Best Grain Free Dog Food For German Shepherd

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So if you’re asking what’s the best grain free dog food for German Shepherd? I’m glad you stopped by today!

If this is your first time here, you might not know that I feed my dogs a raw diet.

But, I’m a supporter of including nutritionally balanced grain-free foods in conjunction with other nutritionally balanced (grain-inclusive) foods.

In fact, most of my dog training treats are of the grain-free variety. Although I do formulate meals for my own dogs with a small percentage of grains included.

If you’d like to explore dehydrated and cooked foods for your GSD, check out my detailed reviews of Spot and Tango’s UnKibble and Fresh Cooked Meals.


At A Glance: Our Top 5 Picks For Toys For German Shepherd Puppies

Editor’s ChoiceOrijen Tundra - Best Grain Free Dog Food For German Shepherd

Orijen Tundra Whole-Prey Grain-Free Dog Food

Boasting the highest protein content, low carb content and no plant concentrates, potatoes or tapioca, Orijen’s Tundra is by far the most superior grain-free food on the market today.

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Head Straight to My Comparison Table

After you’re done reading these reviews you’ll know 3 things…

  1. What the best grain-free foods are.
  2. What to look for in a grain-free food.
  3. What you should be careful of when picking grain-free food.

Also, check out my buyers’ guide and comparison chart where you can see how the food stack up against each other.

Grain-Free Dog Food Comparison Table

Quick Overview: Our Top Picks for Grain Free Dog Food

Orijen Tundra Our Top Pick

Orijen Tundra

  • Total Meat Content: 85%
  • Limited Ingredients: Yes
  • Life Stage: Suitable for all life stages
View on Chewy
The Honest Kitchen

The Honest Kitchen

  • Total Meat Content: Unknown
  • Limited Ingredients: Yes
  • Life Stage: Suitable for all life stages
View on Chewy
Acana Singles

Acana Singles

  • Total Meat Content: 50%
  • Limited Ingredients: Yes
  • Life Stage: Suitable for all life stages
View on Chewy

Best Grain Free Dog Food for German Shepherd

Orijen Tundra Wholeprey Grain Free Dog Food

Editor’s ChoiceOrijen Tundra - Best Grain Free Dog Food For German Shepherd

Orijen Tundra Whole-Prey Grain-Free Dog Food

Boasting the highest protein content, low carb content and no plant concentrates, potatoes or tapioca, Orijen’s Tundra is by far the most superior grain-free food on the market today.

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Orijen Tundra Whole Prey Quick Fire Summary

  • Orijen’s Tundra Whole-Prey range are high-quality dry dog foods boasting a nutrient profile that is above average, providing superior nutrition.
  • Tundra Whole-Prey is made up of 85% meat, organ, and cartilage. And it has a guaranteed protein content of 40%.
  • Orijen’s Tundra also contains no tapioca, plant protein concentrates, soy or potatoes. And it’s carb ratio is as low as 21% – which is unheard of in the dry dog food world.
  • The Tundra Whole-Prey food from Orijen is also suitable for all life stages. So whether you have a puppy, senior dog or a pregnant female, this dog food will nourish and support any pooch.
  • Absolutely no ingredients from China are used to prepare the Orijen’s Tundra Whole-Prey food.
Orijen Tundra Pros & Cons


  • 85% real meat, organs and cartilage.
  • 40% guaranteed protein content.
  • No plant proteins, tapioca or potatoes.
  • Suitable for all life-stages.
  • Guaranteed no ingredients from China.
  • Made in the USA.


  • Carries a hefty price tag.
  • No single protein option for allergic dogs.
  • Not always available in local stores.

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Orijen Tundra Whole-Prey Detailed Review

Orijen Tundra Whole-Prey Dog Food

Orijen strives to offer biologically appropriate dog food in a kibble form. Sounds like an oxymoron, right?

And to a certain extent, it is. But when you consider how Orijen sources their ingredients and how the kibble is made, you can appreciate what they’re doing.

