What Is The Best Dog Food for a German Shorthaired Pointer?
The Ultimate German Shorthaired Pointer Food Buyer’s Guide
The handsome, powerful German Shorthaired Pointer is known for being a particularly versatile breed. The breed was developed in the 19th century in Germany as an all-purpose hunting dog in the field and in water. German Shorthaired Pointers (commonly referred to as “GSPs” or Shorthairs) even have webbed paws so they can excel as water retrievers.
They are very intelligent, active, affectionate, and easy to train. They are good with children and make very good family dogs if you have room for them and can provide plenty of daily exercise. GSPs do have lots of energy and love to run, so exercise is important. Like most Sporting dogs, they also love to be with their families and will not do well if they are not part of family activities. According to the American Kennel Club, the German Shorthaired Pointer is the 12th most popular breed in the United States and climbing in popularity.
Quick Look : Top 4 Best Dog Foods For Pointers
German Short Haired Pointer Diet & Nutrition
According to the standard for the breed, male dogs typically stand 23 to 25 inches tall at the withers. Female dogs stand 21 to 23 inches tall. Male dogs typically weigh 55 to 70 pounds and female dogs weigh 45 to 60 pounds.
As already mentioned, the German Shorthaired Pointer is a very active dog, originally bred for hunting. More than some breeds, GSPs are still bred for this purpose today even if they are pets or show dogs. They remain true to their original purpose. Breeders pride themselves on producing dogs that not only meet the breed standard physically, but that can pass hunting qualifications, too. Consequently they are very active dogs and have a lot of energy. This has to be considered in the diet for the German Shorthaired Pointer, along with making sure that your dog gets plenty of proper exercise.
Growing puppies and young adults use a lot of energy. They require a diet that features good quality protein. According to the National Research Council of the National Academies, an active adult GSP weighing 60 pounds requires an average daily caloric intake of 1504 calories. Dogs that have been spayed/neutered, or that are older, may need slightly fewer calories. Some dogs may need more calories depending on their level of activity and their individual metabolism. Growing puppies, for example, consume more calories than adult dogs and so do young adult dogs. A young GSP puppy weighing 40 pounds needs an estimated 1233 calories per day. However, an adult German Shorthaired Pointer weighing 60 pounds, engaged in hunting or other performance work, might require as much as 3342 calories because of the energy he is expending. Your dog’s activity level and other factors will make a big difference in how many calories to feed.
German Shorthaired Pointers are considered to be a medium-large breed. They should be able to eat most good quality dog foods and foods made for medium/large dogs. All life stage dog foods should also be suitable. You should note that large breed dog foods usually have fewer calories than other dog foods so it’s not usually recommended to feed a German Shorthaired Pointer a large breed food. They are not a large/giant breed. German Shorthaired Pointer puppies should not require large breed puppy dog foods based on their ultimate size as adults.
Feeding Your German Shorthaired Pointer
The German Shorthaired Pointer can usually eat most good quality dog foods. However, they do require good quality nutrition. This is really not a breed that can get by on cheaper dog foods. Your dog’s health depends on the nutrition you provide so cutting corners is not recommended.
We suggest that you measure the amount of food you feed and only leave the food sitting out for about half an hour. Then put it away. This should give your dog time to eat. If you free feed and leave the food sitting out all the time dogs usually nibble which puts on pounds. Most adult dogs do well eating two meals per day. Puppies can usually eat three meals per day until they are old enough to start eating on an adult schedule.
German Shorthaired Pointer Health Problems
The German Shorthaired Pointer is usually considered to be a tough, sturdy dog. The average lifespan for the breed is estimated to be between 12 and 15 years, with some dogs living longer. However, like all dogs, some health issues do exist.
The German Shorthaired Pointer Club of American recommends that dogs considered for breeding have a cardiac exam, have their hips and elbows evaluated for dysplasia (not uncommon in larger dogs), have an annual eye exam until the dog is six years old, and have an Optigen test for cone degeneration (eyes). Other optional tests suggested by the breed club include a test for autoimmune thyroiditis, Von Willebrands Disease (a form of hemophilia), and possibly Lupoid Dermatosis (LD). The club also donates to other research which may affect some GSPs such as epilepsy and cancer.
You can find more information about German Shorthaired Pointer health issues on the web site for the German Shorthaired Pointer Club of America.
