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Best Dog Foods for the German Shorthaired Pointer: Puppies, Adults & Seniors

Are you seeking the right dog food formula to feed your German Shorthaired Pointer? In this review, we compare our favorite dog foods for this large breed dog at each life stage. Find out which foods we have found to be the best for your puppy, adult, or senior pup.

Emma Braby Picture

Last Updated: September 28, 2021 | 14 min read

German Shorthaired Pointer eating dog food

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The German Shorthaired Pointer (aka GSP) is a very popular dog in America, consistently ranking in the top 10 AKC dog breeds. So, we figured there are many Pointer parents who need a helping hand understanding the world of doggy nutrition. And not just any doggy diet, but specific to your breed’s nutritional requirements. Research shows that 9 in 10 dog parents do not fully understand their canine’s needs. So don’t worry, you are not alone.

In this food guide, we take you through everything you need to know about the GSP’s nutritional needs. We’ll walk you through the three life stages, what nutrients are required for each, and what ingredients to look out for.

There’s a lot of bad dog food out there, but we have scoured the market for the cream of the crop. We balance quality and cost to find the best value for money, providing solid recommendations for your spotted pal.

At a Glance: Our Favorite Foods for German Shorthaired Pointers

Instinct Raw Boost Large Breed Puppy
Our Rating

Best For Puppies

Instinct Raw Boost

View at Chewy.com
Nutro Ultra Dog Food
Our Rating

Best For Adults

Nutro Ultra Large Breed

View at Chewy.com
Blue Buffalo Large Breed Senior Food
Our Rating

Best For Seniors

Blue Buffalo Life Protection

View at Chewy.com

Note: Clicking the above links will take you to Chewy.com, where you can get additional product information and customer reviews. If you make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Puppy Nutritional Needs

Your German Shorthaired Pointer puppy might be small right now, but will eventually grow into a 45 to 70-pound pooch, officially making him a large-sized dog. Large pups grow at a much faster rate compared to smaller breeds. To ensure that they don’t grow too quickly,  large breed puppy foods contain specific ratios of calcium, phosphorus, vitamin D, and fat ratios to control their rapid bone growth. Ultimately, this size-specific food lowers the chances of joint dysplasia and other skeletal conditions.

Feeding your spotted pup the right nutrition is crucial for healthy development. The better quality food you feed him means a healthier body and mind in the long run, as it sets better foundations, meaning a happier and healthier life in general. High-quality dog food all provide a well-balanced diet and the puppy growing power that he needs.

One of the most important aspects of puppy food is omega fatty acids. Mothers’ milk contains docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and arachidonic acid (ARA), promoting healthy cognitive and eye development and overall wellness. Poorer quality foods lack these, so this is another reason to feed him high-quality food. Look for fish, meat meals, eggs, and fish oils in the ingredients list, as they are rich in DHA and ARA.

Protein is the main source of energy and amino acids that fuel his growth, so it is a big part of his puppy diet. Meat should always be the first ingredient in food, a top indicator of quality. Meat meals are also rich in protein. The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) recommends that puppies need a protein content of 22% at the very least.

Adult Nutrient Requirements

A GSP needs to switch to adult food around 12 to 15 months. He will typically need less energy and fats during adulthood because he is nearing his full growth potential. AAFCO states that adult dogs need less protein, and kibbles need to provide at least 18%. If your pooch is hunting and working the field, you might choose to feed him a performance food. These provide the extra energy and protein his hard working muscles need.

A well-balanced diet is crucial for his overall wellness and all his nutritional needs. In addition to protein, healthy carbohydrates, fiber, omega fats, vitamins, minerals, and probiotics are crucial for a healthy lifestyle. Omega fatty acids are important during adulthood as they support a nourished coat, cardiac system, and vitamin and mineral absorption. Again, large breed dog food is important for your spotted pooch because it contains higher glucosamine levels for joint support.

