Is your German Shepherd losing weight despite eating a lot? Does it have soft, runny stools? Does it excrete more often than usual? Is it more fearful and aggressive than before?
These can be signs and symptoms of EPI (Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency) which affects almost 70% of German Shepherds worldwide, although any breed can have EPI.
According to the German Shepherd Rescue Scotland, EPI can also be the secondary condition of a chronic illness, such as chronic pancreatitis. EPI is the inability of the exocrine pancreas to produce the three enzymes that aid in digestion.
- Amylase for digestion of carbohydrates
- Lipases for digestion of fats and oils.
- Trypsin and Proteases for digestion of proteins.
Without these enzymes, food remains undigested and unabsorbed, resulting in a malnourished, starved, and sick dog. The necessary treatment is that supplementary enzymes must be included in every meal otherwise the food will remain undigested.
Dogs with EPI require a very special diet, one which is highly digestible and provides the necessary nutritional value, along with enzyme supplements with each meal.
List of 12 Best Dog Food for EPI German Shepherd
After my research, I have come to understand that a balanced diet for an EPI dog should contain
- 20-25% protein
- 10-15% fat
- Not more than 4% fiber
- Not more than 50% carbs
- Some omega fatty acids
- Preferably Glucosamine and Chondroitin
Luckily, there are plenty of dog food brands that are offering such especially manufactured meals.
Let’s take a look at the best dog food for pancreatic problems so you can give your dog the best care possible.
1. Taste of the Wild Food – Best Dog Food for EPI German Shepherd
Special features: grain-free, 32% protein derived from roasted bison and venison meat, 18% fat, can be fed to puppies, no artificial flavors or colors, no preservatives, contains probiotics
The main highlight of this dog food is that its first ingredient is water buffalo meat which is imported from India. Buffalo meat has less fat, sodium, and cholesterol and is rich in protein.
With a blend of other protein sources like roasted venison and bison meat, this formula is ideal for growing puppies who need a naturally derived protein source in their diet.
Taste of the Wild formulas contains DHA omega 3 fatty acid from salmon oil. This makes it a great choice for all dogs with health issues.
The fiber is derived from fruits and soft vegetables so it is very digestible.
It has no soya, grains, or artificial additives. The carbohydrates come from potatoes mainly. It has probiotics to aid digestion and reduce diarrhea.
My recommendation: Protein from red meat and one having a high concentration of omega fatty acid is recommended for dogs who want to build good, strong muscles.
2. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Natural Adult Dry Dog Food
Special features: 24% protein from real chicken, 14% fats, omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, anti-oxidants to support the immune system, 400mg of Glucosamine
All Blue Buffalo formulas contain a special mixture of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants which they call exclusive LifeSource bits. They have been cold-formed to preserve potency. They promote immunity and support a healthy oxidative balance.
This is especially beneficial for a dog with EPI as you would want to keep its immunity healthy.
The blue Buffalo formula is made with real, delicious, deboned chicken and brown rice. It has a very good percentage of protein and fat. The addition of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, is sure to provide your pup with the ideal nutritional balance it needs.
The second best thing about this dog food is that it contains 400mg of Glucosamine. Glucosamine helps dogs with joint and bone problems. So it will also help your senior dogs live a pain-free, healthy life.
My recommendation: If you are looking for less protein, high-quality food for your dog, then Blue Buffalo dry food is your best option
3. Eukanuba Breed Specific German Shepherd Dry Dog Food
Special features: made specifically for German Shepherds, 3D DENTADEFENSE system to reduce tartar build-up, the first ingredient is chicken, natural taurine, supports healthy joints and hips
Eukanuba makes breed-specific dog foods. This one has been formulated especially for German Shepherds. It has a higher level of prebiotics to promote digestion. The added Glucosamine and Chondroitin support healthy joints and prevent arthritis as your German Shepherd ages.
Another special ingredient is L-Carnitine. This helps your dog naturally burn fat while preserving lean muscles.
