The versatile, smart, and intelligent German shepherd is the 2nd most popular and perceptible dog breed in the world. Attention-grabbing and gorgeous, this breed is famous for its loyalty, friendly nature, great sense of humor, and courage.
But despite their incredible personality, they are susceptible to allergies that often lead them to painful and itchy skin conditions. Environmental, flea, contact, and food allergies can put a curb on your four-legged companion’s quality of life.
Allergies are lifelong, so that every GSD will have to battle with them throughout their life. The signs of allergies in Shepherds are sneezing, hair loss, irritated reddish skin, coughing, rubbing of the eyes, vomiting, diarrhea, etc.
If your dog is constantly scratching his face, coughing, vomiting, or biting at hot spots, there are greater possibilities that he is experiencing an allergic reaction to an allergen.
Most commonly, they suffer from food allergies. Therefore, you should feed them the best dog food for German shepherds with allergies that do not have preservatives, artificial colors, flavors, grains (soy, corn, and wheat), and certain proteins (chicken, beef, and pork).
Feed him protein that he has never eaten earlier. Also, the food should contain well-preserved fats, vital antioxidants, and omega fatty acids because they reduce inflammation, improve joint health, and strengthen the immune system.
To help you find the right diet for your adorable canine, we have prepared a list of the top 5 best dog food for GSD with allergies that are free from common allergen ingredients and prevent your dog from itching and rubbing. We will also educate you on how much, how often, and how many calories you should feed your darling baby. So continue reading.
What Nutrients Do German Shepherds With Allergies Need?
These large breed canines have a shorter colon, which means it is tough for them to digest the best dog food for a German shepherd. Thus, they need a dedicated diet to avoid stomach sensitivity, allergies, bloat, and other health problems.
They need higher levels of protein to keep their muscles sturdy and healthy. In maturity, they need at least 18% protein and 5% fat to meet their energy requirements.
Grown-up German shepherds also need carbs, minerals, vitamins, fiber, omegas, and water for survival. Superior quality food will have the perfect balance of all the vital nutrients.
How Many Calories Do German Shepherds Need Per Day?
These large pooches weigh between 60 to 90 pounds. An active or working dog needs approximately 1,700 to 2,400 calories every day, whereas an inactive or senior GSD needs 1,300 to 1,600 calories a day. It is imperative to feed an active mutt according to his caloric needs.
If he has arthritis or hip dysplasia, a reduced-caloric diet will be beneficial for him because it will keep the weight down to avoid putting strain on excruciating joints. However, if he has allergies, give him grain-free food.
How Much Food To Feed An Adult German Shepherd?
You should give them 2.5 to 3.5 cups of solid food every day. Highly active hounds need more food, so you can offer them 3.5 cups every day.
However, 2.5 cups are enough for a senior or inactive dog. Don’t offer them a low-quality recipe that has corn, soy, wheat, preservatives, and artificial colors.
These big creatures are prone to develop gastric dilation-volvulus (bloat), which is caused by these non-nutritional ingredients. Bloat can be deadly.
How Often Should You Give Food To Your German Shepherd?
You can feed them the best dog food for German Shepherds with allergies twice a day, though you can also feed them once a day.
Serving them food twice a day makes it easier for them to digest it and aids control appetite and bloat, which is a hazardous condition.
German Shepherd Feeding Chart By Weight
|Dog Weight||Total Amount Of Food Per Day|
|10-30 Pounds||1 ¼ – 2 ¼ Cups Per Day|
|30-50 Pounds||2 ¼ – 3 ½ Cups Per Day|
|50-80 Pounds||3 ½ – 4 ½ Cups Per Day|
|80-100 Pounds||4 ½ – 5 Cups Per Day|
|Over 100 Pounds||5 Cups Plus ½ Cup Per Additional 10-20 Pounds Of Weight|
What Are The Best Treats For German Shepherds?
The treats that are available in the market don’t follow the AAFCO standards, so they don’t provide vital nutrients that your dog needs.
We would recommend you to give them all-natural, whole foods such as carrots, pumpkin, sweet potato, apples, cheese, etc.
However, if you want to give them commercial dog treats, buy the ones that are premium quality and loaded with important nutrients.
They should also be low in fat, calories, and additives. The treat should be only 10% of your furry fellow’s total daily calories.
Why My German Shepherd Seems Hungry All The Time?
They love food, so you may feel like they eat a lot of the best dog food for GSD with allergies. Make sure that the food you are feeding him is properly measured and is specifically formulated for large breeds. They can act hungry due to the following reasons:
1. Stress And Anxiety
Stress and anxiety are the biggest causes of lack of hunger and stress eating.
