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Can German Shepherds Eat Raw Meat?

German Shepherds are known for their intelligence, loyalty, and trainability, but they are prone to health conditions like hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and gastric torsion.

Raw meat, while safe, is not recommended due to potential health hazards. It lacks essential vitamins and minerals and can harbour harmful bacteria and parasites. 

Therefore, other meal choices should be considered. Premium commercial dog food tailored to individual nutritional needs is the best way to ensure their well-being.

14 Risks of Feeding Raw Meat to German Shepherds

The main risks of feeding a German Shepherd a raw meat diet include; 

  • Risk of bacterial contamination and illness: 

The potential for bacterial contamination in feeding raw meat to German Shepherds is a significant concern, as it can cause serious illness in puppies, elderly dogs, and those with health conditions. Raw meat diets may lack essential nutrients like calcium, leading to long-term health issues.

  • Lack of nutritional balance, leading to health problems: 

A balanced diet is crucial for German Shepherds, a high-energy breed, as raw meat may not provide all the necessary nutrients for their health, posing a potential risk of nutritional deficiencies.

  • Difficulty in monitoring calories and nutrients: 

Monitoring calorie and nutrient intake in raw meat for a German Shepherd can be challenging due to its unprocessed nature and lack of specific calorie count. Understanding the nutrient content is crucial before feeding the dog.

  • May not be appropriate for all dog owners: 

Raw diets may not be suitable for all dog owners due to their time-consuming, labour-intensive, and expensive nature, as well as the lack of resources for preparing and storing raw meat.

  • Food poisoning: 

Food poisoning in dogs, especially puppies and elderly ones, can be caused by harmful bacteria in raw meat, causing symptoms like vomiting, diarrhoea, and lethargy. It’s crucial to seek veterinary care if your dog shows signs of infection. 

  • Incomplete nutrition: 

Raw meat feeding poses a significant risk of incomplete nutrition, as it may not meet a dog’s specific needs, such as joint health in German Shepherds. Consultation with a veterinarian is essential for determining the best diet.

  • Unbalanced diet: 

Feeding raw meat to German Shepherds can lead to an unbalanced diet, but careful planning and monitoring can ensure the right nutrients are provided, by consulting a veterinary nutritionist or researching raw meat, bones, and organs.

  • Unexpected costs: 

A raw meat diet may be more expensive than commercial dog food due to reputable sources and potential long-term expenses, especially for larger dogs like German Shepherds, but it’s a worthwhile option for dog owners.

  1. Difficulty finding proper food sources

To ensure high-quality German Shepherd raw meat, seek local farmers or ranchers raising their own animals or specialized sources, ensure meat is free of harmful bacteria, ask about raising and processing methods, and seek third-party certification.

  • Additional time and effort required: 

Feeding raw meat to a German Shepherd can be costly and time-consuming due to the need for safe purchase, storage, and preparation, but many dog owners believe it’s worth it for health benefits and bonding experiences.

  • Inappropriate for puppies, elderly dogs, or dogs with health conditions: 

Raw diets may not be suitable for all dogs, including puppies, elderly dogs, and those with health conditions, as they may not meet their specific nutritional needs or may not tolerate certain health issues.

  • Increased risk of choking: 

Feeding raw meat to German Shepherds increases choking risk due to chewing and swallowing difficulties. Supervision, thorough chewing, and cutting meat into smaller pieces are crucial.

  1. Digestive issues: 

Feeding raw meat to dogs can cause digestive issues due to its difficulty and the potential presence of harmful bacteria. To minimize risks, introduce raw meat gradually, start small, increase gradually, provide water, and monitor stool for digestive issues.

  • Risk of contamination to humans in the household: 

Raw meat poses a risk of contamination due to harmful bacteria spreading through contaminated surfaces, making good hygiene essential when handling it and cleaning any surfaces that may have come into contact with it.