If you are having problems with your dog’s tartar buildup, the Eukanuba is clinically proven to reduce that within 28 days.
These are some of the problems typically found in German Shepherd breeds that Eukanuba seems to target.
Now let’s talk about the ingredients. This dry dog food contains 23% protein which comes from whole chicken meat. The fat content is also adequately placed at 13%.
It has omegas 3 and 6 to promote healthy skin and fur coat, which comes from fish oil. The carbs are coming from whole grains such as maize, rice, and wheat.
It contains no soya, artificial flavors, or colors. There are also no preservatives.
My recommendation: Overall, Eukanuba specific is good dog food for German Shepherds. It targets health conditions specific to the breed. Prebiotics help aid digestion. It will support healthy bone development in your dog.
4. Wellness Complete Health Natural Large Breed Dry Dog Food
Special features: Chicken as the first ingredient, 26% protein, and 12% fat, omegas 3 and 6 from the salmon meal and ground flaxseeds, contains taurine, glucosamine, and probiotics
Large dogs love a hearty, meaty meal. This is why the Wellness Complete Health dry dog food contains 26% protein which comes from wholesome, farm-raised chickens.
Packed with the added goodness of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, taurine, and probiotics, this healthy formula is sure to keep your big, lovely German Shepherd healthy and happy.
If we take a look at other nutritional content, this formula has 11% fat and 2.5% omega 6 fatty acids.
The 5% fiber comes from whole grain sources like barley, oats, peas, oatmeal, and soft fruit and vegetables like tomatoes and carrots.
It also has a healthy amount of Vitamin E, glucosamine, and chondroitin for joint support in large breed dogs
The Wellness Complete formula for large breeds has No by-products, fillers, soy, corn, artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors. Therefore, your dog will enjoy maximum health with no cheap quality ingredients.
My recommendation: Every ingredient in this formula is high quality and comes from a wholesome source. There are zero fillers and artificial ingredients which makes this dog food special for sick dogs who want to gain health and build muscles
5. Royal Canin German Shepherd Adult Breed Specific Dry Dog Food
Special features: Exclusive kibble shaped design, for German Shepherds 15 months and older, 22% protein, 5.5% fiber, EPA, and DHA from fish oil, contains glucosamine and chondroitin
If a high-protein diet is not suitable for your dog, then take a look at Royal Canin breed-specific dog food for German Shepherds. It has only 22% protein which is mainly from chicken meals.
It is rich in fermentable and non-fermentable fibers and low in starch to help the digestive system run smoothly.
Another special feature is the exclusive kibble design which encourages chewing and slows the rate of your dog’s digestion.
This formula also contains antioxidants from nutrients, omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, and vitamin E supports cellular health and boosts immunity. A strong immune system will help your German Shepherd remain active and playful throughout its life.
My recommendation: The Royal Canin breed-specific dog food is great for German Shepherds who have joint problems.
6. Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food, Adult
Special features: 1st ingredient is crude chicken, contains 24.7% protein and 16% fat, only 1.7% fiber, no wheat, corn, or soy, contains omega 6 and vitamin E for a healthy coat, exclusive Kimble size
This Hill’s Science dog food is specially formulated with no corn, wheat, or soy to keep the fiber level at a minimum. Most dogs with EPI cannot tolerate high amounts of fiber and vets recommend keeping the fiber quantity as low as possible.
If that is your case, then Hill’s science chicken and brown rice dog food is your most suitable option.
The low fibers are compensated by a high amount of carbohydrates which come from whole grain sources like cracked pearl barley, whole grain oats, brown rice, and brewer’s rice. This is especially beneficial for dogs with EPI as they lose a lot of weight.
It is rich in vitamins and minerals and carefully chosen by science to help dogs grow in health and happiness.
My recommendation: This dog food is good for those dogs who want to gain weight and don’t benefit from a high-fiber diet.
