How Much To Feed A German Shepherd Puppy – Feeding Chart

Out of numerous dog owners worldwide, only a certain percentage know how much to feed a dog and its health benefits.

The level of feeding is quite different for every age, species, and individual puppy.

Do you need a simple breakdown of a German Shepherd puppy feeding guide for your substantial?

Perhaps, what you’re looking for is a healthy way of living for the puppy cos he’s fam now, too, huh?

German Shepherds are athletic breeds. It isn’t about stuffing their stomach with excess food but giving them a diet for growth and healthy life.

This guide on how much to feed a German shepherd puppy contains everything you need to know about, including a week-by-week feeding chart and other factors ranging from quantity to quality of it. Keep reading to find out.

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German Shepherd Puppy Feeding Guide

Knowing the right amount of food to give to your German shepherd puppy goes a long way in adding to its growth.

Sometimes it isn’t about the excess food but the time, quality, and routine in which the puppy feeds.

Below is a chart for the number of feeding bowls to feed a puppy according to his/her age:

  • 8 weeks old: 1 to 1½ feeding bowls stretched over four meals daily
  • 12 weeks old: 1½ to 2 feeding bowls stretched over four meals daily
  • 6 months to 9 months: 2 to 3 feeding bowls stretched over 3 meals daily
  • 9 to 12 months: 3 to 3½ feeding bowls stretched over 3 meals daily
  • 12 months old & above: 3½ to 4 feeding bowls stretched over 2 meals daily

The fact is, nobody knows exactly when a puppy will get filled up, but we can predict it.

If your GSD is declining meals but haven’t had anything to eat, take the bowl and dish out the same meal after one hour.

How Much Food Should A German Shepherd Puppy Have?

The ideal calorie intake of a German Shepherd is within the range of 1,272 to 2100. This number can vary depending on the dog’s lifestyle and activeness.

Older and less active dogs may eat 1300 calories daily, and agile breeds may consume 1700 daily. As said earlier, the numbers are adjustable.

A puppy’s calorie intake is most surprising. An 8-week-old puppy can consume double the intake of its adult counterparts.

However, what is the ideal number for the level at which a GSD puppy must consume?

Younger German shepherds below four months require 80-90 calories per pound of body weight to grow healthily.

Once a puppy reaches four months, it decreases to about 40-60 calories per pound of body weight.

Your dog’s lifestyle also plays a role in the adjustment of this feeding routine.

As time goes on, you can tweak the numbers to suit your pet’s growth and health demands.

Recommended Calories By Age

Here’s a breakdown of the number of calories a GSD puppy should have according to his/her age:

  • A 12-month-old/slightly below (4 meals daily) should eat an average of 1200-2400 calories daily.
  • A 3 to 6-month-old (3 meals daily) should eat 2000-2200 calories per day.
  • A 6 to 12-month-old (3 meals per day) should consume 2700-3900 calories daily.
  • Puppies between the age of 12 to 18 months can have 3300-4250 calories per day.

Always monitor their weight and adjust feeding plans as they grow and react to stimuli. Also, keep track of your puppy’s RER number.

This is a mathematical formula for identifying the least demands for your German shepherd’s growth.

It helps dog owners to know when puppies are experiencing a growth spurt. 

How Much to Feed a German Shepherd Puppy – Recommended Calories by Weight

Although these are the minimum requirements for dogs in general, GSD tends to need more than most breeds.

The following will help you stay on track when it comes to your puppy’s weight and diet plan:

Calorie chart for 0 to 4 months

Weight (Pounds)Calories

Calorie chart for 4 months to 1 year

Weight (Pounds)Calories

Check the pack of every kibble you buy, and you’d see that these manufacturers have tested and calculated the mathematical formula. Those measuring cups are easier and more suitable for use.

How Many Times Does Your German Shepherd Puppy Need to Eat Daily?

Before we get into anything, here’s a breakdown of the number of feeding times your puppy should have daily:

  • 6 to 12-week old: 4 meals daily
  • 12 weeks to 6 months old: 3 meals daily
  • 6-month to 1-year-old: 2 meals daily
  • 1 year & Older: twice daily (limited)

Feeding younger puppies less in the day serves as a means of regulating their blood sugar and keeping it low. It gives them complete ease, therefore enhancing their behavior around the house.

