17 Human Foods German Shepherds Can And Can’t Eat

Categorized as Feeding, Health
human foods german shepherds can and can't eat

German Shepherds are gorgeous dogs. They’re strong, healthy, and like to remain active throughout their lifetimes. But you should always check in with your vet before feeding any new food or ingredient to your dog. This is especially true when it comes to human food; while some can be okay for German Shepherds, others need to be avoided. Here are the best and worst human foods you can feed to your GSD.

1. Eggs

Eggs are perfectly safe for your German shepherd to eat. In fact, they are an excellent source of protein, vitamins, and healthy fats that help support your shepherd’s overall health.

While some dog owners opt to feed their furry friends raw eggs, it is much safer to feed your dog cooked eggs. This is because raw eggs can contain bacteria such as Salmonella that is harmful to your pet.

Dogs who get infected with Salmonella can experience symptoms such as fever, diarrhea, vomiting, and fever. The symptoms can last up to three to four weeks, and if left untreated, the infection can be deadly.

Cooking the eggs will kill any bacteria and make them completely safe for your dog to eat. It doesn’t matter how you cook the eggs—scrambled eggs, hard-boiled eggs, an omelet—as long as the eggs are cooked.

Can German Shepherds Eat Egg Shells?

Another common question related to feeding German Shepherds eggs is whether or not they can eat the eggshells.

Technically, it is safe to feed your dog the eggshells. However, it’s better to consult with your vet before doing so to ensure that it is indeed a good idea. For some dogs, especially older arthritic dogs, eggshells can be beneficial as a source of calcium.

In one study consisting of 51 dogs with a range of joint problems, researchers found that dogs who ate eggshells showed a decrease in pain and an improvement in overall mobility.

2. Peanut Butter

Most peanut butter is safe for German Shepherds to eat, and in moderation, it can be a great source of proteins, healthy fats, vitamins B and E, and niacin.

However, there are some that can be deadly. In recent years, there have been reports of dogs getting sick after eating xylitol-infused peanut butter.

Some manufacturers have started adding xylitol to peanut butter as a sugar substitute to reduce the cost of production. Xylitol can be deadly to dogs because it causes a rapid release of insulin in the body, which causes blood sugar levels to drop drastically.

This dangerous condition is known as hypoglycemia and will lead to several symptoms, including trembling, lethargy, loss of coordination, seizures, and discoloration of the gums.

To avoid this, make sure to check the label of the peanut butter jar to ensure it does not contain any xylitol.

3. Cheese

Yes, German shepherds can eat cheese. In fact, dog trainers often use cheese as a treat to reward dogs for obeying commands or learning new tricks.

Cheese is good for your dog because it’s rich in proteins and calcium, both of which support healthy skin and coat growth. It also contains essential vitamins such as Vitamin A and B-complex that promote bone health and proper organ function.

While cheese can be safe to feed your dog, not all dogs can eat cheese. Dogs that are lactose intolerant or have allergies to milk products can experience diarrhea, vomiting, and gas after eating cheese.

Another thing to keep in mind when feeding your dog cheese is that it contains high-fat content. Too much of these can be bad for the dog’s health and lead to obesity. Even more problematic, it can lead to pancreatitis, a serious condition that occurs when the pancreas becomes inflamed.

For this reason, you should feed your dog cheese in moderation.

4. Shrimp

Shrimps are not only delicious but also offer a number of health benefits for your dog. They contain several essential nutrients that dogs need to stay healthy such as vitamin B12, niacin, phosphorus, and anti-oxidants.

Shrimps are also low in fat, calories, and carbohydrates, which makes them an excellent snack for overweight dogs.

However, you should be wary of feeding your shepherd too many shrimps because they are also high in cholesterol. Eating too much shrimp can lead to an unhealthy increase of cholesterol in the blood, which can cause severe problems for your dog’s health.

For this reason, you should limit the amount of shrimp you feed to your German Shepherd.

