The Ultimate Guide to What Shetland Sheepdogs Can (And Can’t) Eat

The Ultimate Guide to What Shetland Sheepdogs Can (And Can’t) Eat

Start a home-cooked meal for your Sheltie with a protein base like fish, chicken, turkey, beef, or lamb; a quarter pound is suitable for an average-sized Sheltie. Complement the meal with nutritious additions like rice, yams, peas, carrots, and broccoli.

There’s more to know about what Shetland Sheepdogs can eat and what they should stay away from.

Typical Feeding Requirements for Shetland Sheepdogs (Puppy and Adult)

Shetland Sheepdog puppies are more prone to eating more because their body is still growing and developing. In this stage, it’s required that you feed your Sheltie pup the most nutrient-dense dry and whole foods that are available to you.

In addition, making sure that your Sheltie pup is hydrated is an important part of their feeding requirements considering that water helps their intestines to push excess waste out of the body, which keeps your dog’s body clean and clear.

Once your Sheltie pup has matured into an adult Shetland Sheepdog, their feeding requirements are virtually the same; the only difference between their puppy stage and adult stage is that their meals per day can be reduced.

It’s still important to keep your matured Sheltie hydrated and it’s best to give them water after they have finished their meal to promote efficient digestion.

Both puppy and adult Shelties can have treats as well; they can be dog treats or whole food-based snacks that will aid in their digestion and overall physical health.

Safe Vegetables for Your Shetland Sheepdog

Adding vegetables to your Sheltie’s diet offers essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Choose fresh or frozen varieties for your dog.

  • Broccoli: Vitamin C, vitamin K, fiber
  • Carrots: Vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K
  • Cucumber: Hydrating; provides vitamin K
  • Green Beans: Vitamin C, vitamin K, fiber
  • Peppers: Vitamin C, vitamin A, antioxidants
  • Pumpkin: Fiber; soothes digestive upset
  • Sweet Potato: Vitamin A, vitamin C, beta carotene
  • Zucchini: Vitamin C, fiber; hydrating

Tips for Serving Veggies

Follow these tips for safely incorporating vegetables into your Sheltie’s diet:

  • Wash thoroughly. Rinse off dirt and bacteria.
  • Steam or cook. Raw veggies may be hard to digest. Lightly cook them first.
  • Cut into bite-sized pieces. Dice into small, chewable pieces.
  • Avoid onions & garlic. These contain toxic compounds for dogs.
  • Go slow with new veggies. Introduce one at a time and monitor for any GI upset.
  • Use as treats. Swap veggie chunks for conventional treats.

Safe Fruits for Your Shetland Sheepdog

Fruits are a healthy treat for your Shetland Sheepdog. Choose fresh and ripe fruits for maximum nutrients.

  • Apples: Excellent source of vitamins A & C; provide fiber
  • Bananas: Great source of potassium, vitamin B6, vitamin C, fiber; easy to digest
  • Blueberries: Packed with antioxidants, vitamin C, and fiber; promote urinary health
  • Cantaloupe: Vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium; hydrating
  • Mango: Vitamins A, B6 & C; promotes eye, skin, and coat health
  • Pear: Fiber, vitamins C & K; hydrating
  • Pineapple: Bromelain aids digestion; vitamin C; anti-inflammatory
  • Raspberries: Antioxidants for immunity; fiber; low calorie
  • Strawberries: Vitamin C, manganese; anti-inflammatory

Serving Tips for Fruit

When serving fruit, keep these tips in mind:

  • Cut into bite-sized pieces. Remove any pits, stems, or peels. Cut into small chunks your Sheltie can safely eat.
  • Avoid grapes & raisins. These are toxic for dogs.
  • Mind the sugar. While fruit is healthy, too much can cause GI upset. Keep fruit to <10% of daily calories.
  • Introduce new fruits slowly. Start with a few pieces at a time to check for any allergies.

Safe Human Foods

If you are feeding your Sheltie home cooked meals, then it’s always a great habit to provide them with the freshest and ripest natural whole foods that you can find.

The basis for your Sheltie home-cooked meals that humans eat as well, are animal protein such as meat from chickens, fish, lamb, beef, lamb, and even goat! This is necessary for the growth of their muscles and bones.

Although delicious for us, processed human food should not be given to your Sheltie because most processed food is created with an animal by-product and a lot of sugar, which is detrimental to your Shetland Sheepdog’s health.

Foods That Shetland Sheepdogs Cannot Eat

Feeding your Sheltie is necessary for their overall health, but they are not allowed to just eat anything.

There are certain foods that are poisonous for Shetland Sheepdogs; to name a few, Shetland Sheepdogs cannot eat chocolate, onions and garlic, avocado, macadamia nuts, alcohol or coffee. 

Other foods that your Sheltie should completely avoid are raw eggs, yeast dough, grapes and raisins. The reason as to why Shelties cannot eat these is because their body is not designed to breakdown and filter out some of the natural and processed chemicals that are found in the food.