German Shorthaired Pointers are also a deep-chested breed. Like many of these breeds, they can be prone to bloat so this is something that owners need to keep in mind when feeding their GSP. There are no specific dog foods made to avoid bloating but your dog might benefit from a food for sensitive stomachs. Many dog lovers also try to protect their dogs by feeding a dog food with more natural ingredients to try to keep their dog’s immune system as strong as possible. Many people recommend feeding a food that is free of some of the most common food irritants such as corn, soy, and wheat. These are not the most common dog food allergens – beef, dairy products, and chicken, for example, lead to more food allergies for dogs than corn, soy, and wheat. But many people like to avoid soy and grains in dog foods. There are many good grain free dog foods today if you want to feed one to your dog.
Avoiding artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, and preservatives is also suggested as a way to help keep the immune system stronger.
Ingredients to Look for and Some to Avoid
Protein and fat are the main ingredients in the diet for the GSP, as they are for most dogs. However, not all proteins and fats are the same. It’s important that the protein and fat in the dog food comes from good sources if you want your dog to be healthy.
Ideally you will select a dog food that features two or three meat proteins in the first several ingredients listed. Both whole meats and meat meals are good sources of protein. Whole meats refer to foods such as whole chicken, beef, fish, and lamb. Some people don’t like meat meals as much as whole meats but they are a concentrated form of the meat in which the moisture has been removed. They contain several times as much protein as a whole meat. Meat meals are usually quite acceptable as one of the first ingredients in a good quality dog food. They are used by many good dog food brands.
Dogs also need good sources of fat. You should look for named fat sources such as chicken fat. Other named fats also provide needed nutrients such as fish oil which can provide omega-3 fatty acid to help keep the skin and coat healthy. Puppies can benefit from DHA which is Docosahexaenoic acid. This is a specific form of omega-3 fatty acid that helps with brain and eye development. Older dogs seem to benefit from medium chain triglycerides which feature medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs). These have been found to help older dogs feel and act younger. They are often made from a combination of coconut oil and other oils.
If you want to avoid corn, soy, and wheat in your dog food, your German Shorthaired Pointer may still be able to eat rice, barley, oats, or some other grain or cereal. Oats and barley, for example, can be good sources of dietary fiber. Or you can feed a grain free dog food that uses an alternate source of carbs such as sweet potatoes. You don’t have to feed a dog food with an excessively high percentage of protein but it’s a good idea to keep the carb percentage low to moderate.
Recommended Dog Food For An Adult German Shorthaired Pointer
Every dog is an individual. Even dogs in the same breed can have different food needs. Some dogs need more calories than others. Some dogs will do better with more protein or fat than other dogs.
We are recommending a variety of foods for the GSP. Some have grains and some don’t. We have selected foods without corn, wheat, and soy unless otherwise noted. You may have to try a couple of foods to find which one is best for your dog. You should also keep in mind that your dog’s diet needs can change as he grows and ages so you may have to change foods to accommodate him.
Best Dog Foods for German Shorthaired Pointer Adults
We have heard great things about Victor dog food from lots of people. Victor is made by Mid America Pet Food – a company that co-packs for some other well-known brands. The company is located in Texas and it’s been in business for a long time. They were purchased by an investor last year and Victor dog food is becoming more widely available now. They currently have six highly active and sporting dog formulas; five formulas for normally active dogs; and four grain free formulas. All of their foods are free of corn, wheat, soy, gluten, and grain by-products. They use no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. The Yukon River Salmon formula has 32 percent crude protein, 15 percent crude fat, and 34 percent crude carbs. Seventy-six percent of the protein in the food comes from fish. We think this is a food you might consider for your German Shorthaired Pointer, or check out one of Victor’s other formulas.
Lest you think we only like grain free dog foods, we also really like Fromm Family Foods, especially their Gold and Four-Star product lines. Their Adult Gold formula has duck, chicken meal, and chicken as the first three ingredients. It has 24 percent crude protein and 16 percent crude fat with 408 kcal/cup. It is AAFCO-approved for growth and maintenance. The food includes salmon oil – a great source of omega-3 fatty acid for healthy skin and coat; probiotics, and prebiotics. No corn, wheat, or soy. The food is also made at the family’s own facilities in Wisconsin. The Fromm family has been making dog food and dog products for over 100 years and they have a great reputation.
Taste of the Wild hits the sweet spot where quality and price come together.
Taste of the Wild’s Wetland dry dog food is Made in the USA and, like Orijen, is also grain-free. This is great for GSP’s with skin allergies or sensitive stomachs as it removes a lot of the typical ingredients that cause itching and bloat.
Their 30lb bag retails (on sale) for $43.54 at Chewy right now which is the best online price we could find.
