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This is the ultimate guide to learning all about German Shepherd raw diet.
If you are reading this, you have probably realized kibble isn’t the healthiest option for your GSD. All those nasty preservatives, additives, and highly processed ingredients can cause health issues in dogs, so what are you supposed to feed your GSD? Enters raw dog food!
Raw feeding German Shepherds (dogs in general) is becoming more popular due to the many health benefits of raw food. But does this diet live up to the hype?
Today we dig into the best raw food diet for German Shepherd, risks, benefits, recipes, breed-specific advice, and everything in between so you can confidently cook a balanced homemade raw diet for your GSD. Let’s dive right in!
What Is A Raw Dog Food Diet?
What is a raw diet for German Shepherd?
Raw dog food diets (aka BARF – Biologically Appropriate Raw Food) are designed to mimic a dog’s ancestral diet, which is based upon a dog’s carnivorous and primal instincts. It consists of raw ingredients. There are three types, frozen, freeze-dried, and homemade.
A raw dog food diet typically consists of:
- Meat protein
- Bones either whole or ground
- Organ meats (i.e., livers and kidneys)
- Raw eggs
- Dog-safe fresh fruits and vegetables
- Vegetables like broccoli, spinach, and celery.
- Blueberries or other fruit.
- Some dairy, such as yogurt.
All the ingredients are uncooked to preserve the enzyme content, minerals, vitamins, and other vital nutrients.
There is a variation in the BARF format known as the “prey model raw (PMR)” food. This diet represents the type of food a dog would have eaten if they lived in the wild and hunted for their food, so fruits, dairy, and vegetables are excluded in the PMR.
Can German Shepherds Eat Raw Meat?
Yes, dogs, including German Shepherd, can eat raw meat and other raw ingredients. German Shepherds are true carnivores, just like any dog, and can, thrive on a raw meat diet. From DNA studies, we know dogs descended directly from the timber wolf approximately 15,000 years ago1. Wolves are clear carnivores, so genetically, dogs demonstrate similar and noticeable carnivorous traits. Their teeth, digestive system, and behavior account for their meat-eating capabilities.
Unlike humans or animals like cows, dogs don’t have flat teeth or chew their cud from side to side. Like all carnivores, dogs have narrow pointy back teeth, and their jaws can only move in an up-and-down, chop-chop motion. Carnivores do not produce amylase (an enzyme produced within most herbivores and omnivores’ saliva) in their salivary glands. Dogs don’t produce amylase in their saliva but their pancreas and small intestine2.
Finally, meat-eating animals like dogs have a higher concentration of stomach acid. This allows faster digestion of animal protein, and the stronger acids kill the bacteria in decaying meat.
However, Dr. RuthAnn Lobos, a Purina veterinarian, says feeding a diet consisting primarily of raw meat may not provide the complete and balanced nutrition your dog needs3. If you plan to feed raw meat to your GSD, you need to do it as part of a balanced raw meal plan. Any raw meat needs to be fresh and thoroughly washed before feeding it.
Even though dogs demonstrate a notable omnivorous capacity4, dogs are optimized for eating meat. Whether you believe they’re carnivores or omnivores, dogs possess an undeniable carnivorous bias. GSDs can safely enjoy raw meats.
Benefits of German Shepherd Raw Diet
So, what are the benefits of a BARF diet for german shepherd?
Among the benefits of raw dog food, according to veterinarian Dr. Ian Billinghurst and other proponents of raw feeding dogs, are:
- Shinner coat
- Improved skin health
- More energy
- Lean, strong muscles
- Smaller, firmer stools
- Improved dental health
- Stronger immune system
- Lower risk for allergies
- Improved digestion
- Increased agility
- Brihgt eyes
In the largest study to date on the effects of raw food on dogs, Belgian researchers Dr. Gerard Lippert and Bruno Sapy examined more than 500 dogs over a period spanning five years concluded that raw feeding dogs could add as much as 32 months (almost 3 years) – to a dog’s life5.
Dr. Peter Dobias, who has 30 years of veterinary experience and has advocated for raw pet diets since 1995, agrees with the study and says, “From my experience, if people feed a raw diet, they will increase their dog’s lifespan by 25 percent,” “Generally, raw-fed dogs are so much healthier. The changes are profound.7”
Food & Health In GSD: Why Feed Raw To German Shepherds?
