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This is the most comprehensive Australian Shepherd homemade dog food guide.
When it comes to your Aussie dog, you want the best. You may spend hours researching what type of kibble is safest and healthiest for your furry friend, but did you know that homemade food could be even better? Homemade dog food can save you money, keep unwanted ingredients out of Fido’s diet, and ensure he gets all the nutrients he needs.
Cooking for your Australian Shepherd is a great way to keep your dog healthy; however, it’s essential that you understand your dog’s nutritional needs.
Today, we will walk you through risks, benefits, breed-specific nutritional advice, calorie intake, and our favorite recipes for Australian Shepherds. Let’s get started!
Australian Shepherd Homemade Dog Food Benefits
Some of the main benefits of feeding fresh homemade food for your Australian Shepherds are listed below:
- Healthy eating habits
- Quality control
- More affordable
- Portion size control
- Fresh ingredients
- Dietary requirements can be met
Board-certified veterinary nutritionists and diplomates of the American College of Veterinary Nutrition, Jennifer A. Larsen, DVM, MS, Ph.D., and Joe Bartges, DVM, Ph.D., agree that switching to homemade dog food comes with significant advantages. Diet management, appeasing picky eaters, bond-building, combatting food intolerance and allergies issues, and avoiding concerns over food recalls are examples of the many benefits.1
Eating a homemade diet may also help prevent many conditions associated with a poor diet, such as obesity, poor skin, coat condition, pancreatitis, diabetes, and reduced immunity.
Food & Australian Shepherd Health: Why Feed Homemade?
As with any breed, the Australian Shepherd is not without its share of health problems. To keep your Aussie in peak physical condition, it’s helpful to familiarize yourself with the breed’s most common ailments. Understanding nutrition’s role in your dog’s health is one of the first steps towards symptom management and longevity.
One ailment Aussies are at risk of developing are skin allergies, which can be a constant source of misery for some dogs. Relentless itching may cause a dog to unintentionally break the skin, putting him at risk of secondary bacterial and yeast infections. The constant scratching can also do a number on your Aussie’s coat, causing painful mats, hair loss, and odors from infections.2
Unfortunately, the high heat cooking process and lower-quality ingredients of processed dog food may contribute to allergies. Some experts believe the harmful components found in traditional kibble, like colorants, fillers, preservatives, and meat meal could worsen allergies in dogs.3 In Australian Shepherds, food allergies can manifest anywhere on the body in the form of rashes, swelling, or itchy skin.
According to the Australian Shepherd Health and Genetics Institute (ASHGI), thyroid disease (autoimmune thyroiditis) is one of the breed’s most frequently reported medical conditions.4 Your dog’s thyroid is responsible for creating thyroxine, a hormone that controls his metabolism, turning food into fuel. Hypothyroidism occurs when your dog is not secreting enough thyroxine.5 While more studies are needed to definitively link dry dog food to thyroid disease, the evidence is compelling. Because dry kibble usually contains excess starch and other inflammatory ingredients, some vets encourage those affected to avoid commercial dog food altogether.6
Australian Shepherds also face a higher risk of developing two types of cancer: hemangiosarcoma (HSA) and lymphoma.7
There’s mounting evidence that processed kibble may influence your Aussie’s risk of cancer.8 Part of the problem lies in the processing method used to make dog food. Kibble is cooked in blistering hot temperatures, which produces carcinogens and free radicals in the body. Dry dog food is also packed with carbohydrates, which break down into cancer-feeding glucose. Of course, nutrition isn’t the only risk factor for cancer, but providing the best food for your Australian Shepherd is one way to lower his risk.
