People often ask me as a long coat German shepherd breeder about
nutrition and how I feed my dogs. Their coats are rich and shiny, the colors
are deep. Their eyes are bright and alert.
I feed my adults Victors Professional
the puppies and mothers are on Nutrisource small/medium puppy.
I avoid soy, artificial sweeteners, sugar, corn.
I was feeding a grain free kibble, but there has been some studies that indicate when fed grain free taurine and some other valuable items are missing or the absorption is blocked. So the kibble I use does have 'grains'.
I 'free feed' the dogs, there are bowls of food all over in the house, in kennels and crates. If you start or convert them to it, they do not gulp their food, they eat when hungry and are never fat..
The long coat German shepherd puppies are also free fed. They have access to moms food and at about 3-4 weeks I add another bowl with puppy kibble to the whelping room. The bitch is usually on Victors Professional and puppy kibble before whelping and through the nursing for the extra protein, fat.
Is that all the pups get I am ask? No, I have always been a strong believer that they need extra nutrients for growing bones, ligaments, muscles, etc. At about 3 weeks of age I introduce them to vanilla yogurt on the fingertip, a couple of days later I mix it with goat milk. Cows milk is very hard for them to digest. The first couple of days it is a challenge for them to figure out where the mixture is instead of the lip of the bowl. By day 3 they have that down pat and are looking for more. I add rice baby cereal to the mixture and increase the amount. Depending on the litter size, I am supplementing 1 or 2 times a day. By week 4-4 and a half I throw it all in a blender and add a little raw hamburger to the mixture and make a gruel out of it. I am increasing the hamburger every couple of days. By week 6 they are each getting approximately 1 cup of gruel 1 or 2 times a day. At week 6 I start decreasing the yogurt and goat milk and baby cereal. I will introduce something raw with bone (more on this in another paragraph) for them to chew on. By week 8 and time for them to go home, they will be on raw hamburger or pork or chicken once a day to compliment their kibble. But not ON their kibble and not mixed in with their kibble.
For the past 20 years I have been feeding my dogs raw every night. I tried going to a straight raw diet, but it did not work in my household. The following is a list (not inclusive) of things they get, the serving size is dependent on the dog and their needs at the time. My older ones get a taste, 1/8 - 1/4 cup or small piece, the lactating bitches will get 2-3 lbs of extra hamburger every day in a couple of portions.
Everything is raw, never cooked, the bones are pliable, digestible and not brittle if never cooked
Pork neck bones
Roast ( if I can buy it under $1.99 a pound) I slice it up into chunks
There are butcher and meat packing plants around the country that sell unprocessed beef, lamb, venison, rabbit organs, with and without bones fairly inexpensively. But quality, clean product.
Kimberly of Von Hayden German Shepherds also adds vegetables and fruits to her raw meat diet. She says that when they come home with a pineapple the dogs are crazy, "hurry Mom!". You would think it was candy.
I do not generally give supplements to my dogs, if they are on a good balanced kibble they are not necessary for a healthy dog.
In a nut shell, this is how I feed my dogs.