In this article you will find:
- All About Blue Heelers
- The Best Dog Food for Blue Heelers
- 1. The Farmer’s Dog Fresh Food – Beef Recipe
- 2. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken Recipe
- 3. Zignature Kangaroo Limited Ingredient Formula
- 4. Sport Dog Food Active Series Cub Buffalo & Oatmeal Formula
- 5. Holistic Select Senior Health Chicken Meal & Lentils Recipe
- 6. Go! Solutions SENSITIVITIES LID Shredded Turkey
- 7. Iams ProActive Health With Lamb & Rice Pate
- 8. Redbarn Naturals Braided Bully Sticks
- Take Away
The Blue Heeler, also known as the Australian Cattle Dog is a highly intelligent and hard-working herding dog.
If you have one or more of this beautiful breed, then you probably already know that they are full of energy and are very loving and loyal pets. In this article, we aim to find the best dog food for Blue Heelers that will help them reach their full potential.
For those considering getting a dog of this great breed, there is a lot to consider just as with any dog breed. For one, Blue Heelers are happiest when they have a job to do. Training is a must for this dog, and it is not exactly the best breed for first-time dog owners.
Whether you own a working dog or one that enjoys chilling at home, there is no question that good health keeps them happy and able to do what they love the most.
With this in mind, we have prepared a list of some great dog foods that could help energetic dogs like the Blue Heeler thrive. Read on to find out more about this working-class pup and their needs.
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All About Blue Heelers
Blue Heelers or Australian Cattle Dogs (ACD) are medium-sized dogs bred to have amazing agility and stamina. Their bodies are muscular, sturdy, and symmetrical, with a long undocked tail. Fully grown adult dogs measure approximately 17 to 20 inches at the shoulder and weigh around 33 to 49 lbs (15-22 kgs).
Known for their intelligent and alert facial expressions, Australian Cattle Dogs have dark oval eyes and pricked, moderately pointed ears that are quite small and set wide apart. Their ears also have a covering of hair on the inside.
ACDs come in blue, blue-mottled or blue speckled, red, red speckled, or red mottled. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), permissible markings for blue heelers are black, blue, or tan markings on the head, evenly distributed for preference.
Red ones on the other hand should have “even red speckle all over, including the undercoat, (neither white nor cream), with or without darker red markings on the head.”
Blue Heeler puppies are born white with black or red patches on the body. The puppies' true coat color and markings will start to show when they are about 3 weeks old.
History of the Blue Heeler
The beloved cattle dog’s nickname Blue Heeler or Red Heeler comes from its practice of nipping at the heels of reluctant cattle that it is trying to herd.
Developed in Australia in the 19th century, the breed is credited for its significant contribution to the growth of the world-class beef industry of the country.
As the first cattle dogs called Smithfield were imported from Britain, they unsurprisingly did not thrive under the harsh Australian sun and rough terrain.
Stockmen or drovers as they were known down under, needed a dog that could work with untamed cattle, rugged terrain, and cover vast distances. The job requires a great deal of stamina, intelligence, and tenacity.
From a cross between the native Dingo and the British Smithfield to a Dingo-collie mix with a dash of Dalmatian, the Australian Cattle Dog was born.
The breeders were able to develop a breed that had all the traits to make the quintessential Aussie drover’s dog. The addition of the Dalmatian gave the breed its trademark ease with horses and faithfulness. Today, the ACDs we see also have some Kelpie (another Aussie breed) in them as well to further enhance their herding abilities.
Is the Blue Heeler the One for You?
The loyal and protective nature of the ACD makes it a good family dog. It is well-suited for families or individuals that can give the dog an active lifestyle. Given its energetic demeanor, Blue Heelers need activities that will not only challenge them physically but also be mentally stimulating. Such activities help prevent these smart pups from getting bored and keep them out of trouble.
Experts recommend professional training at an early age. Obedience training plays a very important role in socializing this breed. Families with children are recommended to get a puppy so that it is socialized with the children at an early age.
Adult cattle dogs who are not used to children may try to herd them. This could involve nipping or biting the kids when they run or get rowdy. The same goes for other pets in the home.
Aside from obedience and exercise, training helps form a bond between the owner and the dog. This is important not just for working dogs, but also for house pets. It is definitely not the breed for those with busy lives.