Eye defects are another condition seen among Aussies. The breed is genetically prone to cataracts, which can occur as a result of nutritional deficiencies.9 Aussies are also prone to progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), detached retinas, collie eye anomaly (CEA), colobomas (part of the eye structure is missing), and persistent pupillary membrane.10
Your Australian Shepherd needs specific vitamins, including beta carotene, vitamin A, taurine, antioxidants, and Omega-3 fatty acids to keep his eyesight in good shape. If his commercial dog food doesn’t deliver enough nutrients, his eye function could suffer.11
Australian Shepherds also suffer from canine elbow dysplasia (ED), an abnormality in which the bones of the elbow joint don’t fit together as they should. This causes pain, mobility issues, and can contribute to the development of arthritis.12
The breed is genetically predisposed to hip dysplasia (HD), a genetic malformation of the hip socket. Effects of this disease can range from mild to severe, with the most serious cases requiring a surgical hip replacement. The condition is hereditary but is also influenced by environmental factors such as exercise, nutrition, and weight. In fact, a study evaluated the prevalence of HD in 10 breeds. Based on the assessment of 27,710 dogs, the Australian Shepherd was among the top breed to show this condition.21
A study from The Journal of Nutrition demonstrated that weight, diet, and exercise habits are all significant risk factors for ED and HD.13 While several factors are at play, the likelihood that an Australian Shepherd will develop either condition increases if he’s overweight. Most commercially available dog foods are filled with high-starch carbohydrates, making it easy for your pup to pack on the pounds. This excess weight puts stress on the joints and worsens musculoskeletal conditions like ED and HD.
Epilepsy is also prevalent in the breed. Research has shown that many dry dog foods contain unbalanced levels of the amino acid, glutamate (MSG). While essential for canine brain development, too much glutamate may worsen an epileptic dog’s condition.14
Australian Shepherds can inherit a gene mutation that makes them sensitive to certain drugs. Dogs with Multi-Drug Resistance 1 (MDR1) experience negative—sometimes fatal—reactions to medications. According to the WSU Veterinary Clinical Pharmacology Laboratory, of the Australian Shepherds tested in the United States, 50% had the mutated gene.15
For dogs unable to take certain medications, a change in diet could help. An Aussie with chronic digestive issues may find relief by swapping his regular kibble with a healthy blend of clean ingredients.
How Can A Homemade Diet Help Australian Shepherd With All of This?
Your Aussie’s health depends on good nutrition. If you want to keep his health in superior shape for as long as possible, providing a fresh, homemade diet is an excellent place to start.
One reason to consider switching to homemade dog food is food allergies.
A homemade diet ensures that all his meals are high-quality, chemical-free, and made with wholesome ingredients. This will help avoid food-related allergic reactions due to harmful ingredients found in commercial kibble.
Because you have control over the ingredients used, you can pick safe ingredients that you know won’t trigger allergies in your Australian Shepherd. If you are unsure what ingredients may cause sensitivities or allergies in your pet, we advise doing an At-Home Food Dog Allergy Test before selecting the ingredients for their next meal.
While dry dog food is tough to digest and harder to break down, homemade has a higher bioavailability due to the fresh ingredients in the recipes. This means key nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and amino acids are absorbed more quickly. Because nutrients are absorbed more quickly, this increases inflammatory responses, which help reduce allergy-related symptoms faster or prevent them altogether.
Maintaining a healthy body weight is critical to reducing the risk of canine elbow and hip dysplasia. Switching your Aussie to a homemade diet makes it easier to manage his caloric and nutrient intake. Homemade dog food allows you to easily adjust the amounts of vegetables, carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, and minerals depending on your pup’s nutritional goals.
Since the breed is predisposed to eye defects, Australian Shepherds must eat a diet packed with vitamins and minerals. One comparative study found that serious vitamin E deficiencies can cause partial or complete canine retina degeneration.16 Another study in the Journal of Nutritional Science (JNS) discovered that incorporating antioxidant supplements increased retinal function. Cooking for you Aussie makes it simple to incorporate natural antioxidants (ex. carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach) and supplement their diet to keep a healthy vision.
Regarding epilepsy, cooking with MCT oil-enriched diet (coconut oil) may help act as a preventative agent against potential epileptic development in dogs. According to recent studies, cognitive impairment has been identified in canine epilepsy patients. One way to combat this is by adding healthy fats to your dog’s diet. A medium-chain triglyceride or MCT oil-enriched diet has been shown to improve cognition in older dogs and seizure control in dogs with epilepsy.17
MCT is considered “good” fat and is an excellent source of energy. As a bonus, this type of fat features antibacterial, anti-fungal, and antiviral properties. MCT is safe to give dogs, but the American Kennel Club advises pet owners to administer it gradually. You need to be mindful of the extra calories.