To ensure your German Shepherd’s health, weigh the benefits against risks when feeding raw meat. Consult a veterinarian to create a suitable diet plan, considering the potential risks and benefits of feeding raw meat to your dog.

13 Benefits of Feeding Raw Meat to German Shepherds

The benefits of feeding German Shepherds a raw meat diet are numerous, with some claiming it is more natural and beneficial than commercial kibble or canned food.

  • An improved coat and skin condition: 

Omega-3 fatty acids found in raw meat, together with other nutrients and good fats, can help German Shepherds’ coat and skin health by encouraging a glossy coat, lowering inflammation, and lessening itching and scratching.

  1. Increased energy and vitality: 

Raw meat is a nutritious and easy-digestible option for German Shepherds, providing essential nutrients like protein and vitamin B12, boosting energy and vitality, and being rich in protein and healthy fats.

  • Reduced risk of food allergies: 

By having fewer allergic chemicals and fillers, raw beef is a healthier alternative that can help reduce food allergies in dogs. Due to the lack of artificial colours and preservatives present in standard dog food, German Shepherds may benefit from a raw beef diet.

  • Reduced risk of inflammatory diseases: 

Feeding raw meat to German Shepherds can reduce food allergies and inflammatory diseases like arthritis due to its rich source of omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. 

  • Reduced risk of certain types of cancer: 

Because raw meat is high in antioxidants and nutrients, it may protect German Shepherds from some cancers by minimizing heat processing, slowing the growth of cancer cells that have already formed, and lowering the number of substances that cause cancer.

  • Reduced risk of obesity: 

German Shepherds can reduce obesity risk by adopting a raw diet, high in protein and low in carbohydrates. This diet keeps dogs full and satisfied, is less likely to contain processed ingredients or added sugars, and is lower in calories than commercial dog food.

  • Improved oral health: 

German Shepherds’ raw diet can improve oral health by removing plaque and tartar, stimulating saliva production with antibacterial properties, and reducing tooth decay due to its lack of processed sugars, making it tougher to chew.

  • Improved dental health: 

German Shepherds fed raw meat may improve dental health by containing connective tissue that cleans teeth and gums, removes plaque and tartar, and strengthens the jaw and gums, reducing tartar buildup, gum inflammation, and periodontal disease.

  • Improved digestion and reduced flatulence: 

A raw diet improves dental and digestive health by making raw meat easier to digest and containing enzymes that break down food, reducing issues like gas, bloating, and stomach upset.

  • Improved quality of life and lifespan: 

Feeding a raw diet to your German Shepherd can improve their quality of life and lifespan by providing a more nutritionally dense, energy-dense, and stronger immune system, as well as a more appealing flavour compared to commercial dog food.

  • Reduced costs of veterinary care: 

Feeding a raw diet can lower the cost of veterinary care for your German Shepherd by reducing health risks and potentially resulting in discounts from pet insurance companies for dogs on a raw diet.

  • A more natural diet for the dog’s digestive system: 

A raw diet for a German Shepherd can benefit its digestive system, as dogs are naturally designed to digest raw meat and bones. This diet can lead to an efficient digestive system and reduced risk of digestive issues.

However, there is insufficient scientific evidence to support this claim, so it’s crucial to consult a veterinarian before making any dietary changes.

  • A more natural and holistic approach to health and wellness: 

A raw diet is a natural, holistic approach for German Shepherds, providing essential nutrients without chemicals or preservatives, and reducing inflammation, thereby enhancing overall health and wellbeing.

Before introducing a raw meat diet to your German Shepherd, consult a veterinarian to ensure safety and appropriateness.

The diet is high in protein and nutrients, but not all dogs respond the same, and some may experience digestive issues, leading to malnutrition.

Challenges of Feeding Raw Meat to German Shepherds

Now that we’ve gone over the benefits and risks of raw meat diets for GermanShepherds, let’s discuss some of the challenges of feeding your dog a raw meat diet. 

  • High cost: 

Raw meat diets pose a significant challenge due to their higher cost compared to commercial dog food, which can accumulate over time.

