The 8 Best Dog Foods for Border Collies

By Kevin Myers | 2021 Update

This ultimate guide reviews all of the best dog foods for border collies this year.

Without a doubt, border collies are one of the most energetic and intelligent breeds in the dog world. Border Collies are a rewarding breed to have in your home, but it comes at a cost. They need daily mental and physical exercise, and failure to provide these leads to them finding their own entertainment, idle paws and all.

This speed demon of the dog world needs high-quality nutrition to be at its best. So how do you find the best dog food for your border collie? In the dog community, the debate rages on regarding whether established brands like Purina and Iams are better or boutique premium blends like Blue Buffalo, Nulo, or Wellness are best.

To help you choose what’s best for your border, we’ve rated our top 20 dog foods for the Border Collie based on the general health of their ingredients, the amount of proteins and fats, and the general lack of fillers.

With all that in mind, here is our list of top foods for border collies.

The 8 Best Dog Foods for Border Collies

Top ProductsRatingTop 5 Ingredients
1. Wellness Complete Health Dog Food4.5deboned chicken, chicken meal, oatmeal, ground barley, peas.
2. Instinct Original Grain-Free Dry4.5beef, chicken meal, white fish meal, peas, chicken fat.
3. Vital Essentials Grain Free Dog Food4.7beef, beef tripe, beef lung, ground beef bone, beef liver.
4. Canidae All Life Stages Wet Dog Food4.5chicken, chicken broth, chicken liver, dried egg product, brown rice.
5. Stella and Chewy’s Raw Food4.7duck, ground bone, turkey, turkey liver, goose.
6. Merrick Chunky Wet Dog Food4.3deboned beef, beef broth, chicken broth, beef liver, peas.
7. Nature’s Logic Dry Food Dog4.5chicken meal, millet, chicken fat, pumpkin seed, yeast culture.
8. Hill’s Prescription Diet4.7chicken, pork liver, carrots, rice, rice starch.

How to Change Dog Food Without Getting Your Pup Sick

Border Collie Dog Food Reviews

1. Wellness Complete Health Dog Food 

Top 5 Ingredients: deboned chicken, chicken meal, oatmeal, ground barley, peas.

Wellness is a popular brand that provides both high-quality dry food and wet food. This recipe uses deboned chicken and chicken meal as its main proteins and omega fatty acids to develop strong muscles and a healthy coat and skin. Probiotics supply the means for healthy digestion, and glucosamine helps keep joints healthy. It contains no GMOs, meat by-products, or fillers and is USA made.

2. Instinct Original Grain-Free Dry

Top 5 Ingredients: beef, chicken meal, white fish meal, peas, chicken fat.

This 70/30 recipe from Instinct contains 70% animal ingredients and 30% fruits, vegetables, and other ingredients. It is a dry dog food coated with freeze-dried raw ingredients that combines the best of both. This formula is appropriate for dogs at all life stages and provides probiotics, antioxidants, and omega fatty acids for the optimal health of your border collie. Follow the feeding instructions listed or speak with your veterinarian about how much to feed your dog.

3. Vital Essentials Grain Free Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: beef, beef tripe, beef lung, ground beef bone, beef liver.

This recipe from Vital Essentials mimics the natural “prey” diet of your border collie. It is a freeze-dried dog food used as a topper, a mixer, or meal and contains no fillers, antibiotics, hormones, or synthetic vitamins or minerals. Freeze-drying helps retain the nutritional elements of the ingredients while removing the need for refrigeration which makes this a perfect food for traveling with your pet.  

4. Canidae All Life Stages Wet Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: chicken, chicken broth, chicken liver, dried egg product, brown rice.

As the name implies, this recipe from Canidae is appropriate for all life stages and is free of common allergens like wheat, soy, and corn. The HealthPlus Solutions in this formula provides probiotics, antioxidants, and omega fatty acids, designed for the optimum health of your border.

5. Stella and Chewy’s Raw Food

Top 5 Ingredients: duck, ground bone, turkey, turkey liver, goose.

