The Blue Heeler — also known as the Australian Cattle Dog — is a sturdy, hard-muscled, and compact hound that was bred to have an active lifestyle.
These resilient herders are intelligent enough to routinely outsmart their owners, and are also closely related to Dingos, needing similar nutrition to them.
That means the best dog food for Blue Heelers is a high protein and higher fat formula that is closer to their ancestors’ raw diets.
Our personal choice for the best dog food for Blue Heelers is Holistic Select Grain-Free dry dog food.
This food is high in protein and healthy fats, and is grain-free for dogs that may have allergies or sensitivities. It’s the perfect choice for the highly active and intelligent Blue Heeler.
There are also other options as well, including puppy food, a limited ingredient dog food, and a budget food option if you’re watching your wallet.
But no matter what, the following options are sure to meet your Blue Heelers nutritional needs.
Our Best Dog Food for Blue Heelers
- Holistic Select Adult & Puppy Grain-Free Dry Dog Food (Best for Adult Blue Heelers)
- ORIJEN Puppy Grain-Free Dry Puppy Food (Best for Blue Heeler Puppies)
- Nulo Freestyle Senior Grain-Free Dry Dog Food (Best for Senior Blue Heelers)
- Diamond Naturals Extreme Athlete Formula Dry Dog Food (Best for Highly Active Blue Heelers)
- Petcurean GO! SENSITIVITIES Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Dry Dog Food (Best for Blue Heelers With Food Sensitivities)
- Taste of the Wild Grain-Free Recipe Wet Canned Dog Food (Best Wet Food)
- Ollie Fresh Customized Dog Food (Best Fresh Dog Food)
- IAMS Minichunks Dry Dog Food (Best Budget Dog Food)
- Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Healthy Weight Adult Dry Dog Food (Best for Weight Loss)
- Merrick Grain-Free Adult Dry Dog Food (Best for Blue Heelers With Joint Issues)
10 Best Dog Foods for Blue Heelers Reviewed
The dog foods on this list meet the AAFCO nutrient profile guidelines. Before switching your Blue Heeler’s food, consult with your veterinarian.
- First 5 Ingredients: Salmon, Anchovy and Sardine Meal, Potatoes, Peas
- Key Feature: Holistic dog food focused on joint health and muscle retention
Because they have high energy levels and are full of muscle, the best dog food for Blue Heelers is a higher protein food filled with healthy fats. Holistic Select Natural Grain-Free dry dog food includes both, plus so much more.
In fact, this formula is beneficial for both puppies and adult dogs due to its 29% Crude Protein and 14% Crude Fat. And, it includes DHA, an essential amino acid for developing pups — helping you start their nutrition early.
This food starts with real salmon, which offers a healthy and allergy-free protein option, as well as omega fatty acids for joint support. Anchovy and sardine meals also add in glucosamine and taurine for heart health.
Potatoes and peas offer easily digestible carbohydrates for dogs that may have sensitive tummies. And, prebiotics and probiotics are supplemented for additional digestive tract support, and to keep your dog regular.
Holistic Select is made in the USA with high-quality sourced ingredients.
- First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Turkey, Turkey Giblets, Flounder, Whole Mackerel
- Key Feature: High protein puppy dog food with DHA
A Blue Heeler puppy will need more protein, fat, and calories than their adult counterparts. Your high energy dog needs extra energy to keep up with their active lifestyle.
ORIJEN Puppy Grain-Free puppy food checks off all of those boxes for a Blue Heeler puppy — also offering other nutrients like DHA for brain development and vitamin C for immune support.
This food starts with fresh or raw free-run chicken and turkey, wild-caught or sustainably farmed fish, and cage-free eggs.
In fact, the first 5 ingredients are all real meats, offering 38% Crude Protein. The raw ingredients are also frozen at peak freshness for preservation and to eliminate potential parasites.
Lentils and pinto beans are added as a natural and more complex carbohydrate source, offering more energy without negatively affecting your puppy’s digestion.
For a boost of antioxidants for immune support, and vitamin D and calcium for bone support, the formula also includes pumpkin, butternut squash, and collard greens.
The dog food is made in the USA, and is a grain free diet with no corn, wheat, or soy added.
- First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Trout, Turkey Meal, Salmon Meal, Yellow Peas, Sweet Potato, Chickpeas
- Key Feature: L-carnitine rich dog food to support metabolism of senior Blue Heelers
Blue Heelers need additional amino acids and vitamins in order to maintain their muscles and aid in joint health. But, they also need a lower calorie diet to maintain their weight.
Because of this, it’s important to choose a food specifically made for senior dogs.
Nulo Freestyle Senior dry dog food includes glucosamine and chondroitin from deboned trout and turkey meal for hip and joint health. These ingredients also include L-carnitine — an amino acid that helps boost metabolism for dogs that aren’t quite as active as they used to be.
