Last Updated on May 3, 2023
Australian Shepherds are an intelligent and high-energy breed known for their loyalty, agility, and love for their owners. These dogs are hard to miss with their beautiful coats and striking eye colors. However, due to their genetics, they may be prone to certain health issues such as hip dysplasia, epilepsy, and allergies. Therefore, it’s crucial to ensure they receive the proper nutrition to maintain their health and vitality.
After thorough research and analysis, we have found that the best dog food for Australian Shepherds should contain high-quality protein, essential fatty acids, and a balanced blend of vitamins and minerals. These nutrients support muscle growth and repair, promote a healthy coat and skin, and boost the immune system.
It’s important to note that not all dog food brands are created equal. Many lower-quality options contain fillers, artificial preservatives, and by-products, leading to digestive issues and poor overall health. That’s why we have carefully selected and reviewed some of the best dog food options for Aussies, considering their unique needs and dietary requirements.
In this article, we will dive into the top dog food brands, their specific formulations, and some helpful tips on choosing the best diet for your furry friend. With our guidance, you can ensure they receive the best nutrition possible to support their active and healthy lifestyle.
- 1 Top 5 Picks for Best Dog Food for Australian Shepherds
- 2 15 of the Best Dog Food Brands for Australian Shepherds by Stage
- 3 Best Dog Food for Aussies with Health Issues
- 4 Best Dog Food for Australian Shepherds Buying Guide
- 5 Australian Shepherd Nutritional Requirement
- 6 Australian Shepherd Feeding Chart
- 7 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- 8 Best Dog Treats for Australian Shepherds
- 9 What’s the Best Dog Food for Your Australian Shepherd?
Top 5 Picks for Best Dog Food for Australian Shepherds
|Dog Food Recipes||Our Rating|
Best Overall Dog Food
|Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
Best for Australian Shepherd puppies
|Blue Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe Puppy Food
|Best for Adult Australian Shepherds||Nutro Ultra Adult Dry Dog Food
Best for Senior Australian Shepherds
|Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food Adult 7+
|Best Budget Food for Australian Shepherds||Earthborn Holistic Meadow Feast Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
15 of the Best Dog Food Brands for Australian Shepherds by Stage
Australian Shepherds have high energy levels, but that doesn’t mean you can just pick any food for active breeds.
You should also consider your pet’s age, weight, and health. Luckily, there are now dog foods for different life stages.
It can provide the nutrients your dog needs, whether it’s an Aussie pup, adult dog, or senior.
You should also consider looking for formulas with antioxidants, fatty acids, probiotics, and prebiotics.
But for every life stage, a healthy and balanced diet should contain protein, fat, minerals, and vitamins.
If you just got an Aussie puppy or you’re planning to get one, maybe you’re thinking about switching dog food.
Best Dog Food for Australian Shepherd Puppies
Australian Shepherd puppies require a puppy formula with a high-fat percentage that can help with growth. But too much of it can make pups grow too fast, which can strain their developing joints.
And they should be fed small kibbles that match their tiny mouth and teeth.
So how do you know if puppy dog food has high-quality ingredients? We’ve rounded up some of the best dog foods for your Australian Shepherd puppy to help him become an excellent herding dog.
1. Blue Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe Grain-Free Puppy Food
Our rating: 5
Top ingredients: Deboned Beef, Beef Meal, and Peas
If you have an Aussie puppy, we recommend feeding them Blue Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe Grain-Free Puppy Food with Red Meat.
After comparing multiple dog foods for puppies, we found this one to be the best.
This formula contains real beef as the first ingredient and is grain-free, making it suitable for puppies with grain sensitivities or allergies.
It also contains a balanced blend of fruits and vegetables, including sweet potatoes and blueberries, which provide essential vitamins and minerals to support the immune system and overall health.
Furthermore, it includes DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid that supports cognitive and vision development in puppies.
