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What Do Australian Shepherds Eat?

What Do Australian Shepherds Eat?

Are you getting an Australian Shepherd puppy and want to research what dog food is best for them? Maybe you’re thinking of changing your Aussie’s dog food and want to know what the best options are? Here’s everything you need to know about what Australian Shepherds eat.

What Do Australian Shepherds Eat? Australian Shepherds eat dry, raw, wet, fresh, natural and home-cooked dog food. You just need to ensure you get the ‘complete’ versions of your chosen dog food so your Australian Shepherd gets the full range of nutrition they need to stay active and healthy. 

Read on to find out more about the different dog foods Australian Shepherds can eat, what ingredients you should look for on the label, and how often to feed your Aussie!

Never use the advice in this article as a substitute for professional veterinary advice or treatment. I am NOT a Vet, qualified dog trainer or dog behaviourist. This article is based on research, personal opinion and experience of owning dogs over the last 12+ years. 

What Dog Food Do Australian Shepherds Eat?

Australian Shepherds aren’t usually fussy when it comes to food! They’ll eat pretty much whatever you put in front of them, so it’s up to you to decide on the healthiest option for them.

Here’s everything you need to know about the different types of dog food your Australian Shepherd can eat:

Dry Dog Food

Dry dog food, also known as kibble, is the most popular option for Australian Shepherd owners to feed their dogs. It’s usually oven-baked at high temperatures to form biscuits.

Other brands also freeze-dry their kibble to ensure fewer nutrients are lost during the cooking process. However, freeze-dried options tend to be more expensive. 

With female Australian Shepherds weighing between 40 and 55lbs and males 50 to 65lbs, they’re on the borderline of medium and large breeds. This means they need a fair amount of food to stay healthy.

Because dry dog food can be purchased in large sacks, this can be a cost-effective way to feed your Aussie. 

Just make sure the kibble you choose is a complete food suitable for highly active dogs.

This ensures your Australian Shepherd has plenty of energy for the amount of exercise they’re doing.

Avoid any dry dog foods which contain artificial ingredients, as these are not healthy choices for your Aussie. 

Raw Dog Food

Raw food is conveniently available pre-packed and frozen as nutritionally complete meals. These are usually made of meat, offal and bone minces or chunks.

Or, you could make your own raw dog food meals for your Australian Shepherd if you prefer. However, if you decide to do it yourself, you must carefully balance the meals to ensure your Aussie’s getting the correct nutrition. 

Some Australian Shepherd owners report their dogs to have smaller, firmer stools and healthier coats and teeth when they’re fed a raw food diet.

Your Aussie also won’t need to eat as much raw food as other kinds of dog food because it’s arguably more nutritious.

So, while it can be more expensive to buy, it can last longer than other options. 

Wet Dog Food

Wet dog food is available in cans, pouches and trays. Because of your Australian Shepherd’s size, cans may be the best option because you often get more food in them for your money!

Always ensure any wet food you choose is nutritionally complete if you’re going to feed your Aussie solely on that. This way, they’re getting all the nutrients they need to stay healthy.

Just be aware that wet food can be bad for your Aussie’s dental health because they’re not having to crunch up or chew on anything, which can help clean their teeth.

Wet food lasts a long time and doesn’t need any special storage before it’s opened. Once opened, you can keep it in the fridge and use it the next day. 

Australian Shepherd puppy eating out of their dog food bowl with a speech bubble that says 'I'll eat whatever you give me!'.
Australian Shepherd Puppy Eating Dog Food

Fresh Dog Food

Fresh dog foods are newer to the market than other options. They’re made from natural, high-quality ingredients, then gently steamed, then chilled or frozen to lock in the freshness.

You can then take out the amount you need for your Australian Shepherd’s meals.

Brands like Butternut Box, Different Dog and Freshpet are all examples of fresh dog food options. 

Natural Dog Food

Natural dog food is technically in the wet or dried dog food category. However, they’re made from higher quality, natural ingredients, which can be much better options for your Australian Shepherd.

This can make them more expensive than cheaper dry or wet dogs food choices, but you often need a smaller portion of them to ensure your Aussie’s getting everything they need.

Natural dog foods often don’t contain as many fillers or any artificial ingredients, unlike cheaper foods, which makes them more digestible.

