4 Best Foods for Australian Shepherds REVIEWED

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Good dog food helps your dogs develop to their full potential. Now that you are thinking of owning a couple of floofs, which is the best food for Australian Shepherds? In the market, you might get confused about which foods bring the best out of your Australian Shepherds.

Having in-depth knowledge about dog food can help you make a wise choice of Australian Shepherd food. Let us share bits of information on what you need to know.

Our Top Dog Food for Australian Shepherd

ILV chose Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet  as the top dog food for Australian Shepherds. This is because the said dog food contains a guaranteed balanced nutritional value. It is also fit for all breeds and sizes of Aussies. 

So, you can include it in the list of the best dog food for mini Australian Shepherds.

The Ideal Australian Shepherd Diet

An Aussie Shepherd weighs 50 pounds (22.5kgs) when mature. It is a large breed that requires highly-nutritious food for energy. However, some of the large-breed dog food readily available in the market does not contain sufficient calorie density for an Aussie Shepherd.

The energy requirements of an Australian Shepherd go up when it is very active. For such a dog, you need a working or active breed formula. Such food supports lean muscle mass. It also contains a high calorie and fat content that meets the energy needs of an energetic Aussie.

An ideal Australian Shepherd diet should also provide high-quality proteins to your doggo. In addition, such a diet includes building blocks that your Shepherd requires for solid muscles. Notably, you should assess its level of digestibility. Also, the diet should provide the essential amino acids that your dog needs.

The diet of your Shepherd should also have a moderate-to-high fat content. Fat converts into calories to become a good source of energy for your dog. Given the high energy requirements for Aussies, they require high-fat content food.

Your Aussies also require a diet with digestible and nutritious carbohydrates. So, you should consider starchy vegetables, whole grains, and fresh fruits for your dog. Such food provides energy, dietary fiber, and essential nutrients to your dog. However, keep the carbohydrates levels down and focus on the animal-based ingredients.

The diet of your Aussie should also contain natural, wholesome ingredients. Such a diet does not have artificial additives, byproducts, or fillers. Importantly, you can identify such a diet by checking the ingredients list. 

Last, your Aussie Shepherd’s diet should be complete and balanced. To identify such a diet, check whether its label has an AAFCO endorsement. The statement indicates that the dog food has a recipe that meets the minimum nutritional requirements of your Aussie.

Understanding Your Aussie’s Nutritional Needs

Different dog breeds have different nutritional needs. The difference arises from varying breed sizes, activity levels, special dietary requirements, and temperament. For Aussies, the following are their nutritional needs:

Proteins

If you are in the lot that thinks Aussie Shepherds can survive on meat only, you need to understand the reality. Meat is beneficial to carnivorous animals. However, domesticated carnivores are omnivorous. So, dogs require a mixture of meat and vegetables.

If a vegetable diet contains a high level of proteins, your Aussies can thrive on it. Proteins provide energy and amino acids that improve the immune system, build muscle tissue, and maintain the overall health of your Aussie.

Fatty Acids

Fatty acids help to maintain the good-looking fur of your Australian Shepherd. But, even if you give your fatty-acid-deprived Aussie good grooming, its fur will not shine. This is because Aussies have medium to long hair coats. So, they require a diet high in fatty acids to maintain their luscious coat.

If you deprive fatty acids to your dog, its skin can become dry. Giving it a diet containing flaxseed and fish can help to keep its fur smooth and moisture-rich. It can also prevent your pup from scratching and getting skin injuries.

Calcium/Phosphorous

Calcium helps to strengthen the bones and teeth of your Aussie. Lack of it causes tooth loss, spinal deformities, and arthritic joints. Active and larger breeds of dogs require a diet rich in calcium. Such dogs experience pressure on their bone joints.

Regarding phosphorous, dogs require it to break down the proteins to build and repair muscle tissue. Lack of it can make your Aussie inactive or have an irregular heartbeat.

Notably, excess vitamins are detrimental to the health of your dog. So, always ensure that your dog food has a tested nutritional balance, including balanced calcium to phosphorous ratio.

Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA)

Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) helps to boost the brain ability of a dog. So when shopping for the best puppy food for an Australian Shepherd, always insist on one containing DHA.

Notably, DHA helps Australian Shepherds to have healthy eye development. It also delays vision problems for older Aussies. 

Glucosamine

Glucosamine helps to improve arthritic health problems. Large and medium-sized Aussies are prone to bone and joint issues, especially when they attain a senior age. Besides preventing arthritis, a glucosamine-rich diet also prevents hip dysplasia and other bone and joint problems that may affect your Aussie.