Determine why your beloved canine is anxious and eliminate those stressors.
2. Too Much Exercise
If he performs too much exercise, it means he burns off more energy.
Therefore, he will need a lot of food to restock the energy source. Large breed pooches should exercise for one hour only.
3. Health Problems
If he is suffering from SIBO, diabetes, or malabsorption syndrome, he will eat an excessive amount of food.
Look for signs of ailment and talk to the vet if he is showing any symptoms.
4. Bad Habits And Unregular Feeding
Unregular feeding and bad habits can make them act hungry always. In most cases, dog owners are responsible for creating bad habits.
For example, you feed them food whenever you eat, or you have not set a feeding schedule. We would recommend you set a routine and feed your dog at the same time every day.
Should You Feed Supplements To Your German Shepherd With Allergies?
Commercially-formulated dry food is whole and balanced. So, if you are feeding it to him, there is no need to give him supplements of vitamins, minerals, etc.
In fact, adding supplements to your young and healthy GSD’s diet can be harmful. Supplement him only if the vet has recommended.
Sometimes, vets prescribe heart and joint supplements for senior shepherds. With the growing age, they experience wear and tear on their organs and joints.
How Much Water Should A German Shepherd With Allergies Drink?
The answer to this question is reliant on various variables such as size, age, type of food, pregnancy, lactating, activity level, weather, health condition, etc.
As a rule of thumb, they should drink an estimated one ounce of water for each pound of their weight per day.
For example, if a German shepherd weighs 90 lbs, he would need to drink 90 ounces of water every day to maintain normal body function.
On the other hand, a female German shepherd with a weight of 70 lbs would need to drink 70 lbs of water each day.
You should make sure that your mutt’s bowl is full of fresh water at all times.
Also, change it throughout the day. Keep an eye on them to confirm they are always well hydrated, especially during summers and exercise.
Foods That German Shepherds Can Eat And Cannot Eat
|Never Eat||Can Eat||Can Eat In Moderation|
What Sort Of Food Is Well-Suited For An Adult German Shepherd?
We all want to feed the best dog food for German shepherds with allergies for their nutritional requirements.
But, as there are numerous different types of foods available out there, so it can be difficult to figure out which one is the best for your hound.
So, here are the different types of foods that you can feed them.
1. Dry Food
It is the most popular type of food for GSDs. Pet owners prefer it because it is super easy to store, more practical, more palatable, and does not require refrigeration.
It features all the compulsory nutrients that German shepherds need. Best of all, it comes in various flavors and formulas, so you can easily find a recipe that your baby loves.
2. Wet Food
Shepherds love wet or canned food because it is easy to chew and digest. It boasts 80% water and helps them to absorb the nutrients faster.
Besides, it has a natural, meaty taste that canines enjoy. You can mix it with dry kibble to make it more enticing.
3. Frozen-Then-Thawed Dog Food
If you want to improve or strengthen your pooch’s health, feed him frozen-then-thawed food. Keep in mind that it requires proper planning, preparation, and safe handling.
You will need to keep it completely frozen. This diet keeps hounds looking and feeling young and energetic and also increases their life.
4. Semi-Moist Food
It is very much similar to canned food and is an outstanding option for finicky eaters. It features 60% water, but it has high sugar, salt, and chemical levels.
If you want to feed it to your cutie pie, avoid companies that put a large number of preservatives, artificial colors, and additives in their foods.
5. Raw Food
This best dog food for the German shepherd is made up of raw meat, fruit, veggies, and natural additives. It is expensive, requires more premeditation and time.
People who feed it to their dogs say that their canines have higher energy levels, healthy skin, smaller stools, cleaner teeth, and shinier furs.
However, many people oppose it because they believe their pooches can get bacteria poisoning from raw meat or they won’t provide them a balanced and whole diet that may damage their health.
What Does An Allergy Mean For German Shepherds?
Allergy is a destructive immune system reaction by the body to a substance, especially different sorts of foods, medications, dust, pollen, and insect bites, which normally would not cause harm to the body.
The hypersensitivity to that particular material can cause numerous symptoms that may affect different parts of the body, including the stomach, ears, skin, and eyes.
What Are The Signs Of Allergies In German Shepherds?
The signs of allergies include:
- Sneezing or runny nose
- Hair loss
- Ear infections
- Frequent itching and scratching
- Flaky or dry skin
- Skin infections
- Hot spots
- Skin redness
- Discharge from the eyes
- Change in appetite
Are German Shepherds Disposed To Allergies?