Unfortunately, a lot of German Shepherd allergies arise from commercial dog food. German Shepherds are at a high risk of developing cutaneous adverse food reactions (CAFR), or in simpler terms, dog food allergies.
Other common health problems in GSDs include degenerative myelopathy, elbow, and hip dysplasia, and osteoarthritis. High levels of starchy carbs and bad carbs found in kibble can put your GSD at risk of becoming overweight. An obese GSD can aggravate these conditions as the extra weight puts more strain on their joints, bone structure, and back (spinal cord).
German Shepherds are also prone to Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI), Inflammatory Bowel Disease, and Perianal Fistulas. A low-fat diet and highly digestible food are key to prevent irritation, inflammation of the digestive system, which helps avoid these conditions.
How Can a Raw Diet Help German Shepherds With All of This?
There several reasons feeding raw food to GSD is beneficial.
- Raw food for German Shepherd ensures that your pup always eats fresh, wholesome, and allergen-free foods as no chemicals, additives, or fillers are used in raw diets, hence preventing allergies.
- You control the ingredients that go into your dog’s body, so you pick ingredients that won’t cause an allergic reaction in your pet. If you don’t know the foods that trigger allergies in your GSD, we suggest doing an At-Home Food Dog Allergy Test before picking the ingredients for your pup’s next meal.
- Raw dog food is easier to digest than kibble; more easily digestible food means more efficient absorption of nutrients (i.e., minerals, vitamins, and amino acids) and faster inflammatory response. This may help prevent or relieve symptoms of allergies, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, and/or a potential case of Perianal Fistula.
- Raw diets remove a lot of unnecessary carbohydrates. It’s a great way of helping a dog to lose weight or maintain weight. A raw diet allows you to control the fat level in each meal, promoting a healthy weight even further. Preventing obesity is key in avoiding or bring relief to skeletal or joint maladies in GSDs.
German Shepherd Raw Food Risks
Generally, dogs can eat raw meat without getting poisoned or sick. Their bodies are built to process meat and bones fast.
Though there are potential upsides to BARF and some veterinarians recommend it, there are some disadvantages.
- Uncooked or feeding raw poses a higher risk of contamination with potentially harmful pathogens (i.e., Salmonella, E.Coli) that can sicken your pet and possibly be transmitted to humans.
- Feeding whole bones to dogs present a risk of choking, broken teeth, intestinal obstruction, or internal punctures.
- Cooking a nutritionally unbalanced raw food diet can jeopardize your dog’s health.
To minimize these risks, you need to:
1. Thoroughly wash all meats, organs, and other raw ingredients.
2. Getting raw products from reputable grocery stores/butchers with high sanitary standards is recommended.
3. Feeding only raw bones that are small with a lot of joints or ground bones. NEVER feed cooked bones. They become softer after cooking and are at greater risk of splintering when chewed. Avoid big bones.
You should feed raw under the guidance of a vet nutritionist. He or she can provide nutritional guidance and/or recommend a raw food delivery service for your GSD.
PRO TIP: Freeze all your meats for at least 2 to 3 weeks to kill any parasites — Research found that Salmonella is highly sensitive to freezing and showed survival of 1% or less after 48 hr. E. coli proved less sensitive, showing a survival rate ranging from 10% to 30% during the first week of storage. Generally, however, most samples showed a decline compared to that of salmonellae after two weeks of storage5.
How to Transition Your German Shepherd To A Raw Diet
Raw feeding a German Shepherd for the first time takes time.
A transition to a new diet for your dog is a slow process. This allows for your GSD’s digestive tract to adjust, preventing stomach issues. Below is a general schedule you can use for this dietary change.
Week 1: 25% new food and 75% old food
Week 2: 50% new food and 50% old food
Week 3: 25% new food and 75% old food
Week 4: 100% new food
Only proceed to increment your dog’s new food percentage per week if he seems to be doing well during each transition. Monitor weight and health closely. If you notice any adverse reaction to his new food, you should go back a week in the transition plan and proceed at a slower pace.
Never change your dog’s food abruptly. It could cause an upset stomach, diarrhea, or vomiting.
German Shepherd Raw Diet Cost
According to Statista, the average price of traditional kibble cost 1.97 U.S. dollars per pound while high-end kibble was $3.466 per pounds6.
