Some Feeding Advice: German Shepherd Puppies

Hello German shepherd puppies lovers:

This is a subject I could spend a long time discussing.  But I will try to focusing on a few important points and on the early years with your new German shepherd puppy.  A couple of key points:

1.  Try not to switch foods in the first couple of months.  GSD digestive systems, especially when they are puppies, are very sensitive.  You don’t want to go through bouts of diarrhea and then have to go through the boiled rice and chicken protocol as you attempt to re-equilibrate their systems.  So unless there is a problem, stick with what you have until they are more mature (maybe 6 months-1 year).

2.  Don’t overfeed, especially at this young age.  We need to protect developing joints.

3.  Always have water available when they are eating.

4.  Please do feed at least two meals.  There are some logical reasons to think that eating one large meal a day could contribute to bloat.

5.  Don’t give supplements.  Unless the vet has identified a critical need, use a top choice, balanced puppy food.  We use Royal Canin Maxi large breed puppy.  They also now have a GSD specific puppy food.  Supplements may over-balance nutrients and can have deleterious repercussions (example:  joint laxity for too much calcium).

6.  Never free feed or they will never be able to learn to control their bowels.

7.  Don’t feed table scraps.  This can lead not only to obesity, but can destabilize their digestive systems (especially puppies).

8.  I wouldn’t use raw diets especially if they are not puppy specific, and I would wait until they are at least one, when all of the joints are set and the growth plates developed, height complete.

Remember always put your food down for 3 minutes then take it up. Don’t relent.  They must learn to live within your time frames.  You don’t want to play the waiting game as you watch your watch and get to work late again.

Now, puppies can be finicky. But do, I repeat, do not start throwing everything in the food to make it more palatable.  You will just make the situation worse.  They can become increasingly picky, and you will be at their whim, rushing into the kitchen to concoct some culinary delicacy, as if you were their own, unpaid, personal chef.

The time to stop using puppy food is when they are growing more quickly than normal.  Americans tend to attribute value by the size.  They think a bigger dog is better and brag when they grow unusually fast.  But they need to grow within standard, or at least close to it, or they may be overgrowing.   Overweight stresses joints, hyper-growth can lead to improper bone development.  I have heard it said, one can palpate the heat in the hips of a dog that is growing too fast.  If they are growing normally, keep them on the puppy, if not, take them off.   Some breeders say to take them off puppy very young (4 months) to protect hips.  I don’t know if this is advisable as they need the nutrition a puppy food has for proper development.  But, certainly, if they are experiencing hyper growth, take them off.  You can also mix adult with puppy to reduce the puppy rich content.

I hope this is a help to you.  Visit our German Shepherd K9 University by clicking on “GSD K9 U“.

 

 

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