- 100% free from chicken
- Has no preservatives, artificial flavors, by-product meals, soy, wheat, and corn
- High-protein dog food for all breed sizes
- Some puppies don’t like the taste
- It contains peas
2. Purina Pro Plan Chicken & Rice Formula with Probiotics Dry Puppy Food
Our Rating: 4.5
Top Ingredients: Chicken, Rice, Poultry By-Product Meal
This delicious dry puppy food for Australian Shepherds and other puppies of all sizes will give them a great start in life.
It has high-quality protein and is a great source of carbohydrates, calcium, phosphorus, and probiotics. This might be the 100% balanced and complete diet you wanted for your pup.
- Includes vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants
- Has healthy fats and DHA for nourishing vision and brain development
- Uses real chicken
- Doesn’t contain vegetables
- Picky eaters aren’t a fan of this formula
3. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Puppy Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe
Our rating: 4.5
Top ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, and Brown Rice
Looking for the optimal puppy food for your Australian Shepherd? This recipe has Blue Buffalo’s LifeSource Bits, which has the nutrients that puppies need to grow and develop into happy, healthy dogs.
- Rich in essential fatty acids for a healthy coat and skin
- Has no soy, wheat, corn, preservatives, and by-product meals
- Enhanced with antioxidant-rich ingredients and a precise blend of nutrients
- Some pups don’t like the taste
- Not suitable for dogs who are allergic to grains and chicken
4. Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Puppy Recipe
Our rating: 4.5
Top ingredients: Water Buffalo, Lamb Meal, Sweet Potatoes
Give your pooch a “Taste of the Wild” by providing a dog food with novel proteins, including venison and bison, that’s also grain-free.
Not only does this recipe offer healthy digestions and prebiotic support, but it’s also highly digestible and ensures that your canine absorbs and benefits from all the nutrition this dry dog food has to offer.
- Includes antioxidants, as well as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids
- Features K9 Strain probiotics to assist with digestion
- Protein- and nutrient-rich
- Some dogs don’t like the taste
Best Puppy Food for Your Mini Australian Shepherd:
Mini Australian Shepherds can only weigh between 20 to 40 pounds (9 and 18 kg), while the toy version weighs even less at around 12 to 17 lbs (5 to 8 kg).
Their small size means they don’t need as many calories as standard-sized Aussies. These are what we recommend for your Mini Australian Shepherd puppy:
- Hill’s Science Diet Small & Toy Breed Dry Dog Food is packed with premium chicken that will meet the nutritional needs of your mini or toy pooch.
- Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Small Breed Dog Food Puppy Recipe is an excellent puppy food as it supports full-body nutrition with tiny kibble for easy eating and digestion.
Best Dog Food for Australian Shepherd Adults
Once your Australian Shepherd is fully grown, it’s time to switch to adult food. Look for high-quality food with higher protein levels to help maintain lean muscle and give your Aussie energy.
1. Nutro Ultra Adult Dry Dog Food
Our rating: 5
Top ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Whole Brown Rice
Based on our analysis, we’ve found out that the Nutro Ultra Dry Dog Food is the best recipe for adult Australian Shepherds.
The formula contains high-quality protein sources such as chicken, lamb, and salmon, which provide essential amino acids that support muscle and tissue maintenance. It’s also enriched with antioxidants, which help to support immune function and overall health.
- It’s grain-free and contains no artificial preservatives, flavors, and colors.
- Pea-free formula
- Packed with amino acids, antioxidants, and sunflower oil
- It’s expensive
2. American Journey Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
Our rating: 4.5
Top ingredients: Deboned Salmon, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal
American Journey is complete with fiber-rich chickpeas and sweet potatoes as well as nutritious fruits and vegetables.
This dog food is ideal for picky eaters and fidos with sensitive stomachs. It’s also filled with essential fatty acids to keep your Aussie in top condition.