They are susceptible to allergies that can badly impact their day-to-day lives. Their allergies can be hereditary.
Therefore, before bringing your German shepherd home, talk to the breeder about the allergic histories of your canine’s parents. A reputable breeder will share all the necessary information with you.
In this way, you will be well-prepared for what may come up at some point throughout your pooch’s life.
What Form Of Allergies Can German Shepherds Experience?
They can have various kinds of allergies that cause them great pain and discomfort. Let’s talk about the types of allergies in detail below.
1. Contact Allergies
This allergy is caused by your hound’s skin coming into direct contact with a particular substance, called an allergen.
The allergen such as grass, carpet, fabric, collar, shampoo, or flea treatment can cause an adverse response in the form of rashes, irritation, itching, bumps, blisters, etc. This type of allergy is very rare.
Treatment Of Contact Allergies
The ideal way of treating this allergy is by eliminating the allergen itself. It usually affects the part it touches on your GSD; you can start to narrow down the prospects of what initiated the irritability or soreness.
For instance, if he has rashes on his entire abdomen, watery eyes, nose, and scratchy throat, and you are aware that he loves to lie on his tummy in the grass every time he goes to the dog park, you may start to think that he is having a reaction to grass.
If it is possible to remove the allergen completely, this is the perfect approach. However, if you can’t eliminate it, try to limit your German shepherd’s contact with it.
Remember, if your canine is in discomfort or the irritated area appears to be infected, you will need to take him to the vet for proper treatment.
2. Environmental Allergies
Environmental allergies are a response to substances or materials that are found in the world around your mutt. These substances can be dust, pollen, plants, grass, or anything that exists in your dog’s surroundings.
They can suffer from itchy skin, ear infections, discharge from eyes, sneezing, shaking their head, chronic skin infections, etc. Approximately 15% of dogs suffer from this type of allergy.
Treatment For Environmental Allergies
Since it is difficult to find the root cause of your GSD’s environmental allergy, the vet will approach it from all standpoints. They will probably try a few different methods to cure your pooch’s uneasiness.
They can prescribe the use of Benadryl when your mutt shows allergy symptoms.
They can recommend giving them a medication called Apoquel regularly or a monthly injection called cytopoint to help relieve the signs of allergies.
They can also suggest a weekly bath with a shampoo that aids to calm the skin and relieve irritation.
3. Food Allergies
A food allergy is when your German shepherd’s body responds abnormally to certain foods. They can be allergic to chicken, beef, eggs, dairy, legumes, grains, treats, wet or dry food, and any other things they eat.
10% of pooches experience food allergies. Some of them have a delicate tummy, or some have actual allergies to specific sorts of foods. It can be tricky to navigate food allergies since commercial foods contain numerous ingredients.
Fortunately for sensitive GSDs, dog food brands manufacture a limited ingredient recipe or a single protein food, or a sensitive stomach formula.
Chronic ear and skin infections, irritation, diarrhea, gas, vomiting, red skin, and change in appetite are the common signs of food allergies.
Treatment Of Food Allergies
This allergy is tricky to treat. Since the only approach to cure your baby’s discomfort is by discovering the exact cause of the allergy in their diet, so the treatment procedure can belong.
However, there are few methods that you can use to eliminate the allergen in their food.
The first method of finding the source of their food allergy is by doing a food testing or elimination diet.
It means you will need to test new proteins and carbs sources until you discover an option that suits your furry fellow. Though it is a simple process, it can be lengthy.
You should practice the food trial for at least 3 to 4 months to obtain a correct solution, which means it could take several months to determine which carb and protein mixture is appropriate for your mate.
Another great option is to feed your GSD homemade food and be aware of all the ingredients that are going into your hound’s food.
However, it is necessary to get approval from your vet for every single recipe before serving it to your dog. The vet will check and make sure that you have included all the essential nutrients.
4. Flea Allergies
Flea allergy or flea allergy dermatitis is a hypersensitivity to fleabites or flea saliva. This allergy makes your hound extremely itchy. It can cause skin redness, hair loss, hot spots, etc.
It can also cause secondary infections because GSDs excessively scratch, bite, and lick their skin. More than 40% of hounds have flea allergies.
Treatment For Flea Allergies
The best treatment for flea allergy is flea control. Flea must not be present in your GSD’s surroundings.
Even if he is on flea prevention, you should comb through his coat and check for any fleas. For this purpose, we would recommend using the flea brush.
The actual treatment of this type of allergy will be different for all canines. The vets would prescribe steroids for swelling and redness and antibiotics for secondary infections.