For dogs with an MDR1 mutation, home-cooked meals can be one part of the solution. Suppose your pet is sensitive to certain drugs such as loperamide (an antidiarrheal). In that case, a healthy diet may drastically improve his digestive issues, eliminating his need for medicine in the first place. In addition to swapping the offending medication with something safer, offering your dog wholesome foods can keep his digestion on track.18
When it comes to cancer, homemade dog food removes the highly processed food out of the equation which is often linked to cancer issues in dogs. You no longer have to worry about oxidative stress due to processed food.
Fresh, human-grade dog food, unlike kibble, does not extra pressure on the digestive system, pancreas, and liver which helps with thyroid disease.20 In addition to hormone replacement medication, a healthy home-cooked diet can help your Australian Shepherd combat the effects of thyroid disease. A healthy balanced level of amino acids, iodine, vitamins, minerals, probiotics, and antioxidants in his food is key for dogs with this condition.
Simply put, you can’t beat the palatability, bioavailability, and freshness of homemade dog food. Swapping a heavily processed and nutrient-lacking dog food with healthy, homemade meals is an effective way to ward off some of the breed’s more common ailments.
As always, be sure to consult your vet before adjusting your dog’s diet. Equally important is making the changes gradually to avoid an upset stomach.
Australian Shepherd Homemade Dog Food Risks
Here are some risks associated with homemade food that Australian Shepherds owners should be aware of.
- Not understanding the nutritional needs of Australian Shepherds
- Using inadequate or dangerous recipes
- Not preparing a balanced meal
- Using unsafe or harmful ingredients
- Not understanding the impact of food and dietary changes
- Not understanding your dog’s life stages (puppies, adults & senior) nutritional needs
- Neglecting your dog’s health conditions
A study by the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary found that most homemade dog food recipes lack key essential nutrients, and other recipes used dangerously high levels of some nutrients.
Even more shocking, research published in The Journal of Nutritional Science concluded 48% of homemade diets had an imprecise determination of ingredients and quantities and that 71.3 % of dog owners did know how much food to serve per meal. What’s more alarming is that 30.4% of the pet parents admitted to purposely changing the recipe, 40% of owners didn’t measure the proportions of the ingredients well enough, and 28.3% didn’t use any of the recommended vitamins, minerals, or amino acid.
In a survey published in the journal Preventive Veterinary Medicine, vets reported 97% of obesity cases in dogs could be traced to how owners fed and played with their pets.
It’s important to remember that your dog’s nutritional needs will be different from your own. It’s always recommended to speak to your vet and preferably a veterinary nutritionist before introducing any new diet to your pup. Only a veterinarian can address your Australian Shepherds’ nutritional requirements and help you craft nutritionally balanced recipes. They can also recommend a high-quality homemade food service for convenience.
Australian Shepherd Nutritional Guidelines to Follow
The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) recommends all dog food contains six essential nutrients: protein, carbs, fat, minerals, water, and vitamins.
AFFCO is the entity regulating dog food nutritional value in commercial dog food. Be sure to consider your dog’s health status, activity level, size, breed-specific needs, and weight when creating a homemade dog food diet.
Each of these six nutrients is crucial in supporting good health and growth.
|Protein||Chicken, lamb, turkey, beef, fish, yogurt and cooked eggs||Builds and repairs muscles and other body tissues. Needed to make new skin cells, grow hair, hormones, enzymes and more.
|Carbohydrates||Oats, brown rice, potatoes, and whole wheat||Source of energy for dogs and supplies glucose needed by the brain, nervous system and other critical organs for normal function.
|Fat||From meats and oils such as olive or sunflower oil, fish oil, canola oils among others||Responsible for providing quality energy. Necessary for the normal development and function of body cells, nerves, muscles, and body tissues
|Minerals||Calcium, potassium, sodium, magnesium, iron, zinc, etc.||Common functions include the formation of bone and cartilage, nerve and muscle function, fluid balance regulation, the transportation of oxygen in the bloodstream and hormone production.
|Water||Water||Hydration is critical in dogs. A dog that loses too much water (10% to 15% of the water in his body) can get very sick and even die. Ensure they have water available throughout the day.
|Vitamins||A, B, C, D, E, and K||Keeps skin and coat healthy, strengthens bones and teeth, and gives them the overall energy that they need to function.