You might want to adjust the feeding schedule for your dogs depending on their age and activity.

As we all know, puppies tend to develop less appetite as they age, except during a growth spurt. The more active they become, the more food they need to stay healthy.

As a pet owner, it’s your job to create the balance between their change in appetite and activity level.

Understanding how much a puppy needs to eat will help you to create a suitable feeding schedule. The truth is, other benefits will eventually add up.

When Should You Start Feeding Your German Shepherd Adult Dog Food?

One thing that always comes to the mind of pet owners is when they can start giving their puppies adult meals.

While some puppies are eligible from 12 to 18 months of age, it is advisable to give them the required nutrients as young ones until they seem fit and ready for a change in diet.

German shepherds may fail to reach their full growth until 18 months of age. However, some puppies are ready from 8 to 10 months.

And these are puppies that are 80% of their adult weight within the age range.

Nobody is saying you can’t let your puppies try new meals. However, it is essential to stick to the puppy formula until they have experienced full growth. 

What Types of Food are Preferable for German Shepherd Dogs?

Building a puppy’s physique is one thing on every dog owner’s mind. It starts with what you pour into the feeding bowl and how much you feed it.

So you see, it isn’t all about knowing how much to put into the bowl but also what you should be putting.

Also, you don’t want to go for those meals that only build excess fat.

Get your puppy’s dry kibbles from a professional and reputable vet-based research manufacturer.

Whenever you choose to buy one, look at the pack for where it says the food content is a complete formula. Another idea is to get recommendations.

Dry kibbles are more like the best economic choice. They help dogs grow healthier with adequate nutrients.

Commercial food

This includes wet and dry foods for dogs and is usually the best and easiest. Commercial foods can be a great choice for new dog owners.

It comes with the required nutrients and calories for dogs of all ages and can serve as a guide throughout their feeding cycle.

Dry foods are common, but no wrong with adding a few wet meals as treats. This might help spice up the dog’s appetite while also making the food enjoyable.

You’ll find so many commercial foods and brands in the market. Dry kibbles are good examples.

So many brands portray different products or the same name but different content, formula, and feeding guide.

Selecting a choice may be daunting. Since you’d be taking your dog to see the vet, ask for feeding advice.

Not saying you should opt for the most expensive brand but looking out for a suitable one isn’t a bad idea, after all.

If you’re choosing wet food, it is advisable to opt for the same company that produces the kibbles you’re buying.

This will help you stick to guidelines without mixing up the feeding requirements for your puppies. 

Raw Food

Don’t turn yourself into a pet nutritionist overnight and decide raw food is best for your dog, especially if you know little.

There are hundreds of cookbooks written on this subject by professionals who’ve gone down the same path.

A few raw meals are suitable for dogs, but you never can tell until you’re sure about it.

Remember that if you make any mistake, your dog will fall victim, not you.

Before diving into any raw food recipe, ensure you know what you’re doing and that it has been tested. Only feed your puppies recommended meals.

What Humans Eat

It is no news that dogs consume what humans eat too. Their choice of preferences is specific and minimal, but these little extras can help fasten the growth rate of your puppies.

Some contain the necessary nutrients for them to survive.

The following are humans food that your dogs can try when switching to adult food:


Dogs love to eat meat. The good news is that it replenishes them with sufficient protein and regulates certain hormones in their body system. Meat is rich food for humans, and so is it for dogs too.

Organs Meat

Specific meat like lungs, liver, kidneys and the like may seem disgusting to the human taste. However, dogs love to embrace them.

Such meats help replenish your puppies’ health and serve as a plus for their diet. Your GSD pet can have a little slice of organ meat spread over his food.

Small Fish

Fishes that are light and rich in protein are also recommended for puppies beyond 80% of their adult age.

Such fishes include sardines, anchovies, and mackerel. They are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids.

Other human foods to give your GSD pets include green vegetables, berries, eggs, and fermented food. However, you shouldn’t give them everything you lay your hands on.