Given that you’re not sacrificing that much quality for this brand we think this is a very affordable dog food for your Pointer dog that is a suitable competitor to Orijen for close to half the price.
Merrick has some great foods for dogs. The first five ingredients in this food are Deboned Buffalo, Chicken Meal, Potatoes, Salmon Meal (source of Omega 3 fatty acids), and Sweet Potatoes. This recipe is an all life stage food with 460 kcal per cup ME (metabolizable energy) on an as fed basis (calculated). It has 70 percent meat and fish ingredients, 30 percent vegetables, vitamins, and minerals. It is grain free – no corn, soy, or wheat. No gluten. No poultry by-products, no artificial preservatives. It has 38 percent crude protein and 17 percent crude fat. They also use local growers from Texas, where the food is made. Yes, we know that Purina recently purchased Merrick which makes some people nervous. But until we see any sign that the food has changed, we still think this is a great food for your dog.
Best Dog Foods for German Shorthaired Pointer Puppies
German Shorthaired Pointer puppies need a good quality food for puppies or a good all life stage food. As with other puppies, the recommended calcium to phosphorus ratio should be about 1.2 parts calcium to 1 part phosphorus, though there is some slight room for variation such as 1.5:1. Most puppy foods should have a calcium to phosphorus ratio in this neighborhood. It’s also important that dog and puppy foods do not have an excess (or deficiency) of calcium since this can affect bone growth. You can generally begin switching your GSP to an adult food when s/he reaches about 90 percent of his or her adult size.
Here are some of the puppy foods we like for GSP puppies.
|Taste of the Wild High Prairie Puppy Food
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|Fromm Gold Holistic Puppy Dry Dog Food
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|Annamaet Ultra Formula
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Taste of the Wild can attribute much of it’s success as a leading dog food brand to their nutrient-rich puppy food. Once owner’s are happy with the progress they see from their puppies on TOTW puppy food they have little reason to switch come adulthood.
This particular grain-free option contains probiotics that stimulate a healthy digestive system which increases immunity. In addition, you’ll find omega fatty acids for healthy coat and skin as well as fruits, vegetables and just the right amount of protein to promote steady growth through adolescence. Let’s not forget that Taste of the Wild products are Made in the USA. This is seen as a big benefit to most customers as the ingredients are more trusted.
Similar to Fromm’s Gold Holistic Adult formula, this puppy formula contains no corn, wheat, or soy. The first three ingredients are duck, chicken meal, and chicken. The food is formulated for puppies who will grow to be over 50 pounds as adult dogs. Protein and fat in the food are moderate, and so are the calories, to help large breed puppies grow slowly. The technical analysis for the food shows the correct calcium to phosphorus ratio for growing puppies. Fromm Gold Holistic Puppy formula also has added DHA-rich salmon oil for good brain and eye development in puppies. The USDA-inspected ingredients for the food are delivered fresh each morning.
Annamaet Ultra is an All Life Stage formula that is suitable for puppies as well as performance dogs. It has 32 percent crude protein and 20 percent crude fat. The calcium to phosphorus ratio makes it a good fit for growing puppies. It comes in at 480 kcal/cup. The first ingredient is chicken meal, followed by brown rice, and chicken fat preserved with mixed tocopherols in the form of Vitamin E. Annamaet uses algae as a source of omega-3 fatty acid for good skin and coat, and healthy heart development. The food also contains DHA for good brain development. It also features chelated minerals so they are more easily digested. The chicken is raised free of antibiotics. Since this is an All Life Stage food, you can go on feeding it as your puppy gets older and becomes an adult. People who feed this food seem to love it. Whole Dog Journal and other sources give it high marks.
Best Dog Foods for the Senior German Shorthaired Pointers
As noted, it’s not unusual for German Shorthaired Pointers to live into their teen years. This means that you will probably need to consider what kind of food to feed your dog as he gets older. As your dog ages it’s a good idea to plan an annual senior check-up with your vet. Many older dogs, including GSPs, begin to put on pounds as they become less active. For this reason, most senior dog foods have fewer calories and they can skimp on protein. You should watch your older GSP’s weight as he gets older to make sure he doesn’t become overweight. In some cases you can simply cut back on the portions of his regular dog food to help him stay fit or increase his exercise.
On the other hand, very old dogs often start to have some problems metabolizing nutrients, including protein. It can become hard for them to keep good muscle tone and weight as they age. For this reason, you may wish to avoid many dog foods labeled “senior.” These foods are often formulated for older dogs that have gained weight. Instead, look for a senior dog food that we like which has lots of protein. As long as your older dog doesn’t have any problems with his kidneys, there is no reason to avoid higher protein levels.
