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Best Dog Food For Australian Shepherds

australian shepherd dog

This is our review of the best dog food for Australian Shepherds in 2020.

Australian Shepherds are renowned for their trainability and willingness to please.

These fluffy dogs have seemingly endless energy. Aussies need a high-protein, high-fat diet that supports their active lifestyles and long coats.

I always had a hard time convincing this breed to sit still when I was a vet tech. And now, I’ve used my experience to research the best dog foods for your Australian Shepherd.

If you are looking for a formula with high-quality protein for your Aussie, Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Dog Food is the best overall choice.

But every dog is different. So I’ve included reviews of the best dog foods for Australian Shepherds in every category.

Let’s get started.

Our Best Dog Foods For Australian Shepherds

10 Best Dog Foods For Australian Shepherds

All dog foods included on this list meet the standard AAFCO nutrient profile guidelines for dogs. [1] Always consult with your veterinarian before making changes to your dog’s diet.

Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Dog Food 

Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain Free
  • First 5 Ingredients: Buffalo, Lamb Meal, Chicken Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Peas
  • Key feature: High protein diet based on multiple animal sources
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 32% Crude Protein, 18% Crude Fat, 5% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 370 kcal/cup
  • Type of Product: Grain-Free, Gluten-Free, High Protein
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Best for: Overall

Taste of the Wild dog foods are known for using high-quality protein sources as their primary ingredients. This formula features real meat that provides a 32% protein content from buffalo, lamb, and chicken.

Active breeds need high-protein diets. And Aussies are among the most energetic dogs in the world. High-quality protein gives your pup’s muscles the support they need to stay active. [2]

The grain-free formula includes whole fruits and vegetables to provide complex carbohydrates. These ingredients also support overall wellbeing by increasing concentrations of vitamins and antioxidants.

This food is also gluten-free and suitable for dogs with food sensitivities.

Specific canine strains of probiotics support gut health. Probiotics help enhance nutrient absorption by breaking down food and regulating digestion. [3]

Aussie owners share that this dog food helps maintain muscle mass on active dogs. But you may also notice an increased frequency of bowel movements.




Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Puppy Food

  • First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Oatmeal, Barley
  • Key feature: Puppy formula with high-quality protein
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 27% Crude Protein, 16% Crude Fat, 5% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 398 kcal/cup
  • Type of Product: No Corn, No Soy, No Protein
  • Life Stage: Growth
  • Best for: Aussie Puppies

Aussie puppies are tiny, fluffy balls of energy that need specialized nutrition to support healthy growth. This puppy formula provides 27% crude protein from real deboned chicken to meet this breed’s need for high-quality protein.

Protein provides the basic building blocks for muscle development as puppies grow. Additional animal protein from menhaden fish meal is high in omega-3 fatty acids. These healthy fats are essential for brain and eye development in young dogs. [4]

Concentrated sources of vitamins and minerals meet your Aussie puppy’s requirements for healthy bone growth. Vitamin E and other antioxidants boost the weak immune system of young puppies.

This kibble is perfectly sized for smaller jaws. It also helps remove tartar from tiny pearly whites. The formula is also free of corn, wheat, soy, or chicken.

Aussie owners recommend this formula for promoting steady growth and energy in active puppies.




American Journey Grain-Free Senior Dog Food 

American Journey Grain Free Senior
  • First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Peas
  • Key feature: High-protein diet for active older Aussies
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 30% Crude Protein, 11% Crude Fat, 7% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 355 kcal/cup
  • Type of Product: Grain-Free, Gluten-Free, No Corn, No Wheat, No Soy, High-Protein
  • Life Stage: Senior
  • Best for: Senior Aussies

Most elderly dogs require less protein as they age. But feeding a high-protein senior diet can help keep your older Australian Shepherd active. This formula features a 30% crude protein content from deboned chicken.

High-quality protein can also help prevent muscle loss in older dogs.

Years of enthusiastic playing can strain your pup’s joints as he ages. Most senior dog food will include glucosamine to help protect joint cartilage. [5] Chicken meal provides a natural source of this chondroprotective nutrient.

This senior dog food also features coconut oil. This superfood provides medium-chain triglycerides, which can help maintain brain health as your dog ages.

Fiber is not a primary source of energy. But a fiber content of 7% helps regulate sensitive old digestive tracts. Fiber-rich foods act as a prebiotic to nourish the good bacteria in the digestive system.

Australian Shepherds who eat this diet may experience enhanced mobility and overall health. But some Aussie owners complain that the formula made their dog stink.




