Whether you’re an aspiring or a proud owner of this active breed, you’re probably wondering how much to feed an Australian Shepherd.
To begin with, your dog’s age, weight, and daily activity level will determine the proper amount of food that it needs. Although it can be a little challenging, it’s vital to figure out the best feeding plan for your Aussie.
Luckily, this Australian Shepherd feeding guide will help you tackle this task. You’ll find out what types of food are best for Aussies, how often they should be fed, what their recommended diet should look like, and more! Let’s begin!
Australian Shepherd Feeding Chart by Age: How Much to Feed Your Australian Shepherd?
The feeding amount for an Australian Shepherd will depend on its age. For instance, an Aussie puppy needs one to four cups of food daily, while an adult Australian Shepherd requires four to six cups. Meanwhile, two to three cups will suffice for the daily food requirements of a senior Aussie.
Still, remember that no Aussie Shepherd is the same. Even though all dogs need protein-rich ingredients and fats in their diet, each has its nutritional requirements based on weight, lifestyle, and metabolism.
On top of that, there’s a possibility that some fur parents own toy Australian Shepherds. Of course, they demand less than the cup ranges I stated above. Nonetheless, you can always consult your vet for a specific recommendation.
In this section, you’ll find a general guideline that indicates how much to feed your Aussie in its various life stages.
Even so, use this only as a starting point and adjust the amount according to your canine’s needs.
Australian Shepherd Puppy Feeding Chart (2 to 12 months)
Normally, Aussie puppies spend the first few weeks of their lives with their mother. During this period, puppies will rely on their mother’s colostrum for nutrients that are essential for their development.
It’s ideal, however, that your canine should start weaning after three to four weeks of nursing. At this phase, you can introduce puppy food gradually to your Australian Shepherd puppy.
Additionally, it’s worth knowing that it will need to consume puppy food with a high-calorie count and fat content. This way, you can ensure that your Aussie puppy will grow healthy and strong.
Here’s a chart that will help you determine the amount of puppy food to prepare for your Australian Shepherd puppy:
|Age||Daily Food Quantity|
|2 – 3 months||0.67 – 2||1016 – 1300||22 – 30%||8%|
|4 – 5 months||2 – 3.33||1221 – 1814||22 – 30%||8%|
|6 – 8 months||3.33 – 3.75||1067 – 1522||22 – 30%||8%|
|9 – 12 months||3.75 – 4||1233 – 1629||22 – 30%||8%|
While this is only a recommendation, it will give you an idea of how to get started on your pup’s nutrition. If you’re still contemplating, you can contact your vet to help you out.
Adult Australian Shepherd Feeding Chart (1 to 6 years)
As such, it’s crucial to include the right amount of calories, protein, and other nutrients in your dog’s diet, especially once it becomes an adult.
Also, not all adult Australian Shepherds possess a high level of energy. Some tend to be more laid-back, so it’s best to evaluate your dog’s lifestyle before determining its daily caloric intake.
For owners of adult Australian Shepherds, the feeding chart below can be a lifesaver:
|Age||Daily Food Quantity|
|1 – 2 years||4 – 5.25||1301 – 1560||22 – 30%||8%|
|3 – 6 years||2.63 – 6||1347 – 1754||18 – 30%||5%|
Compared to Australian Shepherd puppies, it’s evident that adult dogs consume more calories. This is reasonable, especially if you’re training your canine to herd livestock.
Australian Shepherds will need a lot of energy to keep them going all day, so keep tabs on their carb intake. Furthermore, fur parents also need to invest in adult food that’s rich in vitamins and minerals.
Meanwhile, fixed Australian Shepherds may be less active than intact ones. To avoid the risk of overfeeding them, I recommend that you reduce the number of calories and fats in their diet.
Senior Australian Shepherd Feeding Chart (7 years and above)
Like older dogs, senior Aussies become less active, and their metabolism slows down. Due to that, they should consume adult dog food with fewer calories and moderate protein.
In addition, some owners also notice that their senior Australian Shepherds tend to be pickier than usual. They may sometimes refuse to eat commercial foods or even their favorite dog treats.
Nevertheless, you must ensure that your old pooch gets enough nutrition and maintains a healthy weight.
To determine your senior Aussie’s daily feeding needs, check out the general guideline below:
|Age||Daily Food Quantity|
|7 years and above||2 – 3||1077 – 1403||18%||>5%|
Because old Aussies need to maintain their healthy joints and bones, it’s valuable to purchase senior dog food that’s rich in fiber, natural ingredients, and calcium.
However, I don’t recommend that you blindly follow the figures indicated in the feeding chart above. To be safe, consult your veterinarian before modifying your dog’s diet.
Australian Shepherd Feeding Frequency: How Often Should You Feed Your Australian Shepherd?
Usually, Australian Shepherd puppies need about three to four meals per day unless they’re free-fed. Adult Aussies need to be fed two to three times daily, while senior Australian Shepherds need to eat one or two meals a day.
Since Aussies are known for their huge appetite, you can expect that this dog breed will eat more than other dogs. Consequently, many believe they can feed their canines one big meal daily.
