German Shorthair Pointers (GSP) is a unique and very active breed with a wide range of nutritional needs across their lifetime. The German Shorthair Pointer is a large breed dog with a lean and muscular body. They excel at tracking by scent, running long distances and swimming and taking long naps by the fire. Such activity requires owners to find the best dog food for German Shorthair Pointers that would fit the dog's nutritional profile.
GSP's average lifespan is about 11 years. When GSP's aren’t playing hard, they’re sleeping hard, but their favorite pastime is hunting and tracking. It is important to keep these guys busy, as they can become destructive and anxious if bored.
Due to their athletic build and high energy drive, it can be difficult to feed this breed. It may be tricky to find the best German Shorthair Pointer dog food brand that provides the nutrition they need to keep up their strength and energy without overindulging in unnecessary calories, but I've managed to find some good brands and often recommend them to GSP owners in my veterinary clinic.
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The Best Dog Food for German Shorthair Pointers
Before switching your dog to any new diet, always consult with a veterinarian. Remember that no article on the internet, including this one, can replace a consultation with a vet.
GSPs grow and develop best if fed a large-breed puppy formula. The right balance of nutrients will help safeguard against issues as they grow and mature. Large-breed puppies, like pointers, are more susceptible to malnutrition and developmental orthopedic disease compared to small-breed pups.
Many owners have heard of these diseases – hip dysplasia, osteochondrosis dessicans (OCD), panosteitis and hypertrophic osteodystrophy (HOD).
While there is a genetic component to these diseases, there are significant nutritional risk factors that play a part during puppyhood. These risk factors are rapid growth and excess dietary calcium intake.
Royal Canin Maxi Puppy Dry Formula
My top pick for the best dog food for German Shorthair Pointers that are less than 12 months old is Royal Canin Maxi Puppy Dry Formula. Royal Canin is one of the top premium brands of dog food. Their reputable nutrition will help ensure that your GSP puppy starts out on the right foot.
GSPs are a more slowly maturing breed, so it is recommended to feed this puppy food until 12-15 months of age. The calorie content and mineral balance are optimal for preventing developmental orthopedic diseases.
Training Support for Puppy German Shorthair Pointers
If your GSP puppy is well on his way to sporting excellence, it may be best to consider a slightly more calorie-dense food. The best dog food for German Shorthair Pointers in a strenuous training regiment is Purina Pro Plan Sport Performance 30/20 Formula.
Your puppy has started training and is hitting the field, and you want to provide energy to burn and to maintain adequate growth. It is a good idea to start bumping up the nutrition from the basic large-breed formulas to something like Sport Performance.
This is an “all life stages” formula that can technically be fed through adulthood. Due to its unique formulation for performance dogs, it may be necessary to switch to a lower-calorie food during the off-season or when your puppy’s grown slows around 12 months of age.
The Best Dog Food for German Shorthair Pointer
If you are looking for the best dog food for German Shorthair Pointers who are older than 12 months or are transitioning from puppy food to adult food, it is a good idea to consult with your veterinarian. Your vet can help determine your dog’s current body condition score. With this in hand, you can decide which ‘maintenance’ adult diet is best.
Normal body condition German Shorthair Pointers
A great place to start for a light active, normal body weight/condition GSP is Hill’s Science Diet Adult Large Breed Food. This adult formula is excellent for adults over 15 months of age. This premium food will provide the energy your busy-bee GSP needs to chase the Frisbee every afternoon.
Active dogs need additional protection for their joints, provided here in the form of chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine. Some German Shorthair Pointers can be on the picky side when it comes to food. Hill’s makes this food extra-palatable by adding in real chicken, apples, carrots and cranberries.
Very Active/Hunting German Shorthair Pointers
Active hunters need a much higher calorie food than your average house dog. When recommending the best dog food for German Shorthair Pointers that are active hunters, I turn to Native Performance Dog Food.
Native provides different “levels” of nutrition, from Level 1 “off season, low activity” food to Level 4 for dogs engaging in intense activity 4-5 hours a day.
Dogs that are in the Level 4 nutrition category are more likely to experience injury and extraordinary wear-and-tear on their joints.
For these dogs, I recommend feeding a separate joint supplement daily, year-round, such as Dasuquin (Nutramax Labratories). Dasuquin contains a much higher ‘pharmaceutical’ level of glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate and antioxidants to help keep your dog’s joints stronger, longer.
Low-Active/Couch Potato German Shorthair Pointers
Some GSPs do become overweight or obese, especially if they are retired from hunting or live in an urban setting. As they age, they also tend to want to spend less time bouncing around and more time sleeping by the fire.
Generally, I reach for Hill’s Prescription Diet Metabolic and Mobility when recommending the best dog food for German Shorthair Pointers that have become overweight and can’t shed the pounds on their own.
This diet is by prescription only, but it works beautifully in middle-aged dogs that have failed to lose weight on other “diet plans”. Over time, excess weight can cause predispose GSPs to arthritis, so the mobility component (high levels of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate) will help to keep their joints in top form.
The Best Dog Food for German Shorthair Pointers
German Shorthair Pointers are considered “senior” or “geriatric” around 8 years of age. As they age, their nutritional requirements change as well.
Joints start to ache and mental function can start to decline. Active ingredients in my top pick for the best dog food for German Shorthair Pointers in their senior years will help your dog go strong for as long as possible.
Eukanuba Lamb and Rice Senior Maintenance
Eukanuba is another high-quality dog food manufacturer with a great track record for quality products and high quality control standards. Eukanuba Lamb and Rice Senior Maintenance stands out due to its high level of antioxidants, which can help support proper cell function in aging dogs. It has also been proven to reduce tartar buildup on teeth by 46%.
Retired hunters also tend to have poor dental health and arthritis. If your GSP senior is missing teeth or significant periodontal disease, it may be best to feed a soft/wet diet.
Purina ProPlan’s Bright Mind Beef and Brown Rice Entrée
Another option for the best dog food for German Shorthair Pointers older than 7 years is Purina ProPlan’s Bright Mind Beef and Brown Rice Entrée. It is specifically formulated to support dogs over 7 years of age. It tempts picky eaters with its aromatic beefy smell and is easy to chew. It can be fed alone or in addition to a dry food.
Your senior will be supported with ‘extras’ like enhanced botanical oils, which provide ketone bodies as an alternate source of nutrition for neurons. These botanical oils have been shown to improve alertness and mental sharpness within 30 days.