Ever since I got my Aussie I’ve been obsessed with finding the perfect food for him. We all know that things our dogs eat have a huge impact on their health, and I wanted to find the best dog food for an Australian Shepherd to keep my pup in tip-top shape.
If you own an Aussie, you are probably aware that they can’t be still for more than a few seconds and need high-quality food to keep them active. But finding the right food becomes a problem when you are dealing with allergies or food sensitivities which are pretty common for this breed.
Needless to say, you need to strike the right balance between nutrients and the right supplements so your pooch can lead a normal and happy life. Most people get that you can’t feed an Australian Shepherd with just about any food, but many don’t understand how even the smallest thing like grains can make your dog’s life miserable.
In this article, you will find out what are the best foods for your Aussie regardless of his age, allergies, or sensitive tummy. You will also learn what are your dog’s nutritional needs, things to look for and what to avoid in order to keep your pup healthy and active.
Contents & Quick Navigation
- Quick Links For The Best Dog Food For An Australian Shepherd
- Top-Rated Dog Foods For An Australian Shepherd
- Reviews Of The 8 Best Foods For Australian Shepherds
- What To Consider When Buying The Food For An Australian Shepherd
- Understanding Australian Shepherd’s Dietary Needs
- Australian Shepherd Feeding Schedule And Amount
- What Foods You Should Avoid Feeding To Your Australian Shepherd
- Final Thoughts
- Top Picks For Our Dogs
Quick Links For The Best Dog Food For An Australian Shepherd
- Taste of The Wild Pacific Stream Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
- Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient Diet
- Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Dry Dog Food
- Instinct by Nature’s Variety Limited Ingredient Diet
- The Honest Kitchen Grain-Free Dehydrated Dog Food
- American Journey Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food
- Wellness Complete Health Senior Dry Dog Food
- Earthborn Holistic Puppy Vantage Grain-Free Dry Food
Top-Rated Dog Foods For An Australian Shepherd
Rating (out of 5)
Reviews Of The 8 Best Foods For Australian Shepherds
Aussies are medium-sized, high energy dogs that require high-quality food in order to thrive. Here are eight super nutritious and healthy diet options for your furry bouncing ball of energy.
1. Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Grain-Free Dry Dog Food – Best Overall
The Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Grain-Free Dry Dog Food is made of several premium quality ingredients and is the best dry dog food for Australian Shepherds. It is loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that will support your dog’s overall health.
- Chelated minerals
- Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids
Formulated to meet the nutritional needs of adult dogs, this formula has 25% protein count and salmon as the main ingredient. It contains easily digestible carbs such as sweet potatoes and peas and is completely grain-free and suitable for allergies.
The 15% fat count can be a bit much if your pooch is more of a sedentary type, but it is completely fine for active Australian Shepherds. Chelated minerals provide proper nutrient absorption and ensure that your pooch is getting everything he needs from every bite.
The Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Grain-Free Dry Dog Food is a high-quality formula that features several protein sources and zero grains which makes it perfect for Australian Shepherds.
2. Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient Diet
The Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient Diet has limited ingredients that are specially hand-picked for dogs with allergies or food sensitivities. It has a single protein source, easily digestible carbs, and is free of additives and fillers.
- Prebiotics and probiotics
- Omega-3 & -6 fatty acids
- Single protein formula
As the main ingredient in this food, lamb creates a 21% protein count and supports lean and strong muscles. In order to be easily digestible, this food contains oatmeal and ground rice which are healthy wholesome grains.
To ensure that your pooch is getting only the best from its food, Wellness reinforced this formula with all essential vitamins and minerals which support a strong immune system. Aussies with a sensitive stomach can really benefit from this food since it has added prebiotic and probiotic cultures that improve digestion and support a healthy GI tract.
The Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient Diet is a nutritious and balanced formula for pooches with sensitive stomachs or allergies.
3. Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Dry Dog Food
If you are looking for an all-natural and high protein food for your pooch, the Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Dry Dog Food is a great pick. This raw-infused kibble recipe is packed with tasty nutrients that will keep your high-energy Aussie properly fueled.
- Added glucosamine and chondroitin
- Grain and gluten-free
- Freeze-dried pieces of fish
This fish flavored formula features deboned salmon as the main ingredient and comes at a high 34% protein count. Wholesome fruits such as apples and blueberries provide vitamins and minerals which support a healthy immune system.
Added glucosamine and chondroitin support joint health and mobility which is very important for Aussies who are prone to hip and elbow dysplasia. Being grain-free, this formula is a good pick if your pooch is allergic to wheat, corn, or soy and needs a zero grain diet.
This is another great option for Australian Shepherds, especially because it supports healthy joints and mobility.
4. Instinct by Nature’s Variety Limited Ingredient Diet
The Instinct by Nature’s Variety Limited Ingredient Diet is made of just a few hand-picked ingredients that won’t aggravate dogs with allergies or food sensitivities. While it is pretty simple, it is complete and balanced for everyday feeding.
- Single protein source
- Omega-3 & -6 fatty acids
Although the only protein source is duck meal, this food contains 27% crude proteins which is ideal for active Aussies. Easily digestible peas and tapioca are healthy carbs that won’t cause stomach upsets or make your dog itchy.
Omega fatty acids are included to improve your dog’s skin and coat quality, which is essential if your dog has allergies. In order to remain complete and balanced, this kibble has added vitamins and minerals which support the immune system and ensure that your dog stays happy and healthy.
Overall, the Instinct by Nature’s Variety Limited Ingredient Diet is simple but nutritious food and is an excellent choice for dogs with allergies and food sensitivities.
5. The Honest Kitchen Grain-Free Dehydrated Dog Food
The Honest Kitchen Grain-Free Dehydrated Dog Food is a great choice if you are looking for high-quality and highly digestible meals for your Australian Shepherd. This dehydrated food retains a higher nutritional value than cooked foods which makes it healthier and tastier.
- Uses human-grade ingredients
- Contains EPA and DHA from fish oil
- Fruits and vegetables
Suitable for puppies and adult dogs of all breeds, this formula comes in at 29% protein and has a high fiber count of 9.6%. Still, it is completely grain-free, and the bulk of the fiber comes from spinach, potatoes, and carrots.
Fruits and vegetables which are already present in this food are reinforced with added vitamins and minerals which support your dog’s overall well-being. You will have to first mix this food with water and wait for three minutes before offering it to your pooch.
While it may be a bit expensive compared to kibble, The Honest Kitchen Grain-Free Dehydrated Dog Food is premium quality and healthy dog food.
6. American Journey Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food – Best Budget
The American Journey Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food is a budget-friendly but quality food for Australian Shepherds. It offers your dog wholesome nutrition with limited ingredients that won’t result in bouts of diarrhea or a scratching frenzy.
- Single protein source
- Omega-3 & -6 fatty acids
- Easily digestible carbs
The main ingredient, deboned salmon, is a source of omega fatty acids which support healthy skin and creates a 25% protein count. Being a grain-free food, it contains sweet potatoes and pea starch as the main carb sources.
The 12% fat count is ideal for active Aussies and will keep them energized throughout the day. Although designed for dogs with allergies and food sensitivities, this food is completely appropriated even if your pooch doesn’t have these issues.
The American Journey Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food is a good option if you are on a tight budget, but need high-quality food for your dog who has allergies or a sensitive stomach.
7. Wellness Complete Health Senior Dry Dog Food
The Wellness Complete Health Senior Dry Dog Food is specially formulated to meet all the needs of your aging Aussie. It is designed to help your older pooch manage his healthy weight and to support his overall health in his golden years.
- Added glucosamine and chondroitin
- Added probiotic
Deboned chicken is the main ingredient which will help keep your dog’s muscles lean and strong. Since older dogs are at risk of obesity, this food has 22% protein and only 10% fat, which are ideal levels for older Aussies.