Here’s a quick summary of the feeding frequency recommended for Australian Shepherd puppies, adults, and seniors:
|0 – 12 weeks||Three to four times a day or free feeding|
|3 – 12 months||Three times a day|
|1 – 6 years||Two to three times a day|
|7 years and above||Once or twice a day|
Once your Australian Shepherd puppy is ready to eat puppy food, you have to feed it three to four times a day.
Free feeding is also a good option, as growing puppies need more protein than adult dogs. However, supervision is necessary to prevent overfeeding them.
By the time your Australian Shepherd puppy reaches three months old, keep it on a three-times-a-day feeding routine.
Based on the table above, as your Australian Shepherd puppy ages, the feeding frequency should be reduced. When it reaches maturity, giving it adult food at least twice a day is recommended.
Although the same routine goes for senior Aussies, remember that they’re at greater risk for hip dysplasia. Because of this, owners should monitor their caloric intake and make necessary adjustments.
Optimal Feeding Times for Australian Shepherds
For Aussie puppies that are not free-fed, the optimal feeding time is at 7:00 am, 11:00 am, 3:00 pm, and 7:00 pm. Meanwhile, an adult Australian Shepherd should be fed at 7:00 am, 1:00 pm, and 7:00 pm. Lastly, the ideal daily feeding schedule for senior Aussies is at 7:00 am or 7:00 pm.
Crafting a feeding schedule could be challenging for newbie Aussie owners. Luckily, you can just follow the feeding schedule provided in this section to keep your dog’s life well-balanced.
Here’s a table that shows the optimal feeding times for an Australian Shepherd puppy, adult, and senior:
|Age||Optimal Feeding Times|
|0 – 12 weeks||7:00 am, 11:00 am, 3:00 pm, 7:00 pm if not free fed|
|3 – 12 months||7:00 am, 1:00 pm, 7:00 pm|
|1 – 6 years||7:00 am, 1:00 pm, 7:00 pm|
|7 years and above||7:00 am or 7:00 pm if fed once a day; |
7:00 am and 7:00 pm if fed twice a day.
Of course, Aussie puppies need to be fed more frequently compared to older canines. Preferably, it’s most reasonable to introduce a strict routine during their third month.
But if you’re feeding an adult Australian Shepherd, divide its meal into three small portions.
You can give one in the morning, one in the afternoon, and one in the evening. Make sure to stick to this schedule so your pet will get used to it.
For senior Australian Shepherds, the optimal feeding time is in the morning and evening. Some owners, however, prefer to feed their old Aussies once a day.
Best Dog Foods for Australian Shepherds
Now that you know how much food your Australian Shepherd needs and when to feed it, let’s talk about the best dog food you can provide for your fur baby.
As mentioned, an Australian Shepherd puppy should be with its mother until it’s ready to consume solid food.
In some cases, mother dogs can’t produce enough milk to sustain a puppy’s growth. Accordingly, using a puppy milk formula is suggested by most veterinarians.
After that, the next step is finding what type of dog food is suitable for your growing Aussie.
Although many pet food brands are available in the market today, your goal is to choose one that meets your pooch’s dietary needs.
Here’s a list of the best dog food choices for Australian Shepherds:
- Dry Dog Food: If you’re looking for a convenient option that still offers adequate nutritional value, dry food or kibble is your best bet. Plus, you can get it in different flavors to keep your Australian Shepherd puppy interested. Still, you’re better off choosing a dry dog food rich in omega fatty acids, real meat protein, and fiber. In contrast, dry kibble may not be ideal for canines with weak teeth.
- Wet Food: Canned or wet food is a great way to add moisture to your pet’s diet. Unlike dry kibble, this one contains 75% water, making it easy for Aussie puppies to digest. Furthermore, wet food contains vitamins and minerals that help keep your dog in tip-top shape. However, ensure that you search for dog food brands that offer balanced nutrition to avoid any complications.
- BARF or Raw Diet: Despite the controversies associated with the Biologically Appropriate Raw Food (BARF) diet, it’s one of the most healthy alternatives for feeding all dog breeds. Generally, this raw diet consists of uncooked meats, bones, fresh fruits, and vegetables. Some fur parents are hesitant to give their pups raw food, but it’s important to remember that dogs eat raw meat in the wild. Moreover, a carefully prepared BARF diet will improve your Australian Shepherd’s digestion and immune system.
- Homecooked Diet: While many pet owners choose to buy dog food brands, others prefer to cook for their Aussies. If you want to try this method, just make sure to use safe and nutritious ingredients. For instance, if you want to make a healthy meal, try to include brown rice, fresh chicken breast, or sweet potatoes.
The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) has set policies for what makes up the best dog food for our pets. So before trying the dog food options above, ensure they meet those requirements.
Besides providing a balanced diet, prepare to invest in Australian Shepherd puppy supplements and pet insurance. Not only will these secure your pooch’s overall health, but they’ll also help you save money in the long run.
Maintaining a healthy dog is possible with in-depth research and following your vet’s guidance.