For those who want to feed raw food, Stella and Chewy’s is a great brand. They make frozen raw foods and flash-frozen raw foods. Duck, ground bone, turkey, and goose all comprise a significant amount of this formula balanced to keep dogs healthy with minimal processing. Minimally processed foods can be great for pups with sensitive stomachs or other health issues and leave the nutrients where they belong, in the food.

6. Merrick Chunky Wet Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: deboned beef, beef broth, chicken broth, beef liver, peas.

Known for being both healthy and loved by dogs, Merrick is one of the most popular brands of premium wet dog food. Merrick has numerous flavors of wet dog food for pups that are picky about what they eat. The USDA-inspected beef is the main ingredient in this artificial color, flavor, and preservative free recipe. And if the taste of beef weren’t enough, there is a savory gravy added for extra moisture.

7. Nature’s Logic Dry Food Dog

Top 5 Ingredients: chicken meal, millet, chicken fat, pumpkin seed, yeast culture.

This high-quality, premium dry dog food from  Nature’s Logic focuses on providing nutrition without adding supplements, vitamins, and minerals. Instead, Nature’s Logic ensures that the nutritional value comes from the food itself. This recipe includes millet, pumpkin seed, and yeast culture to provide the same nutrition as other dog foods by using natural sources, a good fit for your border collie.

8. Hill’s Prescription Diet

Top 5 Ingredients: chicken, pork liver, carrots, rice, rice starch.

This prescribed veterinary diet from Hill’s is for those BCs with food sensitivities or digestive problems. It contains highly digestible protein and fiber for gut health and is balanced with electrolytes and B vitamins for recovery and antioxidants for a healthy immune system.

9. Visionary Pet Food Raw Frozen Keto

Top 5 Ingredients: beef, beef heart, broccoli, green beans, coconut oil.

Visionary Pet Food is a keto food that concentrates on things like beef and broccoli rather than grains. Not every dog will need to go keto, but if your vet has advised you to cut down on grains and fillers, then Visionary Pet Food is a great solution. This food has very few ingredients, no added preservatives, and high protein levels and healthy fats.

10. Taste of the Wild Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: buffalo, lamb meal, chicken meal, sweet potatoes, peas.

Taste of the Wild a great, premium brand, but it’s also one of the more accessible and affordable brands. Bison is the number one ingredient in this highly digestible recipe that includes peas and sweet potatoes for the energy your BCs needs. It uses a proprietary strain of probiotics for gut health and antioxidants for a healthy immune system.

11. Halo Wet Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: lamb, chicken broth, beef liver, carrots, barley.

This canned food from Halo is a delicious recipe that all dogs will love. Halo focuses on minimal processing, healthy ingredients, and high quality. This formula is one of the most nutritious wet dog foods because of its lack of additives and reliance upon natural, whole ingredients. Unlike many similar foods, it doesn’t include bone meals like chicken meals. Give your border collie a bowl full of nutrition that it will love to eat.

12. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Dry

Top 5 Ingredients: deboned chicken, chicken meal, brown rice, barley, oatmeal.

Blue Buffalo is a grain-free food popular among those who want high-quality ingredients for their dogs. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Dry uses brown rice, barley, and oatmeal as part of the top five ingredients and includes calcium and phosphorus for healthy bones and teeth and glucosamine for joint health.

13. Wellness Canned Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: turkey, turkey broth, water sufficient for processing, turkey liver, barley.

This offering from Wellness is scientifically crafted balanced nutrition that your BC will love. It contains fresh meat for proteins, the superfood blueberry for vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants, and spinach and carrots to round out the incredible list of ingredients. This recipe is a canned food that is easy to recommend for border collies and all breeds.

14. Purina Pro Plan Dry Food

Top 5 Ingredients: chicken, brewers rice, whole grain wheat, corn gluten meal, whole grain corn.

Not everyone wants grain-free dog food, and that’s where this recipe from Purina fits in. Using protein as the main protein, it includes rice, wheat, and corn products in its makeup. This dog food uses prebiotics for a healthy gut and provides omega fatty acids and vitamin A for your BCs healthy skin and coat.   

15. Canidae Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: salmon, salmon meal, menhaden fish meal, sweet potatoes, peas.