We calculated the average price per pound for the most popular, high-end raw commercial foods in the market to be $6.4, with lower-end raw options costing $3.8 per pound.
We also looked into the price per pound of the most popular meats. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, beef, chicken, and turkey have an average price per pound of $3.9, $1.5, and $1.28, respectively.
If you were to cook raw homemade meals, dog food expenses shouldn’t vary much when comparing kibble prices per pound against the price of meats at grocery stores.
On the other hand, buying commercial raw-meat food over traditional kibble results in a slightly higher price per pound but we think the health benefits and convenience are worth the price.
Raw Dog Food Nutritional Guidelines
So, what does a German Shepherd raw diet plan looks like?
The recommended guidelines for a BARF diet consist of 70% uncooked muscle meat, 10% raw edible bone, 10% vegetables and fruit, 5% liver, and 5% other organs.
Your GSD’s raw diet plan should also follow the AAFCO’s guidelines to create a balanced meal that supports life and proper function in dogs. AFFCO (is the entity regulating dog food nutritional value in commercial dog food), and it states every dog meal should have 6 indispensable nutrients. These include protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins, minerals, and water.
A proper raw diet should consider your pup’s weight, health conditions, size, and activity level.
*If feeding the “Prey” model, this method typically consists of 80% muscle meat, 10% bone, and 10% organs (half of which is liver.). No fruits or veggies.
Typically, a BARF raw diets for dogs follow this formula:
|70% Muscle Meat||Beef, chicken, turkey, pork, and other meats, depending on what your dog tolerates. Choose lean cuts. Aim for 10% fat but no higher than 20%.||Raw meat is the main source of protein. Builds and repairs muscles and other body tissues. Needed to make new skin cells, grow hair, hormones, enzymes and more.|
|10% Raw, Edible Bone||Uncooked raw bones, bones with a lot of joints, like necks, tails, and feet. Ground bones are the safest choice. Avoid heavy or big bones - They can break teeth or get stuck in the digestive tract.||Provide essential calcium, phosphorous, and other essential nutrients.|
|5% Liver||Livers from cow, chicken, or other animals.||Great source of high-quality protein; vitamins A, B12, B6; folic acid; iron; zinc; and essential amino acids.|
|5% Other Organs||Kidney, spleen, lungs, heart, brain, eyeballs, reproductive organs (testicles, uterus), trachea, stomach, sweetbreads (pancreas and thymus), and tongue.||Organs are a great source of vitamins and minerals. The more organs you add to the diet of your dog, the better the mix of nutrients your dog will receive.|
|10% Vegetables & Fruit||Broccoli, celery, squash, pumpkin, spinach, leafy greens, and carrots. Fruit such as apples, cranberries, and blueberries. |
Fresh herbs such as parsley, basil, and oregano. (Never feed toxic fruits or veggies)
|Fruit provide antioxidants while vegetables have carotenoids, flavonoids, antioxidants, and many other phytochemicals that are beneficial to immune function and health dogs.|
These nutritional percentages can vary depending on your dog’s unique needs. If your dog is sensitive to organs, a 2% liver will provide essential vitamin A, minerals, and other minerals.
You can add some dairy, such as cottage cheese, plain yogurt and/or raw eggs for more protein sources.
Note: It is critical that you use high-quality grade meat.
Dr. Dobias advises rotating the type of meat fed every four days to mix things up. Feeding your dog more than one meat and varying the fruits and veggies on the same day is okay. “Dogs would not be eating one type of protein if they were in nature,” he explains. “They would be eating a variety.”
We suggest consulting a veterinary nutritionist to help create a diet plan for your GSD or before making any changes to your dog’s diet. Formulating a balanced raw dog diet without professional help can be tedious.
If you need more advice on German Shepherd raw diet nutrition or want to learn more about the benefits and impact of raw food on dogs, read Give Your Dog a Bone by Ian Billinghurst. This book is considered the Bible of raw dog food nutrition.
German Shepherd Raw Diet Supplements
A balanced raw diet shouldn’t require additional supplementation. However, poorly made raw diets by inexperienced dog parents, special dietary needs, or health conditions may require additional supplementation to specific nutrients.