Known as a “velcro dog” or “shadow dog”, Blue Heelers are devoted to their owners and will want to be wherever their owner is. Your presence in its day-to-day life is essential to the well-being of this dog.
OUR TOP 3 PICKS FOR BEST DOG FOOD FOR BLUE HEELER
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Health and Wellbeing of the Blue Heeler
The life expectancy of this hard-working breed is approximately 13-17 years. Hereditary diseases common among Blue Heelers are deafness, Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), and Primary Lens Luxation (PLL). Fortunately, DNA testing allows breeders to responsibly breed only healthy dogs.
Other common issues include hip and elbow dysplasia, epilepsy, cataracts, and umbilical hernia. If not adopting, make sure that you are purchasing from a reputable breeder that will be able to provide proof of testing.
The Australian Cattle Dog Club of America, Inc recommends that the sire and dam get the following health tests:
- Hip evaluation
- Elbow evaluation
- Ophthalmologist evaluation
- PRA Optigen DNA test
- BAER testing
- PLL DNA test
The ideal Blue Heeler dog food aims to support eye, joint, muscle, and bone health. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times. It’s recommended that adult Blue Heelers eat 1-2 meals per day, while puppies should be given 3-4 meals per day.
The Best Dog Food for Blue Heelers
The Farmer's Dog - Beef Recipe
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Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken Recipe
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Zignature Kangaroo LID Formula
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Sport Dog Food Active Series Cub Buffalo & Oatmeal Formula
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Holistic Select Senior Health Chicken Meal & Lentils Recipe
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Go! Solutions SENSITIVITIES LID Shredded Turkey
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Iams ProActive Health Adult With Lamb & Rice Pate
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Redbarn Naturals Braided Bully Sticks
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Just like any dog, the Blue Heeler will thrive on high-quality dog food that is full of nutrients and is appropriate for their age. The right balance of nutrition greatly depends on your dog’s lifestyle as well.
We have picked the top dog foods in various forms that are best suited for this high-energy dog.
- The Farmer's Dog – Beef Recipe
- Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken Recipe
- Zignature Kangaroo LID Formula
- Sport Dog Food Active Series Cub Buffalo & Oatmeal Formula
- Holistic Select Senior Health Chicken Meal & Lentils Recipe
- Go! Solutions SENSITIVITIES LID Shredded Turkey
- Iams ProActive Health Adult With Lamb & Rice Pate
- Redbarn Naturals Braided Bully Sticks
1. The Farmer’s Dog Fresh Food – Beef Recipe
First 5 Ingredients: USDA Beef, Sweet Potato, Lentils, Carrot, USDA Beef Liver
The Farmer’s Dog is a company that specializes in fresh-cooked premium dog food made with top-notch meats such as cage-free chicken, turkey, and beef.
As they cook fresh, no meat meals such as turkey meal or beef meal are used in the recipes. With their high-protein grain-free recipes, Blue Heelers are sure to happily eat their way to the best dog they can be.
This dog’s diet is made of human-grade, natural ingredients that are carefully selected by the brand’s in-house board-certified veterinary nutritionists. The simple, yet nutrient-dense ingredients are gently cooked, but not processed to be shelf-stable.
This gives your pup a meal that is absolutely free from preservatives. As such, the food must be stored at a safe temperature in the fridge or frozen.
To ensure that your dog gets the best nutrition according to his needs, the purchase process begins with a questionnaire about your dog’s age, activity levels, breed, weight, and food sensitivities.
From the information you provide, the nutritionists and vets will be able to formulate a grain-free recipe that has the precise amount of nutrients and calories that your pup needs.
With customization taken to a whole new level, the guesswork involved in making dog food at home is eliminated and replaced with expert formulation. The fresh food is even pre-portioned to ensure that the dogs are served with the perfect amount every mealtime.
No more overfeeding or spending time figuring out how much food to serve to your pup. Whether you have a working Blue Heeler or one that chills at home, you can rest assured that The Farmer’s Dog will provide adequate nutrition and meal portions to your pooch.
The brand has amassed numerous followers not only because of the convenience it offers, but also the good health benefits that their dogs receive from the tailor-made grain-free fresh food.
