How Much to Feed a Shetland Sheepdog (Feeding Chart & Guide)

Feeding a Shetland Sheepdog a bowl of dog food

Feeding a Shetland Sheepdog involves more than just filling their bowl; it requires understanding their unique dietary needs and activity levels. 

This article delves into the specifics of how much food is ideal for keeping your Sheltie healthy and happy. 

We’ll explore the balance of nutrients essential for their well-being, and provide guidelines on portion sizes and caloric intake tailored to their age.

What Factors Impact How Much to Feed a Shetland Sheepdog?

Woman feeding a Shetland Sheepdog

When it comes to feeding your Shetland Sheepdog, several key factors play a crucial role in determining the right amount of food. These include:

  • Age: This is a significant factor influencing a dog’s nutritional needs. Puppies are growing and need more calories per pound compared to adults. Adjusting their diet is essential to prevent overfeeding and maintain optimal health as they mature.
  • Metabolism: Metabolism varies in every dog; some burn calories faster than others. Observing your dog’s weight and body condition and adjusting food intake accordingly helps maintain a healthy weight, whether they have a fast or slow metabolism.
  • Weight: The current weight of your Shetland Sheepdog is vital in determining food portions. Overweight dogs may need a diet adjustment to lose weight, while underweight dogs might require more calories.
  • Activity Level: An active Shetland Sheepdog will burn more calories and may need more food than a less active one. Assess your dog’s daily activities and lifestyle when determining their food intake.
  • Gender: Male Shelties usually have a slightly bigger structure than females. Additionally, female dogs undergo pregnancy and lactation that males don’t experience. These gender-related factors are also things to consider when it comes to the amount of food given to them.

Understanding and considering these factors ensures that your Shetland Sheepdog receives the right amount of nutrition for their individual needs. Regular consultations with your veterinarian can also help tailor their diet more precisely.

Note: While this feeding guide focuses on the standard Shetland Sheepdog, a miniature version of the Sheltie exists. These smaller dogs have their own specific dietary needs, and it is best to partner with your veterinarian for this.

How Much to Feed Your Shetland Sheepdog?

Shetland Sheepdog waiting for food with an empty bowl

Shelties, known for their boundless energy, especially need a diet that’s rich in protein, fats, and carbs to match their active lifestyle in the herding group.

I’ve put together some easy-to-follow tables to help you figure out just how much to feed your Shetland Sheepdog at every stage of their life, from a playful puppy to a dignified senior.

Shetland Sheepdog Puppy Feeding Chart (3 to 12 months)

Initially, a newborn Sheltie relies entirely on its mother’s milk for nutrition, which is crucial for its early growth and development. 

Starting at four weeks, you can begin weaning your Sheltie puppy by gradually introducing puppy food. 

Begin with a mix of 75% liquid to 25% solid food, increasing the solid portion weekly until the puppy is eight weeks old.

Once your puppy is ready for 100% solid food, here’s a guide to the recommended daily food and caloric intake:

AgeDaily Food Quantity (Cups)Caloric Intake (Per day)
3 – 4 months1 – 1 ¼441 – 590
5 – 6 months1 – 1 ½432 – 727
7 – 12 months1 – 2516 – 862
*Use a standard 8-oz measuring cup

During the puppy stage, the Shetland Sheepdog is still developing its bones, muscles, and immune system. Hence, receiving the proper amount of food and nutrients is crucial in ensuring your pet grows strong and healthy.

Moreover, adequate water intake is vital, as it aids in digestion, blood flow, and brain function, contributing significantly to your puppy’s overall health and development.

Adult Shetland Sheepdog Feeding Chart (1 to 7 years)

Your adult Shetland Sheepdog typically reaches its adult size at around 12 months. At this time, your dog must transition from a puppy diet to adult dog food since nutritional needs per dog’s life stage may differ.