Diamond Naturals All Life Stages Dog Food

Diamond Naturals Chicken Rice All Life Stages
  • First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Whole Grain Brown Rice, Cracked Pearled Barley, Chicken Fat
  • Key feature: Budget-friendly formula with real meat as the first ingredient
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 26% Crude Protein, 16% Crude Fat, 2.5% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 368 kcal/cup
  • Type of Product: No Corn, No Wheat, No Soy
  • Life Stage: All Life Stages
  • Best for: Budget Aussie Food

This formula’s 26% crude protein content comes from cage-free chicken. Other affordable diets use meat by-products as the first ingredient. But those competitors do not include enough high-quality protein for active breeds like Australian Shepherds.

Real fruits and vegetables provide natural sources of antioxidants like vitamin C. Antioxidants enhance immune health and protect tissue from oxidative damage. [6]

Salmon oil is high in omega fatty acids that support coat health. These healthy fats encourage the natural oil production necessary to maintain your Aussie’s long coat.

Nutrient absorption and digestion gets support from a probiotic content of 80 billion CFU. This formula is also suitable for sensitive stomachs and free of corn, wheat, and soy.

Budget-conscious Aussie lovers recommend this food as a high-quality but affordable alternative to premium brands. But a few reviews share that some dogs may not find the taste appealing.




Wellness Core Grain-Free Dog Food

Wellness Core Grain Free Turkey
  • First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Turkey, Turkey Meal, Chicken Meal, Peas, Dried Ground Potatoes
  • Key feature: Grain-free dog food with whole-food ingredients
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 34% Crude Protein, 16% Crude Fat, 4% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 317 kcal/cup
  • Type of Product: Grain-Free, Gluten-Free, No Corn, No Wheat, No Soy, High-Protein
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Best for: Premium Aussie Food

This grain-free formula is exceptionally high in protein and ideal for Australian Shepherds. The 34% protein content from deboned chicken supports active dogs who need healthy muscles.

This grain-free formula also contains added taurine, making it safe for heart health. This amino acid may improve cardiac function by reducing blood pressure. [7]

The inclusion of ‘superfoods’ like spinach, blueberries, and kale increases this dog food’s nutrient concentrations.

The recipe does not include any fillers that could cause food intolerances or increase this high-protein recipe’s calories.

Added glucosamine and omega-3 fatty acids also help reduce inflammation and manage joint pain.

Many Aussie owners notice an improvement in the overall health of their pets when feeding this dog food. It is also very palatable and an excellent choice for picky eaters.




Taste of the Wild Grain-Free Canned Dog Food

Taste of the Wild High Prairie Canned Bison
  • First 5 Ingredients: Beef, Lamb Broth, Beef Broth, Vegetable Broth, Lamb Liver
  • Key feature: Grain-free wet food based on beef
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 8% Crude Protein, 3.5% Crude Fat, 1% Crude Fiber, 82% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 322 kcal/cup
  • Type of Product: Grain-Free, Chicken-Free
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Best for: Wet Food for Australian Shepherds

High-quality protein is provided in this dog food by several animal sources. Beef, lamb, and venison offer a complete amino acid profile and high protein content for active dogs.

An 82% moisture content reduces the other crude percentages in wet formulas. But this is still a high-protein dog food ideal for Australian Shepherds.

Aussie owners with picky dogs highly recommend this dog food. Wet food has a taste and texture that is more appealing to fussy pups.

Lamb liver and other organ meats provide excellent sources of Vitamin A. [8] Adequate levels of vitamin A help protect your dog’s eyes and vision. Aussies are susceptible to progressive retinal atrophy, so supporting eye health is vital.

This grain-free formula also features added taurine and complex carbohydrates. These ingredients make it a suitable recipe for dogs with high energy needs.




Canidae Pure Grain-Free Dog Food

Canidae Pure Grain Free Salmon
  • First 5 Ingredients: Salmon, Salmon Meal, Menhaden Fish Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Peas
  • Key Feature: Limited Ingredient diet for dogs with Allergies
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 32% Crude Protein, 18% Crude Fat, 4% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 496 kcal/cup
  • Type of Product: Sensitive Digestion, Grain-Free, Chicken-Free, No Corn, No Wheat, No Soy, Gluten Free, Limited Ingredient Diet
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Best For: Aussies with Allergies

Some Australian Shepherds may suffer from food allergies. Limited-ingredient diets like this one use simple recipes designed for dogs with sensitive stomachs.

Eliminating common allergens from the recipe helps limit the potential for allergic reactions. This dog food uses a single source of protein to provide a 32% crude protein content.

Most allergens are proteins, so a single protein source helps prevent your pup from developing new allergies. [9]

Salmon is also an excellent source of healthy fats necessary for coat health in Australian Shepherds.

This recipe only uses eight ingredients to provide comprehensive nutrition. It does not include any grains, soy, wheat, or corn.

Added taurine in this recipe helps promote cardiovascular health. This grain-free recipe also provides adequate sources of complex carbohydrates from potatoes and peas for energy.