The dogs have shown noticeable renewed energy and vitality, as well as lustrous coats and brighter eyes. Even vets have given the fresh recipes their stamps of approval, with a lot of them feeding the meals to their own pets.
The only downside to this dog food is the cost, which is understandable considering the top-quality human-grade ingredients plus the custom-made nutrition it offers.
For subscribers, the food is well worth the cost. Their pets are healthy and happy, and the owners save on vet bills. It is undeniable that fresh food is one of the best dog foods available in the market.
- Pre-portioned and cooked fresh
- Customized according to dogs’ specific needs
- Made of fresh, human-grade high-quality proteins – USDA beef
- Highly nutritious vegetables such as sweet potatoes, carrot, kale
- More expensive than commercial dog foods
2. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken Recipe
First 5 ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Peas, Pea Protein, Tapioca Starch
This super meat-rich recipe is packed with flavors that would make it hard to resist even for picky pooches. While it is labeled as a chicken recipe, this adult dog food actually has additional protein from menhaden fish meal.
This high-protein meal is formulated to be closer to dogs’ ancestors’ prey diet, making it ideal for the ACD as they are after all related to the wild Dingo. At 34% protein, the amino acids in this recipe will help a very active dog build a lean muscle mass that they need to maintain their stamina.
Chicken fat will not only boost the palatability of the kibbles, but it is also vital in sustaining the high energy levels of this hard-working dog.
It is also a high-quality source of omega fatty acids that dogs need to support their skin, coat, and brain function. Cognitive function is highly important for Blue Heelers as their job requires them to be able to make quick decisions on their own.
This Blue Buffalo Wilderness dog food has the brand’s signature LifeSource Bits, which have a precise blend of antioxidants to help strengthen the immune system against free radicals.
Formulated by holistic vets and nutritionists, these cold-formed pieces contain a unique blend of nutrients that is tailored for the specific life stage – in this case for adult pups.
One of the highest-rated products at Chewy.com, this grain-free diet is certainly a hit among dogs of all breeds. Even a few who ordered this recipe by mistake were pleasantly surprised at how much their dogs enjoyed their new food.
With regard to health benefits, this dog food seems to be able to deliver on its promises. Numerous pet parents have reported noticing that their dogs are much more energetic and have healthier skin and coats. Many of them switched to Blue Buffalo upon fellow dog owners’ recommendations.
However, there have been a few reports of bags containing kibbles smaller than usual. While the LifeSource Bits are highly nutritious, it has not been very popular among dogs. Some dogs pick the meaty kibbles and leave the LifeSource Bits in their bowls.
- With antioxidants
- Taurine for eye and heart health
- Highly palatable and digestible
- Has glucosamine to support healthy joints
- High-quality animal protein sources: chicken and menhaden fish meal
- Zero chicken (or poultry) by-product meals, corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors and preservatives
- Many dogs don’t seem to like the LifeSource Bits
- Reports of bags with smaller kibbles than usual
3. Zignature Kangaroo Limited Ingredient Formula
First 5 ingredients: Kangaroo, Kangaroo Meal, Chickpeas, Peas, Sunflower Oil
For this quintessentially Aussie breed, we highly recommend Zignature Kangaroo Limited Ingredient Formula. Made of very lean, high-quality protein from fresh kangaroo meat and kangaroo meat meal, this dry dog food is the perfect Blue Heeler dog food for those with sensitivities.
With only a handful of ingredients, this dog food is less likely to trigger allergies in sensitive Blue Heeler pups. Formulated to meet all the nutritional levels established by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) for dogs of all life stages, this kangaroo recipe is 28% protein and 15% fat, giving Blue Heelers just the right amount to keep them lean and sustain their energy demands. Kangaroo meat is rich in iron, B vitamins, and zinc. Plus, it is guaranteed to always be free-range and non-GMO.
As kangaroo meat is super lean, the dry dog food gets most of its essential fatty acids from sunflower oil. It is high in omega fatty acids that promote shiny coats, as well as healthy skin and cognitive function. It also supports dogs’ overall health.
This low-carb dog food has highly nutritious fiber sources such as chickpeas, peas, and flaxseeds that are also rich in amino acids. The carefully selected ingredients make this formula ideal for dogs in need of a low-glycemic diet.
