.
As far as the type of food you feed your dog depends on how old he/she is at time of feeding. The younger the dog, the more nutrients it requires. For adult dogs the amount of nutrients required is less than that of a younger dog, but still sufficient in order to maintain good health and a sufficient standard of living.
Older dogs (7 years and up) require fewer nutrients than adult dogs but still need something in order to function properly. These types of dogs are prone to certain types of diseases and these can be prevented with the right type of food intake on a daily basis.
So the main questions to ask yourself is how old is your dog and what breed is he/she?
If you cannot answer these two questions accurately then consult your local veterinarian. He or she should be able to tell what type of breed your dog is within seconds.
Once you know the age and breed of your dog these factors will determine what diet he or she needs in order to stay as healthy as possible for as long as possible.
My Dog Is a Mixed Breed: What Do I Do?
If you are unsure of what breed your dog is or you think it might be a mixed breed the first thing you should do is consult your veterinarian. In most cases your veterinarian should be easily able to tell what breed your dog is based on physical appearance and size. However, in some cases this is not possible. There are various DNA tests which can be done in order to determine your dogs breed composition.
If your dog is a mixed breed it is harder to determine what type of food your dog should eat on a daily basis. It also makes it harder to determine how much food your dog needs in order to stay healthy since the nutritional requirements of a mixed breed dog are not as clear cut as those of a pure breed dog.
There are some general guidelines which can be followed in order to determine the proper diet for your mixed breed dog. One of these is the fact that most purebred dogs have similar nutritional requirements since they were originally bred from the same types of dogs. Your mixed breed dogs nutritional needs are probably somewhere in-between those of the parent breeds.
A good example of this is the Dalmatian. Dalmatians are purebred dogs descended from running/herding breeds. As such they have a higher requirement for calories than a dog such as a Pembroke Welsh Corgi that was bred from a line of dogs that were bred to be livestock herders and only needed to eat enough to keep them running all day.
A mixed breed dog which has Dalmatian ancestry would probably have a similar (although probably not as high) metabolic rate to a purebred Dalmatian. It might be safe to assume that your mixed breed dog requires more food than a purebred Pembroke Welsh Corgi but probably needs less than a purebred Dalmatian.
Another way of determining the proper diet for your mixed breed dog is to find out what types of food your dog likes and what type of food his parents (or grandparents) ate. If you know that your mixed breed dog had Pointer ancestry then you can assume that foods such as chicken and other meats were a regular part of its diet. If your dog’s mother ate mostly table scraps then it’s likely that your dog will be fine with some leftovers now and then.
In any case, the best way to determine the proper diet for your mixed breed dog is to consult your veterinarian. He or she will be able to tell you what types of foods to avoid, how much food to feed your dog on a daily basis and any other nutritional concerns you should know about.
What If I Don’t Know What Breed My Dog Is?
If you cannot tell what breed your dog is or if your dog is a mixed breed then it is time to do some research. Your veterinarian should be able to give you suggestions on what types of food your dog should be eating. Other resources you can use are dog websites, books or magazines which provide information on various breeds and the average nutritional requirements of said breeds.
Once you have this information you can consult with a local veterinarian in order to determine the best possible diet for your mixed breed dog. This process may take a little time but with patience and research you will be able to find the correct diet for your pet.
By: Thomas Meinecke
Thomas Meinecke is a dog lover and avid reader. He has spent years researching different breeds to discover their needs and wants in order to provide the best possible care for his pet dogs. In addition to his love of dogs he enjoys spending his time reading, writing and working on various other projects.
Sources & references used in this article:
Gastroesophageal intussusception in a young German shepherd dog by CJ v Werthern, PM Montavon… – Journal of small animal …, 1996 – Wiley Online Library
Food intake and growth of German Shepherd puppies by GE Schroeder, GA Smith – Journal of Small Animal Practice, 1994 – Wiley Online Library
Testing German shepherd puppies to assess their chances of certification by I Svobodová, P Vápeník, L Pinc, L Bartoš – Applied Animal Behaviour …, 2008 – Elsevier
Sequential opportunistic infections in two German Shepherd dogs by MB Krockenberger, G Swinney, P Martin… – Australian Veterinary …, 2011 – Wiley Online Library