7. ZIWI Peak Air-Dried Dog Food – All Natural, High Protein
Special features: whole prey diet, made 96% from chicken protein, no soy, potatoes, grains, or rice, contains enzymes, chondroitin, glucosamine, omega-3, and probiotics from green mussels, contains antioxidants from organic kelp, for all breeds in all life stages
Dogs are the descendants of wolves. They have been carnivores for a very long time. So if you are an advocate of a meat-only diet for your dogs, the ZIWI all-natural, high protein dog food is your best option!
Made only from high-quality chicken, chicken liver, chicken heart, and chicken bones, this meaty meal is sure to make your pup feel like it’s in the wild again!
The second special ingredient is green mussel which is only found in New Zealand. It is a natural source of enzymes, chondroitin, glucosamine, omega-3, and probiotics.
The third special ingredient is organic kelp, which has antioxidants to boost immunity.
This grain-free, low-carb diet is good for dogs with a sensitive stomach, obesity, food allergy, and other health concerns. Their slow and gentle air-drying method locks in the nutrition. Your dog will get the maximum taste and nutrition right from the first serving!
My recommendation: Although I will not recommend this brand for EPI dogs because of the high protein and fat content, I will recommend it for those dogs who have a sensitive stomach, obesity, grain allergies, and who don’t like plant-based dogs foods.
8. “I and love and you” Baked & Saucy Grain-Free Kibble Dry Dog Food
Special features: chicken and sweet potato, coated in bone broth, no fillers, artificial flavors, colors or preservatives, 28% protein, 14% fat, 5% fiber can be fed to dogs all of all ages, kibble design, grain-free formula, prebiotics plus probiotics, omegas 3 and 6, recyclable packaging
Does your dog like a little gravy with its food? Do you want to give a grain-free, wholesome, delicious diet to your sick dog? Made with pure love, “I and love and you” is as special as its name.
Coated in savory chicken broth, this dog food can be served dry for a delicious oven-baked meal or as a wet, saucy bone broth gravy.
It has sweet potatoes as a source of carbohydrates and contains no grains, keeping the fiber content to a minimum.
Packed with all the goodness of prebiotics, probiotics, and omegas 3 and 6, it will greatly aid your dog’s digestion and support good nutrient absorption.
The medium-sized kibble design will encourage your pal to chew more slowly and release more digestive enzymes.
My recommendation: If your dog doesn’t like dry food and wants something with a bit of gravy, this is a special, baked, wet food treat that your EPI dog will enjoy.
9. CANIDAE All Life Stages, Premium Dry Dog Food
Special features: for all dog breeds, for dogs of all ages, no wheat, corn, or soy, contains antioxidants, probiotics and glucosamine, 24% protein, 14% fat, and 4% fiber
Are you looking for a dog food that contains the combined goodness of 2 or 3 types of protein? Then Canidae all life stages dry dog food is the best option for you!
Made with chicken, turkey, lamb, and fish meals, your dog will enjoy a taste of everything!
Most people are confused when they read ‘meal’ in front of a protein source. A ‘meal’ is just a rendered meat that has been dried and ground up.
It contains meat, skin, and/or bone. It does not have feathers, heads, feet, or intestinal contents.
So a meal-based protein is safe and nutritious for your dog!
Talking about the fat content in Canidae dog food, it has 14% chicken fat, omegas 3 and 6, Vitamin E, chondroitin, and glucosamine.
All these nutrients will ensure that the pup has healthy and strong bones, hips, and smooth, shiny fur.
It has no soy, wheat, or corn. The carbohydrates are derived mainly from peas, oatmeal, barley, and millet. These are all whole grains that will not harm your EPI dog.
My recommendation: The Canidae dog food contains the goodness of 4 types of protein so that your pup can enjoy taste and health at the same time. It’s ideal for dogs with bone and joint problems
10. Purina ONE SmartBlend Natural Large Breed Formula
Special features: kibble design, 26% protein and 12% fat, glucosamine for chicken by-product meal, corn gluten meal, vitamins and minerals, soy flakes and soybean meal, animal digest, linoleic acid, and omega 6
Large breed dogs can have special joint problems. This is why Purina smart blend has been formulated to specifically target weak joints and bone health.