This food has a high caloric content that is not suitable for overweight Aussies. But many owners report success managing their dog’s allergies with this formula.




Hill’s Science Diet Healthy Mobility Dog Food

Hills Sciene Healthy Mobility Large Breed Chicken
  • First 5 Ingredients: Chicken Meal, Brewers Rice, Whole Grain Sorghum, Brown Rice, Whole Grain Wheat
  • Key Feature: Mobility diet supports dogs with joint conditions
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 28% Crude Protein, 12% Crude Fat, 3% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 367 kcal/cup
  • Type of Product: Mobility Diet
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Best For: Aussies with Joint Problems

This mobility dog food provides joint support and high-quality sources of protein. Chicken meal provides 28% protein content for this formula.

Aussies are active dogs who can strain their joints over years of excessive wear and tear. They are also predisposed to hip dysplasia and other skeletal conditions that can cause arthritis.

High levels of omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil to help reduce joint inflammation. [10] Reducing inflammation in irritated joints is critical for managing joint pain.

A high concentration of glucosamine and chondroitin helps regenerate healthy joint cartilage. These popular ingredients are frequently used in mobility formulas to manage joint discomfort. [11]

Vitamins E and C act as antioxidants to help protect joints from free radical damage. [12]

Most owners report improvements in their Aussie’s mobility within the first month of beginning this diet. But, the kibble may be too large for smaller Australian Shepherds.




Diamond Naturals Skin & Coat Formula

Diamond Naturals Skin Coat Salmon
  • First 5 Ingredients: Salmon, Fish Meal, Potatoes, Lentils, Peas
  • Key Feature: Skin and coat support for long-haired dogs
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 25% Crude Protein, 14% Crude Fat, 5% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 337 kcal/cup
  • Type of Product: Grain-Free, No Corn, No Wheat, No Soy, Chicken-Free
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Best For: Aussie Coat Health

Australian Shepherds have beautiful, fluffy coats. The 25% crude protein content of this formula comes from salmon, which also supports coat health.

Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These fats encourage the production of natural oils by your dog’s skin.

This hypoallergenic kibble is also grain-free to reduce the risk of sensitive skin reactions.

A robust immune system is another critical aspect of preventing skin infections. High levels of antioxidants and a proprietary blend of probiotics help enhance immune health.

If you feed this formula, you may notice a healthy shine in your Aussie’s coat. But, it may not provide itch relief for every skin condition.




Nutro Wholesome Essentials Healthy Weight Dog Food 

Nutro Wholesome Essentials Healthy Weight Large Breed Adult Chicken
  • First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Whole Brown Rice, Brewers Rice, Split Peas
  • Key Feature: Non-GMO weight control formula
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 22% Crude Protein, 10% Crude Fat, 12% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 239 kcal/cup
  • Type of Product: Weight Control, No Corn, No Wheat, No Soy, Non-GMO
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Best For: Weight Management for Aussies

Australian Shepherds are active dogs with high energy needs. But if they do not get enough exercise, they can quickly become overweight.

This diet formula features a 24% crude content of high-quality protein from real chicken. Nutrient-rich ingredients meet the nutritional needs of Australian Shepherds without excess calories.

A low caloric content of 239 kcal/cup promotes weight loss. Lean proteins and complex carbohydrates provide energy for active breeds. And extra fiber helps prevent your pup from feeling hungry.

Overweight Aussies can also suffer from joint problems. Added glucosamine helps ease discomfort associated with the extra stress that obesity places on joints.

Some dogs may not like the taste of this dog food. But most Aussie owners share success stories when using this diet to help their pup lose weight.




australian shepherd with a toy

Guide To Buying Dog Food For Australian Shepherds

Australian Shepherds need high-quality nutrition that keeps up with their pace of life. When shopping for the right dog food for your Aussie, you need to consider several factors.

Nutritional Needs of Australian Shepherds

Most breeds have similar requirements for macronutrients. But feeding a diet with a balanced nutrition ratio of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates is especially essential for Aussies.

You need to make sure your dog’s diet is meeting his daily energy requirements.

Quality Protein

Dogs are omnivores who thrive on meat-based diets. A high-quality animal protein source should be a primary ingredient in any dog food you buy for your Australian Shepherd.

Aussies have increased protein needs compared to less-active breeds. They need nutritional support to maintain their muscles and energy levels. Look for a dog food that provides around 25% crude protein or higher.

Healthy Fats

Fats are a primary source of energy for dogs. Essential omega fatty acids are also vital for coat health and overall wellbeing.

Aussies are energetic dogs with long-haired coats. The best dog foods for this breed have high-fat content from healthy sources.

Choose a formula with a fat content of 12% or higher. And look for natural sources of omega-3 fatty acids like fish oil in the ingredients.

