6 Biologically Appropriate Dog Foods for Australian Shepherds
In this guide, I’m covering everything you need to know about choosing the best dog food for an Australian Shepherd. We’ll go over basic nutrition, health concerns to look out for, and my top six recommendations for high-quality dog foods.
Before we dive in, let’s take a look at a quick overview of my top 6 dog foods for Australian Shepherds.
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- Could Your Dog Be Allergic to Chicken?
- Best Dog Food For Picky Eaters
Best Dog Foods for Australian Shepherds
|Brand||Grain?||First 5 Ingredients||Price|
|Best Raw: We Feed Raw||Grain-free||Beef Heart |
Beef Necks (with bone)
WFR vitamin + mineral mix
Best Air-Dried: Sundays For Dogs Beef Recipe
|Best Freeze-Dried: Primal||Grain-free||Turkey (with ground bone)|
|Best Fresh-Frozen: NomNom||Grain-Free||Ground Beef|
|Best Healthy Kibble: Spot & Tango||Grain-free||Cod |
Sweet Potato Pumpkin
|Best Canned: ZIWI Peak||Grain-free||Mackerel |
Lamb Lung Chickpeas
Australian Shepherd Nutritional Needs
Maintaining a balanced diet is crucial for the health of all dogs, including the Australian Shepherd. As facultative carnivores, these dogs thrive on a diet rich in animal protein, but can also benefit from the added nutrients found in fruits and vegetables.
Commercially available dog foods are formulated to provide a complete and nutritionally balanced diet. However, it’s always a good idea to be mindful of what you’re feeding your Australian Shepherd to ensure they receive all the essential nutrients they need to thrive.
Australian Shepherd Health Concerns
Some common health concerns to look out for in your Australian Shepherd include:
- Hip & elbow dysplasia
- Skin issues
- Vision and eye problems like cataracts
Key Nutrients for Australian Shepherd
While a healthy diet isn’t guaranteed to prevent health problems, it can set your dog up for success and longevity. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, as they say, so we always recommend taking preemptive measures to protect your Australian Shepherd’s health.
|Beta-carotene||– Supporting vision health- Immune support||– Broccoli- Carrots- Eggs- Spinach- Sweet potato|
|Biotin||– Supporting neurological health- Supporting skin health- Supports metabolic function||– Eggs- Kidney- Liver- Salmon|
|Calcium||– Preventing hip dysplasia- Supports healthy bones and muscles- Supports heart health||– Broccoli- Kale- Mackerel- Salmon- Sardines- Spinach|
|Iron||– Preventing hip dysplasia- Supports healthy bones and muscles||– Beef- Beef liver- Kelp- Lamb- Salmon- Sardines|
|Omega-3 Fatty Acids||– Preventing hip dysplasia- Supporting skin health- Supporting vision health- Preventing ear infections- Supporting neurological health||– Flaxseed- Mackerel- Pumpkin seed oil- Salmon- Sardines|
|Vitamin A||– Supporting skin health- Supporting vision health- Immune support||– Carrots- Fish liver oil- Kale- Liver- Sweet potatoes|
|B Complex Vitamins||– Supporting skin health- Supporting neurological health- Supports heart health||– Eggs- Fish- Goat milk- Liver- Red meat|
|Vitamin C||– Preventing hip dysplasia- Supporting vision health||– Blueberries- Carrots- Kale- Pumpkin- Kelp- Sweet potatoes|
|Vitamin E||– Supporting vision health- Supporting neurological health- Supports muscle function||– Beef- Beef organs- Eggs- Salmon- Spinach|
|Zinc||– Supporting skin health- Supporting neurological health- Immune support||– Broccoli- Eggs- Red meat- Salmon- Sardines- Spinach|
6 Best Dog Foods for Australian Shepherd
1. Best Raw: We Feed Raw Beef Patty Recipe
Are you concerned about the cost of feeding your Australian Shepherd a raw diet? No need to worry! We Feed Raw is the most affordable option for healthy dog food on the market!
For less than $6 a day, you can give your pup We Feed Raw’s delicious beef blend, made from a simple recipe of beef, beef organs, and essential vitamins. Your Australian Shepherd will love the added boost from ingredients like flaxseed for omega-3 fatty acids, beef liver for biotin, iron, vitamin E, and B-complex vitamins, and a zinc sulfate supplement. It’s the perfect choice for keeping your furry friend healthy and happy!Save 25% off your first subscription trial box.