Adding a multivitamin like Zesty Paws Multivitamin Chews ensures your GSD gets the recommended balance of vitamins and minerals. For common GSD problems like osteoarthritis and other joint maladies, look for products containing glucosamine and chondroitin, which may help treat or prevent symptoms.
Health Dietary Changes
The chart below includes food-related conditions German Shepherds may develop due to food allergies or other causes.
A raw diet coupled with these dietary recommendations can help prevent and or boost recovery.
|Condition||Dietary Needs & Adjustments
|Coat Color Changes||Increase amino acids which can be found in protein (>75 grams per 1000 calories)|
|Concurrent GI Signs||Avoid foods with tryptamine and histamine such as dairy or fermented vegetables and meats (yes, this includes bacon); try a simple ingredient food trial
|Chronic Itching and Dermatitis||Fortify the diet with Vitamin E, B Vitamins, Zinc, omega-6 and the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil; add a dog probiotic; try a simple ingredient food trial|
|Dull Coat and Scaling||Adjust EPA and DHA levels in the diet (added fish oil being the most common way); try a food that has added zinc
|Dandruff and Crustiness||Add Zinc and Vitamin A levels
Chart Source: NomNom
Is A Raw Food Diet Good For Your GSD?
Is raw meat good for German Shepherds? Watch this video and learn about raw dog food from the experts.
How Much Raw Food To Feed German Shepherds?
You can determine how much raw food to feed your GSD based on calories needed by his weight. The only downside is that you need to know how many calories ingredient contains and add them up. Quite a cumbersome process if you ask me.
The body weight percentage option is the method of choice for many raw feeders (new and experienced). It’s simple, and it works with any raw diet.
As a general rule, raw feed your dog about 2% to 4% of his ideal adult weight.
However, a dog’s food intake will vary depending on his weight, metabolism, activity level, lifestyle or other factors. Use the guidelines below as a German Shepherd raw diet calculator.
You have a 4 scenarios to determine how much to feed your dog.
- Weight maintenance: Feed 2% – 2.5% of their current weight in pounds per day.
- Active dogs (canine athletes, sport dogs, or highly active dogs): Feed 3% – 4% of their current weight in pounds per day.
- Senior, less active, or overweight dogs (weight loss): Feed 1.5% – 2% of their current weight in pounds per day.
- Underweight dogs (weight gain): Feed 3% – 3.5% % of their current weight in pounds per day.
For instance, if your GSD weights 65 pounds and you want to maintain his weigh, you would multiply the 65 pounds by either 2% – 2.5%.
But, which one do you use?
If your GSD is inactive, but his weight is ideal, then use 2%. For an average activity level dog that receives anywhere from an hour to several hours of exercise a day, a middle ground like 2.25% is recommeded. If you feel your dog is more active, you may need to feed 2.5% or more to maintain a healthy weight. (Use this criterion to calculate for all other scenarios)
For an active GSD that weights 65 lbs. that wants to maintain his weight, your would multiply 2.5%*65 lbs (0.025*65) which equals 1.625.
1.625 lbs is the amount of pounds in raw food you would need to feed your German Shepherd daily.
Adult dogs typically eat 2 meals per day. So, break 1.625 lbs into 2 meals of 0.81 lbs each.
Talk to your vet if your dog has any special dietary needs or medical requirements that can affect food intake.
How Much Raw Meat to Feed My German Shepherd?
German Shepherd should eat 70% raw meat in each meal. That’s the suggested amount of muscle meat content a BARF diet suggests.
Raw Diet For German Shepherd Puppy
A German Shepherd puppy raw diet plan is not the same as an adult GSD.
Puppies need to eat more protein, fat, calcium, and phosphorus than adult dogs. So, feed puppies 15% bone and less than 20% fat to ensure they get enough nutrients and minerals. Raw food for German Shepherd puppies should include a balance of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, minerals, water, and vitamins per AAFCO guidelines.
For proper growth and development, it is not advised to skip meals while your puppy is growing and developing.
Can German Shepherd Puppies Eat Raw Meat?
German Shepherd puppies can eat raw meat. Many raw-fed breeders wean their puppies directly onto raw from their mother’s milk. You can begin feeding raw the day you bring your puppy home.
You can also do a combination of both worlds (raw food + dry kibble ) until your puppies reach 12 months of age. After 12 months, you can transition to full raw dog food.
How Much Raw Food Should German Shepherd Puppies Get?