  • Bacterial contamination: 

To prevent food poisoning in dogs, it’s crucial to handle raw meat properly, invest in proper equipment, dedicate time to meal preparation, and clean up after dogs. Bacterial contamination, such as Salmonella and E. coli, poses risks to both dogs and humans.

  • Nutritional balance: 

The nutritional balance of a raw meat diet is crucial, as raw meat is often lower in essential nutrients like calcium and vitamin A compared to commercial dog food. 

It’s essential to supplement your dog’s diet with these nutrients or provide a nutritionally complete raw meat, while also ensuring the right amount of calories is provided.

  • Safety: 

Food safety is crucial for humans, as raw meat can contain bacteria causing food poisoning. Proper handling involves handwashing, cleaning surfaces, and avoiding contact with other foods. 

People at higher risk, such as children, pregnant women, and those with weakened immune systems, should avoid handling raw meat.

I hope this has helped understand the challenges of feeding a raw meat diet to your German Shepherd. 

A German Shepherd’s raw meat diet can be safe and nutritious if followed properly. Working with a veterinarian can create a balanced feeding plan, monitor health, and ensure the diet is effective for their well-being.

Related: Can a German Shepherd Kill a Wolf?

Factors to Consider before Feeding Raw Meat to your German Shepherd

Some practical considerations for feeding a raw meat diet; 

  • Preparation and storage: 

To ensure a safe and balanced diet for your German Shepherd, it’s essential to properly prepare and store raw meat. This includes washing surfaces, using separate cutting boards, and thawing frozen meat before feeding. 

  • Cost of feeding and veterinary care: 

Feeding raw meat to your dog depends on factors like source, storage space, and supplements like vitamins and minerals. It’s essential to consider the cost of veterinary care in case of illness.

  • Transition process: 

Transitioning your German Shepherd to a raw meat diet is a gradual process, starting with a small portion and gradually increasing over time. Monitor your dog’s reaction and adjust the transition period, consulting a veterinarian or nutritionist for a specific plan.

Frequently Asked Questions 

How much Raw Meat should I Feed my German Shepherd?

The recommended daily intake of raw meat for a German Shepherd varies based on their age, size, activity level, and overall health, with a 50-pound dog needing 1-1.5 pounds.

How do I know if my German Shepherd is getting enough Nutrients on a Raw Meat Diet?

Consult a veterinarian or nutritionist for a personalized diet plan for your German Shepherd, and regularly monitor their blood work to identify deficiencies or imbalances, ensuring the raw meat diet meets all nutritional requirements.

What if my German Shepherd has a Food Sensitivity or Allergy?

German Shepherds with food sensitivity or allergies may not benefit from a raw meat diet. A veterinarian or nutritionist can create a diet tailored to their needs, including hydrolyzed protein, elimination diet, or specialized supplements.

Is it Safe for my Family and other Pets if my German Shepherd is eating Raw Meat?

To ensure the safety of feeding raw meat to your German Shepherd, follow these precautions: wash your hands, separate raw meat from other foods, avoid licking people or pets, keep your dog’s eating area clean, and consult a veterinarian or pet health expert.

Is it difficult to Prepare a Raw Meat Diet for my German Shepherd?

Preparing a raw meat diet for your German Shepherd can be time-consuming and labor-intensive, with supplementing with vitamins and minerals increasing costs and complexity, while pre-made raw diets simplify the process.

Where can I purchase Raw Meat for my German Shepherd?

You can find raw meat for your German Shepherd at local farms, butchers, or online.


The article discusses the advantages and disadvantages of a raw meat diet for a German Shepherd dog, emphasizing the need for thorough research, preparation, and monitoring, and the importance of consultation with a veterinarian or nutritionist.


  • Rob

    Hi! I welcome you to my blog, where I discuss German Shepherds. Cheers to your GSD's welfare. And I hope you have a good time surfing my posts. Rob

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