Australian Shepherds are wonderful dogs. They make great working dogs, family dogs and companions. Their high energy and drive are not for everyone, but if you’re an Aussie lover, you’re in 100%. Loving your Australian Shepherd means feeding him right throughout all stages of his life.
With the variety of brands and formulas on the market choosing the right food can be downright confusing! We’re going to review some of the best dog foods for Australian Shepherds here in order to help you make smart and healthy choices about your dog’s food.
Australian Shepherd Eating Habits
Aussies are not generally picky eaters and have a tendency to “wolf” their food.You want to choose a medium to small sized kibble of premium dry dog food as the large kibble can cause them to choke if they don’t properly chew their food. Australian Shepherds will overeat if given the chance so it’s not recommended to free feed them.
Monitoring their food intake is necessary to help control weight issues, especially for family dogs who don’t have a job that keeps them active and maintaining their healthy weight. Puppies should be fed 3-4 times a day until 6 months of age, then reduce the frequency to twice a day.
Best Australian Shepherd Dog Food
The list of food below is not in any particular order by price or popularity. These foods are the types you’ll want to feed your Australian Shepherd for maximum health. Premium dog food is an investment in the health and wellbeing of your dog and you can expect to pay about $3 per pound for the top brands with good, natural and healthy ingredients.
This food gives your dog balanced nutrition for every day and is formulated for larger, active breeds like your Australian Shepherd dog. Can be supplemented with raw ingredients.
It's grain-free and contains higher levels of Glucosamine and Chondroitin than other premium brands which is helpful for active working dogs who place extra stress on their joints.
The grain-free formula is recommended for your Australian Shepherd because grains are considered to be inflammatory to dogs who are sensitive to them. Corn and wheat especially can cause inflammation in your dog’s GI tract and joints.
While the Wellness CORE formula may be a little more pricey than other brands, keep in mind that the lack of fillers in this food means you feed less per serving.
Dogs also metabolize these ingredients more efficiently than lesser quality foods and this means a decrease in stool and better overall health for your dogs.
This food is packed with the premium ingredients you want your dog to have. Additionally, the “LifeSource bits” - a mixture of vitamins, minerals, and Omega fatty acids complete the formula for the large breed adult dog.
Those Omega acids contribute to skin and coat health and reduce the incidents of “sweet itch” and hot spots that are common to the dense coat of the Aussie.The small kibble is cut and shaped to help reduce tartar buildup in the teeth.
This dog food also contains Glucosamine and Chondroitin for your Australian Shepherd’s joint health. This premium dog food is meat heavy and grain-free which also contributes to overall health, but specifically to the prevention of inflammatory joint issues that are common in Australian Shepherd dogs.
Reviews are a bit mixed with regard to the consistency and pricing of this product, but Blue Buffalo generally has a reputation for producing a quality and consistent product. As with any “natural” food product, sometimes spoilage does occur, but Blue Buffalo has reportedly made it right with their customers when it has happened.
All of the BB Wilderness formulas seem pretty popular with both large and small breed owners. The small kibble is manageable for both.
Your Australian Shepherd will benefit from the high concentrations of meat protein in the Wilderness formulas. They really seem to go for the taste of the bison formula, but some owners rotate through all of the taste combinations for variety.
Active herding breeds need high protein for their fast metabolism, and BB seems to fit the bill very well. Australian owners report soft and silky hair without the hot spots Aussies are known to get in warmer climates.
This food has also been instrumental in clearing up stomach and digestive issues in some dogs. Most do very well with small , firm stool and no stomach upset. This is a grain-free formula and so reduces the possibility of inflammation in the GI tract and corn and wheat allergies. Glucosamine and Chondroitin also contribute to overall joint health.
Nutro has a variety of flavors and formulas, but Australian Shepherd owners are raving about how their dogs love the lamb and rice formula. A lot of veterinarians recommend Nutro for dogs who have sensitive stomachs or allergies to wheat or other grains.
The brown rice in several of the flavor combinations is much less aggravating to allergies than a wheat or corn formula would be. Australian Shepherds do well on this food, with noticeably softer and shinier coats than with other brands.
There have been some complaints about the size and shape of the kibble, but most large breed dogs do just fine on them.
There is enough meat protein in the lamb and rice formula for your active Aussie, and the lamb contains natural Glucosamine and Chondroitin which aids in joint health. We wouldn’t say this is the top of the line for premium dog foods, but it is a sound nutritional choice for your Australian Shepherd.
Another healthy premium dog food for your Australian Shepherd is the Canidae duck meal and brown rice formula. This is formulated for all large breed adult dogs.
It’s a protein rich and grain-free formula with the balanced nutrition your Aussie needs, free of corn, wheat and soy that might irritate or inflame their digestive systems.
