The Ultimate Guide to Foods Australian Shepherds Can (And Can’t) Eat

The Ultimate Guide to What Australian Shepherds Can (And Can't) Eat

A healthy Australian shepherd is so cute, isn’t it? The thing is: to maintain him happy and with this amazing health, you should know what foods they can and cannot eat.

That’s because his eating habits are what most counts to his fitness. In this article, I will show you what foods you should and shouldn’t feed your Aussie friend. Australian shepherds can and cannot eat basically the same types of foods as other breeds.

Here’s a list of what Australian Shepherds can eat:

  • Peanut Butter
  • Cooked eggs
  • Bread
  • Watermelon
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Fish
  • And obviously, dog food

And here’s a list of what Australian Shepherds can’t eat:

  • Chocolate
  • Grapes/raisins
  • Avocado
  • Xylitol
  • Alcohol (come on…)
  • Lemons

Finally, here’s what you can give to him moderately:

  • Popcorn
  • Cheese
  • Honey
  • Milk
  • Peanuts

Now let’s have a more in-depth look into everything! Continue reading!

Understand Your Shepherds’ Nutritional Needs

Australian shepherds fit between medium and large dog breeds. Due to that, their diet is pretty similar to other dogs in this category. If you have some experience with feeding dogs, this task is going to be fairly easy.

To begin, the best thing to do is to base yourself on the general requirements of these dogs. Then, adjust them to your friend’s needs. That way you don’t get completely lost and still maintain a good eating habit for the dog.

Aussie’s food should always have high quality. This will provide him with enough energy for his activities and support for his double coat. This last feature requires increased attention from your part since the dog will need extra nutrients to maintain it.

Carbohydrates are a good source of energy, so definitely include in his diet. Besides that, provide a good balance of animal protein and fatty acids.

Always note that dogs have trouble digesting plant materials, so ensure any element of his diet is nutritious and highly digestible (and tasty as well, please!).

What to Consider When Feeding an Australian Shepherd?

When adults, Aussies can weigh up to 50 pounds and can even be considered large breed dogs. However, also if you provide them with large-breed dog food, it may not be enough! That’s because they really have a lot of energy.

Because of that, you should focus on feeding your dog with higher levels of protein and moderate-high fat. To have a better diet, you must judge the activity of your friend as well. If he is very active, for example, food with this formula needs to be an even higher priority.

You should also balance their nutrition. It is crucial to eat every element in the right amount and not overbalance the diet. And this is up to you. Make sure to control everything you give to your Aussie and always vary his food.

Human Foods Australian Shepherds Can Eat

Now, let’s dive into the good part! In this section, I will mention some food Aussies can eat without any significant concern about quantity.

Eggs

Eggs are perfect for your dog to eat. They are very nutritious and safe for him. Only one medium-sized egg provides a lot of vitamins and minerals, plus a lot of protein as well.

But never feed your Australian Shepherd a raw egg. Obviously, you need to boil them before giving it to your buddy. Dogs usually don’t get sick from eating a raw egg. However, they can get some bacteria and spread it to you.

There is a theory that eggs can also relieve nausea in dogs. Although there is not any scientific proof beyond that, that would be awesome if true.

Bread

Few people know about this, but bread can also be eaten by Australian Shepherds. Plain white or whole-grain bread is safe if used as an occasional treat. This is something that needs to be controlled. Since bread contains a lot of calories, your dog can get very fat if he eats too much.

Also, check if the food doesn’t contain additional ingredients. If it has things like raisins, for example, this could be really harmful.

Fruits

Australian shepherds get along very well with fruits in general. Blueberries and strawberries, for example, provide antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber to your dog. Of course, these features are extremely important for his health.

Watermelons are also a healthy treat for dogs. They are low in calories and contain essential nutrients, such as vitamins A and C. However, you need to be very cautious with watermelon rinds and seeds. They are a choking hazard and can cause digestive anomalies. Once they are cut into small pieces, they are incredible fruits for your Aussie.

However, not all kinds of fruit are safe. Other fruits may not be edible as well. Because of that, always research anything before giving it to your pet.

Fish

Fish have good fats and amino acids and can be eaten by Australian shepherds.

Salmon is a good source of omega 3 and a lot of other vitamins and proteins. Besides, it can also reduce inflammation and maintain your pet’s skin and fur healthy. This kind of fish provides to your dog similar benefits as for humans.

Another great option is sardines. They are soft and, due to that, easier to chew. Their bones are also edible and they are a good source of calcium to your Aussie. In this case, you also don’t have to waste your time having to take them off, which is a tedious task. 

You can’t forget, however, to prepare the fish before giving it to your dog. First of all, always cook it. Some raw fish, including salmon, may have parasites that can cause damage to your Australian Shepherd. Also, except for sardines, always remove the fish’s bones, they are not edible.

Human Foods Australian Shepherds Can’t Eat

Knowing what an Aussie can’t eat maybe even more important than knowing what they can. That’s because giving these foods to him is something very hazardous. 

Chocolate

If you want to give a tasty treat to your dog, don’t use chocolate. This food contains caffeine and theobromine. They are stimulants that dogs can’t metabolize. 