Senior Dietary Recommendations

A German Shorthaired Pointer is considered a senior when he reaches the age of seven. But bear in mind that all dogs reach seniority at different times. He’ll begin to slow down or gain extra weight for no real reason, and it’s because his nutritional needs are starting to change. When changing his diet, be sure to transition it slowly.

Older GSP’s will become less active and need less energy. Plus, their metabolisms will begin to slow down. This means that he’ll need fewer calories, fats, and protein. Otherwise, he will begin to pile on the pounds, leading to weight-related issues, including diabetes, joint pain, and cardiac conditions.

A senior meal is higher in fiber but low in calories, allowing him to stay full between mealtimes. It also contains higher levels of chondroitin and glucosamine to support aging joints. His weakening immunity will need extra antioxidants and superfoods to allow him to fight disease and illness too.

Best Puppy Food

German Shorthaired Pointer puppy
GSP puppies are weaned off their mother’s milk around six weeks old.

A good quality breeder will tell you which food he is currently on, and you can choose to feed the same or switch him to a different one of your choice. Just be sure to transition him slowly as pups have extra sensitive stomachs. Here are our top five picks for the Pointer pup.


Wellness Core Large Breed Puppy

Large Breeed Wellness Core
  • Grain-free formula.
  • DHA boost from natural salmon oil.
  • Boosted with glucosamine for joint development.
  • Probiotics for gut health.
  • Taurine for heart health.
  • 387 Calories per cup.
  • 35% Protein, 14% Fat, 5.5% Fiber.
View at Chewy.com

This is one of our premium options for this dog. Deboned chicken and chicken meal are the first two ingredients, with turkey meal following shortly after. All contributing to the highest protein kibble on our list. These meat meals and salmon oil provide omega fatty acids and glucosamine for his developmental needs and joints.

His immunity is supported thanks to superfoods such as bananas, spinach, broccoli, and kale. This kibble has a high fiber content, which will help with digestion regularity. Plus, each kibble piece is coated in Wellness’s Acticoat solution, including probiotics to promote friendly bacteria in his gut. Taurine is also listed, which aids in a healthy cardiac system.

We love that this premium recipe has the highest protein content on this list, which is 35%. Meaning it is full of amino acids that he needs for healthy development, and he’ll go crazy for the meaty taste.


Nutro Ultra Large Breed Puppy

Nutro Ultra Large Breed Puppy
  • Mix of premium lean proteins, antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and healthy oils.
  • High-quality natural and holistic ingredients.
  • Specifically tailored for growing puppies.
  • Food meets the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles.
  • No artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.
View at Chewy.com

This kibble provides a trio of proteins, including chicken, lamb, and salmon, meaning he has a good supply of amino acids for his muscle needs. At 26%, this kibble is also a great option for those who struggle to digest the premium options that contain rich protein contents. Meat meals, fish oils, and sunflower oil are fantastic for his joints and coat health.

This is a grain-inclusive option that uses wholesome brown rice and gentle oatmeal. Again, making it gentler on his gut. This kibble is named the superfood blend because it lists a whole bunch of superfoods. Which is great for his developing immune system. These include coconut, chia seed, kale, pumpkin, spinach, blueberries, apples, and carrots, to name just a few.

We love that this is our grain-inclusive pick. Making it the best option for those who do much better on grains or parents who want to avoid grain-free diets.


American Journey Large Breed Puppy

American Journey Large Breed Puppy Food
  • Grain-free puppy formula.
  • Budget-friendly dog food.
  • Real salmon is the first ingredient.
  • No corn, soy, wheat, or by-products.
  • DHA for brain development.
  • 352 calories per cup.
  • 32% Protein, 14% Fat, 4.5% Fiber.
View at Chewy.com

American Journey is a relatively new brand, but it is proving to be very popular and for good reasons. This is a grain-free option that substitutes grains with sweet potatoes and chickpeas, which are nutritionally beneficial on top of the energy they provide. Dried kelp and blueberries provide an abundance of nutrients for his immunity. Probiotic ingredients are also listed, which promote a healthy gut and keeps stools firm and healthy.