This Canidae dry food is free of grain and includes omega-rich salmon as its main source of protein. Salmon and menhaden fish meal round out this recipe’s proteins, while energy sources such as sweet potatoes and peas are also included. There are no artificial ingredients or fillers in this food, making it a great choice for your border collie.

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FAQs

Do border collies have a tendency to any sort of allergies?

Border collies, like most dogs, don’t have allergies to food very often. But if they do have an allergy, it’s chicken is a common one. Unfortunately, chicken or chicken meal is in many foods. If your border collie has an allergy to chicken, you will need to look for something that doesn’t have poultry. A sensitive stomach blend can help.

What should I do if my border collie keeps gaining weight?

When dogs become a little more sedentary, it’s easy for them to gain weight. For the most part, border collies are very active and keep themselves busy. But some border collies, just like some people, can become couch potatoes. If your border collie is gaining weight, a low-calorie formula may be better. You should also calculate exactly how much your pup needs with each meal; you could be surprised.

How do I change my border collie’s food?

Transition them slowly from the old food to the new. You should add a little more of the new food to the old food week by week, pulling back if you see your dog in any gastrointestinal distress. Some dogs transition to new food very easily, while others may need more time. 

Should my border collie’s food change as they age?

There are three major types of food: puppy, adult, and senior. You should change your dog’s food as your dog enters these life stages. Puppy food has nutrients that puppies need to grow healthy and strong, while senior food often has supplements for better joints and better general health. You don’t necessarily need to change your dog’s food as they age, but it can help.

Should I get my border collie wet food or dry food?

While this is a personal choice, most vets recommend that you try to feed your dogs dry food. Dry food tends to be healthier, though there are exceptions, and wet food can be more expensive and doesn’t provide the teeth-cleaning crunch of dry.

Is wet food bad for my border collie?

Some vets dislike wet food and class it as “junk food.” Wet food is more expensive, which means you may buy higher quality dry food for the same price. Many wet foods have many filler ingredients, and they may not take care of your dog’s dental health. But that doesn’t mean wet food is inherently bad, especially if you take your dog to regular dental cleanings.

When should I feed my border collie wet food?

Many pet owners add wet food to dry food to make it more palatable and exciting to their pup. Wet food can also help if a dog isn’t eating or is feeling sick or has very few teeth or other dental problems. Most vets will default to dry food, but high-quality wet food can be just as healthy and even more filling than dry food for many dogs and cats alike.

What about a raw diet for my border collie?

Most pet professionals discourage raw diets, but not because they are unhealthy, far from it. A well-balanced raw diet can be just as healthy as anything else. The challenge is in balancing that diet. Pet food scientists have spent decades and millions of dollars ensuring that dog food is fully balanced to provide everything a dog needs. Most people are going to forget one or two things, which could have disastrous consequences over time.

What should I do if my dog loses interest in their food?

Some dogs lose interest in food if they’ve had it a lot. Some pet owners cycle dog food for that reason, carefully transitioning from one type to another over weeks so that the dogs can eat something different from time to time. But if your dog has never lost interest in food before, it could be a medical problem. You should take your pup to the vet for a checkup.

How often should I change my dog’s food?

With all dogs, including border collies, it’s not usually necessary to change a dog’s food. But if you notice your dog gaining weight, you may want to switch to a lower-calorie blend. Dogs, just like people, slow down as they age and can start to need fewer calories. While some people change a dog’s food every few months, there should be no reason to unless your dog has a deficiency.

Should I get my dog grain free food?

If you can find healthy grain-free food, you can try it with your border collie. However, the science is still out on grain-free. If your dog has had issues with food with grain in the past, grain-free food may work for them. Just be aware that the science is still not in on its benefits.

Is Purina, Iams, etc, bad for my dog?

Grocery store pet brands can get a bad reputation. But they’ve spent the most time and money toward formulating dog food that is healthy for dogs long term. While there are many expensive boutique brands, some have not been studied for their long-term nutritional value. That isn’t to say that any brand is necessarily bad, but a grocery store brand isn’t always bad.

What if my border collie eats too fast?

If your border collie eats too fast, there are special bowls that you can use. They have a little maze-like pattern in them, so the collie has to take more time pulling the food out. There’s also the tennis ball trick; you can put a tennis ball in the bowl that the dog has to eat around. Just don’t let them eat the ball!