Yellow peas, chickpeas, and sweet potatoes are added for easily digestible carbohydrates. These are perfect for senior dogs who need fiber and probiotics to aid in proper digestion.
Calcium and phosphorus are supplemented to help your older pup maintain strong bones. And fruits and vegetables like apples and carrots offer vitamin A, vitamin C, and antioxidants for a healthy immune system.
This grain-free formula is also free of chicken and egg proteins, for dogs that may have sensitivities or food allergies.
- First 5 Ingredients: Chicken Meal, Chicken, Ground White Rice, Chicken Fat, Cracked Pearled Barley
- Key Feature: High protein and fat dog food for highly active Blue Heelers
For a highly active dog like a Blue Heeler, Diamond Naturals Extreme Athlete dry dog food is a great choice. Not only is it high in protein, but it also includes real meat as the foundation — providing extra vitamins and nutrients like glucosamine and B vitamins for joints.
The farm raised chicken is cage-free. Plus, this recipe also includes chicken fat as the main fat source. This reduces the ingredients (thus reducing a chance at an allergic reaction) and provides a delicious source of omega fatty acids.
These acids help promote healthy skin and a shiny coat, while also helping keep healthy joints.
Coconut, papaya, and spinach offer iron for metabolism support, vitamin A for eye health and immune system support, and fiber for digestion.
Each serving also includes supplemented probiotics, antioxidants, and prebiotics to help support the digestive tract and boost the immune system.
This formula is made in the US by a family-owned company. It doesn’t include any corn, wheat, artificial flavors, or artificial colors.
- First 5 Ingredients: De-Boned Duck, Duck Meal, Peas, Tapioca, Lentils
- Key Feature: Chicken free dog food for Blue Heelers with food sensitivities
Does your dog have food allergies or sensitivities? Don’t worry, there’s an option for them. Many commercial dog brands have developed dog food just for dogs with sensitive tummies and skin, but my personal favorite is the Petcurean Go! Limited Ingredient dry dog food.
First, it includes just one animal protein — cage-free and deboned duck — in order to limit possible allergic reactions. Since chicken is a common allergen, avoiding it can be helpful for many dogs.
Dried chicory root provides essential fiber to support sensitive stomachs, and, because the formula is grain-free, peas and lentils are added for easily digestible carbs.
Petcurean Go! formulates their dog food with ASC and MSC certified marine microalgae oil. This oil is natural and sustainable, and provides healthy omega-3 fatty acids to support the skin and coat of your dog.
This is helpful if their allergies cause them to have itchy or dry skin — luckily, duck is great for hypoallergenic diets. It also helps with brain development.
The recipe is made without gluten, potato, wheat, corn, or soy. It’s also made without by-product meals or artificial preservatives.
- First 5 Ingredients: Beef, lamb broth, beef broth, vegetable broth, lamb liver
- Key Feature: Grain-free and chicken-free wet dog food
There are many reasons that you may want to feed your Blue Heeler wet dog food. Age, not having a large appetite, or even missing teeth can make it harder for your dog to eat their regular kibble. However, you don’t want to miss out on the proteins and fats that they need.
Enter Taste of the Wild High Prairie canned food. It includes high quality protein like real beef, lamb liver, and bison for additional protein, glucosamine, and omega fatty acids for healthy joints.
It is a naturally grain-free food — instead using peas, potatoes, and sweet potatoes for highly digestible energy, fiber, and zinc for hormone regulation. Plus tomatoes and blueberries offer natural antioxidants to support the immune system.
All of the ingredients are from 3rd party tested, trusted, and sustainable sources. This formula doesn’t have any grain, corn, wheat, or fillers. It’s also free of artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives.
It’s made in the USA by a family owned and run company with scientifically advanced food safety protocols.
- First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Carrots, Peas, Rice, Chicken Liver
- Key Feature: Human grade dog food customized for your Blue Heeler
When you’re feeding your pup, quality matters. And, while all of the dog foods on this list are high-quality, some owners want something a little fresher. That’s where Ollie Customized Dog Food comes in.
Unlike dry or canned kibble, Ollie is completely customizable and human grade fresh dog food. And — bonus points — it’s delivered right to your door every two weeks to ensure that your furry friend is eating only the freshest food.
Before getting your food shipped, you’ll start with a quiz on your Blue Heeler pup. You’ll include their weight, size, build, activity level, and potential allergies.
And, after taking this 5 minute quiz, Ollie will calculate the perfect diet for your dog.
While the chicken recipe is popular, they include other diets as well — including beef, lamb, and turkey. You can choose between getting just one recipe or all four each shipment (and you can change up your choice at any time).
The shipment also comes with a feeding guide, storage container, and scoop, making it super convenient to feed your dog the best, without the hassle.
