Known for being energetic, easy to train, and intelligent, the fluffy Australian Shepherd is a medium-sized breed that’s quite rare in the pet adoption world. Raising them can be a challenge if you don’t know which food to feed them, how much, and how often, which is why we wrote this article for you.
Planning your meals and scheduling them for your puppy will result in a healthier adult dog and a happier mood. To increase your dog’s quality of life, starting with good nutrition from their puppyhood is important, which is why feeding the right amount of food cannot be stressed enough.
Let’s look at the different diet specifics of an Australian Shepherd, as well as considerations when it comes to weight and food types.
How much to feed an Australian Shepherd puppy?
The Australian Shepherd puppy is recommended to be fed with 1 to 5 cups a day depending on various factors, such as their age, physical health, weight, activities, and the like.
Various pet food brands can have different effects on your puppy’s growth, so they can be adjusted as needed depending on the outcome of your pup. It’s best to consult your vet if you aren’t too sure about your Australian Shepherd puppy’s diet plan or if you think they’re getting too overweight or underweight.
To give you a little idea of how much to feed your Australian Shepherd puppy, here’s a breakdown of their typical diet per age milestone:
Birth to 2 weeks old
During this time, the Australian Shepherd puppy is being nursed by their mother so they cannot be weaned yet. A puppy milk formula can be used as a substitute in case one of the pups cannot gain weight for certain reasons, such as insufficient mother’s milk or if you have a large litter.
3 to 4 weeks old
By the 3rd week, you can start weaning your Australian Shepherd. While most pet owners will advise a mixture of water and solid food, you can also use puppy milk formula so that your Australian Shepherd pup won’t be able to tell the difference between their mother’s milk and the new food you’ve served them. This makes the weaning process smoother.
Eventually, the mother of the Australian Shepherd puppies will slowly let go of her litter as their teeth begin to develop, which will make the mother uncomfortable when nursing.
Although there’s a slight chance of your Australian Shepherd regurgitating their food for their puppies, this is a normal action that mother dogs do in the wild. Even though it looks gross, it’s their natural way of feeding their puppies with easily digestible food.
At 4 weeks of age, the Australian Shepherd pup should get about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of puppy food that’s mixed with either water or puppy milk formula – whichever is available or most convenient.
5 to 6 weeks old
Your Australian Shepherd puppies are usually almost or fully weaned by this stage and are ready for adoption if ever that’s the case. Feeding your puppy about 4 times a day and can be reduced to 3 times a day once they get older.
7 to 9 weeks old
The diet of your Australian Shepherd puppy can be increased to 1 1/2 cup a day but stick to the routine of 3 meals a day. If you must change food brands or types, be sure to do it slowly with small portions until the puppy eats the new brand. This is to help your puppy not run into digestive upsets.
10 to 12 weeks old
Your Australian Shepherd pup can still be fed 1 1/2 cups a day and you can increase the amount to 2 cups by the 12th week. Keep sticking to 3 meals a day and always remember to divide the meals equally.
Once your puppies get older and enter their monthly milestones, here’s a convenient chart to help you figure out how much to feed them depending on their age:
|Puppy age||Cups of puppy food a day|
|4 to 5 months old||1 3/4||3 1/3|
|6 to 8 months old||1 1/3||3 ¼|
|9 to 11 months old||2 1/3||4|
|1 to 2 years old||2 1/3||5 1/4|
Keeping your puppy in tip-top shape is important to help maintain their ideal weight and to ward off diseases. Here are handy charts to help you figure out the best weight for your Australian Shepherd puppy based on their age:
|Weeks-old Australian Shepherd puppy|
|Weight chart||4 lbs.||4.5 lbs.||5 lbs.||5.5 lbs.||6 lbs.||6.5 lbs.||7 lbs.||7.5 lbs.||8 lbs.|
|4.5 lbs.||5.1 lbs.||5.6 lbs.||6.2 lbs.||6.8 lbs.||7.3 lbs.||7.9 lbs.||8.4 lbs.||9 lbs.|
|5 lbs.||5.6 lbs.||6.3 lbs.||6.9 lbs.||7.5 lbs.||8.1 lbs.||8.8 lbs.||9.4 lbs.||10 lbs.|