As the Blue Heeler is prone to eye health issues, dog foods with taurine such as this Zignature recipe help in preventing such issues.
Taurine deficiency in dogs can cause retinal and even heart disease. Feeding foods enriched with taurine or giving supplements can help prevent such conditions and give your dog a long and healthy life.
Another highly-rated brand, Zignature has numerous dog owners giving rave reviews for the great results they have seen with this dog food. A lot of them found this kangaroo recipe while searching for a novel protein-based food for their very sensitive dogs.
Based on their feedback, this dog food has been great at reducing or even completely resolving allergy symptoms such as itchy skin, ear infections, and digestive issues.
The small percentage of naysayers were mostly disappointed that their pups turned their noses up on this dog food. They may not be fans of kangaroo meat. A few did not like that this recipe has peas, and a handful did not appreciate the recent price increase.
- Low carb, low glycemic
- Ideal for pups with sensitivities and picky eaters
- High-quality protein source – kangaroo
- Taurine for eye, heart health; L-carnitine for more efficient fat utilization for energy
- Recent price hike
- Several dogs did not seem to like the taste of kangaroo
4. Sport Dog Food Active Series Cub Buffalo & Oatmeal Formula
First 5 ingredients: Buffalo Meal, Oat Meal, Dried Sweet Potato, Coconut Oil, Pork Meal
Sport Dog Food Active Series Cub Buffalo & Oatmeal Formula is a grain-inclusive dry puppy food specially formulated for working or active dogs.
This multi-protein dog food features novel proteins like buffalo meal, pork meal, and catfish meal making it highly palatable yet suitable for sensitive young puppies.
The recipe is 30% protein and 20% fat to build strong muscles and fuel their energy needs. This combination makes it the best dog food for Blue Heeler pups.
The brand has established its name as the makers of some of the best dog foods for hard-working dogs from athletes to herding dogs to k9 pups.
This puppy food has the ideal balance of proteins, healthy fats, and carbs to help them grow into dogs that are strong, agile, and have the stamina to work well in various working conditions. This makes it ideal for growing herding pups such as the Aussie cattle dog.
An ideal Blue Heeler puppy food, this low-carb, low-ash formula has oatmeal as its main carb and fiber source, supplemented by superfoods such as dried sweet potato and cassava root which are all easily digestible even for sensitive tummies.
Its fat sources are omega fatty acid-rich coconut oil and salmon oil. Both promote healthy skin and coats and are easily absorbed by the body. The high levels of EPA and DHA omega 3 fatty acids are vital in the muscle recovery and staying power of these herding pups.
Instead of adding taurine supplements, the brand uses natural ingredients like high-quality animal meat. This dog food also has glucosamine and chondroitin for healthy joints, as well as probiotics for healthy digestion.
This puppy food has been credited by numerous dog owners for giving their puppies incredible health from nose to tail. The puppies’ healthy growth gave them shiny coats, good digestion, and even better dental health. It is worth noting that this food also received feedback that the pups seem to be producing much smaller stools on this diet.
Most of the complaints are about the big bags. Smaller breed puppies take a while to go through the 30-lb bag. The rest were from owners of puppies who did not seem to enjoy the multi-protein meal without the addition of wet food or other toppers.
- Low glycemic
- Pea, legume-free
- Proteins from buffalo, pork, catfish
- Gentle on sensitive tummies and helps with allergy symptoms
- Smaller stool volume
- Has taurine; glucosamine and chondroitin; probiotics to support dog’s digestive system, calcium for bone health and development
- No smaller bag options
5. Holistic Select Senior Health Chicken Meal & Lentils Recipe
First 5 ingredients: Chicken Meal, Chickpeas, Peas, Lentils, Dried Ground Potatoes
Holistic Select Senior Health Chicken Meal & Lentils Recipe is our pick for the best dry food for mature Blue Heelers. With a relatively high protein percentage at 28% compared to other senior recipes, this grain-free food is just right for older working dogs.
Compared to non-working pets, an older Blue Heeler or herding dog may still have considerably high energy levels as they are accustomed to herding and running across vast distances. The high-quality, concentrated proteins from chicken meal can help older dogs with muscle maintenance and recovery.