Pet parents must help their Australian Shepherd maintain a healthy weight. Avoiding calorie-dense foods like cooked bones, table scraps, fatty foods, and excessive treats will support a healthy weight for your pup.
Recommended Supplements For Australian Shepherds
Here are some of the supplements this breed may benefit from.
- Multivitamin Supplement – It’s common for homemade dog food to lack one or more of these nutrients. Using a multivitamin supplement like Zesty Paws Multivitamin Chews can help your Aussie Sheepdog get a balanced diet.
- Hip & Joint supplements – Australian Shepherds are prone to bone and joint problems. To prevent or alleviate these problems, it’s wise to supplement their diet with Glucosamine and Chondroitin to help maintain an active lifestyle and support joint tissue. Finn Hip & Joint is an excellent choice.
- Multi-Drug Resistance 1 (MDR1) – Dog probiotics are effective in various intestinal disorders including antibiotic-associated problems and to digestive inflammatory issues which could potentially help fido tolerate drugs better.
- Eye Health Supplement – Keep your dog’s eye health in good shape with these dog vitamins for eyes from Zesty Paws. Maintaining a healthy eye function in this breed is key.
- Thyroid Supplement – If your Aussie suffers from thyroid issues, Nutrition Strength Thyroid Supplement can provide healthy thyroid function and help promote hormonal balance in your pet.
As always, be sure to speak with your veterinarian before feeding anything new to your pet. Vets can help you create an individualized diet for your dog.
To learn more about healthy pet diets, check out Home Prepared Dog & Cat Diets: the Healthful Alternative by Donald R. Strombeck, DVM, Ph.D. He’s an expert in veterinary medicine and pet nutrition. Many vets consider this book the go-to resource for dog nutrition.
Health Dietary Changes In Australian Shepherd
Modifications to your Australian Shepherd’s diet may bring positive changes to your dog’s health and help with food-related conditions.
Below are some dietary adjustments you can implement if your furry friend is experiencing any of the conditions listed below.
|Condition||Dietary Needs & Adjustments
|Coat Color Changes||Increase amino acids which can be found in protein (>75 grams per 1000 calories)|
|Concurrent GI Signs||Avoid foods with tryptamine and histamine such as dairy or fermented vegetables and meats (yes, this includes bacon); try a simple ingredient food trial
|Chronic Itching and Dermatitis||Fortify the diet with Vitamin E, B Vitamins, Zinc, omega-6 and the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil; add a dog probiotic; try a simple ingredient food trial|
|Dull Coat and Scaling||Adjust EPA and DHA levels in the diet (added fish oil being the most common way); try a food that has added zinc
|Dandruff and Crustiness||Add Zinc and Vitamin A levels
If your Australian Shepherd experiences skin allergies or joint pain, adding dog fish oil may be a good idea. The AKC states that fish oil promotes healthier coats by reducing itchiness and flakiness in the skin due to its omega-3 fatty acid content. Other significant effects include promoting improved immunity (especially against cancer) while strengthening heart health in dogs.
Australian Shepherd Calorie Requirements
Dog caloric needs are based on their weight. An adult Australian Shepherd dog usually weighs between 40 and 65 pounds, so most Aussie dogs would need to eat between 983 and 1418 calories per day.
Make sure you follow the 10% rule when feeding treats to your dog. Food would equal 90% of the total calories and treat the remaining 10%.
For instance, if an Australian Shepherd weighs 55 lbs. Then, it would need 1248 calories per day. If you feed your pup treats, that’s 1123 calories in food (90%) and 125 in treats (10%). Usually, full-grown dogs eat two meals per day, so split 1248 calories (or 1123 if feeding treats) into two meals a day. You can use this calculator to find the exact caloric needs for your dog based on his weight.
Pregnant Australian Shepherds may require 2 to 4 times the food they usually have as the mother’s energy requirements increase after delivery and during lactation. Be sure to speak to your vet.
Homemade Dog Food For Australian Shepherd Puppies
Since Australian Shepherd puppies need more energy to grow, they need extra protein, fat, calcium, amino acids, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids compared to adult dogs. If these levels are not adequately met, it can result in stunted growth or lifelong complications.