6 Nutritional and Dietary Considerations for Australian Shepherd Owners 

Do you know that almost all purebred dogs are prone to one or several genetically-derived ailments or disorders? For example, bulldogs are at risk of developing respiratory diseases because of their compact bodies and short snouts.

Even though Australian Shepherds are hardy, they are vulnerable to some health issues. So, they require special nutritional and dietary considerations, especially the puppies. You should consider the following special dietary requirements for your Aussie:

Low Carbohydrates

Aussies do not require high levels of carbohydrates. However, it is not possible to avoid carbs in their diet. So, instead of feeding diets with whole grains, soy, rice, or corn, you can try other alternatives, such as a diet with sweet potatoes.

Notably, the alternatives should contain soluble carbohydrates. Such carbs do not increase the blood sugar of your Aussie. Better still, you can opt for carb-free dog food.

Eye Support

Aussies can suffer from several types of eye problems. For example, at a young age, they can develop cataracts or progressive retinal atrophy (PRA). Also, they can suffer from Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA). For these reasons, the diet of your Aussie should contain DHA.

Heart-Healthy Fats

You should mind the cardiovascular health of your canine at all times. Any problem with the heart system trickles down to all other parts of your dog. So, you should opt for dog food rich in heart-healthy fats. Such foods reduce the cholesterol levels of your dog. The fats also strengthen the heart muscles.

Even though heart conditions are rare among young Australian Shepherds, the risk increases when they get older. So giving your canine heart-healthy fats increases their lifespan. Also, it reduces the number of veterinary visits.

Bone and Joint Support

Medium and large breeds require more joint and bone care than the rest of the breeds. This is because the weight around their paws can cause rapid cartilaginous degradation. The condition makes the soft cushioning between their bones and joints tear leading to hip or elbow dysplasia and arthritis.

A diet with phosphorous, calcium, and glucosamine is what you need for the bone and joint health of your Aussie. It is not possible to bypass such a diet because you cannot limit the activities of your Shepherd. 

Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a genetic disorder. While it is rare among Australian Shepherds, there are occasional incidents of epilepsy among Aussies. If your Shepherd is purebred, it is more prone to the disorder than hybrids.

Importantly, any sign of seizure in your dog is treatable. However, your dog cannot get over it. So, expect a recurrence.

Even though it is impossible to diagnose the disorder early, you can opt for a hybrid Aussie. Alternatively, source your Aussie Shepherd from a reputable breeder.

Healthy Oils

Healthy oils improve the skin, coat, and digestion of your Aussie. You may think that they will increase the cholesterol levels of your dog. However, you are wrong. Healthy oils from coconut and fish make the fur of your canine shine. They also improve its skin condition. Getting relief from itching makes your Aussie live a happy life.

Your Complete Australian Shepherd Feeding Schedule

You can get good dog food for an Australian Shepherd but fail to feed your dog in the right way. You need to know how many times daily you should feed your Aussie. You also need to know the right amount of feed to give your dog and at what time.

To get that information, you can follow the guidelines that your preferred dog food manufacturer has provided. Alternatively, you can follow the following chart:

Age/Weight     Number of Feeding TimesRations 
Below four months/up to 25 lbs (11.25 kgs)Three-Four½-2 cups
Over four months/ 26-50 lbs (11.7-22.5 kgs)Two2-3 cups
Over four months/51 lbs (22.95 kgs)Two3+ cups

The Best Food for Australian Shepherds at a Glance

  1. Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet  (Best for all Breed Sizes That Require a Balanced Diet)
  2. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula  (Best for Meeting the Energy Requirements of an Adult Dog)
  3. No products found. (Best for Active Dogs Prone to Joint Issues)
  4. Amazon Brand - Wag Dry  (Best for All Breed Sizes to Thrive)
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Natural Adult Dry Dog Food, Chicken and Brown Rice 30-lb
Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Adult Grain-Free Dry Dog Food, Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe, 24 Pound (Pack of 1)
Amazon Brand - Wag High Protein Dry Dog Food Lamb & Lentil Recipe, Grain Free (30 lb. Bag)
Product name
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Natural Adult Dry Dog Food, Chicken and Brown Rice 30-lb
Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Adult Grain-Free Dry Dog Food, Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe, 24 Pound (Pack of 1)
Amazon Brand – Wag High Protein Dry Dog Food Lamb & Lentil Recipe, Grain Free (30 lb. Bag)
Price
$64.98
$72.98
Price not available
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Natural Adult Dry Dog Food, Chicken and Brown Rice 30-lb
Product name
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Natural Adult Dry Dog Food, Chicken and Brown Rice 30-lb
Price
$64.98
Buy Now
Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Adult Grain-Free Dry Dog Food, Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe, 24 Pound (Pack of 1)
Product name
Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Adult Grain-Free Dry Dog Food, Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe, 24 Pound (Pack of 1)
Price
$72.98
Buy Now
Amazon Brand - Wag High Protein Dry Dog Food Lamb & Lentil Recipe, Grain Free (30 lb. Bag)
Product name
Amazon Brand – Wag High Protein Dry Dog Food Lamb & Lentil Recipe, Grain Free (30 lb. Bag)
Price
Price not available
Buy Now

