Large dog breeds have higher bone health requirements than smaller breeds, owing to their size. So, whether you buy labrador puppy food or German shepherd puppy food, ensure that the product is formulated with calcium and minerals to boost bone strength. However, GSDs tend to be larger, stronger and more agile than labradors. So, you cannot feed them the same food.
Degenerative or developmental joint problems can occur in German shepherds due to injuries, poor nutrition and genetics. Common problems include:
- Hip dysplasia
- Elbow dysplasia
- Ligament, tendon, muscle injuries and disease
- Cruciate ligament and meniscus tears
- Luxating patella
- Wobbler’s Syndrome
- Hypertrophic osteodystrophy
- Osteochondritis dissecans
Therefore, you should be highly particular about whether the chosen dog food for your GSD meets its bone and joint health requirements. Here are the age-specific nutritional needs of a German shepherd puppy for healthy bone growth.
In the first 4 weeks of your GSD’s life, its body will double in weight as its bones, organs and muscles develop. During this stage, the pup will receive most of the needed nutrition from its mother’s milk. After the 4th week, you can consider introducing it to some kibbles combined with warm water.
Generally, at around 8 weeks, you would take your GSD home. This is a formative period for the pup and it will gradually learn to walk and play. During this stage, it is best to slowly introduce nutritionally balanced dog food to your puppy. It should be suitable for the young age and large size of the German shepherd.
This is the important period for it to develop healthy joints and bones. Therefore, provide your furry companion with the best-quality German shepherd puppy food containing minerals and natural glucosamine for healthy teeth and joint development. On the other hand, keep your eyes on your puppy so that it doesn’t end up eating toxic foods and plants.
The chosen puppy food should not only boost bone development but also support your pup’s developing immune system during the weaning period. Otherwise, there are possibilities of digestive problems. Consider special German shepherd puppy food formulated with lots of colostrum, proven to improve the defence mechanism of a GSD’s immune system and balance intestinal microflora. This can help protect your four-legged buddy from common intestinal disorders.
Your German shepherd will be loaded with energy by the time it reaches puppyhood. Now it will need more physical exercise, training and play to remain active. During this period, you should choose the ideal German shepherd puppy food suited to its current age and size. Often, you can continue with the same puppy food that you chose in the weaning stage. That way, the food can continue to supply your pup with the nutrients needed for strong bones, joints and immune system.
Opt for German shepherd puppy food that also contains other important ingredients for overall growth and development. These include DHA from omega-rich fish oil for vision and brain development, highly digestible ingredients for better nutrient absorption and scientifically proven antioxidants to improve the immune defence. Make sure that the product has no added artificial preservatives, flavours or colours.