Last Updated on October 12, 2021
You’ve just got an Australian Shepherd puppy, and your mind is racing with excitement! (and also a little fear?) Now, it’s time to find out how to feed Australian Shepherd in the right way.
Your new Australian Shepherd puppy will be your new best friend and you want to make the best choices for them — including the right training and diet.
What to consider when you pick a diet for your Australian Shepard Puppy
Remember the saying, “you are what you eat”? Your puppy’s diet is precisely that — if you feed them low-quality food, they will not grow up healthy and strong.
Since Australian Shepherds are medium to large working dogs, they will grow quickly, and their diet needs to support that growth.
There are three essential items to consider and look for in food — whole meat protein, healthy fats, and Omega 3’s. Don’t let the large numbers of commercial dog food options become overwhelming. These essential items are what you will need to focus on.
Examples of whole meat proteins would include chicken, beef, and lamb. Make sure these are listed at the top of the ingredient list.
There are four general groups to look at when you’re picking out food for your puppy — Kibble, Wet, Raw, and Home-made.
It is important to carefully research your options before making a food selection for your Australian Shepherd puppy. In addition to ingredients, make sure to consider your lifestyle and how active you will be with your puppy.
The classic dog food everyone thinks of — dry dog food in a bag. There are some excellent quality dry dog food options on the market, but you’ll want to watch for cheap fillers and preservatives. Trust me, your puppy does not want to eat that! Kibble is easy to get, stores well, and has the added bonus of helping clean your puppy’s teeth (yes, you still need to brush their teeth). Pick a food labelled for large breed puppies. These foods will have higher protein and healthy fats to support your Australian Shepherd puppy during their growing years.
Wet food is generally found at most pet food stores, but can get very expensive. Unfortunately, once a can is opened, it needs to be stored safely and used pretty quickly. Australian Shepherds that are picky eaters will usually like wet food over kibble — sort of like comparing a juicy hamburger to a veggie stick. Since this diet doesn’t have anything to scrape your puppy’s teeth, you’ll want to take extra care of their teeth and gums.
This diet has become pretty popular over the last 20 years or so, but it is also controversial. Many dog lovers feel dogs need raw meat and bones because this was their main diet in the wild. While this type of diet is packed with protein, you’ll want to make sure it is balanced with other food sources. This diet does come with some risks, such as bones breaking and becoming impacted or salmonella from raw meat.
I love the idea of making my Australian Shepherd puppy her breakfast and dinner every day. Unfortunately, our lifestyles don’t allow for this as it is time-consuming. If it is something you have time for, there are many home-made dog food recipes available online and through your vet to ensure a balanced diet.
Introducing New Foods & Keeping to a Routine
Australian Shepherd puppies, like most puppies, need a slow change in food when they come home. I mean almost glacial slow! Give your puppy a few weeks to adjust to their new home before making any food changes.
When you decide to change food, do it over a 2-3 week period by combining new and old food. This helps prevent any tummy troubles in your Australian Shepherd puppy.
Making Changes for Age
Your Australian Shepherd puppy will have feeding needs based on their individual level of activity. For example – a puppy that gets several hours of activity in a day will need more food than a puppy that sleeps on the couch. If you are unsure if your puppy is getting enough (or too much) food, check with your vet.
Australian Shepherd puppies usually reach their adult size between 10-13 months of age. At this age (and checking with your vet), you can start to shift them over to an adult diet.
Owning an Australian Shepherd puppy is a new and exciting adventure. You’re on your first steps for them to live a happy and healthy life!