Want to learn more about the BARF diet? Watch this video to see how to start feeding your Australian Shepherd puppy raw food:
Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Australian Shepherd
As a reliable owner, one of your responsibilities is to guarantee that you are feeding your Australian Shepherd the right food.
While any dog can be picky about its diet, Aussies are particularly sensitive to some human foods.
For your convenience, here’s the list of food you should avoid feeding your Australian Shepherd:
- Xylitol: Xylitol is a synthetic sweetener that can cause pooches to experience a sudden drop in blood sugar. This is generally found in many sugar-free foods, including baked goods, ice cream, and peanut butter. If your Aussie has ingested large amounts of xylitol, it could develop seizures or other complications.
- Grapes: Dogs fed with grapes can suffer from acute kidney failure. Although this fruit may seem harmless, it contains a naturally occurring toxin called cyanide. If your Australian Shepherd ate this fruit, call your vet immediately.
- Chocolate: When it comes to chocolate, it’s best to avoid giving your Aussie even a tiny piece. That’s because chocolate contains theobromine, a toxic substance found in cocoa beans. Once an adult dog or puppy eats chocolate, it may experience symptoms such as diarrhea, internal bleeding, and muscle tremors.
Even though we want to feed our canines something unique, we need to examine whether it’s safe for them to ingest. Before trying any wild recipe, check if it contains ingredients that may harm your Aussie.
For a more thorough discussion of this topic, you can read our article about what foods Australian Shepherds can and can’t eat.
How to Transition Your Australian Shepherd to a New Food
There are many reasons for transitioning your Australian Shepherd to a new diet. This could be due to allergies, or you may need to feed it something more suitable for its age.
Whatever the reason is, it’s obvious that this needed change will be difficult to handle.
For a clearer picture of this process, the following table outlines the AKC’s recommended food transition schedule:
|Day||Old Food||New Food|
|Day 1 – 2||75%||25%|
|Day 3 – 4||50%||50%|
|Day 5 – 6||25%||75%|
Of course, it’s worthwhile to be patient during the switching period. As you can see, it typically takes 5 to 7 days for your Aussie to get accustomed to its new food.
As the table shows, you should mix your Australian Shepherd’s new food with its old one to avoid upsetting its stomach.
The mixture should include 25% of the new diet and 75% of the old one until your pooch completely accepts it.
One issue you may encounter in the transition is when your Australian Shepherd puppy refuses to eat the new type of food you prepared. Another is when your senior Aussie isn’t interested in the same food anymore.
Still, abruptly changing diets can lead to many problems.
Feeding an Overweight Australian Shepherd
The Aussie is considered a medium-sized breed but due to their stature, some owners mistake them for other large breed dogs and overfeed them, leading to obesity.
The dietary needs of an obese Australian Shepherd are different from the feeding requirements of an Aussie with a normal weight. Hence, adjustments should be made if you suspect your dog to be overweight.
For most pet owners, feeding overweight Aussies can be a challenging task. Naturally, the first step is to consult your vet and ask for a diet best suited to your obese pooch.
Your vet may instruct that you cut back on your Aussie’s food intake and increase its regular exercise requirements. Furthermore, you may need to invest in food that’s rich in fiber.
Rather than buying dry or canned food, you should consider cooking your Australian Shepherd’s meals at home using low-fat ingredients. This way, you can easily monitor its weight and adjust its diet.
Additionally, avoid feeding your Australian Shepherd table scraps. Treats should also be given only during obedience training to make it more fun for you and your dog.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Is My Australian Shepherd Not Eating?
Because Aussies are not picky eaters, it’s understandable if you find yourself confused about why your dog refuses to eat.
Nonetheless, Australian Shepherds usually do not eat because they don’t have an appetite.
But if it’s accompanied by nausea or diarrhea, bring your Aussie to the vet.
Do Australian Shepherds Eat a Lot?
Yes! Most Aussies are known to be food-motivated canines. They love to eat, and they’re always happy to see their owners bring out their food bowls. Even so, overfeeding your furry friend is never a good idea.
Can Australian Shepherd Eat Bones?
Aussies can eat bones, but only under the strict supervision of their owners. Chewing on raw, edible, or recreational bones helps their teeth and jaw muscles stay strong.
However, never give your Australian Shepherd cooked bones since they’re harder to chew on and can injure your dog.
Can Australian Shepherds Be Vegetarians?
If you want to take a break from feeding your Aussie commercial food, there are ways to make your pet a vegetarian. Keep in mind, though, that dogs still need to consume foods rich in animal protein and healthy fats.
Whether you own an adult or an Australian Shepherd puppy, you need to know that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to feeding.
Ultimately, finding the right balance of nutrients and calories should be based on many factors, including your canine’s age, lifestyle, metabolism, and nutritional needs.
Once you’ve figured out what works best for your Aussie puppy’s appetite, you can guarantee that it will grow into a healthy adult.
If you’re an Aussie owner and have tried different dog food diets, share your experience in the comments! Also, don’t forget to bookmark this Australian Shepherd feeding guide!
My name is John Carter and I absolutely love pets, especially cats and 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.