Brands like Lilys Kitchen, Scrumbles and Pooch and Mutt are all good examples of natural dog food manufacturers. 

Home Cooked Dog Food

Some Australian Shepherd owners prefer to cook their own meals at home for their dogs.

However, because Aussies are such an active breed, it’s vital they’re getting the correct nutrition to avoid any potential health issues or coat changes developing.

It can be complicated to make sure your Australian Shepherd is getting everything they need to stay healthy from home-cooked diets, so it’s not usually advisable for long term feeding. 

What Ingredients Should I Look For In My Australian Shepherd’s Dog Food?

This is what you need to look for in your Australian Shepherd’s dog food:

Quality Protein

Your Aussie’s food should contain high-quality protein. Ideally, this should come from whole meats, instead of meat meal, although this does usually make it more expensive!

Chicken, turkey, lamb and fish flavored foods are all popular choices for Australian Shepherd owners. 

Nothing Artificial 

Avoid any dog foods which contain artificial colors, flavorings, or preservatives. These are unnecessary additions to your Aussie’s diet and can be detrimental to their health and behavior too!

It’s a myth that dog food needs to be multicolored, that’s simply done to please us humans and has no benefit for your Australian Shepherd. 

Complete Foods

Whatever food you choose to feed your Australian Shepherd, make sure it’s nutritionally complete.

This means it’s guaranteed to contain everything required to keep your Aussie healthy. If you don’t feed them a complete diet, they’ll be missing out on vital nutrients which can impact their health and wellbeing. 


The nutritional content of all the different dog foods will be very different.

So take a look at where you can find all the information you need to make an informed choice on the dog food you’re feeding your Australian Shepherd. 

Australian Shepherd laying beside their dog food bowl with a speech bubble that says 'I'll eat whatever you give me!'.
Australian Shepherd Dog Food

What Dog Treats Can My Australian Shepherd Eat?

Dog treats must be limited to about 10% of your Australian Shepherd’s daily food allowance. It’s important not to overdo it or it could impact their overall health and wellbeing.

Fresh fruits and vegetables are great to use as reward treats if chopped into small pieces. Things like carrots, celery, green beans, blueberries, bananas and apples are all low in fat and rich in vitamins and fibre!

You can also check out Soopa for natural and healthy fruit and veg dog treats! 

Just bear in mind that some pre-packaged dog treats that you find in stores can contain unhealthy ingredients, so always check the labels before buying.

Natural dog treats like dried tripe, dried chicken fillets and fish skins, can also be a good option. 

How Much Should My Australian Shepherd Eat?

There are many contributing factors when deciding how much to feed your Australian Shepherd.

Their age, weight, activity level, health, treat consumption and type of diet they’re eating all need to be looked at. 

Because they’re such a high-energy breed who are on the go a lot, Australian Shepherds may need to eat more food than other breeds of a similar size to them.

Although the feeding guidelines found on dog food packaging can be a good guide on how much to feed, this will vary between individual Aussies and their lifestyles.

If they’re overweight or underweight, their portion sizes should be decreased or increased accordingly. 

How Often Should My Australian Shepherd Eat?

Adult Australian Shepherds should be fed twice per day. Once in the morning and once in the evening, ideally split evenly throughout the day is possible.

It’s not a good idea to leave food down all the time for your Aussie to graze from because they’re greedy and will often eat too much! 

Instead, split their food into two even portions daily, so you know exactly how much they’re eating. 

Aussie puppies should be fed 3 times a day while they’re young and slowly reduced to twice a day when they reach adulthood at around 12 months old.

This helps them regulate their blood sugar levels and provides them with plenty of energy throughout the day. 

When your Australian Shepherd is a senior from around 8 years of age, their appetite may naturally decline.

Many senior Aussies are still happy to be fed twice a day, especially if they’re still as fit and active as they were as adults.

However, you may need to reduce their portion sizes if their activity levels and appetite have decreased to prevent weight gain. 

So, there you have it! Australian Shepherds aren’t usually fussy with dog food, and they’ll pretty much eat whatever you put in front of them! So it’s up to you to decide on the healthiest dog food option for them as long as you make sure the meal is ‘complete’.

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