If your pet eats this food, it may cause symptoms like vomiting, dehydration, and diarrhea. This can lead to complications such as internal bleeding, seizures, or even death.

Further in this text, we are going to show tasty alternatives to chocolate for your Aussie.

Grapes and Raisins

This one may be a big surprise for you. Dogs can’t eat grapes or raisins. They contain toxic elements that are harmful to dogs. If ingested, they can quickly cause kidney failures and lead your Aussie to death.

Actually, you should make all the efforts to keep this away from your furry friend. That’s because even in small amounts, it can make your dog sick.

That’s an example of fruit exceptions you can’t feed your Australian Shepherd with. 

Avocados

And here’s another of these exceptions! Never feed your Aussie with avocados. As mentioned before, this fruit contains persin that is harmful to your Australian Shepherd.

It can cause problems such as breathing difficulties, oxygen deprivation, or even death. Due to that, you should always keep avocados away from your Australian Shepherd.

Also, it highlights how important it is to search for details for each fruit before feeding your dog.

Xylitol

Do you know what is that? Well, now you’re aware it is something terrible for dogs!

Xylitol is a naturally occurring alcohol found in most plant materials. It is widely used as a sugar substitute and in “sugar-free” products. Candies, chewing gums, and baked goods are examples of foods that can contain this ingredient. Avoid them as well.

If an Aussie eats xylitol, symptoms can start very quickly. The first effects can be felt from 15-30 minutes after the ingestion. Poisoning with this element can cause vomiting, difficulty walking, seizures and can even cause death.

Before giving any sweet product to your buddy, always read its labels and ensure it doesn’t have xylitol.

Foods to Give to Australian Shepherds With Moderation

Now, I’m going to show you some products Aussies can eat, but with moderation.

Dairy products

Anything based on milk is safe for dogs, but you should control them. Similar to humans, there are also lactose intolerant dogs. The excessive consumption of milk-based foods can lead to basically the same problems among humans.

If you want to give cheese to your Aussie, prefer low-fat ones. Mozzarella and cottage cheese are good examples. They cause less impact and don’t make your dog too fat. The best thing is to introduce it slowly to his diet, so he can get used to it. 

Since dogs are mammals, you might think they can drink milk without any problems, right? WRONG!

They can drink it but in small quantities. It mainly depends on your pet, but this amount shouldn’t be greater than a couple of tablespoons a day. Before giving milk to him, ensure he is not intolerant to lactose, as it may cause problems if true.

Honey

Nutrients such as vitamins, potassium, and calcium are found in honey. That makes it an excellent treat to your dog. However, this has to be limited, because it also has a lot of calories and can make your Aussie get fat very fast.

You should give him small quantities of honey not to have any issues and maintain good health.

Popcorn

Do you want something tasty to appraise him? Here it is!

Popcorn contains riboflavin and thiamine, which can boost his health and help in his digestion. When giving popcorn to your Australian Shepherd, make sure it is unsalted and unbuttered and without any artificial additives and preservatives. 

Peanut Butter… Is This a DREAM?

It may seem like a joke, but peanut butter can be eaten by Aussies.

If you wanted a really tasty alternative to chocolate, this is the solution. Peanut butter is extremely healthy for dogs. It is a source of protein and heart-healthy fats, vitamins B and E, and niacin.

The best option is the unsalted type. Find the most natural peanut butter possible to feed your dog.

As well as any other food, you still need to be cautious. First of all, read the labels to discover if it doesn’t have xylitol, as your dog may have the problems mentioned before. Also, be moderate and never overfeed your Aussie with this.

Find the Balance With Pet Food

I haven’t talked about this before, but I think it’s pretty obvious. You should never prioritize the regular human nutrition over dog-designed food. 

As you saw throughout this article, there is plenty of human food compatible with dogs. However, pet food is designed to be the primary food source for those animals, and you should never completely replace it with human food.

Dog food is a specifically-made blend with all the nutrients your friend needs. This is what should always be inside your Aussie’s bowl.

The foods I mentioned in this article are complementary. They should be eaten with less frequency. Also, you should always be present in these moments to limit the amount.

A possible problem that can be created if you feed your Australian Shepherd too much human food is his addiction to it. If he finds something tastier than dog food, he can start preferring your food over the pet one. This can make him never want to eat dog food again, and convincing him will be tough. 

My Final Thoughts

Some foods you can give to your Aussie, but others not. Before treating him with anything special, be conscious and research about what you are giving him.

Also, never feed him your foods over the one specially made for him. Remember, dog food is always the main meal. Think of the foods I talked about today as little snacks.

Some brands produce dog food specially designed for the Australian shepherd brand. If you find these, also prefer it over the regular ones. If you don’t, of course, no problem, they are very similar. The main difference is that the food designed for Aussies adjust more to their needs, as expected.

John Carter

My name is John Carter and I absolutely love pets, especially dogs. I've got a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Behaviour and Welfare and have several years’ experience working in animal shelters and rescues. My passion for animals started at a very young age as I grow up on a farm with several horses, cows, cats, chickens, and dogs on our property.

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