13 Best Dog Foods for Australian Shepherds

By Kevin Myers | 2023 Update

✓ Reviewed by Dr. Sara Redding Ochoa, DVM

Affectionately called the ‘Aussie,’ the Australian Shepherd is a working breed that is happiest when it is active and has a job to do.

These extremely active dogs require the best when it comes to nutrition. Consider nothing but the best quality food formulated for active breeds to keep them in the best health. Providing a complete and balanced diet rich in lean protein will keep these dogs healthy, happy, and full of energy.

We have compiled a list of the best dog foods for Aussies, keeping their specific dietary requirements in mind. Check it out and choose the right formula for your dog.

The Best Dog Foods for Australian Shepherds

Top PicksTop Ingredients
1. Nutro Ultra Adult Dry Dog Food
(Best For Adults)
Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Brewers Rice, Lamb Meal
2. Purina Pro Plan Puppy Shredded Blend Dog Food
(Best For Puppies)
Chicken, Rice, Poultry By-Product Meal, Corn Meal, Beef Fat
3. Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Dog Food
(Best For Seniors)
Chicken Meal, Cracked Barley, Brewers Rice, Wheat, Whole Corn
4. Purina Pro Plan Savor Entrée Canned Food
(Best Wet Meal)
Beef, Liver, Meat By-Products, Chicken, Rice
5. Taste of the Wild Southwest Canyon Dog Food
(Best Budget Option)
Beef, Peas, Garbanzo Beans, Lamb Meal, Canola Oil 
6. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Healthy Weight Dog Food
(Best For Weight Loss)
Deboned Lamb, Potatoes, Pea Starch, Lamb Meal, Canola Oil
7. Natural Balance LID Reserve Grain-Free Dog Food
(Best For Allergies)
Deboned Lamb, Potatoes, Pea Starch, Lamb Meal, Canola Oil

How to — Change your pet’s food


Australian Shepherds Dog Food Reviews

Nutro Ultra Adult Dry Dog Food

Best Overall, Best For Adults

Ratings:

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Whole Brown Rice, 4. Brewers Rice, 5. Lamb Meal

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Small, Medium, Large Breeds
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,648 kcal
  • Form: Dry

This recipe by Nutro Ultra includes a blend of holistic superfoods to give your dog nutrition it can thrive on. The ideal mix is based on premium lean proteins, a variety of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, healthy oils to keep your Aussie’s fur and coat in great shape, and whole grains to sustain their overall energy levels. This recipe contains everything your dog needs to maintain a robust immune system, a sharp mind, and a healthy heart.

Analysis: Protein (min.) 24% | Fat (min.) 15% | Fiber (max.) 4% | Moisture (max.) 10%


Purina Pro Plan Puppy Shredded Blend Chicken & Rice Dog Food

Best For Puppies

Ratings:

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Rice, 3. Poultry By-Product Meal, 4. Corn Gluten Meal, 5. Beef Fat

  • Life Stage: Puppy
  • Suitable for: Small, medium, large breeds
  • Caloric content (per kg): 4,167 kcal
  • Form: Dry

This unique recipe is a good choice for Australian Shepherd pups and one they will surely love. It offers advanced nutrition with real chicken as the primary source of protein. The best part about this food is its dual-texture formula that contains both crispy kibble and tender shredded pieces that add great flavor to the mix. 

In addition to flavor, the recipe contains antioxidants to support overall development, growth, and immune system. The highly digestible diet is a complete and balanced option for young Aussie pups.

Analysis: Protein (min.) 28% | Fat (min.) 18% | Fiber (max.) 3% | Moisture (max.) 12%


Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Dog Food

Best For Seniors

Ratings:

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken Meal, 2. Cracked Pearled Barley, 3. Brewers Rice, 4. Whole Grain Wheat, 5. Whole Grain Corn

  • Life Stage: Senior
  • Suitable for: Small, medium, large breeds
  • Caloric content (per cup): 353 kcal
  • Form: Dry

If you’re looking for complete nutrition for dogs seven years or older, this recipe by Hill’s Science Diet is an ideal pick. This recipe is designed with senior dogs in mind and contains antioxidants and vitamins A and C for a healthy immune system. Omega fatty acids revitalize your Aussie’s coat and skin without using artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. 

All in all, this is a healthy choice for your aging Aussie. 

Analysis: Protein (min.) 15.5% | Fat (min.) 10.5% | Fiber (max.) 4% | Moisture (max.) 10%


Purina Pro Plan Savor Beef & Rice Entrée Canned Food

Best Wet Meal

Ratings:

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Beef, 2. Liver, 3. Meat By-Products, 4. Chicken, 5. Rice

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Small, medium, large breeds
  • Caloric content (per kg): 1,169 kcal
  • Form: Wet Food

This blend is a guaranteed hit if you’re looking for a delicious wet-food option for your beloved pooch. This protein-rich formula offers the delicious flavors of beef packed with essential nutrition in every bite. It contains added biotin for great coat and skin and carrageenan for better immunity in adult dogs. 