Here’s a feeding chart to help you align your adult Shetland Sheepdog’s diet with their dietary requirements:

AgeDaily Food Quantity (Cups)Caloric Intake (Per day)
1 – 7 years1 ¼ – 1 ¾451 – 690
*Use a standard 8-oz measuring cup

For your adult Sheltie, a well-balanced diet is vital. Protein is essential for cell, tissue, and muscle repair, while fats are important for healthy skin and coat. 

Carbohydrates, particularly those high in fiber, aid digestion, and omega fatty acids support joint mobility.

These nutrients can be found in meats, fruits, and vegetables, so including these in your Sheltie’s diet is beneficial.

I fondly remember how we took care of my grandfather’s ever-reliable Sheltie, Reign, who was his go-to dog when it came to herding the cattle and sheep on his farm.

Part of my responsibility back then was to ensure that I gave the right amount of dog food for Reign. Aside from following the recommended diet of kibbles, I used to add another cup of home-cooked meals.

This is usually made up of either boiled chicken or beef, with potatoes, carrots, and string beans. I also add the broth from the boiled proteins to make the meal more palatable. This covers the additional energy Reign needs for her herding tasks.

Senior Shetland Sheepdog Feeding Chart (8 years and above)

A Shetland Sheepdog enters its senior years at age 8. As your dog ages, its energy and activity levels typically decrease. It’s necessary to reduce their daily caloric intake to avoid unnecessary weight gain.

Senior Shelties are more prone to age-related health issues such as skin and coat deterioration, digestive problems, hip dysplasia, and muscle loss. Providing proper nutrition tailored for senior dogs can help mitigate these risks.

To prevent or lessen the possibility of these health issues, ensure that your pet receives proper nutrition for senior dogs, which they can get from healthy foods, vitamins, and supplements.

The following chart outlines the ideal food amount and caloric intake for a senior Shetland Sheepdog:

AgeDaily Food Quantity (Cups)Caloric Intake (Per day)
8 years and above1 – 1 ½361 – 552
*Use a standard 8-oz measuring cup

Senior Shelties require more protein to support their immune system and maintain muscle strength. However, their overall food intake and fat content should be moderated to prevent obesity.

Some senior Shelties may experience a decrease in appetite. In such cases, consult your veterinarian for advice on maintaining a balanced and healthy diet.

How Often Should You Feed Your Shetland Sheepdog?

Shetland Sheepdog eating dog kibble

While free-feeding (leaving food out all day) is a common practice, it’s not recommended for Shetland Sheepdogs. Constant access to food can lead to overeating, potentially causing bloat and obesity.

A scheduled feeding routine is preferable. This involves feeding your dog at set times of the day, ensuring they receive the right amount of food and maintain a healthy eating habit.

Here’s a simple guide to help you figure out how often to feed your Sheltie:

AgeFeeding Frequency
2 – 3 monthsFour times a day
4 – 12 monthsThree times a day
One year and aboveTwice a day

The total daily food quantity should be divided over these feeding times. For example, if you’re feeding a four-month-old Sheltie one cup of food per day, it should get ¼ cup per meal, served four times a day.

How to Transition Your Shetland Sheepdog to a New Food

Shetland Sheepdog eating a raw bone

Switching your Shetland Sheepdog to a new food is bound to happen throughout life. For instance, a Sheltie puppy that reaches adulthood must be transitioned from puppy food to adult food.

In the same way, an adult Shetland Sheepdog’s diet should be changed to a senior diet once it gets to its senior years.

Additionally, health issues like digestive problems and weight gain also require a different diet for your dog.

In cases like this, avoid changing the Shetland Sheepdog’s diet abruptly as it may cause gastrointestinal upset, which lets your dog experience vomiting, diarrhea, and a decreased appetite.

To prevent this, gradually introduce new food by combining the old food with the new one. Do this over the course of seven days with an increasing ratio.

Refer to the table below for a detailed summary of how to transition your Shetland Sheepdog to a new food:

DayOld FoodNew Food
1 – 275%25% 
3 – 450%50%
5 – 625%75%

During the transition period, observe your Sheltie for any signs of food allergies or stomach upset. If this happens, slow the process and extend it for a few more days. Call your vet for advice if it persists.