|5.5 lbs.||6.2 lbs.||6.9 lbs.||7.6 lbs.||8.3 lbs.||8.9 lbs.||9.6 lbs.||10.3 lbs.||11 lbs.|
|6 lbs.||6.8 lbs.||7.5 lbs.||8.3 lbs.||9 lbs.||9.8 lbs.||10.5 lbs.||11.3 lbs.||12 lbs.|
|7 lbs.||7.9 lbs.||8.8 lbs.||9.6 lbs.||10.5 lbs.||11.4 lbs.||12.3 lbs.||13.1 lbs.||14 lbs.|
|8 lbs.||9 lbs.||10 lbs.||11 lbs.||12 lbs.||13 lbs.||14 lbs.||15 lbs.||16 lbs.|
|Months-old Australian Shepherd puppy|
|Weight chart||11 lbs.||13 lbs.||15 lbs.||17.5 lbs.||19.5 lbs.||21.5 lbs.||24 lbs.||26 lbs.|
|12.4 lbs.||14.6 lbs.||16.9 lbs.||19.7 lbs.||21.9 lbs.||24.2 lbs.||27 lbs.||29.3 lbs.|
|13.8 lbs.||16.3 lbs.||18.8 lbs.||21.9 lbs.||24.4 lbs.||26.9 lbs.||30 lbs.||32.5 lbs.|
|15.1 lbs.||17.9 lbs.||20.6 lbs.||24.1 lbs.||25.8 lbs.||29.6 lbs.||33 lbs.||35.8 lbs.|
|16.5 lbs.||19.5 lbs.||22.5 lbs.||26.3 lbs.||29.3 lbs.||32.3 lbs.||36 lbs.||39 lbs.|
|19.3 lbs.||22.8 lbs.||26.3 lbs.||30.6 lbs.||34.1 lbs.||37.6 lbs.||42 lbs.||45.5 lbs.|
|22 lbs.||26 lbs.||30 lbs.||35 lbs.||39 lbs.||43 lbs.||48 lbs.||52 lbs.|
FAQs on Feeding an Australian Shepherd Puppy
Here are the most commonly asked questions regarding feeding an Australian Shepherd puppy:
When should you switch from puppy to adult food for an Australian Shepherd?
An Australian Shepherd can be fed adult food once they reach 6 months old, but the process should be slow. You can also wait until your puppy is already scheduled for spaying/neutering so it will be an all-in-one process.
To avoid causing digestive upsets to your pet, always transition the new food gradually by putting a little of the adult food first. This goes the same if the brand is different from that of puppy food.
Much like the weaning process, getting an Australian Shepherd puppy to shift to adult food will take about 10 days or so. Don’t be afraid to slow it down if you see some signs of digestive upsets on your pet. You can also consult your vet to find which transition food works best for them.
How do I know if my puppy is overweight or underweight?
Aside from the above-mentioned growth chart, there are different ways to tell if your puppy is gaining a couple of pounds. Even a simple glance at your puppy and/or touch around his body will help you figure out if your pup has extra pounds or if it lacks fat.
To check manually, simply feel the puppy’s ribcage and see if you can feel their ribs. A highly visible set of ribs indicate that your puppy might be underweight. They can be felt but they shouldn’t be very profound.
Next, the puppy’s abdomen being tucked slightly is a sign of a healthy dog. A bulging abdomen means that they might have extra weight, which means you might need to cut down on their daily food intake.
Your vet might be able to pinpoint the possible causes of your dog’s drastic weight change if there are any. Hypoglycemia, which relates to their blood sugar levels, is one of the most common problems encountered by dogs when it comes to weight management.
What kind of food is best for Australian Shepherd puppies?
If you’re looking for the right kind of food to give to your Australian Shepherd, here are the key nutrients to find on the food label and/or the food itself:
Consider about 22% protein for your puppy’s daily meals. That’s because the Australian Shepherd is quite an energetic breed so they will need muscle power when they grow up.
As we mentioned above, the Australian Shepherd is quite active so they will need fats as fuel for their physical activities. It’s best to not rely on dog food that has only carbohydrates since they won’t be necessary for your pet. Instead, go for moderate amounts of fat depending on how active your puppy is (or will be).
3. Vitamins and minerals
An Australian Shepherd puppy should also receive a wide range of vitamins and minerals to keep them strong and healthy, protecting them from immune system compromises. Whether you choose to feed them homemade, raw, or commercial food, always look at the vitamins and minerals to balance out their food intake.
What foods can I feed my Australian Shepherd puppy?
Like most breeds, the Australian Shepherd has four common choices when it comes to food types:
- Kibble or dry food. If your Australian Shepherd puppy has underlying dental health issues, adding fair amounts of kibble to their diet will help clean their teeth properly. However, be sure to grab a pack of quality kibble that’s low on fillers and preservatives.