According to The National Research Council, puppies should get around twice as many calories as their adult counterparts of the same breed. Many pet parents believe that they need to change their puppys’ calorie and food amount daily because they are always growing. However, this is a myth. “To promote normal growth, most puppies need to be fed the same number of calories, and food, from about four months of age to 12 months of age,” says veterinary nutritionist Dr. Justin Shmalberg DVM, from Nom Nom.
An Australian Shepherd under six months old will need to be fed more than twice a day; once the Australian Shepherd becomes an adult, a meal in the morning and the evening should be sufficient.
While puppies are developing, they should not skip a meal. This could impact proper growth and development. A puppy’s diet needs to be a precise balance of proteins, carbohydrates, fat, minerals, water, and vitamins, as outlined in our nutritional guidelines earlier.
Homemade Dog Food Delivery Service
Preparing a balanced homemade meal for your Australian Shepherd can be a tedious and time-consuming process.
If you have a hectic schedule, multiple pets, or don’t want to risk preparing unbalanced meals for your Australian Shepherd, a homemade dog food delivery service like Nom Nom is an awesome alternative.
Nom Nom delivers fresh, healthy food for your dog made with real, organic, and human-grade ingredients.
The best part is that the food was fresh and delivered right to your doorstep. They use no fillers or additives, and all meals can be customized according to your pup’s unique nutritional requirements or based upon any health condition. For instance, if your Australian Shepherd has specific food-related health issues like allergies or an illness, they will craft a recipe that caters to your pup’s needs.
Board-certified veterinary nutritionists formulate each recipe and ensure their formulas comply with AAFCO standards. Each meal is packaged as a daily portion in recyclable containers, making serving easy.
Additionally, Nom Nom personalizes each recipe according to your dog’s unique dietary requirements, age, nutritional goals, and other vital factors. For instance, if your Aussie has specific food-related health issues like allergies or an illness, they will craft a recipe that caters to your pup’s needs.
Our readers have access to save 50% off their first Nom Nom order. Just use this link to get your Australian Shepherd’s first homemade meal.
Check out Canine Bible’s German Shepherd trying out Nom Nom homemade dog food. She definitely recommends it!
Australian Shepherd Homemade Food Tips
Before we share some of our favorite recipes, be sure to read the following cooking tips.
- Set a consistent feeding schedule.
- Feed your Australian Shepherd two times a day (puppies under 12 months, 3 to 4 times a day, check with your veterinarian).
- Meal prep weekly or monthly.
- Measure and control portion sizes depending on your dog’s calorie needs.
- Keep meals frozen for 2 to 3 months or refrigerated for about 5 days.
- Make a new batch when the food supply is getting low.
- If you want to feed different recipes, you can make multiple batches and color code by ingredients, rotating out the different meals.
- Prepare the food in bulk and portion it into containers (one container per meal makes it extra-easy).
- Increase portions appropriately as your puppy grows.
- Monitor weight to make sure you are feeding the proper amount of calories.
How To Cook Homemade Food For Australian Shepherd (Video)
Check out this video to learn how to prepare a homemade meal for your Aussie.
Best Australian Shepherd Homemade Dog Food Recipes
We put together four of the best Australian Shepherd homemade dog food recipes. Your dog is sure to love the flavors and ingredients.
We’ve also added a special treat recipe for Australian Shepherds that is not only delightful and tasty but it’s packed with excellent health benefits. We kid you not; this recipe can do a lot for your pup’s health and wellness. It has our favorite secret ingredient, dog CBD oil.
Note: Please consult with your pet’s veterinarian and use personal judgment when applying this information to your dog’s diet. The recipes below do not include serving size because portion sizes will vary depending on breed, weight, activity level, age, and health of your dog. A common recommendation is to feed your dog a comparable amount of ounces/cups to what you would usually feed in kibble BUT check with your vet to be certain.