- Fiber- and protein-rich formula with omega fatty acids and DHA for a healthy coat, eye, and brain development
- Free of grains, soy, wheat, corn, or fillers
- High-protein recipe suitable for all breed sizes
- Some dogs won’t eat this kibble even when mixed with wet food or when used as a topper
3. Purina Pro Plan Savor Adult Classic Chicken & Rice Entree Canned Dog Food
Our rating: 4.5
Top ingredients: Chicken, Water Sufficient for Processing, Liver
This classic chicken-flavored wet food formula is a complete and balanced diet suitable for all breed sizes. It supports any adult dog’s active lifestyle, thanks to its optimal protein and fat levels that promote an ideal physique.
It also has powerful antioxidants for maintaining a strong immune system, as well as complex carbohydrates that boost your canine’s energy.
- Rich in high-quality proteins
- Has omega fatty acids for healthy coat and skin
- Doesn’t contain any preservatives or artificial colors and flavors
- There are dogs who won’t eat this particular recipe, while a few experienced vomiting
4. Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
Our rating: 5
Top ingredients: Salmon, Ocean Fish Meal, Sweet Potatoes
Our top choice for the Best Overall dog food for Australian Shepherds is the Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Grain-Free Dry Dog Food.
This recipe is made with high-quality, real ingredients, including smoked salmon as the first ingredient, which provides a good source of protein and essential fatty acids. This formula is also grain-free and includes a balanced blend of fruits and vegetables, which provide a range of essential vitamins and minerals to support the immune system and overall health.
- Novel protein sources and recommended for dogs with food sensitivities
- Chicken-free and grain-free
- Has no preservatives, artificial flavors, fillers, wheat, or corn
- A few dogs got itchy skin after eating this formula for a while
- Contains chickpeas and peas
5. Orijen Original Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
Our rating: 4.5
Top ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Deboned Turkey, Flounder
This kibble is made of 85% quality, whole animal proteins such as cage-free eggs, wild-caught fish, and raw or fresh free-run turkey and chicken.
To maintain their peak of freshness, raw ingredients are frozen, while fresh ingredients are refrigerated to preserve nutrients.
- Gluten- and grain-free
- High-protein using natural and raw protein
- Made tastier by coating the kibble with freeze-dried liver
- A few owners complained that their dogs had digestive problems while on this diet, while others simply didn’t think that it wasn’t beneficial for their pet
Best Dog Food for Australian Shepherd Senior Dogs
Older dogs have different nutritional needs. You might need to scale back his diet as he slows down while looking out for nutrients that will support his joints.
If you’re searching for the best dog food for senior Australian Shepherds, look no further. We’ve reviewed the best wet and dry Aussie dog food for seniors.
1. Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food Adult 7+
Our rating: 5
Top ingredients: Chicken Meal, Cracked Pearled Barley, Brewers Rice
For Aussies older than seven years of age, this complete and precise nutrition recipe is an excellent choice.
It’s formulated with high-quality ingredients to help them stay active and healthy as they live their golden years. It will give them energy without going over in calories.
- Suitable for senior dogs of all sizes
- Packed with antioxidants and vitamin C and E to support a healthy immune system.
- Made in the US that meets nutrient and purity content standards
- Some owners complained about not liking the smell of this recipe
- Not recommended for dogs with sensitivities
2. Nulo Freestyle Trout & Sweet Potato Senior Grain-free Recipe
Our rating: 4.5
Top ingredients: Deboned Trout, Turkey Meal, Salmon Meal
Nulo’s Trout and Sweet Potato recipe for seniors uses quality protein from fish sources like whole trout and salmon meal. This kibble is made with complex carbohydrates to promote stable energy levels.
