Best Dog Food for Australian Shepherds in 2021

Australian shepherds have historically been and still are work dogs. This is in part due to their high intelligence and their love for their owners. They are also famous for being very excitable and active lifestyles.

These traits give them very specific needs in order to function as they should. They should have enough protein to maintain their mass as well as enough fat and carbs for the energy to run around. 

They also need specific vitamins and minerals to maintain a smooth and shiny coat as well as healthy nails. This article will be going through the best feeds most suitable for Australian shepherds.

10 Best Dog Food for Australian Shepherds Reviewed

Before attempting to feed your dog any food, it is important to make sure that it is what is best for them through your veterinarian. All the food in this list complies with the standard AAFCO nutrient profile guideline for your dog. 

1. Blue Buffalo Life Protection

  • First five ingredients: Barley, Oatmeal, Chicken meal, Brown rice, and deboned Chicken
  • Key Feature: Great for puppies owing to the high-quality protein in it
  • Analysis:  Crude protein min of 27%, crude fat min 0f 16%, crude fiber maximum of 5%, moisture maximum of 10%.
  • Calories: 3686 kcal/kg
  • Type of product:  Balanced diet for growth and development
  • Life stage: Growth
  • Best for: Aussie puppies

This formula has a minimum of 27% crude protein, which is essential for the growth of your furball. The protein comes from real deboned chicken allowing the puppy not only growth but also a clear and healthy coat.

The company making the feed understands the importance of proteins as the main building blocks for muscle development.  As such on top of the deboned chicken, they have also added more protein from a menhaden fish meal which is high in omega-3 fatty acids. These high-quality fats are essential for the development of the brain as well as the eyes in puppies.

The feed does not only contain the major food groups, it is also fortified with essential vitamins that are crucial for the growth and development of the puppies. Bone growth is essential at that age; vitamins and antioxidants are crucial for that process. It also has vitamin E and other antioxidants which help boost the immune systems of young puppies. 

The feed comes in a tiny kibble that is perfect for small dogs. The feed helps eliminate tartar from their teeth which can have painful consequences in the future. The food does not contain corn, wheat, soy, and chicken, this is helpful as this can often be an allergen for some dogs,

Australian shepherds are active and very energetic dogs. As such, they need a constant supply of energy from their food. Users of this feed report that it is doing just all that all the while supporting their growth throughout the puppy’s youth. 

2. Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Feed Dog Food

  • First five ingredients: Buffalo and bison meat, peas, sweet potatoes, fruits and vegetables, lamb meal, chicken meal
  • Key feature: High-quality protein from buffalo, bison, and chicken
  • Guaranteed Analysis: a minimum of 32% crude protein, 18% min crude fat, 4% maximum crude fiber, and a maximum of 10% moisture.
  • Caloric content: 3719 kcal/kg
  • Type of product: The product does not contain grains and gluten but does have high-quality venison protein.
  • Life stage: Adult
  • Best for: All dogs

This feed has some of the highest quality protein in the market, sourced from buffalo. Bison and chicken.  The feed contains a minimum of 32% protein which is more than sufficient for your ball of fur. All the meat contained in the feed is from real animals guaranteeing its quality.

Australian shepherds have very active dogs, which translates to high protein needs. They are very energetic, meaning they use their muscles a lot. The high-quality protein feed allows them to maintain their muscle mass despite being as active as they are.

The feed is grain-free, as an alternative, it gets all its carbohydrates from fruits and vegetables. As opposed to grains, fruits and vegetables contain very complex carbs, this provides energy for longer periods of time keeping the pup active. Fruits and vegetables also provide essential vitamins and minerals that support the growth and development of the dog.

The food is also probiotic. It supports the growth of essential bacteria that grow in the gut. These bacteria help with the breaking down of certain foods, nutrient absorption, and the regulation of the digestion process.

A lot of Australian shepherd owners swear by the energizing properties that can be attributed to the high-quality protein content in the feed.  They are able to maintain a lot of muscle mass despite the high levels of activity. They also noticed an increased frequency in their dog’s bowel movements.