- Canned or wet food. For Australian Shepherd puppies that are picky eaters, consider wet food as a choice due to their rich flavors. Most pet owners sprinkle kibble or meaty bones on top to keep their teeth strong and healthy. With canned food, you should consider planning as they expire faster than kibble.
- BARF or raw food. Many pet owners swear by BARF diets because they’re free from fillers, preservatives, and the like. However, if you do intend to feed your Australian Shepherd puppy raw food, always consult your vet to make sure that they get a balanced diet. Meat mishandling is also a possible hindrance to proper feeding, which might lead to salmonella infection.
- Homemade food. Like raw food, homemade cooked meals are great choices for pet owners who prefer less of the preservatives in commercial dog food. However, you do need to make effort and prepare a budget for this type of feeding routine.
My Australian Shepherd puppy won’t eat. What should I do?
If your Australian Shepherd doesn’t eat for a while, it can be an alarming experience for you as a pet owner. Nonetheless, getting sick is not always the case. With that said, here are the different factors that come into play that might affect your puppy’s appetite:
- Moving to new surroundings. Australian Shepherd puppies that are newly moved from their breeder’s headquarters to the new home after being adopted, might feel a little stressed.
Therefore, they might lose appetite at first so it will take some getting used to before they respond to food. They might also miss their mother and other siblings. Good news: they will eventually adjust if that’s the case.
- Teething problems. If your Australian Shepherd puppy has trouble eating or eats slowly, they might have some dental problems. Teething is normal but it can be excruciating for puppies to handle. During the Australian Shepherd pup’s teething stage, you can try giving them wet food to ease the pain.
- They might be a little picky with food. By nature, most dog breeds will love raw or wet food as opposed to kibble due to the taste, flavors, and amount of nutrients. However, you can’t expect to feed them such wet foods all the time because doing so will leave behind their dental health.
If you want your puppy too much down their daily rations, consider mixing both wet and dry food so that they’ll have variety. The dry kibble will help strengthen their teeth while the wet puppy food gives the aromatic flavor that will get them to start gobbling.
You may also want to try switching to a different brand of puppy food in case your Australian Shepherd pup doesn’t like the taste. Try and experiment but don’t hurriedly switch between dog food brands to not disrupt your puppy’s tummy. Perform your transition in small amounts before gradually scaling up to the new food brand.
- If the puppy hasn’t eaten for a day, call your vet. Like all breeds, an Australian Shepherd puppy won’t last long if they haven’t eaten or drank anything within the day, so take that as a red flag of something serious that’s worth the vet’s attention.
What should I do if my puppy is still hungry?
If your problem revolves around an Australian Shepherd puppy that has a voracious appetite, which will eventually lead to obesity, there are many ways to control it. Here’s how you can tame your puppy to not eat too much:
- Don’t give them too many treats. Most people think that giving your puppy treats will solve their problem of hunger, but it encourages them to beg for some more food. To avoid making your Australian Shepherd a voracious eater, consider lessening on the treats, especially during obedience training. Some dog treats could lead to added weight so make sure you count the calories of the treats in question.
- Try feeding puzzles. One way to slow down your Australian Shepherd puppy’s gobbling is to use feeding puzzles. These toys are filled with food that your pup will have to chow down using physical force. They’re not only playing fun games but they’re also eating properly, as a puzzle feeder will slow down your puppy’s food intake.
- Use a slow feeder bowl. If you can’t find a feeding puzzle, your best bet is a slow feeder bowl. This marvelous innovation will help keep your Australian Shepherd puppy’s eating habits in check, especially if you have to leave them for a while. A slow feeder limits your pup’s food intake, much like with the feeding puzzles, so they will only eat the amount of food that they need to become full.
- Distribute smaller portions but more frequently throughout the day. Sometimes, long pauses between meals could lead the Australian Shepherd puppy to become hungrier. In this case, try putting in smaller portions per meal while increasing the frequency throughout the day. If your puppy eats smaller amounts of food but more frequently, they’ll have less likelihood of hunger spikes.
Can I give my Australian Shepherd puppy supplements?
Puppy supplements aren’t needed unless your vet advised you so. Only puppies that have severe deficiency of a certain nutrient should be given supplements. Most commercial foods are already pre-mixed with the right amount of nutrients so you don’t have to do the math and chemistry for your pup.
This is also what makes raw and homemade feeding a little trickier because giving your Australian Shepherd puppy equal amounts of nutrients that they need. Most pet owners and vets might advise you to give supplements for when you do decide to feed raw or homemade meals.