Tips on Feeding an Overweight Shetland Sheepdog

An overweight Shetland Sheepdog is susceptible to various diseases, such as heart problems, hypertension, diabetes, joint problems, and mobility issues.

Unsupervised feeding, food not in line with the dog’s activity level, and lack of exercise are a few reasons your Shetland Sheepdog may be overweight.

To manage this, consider the following tips:

  • Consistently measure portions: Overfeeding is a common mistake. Use a standard measuring cup for accurate portion control. Splitting meals into smaller, more frequent portions can also be effective. Consistency is crucial, and an automated feeder might help in maintaining regular feeding times and amounts.
  • Opt for healthy alternatives: High-calorie treats can contribute to weight gain. Instead, offer low-calorie snacks like carrots or green beans. Treats should make up less than 10% of your dog’s daily caloric intake. You can also explore non-food rewards like clicker training or extra playtime.
  • Customize diet: Every dog has unique dietary needs. Consulting with a veterinarian or a dog nutritionist for a personalized nutrition plan can effectively manage their weight.
  • Increase physical activity: Regular exercise is crucial for weight loss. Engage your Sheltie in activities like walks, play sessions, and safe off-leash exercises. Remember to protect them from fleas and ticks during outdoor activities.

By adopting these strategies, you can effectively guide your overweight Shetland Sheepdog towards a healthier weight and happier life.

Frequently Asked Questions

Shetland Sheepdog with a lot of dog food

How Do I Know If I’m Feeding My Shetland Sheepdog Enough?

To know if you’re feeding your Shetland Sheepdog enough, observe their body condition, weight, and vitality, as these are reliable indicators of whether their dietary needs are met.

If you’re unsure about the adequacy of their food intake, a consultation with your vet can guide you on adjusting portion sizes based on age, weight, and activity level.

Remember, a well-fed dog will exhibit signs of contentment, maintain a steady weight, and sport a healthy coat. Meanwhile, if your dog is constantly hungry or lethargic, it may be time to reassess their diet.

Why Is My Shetland Sheepdog Not Eating?

There are many possible reasons why your Shetland Sheepdog is not eating. One is boredom over the same food, which can be resolved by changing the dog’s diet.

Another one is a sudden change of routine or diet, which may be addressed by slowing down the transition process. Age is also a factor since puppies that undergo teething and senior dogs often show decreased appetite.

However, if your dog’s refusal to eat goes on for a week and is accompanied by lethargy, vomiting, and diarrhea, call your veterinarian immediately.

Can I Feed My Shetland Sheepdog With Human Food?

Feeding your Shetland Sheepdog human food can be quite tricky. While some human foods like carrots, green beans, and lean meats can be healthy treats, others like chocolate, grapes, and onions can be harmful.

It’s essential to understand which foods are safe and to give them in moderation. Also, too much human food can lead to obesity and nutritional imbalances.

You should consult your vet before adding human food to your dog’s diet to ensure it’s balanced and nutritious.

Do Shetland Sheepdogs Eat a Lot?

Due to their food-motivated nature, Shetland Sheepdogs eat a lot. They tend to eat whatever is served to them. Because of this, they are prone to becoming overweight if they don’t have a diet plan to stick to.

That said, monitoring their food intake is essential to avoid the risk of weight gain.

Can Shetland Sheepdogs Eat Bones?

Shetland Sheepdogs can eat bones as long as it’s raw. It’s good for their dental health as chewing on it makes their teeth and jaw grow strong.

However, it’s important to exercise caution when giving one to your pet. Avoid letting it chew on rib bones or cooked ones, as these can cause obstruction to a canine’s airway or intestines.

Hopefully, this article provided you with enough knowledge of how much to feed your Shetland Sheepdog. If you’ve got any other questions, just leave them in the comments down below!

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