|Top Dog : 2018 Best Foods For Australian Shepherds|
Australian Shepherds are one of the most strikingly beautiful and popular dogs around. According to the AKC, these beautiful herders have surged in popularity in recent years, and are now among the twenty most popular breeds in the world.
While their name would have you believe they’re originally from the land down under, the Australian shepherd was actually first bred in America.
Aussies are smart, hard-working, easy to train and have the boundless energy necessary for a life of herding, which is what they’re bred to do. To keep up with the rigors of their work, they need a nutritious diet that’s rich in protein.
Australian shepherds are a medium sized dog, typically weighing in between 45-65 pounds and standing 1 ½-2’ tall. The average Aussie lives about 12-15 years.
Australian Shepherd’s Caloric Needs
By nature, Aussies are an especially energetic breed. They’re used to spending their days herding animals on acres of property. To keep up with the demands of their work, they require a high protein, high-calorie diet to sustain themselves.
The caloric needs of an Aussie can range widely, depending on their age and activity level. More active dogs will require more food each day than a dog who is more docile. The dog food company Merrick has a handy calculator you can use to determine the caloric requirements of your pup based on their size, age, and activity level.
The Nutritional Needs of Australian Shepherds
When it comes to nutrition, it’s a good idea to look at the recommendations from AAFCO as a baseline for what dogs need in their diets. AAFCO is the organization that regulates the pet food industry, and they recommend that a dog’s diet consist of at least 18% protein and 5% fat. For puppies, those numbers jump up to 22% protein and 8% fat.
Most quality dog food manufacturers greatly exceed those percentages. Considering how active Aussies are, you’ll want to look into foods with around 30% protein and 12% fat.
What’s in the Best Dog Food for Australian Shepherds
When it comes to food, your dog needs four things: protein, fat, complex carbs and fiber. These four components work together to provide your pup with the balanced nutrition they need to thrive.
At the centerpiece of any dog’s diet is protein. Protein gives dogs the fuel they need to build muscle and remain strong and healthy.
The vast majority of the protein in a dog’s diet should come from meat. Depending on your dog’s individual preferences, beef, poultry, and seafood all make perfect protein sources for dogs.
When you’re looking at the ingredients list for a particular brand of food, pay special attention to the first three ingredients listed. Ideally, all three of these ingredients should be meat. Whole meat sources are best, but meat meals (which is meat with the water removed from it) are also fine.
Avoid any dog food that contains ingredients like meat by-products, or meat digests. These ingredients are a tell-tale sign of an inferior quality dog food, and your pup deserves better.
Considering how active and strong Aussies are, a high protein content of around 30% or higher is ideal for these dogs.
While fat tends to get a bad rap, especially in human diets, the truth is that good fat is a vital part of every diet, and there are many health benefits associated with these kinds of fats.
Fats help to give food its taste and texture, and they also provide critical nutrients that your pup needs to thrive. A diet that’s rich in healthy fats will help to provide your pup with a healthy coat and clear skin. Healthy fats have also shown the ability to protect against cardiovascular disease.
While the sources of fat are many, always look for food that contains omega III, which will help fortify your dog’s skin and coat.
While complex carbs are less critical to a dog’s diet than protein and fat are, they’re still important. Complex carbs are especially important for active breeds like the Australian shepherd because they act as an energy source for your pup.
Keep in mind that simple carbs that come from grains such as wheat, corn, sugar or soy are not the kind of carbs you want to see in your dog food. In fact, it’s best to avoid feeding your dog these kinds of grains wherever possible. These grains are mainly used by manufacturers to bulk up their bottom line, without any sort of additional benefit for your dog.
On the other hand, complex carbs from sources like fruit and vegetables are very useful, and they should be a part of your dog’s diet. Not only do they provide an energy source, but complex carbs are also a good source of the vitamins and minerals that your dog needs in their diet.
The final component of your dog’s diet is fiber. Fiber helps to keep your dog’s digestive system working properly, helps keep them regular, and it also helps your dog to feel full. Fiber can be especially important if your pup is a bit overweight, and they’re on a weight management diet to get them back to their ideal size.