Some meals may seem like they are good but can be harmful to a dog’s health—talking about chocolate, raw wild boar, grapes, tea, and the like.

Chocolate consists of compounds that are toxic for dogs. High-sugar foods are entirely harmful and can lead to heart disease, obesity, and diabetes in dogs. Grapes lead to kidney failure, and the list goes on.

The Best Dog Food for German Shepherd Puppies – for Superb Growth and Weight Gain

It’s best to go for dog food that has undergone feeding trials. This is what you get from a top-level manufacturer. The best of the best include:

1. Royal Canine Large Breed Formula

Extremely nutritious for large breeds and helps to grow the joints without resulting in inflammation.

A manufacturer with pure conditioning and endowed nutrients to sustain the growth of a puppy, this food does more good than you can imagine.

It helps with skin coating and enrichment for dogs and can serve as a routine meal, given the fact that your puppies are between 8 weeks and 15 months.


  • Skin treatment included in food content
  • Recommended for 15 months puppies or below
  • Contains the necessary nutrients to build your dog’s physique
  • Breed-specific
  • Energizes joint


  • None

Check Royal Canine Large Breed Forlumla on Amazon

2. Hill’s Science Diet

Rich in fish oil and necessary nutrients to make the puppy thrilled until the last bite. This is also beneficial for skin health.

It includes glucosamine and chondroitin, required nutrients to keep the bones strong and flexible while also improving growth.


  • Gives a thrilling taste
  • Rich in vitamin
  • Improves growth in no time
  • High level of calcium serves as a good source for strength
  • Food content is top-notch
  • Specifically for large breeds


  • Excess amount of grain

Check Hill’s Science Diet on Amazon

3. Purina Pro Plan Formula

Recommended for puppies with allergies, as it comes with a simple digestible formula. Settles comfortably in the stomach, thanks to its legume-free content.

Purina contains high-quality protein, chicken, salmon, and lamb. It serves as a good choice for those with weight management in mind.


  • Maintains weight
  • Rich in protein
  • Helps with digestion
  • Includes DHA fish oil for brain development
  • Contains glucosamine


  • Not manufactured for skin care

Check Purina Pro Plan Formula on Amazon

In all you do, opt for quality and not quantity. So many dog foods for German shepherd dogs lack protein and the required nutrients for growth.

You might as well take your dog to a professional to find out what he/she lacks and get proper recommendations. 

What Affects The Feeding Rate of GSD?

“So what could be the problem?”

It is no new thing. Many dog owners have experienced the same panic towards their puppies who seem to be declining food. 

“She finishes a bowl of kibbles but not anymore.”

Expect that; because if you don’t, then the situation is unusual. Dogs don’t have the same level of appetite all through their lifetime. They tend to eat less as they grow old.

Keep in mind that the size of kibbles from manufacturers may vary and that can act as a surrounding factor. Other reasons why your dog’s feeding rate may change include:


Not all humans partake in intense physical activities. The same thing applies to dogs. Their activity level varies. The most active puppy among its peers eats more.


As dogs grow, they tend to be less interested in meals. It shouldn’t be a burden to you if you notice a decreasing level in your dog’s appetite.


A frequent checkup will do more good than you can imagine. Dogs have no way of telling their owners when they are sick or feeling unusual.

This can affect the level at which they feed. If you notice any odd symptoms in your dog’s feeding routine, call a vet.

A Week-by-week Feeding Schedule for German Shepherd Puppies Throughout Their Growth Cycle

How about you find out your puppies’ age and help each with a weekly feeding plan until their full growth? This part contains everything you need for the entire cycle:

6-week-old puppy

All puppies need the companionship of their mother for the first 6 weeks of their lives. The adult GSD must feed her puppies breast milk often to keep them healthy.

Dogs’ breakfast milk contains colostrum, and puppies need as much as possible to survive.

Feed your puppies about four times daily and allow them to freely crawl to their mother for food whenever they want.

8-week-old puppy

After 8 weeks, your GSD pups can have dry kibbles mixed with goat milk and soaked for about ten minutes.

This boosts their appetite and replenishes them with sufficient vitamins and minerals.