Chicken fat and flaxseeds are included as sources of omega 3 fatty acids that can help pooches grow healthy skin and lustrous coats. These healthy fats also help keep the highly intelligent Blue Heelers sharp and alert by supporting their cognitive function.
Fiber-rich foods such as chickpeas, peas, pumpkin, and papaya help improve dogs’ digestion and stool quality. Further supporting their gut health is the inclusion of probiotics in this formula. These are vital in keeping the optimum levels of the intestinal flora, which help dogs absorb more nutrients to maintain good overall health.
Superfoods packed with vitamins and antioxidants such as cranberries, blueberries, apples, and kelp are added to this dry dog food to help protect older pups from free radicals.
This recipe is also enriched with taurine which is beneficial for the breed’s eye and heart health, as well as L-carnitine to help older Blue Heeler pups’ slowing metabolism efficiently use fat for energy. All these health benefits make this recipe a great food for Blue Heeler Seniors.
The holistic approach to good overall health has a lot of dog owners impressed, not only with the ingredient quality of this ideal Blue Heeler dog food, but also the results it has delivered to their pooches. Senior dogs who have started to lose weight started to fill out with leaner muscles shortly after being switched to this dog food.
The dog owners love seeing the pooches get excited about mealtimes. The highly palatable kibbles have even helped sensitive dogs get clearer skin and eyes, shinier coats, and better digestion.
The handful of buyers who gave this grain-free food a lower rating stated that their dogs did not like it, while some said that it is not the most economical option for them.
- Single-source protein – chicken
- Antioxidant-rich superfoods
- Higher in protein at 28% compared to most senior kibbles
- Has taurine; L-carnitine; glucosamine and chondroitin; probiotics for digestion
- Costs slightly higher than the average senior food
- May not be ideal for diabetic senior dogs due to the presence of molasses
6. Go! Solutions SENSITIVITIES LID Shredded Turkey
First 5 ingredients: Turkey, Turkey Broth, Tapioca, Pork Plasma, Cranberries
This shredded turkey recipe from Go! Solutions is a premium wet food that is nutritionally balanced and complete for dogs of all breeds and all life stages. Made with only carefully selected ingredients, this grain-free dog food is great for sensitive Blue Heelers.
Visibly real shreds of non-GMO turkey meat make this a filling and hydrating meal for your Blue Heeler. It can also be served over kibble for additional hydration for your hard-working pooch.
This high-protein recipe features highly digestible tapioca as its main fiber source. It also has pumpkin, which is rich in soluble and insoluble fiber to support gut health and improve stool quality.
Cranberries are added to this recommended food for Blue Heeler pups as a natural source of vitamin C and antioxidants.
This superfood with anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties can help boost a dog's immune system. Salmon oil gives this saucy dog food flavor and omega 3 fatty acids for your dog’s skin, coat, and brain support.
According to Petcurean, the company behind this dog food, pork plasma not only improves dogs’ digestion and decreases their fecal output, but also supports the immune system through its antibacterial properties.
According to buyers, this simple turkey dinner has done wonders for their sensitive dogs, making it the best food in their book.
It is gentle on sensitive stomachs and does not trigger skin allergies or ear infections. The meaty chunks are just the right size, and they love slurping up the turkey broth.
The only downside to this recipe from Go! is its box packaging. According to a few buyers, the box is not easy to open and quite messy if you keep leftovers in it.
- Single meat source – turkey
- Pea and lentil-free
- Has taurine and antioxidants
- Limited ingredient – great for Blue Heeler pups with food allergies
- Has pork plasma which supports a healthy immune system and digestive health
- Some buyers find the box packaging messy and inconvenient
7. Iams ProActive Health With Lamb & Rice Pate
First 5 ingredients: Chicken, Sufficient Water for Processing, Chicken By-Products, Lamb, Brown Rice
This Lamb & Rice Pate from Iams is a grain-inclusive wet dog food that is a good economical option, especially for households with multiple dogs.
Committed to creating tasty meals inspired by homecooked dishes, the brand formulated this pate to provide complete and balanced nutrition to adult dogs of all breeds.
While it is labeled as a lamb and brown rice adult dog food, this hydrating canned food actually has real chicken as its main source of protein, with lamb providing additional amino acids as well as a flavor boost. Both protein sources are highly digestible and quite popular among dogs.