|First 5 Ingredients||Beef Heart, Beef Liver, Beef Kidney, Beef Necks (with bone), WFR vitamin + mineral mix (contains Flaxseed, Calcium Carbonate, Zinc Sulfate, Sodium Selenite, Vitamin E Supplement, and more)|
|Food Type||Raw, grain-free|
|Guaranteed Analysis (crude)||12.2 % Protein – 10% Fat – 1% Fiber – 68.8% Moisture|
|Feeding Instructions||Feed 12.8 oz per day, or 6.4 oz per meal*|
|Cost Per Meal||$2.63 per meal* – $32.99 for 5 lbs|
What Reviewers Say:
2. Best Air-Dried: Sundays For Dogs Beef Recipe
If you struggle to get your Australian Shepherd to eat their food, but they love treats, they’ll probably love Sundays For Dogs. Air-dried in small pieces that look, taste, and feel like jerky, Sundays For Dogs can also be used as training treats if you’re working on teaching your Australian Shepherd new tricks, or they just deserve an extra snack at the end of a long hard day of naps.
Other than the delicious recipe, we think Sundays For Dogs deserves consideration for best food for Australian Shepherds thanks to the turmeric to reduce inflammation, blueberries for antioxidant and immune support, and tart cherries to protect the joints.
|First 5 Ingredients||Beef, Beef Heart, Beef Liver, Beef Bone, Quinoa|
|Food Type||Air-dried, grain-inclusive without wheat, peas, corn, or legumes|
|Guaranteed Analysis||30% Protein – 20% Fat – 3% Fiber – 15% Moisture|
|Feeding Instructions||Feed ½ cup (2.2 oz.) per day or ¼ cup (1.1 oz.) per meal*|
|Cost Per Meal||$1.92 per meal* – $69 for 72 oz. (best option for savings)|
What Reviewers Say:
3. Best Freeze-Dried: Primal Turkey & Sardine Nuggets
If you like the idea of feeding raw but don’t want to commit to the freezer space, freeze-dried raw is a fantastic alternative. Shelf-stable so it can be kept at room temperature, freeze-dried Primal nuggets just need to be rehydrated with a few tablespoons of warm water.
For Australian Shepherds who are prone to hip dysplasia, this formula is extra beneficial. Whole sardines are an amazing source of omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, and iron—all of which support healthy bones, muscles, and joints.
The biggest downside to this food is the price. Many dog owners use freeze-dried raw foods like Primal as their travel dog food, since it requires no refrigeration, is lightweight, and lasts for months on the shelf.
|First 5 Ingredients||Turkey (with ground bone), Turkey Livers, Whole Sardines, Organic Squash, Organic Kale|
|Food Type||Freeze-dried raw, grain-free|
|Guaranteed Analysis (crude)||21% Protein – 23% Fat – 3% Fiber – 7% Moisture|
|Feeding Instructions||Feed 26 nuggets per day, or 13 nuggets per meal*|
|Cost Per Meal||$18.33 per meal* – 14 oz bag contains approximately 48 nuggets and costs $33.98|
What Reviewers Say:
4. Best Fresh-Frozen: Nom Nom Beef Mash
Speaking of picky eaters, do you have a dog that turns their nose up at anything but human food? NomNom’s fresh-frozen formulas are the answer. Cooked with whole ingredients, your dog won’t know the difference between their dinner and yours. Super easy to serve, NomNom’s recipes even smell like human food, so you can avoid dealing with stinky odors.
To serve, simply thaw the food overnight and portion it into your dog’s bowl. Keep in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 7 days without compromising freshness or flavor. While this food is already cooked, it’s not recommended that you reheat it. Reheating fresh-frozen food can deplete it of nutrients and make it less healthy and filling for your Australian Shepherd.
Eggs and carrots add beneficial nutrients to this beef-based blend, including beta-carotene, biotin, vitamin A, B complex vitamins, vitamin E, and zinc.
|First 5 Ingredients||Ground Beef, Russet Potatoes, Eggs, Carrots, Peas|
|Food Type||Fresh-frozen, grain-free|
|Guaranteed Analysis (crude)||8% Protein – 4% Fat – 1% Fiber – 77% Moisture|
|Feeding Instructions||Customized based on your dog’s unique information|
|Cost Per Meal||~$2.50 per meal or $5 per day*|
What Reviewers Say:
5. Best Healthy Kibble: Spot & Tango Cod & Salmon UnKibble
Most commercial kibbles are high in grain and filler ingredients, and more carbohydrates than protein or fat. While some carbs are completely fine (and even beneficial) for your dog, feeding kibble high in carbs can result in unwanted weight gain, stiff joints, inflammation, and poor energy levels.
Spot & Tango has created a simple solution to conventional kibble. Made from whole ingredients that have been gently dried at low temperatures to preserve nutritional value, Spot & Tango’s UnKibble is a far cry from the dry, brown bits of kibble your dog is used to.