Cow milk is also another good choice. Also, you can slip little canned pumpkin and unsweetened yogurt to entice their food. 

10-week-old puppy

Continue with the same diet. Don’t change kibbles if you find the ones your dogs enjoy.

Their growth will enhance as long as they eat well and partake in simple activities.

12-week-old puppy

Continue with the kibbles, only that this time you must focus more on reducing weight gain.

Plan their routine and ensure they carry out activities as well as eat enough.

14-week-old puppy

Focus on keeping healthy track records of your puppy’s athletic body. Learn more about weight gain in puppies.

Consider adding fresh carrots or apples as treats. This is the period when their feeding habit is likely to switch. A growth spurt is about to begin.

16-week-old puppy

At 16 weeks, your puppies are likely to finish their food quickly and still want more.

You can offer them a small handful of extra kibbles as you’re aware that they are undergoing a growth spurt.

The red flag would be failing to watch out for weight gain and also not allowing for physical activities. Now is the time for leash manners training and other related activities.

18-week-old puppy

You can start weighing your puppy on a scale. Simply put them on the scale and start weighing them. Measure the difference from time to time. 

20-week-old puppy

At this period, GSD puppies begin to increase with height, and their bodies lump out.

You shouldn’t prioritize more food for them now that their physique is forming up. German Shepherds usually don’t have round bellies.

22-week-old & older

Continue feeding your puppy’s dogs dry kibbles with healthy treats included in their meals. You don’t need to add more flavors.

As soon as GSD puppies reach one year, start giving them two meals daily. Don’t ever go below two per day, as it is essential for building their energy level.

Why is My German Shepherd Always Wanting More?

So you have this feeding routine that seems to be unwell for your dogs. One day, you find out that these dogs are always wanting more.

You pour some more into their bowl, and they still need more. You give them the benefit of doubt and offer some more, but the cravings never stop.

While most dog owners like to assume that everything is fine, some dig further to know what could trigger such a habit.

Neglect has led to many losing their dogs to one or two illnesses that start with a feeding hike.

The following are possible reasons why your German Shepherd seems to be wanting more food:

Excess Workouts

A GSD dog can exercise for anything below one hour per day, specifically for adult breeds.

Anything more than that leads to more energy burnout. And the more they burn off energy. Therefore food is required to replace these burnouts.


Be smart enough to look out for other symptoms once you notice a change in your dog’s feeding habit. SIBO, Cushing’s disease, and malabsorption syndrome are illnesses that can have a dog eating without a stop.

Anxiety & Stress

The traits above not only cause loss of appetite in dogs but may also trigger their feeding habit.

Find out what could be the source of these stressors and take them out.

Bad Habits

Whose dog wouldn’t want more food in his bowl at all times? That feeling of filling up your stomach whenever you want.

Dogs are also creatures of habit and may develop more appetite due to specific reasons.

Say you feed your pups anytime within the day without a routine. The simple solution to this is dishing out their meals at the same time every day.

What is the Best Time to Feed German Shepherd Puppies Meals?

It pays best to feed your puppies at the same time every day. So many dog owners with different schedules but adjustable feeding times within the day.

Dogs who eat four meals per day can have their food in the morning before you start your day, mid-day, at noon, and in the evening before you put them to bed.

Always ensure to bring them out so they can ease themselves before bedtime.

For dogs with a three-square meal, you can have their food spread over three periods: in the morning, at noon, and in the evening.

Dogs with just two-square meals are to eat in the morning and evening.

Remember, the feeding schedule is adjustable, and this is only a general but recommended guide.

Best Mean Treats for German Shepherd Puppies

If you need to spice up your dogs’ appetite, you can add a minimal percentage of flavor and nutrients to their meal. These include:

  • Goat milk
  • Scrambled and boiled eggs
  • Carrots
  • Blueberries
  • Canned pumpkin
  • Bone broth, etc.

Ensure to mix these with food properly, so your dog doesn’t separate the flavors, leaving behind the healthy kibbles.

How Much Water Should a German Shepherd Puppy Drink?

After breastfeeding the puppies for quite some time, the adult dog stops and allows them to try other meals.

This period is when puppies drink water a lot to balance the hydration level in their body.