With added glucosamine from chicken and fish meal, it will help your dog grow a healthy bone structure and linoleic acid will give it a shiny coat.
This smart blend formula also contains omega 6, mainly from fish meals. It also contains a healthy amount of protein from chicken which is the first ingredient.
The fiber comes from peameal and carbs from oatmeal and soybean meal.
My recommendation: Although it is not recommended for EPI dogs because of soy, it is a good option for other large breeds who can benefit from the extra protein and glucosamine.
11. VICTOR Select – Grain Free Yukon River Canine
Special features: grain-free formula, contains 33% fish protein, DHA and 16% chicken fat, herbal extracts, garbanzo beans, and sweet potatoes,
Does your dog have allergies to certain proteins or grains? Yes dogs, like humans, can have allergies to certain types of foods. It is important to know this information if you don’t want your best friend to get sick.
The Victor Select grain-free formula is made with premium fish-based protein sources and fortified with vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids and amino acids.
It has no corn, no wheat, no soy, is gluten-free, and is grain-free. It contains taurine for a healthy heart as well as other herbal extracts and vegetable oils.
Normally people think that plant or fish-based dog food won’t have a high amount of protein. But this dog food has 33%! So don’t worry that your dog won’t be meeting his protein requirements without poultry or red meat.
My recommendation: I will recommend this dog food for those dogs who are allergic to other types of poultry and grains.
12. Nutro Ultra Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food
Special features: 27% proteins from chicken, lamb meal, and fish meal, kibble design, glucosamine, and chondroitin, contains 3 types of rice, whole grain oatmeal, 4% fiber, 14% fat
The Nutro Ultra-large breed dog food contains high amounts of carbohydrates and protein from 3 different sources. It is a nutritious blend for those dog owners who want to give their pups the best of everything!
This delicious recipe starts with chicken as the first ingredient and contains 15 superfoods like chia, kale, coconut, and blueberries.
It provides a balanced diet for dogs that is nutrient-dense and full of flavor to make your pet’s mealtime an extraordinary one.
What I really liked about this brand is that they are very transparent with the ingredients. They clearly show which sources the different nutrients come from. Very few brands do that.
Overall, it is an inexpensive option for you if you are on a budget and want to give your pets something tasty.
My recommendation: If you are on a tighter budget, this dog food is your best option
Buying Guide: Things to Consider Before Buying Best Dog Food for EPI German Shepherd:
There are a few things you should consider before buying the best food for your EPI German shepherd dog. Some of the most important factors are mentioned below:
Quality of Food
Quality comes first. The food should be of high quality and easily digestible. It should contain animal protein (meat, egg, fish) because proteins derived from plant sources are not easy to digest for an EPI dog. The percentage amount of carbohydrates should be negligible in the food, also the fiber content.
The food should be easily digestible. The ingredients used in the food should not contain unnecessary by-products, chemicals, and starches. A good quality natural dog food will contain meat or fish as its primary ingredient with a minimum of 4% fiber.
EPI German shepherd dogs need high-quality protein to maintain their muscle mass and a good level of fat to support their energy levels.
EPI dogs need more calories than the average dog because they have a harder time digesting food. The food you choose should have a high-calorie count to make sure your dog is getting the nutrition that it needs. Look for foods that contain at least 350 calories per cup.
It’s important to remember that all dogs are different and not every food is going to work for every dog. Even if you choose the high-quality, highly nutritious EPI dog food that your dog needs, it may not be something he enjoys eating.
Ask friends and family members with German shepherd dogs what they feed their dogs and see if you can find a food that your dog likes.
These are some of the most important things to consider when choosing the best food for your EPI German shepherd dog.
While buying the best dog food for EPI German Shepherd, you will need to keep a few things in mind such as how old it is, how much it weighs, does it need more protein, fats, carbs, or fiber in its diet according to the vet, is it allergic to any foods, etc.