This kibble provides a high protein content of 32%, making it super meaty and yummy. Deboned salmon, chicken meal, and turkey meal are the first three ingredients. It also means that the omega fatty acid content is high, which is important for developing puppies. It will also nourish his coat from the inside out and keep his soft puppy skin supple.

We love that this recipe is salmon-based, meaning it contains high levels of omega fatty acids. Which is fab for his brain, eyes, coat, and overall puppy development.


Instinct Raw Boost Large Breed Puppy

Instinct Raw Boost Large Breed Puppy
  • Boosted nutrition for large breed puppies with high-protein kibble + freeze-dried raw.
  • Cage-free chicken is the first ingredient.
  • Balanced mix of poultry, fish, and meat.
  • Natural DHA from chicken eggs.
  • Free from grains, potato, corn, wheat, soy, by-product meal, and artificial colors and preservatives.
  • Made in the USA.
View at Chewy.com

This is our second premium option for the German Shorthaired Pointer pup. It is a chicken-based recipe and provides the second-highest protein content of 33.5%. Each kibble is rich in protein, and the raw meal toppers provide that extra meaty boost, plus added crunch. In addition to the chicken meat, it also lists chicken liver and chicken heart. Not only are they nutritionally dense, but they are incredibly tasty for Fido.

This recipe is also high in omega fatty acids, including DHA and ARA, for his puppy growing needs. Montmorillonite clay, dried kelp, cranberries, and blueberries are nutrient-dense and boost his developing immune system. With 485 calories per cup, this is a great option for those energetic German Shorthairs who are always on the go. It is grain-free, and peas and pumpkin seeds provide extra energy.

We love that this premium recipe contains freeze-dried raw pieces of chicken on top of the tasty kibble pieces. Meaning that if your German Pointer is a fussy pup or loves chicken, he is bound to love this recipe.


Hill's Science Diet Puppy Large Breed

Hill's Science Diet Puppy Large Breed
  • Controlled levels of calcium support optimal bone growth for your large breed puppy.
  • Natural DHA from fish oil.
  • Antioxidant and vitamin E and C blend.
  • Made from natural, high-quality ingredients.
  • No artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.
  • Made in the USA.
View at Chewy.com

This recipe is made by Hill’s. According to vets and canine nutritionists, it is based on the scientific observations of large breed puppy needs. It has the lowest protein content of 24.5%, but it still exceeds the AAFCO recommendations. The low protein content makes this an ideal option for those pups whose stomach struggles to digest meat-rich kibbles.

The lamb meal, eggs, and fish oil provide the right amount of DHA and ARA needed for his puppy growing needs. It is also a grain-inclusive formula using brown rice, which is gentle on his digestive system. This kibble is also chicken-free, making it a great option for those who are allergic to this commonly used ingredient. It lists a variety of vitamin and mineral supplements to strengthen his immunity.

We love that this recipe uses one protein source, which is lamb. Not only is lamb gentle on his digestive system, but it is also simple for him to digest. Making this a great option for those German Shorthairs with sensitive stomachs.


Best Dog Foods for Adults

German Shorthaired Pointer adult
It is recommended to switch your from puppy to adult food between 12 and 15 months.

Always transition him slowly, even if you are feeding the same brand. Many owners choose to feed the same brand, while some choose to change for budget or shifting dietary need reasons. Below are our favorite picks for the German Shorthaired and his big dog nutritional needs.