Two-thirds of the meat they use in their Tundra grain-free food is fresh and raw with no preservatives. The other third is dried slowly at 90 degrees Celsius.

85 percent of Tundra grain-free food is made up of real meats, organs, and cartilage. It has a guaranteed protein content of 40 percent. This means good things for your Shepherds overall health and nutrition.

Also, cartilage is high in glucosamine and chondroitin which is an excellent benefit to general joint health.

I have not come across another kibble that can boast this kind of real meat ratio. In my opinion, this is the most important feature of this food range.

You’ll be happy to know that the protein sources vary, which is great to prevent allergies. In Tundra your dog gets goat, boar, mutton, duck, venison and even arctic char.

And of course no grains in sight! The remaining 15 percent is made up of delicious vegetables and some fruits – offering health-boosting vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Not to mention health-boosting plants like lavender, rosehip, milk thistle as well as turmeric and marshmallow root.

If I compare this to the 80 (meat) -10 (organs) -10 (bone and cartilage) ratio that makes up my own dogs’ raw diet, it’s pretty damn close to the real thing. And that’s what makes the Tundra range is by far the best grain-free dog food for German Shepherds.

And the great thing is this food is appropriate for dogs at any life stage. So whether you have a puppy, an active adult or even a pregnant or lactating bitch you can feed the Tundra range.

Although their other foods are life stage-specific.

There is another feature of this food that most folks will overlook…

The Tundra range has no potatoes, tapioca or plant protein concentrates.

So why is this important? Well, because those ingredients pile up on carbs. And too many carbs can cause serious health problems.

The carb ratio of this food is a whopping low 21 percent. Most grain-free foods have a much higher carb ratio which wreaks havoc on a dog’s body. And can lead to diabetes, obesity and insulin resistance.

(You can check out my buyers guide below for the formula on how to calculate carb ratios).

The Tundra range by Orijen is by far my favorite grain-free dog food. I love the high protein content and low carbs. And it’s also great that the only supplement they add is zinc.

And you’ll be happy to know that all their ingredients are 100 percent China-free.

Although it’s worth noting that some folks have complained that their dogs suddenly stopped eating the food.

From what I can tell, there’s been a slight change in the recipe which might be causing regulars to turn up their noses.

Also, from a wallet perspective, it is the priciest option. But if you consider the high-quality ingredients and low carb ratio, it’s worth the extra dollars.

Check Out Orijen’s Tundra Grain Free Dog Food on Chewy.

The Honest Kitchen Human Grade Dehydrated Grain Free Dog Food

Best Value for MoneyThe Honest Kitchen - Best Value for Money Grain-Free Dog Food for German Shepherds

The Honest Kitchen Grain-Free Turkey Recipe

This brand is 100% certified organic and FDA approved as human-grade food. If value for money is just as important as a healthy diet for your dog, THK might be what you’re looking for.

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The Honest Kitchen Quick Fire Summary

  • The Honest Kitchen is a dog food brand that has FDA approval as human grade. And it’s also 100% certified organic.
  • They use no GMO ingredients, no preservatives or artificial ingredients. And they use absolutely no ingredients from China.
  • The Honest Kitchen range of dog foods are dehydrated so they hold many of the same benefits as a raw diet. And none of the nasty problems that come with kibble.
  • Being dehydrated, The Honest Kitchen gives the best value for any pooch parent who prioritizes health, nutrition and savings because 10 lbs of THK dog food makes up to 40 lbs once rehydrated with warm water!
  • The Honest Kitchen is suitable for all life stages, so a puppy, working dog, senior pooch and a pregnant mama will all benefit from the range THK has to offer.
The Honest Kitchen Pros & Cons

  • 100% certified organic.
  • Excellent value for money.
  • FDA-Approved as human grade food.
  • Suitable for all life-stages.
  • Guaranteed no ingredients from China.
  • Dehydrated for convenience.