The food contains no gluten, making it perfect for dogs that have a sensitivity to it.

3. Wellness Core Natural

  • First five ingredients: Turkey meal, Peas, Dried ground potatoes, Deboned turkey, chicken meal, peas
  • Key feature: Contains all-natural ingredients with no wheat, soy or corn.
  • Guaranteed Analysis: Minimum of 34% crude protein, minimum of 16% crude fat, minimum of 4% crude fiber, maximum of 10% moisture
  • Type of product: high protein content free of gluten, corn, grains wheat, and soy.
  • Life stage: Adult
  • Best for: Australian shepherd dogs

The feed has a high protein content of at least 34% sourced from deboned chicken. This allows it to support the active dogs that need it for their muscles. The formula is ideal for Australian shepherds and has no grains making it great for dogs that are sensitive to them. 

The feed formula despite having any grains in it has been fortified with taurine which allows the dog to have a healthy diet. It improves the functioning of the heart while lowering the blood pressure of the dog. This is especially important for Australian shepherds that are very active. 

All the products in the feed are natural. It does not contain any fillers in the food that could cause any intolerances to the dog. It also does not contain any additives that could add to the caloric content of the feed itself. 

In the spirit of having all-natural products in the food. The brands added superfoods like spinach, blueberries, and kale to increase the number of nutrients in the food. This increases much-needed minerals and vitamins that are vital to the development of the dog and promotes its immunity. 

The brand has added glucosamine and omega-3 fatty acids which help reduce inflammation which in turn eliminate joint pains. Omega-3 fatty acids are also crucial to the development of the eyes and the brain in young puppies. They also help in muscle growth and maintenance. 

4. Diamond Natural 

  • First five ingredients: Whole grain brown rice, chicken fat, chicken meal chicken, cracked pearled barley
  • Key feature: great value while still having real meat as its primary ingredient. 
  • Guaranteed Analysis: A minimum of 26% crude protein, a minimum of 16% crude fat, a minimum of 2,5 crude fibers, a maximum of 10% moisture.
  • Caloric content: 3708 kcal/kg
  • Type of Product: High-quality meat from chicken, no wheat, soy, or corn
  • Life stages: All stages
  • Best for: Australian shepherd 

The feed contains 26% crude protein sourced from cage-free chickens. Cage-free chickens do not contain the hormones and antibiotics that are common. This ensures that your dogs do not consume any contaminated meat through their food.

Though this brand’s competitors will use meat as the basis of their feeds. They will often cut corners and use meat by-products. This may not contain as much protein that the Australian shepherds need in their day to day to function. 

The feed also caters to the immunity of the dogs. They feature an array of vegetables and fruits to provide natural vitamins such as vitamin C. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that enhances immunity health while helping protect the tissue from oxidative damage.

The feed is also fortified with salmon oil which gives the feed much-needed omega-3 fatty acids. These oils are essential for the maintenance of a healthy shiny coat as well as healthy nails. As for young pups, they help in the development of the brain and give it better cognition as well as the development of the eyes.

The feed is probiotic; it supports the growth of essential bacteria in your dog’s gut. These bacteria help in the breaking of food as well as the absorption of food, this leads to a healthier dog overall. 

The feed is also adjusted to make sure that it is suitable for dogs with sensitive stomachs. It does not have any gluten, corn, wheat, and soy, all of which have been known to upset certain dogs.

People who are used to premium dog foods would be surprised to know that this brand offers just as many benefits at a fraction of the cost. It is worth noting that some dogs are not fond of the taste of the food.