- First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Ground Whole Grain Corn, Ground Whole Grain Sorghum, Chicken By-Product Meal, Dried Plain Beet Pulp
- Key Feature: Grain-free budget friendly dog food high in DHA
Need a good value and high quality dog food? IAMS Adult Minichunks dry dog food provides real chicken and flaxseed, with the budget conscious dog owner in mind.
The chicken makes the dog food protein packed, while also offering essential vitamins and nutrients like omega fatty acids and B vitamins for energy production. It also includes glucosamine, helping to maintain muscles while also protecting the joints.
Flaxseed, fish oils, and eggs provide alpha-linolenic acid (ALAs) for heart health and to help prevent constipation.
Prebiotics are supplemented for digestion. Antioxidants from carrots and beet pulp help promote a strong immune system.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that this food does include both corn and whole grain sorghum, which may trigger allergic reactions or sensitive tummies for some dogs. But if your dog has no issue with these, this food is a great option.
- First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Barley, Pea Fiber
- Key Feature: Low fat dog food to encourage weight loss
Blue Heelers don’t usually carry a lot of fat on their bodies due to their ability to use extra energy (like their wild ancestors). However, they can be prone to certain joint and muscle conditions, so weight management can become important if your dog gains too much weight.
Blue Buffalo Healthy Weight dry dog food provides a high protein formula that Blue Heelers need, without too much fat. Plus, the recipe is high in fiber for metabolism and digestive support.
This formula starts with real deboned chicken, providing high quality protein and L-carnitine for lean muscle mass and to support healthy joints. Brown rice also provides magnesium, reducing inflammation and supporting a healthy heart.
Sweet potatoes, carrots, and dried kelp provide antioxidants for immune support, vitamin A eye health, and zinc to protect cardiovascular health.
Calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D are supplemented for both strong bones and teeth, which help with weight loss and joint health as well.
This recipe doesn’t include any corn, wheat, soy, or poultry by-product meals.
- First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Beef, Lamb Meal, Salmon Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes
- Key Feature: Omega fatty acid enriched food for Blue Heelers with joint issues
While Blue Heelers are fairly healthy due to running around all day, their most common health issues tend to involve their joints.
Due to their compact and stocky nature, it’s easy for them to deal with joint, bone, and muscle problems. Because of this, it’s important to focus on a food that’s high in essential fats and amino acids for support.
Merrick Real Texas Beef dry dog food has 15% Crude Fat, all with beneficial acids like omega fatty acids, glucosamine, and chondroitin for joint support. It also includes real beef as the first ingredient, providing a high protein dog food as well.
It is grain-free, and instead includes sweet potato for healthy and easily digestible carbohydrates. These also provide fiber for healthy digestion and potassium for additional muscle support.
This formula is made in the US in Merrick’s Hereford, Texas kitchen. It’s made without poultry ingredients, corn, wheat, soy, gluten, or artificial preservatives.
Guide to Buying Best Food for Blue Heelers
Blue Heelers need a complete and balanced diet with a lot of protein and fat for their muscles. They also need enough calories to stay energetic throughout the day.
Here’s how to choose the best dog food for your Blue Heeler.
Blue Heelers are made of muscle. Because of this, their bodies need to be replenished in order to keep the muscle tone and mass. While these dogs are smaller and more compact, they need real and high quality protein to keep up with their stocky build and lifestyle.
Because of this, focus on a higher protein percentage in the dog food that you purchase. While many dogs need around 22% protein, Blue Heelers need at least 25%.
Also, focus on real meat as often as possible to make sure your dog is getting all the vitamins and minerals that are present. Fish, beef, and chicken are the most common — but venison, bison, and lamb work well too.
Blue Heelers need some healthy fat in their diet. Not only does it energize them, but it helps protect their joints and can help prevent and deter arthritis.
Moderate fat, around 12% to 15%, is ideal. Focus on healthy fats like salmon oil, flaxseed oil, and coconut oil.
While carbohydrates are essential for digestion and vitamins like magnesium to reduce inflammation, they’re not as important for Blue Heelers. These dogs are closely related to Dingos — wild carnivores that focus on raw meat.
Because of this, you should focus more on providing a higher protein and moderate fat diet. If you choose a dog food with carbohydrates, focus on more complex and easily digestible options like sweet potatoes, quinoa, and oats.
Fiber is already found in most carbs, so it shouldn’t be an issue in supplying it. However, if you notice that your Blue Heelers digestion is slow, or if they have trouble pooping, you may want to supplement it or find a higher fiber dog food.
Vitamins and Minerals
Almost all commercial dog food options have the essential vitamins and minerals that your dog needs. But, there are a few special ingredients that will help your Blue Heeler thrive.