Complex Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates also play an important role in canine nutrition. Whole-food sources of complex carbohydrates provide energy and vital nutrients.

Look for whole-grain ingredients in your dog food formula. If you choose a grain-free option, select a dog food that provides complex carbohydrates from fruits and vegetables.

But, any quality dog food should still focus on animal-based ingredients.

Vitamins and Minerals

Make sure any diet you feed your pup meets AAFCO’s nutrient profile guidelines for dogs. These guidelines explain your dog’s daily intake requirements of essential vitamins and minerals.

Vitamins from whole-food sources like fruits play a vital role in your Aussie’s immune system. Vitamins E and C act as antioxidants to help protect tissue from oxidative stress.

Minerals are critical for healthy growth and development. Calcium and phosphorus help bone formation. Deficiencies in puppies can cause skeletal developmental disorders.

How Much and How Often Should You Feed Australian Shepherds?

Australian shepherds are medium-sized dogs that should eat around 30 calories per pound of body weight daily. Their caloric intake will vary depending on age and activity level.

This breed has a mature weight of between 35 and 60 pounds. So you would feed an adult Aussie with average activity levels around 1,000 to 1,800 calories per day. 

Active dogs will need more calories to support their energy needs. But senior dogs have lower caloric needs as they slow down with age.

Puppies have higher caloric requirements and should eat special puppy chow. The amount you feed your Aussie puppy will change as he grows. Here is an example of the amount of food your growing puppy may need as he ages.

Puppy AgeDaily Amount of Food
2 – 3 Months⅔ – 2 Cups
4 – 5 Months1 ¾ – 3 ⅓ Cups
6 – 8 Months1 ⅓ – 3 ¼ Cups
9 – 11 Months2 ⅓ – 4 Cups
1 – 2 Years2 ⅓ – 5 ¼ Cups

Splitting your Aussie’s food into two meals per day will help reduce digestive upset from overeating too quickly. Puppies may benefit from three or more meals per day.

Common Health Problems and How Diet Can Help

Australian Shepherds are relatively healthy dogs. But you can still use an appropriate diet to provide them with the nutritional support needed to stay healthy.

Hip and Elbow Dysplasia

Hip and elbow dysplasia are common genetic conditions in Aussies. These skeletal disorders involve the malformation of a joint. In hip dysplasia, the femur does not perfectly align with the pelvic socket of the hip joint.

Mineral deficiencies and excessive growth can increase the likelihood of these conditions. Make sure that you feed your Aussie puppy a balanced diet that encourages steady growth.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy

Progressive retinal atrophy is another condition that commonly affects Aussies. This degenerative eye disorder can eventually cause blindness. But regular evaluations at the vet can help prevent the disease from worsening.

Vitamin A and omega fatty acids can help protect eye health in Aussies. Look for dog food that includes ingredients that provide these nutrients, like fish oil and organ meat.

Obesity

Although Aussies are an active breed with high energy requirements, sometimes owners can’t exercise their dogs frequently. Avoid feeding your pup too many calories for their lifestyle.

Adjust your dog’s diet to match his activity level to prevent weight gain.

Epilepsy

Epilepsy is one of the scariest conditions that may affect your Aussie. This genetic condition describes repeated seizures. Studies estimate that 4% of all dogs are affected by this condition. But Australian Shepherds suffer at a much higher rate. [13]

When I was a vet tech, we treated more Aussies for seizures than any other breed.

Nutrition cannot provide a cure for this disorder. But some seizures may be caused by low blood sugar or chemical imbalances. Ensure that you provide your dog with a balanced diet and adequate energy levels to help limit his risks of suffering from this condition.

australian shepherd puppy

FAQs

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about feeding Australian Shepherds.

Do Australian Shepherds Have Sensitive Stomachs?

Some Australian Shepherds have sensitive stomachs. Feeding your Aussie a limited ingredient diet that eliminates common allergens can help keep his tummy happy.

How Should I Change My Aussie’s Diet?

You should always change your dog’s diet slowly and gradually. A quick transition can cause digestive upset. Start by mixing the new food with his old diet and gradually increase the portion of new kibble over time.

Is a Grain-Free Diet Good for Australian Shepherds?

Grain-free dog foods can provide excellent high-protein diets for Aussies. If you choose to feed grain-free, make sure your dog food includes added taurine for heart health. Potatoes and peas can also provide good sources of complex carbohydrates in grain-free formulas.

Our Verdict

Aussies are fluffy bundles of energy.

They need a high protein, high-fat diet to support their activity level and coat health. And Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Dog Food is the best overall dog food for Australian Shepherd who need high-quality protein.

This breed is a smart, loyal, and fun companion. Your furry best friend deserves the best nutrition available to help him live his best doggy life.

Talk to your veterinarian today to determine how you can provide your Aussie with the best diet to meet his unique needs.

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