  • High in carbs.
  • Total meat content not specified.
  • Does contain potato and sweet potato.

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The Honest Kitchen Dehydrated Grain-Free Dog Food

The Honest Kitchen Grain-Free Turkey Recipe Dog FoodBesides the fact that The Honest Kitchen offers great dog food at affordable prices, the company has been around for over 15 years. That’s why they’ve made my list for the best grain-free dog foods for German Shepherds.

THK offers different flavor and choices within their grain-free range. But today I’ll share details with you on their regular grain-free dog foods.

The food they offer is dehydrated which has a few benefits. Firstly, it’s has a lot of the same benefits as raw food without the hassle. And it’s less processed than regular kibble which is a great health benefit.

Also, it means good value for money. Because in the case of The Honest Kitchen’s selection, 10 lbs will give you 40 lbs of food just by adding water!

Your German Shepherd will have choices between four different flavors – Turkey, Chicken, Beef and Fish.

Each one is prepared with its own special recipe…

The turkey is made with spinach, potatoes, flaxseed, coconut, carrots, eggs, apples, celery, bananas, cranberries and kelp.

The chicken is free-range and is made with flaxseed, potatoes, sweet potatoes, celery, apples, pumpkin, honey, cabbage, green beans, bananas, papayas, kelp, and garlic.

The beef selection is made with potatoes, sweet potatoes, coconut, flaxseed, papayas, parsley, pumpkin, honey, cranberries, and kale.

And the fish is lovingly made with MSC certified Whitefish, salmon, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, eggs, coconut, cabbage, bananas, apples, cabbage, cranberries, and garlic.

And all the ingredients are 100 percent certified organic. And The Honest Kitchen’s dog food is also human-grade – approved by the FDA.

That’s a badge that other dog food manufacturers don’t have. And in my opinion, it puts the Honest Kitchen in a class of its own.

The Honest Kitchen range is also suitable for dogs of all life stages.

And their ingredients are 100 percent China-free, which is great news.

It’s worth noting that the carb percentage of their food is high.

So for example, their Free-Range Chicken selection has a carb percentage of 46.5. If you compare that to the 21 percent of Orijen’s Tundra range, it’s pretty high.

If you want to feed The Honest Kitchen’s lowest-carb choice in this selection, your best bet is the Cage-Free Turkey recipe which weighs in at 39.2 percent carbs.

(You can check out my buyers guide below for the formula on how to calculate carb ratios).

I think The Honest Kitchen range is a good choice if you’re looking for value for money. Plus your dog gets all the health perks that come with being FDA approved and certified organic.

Although, I do think some of their recipes are a little heavy on the starchy side with all the potato.

So if you’re counting calories on behalf of your pooch, just feed the Turkey recipe to keep things in check.

Check Out The Honest Kitchen’s Cage-Free Turkey Grain-Free Dog Food on Chewy.

Acana Singles Formula Lamb and Apple Dog Food

Best Single Protein FoodAcana Singles - Best Single Protein Grain Free Food for German Shepherds

Acana Singles Lamb and Apple Grain-Free Dog Food

If you have a dog that’s sensitive to most proteins, you should consider the Singles range from Acana. With a minimum of 50% meat, it’s rich in protein. And contains no grains, potatoes or tapioca.

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Acana Singles Quick Fire Summary

  • The Acana Singles range consists of a single protein. This means all meat, organs, and cartilage come from one protein source. This is great for dogs with sensitive tummies and food intolerances.
  • In the case of the Lamb and Apple range, the lamb is grass-fed which means it’s naturally GMO-free.
  • The Singles range contains a minimum of 50% meat, making it a food rich in healthy protein dog need.
  • Acana Singles contain zero potatoes, grains or tapioca.
  • Acana’s Singles range is appropriate for all life stages, and they recommend their poultry and fish diets for large breed puppies until fully grown.
Acana Singles


  • 50% real meat content.
  • No potato, grain or tapioca.
  • Single protein diet.
  • Grass-fed lamb.
  • Guaranteed no ingredients from China.
  • Suitable for all life-stages.