Younger puppies drink half a cup every two hours. Older puppies can have an ounce per pound of body weight.

How much water they can have is also adjustable within these ranges.

If you have a pet, always ensure to remove the water dish at night, perhaps 2 hours before bedtime.

Bring them out during this period to ease themselves before putting each one to sleep. 

How Much Exercise Does a German Shepherd Puppy Need?

It is important to know how much exercise your dog needs every day. The idea is to know the level at which you go and the level of pressure you put on your puppies when it comes to workouts.

Remember that they are naturally active and always about the place, so they don’t necessarily need to exercise until they wear out.

A puppy below 3 months is fit enough and requires no exercise, not in any form.

He/she has to grow to some certain stage before road walks, running, and other activities should be introduced.

A 3-month-old puppy can have 15 minutes walks per day. A 6-month-old can go for 30 minutes, and this includes the total exercise per day.

These figures are quite okay rather than straining a young puppy’s bone ignorantly. You should also remember to always feed them water after each workout.

How Much Does A German Shepherd Grow Per Week?

Unlike other dogs, German Shepherd has an unusual growth cycle and are fully active within three to six months.

At this period, their growth rate skyrockets, and they can add up to ten pounds a month for the first few months.

This breed then begins to add two to three pounds every week until its level of growth depreciates at six months. 

Six-month-old puppies experience less growth compared to younger ones and may keep filling out until they are two or three years.

While growth fades out at 12 months, the official end time for it is at 18 months. The fun fact is, these dogs keep growing. 

Do German Shepherds Have Food Allergies?

Not only canine breeds have food allergies. German Shepherds do too. And oftentimes, it is associated with animal protein like beef, chicken, and meat.

Other times, it may be due to environmental factors like pollen, dust, perfume, mold, and the like.

You may find out that some pups are allergic to basic foods like milky eggs and soy.

It is what it is. If you confirmed with your vet that these are just allergies, you’re good to go.

Can They Eat A Wide Range of Food?

It is often advisable to feed GSD pups small meals during the day. This is because they have sensitive stomachs and may develop health issues from certain diets.

While most of these health problems tend to develop later in life, some pups fall victim. Such illnesses include diarrhea, loose stools, gas, and mild vomiting.

This breed is also prone to gastric dilation volvulus. You should be mindful of the amount of food fed to your dog, especially during the day.

There must be a balance between their diet and level of workout.

Is Free Feeding Your German Shepherd Pup a Good Idea?

The German Shepherd is a medium-breed dog, and breeders tend to develop their pet’s physique. This breed is usually athletic.

Therefore, free feeding isn’t a good choice. Putting out schedules works the most because your dog will have the right amount of food at the right time.

Free feeding means leaving your dog to eat whenever they want. For German Shepherds, this can trigger several health issues like obesity, gastric dilation, and the like.

Pups also love to ease themselves for 15 minutes after a meal or drink. Taking them out for a walk would help best rather than having them exposed to more food. 

Should You Feed Your Pups Supplements?

Dog food gotten from reputable manufacturers contains the right amount of nutrients and supplements.

There is absolutely no reason to supplement your pet food with vitamins, minerals, or herbal substances unless given a directive by a professional vet.

The animal expert will give a canine-safe recommendation that your dog lacks.

Human supplements are not good for animals, as they can cause harm to the body leaving permanent injuries.

They have no backups and have little or no effect. Hence, avoid such supplements.


Helping your German Shepherd live healthily starts with his diet and feeding strategy. These aren’t hardened instructions but a general guide for your dog.

You can adjust it to suit your feeding plan, depending on certain factors surrounding your dog.

All German Shepherds are bound to be athletic and fit to the ground. Helping your puppy develop such a physique stems from its feeding routine.

Now that this knowledge is at your disposal, how about we use it to strengthen the growth of your puppies?

Authored By

Emma Harris

Emma Harris has been a veterinary care assistant and a dog writer for over six years. She is a passionate dog lover who believes in treating all animals with kindness. Emma puts her experience with animals (especially dogs) into writing by discussing topics that act as go-to guides to dog nutrition, health, and care. ...