5. Rachael Ray Nutrish

  • First five ingredients: Turkey, turkey meal, chicken mean, dried peas, dried potatoes, pea starch
  • Key feature: High-quality protein and contains no grains. Also contains acceptable quantities of beet pulp.
  • Guaranteed Analysis: At least 29% of protein, at least 16% of fat, an estimated 48% of carbohydrates
  • Caloric content: 3708 kcal/kg
  • Type of Product: High-quality protein with a fat0to-protein ratio of 54%
  • Life stages: All stages
  • Best for: Australian shepherd

The feed comes from the trusted household name Racheal Ray.  Seeing that her name is on the product lends it a lot of legitimacy as people familiar with her work can trust that the product she is selling matches it. Luckily, it does.

The feed has a lot of protein necessary for not only a growing dog but makes it near perfect for the active Australian shepherd. The feed contains tons of protein from turkey meat, to protein concentrates from turkey and chicken. It also has more protein from peas, ensuring that the dog has just as much protein as it needs.

Unlike other feeds that get the omega-3 needed in the feed from fish, this feed gets it from flaxseed. Fish from rivers and oceans often contains heavy metals like lead and mercury, this can get to the feed you get your dogs. Flaxseed being a plant has no risk of this allowing your dog to get access to healthy feed.

The omega-3 allows the dog to get healthy nails as well as a smooth shiny coat. It also helps with brain development in puppies. The flaxseed is also a great source of fiber which helps with bowel movements. 

There is also extra omega-3 in the feed that is sourced from chicken fat. Though it sounds disgusting, chicken fat is a high-quality ingredient that your dog will both love and extract benefits from.

The feed also contains probiotics that promote good bacteria in the gut that help with digestion and absorption. It also contains chelated minerals, these minerals are attached to proteins and help with the absorption of food. They are common in high-quality foods. 

Overall the feed has high amounts of protein, average amounts of fat and carbohydrates when compared to the competition in the market. Overall, this feed is good for your dog.

6. Taste of the Wild Canned Dog Food

  • First five ingredients: Duck, Duck meal, chicken meal, roasted quail, smoked turkey
  • Key feature: Above average protein and fat contents, though has below average carbohydrate content.
  • Guaranteed Analysis: At least 29% of protein, at least 37% of fat, an estimated 33% of carbohydrates
  • Caloric content: 3750 kcal/kg
  • Type of Product: High-quality protein that comes from animals like chicken and turkey
  • Life stages: Older dogs
  • Best for: Australian shepherd

This dog food has a lot of protein and fat, however is limited in the number of carbohydrates present in it. This profile is suitable for a lot of dogs, specifically those that do not have large energy requirements. Though dogs are capable of eating a large number of carbohydrates, this profile is more related to the one that dogs have had across history.

Typically, dogs do not require a massive amount of carbohydrates in their diets, they are usually added to bring down costs because of how cheap they usually are. They are also used to increase the shelf life of the feed which in turn increases its commercial viability. As such, the lower than average carbohydrate content should not be cause for concern.

Dogs use protein for growth and maintenance, this makes it especially important for active dogs like Australian shepherds which wear out their muscles faster. The protein is of high quality, a lot of it being sourced from poultry like chicken and turkey with a small amount coming from peas.

Fat is a major source of energy for dogs. This feed contains sufficient amounts of fat sourced from duck and chicken fat. These fats are of high quality and are easily digestible. People should not be concerned about the high content of fat in the feed as it is dogs’ preferred source of energy. 

It is important to ensure that the feed matches the diet that your dog’s ancestors had. The Taste of the Wild’s Wetlands attempts to match that diet with a host of high-quality meats as its ingredients. The feed sources its ingredients from seven different sources of meat or fish. 

Meat such as duck is a great source of minerals such as selenium and phosphorus. For the fish, they use ocean fish meal which comes packed with a ton of omega-3 and omega-6. It is important to note that ocean fish meal is a vague descriptor that does not quite capture what is in.

As for the fiber, the food has sweet potatoes which are considered better for their higher quantities of fiber as well as vitamins and minerals. The feed also has peas in it which are also a good source of fiber that helps with the digestion process. 

As an additive, the food contains dried chicory root which has soluble fibers to ease the process of passing waste. It also has probiotics that support the development of good bacteria in the gut and can potentially eliminate intestinal worms. 