  • Not recommended to feed exclusively.
  • Higher carb content.

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Acana Singles Lamb and Apple Detailed Review

Acana Singles - Best Single Protein Grain-Free Diet for German ShepherdsAcana and Orijen are sister companies. Acana offers a wide selection of different dog foods, all of them grain-free and biologically appropriate.

But the thing I really like about Acana is they’re not just switching up grain for potato. They’re actually increasing the amount of meat protein.

Although, the protein content in Acana is not as high as you’ll find in Orijen. It’s still way up there at 50 percent with the most protein-rich foods on the market.

Although I feed my dogs a raw diet, I sometimes use Acana for training treats when I’m low on my homemade stash. And the most popular one in our house is the Singles Formula Grass-Fed Lamb. It might be a kibble, but my dogs are willing to work hard for them, so they’re a definite winner!

The first thing I like is that the food contains no potato, grains or tapioca. Okay, so potatoes aren’t bad, but they do have a moderate glycemic index.

Its carb percentage is 34.5 percent which is pretty low considering the richness of lamb meat.

(You can check out my buyers guide below for the formula on how to calculate carb ratios).

Of course, there are no grains either. And the Grass-Fed Lamb range is made up of 50 percent meat and 50 percent vegetables, fruits, and lavender – which provides healthy antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

So essentially, a 2 kg bag of food contains 1 kg meat.

I also love the fact that there’s only one type of protein. That means the muscle meat, organs, meal, and cartilage is all from lamb.

There’s no issue with a food that has more than one protein, but if your German Shepherd has a sensitive tummy, this is a big plus point.

And because the lamb is grass-fed it’s 100 percent GMO-Free. And their ingredients are 100 percent China free which is great news for your pooch. This is good news for your dog’s overall health and toxic load.

Acana’s foods are appropriate for dogs of all life stages. And the recommend their poultry or fish diets for a large breed puppy like the German Shepherd until they are fully grown.

Acana’s Grass-Fed Lamb is a top contender for the best grain-free dog food for German Shepherds. It’s reasonably priced, it’s filled with high-quality ingredients and it’s GMO-Free.

As a side note here, I must mention that due to the fact that lamb is low in Methionine and Cystine, precursors of the “heart amino acid” Taurine, I recommend not feeding a lamb-rich diet exclusively.

Check Out Acana’s Grass-Fed Lamb Grain Free Dog Food on Chewy.

How to Spot the Best Grain Free Dog Food for German Shepherds

Editor’s ChoiceOrijen Tundra - Best Grain Free Dog Food For German Shepherd

Orijen Tundra Whole-Prey Grain-Free Dog Food

Boasting the highest protein content, low carb content and no plant concentrates, potatoes or tapioca, Orijen’s Tundra is by far the most superior grain-free food on the market today.

Check Price on Chewy

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Although there are many different opinions on whether our canine friends can actually digest grain or not, the truth is that grains are a big source of allergy problems.

And our beloved German Shepherd breed is prone to these allergies. Not only that, but Shepherds are also known to have extremely sensitive digestive tracts. So in my opinion, grain-free dog food is a big step in the right direction.

The most common grains used in our dog food today are buckwheat, barley, white and brown rice, corn, oats, quinoa, and soy.

Watch Out for Sugars in Grain Free Dog Food

Sadly, since the grain-free revolution started, pet food manufacturers have again figured out ways to dupe us.

Many of them have merely replaced the grains with other starchy ingredients and opted not to keep us informed. Tricking us into believing that grain-free is essentially healthier.

Adding ingredients like potato, sweet potato, pumpkin, tapioca and other glutens like peas and lentils causes a spike in the carb percentage. Of course this in turn ramps up the calories.

Calories equal energy and just like with the human body, it’s much easier for our dogs to get their calories from starchy ingredients than the more complex ingredients like proteins. But that does not mean high starch foods are good.