As a general rule, a fiber content of around 4-5% is perfect for most dogs.
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Unique Needs of Australian Shepherds
Beyond feeding your pup a diet that’s rich in protein, healthy fats, complex carbs, and fiber, there are a few other things to consider. Aussies are predisposed to some different health conditions, and you may be able to protect them from those conditions by adhering to a diet that helps protect against these conditions.
One health concern that affects many Aussies is allergies. While there are many different kinds of allergies, food allergies are the most prevalent among Aussies.
The best way to protect your dog against possible allergens is to feed them a wholesome and grain-free diet that’s rich in natural ingredients. More often than not, a dog’s food allergies are caused by grains such as wheat, corn or soy. Avoiding these ingredients may help your dog to stay allergy free.
Hip and Elbow Dysplasia
Many dog breeds, including Australian shepherds, are susceptible to hip and elbow dysplasia. This condition occurs when the hip or elbow bones don’t fit snugly into their sockets, which can then allow those bones to pop out of place.
While these conditions are usually hereditary, there are some dietary steps you can take to help protect your dog from developing these conditions. A diet that includes glucosamine and chondroitin will help protect your dog’s joints and bones, which may help to prevent the onset of this condition.
Cancer is prevalent throughout most dog breeds, including Aussies. While there’s little you can do to prevent your dog from developing cancer, you can help reduce the chance of your dog developing cancer by feeding them a wholesome diet that’s rich in natural ingredients.
In some cases, dogs develop cancer because of harmful ingredients that can be found in dog food. By avoiding bargain-priced foods and sticking with foods that limit or eliminate the use of non-natural ingredients, you may be able to reduce your dog’s cancer risk.
Best Dog Food for Australian Shepherds
Today, we’ve learned everything you’ll need to know about your Aussies special needs, and the ingredients that they need in their food to thrive. Now, we’ll take a look at some of the best options available for Australian shepherd puppies, adults, and seniors.
First 5 ingredients: Deboned lamb, chicken meal, turkey meal, peas, chickpeas
American Journey has fast developed a reputation as one of the premier dry dog food manufacturers on the planet. Their foods are packed with wholesome ingredients, and a healthy dose of protein and fat to provide working dogs with the fuel they need to thrive.
This blend derives the majority of its protein from lamb, chicken, and turkey. There’s also a bit of Menhaden fish meal and pea protein. A healthy dose of chicken fat and salmon oil provide flavor, texture, and the healthy fat your dog needs to thrive.
Sweet potatoes, blueberries, and carrots provide your dog with the complex carbs necessary to maintain a high energy level. In addition to salmon oil, kelp is also added to help your dog achieve a beautiful shiny coat.
This food is also loaded with antioxidants which help to prevent the oxidative stress that is a major contributor to joint damage, and DHA is also added to encourage healthy brain and vision function. Glucosamine and chondroitin are also present, which helps your dog’s joints stay in top condition.
Overall, American Journey delivers premium ingredients and all of the extras your dog needs to perform at their best, at a price point that’s more affordable than most premium foods. For those reasons, it’s our favorite for adult Aussies.
- Loaded with the protein, fat and complex carbs your dog needs
- Contains antioxidants, glucosamine, and chondroitin for healthy joint function
- Not ideal for sedentary dogs
First five ingredients: chicken liver, chicken meal, brown rice, chicken fat, Menhaden fish meal
Veterinary professional Dr. Tim Hunt has developed this food especially for high energy working dogs to provide them with the nutrition they need to excel. Dr. Tim’s Ultra Athletic Fusion Formula is one of the most advanced foods we’ve seen, and it’s packed with protein and fat.
A whopping 87% of the protein from this food is derived from animal sources, which provide your pup with the most useful and bioavailable protein sources. The majority of the protein in this blend is derived from chicken and fish.
This food is also extremely high in healthy fats, which not only provides a great flavor and texture for your pet but also helps ensure that they have healthy skin and a beautiful and lustrous coat.
A special probiotic blend also helps to provide your pup with immune system support, while supporting gastrointestinal health as well.