Wellness CORE Grain-Free Large Breed

Wellness Core Large Breed Adult
  • Larger kibble size.
  • Made with real chicken.
  • Includes natural fruits and veggies.
  • Probioitics for gut health.
  • Grain-free formula.
  • 342 Calories per cup.
  • 34% Protein, 12% Fat, 6% FIber.
View at Chewy.com

This option follows on from the puppy kibble above. It is designed specifically for large breeds. As such, it contains the optimum nutrients needed for his large body and joints. The first three ingredients are deboned chicken, chicken meal, and turkey meal. This is a grain-free option that uses lentils, peas, and potatoes for healthy carbohydrates.

This recipe lists vitamin and mineral supplements to support his immunity. As well as fruits and veggies, including spinach, broccoli, carrots, apples, blueberries, and kale for an extra superfood boost. This recipe also boasts a high fiber content, thanks to the veggies and chicory root extract. Each kibble piece is coated in probiotics and omega fats for digestive, skin, and coat health.

We love that this premium recipe has the highest protein content on this list, which is 34%. Making it a great option for energetic German Shorthairs or those who love big meaty taste.


Nutro Ultra Large Breed

Nutro Ultra Food
  • Budget-friendly dog food.
  • Contains no by-products or fillers.
  • No GMOs used in formulas.
  • Contains antioxidants and minerals.
  • Formulas vary by size and life stage.
  • Pasture-raised ingredients.
  • Well regarded weight management formula.
View at Chewy.com

This recipe follows on from our puppy recommendation above, making this the ideal pick if your pooch did well on this as a puppy. It offers a protein content of 23%. Which is low enough for those who cannot process rich meat but still exceeds the AAFCO guidelines. The trio of meats, including chicken, lamb, and salmon, ensure that his amino acid needs are met. So his large muscle mass is well taken care of.

This is the superfood kibble that lists 15 superfoods. Pumpkin, blueberries, apples, kale, spinach, and coconut ensure that he stays healthy and fighting fit. Sunflower oil and flaxseed nourish his skin and keep his short coat looking sleek and shiny. This kibble also lists taurine, which supports a healthy cardiac system.

We love that this premium recipe is a great option for those owners wishing to feed their Pointer a grain-inclusive diet. Brown rice and gentle oatmeal are easy-to-digest ingredients.


American Journey Active Life Adult

American Journey Large Breed Food
  • Budget-friendly dog food.
  • Grain-free formula.
  • Made with real fruits and vegetables.
  • High-protein blend.
  • Glucosamine for Joint support.
  • 370 calories per cup.
  • 30% Protein, 12% Fat, 5% Fiber.
View at Chewy.com

Following on from the American Journey puppy formula, this is a great option for the German Shorthaired adult. Salmon and turkey meals are the first two ingredients, offering 30% protein. Meaning it provides plenty of amino acids for his large and active muscles. Plus, it is super tasty for his taste buds too. The glucosamine content is high to support his large joints.

It is a grain-free recipe that uses nutritious sweet potatoes, chickpeas, and peas. Vitamin and mineral supplements keep his immunity strong, and nutrient-dense ingredients such as dried kelp and blueberries offer extra antioxidants. His gastrointestinal system is supported with dried fermentation probiotics and prebiotic fibers.

We love that this recipe is salmon-based. Meaning it is rich in omega fatty acids, which are important for healthy skin and fur. As well as supporting his joints and overall wellness.


Purina Pro Plan Sport All Life Stages

Purina Pro Plan Sport All Life Stages
  • Formulated specifically for working dogs.
  • High-protein recipe with real chicken as the first ingredient.
  • 30% protein and 20% fat ratio.
  • Fortified with live probiotics to support a healthy immune and digestive system.
  • Includes amino acids to help provide the muscle nourishment your pup needs after exercise.
View at Chewy.com

The first ingredient in this kibble is real chicken. It offers the optimum sporting ratio of 30/20 in protein to fat, which keeps him fueled for his sporting day ahead. This option is only suited to those who are energetic, and it will cause sedentary dogs to put on weight quickly. But those who burn the energy will find that their coat will look fantastic thanks to the high-fat content.