Prebiotics, probiotics, glucosamine, and chondroitin are all important in your dog’s diet. These nutrients help support muscle maintenance and growth, protect the joints, and keep bones strong.
Prebiotics and probiotics also help them digest their food better, and keep their tummy happy.
Ingredients to Avoid
While most commercial dog foods have made great strides in eliminating unnecessary ingredients, there are a few that you should always try to avoid.
Unnatural preservatives like BHA, BHT, and Ethoxyquin should always be bypassed. These preservatives can cause kidney and liver damage, cancer, blindness, and even death. And, along with artificial preservatives, avoid artificial colors and flavors as well.
Other fillers like corn, soy, wheat, and meat by-products should be avoided when possible. While these ingredients aren’t as toxic to dogs, they can still cause allergic reactions and don’t provide as many nutrients as real meats, grains, and fruits and vegetables.
Common Blue Heeler Health Issues
Blue Heelers are usually healthy dogs, but they are prone to a few joint and muscle health problems. Here are the most common health issues to keep in mind.
Arthritis is common amongst senior dogs and dogs with stockier builds like shepherd dogs — including Blue Heelers. This disease happens when inflammation affects one or more joints, causing pain and stiffness. Arthritis can affect younger dogs as well, but usually worsens with age.
Symptoms include: difficulty standing up, jumping on furniture, going upstairs, and muscle loss in a short period of time. If your Blue Heeler is experiencing any of these symptoms, take them to the veterinarian.
Luckily, there are many ways to treat arthritis and keep your friend pain free. Steroids and medications can help, although they may have side effects. To aid with those symptoms, your dog’s diet is important as well.
Weight control can help, and gentle exercise like swimming and slow walks can be beneficial.
Antioxidants, omega fatty acids, glucosamine, and chondroitin are usually included in senior dog food, and are essential building blocks for healthy cartilage and joints. They can also help reduce inflammation, which can then reduce pain caused by arthritis.
Hip dysplasia is also common with stockier dogs, but major symptoms can usually be avoided with a proper diet. This happens when the thigh-bone rubs against the hip joint and doesn’t properly fit. When this happens the bone can snap or break.
Common symptoms are pain, limping, whimpering during movement, and even a jutted hip bone. In order to prevent dysplasia, be sure to keep your Blue Heeler at a healthy weight. Also, focus on offering food high in glucosamine, omega fatty acids, and chondroitin in order to keep their joints lubricated and healthy.
Patellar Luxation happens when the kneecap is dislocated from the knee joint. This disorder is hereditary, and you’ll know your dog has it without testing, since it usually happens at birth (unless an accident occurs).
While you may not notice the accident, you’ll notice the symptoms, so keep an eye out.
Common symptoms with Patellar Luxation include the dragging of a leg, slow walking, and a leg being bent at an odd angle.
If the disease is severe enough, it can only be treated by surgery. If mild or moderate, steroids and narcotics are common alternatives, but vitamins and minerals can also help with inflammation and pain.
Just like with the other joint and muscle disorders, glucosamine, omega fatty acids, and even vitamin E can ease pain and protect the kneecaps.
Blue Heeler Feeding Guide
Properly feeding your Blue Heeler doesn’t have to be hard. In fact, there are just a few simple tips to follow.
Here’s everything you need to know.
Puppies usually need more calories per pound than adults, and Blue Heelers are no exception.
A puppy will need around 30 calories per pound. This means the average Blue Heeler at 35 pounds would eat around 1,000 calories during their puppy stage.
These pups also need higher protein and fats in order to build and maintain their muscles and joints. And, because they’re still growing, focus on DHA for brain development as well.
Due to their smaller stature and inability to control their eating as much, feeding your dog 2–3 meals a day while they’re a puppy is ideal.
Once your dog reaches adulthood at around 12 months, you’ll want to drop their calorie limit to about 25 calories per pound, or around 900 calories a day. You can also limit feeding to 2 times a day.
Senior Blue Heelers will eat about 20–25 calories per pound, depending on their nutritional needs. If your senior Blue Heeler needs to maintain a specific weight or needs to lose weight, lean more towards 20 calories per pound.
Since seniorhood is when many Blue Heelers start having joint issues, it’s especially important to get food that will keep them at a healthy weight and help protect them.
Most senior dog food formulas include more omega fatty acids, glucosamine, and other essential vitamins — but don’t be afraid to read the ingredients.
Blue Heelers need a high protein and healthy fat diet to support their muscular build. So, what’s the best dog food for Blue Heelers?
My favorite is Holistic Select Grain-Free dog food. It provides complete and balanced nutrition for active dogs — while being easy on sensitive tummies with omega fatty acids for healthy joints.
However, all of the foods on this list were specifically chosen with your dog in mind and can support your Blue Heelers needs.
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