Pound for pound, puppies need more calories than adult dogs.
Puppies should eat about 5% to 10% of their current weight to support their growth. As a general guide, feed:
Puppies 2 to 3 months: 8% to 10% of body weight daily
Puppies 4 to 5 months: 6% to 8% of body weight daily
Puppies 6 to 8 months: 4% to 6% of body weight daily
Puppies 9 to 12 months: 3% to 4% of body weight daily
Puppies should be fed 3 to 4 times per day. When they reach 12 months, you should feed twice a day.
Raw Dog Food Delivery Service
If you are a German Shepherd owner with a busy lifestyle and don’t have much time to cook for your pet and wish your GSD could enjoy the benefits of eating raw food, a raw dog food delivery service is for you.
BARF World is one of our favorite options and the best raw food for German Shepherds available in the market.
This raw dog food company is the pioneer of raw diets for dogs. They deliver Biologically Appropriate Raw Food straight to your door. Their formula is a balanced blend of raw meat, fruits, vegetables, organs, and bone. Plus, it’s supplemented with 4 other key ingredients.
BARF World states their food has helped generations of dogs become free of allergies, itchy skin and coats, digestive problems, obesity, and weight problems, among other issues.
All of their ingredients are USDA sourced, and their formulas are developed with the input of a veterinary nutritionist to meet the nutritional guidelines for dog food.
The best part of feeding BARF World is that you never have to worry about balancing ingredients, portion sizing, grinding, chopping, measuring, mixing, potential pathogens in raw ingredients, and all the risks and hassles involved in cooking raw dog food on your own.
In our experience, it’s a huge time-saver, and you can spend time on more important things like walks or training. We think it’s worth the cost after you add up the prices of all the ingredients you’ll need to cook a recipe and the convenience of it.
Our readers have access to the best deals at BARF Wolrd, just use this link to get your GSD’s first raw meal.
If you are looking for more options, be sure to read our comparison of the best raw dog food delivery options. We cover the best freeze-dried or frozen raw dog food options for German Shepherds.
Some dog owners choose to serve use pre-made raw food on top of some kibble as a way to introduce raw diets to their pets.
German Shepherd Raw Food: Cooking, Handling & Serving Tips
In order to cook, plan the best raw food diet for german shepherds here are a few tips to keep in mind.
1. Separate all raw pet food from human-grade food. Prepare and store raw pet food separately from human-grade food as a preventive measure against cross-contamination. Use separate cutting boards and different cooking utensils to prepare your food and your dog’s food.
2. Wash produce but not raw meat. Contrary to popular belief, raw meat should not be washed or rinsed because it increases the spread of bacteria and increases the risk of cross-contamination, says the USDA.
3. Freezing and storing. Place raw dog food in secure packaging and store it in the freezer. Keeping raw food frozen at a consistent temperature of 0 °F will prevent the growth of microbes (including mold and yeast ) and kill parasites if frozen for up two weeks.
4. Never thaw raw pet food in water or the microwave. Thaw raw dog food by placing it in the refrigerator or a bowl on the countertop. If placed in the refrigerator for thawing, the temperature needs to be consistently 40 °F or below. Ideally 35 °F. According to the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), “bacteria grow most rapidly in the range of temperatures between 40 and 140 °F, the “Danger Zone.”
Thawing in water is not recommended. If the container or bag has holes, the nutrients will leach into the surrounding water. Lastly, do not microwave raw food for pet consumption as this will begin cooking the food.
5. After thawing dog must consume food within 1 to 2 days. FoodSaftey.gov recommends all raw ground meats for human consumption should be used within 1 to 2 days of being in the refrigerator. Raw roasts, steaks, and chops (beef, veal, lamb, and pork) should be used within 3 to 5 days. Similarly, raw dog food manufacturers say if the meat is not going to be consumed right away, it should be stored in a container with a lid and placed in the refrigerator for no more than 24-48 hours. So, dogs have 2 days to consume raw food that’s been thawed. Keeping food refrigerated for 3 to 4 days won’t hurt, but it increased the chances for cross-contamination.
6. Don’t leave raw dog food out for too long and throw away leftovers from the day. If your dog doesn’t finish all his raw food, pick it up right away, cover it, and put the food back in the refrigerator to feed at the next meal. At the end of the day, you should dispose of any uneaten food. This helps to keep food at its peak freshness and avoid any digestive upset.