Overall this is a high-quality food that does not have tons of filler, it has lower than average levels of carbohydrates but it does have high levels of fat that are actually preferred by dogs, it does have high-quality proteins that are necessary for an active Australian shepherd.

7. Canidae Dog Food

  • First five ingredients: salmon, salmon meal, menhaden, sweet potato, pea
  • Key feature: High-quality protein based on salmon
  • Guaranteed Analysis: At least 32% of protein, at least 18% of fat, an estimated 32% of carbohydrates
  • Caloric content: 3750 kcal/kg
  • Type of Product: High-quality protein based on salmon
  • Life stages: Adult dogs
  • Best for: Australian shepherd

The diet is designed to offer a balanced diet and enough protein to help dogs maintain their mass muscle with ease. It is made in accordance with the profiles of the AAFCO for all dogs. People who buy this feed for their puppies can be at ease as the quality is great for your furry friend.

The main ingredient in this feed is salmon. It provides all the high quality the dog needs to keep going especially for fairly active breeds like the Australian shepherd. It also contains enough omega-3 to ensure they have proper eyesight, cognitive ability, and muscle development.

The oil comes from the salmon as well as the canola oil. Canola oil is rife with controversy because if not handled well it can be fatal for human and animal consumption. However, it can also be an immense source of energy.

The carbohydrates in the feed are sourced from sweet potatoes. In addition to the carbs, they are also a great source of essential vitamins and minerals necessary for a dog’s growth and development. 

The feed also has alfalfa which is not only a great source of protein but also dietary fiber which helps in the movement of bowels.

8. Hill’s Science Diet

  • First five ingredients: Chicken meal, brewers rice, whole grain sorghum, brown rice, whole grain wheat
  • Key feature: Designed to help dogs with conditions on their joints
  • Guaranteed Analysis: At least 28% of protein, at least 12% of fat, an estimated 3% of fiber, and a maximum of the 10% moisture
  • Caloric Content: 367 kcal/cup
  • Type of Product: Designed to enhance mobility
  • Life stages: Adult dogs
  • Best for: Australian shepherd with joint issues

Having been designed for the animals that have joint issues they feed have to have a lot of protein to be used to build the joint protein. Most of this protein is sourced from the chicken meal which makes up 18% of the feed.

Joint issues are common among Australian shepherds because of just how active they can be. For this reason, it is also fairly common to see these dogs with hip dysplasia and even arthritis.

The chicken feed contains some omega-3 fatty acids that help limit the amount of inflammation on the joints. This in turn helps manage the pain that the dogs are prone to experiencing.

The feed also has significant concentrations of glucosamine and chondroitin which help in the development of joint cartilage. These ingredients are commonplace in the treatment of joint pain.

It also has vitamin c and E which eliminates free radicals in the joints that could lead to pain in the future. 

9. Canidae All Life Stages

  • First five ingredients: Chicken meal, turkey meal, lamb meal, white rice, rice bran, peas
  • Key feature: Suitable for all life stages
  • Guaranteed Analysis: At least 24% of protein, at least 14.5% of fat, an estimated 4% of fiber, and a maximum of the 10% moisture
  • Caloric Content: 486 kcal/cup
  • Type of Product: Great for all dogs
  • Life stages: Adult dogs
  • Best for: All Australian Shepherds 

This is a great multi-dog feed. For people who have a variety of breeds of all different ages, this product is for you.  This makes it suitable for people running a kennel or a rescue shelter.

In keeping with the property of the feed being usable by almost any dog, it is free of soy, wheat, grains. As such, it is suitable for all dogs, even those with sensitive stomachs. 

It has an adequate amount of protein even for dogs as active as an Australian Shepherd. A lot of the protein comes from meat, specifical poultry in the form of chicken and turkey. It also has some more protein that comes from lamb meat. 