5 Best Dog Food For German Shepherds With Allergies
1. Purina Pro Plan Focus Sensitive Skin & Stomach
The Purina Pro plan focus is packed with zinc and omegas to deeply nurture the skin, support a healthy fur, and promote joint health.
This lamb and oat recipe is explicitly manufactured for GSDs with sensitive stomachs and allergies. To strengthen the immune system, antioxidants are inserted into it.
Besides, it has minerals and vitamins that make it a whole and balanced dry food. This delicious and easy-to-digest formula contains prebiotic fiber to improve gut health.
It is developed without corn, wheat, soy, and gluten that could initiate allergic reactions or diarrhea. It is also free from additives such as flavors, colors, and preservatives.
If your dog is allergic to poultry, then this recipe is highly suitable for him as it does not contain chicken, poultry, or poultry by-product meals.
- Protein 26%: Maintains and repairs cells.
- Fat 16%: Makes the energy they need for mobility.
- Omega 3 Fatty Acids 0.7%: Aids in cognitive and eyesight development.
2. Ps for Dogs 100% Hypoallergenic Dog Food
Ps Hypoallergenic Dog Food is exclusively created to provide the greatest quality comprehensive food for mutts with food sensitivities.
It is well-suited for pet parents who are on the lookout for a natural diet for their furry fellow’s allergy issues.
This low glycemic best dog food for German shepherds with allergies prevents the development of yeast on pooches’ paws, which is the primary cause of paw biting and licking.
The limited ingredient diet features lamb and other hypoallergenic ingredients that will alleviate your baby’s skin issues.
Furthermore, this grain-free and high-protein dry food are air-dried, forming soft and temping pieces of meaty goodness. It is a seamless hypoallergenic treat for canines.
- Crude Protein 29%: Makes enzymes and antibodies.
- Crude Fat 27%: Required for absorption and digestion of vitamins.
- Crude Fiber 3%: Helps in bowel consistency.
3. Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food
One of the top-rated and most demanding Hill’s science diet dog formulations is this sensitive stomach and skin recipe.
As the name refers, it is superlative for mutts with delicate bellies and allergic skin, necessitating highly digestible proteins and other nutrients.
It has fewer levels of protein than other canine recipes available in the market. So, it lowers the hazard of causing an allergic reaction.
It contains chicken meal, so it is not recommended for dogs with poultry allergies.
The first ingredient of this tasty dry kibble is brewers rice that decreases the allergenic likelihood of this best dog food for GSD with allergies.
- Crude Protein 19.2%: Helps make hormones.
- Crude Fat 12%: Fuels their muscles.
- Crude Fiber 4%: Aids produce firm stools.
4. Harvey’s Specialty Diet Allergy Turkey Recipe
If your dog has environmental, skin, and stomach sensitivities, then you should purchase DR. Harvey’s Specialty Diet.
This human-grade dog food is specially developed for pooches with allergies to fight predispositions from the inside out with functional superfoods such as pumpkin, carrots, flaxseed, and others.
Its primary ingredient is turkey, which is also its main protein source. It does not have corn, soy, wheat, chicken, eggs, and dairy.
Furthermore, the grain-free diet has limited ingredients for enhanced digestion. It has prebiotics and probiotics for a strong immune system and improved gut health.
Antioxidants are also incorporated into it to reduce inflammation. It is an ideal substitute for kibble.
We have also recently switched our German shepherd to this food, and we are so happy watching her not suffer. Our Daisy has been consuming this fresh food for a month now.
She is no longer vomiting, licking, or scratching her paws. Her coat looks excellent, and her energy levels are quite high.
- Crude Protein 20%: Builds nails and muscles.
- Crude Fat 8%: Makes them feel full
- Crude Fiber 6%: Prevents the development of bad bacteria in the dog’s gut.
5. Forza10 Dermo Sensitive Skin Dog Food
Forza10 Dermo sensitive skin dog food is the best dog food for German shepherds with allergies. It helps improve dry skin and gives relief from skin allergies and problems.
This superior quality formula supports the overall health and wellbeing of dogs. Moreover, it is loaded with fiber, omega fatty acids, and raw fish proteins.
The grain-free recipe does not include gluten, artificial colors, flavors, and GMOs.
It contains hydrolyzed fish protein, so you can rest assured that your little one’s immune system won’t react inappropriately and aid with IBD (inflammatory bowel disease).
Pomegranate is also added into it, which is an excellent source of antioxidants that prevents tissue degeneration.
Besides, it boasts papaya that is liable for lowering oxidative stress and stimulating the immune system.
- Crude Protein 23%: Essential for various bodily operations.