- Digestion, hip, and joint support
- Includes L-Carnitine
- 80% of protein sources from whole meats
- Not suitable for dogs who are allergic to poultry
3. Wellness CORE Grain-Free Deboned Turkey Senior Recipe
Our rating: 4.5
Top ingredients: Deboned Turkey, Chicken Meal, Lentils
Wellness CORE’s senior food offers balanced nutrition for your old Australian Shepherd. It’s made from fresh turkey and chicken meal and formulated with beneficial supplements, fresh vegetables, and fruits.
- Great for dogs with food sensitivities
- Digestible and grain-free
- Contains antioxidants, taurine, and probiotics
- Some dogs wouldn’t eat this dog food, while one owner complained that their senior dog’s teeth are no longer in shape because of how big this kibble is
4. Wellness Complete Health Senior Dog Food
Our rating: 4.5
Top ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Oatmeal
This Australian Shepherd dry food is formulated to target the three biggest issues that senior dogs face: joint pain, muscle tone loss, and weight gain.
- Made from quality sources of protein
- Enriched with glucosamine, taurine, and chondroitin
- Made without GMOs, fillers, or artificial preservatives
- Other than some dogs not liking this recipe, some have trouble chewing this kibble
Best Dog Food for Aussies with Health Issues
As a responsible dog owner, you should be aware of any illnesses your Aussie might have. It’s also best to be mindful of what to feed him before or while he has a disease.
Choosing a dog food for Australian Shepherds with health problems
Selecting the best dog food or diet can help prevent illnesses while keeping your dog happy and healthy.
Aussies with allergies may be more sensitive to ingredients used in dog food. For sensitive dogs, it’s best to go for a limited-ingredient diet.
This breed can also experience eye problems like cataracts, Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), or Collie Eye Anomaly. Supplements like taurine can help to support their eye health.
Joint and bone issues are also common in Australian Shepherds like hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia. So look for food with glucosamine and chondroitin.
And even if Aussies are high-energy dogs, they can still suffer from obesity. Monitor how much you feed your dog and choose food with weight maintenance in mind.
Other health problems that Australian Shepherds can also suffer from are Multiple Drug Sensitivity (MDS), cancer, deafness, epilepsy, hypothyroidism, and persistent pupillary membrane.
If your Aussie suffers from any of the following, chat to your vet to recommend the best food to support them.
Best for Sensitive Stomachs
For Aussies having trouble digesting grain or chicken, it’s best to choose dog food for sensitive stomachs. Keep an eye out for food with limited ingredient recipes so you can reduce any chance of an adverse reaction.
Canidae Grain-Free PURE Salmon and Sweet Potato Dog Food
Our rating: 4.5
Top ingredients: Salmon, Salmon Meal, Menhaden Fish Meal
Looking for a limited-ingredient dog food that’s also free from any chicken and grains? Then this fish formula from Canidae is one to include in your list.
It’s formulated for dogs with digestive and skin sensitivities in mind with its eight wholesome ingredients. It provides balanced and complete nutrition minus any fillers or additives.
- Recommended for dogs with sensitive stomachs
- Fortified with Canidae’s HealthPLUS blend of omega-3 and -6 fatty acids, antioxidants, and probiotics
- Suitable for adult dogs of all sizes
- Other dogs experienced digestive problems, while some just won’t eat it
Best for Sensitive Coat and Skin Issues
If your dog has sensitive skin, changing his diet may help alleviate the problem. When it comes to coat and skin issues, aim to find a dog food with Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids.
Earthborn Holistic Meadow Feast Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
Our rating: 4.5
Top ingredients: Lamb Meal, Pumpkin, Tapioca
This updated recipe of Earthborn is now pea-free and high-protein dog food that’s also a limited-ingredient option.
The vitamins, minerals, natural antioxidants, and L-Carnitine will help support your canine’s immune system, maintain muscle mass, burn fat, and support a healthy coat and skin.
- Limited-ingredient formula to support healthy digestion
- Contains fewer carbs and protein sources
- Made with natural ingredients, and is also grain- and gluten-free
- Some pet parents said their dog wouldn’t eat this kibble
- There are dogs who experienced stomach problems and loose stools
Best Dog Food for Australian Shepherds Buying Guide
When searching for the ideal food for your Australian Shepherd, there are essential things to look for.