For Australian Shepherds, we especially recommend the Cod & Salmon recipe, since these varieties of fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids.
|First 5 Ingredients||Cod, Salmon, Sweet Potatoes, Pumpkin, Sunflower Seeds|
|Food Type||Kibble, grain-free|
|Guaranteed Analysis (crude)||29.67% Protein – 22.06% Fat – 1.15% Fiber – 3.82% Moisture|
|Feeding Instructions||Feeding instructions recommended by Spot & Tango based on your dog’s information!|
|Cost Per Meal||$3.08 per meal* – $53.95 for approximately two weeks of food|
What Reviewers Say:
6. Best Canned: ZIWI Peak Canned Mackerel & Lamb Recipe
We love the convenience of canned wet dog food, but it sometimes gets overlooked. Easy to keep in abundance and completely shelf-stable, canned dog food is basically like fresh-frozen dog food, but without the high cost of storage.
Feeding canned dog food is super simple, too, since all you need to do is pop open a can and dump it into your dog’s bowl. If your dog only eats a portion of a can, just use a reusable can cover to seal in the freshness and store it in your fridge until the next meal.
ZIWI Peak is best known for its air-dried foods, but dogs go absolutely bananas over their canned formulas, too! This formula is made from a base of mackerel and lamb, which are both great options for dogs with skin issues or chronic ear infections. Mackerel is particularly high in omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, and b-complex vitamins, all essential nutrients for keeping your Australian Shepherd happy and healthy.
|First 5 Ingredients||Mackerel, Water, Lamb, Lamb Lung, Chickpeas|
|Food Type||Wet, grain-free|
|Guaranteed Analysis (crude)||10.5% Protein – 4% Fat – 2% Fiber – 78% Moisture|
|Feeding Instructions||Feed 2 ¼ cans per day, or 1 ⅛ cans per meal*|
|Cost Per Meal||$7.50 per meal* – $88.08 for 12 13.75-ounce cans|
What Reviewers Say:
*Feeding instructions and cost analysis based on calculations for a 40lb adult Australian Shepherd with an average activity level.
Best Food For Australian Shepherds FAQ
If we still haven’t covered your top questions about the best dog food for Australian Shepherds, chances are good you’ll find the answer here! Let’s check out some of the top questions dog owners have about feeding their Australian Shepherd.
What is the best dog food for a Australian Shepherd puppy?
Any of the dog foods we’ve recommended here would be a great option for a Australian Shepherd puppy!
Because Nom Nom and Spot & Tango are especially good choices for a growing Australian Shepherd puppy. These brands will be able to help you scale up as your puppy grows.
No matter which food you choose, be sure to double-check with your vet about your Australian Shepherd puppy’s growth and nutrition.
What is the best dog food for a mini Australian Shepherd?
Any of the dog foods we’ve recommended here would also work for a mini Australian Shepherd! Mini Australian Shepherd have many of the same nutritional and health needs as standard Australian Shepherds. The biggest difference is portion size since mini Australian Shepherds can be much smaller than their standard cousins.
What can an Australian Shepherd not eat?
Unless your Australian Shepherd has specific food allergies, the rules for what they can and cannot eat are the same as for any other dog. You should avoid feeding your dog human food, and always keep toxic foods (like chocolate and grapes) safely out of reach.
Do Australian Shepherds need grain-free food?
There is a lot of debate within the veterinary and canine nutrition world over whether or not grains are beneficial for dogs. Based on what we know today, most dogs do just fine on a grain-inclusive diet, but also do well on a grain-free diet. Depending on what vet you go to, you’ll get differing opinions on which is better.
All this to say unless your Australian Shepherd has a grain allergy or inflammatory condition, grain-inclusive food should be completely safe for their health.
What dog food is best for senior Australian Shepherd?
As dogs age, they need fewer calories and leaner proteins. Spot & Tango’s Salmon UnKibble features fish, which is nutritionally dense but leaner than red meats like beef and lamb.
Many of the other brands on this list also make other dog food formulas which include lean proteins like fish, turkey, chicken, bison, and venison.
What is the best food for Australian Shepherd with allergies?
Australian Shepherds with allergies should avoid beef and poultry-based diets, and eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
Spot u0026 Tango’s Cod u0026 Salmon recipe and ZIWI Peak’s Mackerel u0026 Lamb recipe are our top two recommendations for Australian Shepherd with allergies.
How much dog food should a Australian Shepherd eat?
The caloric needs of a Australian Shepherd will vary enormously based on their physical attributes, health, and activity level. Because they are mixed breed dogs, Australian Shepherd can vary in size and may land anywhere between 35–60 lbs.
Australian Shepherd can also be drastically different in terms of activity level. Some Australian Shepherd like to run and play all day, while others are total couch potatoes.
In general, a dog of about 40 pounds with an average activity level should be eating a little more than 600 calories per day.
You can also find Top 6 Dog Foods for French Bulldog Puppies HERE!