With no corn, wheat, or soy, this dog food has wholesome grains as its source of carbs and fiber. Nutritious brown rice and brewers rice are rich in fiber that helps improve digestion, stool quality and even contributes to weight management.
Superfood flaxseed not only provides fiber, but is also a good source of omega fatty acids that promote healthy skin, glossy coats, and sharp minds. Fish oil is added as another great source of essential fatty acids. It also gives a boost of flavor to the pate.
This pate has a soft and easy-to-chew texture, making it enjoyable even for Blue Heeler dogs with dental problems or older pups. It is a great way to incorporate more moisture into your Blue Heeler’s diet.
This Iams Proactive Health dog food has been given multiple stamps of approval by so many dogs. They just love its savory, meaty flavor and lick their dishes clean. Even fussy pooches approve of this lamb and rice recipe.
Despite having chicken by-products, this dog’s diet has earned fans in owners of pups that have sensitive stomachs. Their stool quality is better and they are less gassy with this pate as part of their diets.
Some buyers, however, did not like this Iams Proactive Health dog food because it has more chicken than lamb. A select few suspect a formula change and did not particularly like the aspic or jelly surrounding the loaf.
- Easy to digest
- Highly palatable
- Soft, easy to chew
- Complete and balanced diet
- Wholesome grains like brown rice instead of corn, wheat, or soy
- Contains chicken by-products
- Additives like color and carrageenan
8. Redbarn Naturals Braided Bully Sticks
Ingredient: Beef Pizzle
Redbarn Naturals Braided Bully Sticks 7″ are a tasty way to treat your Blue Heeler after a hard day’s work. Not only do dogs go crazy for bully sticks, but it also keeps them preoccupied and entertained for a while… well, at least until they chew through the whole stick.
Made of only beef pizzle, this single-ingredient treat is great for all dog breeds and life stages. The braided bully sticks are hard enough to keep them chewing for at least several minutes, while not too hard to damage young puppies’ baby teeth.
Bully sticks are a great way to train young pups not to be aggressive with food. Let them chew on a bully stick for about 5-10 minutes, then take it away.
This teaches them at a young age that it is ok for you to take food or anything they are chewing away from them. There are many ways you can train your puppy using treats such as this. Obedience training, which is very important in raising a Blue Heeler, can be positively enhanced using this braided bully stick.
This is also a great way to help your energetic pup settle down before bedtime. The tasty sticks command their full attention and lead them away from destructive behavior like chewing on shoes and furniture. The chewing and licking promote calmness and releases endorphins.
Pet owners love this bag of Redbarn braided bully sticks. The 7-inch length makes it perfect for medium dogs. The buyers find that the braided sticks last much longer than the straight ones, keeping their pooches busy for a long time.
While the majority are happy with their purchase, some were not as pleased. A few feel that the braided sticks in the bags they got weighed less than advertised. The others find that the sticks from their latest purchase were chewed through much quicker than previous purchases.
Keep in mind that bully sticks are made of only natural cow pizzles. Their shapes and weight are not going to be exactly the same, but should still be within a certain weight and size range.
- Keeps dogs busy and entertained
- High-protein, low-fat, no carbs
- Great-tasting chew and training treat for all ages
- Reports of smaller sized sticks in some bags
The Australian Cattle Dog is certainly a beautiful breed that is devoted, loyal, and capable of accomplishing many things. It is protective and strong enough to endure rugged working conditions. A dog with such dedication to his or her job and family deserves only the best food and nutrition.
Not all products listed in this review may be the best suited for your Blue or Red Heeler. Each dog has his or her own nutritional needs, which very much depends on the dog’s age, activity levels, and overall health.
If you have a working Blue Heeler pup, you must provide a diet that has the right levels of protein and fat to enable the dog to work happily and not be burdened by injuries or muscle pain. Consult your vet to get the best nutrition advice to be able to provide a healthy diet to your dog.
Non-working Blue Heelers still need physical and mental stimulation to be happy and healthy. Provide them with activities such as running, hiking, or playtime with toys for enrichment and exercise.
This will also create a bond between you and your dog, which we all know gives them the happiness that no treat, dog food, or toy can ever provide.