Hello humans and fellow dogs! My name is Ozzie and I am a 10-year-old Australian Shepherd.
I have lived a fun and energetic life with my humans, and I feel it is only appropriate to impart my wisdom as I reach my senior years.
We Australian Shepherds (often called Aussies) are loyal, hard-working, and friendly dogs who deserve the best care possible (if I do say so myself).
Unfortunately, due to our energetic nature, we can be prone to some health issues if we aren’t given the right type of food. This could range anywhere from heart diseases to allergies, skin conditions to sensitive stomachs.
Fortunately for you, I am a self-proclaimed expert in what foods Australian Shepherds eat. My humans have made me try almost every food on the planet, and after 10 years of eating, I know exactly what is good for my breed. Let’s get into it!
Best Dog Food for Australian Shepherds
1. My Top Pick: Hill’s Science Diet Large Breeds Dry Dog Food
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As I am nearing my senior years, it’s important that I maintain a healthy weight to keep my bones and muscles strong.
Here’s the problem with us Aussies – we love food as much as any dog. We are naturally prone to weight gain unless our diet is suitable.
I’ve been on this dog food for around six months, and I’m enjoying it a lot! I can taste a high-quality lamb flavor, which is a great source of protein for my metabolism.
It also includes rice which is beneficial for when my stomach is feeling sensitive, as it helps to improve the consistency of my stool (sorry, humans!).
As Australian Shepherds are notoriously energetic and love to exercise, it’s important that our joints and bones are tended to. This dog food includes a source called glucosamine which helps my joints move smoothly.
My coat has also never looked shinier, as the formula includes essential fatty acids that keep my skin and hair moisturized!
From what I remember, my human was recommended this food by my dog doctor (Vet? I think that was his name) – so it must be good.
I also always feel lively and well-fed after having my meals. The kibble size is good too – not so large that I struggle to chew and not so small that I choke on it!
- Weight management ingredients – High-protein and low-carb formula maintains my healthy body weight and lean muscles
- Balanced formula – Filled with omega-6 fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals to improve my skin, coat, and joints
- Veterinarian recommended – Highly reputable brand is recommended by professionals
- Only suitable for adults – Not suitable for pregnant dogs, nursing dogs, or puppies
2. Best for Nutrition: Purina ONE SmartBlend Natural Dry Dog Food
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I was on this food when I was around 5 years old. I remember it making me feel the healthiest, so it must be packed with everything a good Aussie like me needs!
This dog food has a distinctive and yummy chicken flavor that tastes like real chicken – not like any of that fake rubbish (which, by the way, we can definitely tell the difference between).
Chicken is a great source of protein as it helps to keep our muscles strong enough so we can run really fast.
This food is very filling, which I think is down to the ingredients and nutrients. It doesn’t include any of those weird, cheap fillers that satisfy our appetite for 10 minutes.
This food includes fish oil which keeps my skin and coat shiny and smooth. It was also great for my immune system, which must be because of the mix of antioxidant vitamins.
This food is not grain-free, which is fine for me, but not ideal for Aussies who have sensitive stomachs.
- High-quality ingredients – Made of real chicken and vegetables to improve lean muscles
- Filled with essential nutrients and oils – Antioxidants vitamins, omega-6 fatty acids, and fish oil to support immune system, skin & coat, and joints
- Good kibble size – Prevents choking and beneficial for oral hygiene
- Not grain-free – Not suitable for dogs with allergies related to grain
3. My Friend’s Recommendation: Wellness Natural Pet Food Dry Dog Food
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I have an Australian Shepherd friend called Fizzy, and she once told me about this dog food that she absolutely loves. I think Fizzy would say that about any food, but I trust her judgment and recommendation.
Fizzy said that this dog food tastes like chicken, flaxseed, and tomatoes. The chicken is a wonderful and tasty source of protein, the flaxseeds are fibrous and filled with nutrients to keep her coat and skin healthy, and tomatoes are an antioxidant to support her immune system.
She said that the best part of this food is that it includes taurine, which is essential for supporting and promoting a healthy Aussie heart!
All of the ingredients taste like they are globally sourced and completely natural, so the kibble isn’t made of artificial flavors or fillers.