These tasty foods can quickly create a nasty taste in the pit of your Sheltie’s stomach and cause major negative reactions such as lack of energy, vomiting, anemia, hyperactivity and elevated heart rate. 

On the more severe side, symptoms can include seizures, blindness, gastrointestinal diseases like HGE and colitis, as well as pale gums and even jaundice of the liver.

Foods to Avoid for Shetland Sheepdogs

There are certain foods that are not recommended your Sheltie eat because it would not be in the best physical interest. These foods are not poisonous or toxic to your Sheltie, they should not ingest it so that both you and them can be on the safe side.

To start with, most human snacks are not recommended for Shetland Sheepdogs because of the processed sugar; too much of it can cause severe gastrointestinal problems, and leave your dog feeling extremely ill.

Corn, soy and wheat also make the list because although there is natural sugar in it, it takes too long for your Sheltie’s body to break it down for absorption.

Other grains like barley and oats are fine at a bare minimum because it has a good source of fiber, however, it is still recommended to find other sources of non-grain-based carbs for your Sheltie to eat.

Do Shetland Sheepdogs Have Sensitive Stomachs?

Shetland Sheep dogs do have sensitive stomachs; so, when it comes to feeding them, it’s good practice to home in on what makes their stomach happy and satisfied versus disrupted and upset.

The good news is that Shetland Sheepdogs stomachs are sensitive to few food items, which still gives you an array of food to feed them and keep them growing strong.

However, foods with a high sugar content is more than likely going to give your Sheltie an upset stomach due to the amount of glucose that it contains.

Excess sugar from most foods are not soluble enough to be broken down properly so that it can pass through the intestines and out the backdoor; therefore, you’ll want to make sure that your Shetland Sheepdog has the proper nutrition in order to protect your Sheltie’s sensitive stomach.

Shetland Sheepdog Gastrointestinal Problems

One of the gastrointestinal problems that Shetland Sheepdogs have are sensitive stomachs. We know that this can be managed based on giving them food that has a low sugar content.

Another gastrointestinal problem that your Shetland Sheepdog may encounter is Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis or HGE for short.

HGE is a serious disease that occurs if your Sheltie is not eating the proper food to keep their gut healthy, and their gastrointestinal system becomes inflamed because of it. The signs for this gastrointestinal problem are very evident and concerning.

You’ll notice that your Sheltie is frequently vomiting, is excreting blood stool leading to diarrhea, and is constantly drinking water due to severe dehydration.

Colitis is another gastrointestinal problem that may occur if proper feeding isn’t happening. This chronic digestive disease is characterized by inflammation of the inner lining of your Sheltie’s colon. Luckily, treatment is available to manage the symptoms for both problems.

How Often Should Shetland Sheepdogs Eat?

How often your Shetland Sheepdog should eat depends on what life stage they are in. If your Shetland Sheepdog is a puppy, they should eat approximately 3 times per day.

Eating this often is necessary for your Sheltie puppy because it allows for their body to absorb necessary vitamins, fats and minerals to keep their body properly growing into adulthood.

By the time your Sheltie is a fully grown Shetland Sheepdog, it will have become accustomed to eating the food that you provide for them, and you can reduce their feeding from 3 times per day to 2 times per day, with a mid-afternoon healthy snack if you’d like.

Meals are decreased when Sheltie’s become older so that the chances of obesity can be reduced. Snacks are also permitted for your Sheltie and should only be given once per day to keep their sensitive stomach healthy and happy.

How Much Should Shetland Sheepdogs Eat?

As a puppy, your Shetland Sheepdog should eat 1 cup of food per meal. As a puppy, although they need to eat several times per day to help their body develop correctly, the amount of what they eat remains the same.

1 cup of food per meal also keeps their blood sugar low, keeps them from becoming overweight and will promote a more functional digestive system.

As adults, Shetland Sheepdogs can still eat just 1 cup of food per meal for the same reasons as why they did when they were a puppy. 

Snacks are of course the favorite part of the meal, a handful of pellets or one stick of a treat per day is the recommended amount that they should have.

Special Diet for Pregnant Shetland Sheepdog

When your Shetland Sheepdog is pregnant, this is her time to eat what she likes for a certain amount of time. It’s best to choose foods that are easy for her stomach to break down and simply for her intestines to absorb and pass through.

High amounts of soluble carbohydrates and a low fiber content are also important while feeding a nursing bitch Sheltie to increase her energy and to avoid the experience of a drop in her blood sugar level, of hypoglycemia. 

You’ll also want to make sure that she is taking in a substantial amount of calcium and phosphorus so that she will be able to produce an adequate amount of milk so that her puppy’s bones will grow correctly.

Why Your Shetland Sheepdog Won’t Eat?

Reasons for why your Shetland Sheepdog won’t eat are various and some are not too concerning.

Sure, there could be a problem with their internal organs or gastrointestinal problem, but there’s also the notion that they may be stressed out from a situation, bored with their food, or just aren’t in the mood to eat.

There could also be a medical reason for their stagnant eating. If you notice that regardless of what you try, your Sheltie won’t eat, consult an animal dietician or veterinarian to obtain some viable solutions.

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