So you might not see sugar listed in the ingredients but all those potatoes, peas and lentils break down into sugar. And so our dogs are at risk of piling on the pounds.

Even a little research will reveal that dogs across the globe are suffering from sugar-related illnesses like diabetes. And I believe this is directly related to the high levels of low-quality carbohydrates in dry dog food.

I mean if you think about the glycemic index of a medium-sized baked potato is 85, you can see how the carbs can quickly become unhealthy.

So How Can You Keep Tabs on Your Dog’s Carb Intake?

  1. Make sure your dog gets healthy, age-appropriate exercise.
  2. Try to add some raw, home-cooked, or high-quality canned food in place of a kibble meal.
  3. Measure out the exact amounts appropriate for your dog.
  4. Avoid free feeding.
  5. Feed a grain-free dog food with the lowest carb percentage you can afford.

How to Calculate the Carbohydrates in Grain Free Dog Food

There’s a simple formula you can follow to determine the carbohydrate percentage of any dog food. It’s based on the guaranteed analysis provided by the manufacturer, so it’s not an exact science. But in my opinion, it’s a good gauge to go by.

You’ll need the percentages of the protein, fat, moisture and ash in the guaranteed analysis. You can find this on the back of any bag. If ash is not reflected, then use a figure of 6 as an estimate.

You won’t need to include the fiber in this formula since it’s indigestible and doesn’t break down into sugar.

Here’s a shot of the guaranteed analysis of a bag of Acana Singles Formula Grass-Fed Lamb where you can 

Guaranteed Analysis of Acana's Grass-Fed Lamb Grain Free Dog Food

Guaranteed Analysis of Acana’s Grass-Fed Lamb Grain Free Dog Food

So considering 100 percent is the total of each of these including the carbs, here’s the math…

100 – % protein – % fat – % moisture – % ash (if not listed, assume 6 percent)
= % carbs

100 – 31 – 17 – 12 – 6 = 34% carbs.

In an ideal world, you’ll want a carb percentage of between 10 and 15. Although, that’s only possible if you’re feeding a raw diet.

But if you’re feeding kibble, you’ll never get close to this. So aim as low as you can get, so, for example, Orijen’s Tundra grain-free dog food has a carbohydrate percentage of 21.

What’s the Meat Content?

The ideal diet is one that has high protein content. but not any old crappy protein! It’s not just about the food being grain-free, you want something that’s packed with real meat ingredients.

So for example, Orijen’s Tundra is made with 85 percent real meat – that’s super high. And Acana’s Grass-Fed Lamb is made with 50 percent meaty ingredients. And like I said, this is not some crappy rendered mix from low-quality proteins – it’s real meat!

Some manufacturers don’t say how much meat they use, so you’ll only be able to go off the guaranteed analysis.

Other Ingredients

It goes without saying that there should be no grains in the food. And in most grain-free diets you’ll definitely find ingredients like potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, peas, and lentils.

But if you go really high end, these grain-free dog foods won’t have potatoes or tapiocas. Instead, you’ll find a range of vegetables and fruits – which is a good thing, especially when you consider the antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins they provide.

Although, don’t be put off by foods that do have ingredients like potatoes, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin. Just keep in mind that you want to carb percentage as low as possible.

Although, I would keep an eye on ingredients like lentils, peas, and legumes. The jury is still out on whether these ingredients block the absorption of essential amino acids for heart health.

So use the standard formula I shared to determine this.

Analyze the Guaranteed Analysis

The rule of thumb here is, the higher the better.

I already mentioned that is some cases the guaranteed analysis will be all that you have to go by to decide whether you’re happy with the ratios of the most important ingredients.

Crude Protein – most run of the mill food will have a crude protein between 24 and 27 percent. But the more high-end food, like Orijen and Acana I’ve reviewed here, range between 30 and 40 percent.

It’s worth mentioning though, that this percentage doesn’t have anything to do with the quality of the protein. So it is possible to have a junk, low quality food that has a high crude protein percentage.