Dried egg products, fish meals, and fish oil provide DHA and ARA for his cognitive function and supple joints. There is a long list of vitamin and mineral supplements to support his immunity too. Dried fermented ingredients add the probiotics needed to support regular digestion and the ability to process this rich formula.

We love that this recipe is the best option for those sporting German Shorthairs who spend most of their day hunting or playing.


Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Large Breed

Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient
  • Real lamb is the first ingredient in this complete and balanced recipe.
  • Grain-inclusive brown-rice formula is gluten-free.
  • Essential amino acids help maintain your big BFF’s strong muscles.
  • Formulated to meet the needs of large breed adult dogs.
  • Produced in the USA.
View at Chewy.com

This option is our limited ingredient pick for the German Shorthaired Pointer. It uses one sole meat ingredient. So not only is it simple for his stomach to digest but because it is lamb, it is gentle on his digestive system too. Lamb and lamb meals offer a great balance of protein, glucosamine, and omega fats for his overall dietary needs.

This is a grain-inclusive diet, and it uses gentle brown rice. Sunflower oil is rich in linoleic acid, which is great for his skin and coat. And his coat health is boosted by folic acid and biotin. Taurine supports cardiac health, and vitamin and mineral supplements are added to ensure that his immunity is kept strong. This recipe is chicken-free, which is great for those who are intolerant.

We love that this recipe is the best option for adults with sensitive stomachs. Designed with one sole meat, and few other key ingredients, for easy digestion.


Best Dog Foods for Seniors

German Shorthaired Pointer senior
Most GSPs reach their senior years between seven and eight years old.

It is important to slowly switch him from an adult kibble to a senior kibble. In his senior years, he will need much less energy and fats. This is because he will be less active and struggle to digest high-fat content. Otherwise, you risk that he will become overweight, and his aging joints will suffer as a result. He also needs a higher glucosamine content for joint support.


Wellness Core Senior

Wellness Core Senior Dog Food
  • Grain-free formula.
  • Animal protein for muscle development.
  • Nutritional boost for senior dogs.
  • No meat by-products.
  • No artificial ingredients.
  • 359 Calories per cup.
  • 32% Protein, 12% Fat, 6.25% Fiber.
View at Chewy.com

This is our premium recipe in our senior selection. The first two ingredients are lean deboned turkey and chicken meal, with added turkey meal listed further down. This kibble is a high fiber option, which helps to keep your German Shorthaired feeling fuller in between meals. This, along with the lean meat, helps to prevent senior weight gain. Plus, the fiber will also aid in regular digestion too.

Wellness provides extra glucosamine to keep his joints supported, thanks to the meat meals, flaxseed, and salmon oil. Which also supports coat and cardiac health and keeps his cognitive function healthy. This kibble is grain-free and uses lentils, potatoes, and peas instead. Spinach, kale, blueberries, and broccoli support his weakening immune system.

We love that this premium recipe has the highest protein content on this list, which is 32%. Making it an ideal choice for active seniors who still need the energy and muscle power.


Now Fresh Senior Large Breed

Nutro Ultra Senior
  • Limited ingredient food.
  • Made from lean animal proteins.
  • Glucosamine boost for seniors.
  • No artificial colors or flavors.
  • Omega fatty acids for skin & coat health.
  • 316 Calories per cup.
  • 26% Protein, 11% Fat, 4% Fiber.
View at Chewy.com

Chicken and chicken meal are the first two ingredients, with lamb meal and salmon meal adding to the trio of meat proteins. With a variety of amino acids, his aging muscles are still well cared for. Plus, his taste buds will appreciate the meaty taste! Sunflower oil, flaxseed, and other fats keep his skin nourished, promoting a healthy coat.

Superfoods such as kale, coconut, pumpkin, spinach, and blueberries provide antioxidants for his weakening immune system. Vitamin and mineral supplements are added for that extra boost. Dried beet pulp is rich in fiber, which is low in calories and helps to keep his hunger satisfied for longer. Extra glucosamine is added to this senior recipe for his aging joints.