Oatmeal and brown rice are wholesome and easily digestible grains that will improve your dog’s stool quality and ensure that his GI tract is working properly. Due to the unique needs of senior dogs, this food contains taurine which supports a healthy heart, glucosamine and chondroitin which improve mobility, and probiotic cultures.
Overall, the Wellness Complete Health Senior Dry Dog Food has everything that an older Australian Shepherd needs and it comes at an affordable price.
8. Earthborn Holistic Puppy Vantage Grain-Free Dry Food
A still-growing puppy has different nutritional needs than an adult dog and will need the best food for an Australian Shepherd puppy in order to thrive. Your pup will need more calories, fat, and proteins, and a special mix of vitamins and minerals in order to grow up healthy.
- DHA for brain and eye development
- High in protein and fat
- All essential vitamins and minerals
The main ingredient, chicken meal, is a concentrated form of meat and contains higher protein levels which makes it a great choice for growing Aussie puppies. This food comes in at 28% protein count which will help your pup to develop lean muscles and 18% fat that will keep him energized throughout the day.
Being grain-free, this food is packed with antioxidants, fiber-rich fruits and vegetables that support a strong immune system, and won’t be too hard on a still-developing GI tract. The omega-3 & -6 fatty acids will keep your pup’s skin healthy and his magnificent coat shiny.
Overall, the Earthborn Holistic Puppy Vantage Grain-Free Dry Food is an excellent choice for still growing Australian Shepherd puppies. It has all that your puppy needs to grow into a healthy and happy dog!
What To Consider When Buying The Food For An Australian Shepherd
Although every breed is unique and can have special dietary needs, dogs, in general, have the same basic nutritional requirements. When it comes to your Australian Shepherd, look for foods that tick the following boxes:
Quality protein: Although omnivores, dogs need high-quality meats in their diet in order to stay healthy. So always pick a food that has a named protein source as the main ingredient. While it may not sound like it, meal is also a great source of protein as long as it is named and comes from chicken, fish, or lamb.
Complex carbohydrates: Healthy carbs have a vital role in your canine’s diet. Fruits, vegetables, and grains are good sources of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fibers which support your dog’s health. Although a lot of people refuse to feed grains to their dogs, you shouldn’t avoid wholesome grains if your vet hasn’t told you otherwise.
Healthy fats: Fats and oils are essential parts of your dog’s diet and are the main energy sources. Chicken fat, pork fat, fish oil, or plant oils such as flaxseed and canola are sources of omega fatty acids and support healthy skin and coat.
Understanding Australian Shepherd’s Dietary Needs
All dogs have the same basic nutritional needs, but there are some variations based on the breed’s size and activity levels.
The Australian Shepherd is a medium-sized but a very active breed, so they need a diet rich in proteins and a bit higher fat content to provide extra energy. These nutrients need to come from high-quality animal sources to ensure optimal digestibility and nutrient absorption.
Although dogs don’t have any specific carb requirements, it is advisable that the food your dog eats has fruits, vegetables, and wholesome grains. Bear in mind that Australian Shepherds are prone to allergies and that your pooch might not be able to eat grains. If this is the case, pick a grain-free recipe which contains legumes and dietary fiber that supports digestion.
The nutritional needs of an Aussie change according to his age and are:
Puppy Australian Shepherds: As a puppy, your Aussie needs a minimum of 22% protein and 8% fat. Keep in mind that these are the minimum requirements and that your puppy can benefit from a higher fat count. Just make sure to follow the feeding guidelines indicated on the food’s label to avoid overfeeding your pooch.
Adult Australian Shepherds: Once your Aussie reaches his adult size you can transition to an adult formula with a minimum of 18% protein and 5% fat. Again, a higher protein and fat food can be beneficial for your dog since it will support lean muscles and keep him energized throughout the day.
Senior Australian Shepherds: As your pooch gets older he will start to slow down and spend less energy. Consequently, he will need fewer fats and calories in order to maintain a healthy weight. At this point in your Aussie’s life, you should focus on foods that offer joint and immune system support.