That’s why it’s so important to go with a food that’s made by a trusted manufacturer. Avoid no-name brands or brands that can’t track their ingredients back to the source.

Quality Ingredients

Just like for humans, the quality of the ingredients determines the overall health of your dog. Junk ingredients equal junk food which results in poor health.

So going with a food manufacturer that can trace their ingredients back to the source is essential. And high-end foods like Orijen, Acana, and The Honest Kitchen pride themselves in this.

Also, make sure you pick a food manufacturer that confirms 100% that none of their ingredients are sourced from China. Any ingredients from China no matter how small should be an absolute deal-breaker.

Life Stages

In the past manufacturers offered foods for different life stages for a puppy, an adult, and a senior dog. But more recently, many of them are offering one food for all life stages.

Meaning a puppy can eat the same food as adults and seniors. Although, with some ranges, there are life stage-specific foods. So make sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations here.


Editor’s ChoiceOrijen Tundra - Best Grain Free Dog Food For German Shepherd

Orijen Tundra Whole-Prey Grain-Free Dog Food

Boasting the highest protein content, low carb content and no plant concentrates, potatoes or tapioca, Orijen’s Tundra is by far the most superior grain-free food on the market today.

Check Price on Chewy

Check Price on Amazon

Hopefully, these reviews have given you the confidence to make the best choice for your Shepherd.

My first choice for the best grain-free dog food for German Shepherd is definitely the Orijen Tundra range. It’s got the highest meat content and the lowest carb percentage.

Next in line is Acana’s Grass-Fed Lamb. Its carb percentage is higher than the Tundra but lower than The Honest Kitchen’s. And it’s made up of 50 percent protein, which is not bad at all.

I do like The Honest Kitchen’s food, but it does have a high carb content. But I think the Cage-Free Turkey range is great to keep this in check.

Also, the Crude Protein is only at 24.5 percent, so not as high as the other foods I’ve reviewed here. But the upside is that one pack makes 40 lbs of food, so it’s excellent value for money.

Now you know what to look for in grain-free dog foods. You have the tools to spot the junk and shop with confidence to pick the best food to suit your German Shepherd.

If you have questions about these reviews or need some more advice, just drop me a comment below. I always respond and I’m happy to help.

If you’re keen on feeding a raw diet, check out this article to get started.

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About the author: Gabriella is a certified professional dog trainer with the Victoria Stilwell Academy. She has a special passion for teaching GSD guardians to train their dogs with kindness and clarity using positive reinforcement methods without force, pain, or fear. Join “Dog Speak” for free dog training tips and advice from a professional dog trainer.

  • Dawn Kragelund

    I’m intrigued to read about best dog diets. I’m a new dog owner to a 1 yr old purebred champion-line German shepherd. She’s a service dog in training for my son with Epilepsy. She is already so amazing to him. Honestly she’s been medicine to everyone! We’ve had her since she was 8 wks old and she came to us on Science Diet Puppy so been careful to keep her on same diet. Plan was to keep her on that til 2 yrs and after spay. I’m a retired vet tech who wants to give her the best. I’m familiar w science diet as a quality food but now I’m feeling open to trying unkibble after reading that article. I’m a mom of 4 kids and have 2 grandkids and now Dog Mom so I definitely don’t have time to make my own food for her. I guess I’m just looking for reassurance this is one of the best options for our Nala. And if I switch her if I should wait til after turns 2 and spayed or go for it now?

    • Hi Dawn!

      Thanks for reaching out here with your question! Nala sounds like an amazing girl!

      You can’t go wrong with spot and Tango’s Unkibble! It’s formulated specifically for each dog’s individual needs, so it’s filled with the exact macro and micronutrients; Nala needs for her age, weight, and activity levels.

      One of the benefits I love about Unkibble is that it’s specifically formulated for each dog; it’s not a one size fits all. And the other benefit I love is they use real, wholefood ingredients, no meat-meals or meat-by-products. Which is as close as you’ll get to homemade without the time investment.