When serving shrimps to your dog, it’s best to cook them first to avoid the dangers of bacteria and parasites. And don’t forget to remove the shell, as it can be a choking hazard if swallowed.

5. Rice

Yes, German Shepherds can eat rice. White rice is what many dog owners feed their dogs when they are sick. It is chosen because it is easy to digest and low in fiber.

However, you need to be careful with how much rice you feed your dog. This is because dog foods have already contained suitable amounts of carbohydrates, and eating too many carbs can result in unhealthy weight gain.

Therefore, it’s best to limit the amount of rice you feed your dog. As long as your shepherd maintains a healthy weight, it’s fine to feed them rice once in a while.

When preparing rice for your dog, you should not have any seasonings or spices to avoid potential digestive issues. Instead, keep it plain and simple, and it should be just fine for your shepherd.

6. Fish

Touted as one of the healthiest foods, fish is actually a great addition to any German shepherd’s diet. It is a healthy source of protein and contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which is the reason why many German shepherd food brands add fish in their recipes.

Veterinarians also often prescribe fish as an alternative ingredient for dogs with allergies to other more common ingredients such as beef and chicken.

However, there are some fish types you should avoid giving to your dog. Tuna and swordfish, for example, can contain mercury in high concentrations, which can cause metal toxicity.

The safety types of fish to feed your shepherd are the ones commonly found in dog foods, such as salmon, whitefish, herring, and flounder.

To feed your German shepherd fish, fish should be cooked first to avoid the risk of bacteria like Salmonella. Salmonella is worrisome not just for your dog but also for the people in your household and other pets since it can be transmitted through contact with the infected dog.

7. Bread

In short, German shepherds can eat bread much as humans can. It won’t hurt them, but it probably won’t fill them up either because bread is essentially a filler food with little nutritional value.

But if your dog likes it and you don’t want to disappoint your pooch, you can make their day by giving them a slice of bread once in a while. Just remember not to overdo it; otherwise, it might lead to obesity.

When feeding your shepherd bread, plain white and wheat bread are the best choices. Do not give your dog bread containing raisins, garlic, nuts, seeds, or xylitol (artificial sweetener). These ingredients can cause immense harm to your dog’s health.

8. Ice Cream

Unfortunately, even though ice cream is one of the most favorite desserts of many, it isn’t good for your dog.

The first problem with ice cream is that it contains dairy products. Since the dogs’ bodies are not made to metabolize lactose, ice cream can cause your dog to experience a range of symptoms that include vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps, or gas.

This condition is even worse if your dog is lactose intolerant. In this case, eating ice cream will trigger an allergic reaction that can manifest as digestive issues, skin conditions, or even breathing difficulty.

In addition, ice cream contains a large amount of sugar which can cause weight gain and lead to diabetes and obesity. Even if the ice cream container says it’s made without sugar, you should still need to read the label because some brands replace sugar with artificial sweeteners that can be equally or more dangerous for your dog.

9. Ham

A little sliver of ham every once in a while won’t hurt your German shepherd. Yes, it is protein-rich, and sure it tastes good, but there are many other better choices for protein than ham.

The main problem with ham is that it has a higher fat content compared to other meats. When you consider that your dog food already has enough fat in its recipe, adding ham can lead to pancreatitis and other digestive problems.

Additionally, store-bought ham contains many chemicals that can be harmful to your dogs, like sodium, nitrates, and nitrites that can cause serious health issues such as kidney failure, seizure, and coma.

10. Bacon

The answer to the question “can German shepherds eat bacon” is straight-up no.

According to the World Health Organization, processed meats such as bacon contain many carcinogens that cause cancer.

Also, dogs are susceptible to the high salt content in bacon. The effect of eating too much salt is more severe for them compared to humans because their kidneys are not able to excrete it fast enough, which can lead to a deadly condition called bloat.