Do not leave raw food unattended for long periods of time, especially during the warmer months. It can result in spoiled food and bacteria growth. If this happens, it’s recommended to discard the food.
7. Always sanitize prep space, tools, and area where the pet eats before, during, and after cooking and serving. The FSIS (Food Safety and Inspection Service) recommends washing your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water.
Please do not use the same dishrag you use to wash your own dishes, or you could contaminate them with raw food particles. Instead, get a separate dishrag that’s specific for your dog’s dishes. Wash cutting boards, feeding bowls, countertops, and utensils such as knives with hot, soapy water after each use, or place in a dishwasher on the highest cleaning setting.
Make sure your dog’s bowl is made from stainless steel like this one. Other materials like plastic and porcelain can trap germs over time due to the porosity of their surfaces.
How to Make German Shepherd Raw Food (Video)
Not sure where to start? Wondering how to feed a German Shepherd a raw diet? Watch this video and learn!
Raw Dog Food Recipes For German Shepherds
Here is a list of our favorite German Shepherd raw dog food recipes you can cook.
We have also added a recipe for a special treat that is tasty and packed with impressive health benefits. This recipe can do a lot for your GSD’s health and wellness. It has our favorite secret ingredient, dog CBD oil.
For even more German Shepherd raw recipes and cooking options, this raw dog food cookbook can come in handy to have at your disposal. Or better yet, you can get the best raw dog food for german shepherds from one of the brands we recommend on our Raw Dog Food Guide.
Note: Please consult with your pet’s veterinarian & use personal judgment when applying this information to your dog’s diet. The recipes below do not include serving size because portion sizes will vary depending on breed, weight, activity level, age, and health of your dog.
CBD-Infused Dog Treat
Impress your German Shepherd with these nutritious, therapeutic, and appetizing homemade CBD oil dog treats. They are made with Pumpkin and other essential vitamins and minerals (like iron, potassium, and vitamin A). Pumpkin also helps promote better digestion and hydration. Coconut is also added for skin and coat health and allergy reduction.
CBD can help with seizures, anxiety, arthritis, inflammation, pain, wellness, preventive care, and many other health issues in dogs. Learn more here. You can also purchase already made CBD dog treats.
Be sure to check with your veterinarian before giving your dog CBD to make sure it’s safe and feeding portions are appropriate.
- 2 1/2 cups gluten-free flour
- 1/2 cup oats
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 Tbsp coconut sugar
- 1 apple, cored and grated
- 1/2 cup carrots, peeled and grated
- 1/2 cup peanut butter
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/3 cup olive or coconut oil
- 1/2 cup water
- dash of sea salt
- 120 mg CBD oil
Total: Makes 24 treats
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease a dog cookie baking tray with coconut oil.
- Core and grate the apples, then peel and grate the carrots.
- In a medium-sized bowl, combine the gluten-free flour, oats, and coconut sugar together. In another medium-sized bowl, beat the egg. Then, add coconut oil, water, and grated apples and carrots.
- Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients bowl; mix completely. Finally, add CBD oil and mix once more.
- Using a Tbsp measuring spoon, portion out the dog biscuits and press into the dog treat baking pan. Bake 32-37 minutes or until the biscuits are firm and golden-brown on the outside.
- Store in an air-tight container.
The number of dog treats will vary depending on the size of the mold you use. Try to make each dog treat have 2-5 mg of CBD.
Recipe from: Truth Theory
Ground Beef, Chicken Liver Veggies Mix
This one is among our favorite German Shepherd raw diet recipes. Easy to digest and packed with all the essential nutrients GSDs need.
- 2 1/2 lbs ground beef
- 4 oz chicken livers
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 1 small apple, cored
- 1/2 cup baby spinach
- 2 whole eggs (including shell)
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt
- 1 tbsp ground flaxseed
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Put carrot, apple, and spinach in a food processor and process until finely chopped.
- Add remaining ingredients except for beef and process until well combined.
- Transfer mixture to a large bowl and add the beef until well mixed.
- Form into patties the size of your palm and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Freeze patties and transfer them to a storage container to keep frozen.
- The night before you wish to feed, remove the patties from the freezer and place them in the refrigerator to thaw.