Can my border collie eat the same food as the rest of my dogs?

Barring any specific medical issues, border collies don’t need any special type of food. There shouldn’t be a problem with eating the same food as other dogs in a multi-dog household. But do consider that border collies are athletic and need food higher in calories than many other breeds.

How much should border collies eat?

Each dog food has its own caloric content, just as every dog has its own caloric needs. If you’re wondering how much your dog should eat, ask your vet to estimate the necessary calories per day, then calculate how much you should feed them based on the nutritional information on the package label.

What should I feed border collie puppies?

If you have a young border collie puppy that’s less than eight weeks, it should still be with its mother. But in rescue situations, it may be necessary to take the pup to the vet to get dog formula. Over time, you can mix the formula with solid foods. As the puppies become eight weeks or older and start to wean, you can add some wet food and transition to wet food.

How many treats should a border collie get?

It depends on their caloric requirements. Usually, vets recommend that dogs get the bulk of their calories from their food. But they can get about ten to twenty percent of their calorie intake from snacks. Just make sure to adjust the amount of food they get accordingly.

What if my border collie gets sick after they eat?

Getting sick after eating can have many causes. You should consult with your vet. However, sometimes border collies might get sick because they ate too fast or became too excited. Sometimes it may be a physical issue, and raising the bowls higher can help. Other times it could be something serious like an intestinal blockage.

How often should my border collie eat?

For most dogs, eating twice a day is usually sufficient. One meal can be in the morning and once at night. Some dogs do fine eating just once a day, especially more sedentary ones, but this can make them ravenous by the time they get food. Because every dog is different, you may need to experiment with what works for your pup.

Can I free feed my border collie?

Some dogs can “free feed” successfully, but they are the exception rather than the rule. Dogs can eat when anxious or upset, just like we do, so why give them the option to make obesity an issue?  

Buyer’s Guide

Every pet owner wants to do right by their pets. Because of this, it can be difficult to settle on a dog food. Normally it will be the primary source of nutrition for your dog for a long time to come. And there are countless options out there today.

We’ve gone over some top options for dog food. But the number one option on our list isn’t necessarily the best one for you and your dog. There are a lot of factors to consider.

What Does Your Dog Need?

Because every dog is different, you need to consider your dog when making changes to its diet. No food’s universally best for border collies; instead, you’ll have to find out what’s best for your border collie.

  • age
  • activity levels
  • allergies or intolerances
  • likes and dislikes

These things can guide you toward the best possible food for your pup.

Should You Get Wet Food or Dry Food for Your Dog?

Whether you want wet food, dry food, or a combination of both is usually the first decision you need to make. Most vets recommend dry food because it helps dental health. Not only does it scrape off the plaque that can build up on your dog’s teeth, but it stimulates their gums. Wet food does help with picky eaters, those missing teeth, or prescribed wet foods. 

Does Your Dog Need to Manage Their Weight?

Weight loss or weight gain can be an indicator of health issues. If your dog is extremely athletic and fit, you might want to see if you can get a formula made for more athletic dogs. These formulas might be a little higher in fat and protein. If your dog is gaining weight, you may want to look for a weight loss formula. These often have more protein but less fat.

How Are Border Collies Different from Other Dogs?

Border collies have many traits, but two are the most noticeable. First, they are extremely active and athletic. They are less likely to experience weight gain because they are so active. Second, they are very intelligent, which means that they may get tired of repetitive food or need a lot of different, healthy treats rather than just kibble all the time. 

What Does Your Dog Like?

Of course, sometimes you need to adjust food simply because your dog no longer likes the food. It can be worth it to experiment with very small amounts of other food to see whether your dog might prefer it. After a taste test, you can carefully switch your dog’s food to the one they like over time. Taking time to change is always safer and avoids dangerous interactions.

Could Your Dog Have Nutritional Deficiencies?

One concern people have is that if their dog is eating only one thing consistently, can they develop nutritional deficiencies. With well-tested dog foods, this shouldn’t be the case, but every dog is different and could need more or less certain things. Having a blood panel done by a vet could identify nutritional deficiencies such as problems with vitamins.