The Best Dog Food for Aussie’s Unpacked

Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet  (Best for All Breed Sizes That Require a Balanced Diet) 

Our rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars 

Amazon Choice Award in Dry Dog Food by Natural Balance

Key Features

  • Brand: Natural Balance
  • Item Form: Dry
  • Target Species: Dog
  • Breed Recommendation: All breed sizes
  • Ingredients: Salmon, Sweet Potatoes, Cassava Flour, Menhaden Fish Meal, Sunflower Oil (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Brewers Dried Yeast, Potatoes, Potato Protein, Flaxseed, Salt, Menhaden Fish Oil (with Mixed Tocopherols), Potassium Chloride, Taurine, Vitamin supplements (E, A, B12, Niacin, D-calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement, Dl-methionine, Thiamine Mononitrate, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Biotin, Folic Acid), Minerals [Zinc (Proteinate and Sulfate), Ferrous Sulfate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Sulfate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese (Sulfate and Proteinate), Sodium Selenite, Calcium Iodate], Choline Chloride, Citric Acid (Preservative), Dicalcium Phosphate, Rosemary Extract, Extract, Spearmint Extract, Green Tea, Natural Flavor. 
  • Guaranteed Analysis: Protein: 7%, Fat: 2%, Fiber: 1%, Moisture: 83%, Ash: 0%, Carb: 7%
  • Weight: 24 pounds (10.8 kgs)
  • Warranty and Guarantee: Buy-With-Confidence guarantee
  • Origin: USA

As its name indicates, the Natural Balance diet has gone through a test for quality and safety. So, it bears the mark of reliability. So, you do not have to calculate the percentage of ingredients to know whether they are balanced.

Fewer ingredients indicate that Natural Balance contains natural, wholesome ingredients. Notably, Natural Balance contains highly soluble potato proteins.

The said dog food also contains highly digestible carbs. Also, it does not contain any proteins from soy, corn, wheat, or legumes.

Pros

  • Natural balance has a high moisture content
  • It also has high-quality ingredients
  • This dog food has specific animal proteins for dogs
  • No potentially-harmful additives or ingredients

Cons

  • Costly
  • Fish can cause allergies to some dogs

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula  (Best for Meeting the Energy Requirements of an Adult Dog) 

Our rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars

Amazon Choice Award in Dry Dog Food by Blue Buffalo

Key Features

  • Brand: Blue Buffalo
  • Item Form: Dry
  • Target Species: Dog
  • Breed Recommendation: All breed sizes
  • Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Brown Rice, Barley, Chicken Meal,Oatmeal, Pea Starch, Flaxseed, Chicken Fat (with Tocopherols), Natural Flavor, Peas, Pea Protein, Salt, Dried Tomato Pomace, Potassium Chloride, Direct Dehydrated Alfalfa Pellets, Potatoes, Pea Fiber, Dried Chicory Root, Alfalfa Nutrient Concentrate, Calcium Carbonate, DL-Methionine, Tocopherols, Choline Chloride, Dicalcium Phosphate, Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Garlic, Zinc Sulfate, Vegetable Juice, Ferrous Sulfate, Vitamin supplements (E, A, D3, and B12), Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Cranberries, Barley Grass, Blueberries, Parsley, Turmeric, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Dried Kelp, Niacin (Vitamin B3), Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), Glucosamine Hydrochloride, Copper Sulfate, Biotin (Vitamin B7), L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate, L-Lysine, L-Carnitine, Manganese Sulfate, Taurine, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Calcium Iodate, Dried Yeast, Fermentation products (Dried Enterococcus faecium, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus, Dried Aspergillus niger, Dried Trichoderma longibrachiatum, and Dried Bacillus subtilis), Folic Acid (Vitamin B9), Oil of Rosemary, and Sodium Selenite.
  • Guaranteed Analysis: Crude Protein 24 % (min) Crude Fat 14 % (min) Crude Fiber 5 % (max) Moisture 10 % (max) Calcium 1 % (min) Phosphorus 0.7 % (min) Omega 3 Fatty Acids* 0.5 % (min) Omega 6 Fatty Acids* 3 % (min)Glucosamine* 400 mg/kg (min)
  • Weight: 30 pounds (13.5 kgs)
  • Origin: USA