Raw Boneless Turkey & Egg Dog
This recipe will make 11 pounds of raw food, which is 6-7 days’ worth of food for a 50-pound dog. The amount you feed will depend on your dog’s weight and exercise level.
- 5 pounds 93% lean ground turkey
- 2 pounds chicken heart
- 1 pound beef liver
- 6 pastured eggs without shells
- 8 ounces (3 large stalks) kale
- 8 ounces (2 stalks) broccoli
- 8 ounces (4 chopped cups) dandelion greens
- 12 ounces (2 small clamshell packages) blueberries or mixed berries (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and cranberries)
- 6 Tablespoons bone meal (seaweed calcium can be used for adult dogs)
- 3 Tablespoons ground pumpkin seed powder
- 2 teaspoons Himalayan salt
- 1/4 teaspoon kelp
- If you have a grinder, grind the chicken heart and beef liver. If you don’t have a grinder, chop the liver and heart into small cubes.
- Puree the eggs, kale, broccoli, dandelion greens, berries, bone meal, pumpkin seed powder, salt, and kelp in a food processor.
- Mix the ground turkey, liver, heart, and veggie/berry mix.
- Place the mixture into smaller containers and place them in your freezer. It’s best to freeze your food in 1-3 day portions.
Recipe From: Dog Naturally Magazine
During the week, this recipe can be used as a tasty treat or as a variety option.
You can make it with any excess organs. The only thing that’s missing is bones and cartilage, so you should not feed this recipe as a regular meal but more as a treat every now and then.
- 4 ounces of beef hearts
- 4 ounces of kidneys
- 4 ounces of gizzards
- 4 ounces of liver
- 2 tablespoons of precooked vegetables
- 1 raw egg
- The first thing you’ll need to do is prepare the ingredients. You’ll need to chop up the organs or put them in a food processor. The same goes for the vegetables.
- Once everything is minced, simply mix it all together. Add the raw egg with the shell. You can then form the mixture into patties and pop them in the freezer until you’re ready to give them to your dog.
Recipe From: Daily Dog Stuff
Chicken & Greens
Here is another recipe you can add to your German Shepherd raw diet meal plan.
This raw chicken for German Shepherd with a veggie mix is full of nutritients and vitamins.
- 35% – 50% Chicken thighs or breasts
- 10% – 30% Chicken hearts and liver
- 12% – 15% Ground chicken bone
- 5% lightly boiled chicken eggs
- 5% – 10% Organic broccoli (like kale, broccoli is very rich in vitamin C and fiber and a lot of other nutrients)
- 5% – 10% Organic celery (it’s quite rich in water when it is raw, but it is still a great source of dietary fiber)
- 5% – 10% Organic spinach (very high vitamin and mineral content, excellent nutrient)
- 5% – 10% Organic carrots
- 5% Alfalfa meal
Simply mix and freeze or serve. The eggs should be lightly boiled as a protection against Salmonella.
Recipe From: Top Dog Tips
Best Raw Cooking Practices
When making raw food for a German Shepherd (or any dog), be diligent with every step you take and always adhered to your veterinarian’s recommendations.
Here are some general guidelines to follow when putting together a GSD raw diet plan.
- Meticulous care is required in the handling, preparation, and sanitation of raw food (learn more here)
- Meat and other ingredients must be human-grade
- Buy ethically sourced ingredients
- Everything has to be natural, raw (no foods with additives, hormones, and toxins)
- Know by memory (or have a list) of toxic dog food
- Avoid grain, especially if your pup suffers from allergies
- Remove any bones that may become splintered (as your dog becomes more experienced with eating raw bones, this won’t be necessary)
- Avoid heavy, big bones
- Liver is quite slimy. Be cautious and cut into bite-size pieces to avoid choking.
- Feed the leanest ground products possible
- If you feed ground meat, remember that ground meats don’t usually contain bone (unless otherwise specified). You will need to add bones.
If you want to save money, visit your local Mexican market, Asian market, or farmer’s market. Typically, these places have a wider variety of organ meats at lower prices. You can also have frozen organ meats delivered to your door on ice.
What Foods Should Your GSD Never Eat?
There are several foods your dog should never eat so plan your recipe accordingly. The principal toxic foods include:
- Onions and garlic
- Coffee, tea, and other caffeine
- Grapes and raisins
- Macadamia nuts
- Raw bread dough
For a more extensive list, check out this handy list you should consider having on your refrigerator as a reminder.
