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Affectionately nicknamed the Aussie, the Australian Shepherd is a medium-sized breed known for its intelligence and herding ability. What you may not know about the Australian Shepherd is that, despite the name, the breed was actually developed in the United States.
The Australian Shepherd is an active breed closely related to the Border Collie and more distantly related to the Collie and the Shetland Sheepdog. Though they’re known for their herding skills, this breed is highly versatile due to their trainability and eagerness to please. If you’re looking for a breed that learns quickly, loves to play, and gets along well with children, consider the Aussie.
In this article, we’ll talk more about the Australian Shepherd breed and explore its nutritional needs. You’ll also see our top picks for the best Australian Shepherd dog food.
Understanding Your Aussie’s Nutritional Needs
With an average weight range between 35 and 65 pounds, the Australian Shepherd walks the line between being a medium and a large breed. When it comes to providing for your Aussie’s nutritional needs, it’s best to start with the basic nutritional requirements common among all breeds and make the necessary adjustments for size and activity level.
Like all dogs, the Australian Shepherd requires a high-quality diet rich in animal protein with a healthy balance of essential fatty acids to provide energy as well as support for the breed’s thick double coat. Carbohydrates provide a supplemental source of energy as well as fiber for healthy digestion and essential nutrients. The thing to remember is that dogs have a limited ability to digest plant materials, so make sure any carbohydrates in your dog’s diet are nutritious and highly digestible.
When it comes to carbohydrates in your Aussie’s food, whole grains, and fresh vegetables are the best options. Contrary to popular opinion, grain-free food is not inherently healthier for dogs, and most dogs have no trouble digesting whole grains. Furthermore, the FDA has been investigating a potential link between grain-free diets and heart problems, so it may be best to avoid grain-free dog food unless your veterinarian confirms an allergy or sensitivity that necessitates the switch.
What to Look for in Australian Shepherd Food
To make sure that your Australian Shepherd’s nutritional needs are met, start with a high-quality puppy food or adult dog food.
While the Aussie may be considered a large breed if it grows to more than 50 pounds at maturity, their energy level is higher than many large breeds. This means that the caloric density of large-breed dog food might not be sufficient. If your Aussie is very active, consider choosing an active or working breed formula that will be higher in protein to support lean mass with higher fat and calorie content for energy.
Here are some additional things to look for in dog food for Australian Shepherds:
- A high-quality source of animal protein. Protein provides the building blocks for strong muscles and should be the foundation of any dog’s diet. Adult dogs need at least 18% protein in their diet, and puppies need 22%. It should come from high-quality animal sources to maximize digestibility and to provide the essential amino acids your dog needs.
- Moderate-to-high fat content. Fat provides a concentrated source of energy for dogs in the form of calories and should make up at least 8% of a puppy’s diet and 5% of an adult dog’s. Because Aussies are so energetic, however, they may require a higher fat content than average.
- Nutritious and digestible carbohydrates. Whole grains, starchy vegetables, and fresh fruits are nutritious and digestible for dogs—they provide dietary fiber, essential nutrients, and energy. Just keep the carbohydrate content low, focusing primarily on animal-based ingredients.
- Wholesome, natural ingredients. Whole-food ingredients are the most nutritious and digestible ingredients for your dog, so avoid any dog food that contains by-products, fillers, and artificial additives. The shorter the ingredient list, generally speaking, the better.
- Complete and balanced nutrition. Make sure the food you choose carries an AAFCO statement of nutritional quality certifying that the recipe is formulated to meet your dog’s minimum nutritional requirements.
Now that you know more about your Aussie’s nutritional needs and what to look for in dog food, it’s time to put that knowledge to the test. Take what you’ve learned here and start shopping. If you’re still not sure where to start, read on to see our top picks for the best Australian Shepherd food.
The Best Dog Food for Australian Shepherds
The best dog food for Australian Shepherds will feature wholesome, natural ingredients starting with a premium source of animal protein. To help you choose the best option for your Aussie, we’ve compiled a list of our top picks:
Featuring a rich blend of deboned chicken, salmon, and whole grains, this recipe is formulated to meet your puppy’s nutritional needs to give him the best possible start in life.
Made with fresh chicken and brown rice, this protein-packed formula also contains Blue Buffalo’s LifeSource Bits, a proprietary blend of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Made with 87% protein from real fish, this limited ingredient formula is designed to meet the high-energy needs of growing puppies and active adult dogs.
If you want to start your Aussie off right, try this active breed dog food that’s formulated for both adult dogs and puppies. It’s packed with premium protein and healthy fats to nourish your dog’s body throughout his life.
Why choose one protein when you can have three? This formula features a trio of premium animal proteins to deliver a nutritious diet for adult dogs.
If you’re looking for an active breed formula that won’t break the bank, this high-protein, high-fat recipe features wholesome natural ingredients and is affordably priced.
Made with premium, natural ingredients in a protein-rich recipe, this active breed formula is designed to deliver peak performance and balanced nutrition.
A nutritious option in canned food, this Canidae recipe is formulated for all ages, breeds, and sizes, made with premium natural ingredients like real chicken and brown rice.
Formulated specifically for active and working breeds, this formula is packed with 86% animal protein with a rich blend of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids to support your Aussie’s active lifestyle.
Featuring real buffalo as the first ingredient, this high-protein formula is designed for herding breeds like the Australian Shepherd. Though it’s grain-free, it doesn’t contain legumes, which are the ingredients thought to be responsible for the issues with traditional grain-free diets.
If your dog has a grain allergy, a grain-free and limited-ingredient recipe like this might be a good option. It features fresh salmon as the main ingredient, a rich source of protein and omega fatty acids.
The Australian Shepherd is a unique and wonderful breed. If you want to learn more about these wonderful dogs, check out our guide to the top 7 things only Australian Shepherd owners understand.