This complete diet option can be served individually or used as a topper for dry food. This diet contains powerful antioxidants and other essential nutrients and is a highly recommended wet food option for active dogs like the Aussie.

Analysis: Protein (min.) 9% | Fat (min.) 6% | Fiber (max.) 1.5% | Moisture (max.) 78%


The Farmer’s Dog

Best Fresh Option

Ratings:

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Pork, 2. Sweet Potato, 3. Green beans, 4. Cauliflower, 5. Fish Oil

  • Life Stage: All
  • Suitable for: Small, medium, large breeds
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,641 kcal
  • Form: Frozen

Nourish your dog with a fresh food diet tailored according to their needs with The Farmer’s Dog. It’s the highest-quality food on our list, with ingredients like pork, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, and green beans. You will find no preservatives, grains, or unnecessary fillers in the food that result in allergic reactions or digestive upsets.

But the real benefit of choosing The Farmer’s Dog is the company customizes the diet according to your dog’s age, breed, activity level, and health history, ensuring that your dog will stay fit, active, and happy in the long run. You also don’t need to cook the food as it’s delivered ready-to-serve at your doorstep. Even though the food commands a premium price, its benefits outweigh the added cost.

Analysis: Protein (min.) 39% | Fat (min.) 32% | Fiber (max.) 1% | Moisture (max.) 10%


Wellness CORE Grain-Free Deboned Turkey Dog Food

Best Premium Option

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Turkey, 2. Turkey Meal, 3. Chicken Meal, 4. Peas, 5. Potatoes

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Small, medium, large breeds
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,698 kcal
  • Form: Dry

This recipe from Wellness Core contains protein-rich ingredients, including real deboned turkey, chicken meal, and turkey meal. It boasts a perfect blend of wholesome nutrition and is rich in antioxidants, probiotics, glucosamine, and omega fatty acids. 

The probiotic-coated kibble supports your furry buddy’s digestive health, while chondroitin and glucosamine help maintain joint and bone health to support high activity levels and mobility. This meal is the perfect example of authentic ‘wellness,’ precisely what your Aussie needs!  

Analysis: Protein (min.) 34% | Fat (min.) 16% | Fiber (max.) 4% | Moisture (max.) 10%


Taste of the Wild Southwest Canyon Grain-Free Dog Food

Best Budget Option

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Beef, 2. Peas, 3. Garbanzo Beans, 4. Lamb Meal, 5. Canola Oil 

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Small, medium, large breeds
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,600 kcal
  • Form: Dry

Cheap dog foods contain fillers and sub-standard ingredients. But not Taste of the Wild. This Southwest Canyon recipe has premium-quality foods like beef and boar meat, garbanzo beans, salmon oil, and blueberries, offering your dog a complete and holistic diet. Yet its price is nearly half that of premium-end dog foods in the market.

Another thing we loved about the recipe is its 100% grain-free and contains zero wheat, corn, soy, or artificial additives, which is crucial because Australian Shepherds are prone to food allergies. 

Finally, this formula contains omega fatty acids, probiotics, and essential vitamins that enhance fur quality and strengthen the immune system.

Analysis: Protein (min.) 29% | Fat (min.) 15% | Fiber (max.) 5% | Moisture (max.) 10%


Earthborn Holistic Coastal Catch Grain-Free Natural Dog Food

Best For Weight Gain

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Herring Meal, 2. Peas, 3. Dried Eggs, 4. Canola Oil, 5. Flaxseed

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Small, medium, large breeds
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,780 kcal
  • Form: Dry

Provide your Aussie with a delicious seafood meal with salmon, herring, and whitefish as primary ingredients. All these ingredients ensure the rich protein levels that your Australian Shepherd requires to stay healthy and active. 

In addition to protein, the recipe also includes a mix of natural fibers from fresh fruits and vegetables, including apples, peas, carrots, blueberries, cranberries, and spinach. These ingredients are also rich in antioxidants and support optimal health. This Coastal Catch formula is excellent for nutrient absorption and easy digestibility.

Analysis: Protein min. 32% | Fat min. 19%, | Fiber max. 4% | Moisture max. 10%


Blue Buffalo Life Protection Healthy Weight Dog Food

Best For Weight Loss

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Lamb, 2. Potatoes, 3. Pea Starch, 4. Lamb Meal, 5. Canola Oil

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Large, giant breeds
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,562 kcal
  • Form: Dry

Help your overweight Australian shepherd become slimmer and healthier with Blue Buffalo’s Life Protection Healthy Weight Formula. The two main ingredients in the food are chicken meat and brown rice, which provide essential functions like making muscle, bone, and skin tissue while fueling your dog’s daily activities. 