The kibble is also appropriately sized for her mouth and has improved her gums.
- Includes taurine – Important for maintaining a healthy heart
- Natural ingredients – High-quality chicken protein with balanced vegetables and whole grains
- Good kibble size – Suitable for improving oral hygiene
- Not grain-free – Not suitable for dogs with allergies or sensitive stomachs
4. Best Grain-Free Option: Victor Purpose Hero Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
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A couple of years ago I went through a rough patch with my sensitive stomach. My human decided to put me on some grain-free food, and it sorted my tummy out easily!
This dog food is one of my favorites because it helped to settle my stomach without denying me the benefits of grain.
This dog food tastes of premium-quality beef, sweet potato, and peas. This high-protein and low-carb diet is a dream for Aussies due to our fast metabolisms and high energy. This is matched with the added glucosamine which helps to support joints long-term!
As this is such an ideal diet for Aussies, I’d say it is most suitable for adult dogs of my breed – especially if your dog is starting to look slow!
- Grain-free – Ideal for dogs with sensitive stomachs and allergies to grain
- Premium-quality ingredients – Made from high-quality beef and vegetables
- High-protein and low-carb – Ideal diet for Australian Shepherds’ fast metabolisms
- Not suitable for seniors – Senior Aussies benefit more from whole grain foods (unless they are allergic)
5. Best for Multiple Dogs: Iams Proactive Health Adult Large Breed Dry Dog Food
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My neighbor is an Australian Shepherd called Freddie who lives with a Golden Labrador. I had a conversation over the yard fence about this food, which according to Freddie is suitable for lots of large breed dogs.
If you live in a household with different breeds of dogs and you want to keep them on the same food, this is ideal!
Freddie said that this dog food is made from organic, farm-raised chicken – which is probably why he has so much energy all the time. His muscles must be so strong. The formula also includes a hint of egg, which is another source of protein that sometimes pops up in dog food.
The Golden Labrador (not sure of her name) had overheard the vet recommend this dog food to their human.
It includes something called L-carnitine which helps to burn fat, which is why they both look so slim. The formula also includes fibers and vitamins which are helpful for their immune system and digestion.
- Suitable for multiple breeds – Formula is designed for most large breed dogs who don’t have specific dietary requirements
- Organic chicken – Farm-raised chicken is eco-friendly and a great source of protein
- L-carnitine – Helps to burn fat in dogs with fast metabolisms
- Not grain-free – Not suitable for dogs with grain allergies
Best Dog Food for Australian Shepherds Buyer’s Guide
As you can tell, we Australian Shepherds are a special breed of dog. We are intelligent, devoted, and social dogs. We are herding dogs by nature, and therefore we have fast metabolisms and a lot of energy to burn off.
We are basically the perfect working dog, and we feel a bit useless if we’re not working. It is, therefore, important that we are given the right fuel to keep our bones, joints, and muscles moving as they should.
We can live anywhere between 14 and 18 years old, which is quite long in human years, apparently! You should probably feed us with the right type of food to keep our health up to scratch so we can spend more time with you.
Here is my expert buyer’s guide on how to properly feed an Australian Shepherd.
Potential Health Problems
Like any dog, we Australian Shepherds are prone to a number of health issues.
Due to our fast metabolisms and energetic nature, some Aussies have been unfortunate enough to develop heart diseases. We are also prone to eye problems such as cataracts – but this cannot be prevented by a good diet.
I’ve also known some Aussies who have allergy problems. This could be anything from grain-related allergies to skin infections.
Whilst this might sound overwhelming, don’t fret too much! Australian Shepherds aren’t too complicated to raise and we’re certainly don’t have as many potential health problems as other dogs.
If you provide us with the right diet, lots of exercise, and lots of cuddles, we are likely to live long and healthy lives.
We Aussies will eat just about anything. We are dogs, after all. As we don’t communicate with humans through their language, we’re not very good at communicating whether we enjoyed the food or not.
We will either eat it and secretly hate ourselves for it, or we will ignore it.
To avoid either, here are the key ingredients to look for when feeding an Aussie.