At over 500 calories per cup, this is one of the most energy-packed foods on the market, and it provides working dogs with the fuel they need for a day on the range.
This food is a bit more expensive than some brands, but if you’re serious about providing your high energy Aussie with the best, it’s an option to take a closer look at.
- Provides working dogs with the energy they need
- Extremely high in protein and fat
- Contains probiotics
- Not appropriate for lower energy dogs
First five ingredients: chicken meal, turkey meal, salmon meal, deboned chicken, deboned turkey
Go! Is a newer dog food company that places a serious emphasis on animal-based proteins. They’re owned by the Canadian manufacturer Petcurean, and they’re one of the only manufacturers that don’t source a single ingredient from China.
When you take a look at the ingredients in this food, you’ll notice that there are tons of animal proteins listed. Beyond the first five we mentioned above, there’s also trout and duck in this blend, as well.
This food also contains tons of complex carbs from delicious fruit and vegetable sources. You’ll find pumpkin, squash, broccoli, blackberries, blueberries, cranberries, spinach, alfalfa sprouts, These provide your pup with plenty of energy sources, while also feeding them the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants they need for optimal performance.
Prebiotics and probiotics are also included to support your dog’s immune system and help them maintain their gastrointestinal health.
We love that this food is packed with so many great sources of protein and complex carbs. While there are plenty of antioxidants to support joint health, we would have also liked to see glucosamine and chondroitin, which are unfortunately missing. The only other knock against Go! Fit is it’s a bit on the pricey side. The per pound price of this food is about $2.84.
- Packed with protein from animal sources
- Tons of complex carbs from fruits and vegetables
- Contains prebiotics and probiotics
- Doesn’t contain chondroitin or glucosamine
Best Puppy Food for Australian Shepherds
First five ingredients: Turkey, chicken meal, split peas, dried potatoes, chicken fat
If you’re looking for a quality food that meets the needs of your growing Aussie, Wild Frontier by Nutro may be a great choice.
This protein-packed blend features turkey and chicken as their main sources of protein. You’ll also find duck, liver, pork, fish meal and potato protein as well. Several sources of organ meat also provide your puppy with vital nutrients, in addition to protein. Altogether, 36% of this food is protein, which provides your puppy with the fuel they need to build lean muscle.
There’s also plenty of healthy fats to provide flavor and texture while building healthy skin and a shiny coat for your pup.
While this food provides a balanced blend of protein and fat, it doesn’t contain many complex carbs or fiber, which detracts slightly from their overall score. Probiotics and prebiotics are also missing. However, this food should still be a perfect choice for your pup, provided that they aren’t a working dog.
- Rich in animal protein and organ meat
- Plenty of healthy fats
- All ingredients derived from animals or plants
- No prebiotics or probiotics
- Lacks complex carbs
Best Dog Food for Senior Australian Shepherds
First five ingredients: chicken meal, turkey meal, fish meal, deboned chicken, deboned turkey
Go! Fit+ adult recipe made our list as arguably the best dog food for Australian shepherds. Petcurean also offers a great option for senior dogs as well.
The senior recipe is also packed with protein from animal sources. Beyond the first five ingredients listed above, you’ll also find trout, duck meal, herring meal, deboned duck and deboned salmon. Altogether, 32% of this food is made of protein, which is slightly less than the adult version.
There’s also plenty of healthy fats to help support healthy skin and a lustrous coat. Plenty of complex carbs are provided as well in the form of fruits and vegetables like pumpkin, carrots, bananas, broccoli, spinach, sweet potatoes, alfalfa sprouts, blueberries, cranberries, and blackberries.
Along with the vitamins and nutrients present in the fruits and vegetables, the senior blend also adds glucosamine and chondroitin to support healthy joint function.
Altogether, this food is nearly identical to the adult recipe, but with slightly less fat, protein and calories per cup. This food does a good job of addressing all of the unique needs of senior dogs, while still providing the fuel that an Aussie needs to maintain a healthy and active life.
- Packed with protein from animal sources
- Lots of nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables
- Contains glucosamine and chondroitin
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