If you want to feed your shepherd pork meat, you should stick to plain cooked ham. Keep it simple and leave off all the bells and whistles that you usually add when cooking a ham for your human family.

11. Yogurt

Yes, your German shepherd can safely eat yogurt, and it’s a better choice than ice cream. That said, not all dogs can digest it, especially those with lactose intolerance.

If you’re going to feed your shepherd yogurt, make sure you give them plain unflavored kind without any added flavors, sugars, or artificial sweeteners. Observe your dog after feeding them yogurt to make sure they have no side effects from it.

If your dog displays any symptoms associated with lactose intolerance, such as vomiting, or diarrhea, stop feeding them yogurt immediately.

12. Turkey

The answer to the question “can German shepherds eat turkey” can be yes or no, depending on how the turkey is prepared. It is true that turkey is one of the most popular ingredients in commercially prepared dog food and that this meat is very rich in protein, but the turkey used in dog food isn’t prepared the same way as the turkey you eat.

The turkey used in dog food is cooked plain without any salt, spices, or even flavor enhancers; meanwhile, thanksgiving turkeys are rarely cooked. They have a lot of seasonings, spices, and herbs that can irritate your dog’s digestive system.

13. Pickles

In short, you can feed your German shepherd a small amount of pickles, but it is not recommended. The problem with pickles isn’t the pickles themselves, but the brine, vinegar, and other spices used to make them, which produces a high sodium content.

Consuming a large number of pickles in a short amount of time can lead to sodium poisoning, which can cause side effects such as excessive drinking, vomiting, diarrhea, and seizures.

And if your dog already has an underlying health issue such as kidney disease, feeding them pickles can further deteriorate their condition.

14. Sausage

No, you shouldn’t feed your German shepherd sausage. Although sausages do have meat as their primary ingredient, they are also high in fat and salt content.

On top of that, processed meats like sausages can contain many different additives, flavor enhancers, and preservatives that aren’t good for your dog’s health.

15. Hot Dogs

Because they contain so many ingredients that can be harmful to your dogs, hotdogs are not safe to feed your German shepherd.

The main problem with hotdogs is that they contain a lot of salt and sodium nitrate. According to the National Academy of Sciences, a German shepherd weighing 75 pounds only needs around 450 milligrams (mg) per day. Meanwhile, the average hot dog contains about 500 mg of sodium per serving.

So feeding your German shepherd even just one hotdog a day could put them over the limit and lead to dehydration. Over time, this excess sodium intake could also result in high blood pressure, just like in humans.

The sodium nitrate in hotdogs is also bad for your dog’s health. The accumulation of sodium nitrate in their body can result in cancer. Added to that, hot dogs also contain seasonings and flavor enhancers that can be toxic to your shepherd.

16. Pizza

Similar to hot dogs, pizza contains many ingredients and toppings that make it a poor dog food choice.

For instance, the crust and toppings may include ingredients that are dangerous for your dogs, such as garlic and onion powder. The cheese used on pizzas also contains high levels of fat that can lead to obesity in German shepherds.

The bottom line, you should never ever give your German shepherd pizza, whether it’s homemade or store-bought.

17. Pancakes

Plain pancake given in moderation is unlikely to do your dog any harm. But make sure to avoid giving them pancakes that contain added sugars, artificial sweeteners, and syrups.

If your dog has dietary restrictions, such as lactose intolerance, avoiding pancakes is probably the best option, since all classic pancakes are made from milk.

Thank you for reading this article. I hope you found it helpful and useful as you raise and train your German Shepherd.

Here are some of my favorite reviews for German Shepherd supplies that I personally use and recommend. If you do decide to purchase them, please remember that I’ll earn a small commission which helps me maintain this website.

By Andrew Garf

Andrew Garf has loved dogs, especially German Shepherds, since he was 10 years old. Though he also loves burgers, training dogs is his real passion. That's why he created the website TrainYourGSD.com - to help dog owners learn how to properly train, care for, and bond with their German Shepherd dogs.