What Foods Should I Not Feed My German Shepherd?

Updated April 17, 2017

Despite what your German shepherd may want you to believe, he shouldn't eat everything in sight. In fact, many foods are quite harmful to German shepherds. Many are foods that most owners wouldn't think would be harmful, such as grapes or onions. Before you feed your dog any human foods, be aware of what is healthy---and harmful---to him.


Perhaps the most common food you do already know to avoid is. This sweet treat is toxic to German shepherds because of a substance called theobromine, or theophylline. When eaten by dogs, chocolate affects the nervous system and can cause problems with the heart. In addition, the caffeine found in chocolate can also be harmful to your shepherd.

Grapes and Raisins

Though healthy for humans, grapes can be especially toxic to pets. According to, grapes contain an unknown toxin that can cause damage to dogs' kidneys. Raisins should be avoided as well, as they are simply dried grapes.

Low-Quality Pet Foods

German shepherds should only receive foods that are made with quality ingredients. According to, some low-quality food companies incorporate euthanized dogs and cats into their pet food. Therefore, low-quality foods should be avoided. Many German shepherd dogs do well eating organic food that contains fresh fruit, vegetables and proteins. Some shepherd owners advocate the use of raw diets, while some make their pets' food themselves. Whichever approach you use, be sure to use food that is chemical- and preservative-free. Consult with your dog's veterinarian as to what food would work best.

Onions and Garlic

Onions and garlic, either in the cooked, raw or powder varieties, contain sulfoxides and disulfides, which can affect your German shepherd's red blood cells and cause anaemia. Garlic is less toxic than onion, but should still be avoided. Keep baby foods away from your shepherd, as well, as many contain onion.


According to, German shepherds should not be given milk or other dairy products. Many dogs lack sufficient amounts of the enzyme lactase, which is needed to properly break down the lactose in milk. When the appropriate break-down doesn't occur, diarrhoea is usually the result, which can lead to dehydration and stomach pain. If your dog has an affinity for milk, try feeding her lactose-free milk that is formulated just for pets.

Mushrooms states that mushrooms can be extremely harmful to dogs. Some mushrooms contain toxins that can affect multiple systems in the body, causing shock and resulting in death. Even if you do not give your German shepherd mushrooms, he might eat them if they are growing outside. Keep an eye as to what is in your environment and prevent your shepherd from ingesting mushrooms.

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