CBD-Infused Dog Treats
CBD dog treats are perfect for helping with seizures, anxiety, arthritis, inflammation, pain, wellness, preventive care, and many other health problems. (read our dog CBD guide to learn more)
Treat your [enter breed] with these nutritious, therapeutic, and delicious homemade CBD oil dog treats. They are made with Pumpkin, a great source of essential vitamins and minerals (like vitamin A, potassium, vitamin C, and iron). Pumpkin also aids with digestion and hydration. Coconut is added for skin and coat, digestion, and helps reduce allergic reactions.
Be sure to check with your vet to make sure CBD is safe for your pup and you are giving the right dosage.
You can also purchase already made CBD dog treats so your pup can experience all the benefits of CBD.
- 2 1/2 cups gluten-free flour
- 1/2 cup oats
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 Tbsp coconut sugar
- 1 apple, cored and grated
- 1/2 cup carrots, peeled and grated
- 1/2 cup peanut butter
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/3 cup olive or coconut oil
- 1/2 cup water
- dash of sea salt
- 120 mg CBD oil
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease a dog cookie baking tray with coconut oil.
- Core and grate the apples, then peel and grate the carrots.
- In a medium-sized bowl, combine the gluten-free flour, oats, and coconut sugar. In another medium-sized bowl, beat the egg. Then, add coconut oil, water, and grated apples and carrots.
- Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients bowl; mix completely. Finally, add CBD oil and mix once more.
- Using a Tbsp measuring spoon, portion out the dog biscuits and press into the dog treat baking pan. Bake, 32-37 minutes or until the biscuits are firm and golden-brown on the outside.
- Store in an air-tight container.
Recipe from: Truth Theory
Salmon Fish Cakes Dog Recipe
- 2 lbs salmon
- 1 Cup frozen or canned peas
- 1 medium sweet potato diced
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
- 3/4 cup uncooked brown rice
- 5 tablespoons chopped beef liver
- 5 sprigs fresh parsley chopped
- Preheat the oven to 375 F and coat a large baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
- Pulse the salmon in a food processor to chop then set it aside.
- Cook the frozen peas according to the package directions.
- Boil sweet potato until it is soft for about 20 minutes. Mash it well there.
- In a large bowl whisk the eggs and add mashed sweet potato, peas, salmon, and breadcrumbs. Mix all ingredients using your hands.
- Make salmon fish cakes that are approximately 3 inches in diameter about 6 oz. each. Place them in the prepared baking dish and cover with foil bake for 25 minutes until golden brown.
- Remove fish cakes from the oven and let them cool.
- Prepare the rice as directed on the package.
- Serve according to your dog’s weight.
- Add 1/4 cup of the rice, one tablespoon of chopped beef liver and one sprig of parsley to each fishcake.
Note: You can refrigerate leftovers in the airtight container for up to 3 to 5 days.
- 4 medium potatoes diced
- 1 chopped zucchini
- 2 large eggs
- 2 lbs of ground Turkey
- ½ cup mashed banana
- 2 tablespoons minced beef heart
- Coat a large baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a medium pot cover the potatoes with water and bring it to a boil.
- Cook until the potatoes are soft, about 20 minutes.
- Mash well in the pot
- Puree the zucchini in a food processor to make zucchini puree
- In another bowl, whisk eggs and add Turkey, zucchini, banana, mashed potatoes, and beef heart. Mix all ingredients
- With your hands, make burgers the size that’s adequate for your dog.
- Place them in the prepared baking dish and bake for 30 to 40 minutes
- Let the burgers cool completely before serving them.
Pork & Beef, Sweet Potato & Rice
- 2 lbs ground pork
- 2-2.5lbs ground beef
- 1 large sweet potato
- 1 large apple, cored
- 2 carrots (or 8 baby carrots)
- 1 cup of kale
- 1/2 cup of blueberries (fresh or frozen)
- 1 cup rice
- 1 1/2 cup water
- Put the ground meats in a 4-6 quart crockpot. You can use any ground meat that you would like.
- Peel and chop the potato, apple, and carrots into 1″ pieces. Chop the kale.
- Add all of the fruits and veggies to the crockpot and mix with the meat.
- Cook on high for 3-5 hours or on low for 5-7 hours until the meat is browned.
- When the meat mixture is close to being done, cook up the rice with the water on the stovetop. We use long-cooking rice (bring the rice and water to a boil, then turn heat to low, cover, and cook for 15-20 minutes). When the rice is done, mix it into the meat mixture.