We love that this recipe has the least calories per cup. Making it an ideal pick for those seniors who aren’t anywhere near as energetic as they used to be.


American Journey Senior

American Journey Senior Recipe
  • Grain-free formula.
  • MCT’s to support brain health.
  • Glucosamine boost for aging joints.
  • Antioxidants for immune health.
  • No corn, wheat, or soy.
  • 329 Calories per cup.
  • 32% Protein, 10% Fat, 7% Fiber.
View at Chewy.com

This option is the conclusion to our American Journey selection. This is the salmon and sweet potato recipe. So, if your dog did well on these formulas, this is the best pick for him. Although this is not designed with large breeds specifically in mind, it ticks all the large breed senior boxes. His heart health is cared for thanks to taurine.

Deboned salmon is the first ingredient, with turkey meal and chicken meal following shortly after. Providing all the amino acids and omega fats that his senior body needs. This kibble is free of grains and instead uses sweet potatoes and nutritious pumpkin. Dried kelp and microalgae might seem like odd ingredients, but they are nutrient-dense and high quality.

We love that this recipe offers the highest glucosamine content, which is important for large breed dogs who have been active all of their life.


Purina Pro Large Breed Senior

Purina Pro Senior Large Breed
  • Budget-friendly.
  • Grain-inclusive formula.
  • Made with botanical oils to boost brain function.
  • Glucosamine boost for joint health.
  • Probiotics for gut health.
  • 451 Calories per cup.
  • 29% Protein, 14% Fat, 5% Fiber.
View at Chewy.com

Chicken is the first ingredient in this recipe list, meaning his protein needs are met. Fish meal is also listed, which adds an extra boost of glucosamine and healthy omega fats. All of which support his joints and coat health. This kibble is a grain-inclusive option that uses rice to provide him with slow-release energy. It also has a long list of vitamin and mineral supplements for his immune system.

This recipe is designed to keep the cognitive function of aging dogs in tip-top condition. In addition to the omega fats, eggs provide the needed DHA and ARA, and botanical oils support his brain in staying sharp. This kibble is fortified in probiotic ingredients to support his digestive health and promote friendly gut bacteria.

We love that this recipe has the highest fat content and calorie count per cup. Making it an ideal option for those guys who are still relatively active and need more energy than most.


Blue Buffalo Life Protection Senior

Blue Buffalo Senior Large Breed Formula
  • Budget-friendly.
  • Glucosamine and chondroitin boost.
  • L-Carnitine for muscle preservation.
  • No corn, wheat, soy, or by-products.
  • Higher fiber content.
  • 344 Calories per cup.
  • 20% Protein, 10% Fat, 7% Fiber.
View at Chewy.com

This is a new choice for the nutritional guide, but this is because this senior choice is one of the best. The protein content is 20%, which is ideal for seniors who struggle to digest rich meat kibbles. Deboned chicken is the first ingredient, and chicken meal follows shortly after, so you can be sure that his muscle needs are met. Chicken meal is rich in glucosamine, which is important for his joints.

Fish oil and flaxseed keep his skin and coat health nourished and help with his cardiac health too. Gentle grains such as brown rice provide enough energy to keep him going throughout the day, and L-carnitine ensures that his metabolism keeps him trim. Blue Buffalo’s LifeSource Bits are added to the mixture, containing seven superfoods and nutrients needed in his senior years.

We love that this recipe is a high fiber diet, which will keep him feeling fuller for longer. Making this the best pick for those forever hungry German Shorthair Pointers who are constantly on the hunt for food.


Final Thoughts

Hopefully, we have provided you with a variety of options that your pooch will love. Always choose meals that suit your pooch and his needs, whether that be grain-free, low protein, or a specific meat variety. When you choose one of our recommendations, you can be sure that you are making the best step towards excellent health for your German Shorthaired Pointer.

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