It also uses other grains like oatmeal and barley that provide beneficial fibers for digestive support without consuming excess calories. This diet uses L-carnitine to convert excess fat into energy, triggering healthy weight loss for your Australian shepherd. It will also strengthen their joints with glucosamine and chondroitin while making their coat shinier and softer with omega fatty acids.

Analysis: Protein (min.) 20% | Fat (min.) 13% | Fiber (max.) 6% | Moisture (max.) 10%


CANIDAE PURE Duck & Sweet Potato Dog Food

Best For Sensitive Stomach

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Duck, 2. Duck Meal, 3. Sweet Potatoes, 4. Peas, 5. Chicken Fat

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Small, medium, large breeds
  • Caloric content (per kg): 4,070 kcal
  • Form: Dry

I love this food option for its unique features. If you have a sensitive Australian Shepherd, this diet will work wonders. This recipe uses just eight ingredients but provides your Aussie with all the nutrition it needs. 

This limited-ingredient diet offers complete nutrition from grain-free ingredients carefully chosen to promote your dog’s health and energy levels. The diet is excellent for sensitive digestion and free from soy, wheat, corn, fillers, artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives.  

Analysis: Protein (min.) 32% | Fat (min.) 16% | Fiber (max.) 4% | Moisture (max.) 10%


Natural Balance LID Reserve Grain-Free Duck & Potato Dog Food

Best For Allergies

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Duck, 2. Duck Meal, 3. Potatoes, 4. Sweet Potatoes, 5. Tapioca Starch

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Small, medium, large breeds
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,431 kcal
  • Form: Dry

Australian shepherds are some of the most allergy-prone dogs out there. You need to feed them Natural Balance LID Reserve Dog Food. The recipe contains gentle ingredients like duck meat and sweet potatoes that keep your dog lean and energetic without causing skin irritation or rashes.

Besides, the food also features flaxseed to strengthen immunity and various fibers that enhance digestive health. The food is free from all irritants such as gluten, grains, corn, wheat, soy, and artificial additives when it comes to preventing allergies. And with such a restrictive ingredient list, the food remains relatively affordable for a limited ingredient diet.

Analysis: Protein (min.) 24% | Fat (min.) 10% | Fiber (max.) 4% | Moisture (max.) 10%


Crave High Protein White Fish & Salmon Dog Food

Best For Picky Eaters

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. White Fish, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Lentils, 4. Split Peas, 5. Chicken Fat

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Small, medium, large breeds
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,717 kcal
  • Form: Dry

Every dog is attracted to food that resembles its ancestral diet. And that’s what Crave High Protein Dog Food delivers. It’s a protein-rich formula made from the finest seafood, such as white fish and salmon meat, with a protein content of 34%. All this protein gives the food an incredible meaty taste and aroma that can tempt even the pickiest dogs.

The recipe also contains vegetable-based carbs like lentils and peas to promote digestion and reduce the risk of allergies. It’s completely free from grains, corn, wheat, and soy, which are culprits of canine food allergies. Your dog will also be able to exercise to its fullest as the formula contains plenty of calories. 

Analysis: Protein (min.) 34%, Fat (min.) 17%, Fiber (max.) 3.5%, Moisture (max.) 10%


Dr. Tim’s Active Dog Pursuit Formula Dog Food

Best For Active Dogs

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken Meal, 2. Brown Rice, 3. Chicken Fat, 4. Whole Oat Groats, 5. Dried Beet Pulp

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Small, medium, large breeds
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,840 kcal
  • Form: Dry

This grain-free recipe by Dr. Tims is a work of expertise. Suitable for large and active dogs, the formula contains five sources of high-quality protein to aid your active Aussie’s adventurous lifestyle. 

This protein-rich recipe includes turkey and chicken as the primary ingredients and a blend of other nutritional supplements and botanicals. This unique recipe nurtures and supports your pet’s health from inside and out.  

Analysis: Protein (min.) 30% | Fat (min.) 20% | Fiber (max.) 3% | Moisture (max.) 10%


Buying Guide

The medium-sized Aussie breed is an adorable-looking dog known for their herding skill and intelligence. And while those are the most known traits of the Australian Shepherd breed, they are also highly versatile due to their eagerness to please and trainability

This section has all the information that you’ve been looking for to help yourself buy the best dog food for Australian Shepherds.

Factors to Consider when Buying the Best Dog Food for Australian Shepherds

These highly active dogs have special dietary needs to take care of their super-energized lifestyle. Their nutritional requirements are similar to that of a German Shepherd. The following are some important boxes that you need to tick to ensure your Aussie boy or girl is getting the best nutrition.