Due to our herding nature, we Australian Shepherds have a very high metabolism. Everything we eat needs to provide us with a lot of energy to then run around and burn off.
High-protein foods are the best for us! We love anything from chicken, beef, lamb, and even fish.
- Complex Carbohydrates
The key diet for Aussies is high-protein and low-carb.
Carbohydrates such as white potatoes are likely to make us gain weight and become sluggish, but complex carbohydrates are a good addition to dog foods – and they taste great!
We love sweet potatoes and peas because they are filled with potassium and iron that is good for us.
Here’s where it gets a bit tricky. Some Aussies are fine with grains, others are not.
When you are looking to change your food, make sure to keep an eye on how your dog is reacting to it. If their stool is runny and they seem unwell, there’s a chance they might have a grain allergy.
The key is to not go too hard on the grains.
This isn’t to say that whole grain dog foods aren’t bad! Grains offer fiber that can help those with constipation or sensitive stomachs, which can solidify stool.
You humans know your dogs better than anyone will, so you will know when something is out of the ordinary.
As I said, grains are a great source of fiber – but too much can be uncomfortable for us.
If you opt for a grain-free food, the dog food should include other fibers such as flaxseed or lentils to replace the grains.
- Oils, Minerals, and Vitamins
Here is what I have gathered from my years of eating dog food:
Oils (fish oil, animal oil) are great for keeping my skin and coat shiny and healthy. My coat is one of the most beautiful of all the dogs if I don’t say so myself, so I like to look presentable.
Taurine, EPA, and DHA are all vital for keeping my heart healthy. As Aussies are prone to heart diseases, this is a really important ingredient.
Antioxidants such as blueberries and spinach are wonderful for keeping my immune system in tip-top shape!
How Much to Feed an Australian Shepherd
When I was a puppy, I had around 0.25 cups of dry dog food 3 times a day.
At nine months old, I had one cup of dry dog food twice a day.
Ever since I reached a year old, I have had a little over a cup of dry dog food twice a day.
My top tip is to make sure you transition our diet gradually. Us dogs aren’t designed to eat different meals like humans do, as changing our food immediately could result in health problems for us.
Start the first day with 25% of our new food and 75% of our old food, and gradually increase the amount of new food each day. After a week, we should have successfully transitioned to the new food!
If it looks like your dog is still having problems after transitioning diets, it’s probably best to check with a dog doctor (I mean, vet).
Frequently Asked Questions
What human food can Australian Shepherds eat?
There are several human foods that we Aussies should and shouldn’t eat! Here are some foods we can eat:
- Cooked eggs
- Sweet potatoes
- Cooked rice
- Cooked meat leftovers (our favorite!)
And here is what we cannot eat:
- Raw meat or eggs
- Raisins and grapes
- Onions and garlic
- Tea and coffee
- Lemons and limes
How much should you feed an Australian Shepherd?
It depends on the weight of the dog, but generally speaking, you should be feeding Aussie puppies 0.25 cups of dry dog food three times a day.
At 6 months, feed us just over half a cup of dry food three times a day. After a year and for the rest of our lives, we should have 1.25 cups of dry food twice a day.
The reason we have little amounts of food three times a day is because, when we are puppies, our stomachs are small and we have a lot of energy to burn.
Do Australian Shepherds have sensitive stomachs?
Fortunately, Australian Shepherds aren’t prone to bad health problems like some other breeds. However, that doesn’t mean we won’t be susceptible to sensitive stomachs.
Some Aussies have grain-related allergies, whilst other times we might just have an upset stomach. Luckily, sensitive stomachs can be avoided and supported by a proper diet.
Can Australian Shepherds eat raw meat?
Absolutely! We Aussies thrive on high-protein diets due to our herding nature and fast metabolisms. If anything, we would do best on a raw meat diet – it’s just not viable for every human to give us this type of food daily.
One of the downsides of feeding us raw meat is that you will need to source fibers, oils, vitamins, and antioxidants as well as the protein. The benefit of dry dog food is that this is all-in-one, and the kibble helps to keep our teeth clean and gums healthy.
Also, there’s a chance your Aussie might enjoy a raw diet too much, so when it comes to transitioning their food they may have become too picky!