The carbohydrates in the meal come from both white and brown rice. These are great especially for dogs that are sensitive to corn and wheat. Brown rice also provides fiber which helps the dogs in the movement of their bowels.

As a source of extra protein, the feed uses ocean fish meal. This is also a great source of oils like omega-3 and omega-6 which help in cognition as well as eyesight.

10. Nutro Wholesome 

  • First five ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal, whole brown rice, brewers rice, split peas
  • Key feature: all-natural GMO-free ingredients
  • Guaranteed Analysis: At least 22% of protein, at least 10% of fat, an estimated 12% of fiber, and a maximum of the 10% moisture
  • Caloric Content: 239 kcal/cup
  • Type of Product: great for weight control, has no corn wheat, soy, and GMO
  • Life stages: Adult dogs
  • Best for: Overweight Australian shepherd 

Though Australian Shepherds are naturally very active dogs when denied exercise they can quickly run to fat.

The diet is made of 24% protein most of which comes from real chicken. It will meet all the nutrient requirements of the dog without the excess calories that will get the dog overweight. 

The philosophy behind this lean make-up of the food extends to protein. It has lean protein that can be used for energy. It also has a lot of fiber that keeps the dog from getting hungry. 

Some of the customers have reported that dogs do not like the taste of the food though others have praised the success they have had with their dogs.

Guide to Buying Dog Food for Australian Shepherds

Some of the factors to look out for when buying dog food for your Australian shepherd include;

Quality protein

The key is to find a dog food with more than 25% crude protein or higher. Aussies will require more protein than most breeds because of just how active they are. 

Healthy fats

Choose feed with a fat content that sits at 12% or higher. Make sure you find food that has high levels of omega-3 especially if the dog is young. 

Fats are a great source of energy for dogs. Fats are also important for dogs with long coats like the Australian shepherd as it keeps them healthy and shiny. 

Carbs

Ensure that the food you get contains complex carbohydrates specifically from fruits and vegetables. If your dog is not sensitive to grains, ensure the grains used are whole.

Carbs are important for Aussie shepherds as a source of energy. They also have nutrients that are important for a dog’s growth and development.

Vitamins and minerals 

These are required in small quantities; despite that, it is important to study what is on the box to ensure that you have all of them. You should look for whether the feed meets the AAFCO’s nutrient profile guidelines to make sure it’s what is best for your pup. 

Vitamins and minerals are essential for the development of dogs as well as helping in boosting immunity and the prevention of diseases.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What should I do if my Aussie has a sensitive stomach?

Some dogs do have sensitive stomachs and that is completely normal. The key here is to ensure that they avoid any foods that might upset their stomach. Look out for foods with corn, gluten, wheat, and soy and avoid them.

What is so good about grain-free foods?

Grains are often used by food manufacturers as fillers because they are cheap. Foods without it usually have a lot of protein in place of the carb which is good for an active dog like an Aussie. 

For carbohydrates, look for foods that have sweet potatoes and peas in place of the grains.

How do I go through changing up my dog’s diet?

It is not advisable to change a dog’s diet without warning as it can lead to an upset stomach. You should ease your way into it, by first mixing it and eventually completely transitioning into it.

Conclusion

Australian Shepherds are rather unique dogs, due to their high levels of activity and their thick long coats. For this reason, they have special needs regarding their diet.

They need a lot of protein to repair the muscle and joints as they get worn out due to their high levels of activity. They also need healthy oils not only as a source of energy but also to keep their beautiful coats shiny and healthy.

For a breed that is as loyal and friendly, it is important owners take care of them in exchange for the companionship they give and labor as is the case with the working dogs.

Taste of the Wild High Prairie is the best for most Aussies, however, you should ensure to visit the vet to know what is best for your dog. 

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Coco is a regular content writer of pet daily press and working on wildlife animal health. Billy researched on hundreds of dog health issues, foods, medicines and dog's behaviours. He currently lives in Orlando, FL. He owns a Golden Retriever and a Great Pyrenees. His wife also has two cats.

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