High-Quality Protein

Dogs thrive on high-quality protein. Foods with meat first are better options for dogs. Always check for the label to see if the protein source is listed as the first or second ingredient. Poultry, pork, fish, and various fish are some excellent choices for quality protein. Choose foods with whole meats as well as meat by-products.

Healthy Fats

Healthy fats and saturated oils are crucial for your dog’s diet. It is important to keep the quantity in moderation, especially for Aussie’s as they have a tendency to gain. Like humans, canines cannot make fats on their own. They also require omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids to keep their fur and skin in the best condition. Animal-based fats such as chicken fat are also good options, but you should particularly look for added oils in canine food. Fish oil, flaxseed oil, and canola oil are some excellent options.  

Essential Complex Carbs

Carbohydrates are important for a balanced canine diet. Unless your dog is allergic or sensitive to grains, it is okay to pick food with whole-grain ingredients. Other than that, fruits and vegetables are great to boost your Aussie’s energy. Similarly, carbs that offer antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins for your dog’s diet are essential too. Avoid grains and carbs if your dog has a very sensitive stomach or if they have a condition that doesn’t allow consuming grains.

Nutritional Needs of Australian Shepherds

Even though Australian Shepherds are unique when it comes to behaviors, traits, and tendencies, their nutritional needs are pretty close to the general dietary recommendations for canines. As mentioned earlier, focus on providing a complete and balanced food to your pooch with good protein, complex carbs, and healthy fats.

Aussies are prone to gaining too much weight too fast if they don’t exercise regularly. Therefore, it is important to focus on a healthy lifestyle along with a food option that’s not too calorie-dense.

As a general rule, an Australian Shepherd should get 30 calories per pound of their weight in a day, but this depends on a number of factors such as their age, gender, activity level, and health condition.  

Food You Should Never Feed an Australian Shepherd

Like most dog breeds, the following foods can be toxic for your Aussie.

  • Garlic and Onions: Responsible for killing red blood cells in canines, causing anemia
  • Xylitol: Common sweetener present in candies, gums, baked goods, and toothpaste can dangerously affect your dog’s blood sugar levels, leading to liver failure
  • Chocolate: Contains theobromine that can cause severe digestive issues and heart problems in dogs, and can even cause death.  
  • Caffeine: Coffee, caffeinated teas, and other foods and beverages that contain caffeine can cause digestive problems, vomiting, restlessness, and rapid heart rate in dogs, and can even lead to death.
  • Alcohol: Affects dogs just like it affects humans. It can lead to diarrhea, breathing problems, and vomiting. Too much alcohol can cause death.

Common Health Problems in Australian Shepherds

Aussies are a lively and healthy breed. But they are prone to certain health conditions. Here are some common ones that you need to be aware of.  

Hip Dysplasia

Hip Dysplasia is a genetic condition where the femur is not perfectly adjusted with the pelvic socket of the hip joint. Regular hip evaluation is necessary to prevent this condition.

Progressive Retinol Atrophy (PRA)

This one is a degenerative eye disorder that may eventually cause blindness. The condition is detectable way before your dog is at risk of blindness. With regular evaluations, this condition can be prevented too.

Elbow Dysplasia

This one is another heritable condition that is caused by varying growth rates in different bones that make up the elbow.

Obesity

Aussie’s love food and they have a hearty appetite too. It is important for them to eat enough to fuel their energy levels. However, it is important to channel those calories well and keep an overall healthy lifestyle. Feed your Aussie according to their activity level to prevent obesity.

Multiple Drug Sensitivity (MDS)

Australian Shepherds is one of the rare breeds that are susceptible to a condition that causes high sensitivity to veterinary drugs. Testing before prescribing doses is important to prevent MDS.


FAQs

1. How much food should I feed my Australian Shepherd?

Generally, these highly active dogs can be fed 30 calories per pound of their weight in a day. However, do consider factors like their physical activity, age, and health condition to feed the right amount.

2. Can I change my Aussie’s diet?

Yes, you can. If you want to switch your Aussie’s diet to a more suitable option, it is best to make the switch slowly and gradually. Don’t replace the food overnight. Start mixing the new food with old food first and gradually increase the quantity of new food until you completely replace it.

3. How often should I feed my Australian Shepherd during puppyhood and adulthood?

Your young Aussie puppy should be fed three to four times a day. For adult dogs, two times a day is enough. Make sure you divide their daily calories accordingly.

4. Are Australian Shepherds good family dogs?

Known for their herding skills, these obedient dogs make for great family pets for their cool temperament and loyalty.

5. Do Australian Shepherds get along with kids and other pets?

These easy-going yet active dogs love to romp with children and easily get along with other pets too.

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