      And even as someone who has been preparing homemade meals for my dogs formulated to NRC standards, it’s not an easy task, and it sounds like you’ve got an extremely busy home and life.

      I highly recommend you give it a try for two weeks and see how Nala likes it. This link will get you 20% off the trial period.

      And please let me know how it goes!

    • Dawn Kragelund

      Thank you so much! I will give Unkibble a try and see how she likes it. One more question….. do I need to mix her science diet with the unkibble as I switch her? And I will let you know how it goes for sure!

    • Hi Dawn!

      Although dogs have strong “constitutions” that can handle a lot, a change in diet can sometimes cause tummy upsets. So to prevent this and inadvertent accidents, it’s worth taking a couple of days to make the switch.

      I’m excited to hear how she enjoys her new food!

      Chat soon!

  • Hi Gabriella,
    We recently purchased Orijen Tundra for our 18month old GSD. We had him on the Orijen large breed puppy until he was about 12 months old and switched to Royal Canine GSD puppy, then GSD adult. We did this so he would not develop any sensitivities to food by feeding him the same formula. Throughout his life he has had bouts of diarrhea what seem to be for no apparent reason. We feed him chicken and rice for 3-4 days and then he’s fine. I just noticed the ** on the Orijen Tundra bag. It is after the, “ALL LIFE STAGES” claim. The ** states, “EXCEPT FOR GROWTH OF LARGE SIZE DOGS (70LB OR MORE AS AN ADULT).” Our GSD is approximately 85lbs. He is intact and we were told that he can grow until 3yrs old. Does Orijen have a dog food for GSDs such as my own?

    • Hi Sally,

      Thank you for your question!

      I don’t think Orijen has a breed-specific food if that’s what you’re asking. However, I am comfortable with feeding an 18-month-old GSD an adult food. Because by 18 months they are fully grown. It is true that they can fill out until around 3 years (my male was still filling out a little at 5 years) but at 18 months they are generally considered adults.

      I hope this helps. 🙂

  • Chris

    Hi Gabriella,
    Thanks so much for all our articles, & the invitation to ask questions.

    I’d love your take on our current situation. I’m utterly stumped about our 18 month old, 85 lb GS & what food she should–or shouldn’t–be eating.

    She has recurring bouts of diarrhea. It lasts about 4 days, going from smushy soft stools, & getting progressively liquidy-er until it’s basically poopy water–then it abruptly resolves. Sometimes it’s truly explosive, but not always.

    Vet has done fecal tests–all came back negative.

    Fwiw, she has (other?) allergy issues. She gets incredibly itchy, red ears at time–Banixx takes care of it…when we can get it in her ears.

    She also used to have *really* itchy paws as a younger pup. The vet suggested it might be due to an allergy, but of course didn’t know what that allergy might be. They did suggest dropping all meat, & going with fish as protein. (Just when I’d been thinking of doing what we did for our previous dog, & adding Darwin’s raw food to her kibble diet!)

    Instead, we stopped all meat, & just did a little high-quality canned dog food containing fish (salmon, etc) + kibble. Although I *just* realized her kibbles (Origen Original) has turkey & chicken in it, so I guess we didn’t eliminate meat as intended. Doh.

    Could that make the difference? If so, why would diarrhea come & go, if we always feed her the same food?

    When she has diarrhea, I sometimes give her some organic cooked oatmeal with her kibbles, but not sure if that’s smart or not. Some articles I read said oatmeal will *loosen* her stools, not firm them up (??), so I feel lost.

    Also fwiw, we used to give her peanut butter as a treat, but when the vet suggested an allergy, we experimented w/ stopping peanut butter, and the itchy paws went away. So, we know one thing she’s allergic to: peanut butter!