Besides making sure that your dog’s basic nutritional needs are met, look for foods that contain added supplements. For example, chelated minerals will increase protein absorption, while probiotics and prebiotics will support good digestion and healthy GI tract. Additionally, foods with glucosamine and chondroitin are highly recommended for this breed since they are prone to hip and elbow dysplasia.
Australian Shepherd Feeding Schedule And Amount
The medium-sized Australian Shepherd was originally bred to be an excellent herding dog but nowadays spends most of its time playing and running around. Because this is a high energy breed, an active Aussie can eat as much as 35 calories per pound.
Generally speaking, you will be feeding your adult dog around 20 to 30 calories per pound of body weight. This translates to 1 ½ or 2 ½ cups of food a day, divided into two to three equal meals. When it comes to senior Aussies, you should reduce the calorie intake by 20%.
Still growing puppies will need twice the amount of calories per pound of body weight than an adult dog each day, which in this case means 40 to 60 calories depending on your pup’s energy levels. It is best if you divide the food into three to four meals equally spaced throughout the day. And once your pup is four months old you can start giving him food only two to three times a day.
What Foods You Should Avoid Feeding To Your Australian Shepherd
Like all other dogs, Australian Shepherds should never eat some types of foods. Get your dog to a vet as soon as possible if you suspect that he ingested any of the following foods:
Chocolate: As much as you love it, you should never offer chocolate to your Aussie or any other dog for that matter. Chocolate contains theobromine which can cause digestive and heart problems, and sometimes even death.
Garlic and onions: These are able to kill your dog’s red blood cells which causes anemia. Generally, you shouldn’t panic if your dog eats a tiny bit of either onion or garlic, but a lot can lead to food poisoning.
Xylitol: This is a sweetener often found in gums, baked goods, toothpaste, or candies and can cause your dog’s sugar levels to drop suddenly and even lead to kidney failure.
Caffeine: Any drinks with caffeine, including tea, coffee, or other foods and beverages are strictly out of limits for your canine. A small amount can lead to vomiting, digestive issues, and restlessness, while larger amounts of caffeine can cause seizures, rapid heart rate, and death.
Alcohol: Although he is your best friend, your pooch can never be your drinking buddy! Alcohol has the same effect on dogs as it has on humans, however it takes a lot less for your dog to become drunk. Alcohol can cause vomiting, diarrhea, breathing difficulties, and even death.
Often described as extremely smart, trainable, and very active, a tireless Australian Shepherd needs high-quality food in order to live his life to the fullest. And as a loving pet parent, it is essential that you know what your pup’s nutritional needs are and what is the best dog food for an Australian Shepherd.
Your Aussie needs a high-quality food that features named meat protein as the main ingredient and higher fat levels that will keep your dog energized all day long. Don’t shy away from wholesome grains if your pooch doesn’t have allergies, but if he does a fiber-rich grain-free formula is your best bet.
All of the eight foods listed above are great options for active Aussies, but for me and my pup, the Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Grain-Free Dry Dog Food is a clear winner. It has premium quality meat sources, higher protein, and fat count, and is reinforced with all essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. My dog loves it, and I can’t be happier about it!
Hopefully, you now have a clearer idea of what are your Aussie’s nutritional needs and you are a step closer to picking the best food for him!
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Top Picks For Our Dogs
- BEST PUPPY TOY
We Like: Snuggle Puppy w/ Heart Beat & Heat Pack - Perfect for new puppies. We get all of our Service Dog pups a Snuggle Puppy.
- BEST CHEW TOY
We Like: KONG Extreme - Great toy for heavy chewers like our Labrador Retrievers.
- BEST DOG TREATS
We Like: Wellness Soft Puppy Bites - One of our favorite treats for training our service dog puppies.
For a list of all the supplies we get for our new service dog puppies check out our New Puppy Checklist on the PuppyInTraining.com blog.