Blue Buffalo formula contains real chicken meat that provides high-quality protein. This dog food will help your Aussie to build and maintain healthy muscles. The dog food also has garden fruits and veggies in addition to wholesome grains.

The formula also features essential carbohydrates and proteins required for an adult Aussie. Also, it contains Omega 3s and 6s fatty acids for a shiny coat.

The precise antioxidant, vitamins, and minerals blend of Blue Buffalo support the immune system of your Aussie. Also, this blend provides any life stage needs. Last, this combination provides a healthy oxidative balance to your dog.

All ingredients of the formula are natural. So, this dog food does not contain any by-products, wheat, corn, soy, or artificial preservatives or flavors.

Pros

  • No animal by-products
  • No artificial flavors or preservatives
  • Contains all-natural ingredients
  • No protein additives

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Not fit for all dietary needy dogs

No products found. (Best for Active Dogs Prone to Joint Issues) 

Our rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars

No products found.

Amazon Choice Award in Dry Dog Food

Key Features

  • Brand: Victor
  • Item Form: Dry
  • Target Species: Dog
  • Breed Recommendation: All breed sizes
  • Ingredients: Beef Meal, Peas, Chicken Fat (with Tocopherols), Sweet Potato, Menhaden Fish Meal, Blood Meal, Pork Meal, Yeast Culture, Garbanzo Beans, Dehydrated Alfalfa Meal, Potassium Chloride, Natural Flavor, Carrot Powder, Taurine, Salt, Tomato Pomace, Choline Chloride, Zinc Methionine Complex, Dried Seaweed Meal, Vitamin supplements (E, A, D3, and B12), Hydrolyzed Yeast, Calcium Carbonate, Iron Amino Acid Complex, Manganese Amino Acid Complex, L-Carnitine, Ferrous Sulfate, Glucosamine Hydrochloride, Copper Sulfate, Selenium Yeast, Niacin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Riboflavin Supplement, Chondroitin Sulfate, Calcium Iodate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Brewers Dried Yeast, Powdered Cellulose, Fermentation products (Dried Enterococcus Faecium, Dried Aspergillus Oryzae, Dried Trichoderma Longibrachiatum, Dried Bacillus Subtilis), Silicon Dioxide, Vegetable Oil, Extracts (Rosemary, Green Tea, Spearmint, and Yucca Schidigera), Tetra Sodium Pyrophosphate, Lecithin, Fructooligosaccharide, and Folic Acid
  • Guaranteed Analysis: Crude Protein 33.0% (Min), Crude Fat 16.0% (Min), Crude Fiber 3.8% (Max), Moisture 9.0% (Max), Linoleic Acid (Omega 6) 2.8% (Min), Linolenic Acid (Omega 3) 0.4% (Min), DHA 0.1% (Min), Zinc 150 mg/kg (Min), Selenium 0.35 mg/kg (Min), Vitamin E 150 IU/kg (Min), L-Carnitine* 80 mg/kg (Min), Glucosamine* 800 mg/kg (Min), Chondroitin* 300 mg/kg (Min)
  • Weight: 30 pounds (13.5 kgs)
  • Origin: USA

Victor Purpose favors dogs with sensitivity and allergies because it is grain-free. Also, highly-active dogs with joint problems can find relief from eating grain-free dog food.

This dog food is also nutrient-dense. It contains premium-quality pork, beef, and fish to promote the overall health of any dog.

Essential fatty acids, minerals, proteins, and amino acids fortify Victor Purpose dog food. They are some of the ingredients that can promote the immune and digestive systems of your Aussie.