These are medium-sized dogs that are very active, with similar nutritional requirements to German Shepherds.
While big brand names are generally trustworthy choices, there are also smaller, dedicated dog food brands that offer everything your dog needs at a reasonable price.
Australian Shepherd Nutritional Requirement
Aussies are known to become overweight if they consume too many calories and don’t exercise enough.
As such, they don’t need high-calorie foods. Their daily caloric requirements are around 30 calories per pound per day, but this depends on their exercise levels and health.
To ensure your pooch is getting optimal nutrition and immune system support, check their food has the following.
Not only should your chosen pet food have enough protein, but it should be of high quality. Make sure you purchase food with meat as the first or second ingredient.
Food containing chicken, fish, beef, and pork are all ideal sources of protein.
Your Australian Shepherd’s diet needs to include saturated oils and healthy fats. You’ll also want to make sure your dog food has both Omega-3 (like DHA) and Omega-6 fatty acids. This helps to promote healthy coat and skin.
Healthy fats can come from canola oil and flaxseed oil. But for optimal Omega-3 and Omega-6 absorption, you’ll want to focus on foods with fish oil, like salmon oil.
Essential Complex Carbohydrates
Any canine can benefit from the carbohydrates found in whole grains, fruits, and veggies. Carbs give you Aussie energy and can also offer vitamins and minerals as well as antioxidants.
Fruit and vegetables also provide fiber, which is excellent for dogs with digestive trouble.
You should avoid foods with by-products, fillers, and artificial additives as these are difficult to digest.
Despite their unique personalities, Aussies have similar nutritional needs to other dogs. Adult Aussies need at least 18% protein and 5% fat, while puppies and lactating females need a minimum of 22% protein and 8% fat.
For active Aussies, you should look for food with around 30% protein and 12% fat.
Ingredients to avoid when feeding your Australian Shepherd
Like most dog breeds, you should not feed your Australian Shepherd the following food. If your dog accidentally ingests any of the following foods, contact your vet as soon as possible.
- Onions and garlic
- Artificial flavors and preservatives
While it might be tempting to slip your dog a little treat from your table, any human food with milk, cheese, meat, and yogurt can do more harm than good.
Are grain-free diet options preferable for Australian Shepherds?
If your dog is sensitive or allergic to grains, you should avoid grains and carbohydrates in their food. But if not, you should make sure your dog’s diet includes grains filled with healthy nutrients.
Choosing a grain-free diet for your Australian Shepherd will depend on their needs.
Should you give your Australian Shepherd dry kibbles, wet food, raw diet, or homemade?
Australian Shepherds are happy with either dry food, canned food, or a combination of both. You just need to ensure it supports their activity level.
Both wet food and dry food can provide adequate nutrition for your Aussie. But wet food provides more moisture for your dog. This is ideal for dogs who have urinary problems or don’t drink enough water.
Wet food can be tastier for your pup and entices picky eaters.
Raw food is another option for your dog but can lead to increased exposure to foodborne pathogens. You’ll have more control over what your dog is eating, but it’s time-consuming and quite expensive.
Fruits and vegetables your Australian Shepherd can and cannot eat
Australian Shepherds do well on a diet that includes the following vegetables:
- Sweet potato
- Green beans
- Brussels sprouts
But there are many more fruits and veggies that dogs can and can’t eat.
A homemade recipe you can try for your pet
Home cooking dog food for your Aussie is an alternative to buying wet or dry food at your local pet shop or on Chewy or Amazon.
There are plenty of homemade dog food recipes online with ideas to meet your Aussies’ nutritional requirements. Just make sure you keep in mind what your dog can and can’t tolerate.