Owners of overweight , lethargic dogs report that switching them to the Canidae has shown dramatic improvement in reaching and maintaining an optimal weight, as well as in the dog’s energy levels and overall good health.
Senior dogs who were switched to this formula became positively puppy-like in their energy and enthusiasm. This is obviously a great option when you’re considering switching to a premium dog food for your Australian Shepherd.
Remember when switching to mix the next food with the old, gradually decreasing the old until completely switched over.
Best Puppy Food for Australian Shepherd
Puppies need the building blocks for growth and development. They also need to be fed more food, more often from weaning through six months of age. Premium puppy foods give your Aussie pup concentrated protein, vitamins and minerals to help him grow into a healthy adult dog.
Here are a few premium puppy foods you may want to consider for your Australian Shepherd puppy.
You want to get your Aussie puppy food that is formulated especially for large breed puppies. The large breed formulas have a great deal of protein and nutrition concentrated in the kibble.
Feed this formula 3-4 x daily as your puppy matures to give him a great start in life with the building blocks of good nutrition.
There are a lot of choices out there, but most breeders and vets recommend Science Diet for your puppy’s first food. Science Diet has no artificial color, flavor or preservatives.
The protein rich formula supports bone and joint growth and good overall nutrition for your Australian Shepherd pup. Most puppies like the flavor, and if not, Hill’s offers a money-back guarantee on their product.
This puppy food should be fed from weaning through one year of age,then the puppy should be transitioned to a large breed adult dog food.
Wellness Complete health contains the balanced nutrition your Australian Shepherd puppy needs to meet his daily requirement with the addition of DHA for healthy bone, brain and eye development.
Since Australian Shepherds can be prone to eye issues, this is a good choice for your puppy. This formula contains all natural ingredients so no artificial colors or preservatives, and no wheat, corn or soy to trigger allergies in your puppy.
The reviews for this puppy food are fairly consistent with the majority of dogs enjoying the taste and doing well on the product without stomach upset or any other GI problems. Some owners report that they changed from a very high end prescription dog food for their puppies to the
Wellness brand and their dogs did even better on the Wellness formula then on the veterinarian -recommended food. The protein in this puppy food is concentrate so you’ll gradually increase your puppy’s intact and portions according to his weight and activity level as he grows.
Blue Buffalo is formulated for your Australian Shepherd puppy’s growth and development. This large breed puppy formula contains all the building blocks of nutrition your Aussie puppy needs to grow into a healthy adult dog.
Puppy owners report that Blue Buffalo is the perfect food for their growing puppy. Dogs are active, energetic and happy with shiny soft coats and well-formed stool. This product is grain-free so you avoid the allergy triggers of corn, wheat and soy.
The kibbles are small and well tolerated, and the puppies really seem to go for the chicken formula. The lean protein translates to lean muscle on your growing Australian Shepherd and the combination of balanced nutrition gives them energy to burn!
You’ll recognize every word on the ingredient list and understand the philosophy of Blue Buffalo to give your growing Aussie pup the real meat and veggie ingredients they crave as growing canines. If you’ve ever fed a cheaper dog food filled with by-products and meals, you’ll be amazed at the difference in your dog when you switch to a premium dog food such as the Wilderness formula.
Ingredients to Know
The main things to look for in your premium pet foods are proteins( 8% for puppies and 5% for adult dogs), especially meat protein. Fresh meat and fish should be in the top 3 ingredients. You should also be looking for vegetables and additions of fats such as Omega 3s.
All of these contribute to a balanced diet for your Australian Shepherd. You want to avoid any kind of by-product, preservatives, or artificial colors and flavors. Too many fillers and not enough real ingredients equal poor nutrition for your dog.
Common Health Problems
Australian Shepherds have been bred as herding dogs, and as such have some of the hereditary health problems common to working breeds such as hip and elbow Dysplasia and other joint issues. They come in variegated colors and are also prone to some eye problems similar to Collie dogs.
Australian Shepherds can have Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Retinal Dysplasia and other problems of the eye. The merle colored dogs are subject to Coloboma, which is a defect of the structure of the inner eye. They are also prone to skin conditions such as “Sweet Itch,” a form of dermatitis, and hot spots due to their dense undercoat.
Feeding puppy foods with DHA contributes to good eye health, and feeding adult dogs premium foods containing Glucosamine, Chondroitin and Omega fatty acids can help mitigate these problems in your Australian Shepherd.
We know you want to do the very best you can to help grow your Aussie puppy into a healthy and happy active Australian Shepherd dog. We hope you found this information to be interesting and helpful in making your choice about the best foods to feed your Aussie dog.