    Our current feeding:
    * Origen Original kibbles, 3 cups/day;
    * For months now we’ve added 1 1/2 sardines a day (wild caught, in water, no salt). (She never really liked the Origen, but once we started adding the sardines, she’s eager for it);
    * We usually add some chopped veges too (red/orange peppers, cucumbers, zucchini);
    * Her treats are usually whole carrots or other veges, + occasionally frozen blueberries or cut apples. We were also giving her the Shameless Pets lobster ‘rollover’ treats, made from lobster shells, etc, but we haven’t had them for months now;
    * When we clip her claws or spray Banixx in her ear, we do feed her cut-up portions of all-meat hot dogs because it’s the only way we can accomplish these obviously cruel, sadistic tasks.

    Her coat is gorgeous, the itchy paws are gone (boo peanut butter), but she still has these bouts of diarrhea (& yeasty ears).

    I can’t say for certain how often the diarrhea happens (I’m starting to track it on a calendar), but we’re on our 3rd round of it since late August (it’s Oct 31). Typing that out scares me, because that means it’s about 1x/month, when I would have guessed every 2-3 months?

    Her appetite, energy & mood is great, even during diarrhea bouts (I’ve never typed ‘diarrhea’ so much in my life!)

    I’m lost as to what’s going on, or how we can/should adapt her food to help reduce it. (I’d also love to have her ears stop getting all yeasty!)

    I’m sorry for such a long message. Our vet office has just shrugged and vaguely repeats, “allergy…?” I’ve spent dozens of hours reading articles & don’t know where to start anymore.

    Open to any of your thoughts or ideas on what to try! Thank-you so much!!

    • Hi Chris!

      Thank you for reaching out here with your situation.

      I’m thinking it’s going to be more efficient if we chat via email. I have a few thoughts on how you can approach this situation to at least try and rule out some possible causes. Might make it easier to figure out the cause.

      Please reach out to me via email and let’s chat some more about this.

  • Aneta

    I’m feeding my 7 months old GSD Acana grass fed lamb reviewed by you above since I suspect allergy to chicken. I read that it contains taurine as a supplement which is solving raised issue with the heart. Overall I’m happy with the food since dog stop scratching himself, however I have impression that even feeding him more than feeding guide he is still hungry and his coat is not silky but rather ruff. Do you have any suggestion for that I’m thinking of switching to Orijen but with his allergy issue which one would be the best? I would appreciate your opinion since I’m in process of find the best kibble formula for my dog and raw feeding is not an option…

    • Gabriella

      Hi Aneta,

      Thanks for your question. If I had to choose between Acana and Orijen for my dog’s I’d pick Orijen. 🙂

  • Rafael Rodriguez

    I do like your reviews buy as Sherrie said these foods are expensive. Im willing to pay for food but thats too much to feed two gsds.

    Can you give a review for foods on the $50-$75 range? Probably those are the prices most of us can afford.


    • Hi Rafael,

      Thanks for your comment.

      I’ll look into some other foods for you and drop a comment here once I’ve thoroughly reviewed them. Although, you might want to look at The Honest Kitchen’s range. The carb content is higher than the other foods I’ve reviewed but the Turkey one is the lowest. It could be a viable option for you because their 10 lbs option makes 40 lbs of food. It’s a little higher than the price range you mentioned but for 40 lbs of food it’s great value for money. And a healthy grain free option.

  • Sherrie

    I am very disappointed that the only grain-free foods you recommend are beyond out of reach for any normal person to be able to afford. This makes me feel like I can’t possibly give Rylee even a half decent diet.

    • Hi Sherrie,

      I can totally relate to how you feel. You could look at the Honest Kitchen’s range for Raylee. Their food yields 40 lbs once water is added so it’s well worth it. And the turkey one has the lowest carb content. The crude protein is lower than the other foods I reviewed but it’s still one of the best foods and I scored it at 4.5.

      Here’s a link to The Honest Kitchen’s Turkey range on Amazon.

      And here’s the link to my full review if you want to check it out again.

      Let me know if you have other questions about nutrition, I’m happy to help.

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