You can try this recipe for your Aussie dog. A serving contains 440 calories, 23g of protein, 64g of carbohydrates, and 9.8g fat.
- ½ (16 ounces) a pack of frozen broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower mix
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 2 cups brown rice
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 6 cups water
- Add the water, ground turkey, rosemary, and rice into a large Dutch oven
- Stir the mixture until the turkey breaks up and distributes evenly through the mixture
- Bring the food to a boil over high heat before reducing the heat
- Allow it to simmer for 20 minutes
- Then add the frozen veggies and cook for 5 more minutes
- Remove from the heat and allow it to cool
- Keep it in the fridge until you use it
Australian Shepherd Feeding Chart
Growing puppies need more food than adults, but each dog will vary. Portion control is essential for Australian Shepherds.
You’ll probably be feeling your adult dog two meals a day. But puppies will need to be fed more regularly.
Check out this quick guide below:
|Age||Total cups of kibble per day||Meals per day|
|1-3 months||⅔ to 2||2-3|
|4-5 months||1 ¾ to 3 ⅓||2-3|
|6-8 months||1 ⅓ to 3 ¼||2-3|
|9-11 months||2 ⅓ to 4||2-3|
|1-2 years||2 ⅓ to 5 ¼||2|
|Adult||3 to 5||2|
If you’re still unsure about how much to feed your dog, check the feeding recommendations on the packaging.
Transition: How to switch from puppy to adult dog food?
You should switch your Aussie over to adult food at around 4 to 5 months of age. Combine the puppy food with adult food and gradually increase adult food over time.
Slow transitioning from an old diet to a new one is a must, too.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Do Australian Shepherds need supplements?
You’ll know your Australian Shepherd is eating enough if they have energy and are a healthy weight.
If your dog starts losing or gaining weight, you’ll need to adjust its daily intake. But some owners prefer to give joint supplements to their active Aussies before they even show any signs of pain.
How do I change my Aussie’s diet?
Switching your Australian Shepherd’s diet is best done slowly and gradually. Mix the new food with the old food and increase the amount of the new food until you completely replace the old one.
Are Australian Shepherds picky eaters?
Aussies aren’t generally picky eaters. They love food and usually gobble up their kibble quickly. There are also a lot of things to consider if you’re fido is getting picky or won’t eat.
Luckily there are plenty of options and flavors to choose from.
How can I tell if I am feeding the right food to my Australian Shepherd?
When you’re buying your food in the United States, make sure your food has an AAFCO statement of nutritional quality. This confirms that your food will meet your dog’s minimal dietary requirements.
Best Dog Treats for Australian Shepherds
Doggy snacks are excellent rewards during training or when your Aussie is being a good boy. But it adds up to his daily consumption. Though it’s helpful, it has to be given in moderation.
Delicious treats like Greenies Teenie Dental Dog Treats and Milk-Bone Soft & Chewy Beef & Filet Mignon Dog Treats are great choices to consider for your Australian Shepherd.
What’s the Best Dog Food for Your Australian Shepherd?
Finding quality dog food for your Aussie can help him enjoy the most of his life while being healthy. It can also be a factor for him to spend more years with you by exceeding his average lifespan.
Just be careful when choosing, especially when changing your pet’s dog food. It can keep him in tip-top condition, but not reading labels and not knowing what your dog actually needs can cause more harm than good.
And know that you’ll be feeding your pup this recipe for quite a while, so you should consider if it’s always available at the store or online and if it’s within your budget.
What do you think is the best dog food for Australian Shepherds? What works with your Aussie? Share your thoughts with us by commenting below.
Cess is the Head of Content Writing at K9 Web and a passionate dog care expert with over 5 years of experience in the Pet Industry. With a background in animal science, dog training, and behavior consulting, her hands-on experience and extensive knowledge make her a trusted source for dog owners.
When not writing or leading the K9 Web content team, Cess can be found volunteering at local shelters and participating in dog-related events.