- Crude Fiber 4.0%: Creates a healthy intestinal pH.
- Omega-6 Fatty Acids 3.5%: Improves immune system, skin, and coat health.
What To Look For In The Best Dog Food For German Shepherds With Allergies?
- Buy food that is made in the USA because foods produced in this country are typically subject to stricter food safety standards. You can also purchase foods that are made in Western Europe, New Zealand, Canada, and Australia.
- The first ingredient of the best dog food for German shepherds should be a great quality whole-protein source such as salmon, turkey, duck, etc. The name of the protein should be mentioned. Avoid buying food that just says animal by-product or animal protein.
- Avoid foods that include artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, and by-product meals because they can trigger food allergies and intolerances in German Shepherds.
- Never purchase foods that contain the most common allergens, such as gluten, corn, soy, chicken, beef, and wheat.
- As GSDs are prone to joint-related problems, so their food should have glucosamine and chondroitin to help treat and prevent such issues.
- Omega fatty acids should also be present in their diet, as they lower inflammation, promote joint health, and make the coat shiny and thick.
- Foods with prebiotics and probiotics are beneficial for German shepherds with sensitive stomachs. They soothe their gastrointestinal system and improve its function.
- To prevent digestive issues, offer your precious friend the best dog food for GSD with allergies that he seems to digest well. German shepherds can digest duck, salmon, and rice very well.
- The food must have expiration dates. Pick the one that has an 8 to 12 months expiration date at least.
- It is better to select a limited ingredient dog food that has only 5 to 6 ingredients. It can not only provide a comprehensive and balanced diet but also stop allergic reactions.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How Can I Figure Out My German Shepherd Is Allergic To Chicken?
If he has diarrhea, gas, cough, ear infection, inflamed feet, bald patches, there are odds that he is allergic to chicken.
2. My German Shepherd Has Itchy Skin; which Food Should I Feed Him?
You should feed him fish-based foods as they are loaded with natural fish oil that can help with all sorts of skin allergies.
3. Can I Give My GSD Eggs If He Is Allergic To Chicken?
Eggs and chicken are two different allergens. If your dog is allergic to chicken, you can provide him eggs without any hesitation.
4. What Can I Feed My German Shepherd For Irritated Skin?
If he has dry and irritated skin, give him oatmeal because it is safe for not only humans but pooches too. In fact, many dog shampoos contain oatmeal to calm and combat itchiness. Grind the oatmeal and make a powder to put in your mutt’s bath.
5. What Protein Is The Best For Gsds With Allergies?
Venison, duck, salmon, and turkey are the best proteins for canines with allergies.
6. Which Supplements Should I Give To My GSD With Itchy Skin?
Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids supplements are great at treating itchy skin because they reduce inflammation and boost skin moisture. They support coat health and improve the reaction to steroids.
7. What Can I Do To Reduce My German Shepherd’s Allergies?
You should clean or wash the couch covers, canine beds, cushions, and curtains frequently and thoroughly. Bathe your GSD every week to remove dander (dead flecks of skin shed by dogs).
8. Why Would Gsds Become Allergic To Chicken?
Chicken is the most common ingredient of dry and wet canine foods. Also, it is used for making dog treats.
It is included in their food in various forms such as by-product meal, chicken meal, whole meat chicken, and much more.
German shepherds have a genetic tendency to develop a chicken allergy.
Some of them are allergic to all poultry items, whereas others are allergic to chicken only. They can eat duck, turkey, and eggs without any issue.
9. How Does The Elimination Diet Work?
It helps you to find out the allergen that your German shepherd is allergic to. At a particular time, you need to feed him a specific diet that was prescribed by the vet.
This method works slowly, so you need to be patient. After 3 to 4 months, you will begin to observe signs of improvement because his body is filtering out the proteins.
After 6 weeks or more, you will be gradual including other ingredients back into his diet. When he starts to scratch and bite again, you will be able to identify the allergen yourself. Then, you can remove it from his diet thoroughly.
10. Why Is My German Shepherd Itching So Much But Has No Fleas?
If he is itching a lot, it might be due to food or environmental allergies. They may also develop contact dermatitis (a skin irritation) when they are exposed to substances like soap or insecticides.
Though allergies in GSDs are incurable, they can be easily managed and treated. Simply find the root cause of the allergy and remove it.
They commonly experience food allergies that are easy to control and prevent. Find the ingredients that are triggering the allergic responses and remove them from your German shepherd’s food.
We would advise you to dump the existing food of your hound that is instigating allergies and go for any best dog food for German shepherds with allergies that we recommended in this guide.