Orijen Senior provides plenty of excellent quality protein for your older German Shorthaired Pointer. This food features free-run chicken and turkey, wild-caught fish, and nest-laid eggs. It helps keep older dogs in good muscle even as they become less active. Made of 80 percent meats and fish, the food is low-glycemic and has low carbs to help keep your older dog’s blood sugar steady. The food also contains natural sources of glucosamine and chondroitin to keep your GSP’s joints healthy. The food is 38 percent crude protein and 15 percent crude fat. It checks in at 445 kcal per 250ml/120g cup. We think this is a very good food for senior dogs who often need extra protein as they get older.
Best Dog Foods for German Shorthaired Pointers with Skin Problems/Allergies
German Shorthaired Pointers are a breed that can be especially prone to skin problems. Their problems can include food allergies and sensitivities. Since the breed can have various skin problems, if your dog is having skin trouble, it’s a good idea to take your dog to the vet and get a diagnosis. This can ultimately save you a lot of money – and help your dog. You don’t want to keep buying expensive dog foods thinking your dog has a food allergy if he really has a problem that’s not food-related.
If your dog’s skin problems are food allergies, here is a food we think might help. It is free of ingredients that commonly result in allergic reactions.
Any dog suffering from skin problems or food allergies may benefit from Wild Calling!’s Xotic Essentials recipes. Formulas like their rabbit meal recipe use exotic meats that are rare in today’s pet food market so your dog hasn’t eaten them before – less chance of having an allergic reaction. The foods are also highly digestible. Wild Calling! also uses what they call LITe (limited ingredient technology). They don’t use any of the ingredients commonly found in most dog foods such as chicken, grain, gluten, egg, yeast, corn, wheat or soy. If your GSP has a food allergy, he can really benefit from Wild Calling! The foods are formulated for rotational feeding and they offer several Xotic Essentials recipes, such as kangaroo and bison, so your dog doesn’t get over-exposed to one kind of meat protein. This is an All Life Stage food. We think that dogs with skin problems and food allergies can definitely benefit from these recipes.
Best Dog Foods for German Shorthaired Pointers with Sensitive Stomachs
Some dogs are susceptible to food sensitivities that affect their digestion and excretion. If your dog has a sensitive stomach it can be an indication of a food sensitivity, which is different form a food allergy. A dog with a food sensitivity will have gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting or diarrhea. Or it could be something more serious.
A dog with a sensitive stomach can often be helped by feeding the right dog food. Sticking to a limited ingredient diet food with as few ingredients as possible can reduce the chance of your dog having a bad reaction to something in the food.
If your GSP can eat potatoes, we recommend Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Potato & Duck Formula Dry Dog Food. This food is grain free with limited ingredients. It has good quality, alternative ingredients that are easily digestible for a dog with a sensitive stomach. And it contains no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.
Blackwood also has several formulas for dogs with sensitive stomachs. No corn, wheat, or soy. No artificial preservatives or colors.
Best Dog Foods for Overweight German Shorthaired Pointers
If your GSP becomes overweight, it may be due to overfeeding and not enough exercise. You can help your GSP lose weight by cutting back on his portions and encouraging him to get more exercise.
If your GSP needs to lose more than one or two pounds, however, you may need to consider a weight control dog food.
We do not recommend a weight control dog food for a puppy or a very old dog. These foods generally have fewer calories and may have some other differences in nutrients that make them inappropriate for growing puppies or older dogs who need special nutrition.
If you have a German Shorthaired Pointer who needs to lose weight we recommend Merrick Grain Free Healthy Weight Recipe. We like the fact that this food has 32 percent crude protein. The crude fat percentage is between 8 and 11 percent with 5 percent crude fiber so your dog should not feel like he’s starving. It is AAFCO-approved for a maintenance diet. The food has 3,210 kcal per kilogram or 360 kcal per cup ME (metabolizable energy) on an as fed basis (calculated). It is grain free and made from 55 percent beef and poultry. And it contains no corn, wheat, or soy and no ingredients from China.
If your dog needs to lose weight, you should proceed slowly. No crash dieting. You should aim for your dog to lose no more than 3 to 5 percent of his body weight per month or about one percent each week.
Whether you are getting a new German Shorthaired Pointer puppy or bringing home an older dog, GSPs are intelligent, loving companions. We hope we have provided you with the information you need to feed your friend the best food possible.