Recipe from: Emily’s Little Homestead
If you are interested in more homemade dog food recipes and cooking options for your Corgi, cookbooks can come in handy to have a range of dog food recipes. Our top pick is Home Cooking for Your Dog: 75 Holistic Recipes for a Healthier Dog.
Best Homemade Dog Food Cooking Practices
Be sure to follow the food safety guidelines below. If you aren’t aware of these things, you could cause serious harm to your dog.
- Never use unsafe or toxic ingredients for dogs
- Use only boneless meats (no cooked bones)
- Cook all animal products thoroughly to kill harmful bacteria
- Cook all grains, beans, and starchy vegetables to make them easier to digest
- Research every ingredient before using it for safety
- Follow recipes as instructed
- Add supplements to their diet if needed
- Run any questions by a vet nutritionist
What Foods Should Your Australian Shepherd Never Eat?
Be sure to avoid these ingredients when feeding your Aussie.
- Onions and garlic
- Coffee, tea, and other caffeine
- Grapes and raisins
- Macadamia nuts
- Raw bread dough
Check out this handy list for a comprehensive list of all foods to avoid. Please print it out and put it on your refrigerator as a reminder.
Australian Shepherd Raw Diet (BARF)
The BARF diet stands for two common phrases: ‘Biologically Appropriate Raw Food’ and ‘Bones and Raw Food.’ Veterinarian and nutritionist Dr. Ian Billinghurst founded it, and the concept is to feed dogs the diet they evolved to eat—a raw diet composed of meats and greens that are fresh, uncooked, and wild.
Many kinds of raw foods are available for dogs, including homemade raw dog food and store-bought (frozen, freeze-dried, and dehydrated). Raw dog foods usually include organs, muscle, whole or ground bones, raw eggs, fresh fruits and vegetables, and dairy.
Preparing the BARF diet for Australian Shepherds requires extra effort and planning as the risk for contamination and nutritional imbalance is greater in raw ingredients.
The overwhelmingly positive benefits on teeth, coat, and digestive functions make the BARF diet a popular choice. Read our raw dog food diet article if you want to learn more about the benefits and risks, get the best commercial raw food diet for your Australian Shepherd.
Monitor Weight And Health
Dog nutrition can be complex, particularly when you start cooking for your dog. How can you make sure your homemade food will meet your dog’s dietary requirements?
An important gauge of a dog’s health is its weight. This is easy for pet parents to track and record at home each month.
Maintaining the healthy weight of your Australian Shepherd is made easier by providing the proper quality and quantity of dog food. If your dog is rapidly gaining or losing weight, this could indicate food-related health concerns.
Inadequate and unbalanced meal plans can lead to skin or coat issues, extreme lack of energy, allergies, weight loss, malnutrition, or obesity. If you notice these symptoms, stop feeding meals to your pet, review your dog’s diet, and talk to a vet as soon as possible.
Reach out to your pet nutritionist to ensure nutritional adequacy in all of your dog’s meals.
Other Food Alternatives
Learning how to cook homemade food for Aussies can be a bit overwhelming.
Each dog has unique nutritional requirements. It’s advised to always consult with your vet and build a diet based on your dog’s health and dietary goals.
According to our research, homemade food is healthier, more nutritious, and can help you improve your Aussie’s overall well-being for a happier pooch.
The Australian Shepherd is an active breed that needs food with high energy content. Homemade dog foods can provide them with all of the nutrients they need to live their happiest, healthiest life.
Read up on vegan dog food if your Australian Shepherd is prone to food allergies or any food-related health issues. Plant-based diets are also becoming increasingly popular diets for dogs with food sensitivities and other health issues.
Sources & References:  AKC,  NomNom,  NomNom,  ASHGI,  AKC,  Carolina Veterinary Specialists ,  Ancare Veterinary Hospital ,  Cancer.gov,  ASCA ,  Oxford Laboratories,  Mercola Pets,  American College of Veterinary Surgeons ,  Journal of Nutrition,  PubMed,  WSU,  PubMed,  ScienceDirect,  AKC,  Cancer.gov,  MyPetNutritionist  Journal Plos: HD Prevalence