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5 Reasons Why Sardines Are Good For Your German Shepherd, And A Serving Tip

5 Reasons Why Sardines Are Good For Your German Shepherd, And A Serving Tip

I was never a person who liked eating fish. To this day, I still prefer only salmon and trout. But, that didn’t stop me from feeding my dog fish… all kinds of it.

Growing up with parents who owned German Shepherds their entire life, I saw my dad feeding our dogs fish all the time. Young me just knew it was healthy for them. But, today, I know the many benefits that a diet rich in fish brings. 

Of course, dogs should consume all kinds of fish. Usually, we see kibble enriched with salmon meat.

However, I want to bring back good ol’ sardines. They’re tiny treasure chests waiting to be gulped by our dogs! 

I have 7 reasons for you to serve sardines to your German Shepherd today, and I’m sure you’ll definitely listen to what I have to say.

1. A Shinier, Healthier Coat

black german shepherd with shiny coat
Source: Adobe Stock

German Shepherds are dogs that are extremely proud of their rich coat, whether they’re a short- or a long-haired GSD. But, if the coat is in bad condition, it can be seen with both coat types. 

The scruffiness, the fuzzy hair falling out, and the overall ungroomed look are clear signs something’s wrong.

One of the biggest issues with a GSD’s coat is poor grooming. But, sometimes that’s not the case. So, what is it? It’s poor nutrition! 

When you feed a GSD kibble low in goodies like omega-3 fatty acids, you’re increasing the chance of him developing skin conditions and coat issues, like severe shedding. 

However, add great sources of omega-3 into your dog’s diet, like sardines, and you’ll notice improvement in no time. The omega-3 oil from sardines reduces any inflammation on your dog’s skin and reduces itchiness. 

Your GSD will have a shiny, luscious coat that does not shed excessively outside the shedding season.

2. A Stronger Heart

german shepherd dog and puppy running on a meadow
Source: Quora

If your dog knew how healthy sardines were, he’d ask you to serve them with every meal. But, of course, balance is the key. 

Besides ensuring your dog has a lovely, rich coat, sardines work their magic from the inside, too! 

Did you know that the coenzyme, q10, does wonders to a dog’s blood circulation and vital organ function? Coenzyme, q10, is an antioxidant that already exists in your dog’s cells. |1| However, if you increase its intake, it will do nothing but good to your dog’s overall wellbeing.

Since German Shepherds are one of those dogs that are prone to numerous cardiovascular diseases, it would be best to introduce sardines into their diet as early as possible. Congenital issues can show up at any lifestage, so better be prepared. 

3. Healthier Joints

german shepherd jumping across the fence
Source: Adobe Stock

German Shepherds are large dogs, right? Right. And, what do large dogs usually suffer from? Numerous bone and joint issues that affect their mobility. 

Unfortunately, German Shepherds are dogs that are severely prone to diseases like hip and elbow dysplasia. It can happen to any GSD and it is a big problem. That’s why it’s highly important to ensure every GSD gets a healthy dose of sardines. 

Sardines contain phosphorus and calcium – minerals extremely valuable to any dog because they reduce inflammation and help build stronger bones and joints. |2|

In addition, all fish, including sardines, is rich in vitamin D a vitamin that actually helps balance calcium and phosphorus. They can’t go one without the other! 

4. A Sharper Mind

What I must shine light on is one of the omega-3 acids we talk a lot about. It’s DHA amino acid. 

I feel like these amino acids have become popular in the past decades. But, they’ve always been around. I remember my dad feeding our dogs fish regularly because he said it was so good for them. I didn’t know about amino acids then, but now I do. 

And, I’m completely aware that without DHA, our dogs’ brain wouldn’t be functioning properly. DHA can be found in lots of sources, but sardines are among the richest ones. Besides DHA, EPA acids are there to help boost cognitive function. 

Another thing about DHA and EPA is that they help reduce prominent signs of aging. |3|

So, don’t forget to include them into your senior dog’s diet. Still, I’d start as early as puppyhood so your dog takes these nutrients all throughout his life.

5. Great Overall Health Status

Dogs actually need 22 amino acids to have their body function properly. |4| Where do you find so many amino acids? In sardines, of course! 

These fishy treats are so rich in numerous nutrients that you can only benefit from consuming them. No harm can come from sardines! 

Dogs, particularly, really need their proteins. You’ve guessed it right: sardines are an abundance of proteins, too! 

Since German Shepherds are big, energetic dogs, they need lots of proteins to grow up strong. Proteins don’t just help a dog grow strong, they also have an incredible impact on the digestive and immune system, as well as proper organ function.

A Tip On Serving Sardines To Your Dog

So, how do you give sardines to your dog? Should you pick a supplement that contains this fish or should you pick the real deal?

Of course, you should always pick the real deal – fresh or canned wild-caught sardines. You should skip canned goods that contain salt and too many preservatives. Instead, opt for sardines canned in water.

When introducing sardines into your dog’s diet, you should watch out for any digestive change, such as vomiting or diarrhea. There is still a small chance your dog won’t enjoy sardines and his tummy might protest. 

Usually, dogs love eating sardines because they’re really delicious. But, that doesn’t mean you should give them as much as they can eat with each meal. 

Since German Shepherds are big dogs, usually weighing over 100 pounds as an adult, it’s safe to feed them 1 and ¾ cans of sardines once or twice a week. This will introduce diversity in your dog’s diet and provide much-needed nutrients for an overall great health status.

To Conclude…

What can I say? Sardines really make dogs healthier!

Their benefits range from those that are visible outside to magical things they do inside the dog. Sardines are rich in so many nutrients, especially proteins and amino acids. Every dog should consume a healthy dose of those goodies to function properly.

I say: bring out the sardines so the feast can begin!


|1| Gian Paolo Littarru M.D., Ph.D., Luca Tiano Ph.D. Clinical aspects of coenzyme Q10: An update. (2010). DOI

|2| Goron L. Kline. The Role of Calcium in Inflammation-Associated Bone Resorption. (2018) DOI

|3| Yuanlong Pan, Adam D. Kennedy, Thomas J. Jönsson and Nortan W. Milgram. Cognitive enhancement in old dogs from dietary supplementation with a nutrient blend containing arginine, antioxidants, B vitamins and fish oil. (2018). DOI

|4| Anita M. Oberbauer & Jennifer A. Larsen. Amino Acids in Dog Nutrition and Health. (2021). DOI