Raw Food To Never Feed Dogs
Did you know you should never feed your dog a raw potato? Potatoes belong to the nightshade family of vegetables, which includes tomatoes. Like tomatoes, raw potatoes contain solanine, a toxic compound to some dogs, says the AKC. However, cooking a potato reduces the levels of solanine.
Never give your dog raw or undercooked salmon or salmonid species of fish. It can contain the Neorickettsia Helminthoeca parasite, which causes salmon poisoning disease. This disease can be fatal. Plus, the small brittle bones can choke your dog or lodge in his stomach or intestines.
Boneless fish (especially oily fish) is allowed but not more than once a week. Don’t feed fish with sharp spines and barbs. Avoid feeding wild pork, bear meat, or meats from wild animals, not even after freezing. Wild meats may contain more parasites than farm-raised meats,
Please do your research so that you know what vegetables, fruits, meats, and ingredients are safe to feed!
German Shepherds That Shouldn’t Eat Raw Dog Food
According to Dr. Doug Knueven, a holistic medicine specialist who consults for Nature’s Variety (Instinct, a raw pet food brand) says raw diets do not suit all dogs.
Since raw foods are normally high in protein, they are not appropriate for dogs with kidney or liver problems. Too much protein stresses these organs, which can aggravate these conditions. Dr. Knueven also states that dogs on chemotherapy or immune-suppressing drugs should be restricted from eating raw food.
If your dog is suffering from pancreatitis or digestive problems, it’s recommended to start with a cooked homemade diet before switching to raw.
German Shepherd Raw Diet vs Kibble
Both diets have their pros and cons. It all comes down to finding what’s right for you and your dog.
With more than five hundred pages and twelve hundred references, Feeding Dogs: The Science Behind The Dry Versus Raw Debate is a must-read for all those interested in understanding one of the most heated controversies is pet nutrition: Should you feed your dog a raw food diet or kibble? It’s worth reading if you are still uncertain about raw diets.
Here is a quick look at raw diet vs kibble and how they stack up against each other.
|Made with fillers, preservatives, additives, colorants, and other harmful chemicals.||No additives or any type of chemical is added. Healthies option.|
|Cheaper than raw diet||Homemade raw food is equally expensive or cheaper. Commercially available raw food is a bit more expensive than kibble.|
|Low standards for what can and cannot be included in commercial pet food,||Typically, raw-based diets use high-quality meats and fresh ingredients. Quality standards for safety, hygiene, and manufacturing tend to be more rigorous due to the raw nature of the food.|
|Longer shelf-life and doesn’t spoil easily.||Raw food doesn’t last long after being served. Leftovers for the day need to be discarded.|
|Easy to store and carry when traveling||Requires freezer space and only the raw-freeze dried option is good for traveling.|
Monitor Weight & Health
You can determine whether you are feeding the right amount by running your hands over your dog’s ribs. Fido is at a good weight if you can feel your dog’s ribs but not see them.
Weighing your GSD on a scale regularly is the best way to keep an eye out for a healthy weight.
Monitoring your German Shepherd’s weight is key as you transition to a raw food diet. An unbalanced diet can lead to excessive energy, skin or coat disorders, allergies, weight loss, malnutrition, or obesity.
Follow your GSD’s weight and health closely for about a month to ensure that he is not adversely affected by this new diet. If you notice these symptoms, immediately stop feeding your dog this food and consult with a professional dog nutritionist.
It’s important to work alongside your vet to ensure the diet maintains nutritional adequacy.
Other Food Alternatives
With the right information and the guidance of your vet, switching your GSD to a raw diet should feel much less daunting.
Just because your German Shepherd gobbles up a raw meat diet, that doesn’t mean it’s right for all dogs. Each dog is different, and some animals might never switch due to food sensitivities or other health issues.
Another diet that’s proved beneficial for dogs with meat allergies, digestive issues, or food-related health issues is vegan dog food.
If your pet becomes ill, consult a vet as soon as possible and consider pet insurance for German Shepherds if a need arises. It can save you a ton of money on medical exams, medications, or related vet bills.
Be sure to check out these other homemade dog food recipes that contain cooked food as an alternative to raw.