Pros 

  • High-quality ingredients from meat
  • Satisfying nutrients
  • No potentially-harmful ingredients

Cons

  • It contains a low level of Omega-3s fatty acids

Amazon Brand - Wag Dry  (Best for All Breed Sizes to Thrive) 

Our Rating: 4.3 out of 5 stars

Amazon Choice Award in Dry Dog Food by WAG

Key Features

  • Brand: WAG
  • Item Form: Dry
  • Target Species: Dog
  • Breed Recommendation: All breed sizes
  • Ingredients: Lamb, Lamb Meal, Pea Protein, Lentils, Peas, Chicken Fat (with Tocopherols), Brewers Yeast, Potato Protein, Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Flaxseed, Natural Flavor, Salt, Choline Chloride, Salmon Oil, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Taurine, Dried Chicory Root, Fermentation products (Dried Lactobacillus Plantarum Dried Bacillus Subtilis Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus, Dried Enterococcus Faecium, Dried Bifidobacterium Animalis Vitamin supplements (E, D3, A, B12), Iron Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc (Proteinate and Sulfate), Copper Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Manganese Proteinate, Potassium Iodide, Manganous Oxide, Biotin, Ascorbic Acid (Preservative), Niacin, Calcium Pantothenate, Sodium Selenite, Manganese Sulfate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), and Folic Acid
  • Guaranteed Analysis: Crude protein 35% min, Crude fat 15% min, Crude fiber 5.5% max, Moisture 10% max, Zinc 150 mg/kg min, selenium, 0.35 mg/kg min, Vitamin E 150 IU/kg, Omega 6 fatty acids 2.5% min, Omega 3 fatty acids, 0.4% min, Glucosamine 750mg/kg min, Chondroitin Sulfate 250mg/kg min, Total micro-organisms 2,000,000 CFU/lb min
  • Weight: 30 pounds (13.5 kgs)
  • Origin: USA

The WAG dry dog food range contains ingredients that can give your Aussie a delicious blend. It also features nutritious vegetables that provide minerals, phytonutrients, and antioxidants. In addition, flaxseed in the dogfood provides Omega-3s fatty acids.

WAG contains no added grains or artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. Notably, this dog food contains real lamb meat to provide your Aussie with the proteins it requires to thrive. Each WAG serving contains 35% protein for strong and active dogs.

Pros

  • Fit for all life stages of dogs
  • Contains high levels of proteins (35%)
  • Rich in Omega 3s and 6s fatty acids

Cons

  • Wag contains potentially-harmful ingredients, including salt (causes health problems), beet pulp (some consider it a cheap filler), and brewers yeast (unfit for allergic dogs).
  • High levels of fat (15%)

Your Australian Shepherd Dog Food Buying Guide

Now that you already know what good food for Australian Shepherd should contain, what should you look for when buying dog food?

A High-Quality Source of Animal Protein

According to the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), quality dog food for lactating females and puppies should have at least 22% protein. For adult dogs, the food should have a minimum of 18% protein. And,  for Aussies, always go for dog food with around 30% protein.

However, dogs that weigh more require more proteins. Therefore, always multiply the percentage of protein in dog food with the weight of the daily portions you give to your dog. 

Moderate to High Fat Content

Dog food should contain Omega-6s and Omega-3s fatty acids. For adult dogs, the dog food should contain 5.5% fatty acids. That translates into 21 g (0.05 lbs), 14 g (0.03 lbs), 29 g (0.06 lbs), and 67 g (0.15 lbs) fatty acids for puppies, adult dogs, pregnant dogs, and nursing dogs, respectively. For Aussies, look for dog food with around 12% fats.

Digestible and Nutritious Carbs

Low-quality dog food contains up to 50% carbohydrates. However, Aussies require minimal carbs. So, dog food with a lower carb count stands as the best for your Australian Shepherds. Notably, low amounts of carbs prevent type II diabetes and other weight-related health conditions.

Natural, Wholesome Ingredients

One of the main objectives of natural, wholesome ingredients is to provide fiber to your Aussies. Fiber keeps the digestive system of an Aussie working efficiently. The rule of the thumb is to give around 4.5% fiber content to your dog.

Balanced and Complete Nutrition

It is not easy to check all ingredients in dog food to know whether they are balanced. However, the label of the dog food can make such an indication. Therefore, you should always check the phrase Complete and Balanced on its label.  

ILV’s Top Pick for Australian Shepherd Dog Food

The top pick that ILV chooses is Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet . To begin with, it is fit for all Aussie sizes. The second important factor about the Natural Balance is that it has a nutritional balance guarantee. 

If you opt for Natural Balance, you do not have to calculate the nutritional balance of the dog food. You will be sure that every portion contains the right measure of nutritional value.  

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