How to Choose the Best Dog Food for Australian Cattle Dogs
A breed known by many names including Australian Heeler, Blue Heeler, Queensland Heeler, and Halls Heeler, the Australian Cattle Dog is a highly active breed that is a proud member of the herding group. This athletic working dog takes its name from its tendency to nip at the heels of livestock in its daily herding efforts, a job at which this breed excels.
The Australian Cattle Dog is a highly intelligent dog with energy to spare. Versatile and athletic, this breed will not thrive in a home where it does not receive vigorous exercise on a daily basis. Failure to keep this dog engaged productively can result in destructive behavior that can be difficult to curb later on.
This dog breed bonds deeply to its family to whom it displays intense dedication and affection. This devotion has earned the Australian Cattle Dog the nickname “Velcro dog” since by nature the breed “attaches” itself to its family members with whom the dog must always maintain close physical proximity.
The Australian Cattle Dog can be very mouthy given that part of its job was to herd, using nipping and biting if necessary to get the job done. This means that this dog breed will instinctively herd things within its home as well, a habit that may annoy other family pets or children. In addition to this tendency, the breed is known for a very high prey drive, meaning it is not always well suited to living in a home with multiple pets, particularly if they are smaller and quick moving.
To help fuel the Australian Cattle Dog’s high activity needs, it is important that this breed be fed an exceptional quality diet. The best dog foods for Australian Cattle Dogs are well-balanced and based on an ingredients list that includes items that were chosen for their excellent nutritional value.
As a bare minimum, the Australian Cattle Dog requires a diet that contains a minimum of 18 percent protein and 5 percent fat.
Choosing the Correct Calorie Count for Australian Cattle Dogs
How much of the best dog food for an Australian Cattle Dog an owner feeds is as important as the type selected. Finding the right amount for each meal can be a challenging task. Thankfully, AAFCO regulations require that all commercially prepared diets contain suggested serving sizes on the side of their packaging.
It is best to use the suggested serving size as a starting point, making adjustments to reflect the dog’s weight, age, activity level, and appetite until the correct portion is found. Once this has been determined, it is important to continue to measure this dog breed’s food and monitor intake. A highly active breed, the Australian Cattle Dog is not particularly prone to gaining weight; however, weight loss is a real possibility for this energetic pooch.
Dietary Requirements for Australian Cattle Dog Foods
The best dog foods for Australian Cattle Dogs take a meat-based protein as their primary ingredient. While whole meats are always the best option, meat meals are also an excellent means for dogs to obtain concentrated amounts of top tier proteins. By-products are typically comprised of inferior quality parts of an animal, and thus, lack the nutritional value that Australian Cattle Dogs need from their daily diet to thrive. Diets containing by-products should be avoided.
Plant-based proteins such as soy, corn, and wheat are very difficult for dogs to digest on the whole. They are also common allergens for many dogs. Foods that include these ingredients in their formulation are best left on the shelf. Other ingredients to avoid in a dog food for the Australian Cattle Dog include artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives.
The Australian Cattle Dog is not particularly prone to any allergies, and thus, can enjoy either a grain-inclusive or a grain-free diet. Of primary importance in any carbohydrate included in a diet for this breed is its fiber and antioxidant content. Carbohydrates may come from whole grains, fruits, or vegetables.
One of the most important building blocks for good health for the Australian Cattle Dog is the addition of healthy fats to a diet. The correct fats help fuel this dog’s energy reserves and also promote coat and skin health. These are best obtained from animal sources such as chicken fat or oily fish; however, plant-based oils such as canola and safflower also offer a powerhouse punch of essential fatty acids.
Supplements added to a diet can help the food to work more effectively. The most beneficial supplements for the Australian Cattle Dog are prebiotics, probiotics, glucosamine, and chondroitin.
Things to Look for in the Best Dog Food for Australian Cattle Dogs
Here is a basic list of the most important things to look for in the best dog food for a Australian Cattle Dog:
Whole meat-based proteins heading up the ingredients list
To truly thrive, the Australian Cattle Dog requires a diet with meat as its first ingredient. Whole meats or meat meals are the best foundation for a food for this breed.
By-products and plant-based proteins such as soy, corn, and wheat are not of sufficient quality to support optimal health in the Australian Cattle Dog.
Prepared without the addition of chemicals, flavourings, fillers, or mystery ingredients
Chemicals, fillers, artificial flavorings and colorings, and mystery ingredients provide no nutritional benefit to the Australian Cattle Dog. Foods containing these items are not suited for the needs of this breed.
Enriched with probiotics and helpful supplements
Selecting a food that contains supplements is a great way to gain additional health benefits for the Australian Cattle Dog. The most desirable supplements for the breed include prebiotics, probiotics, glucosamine, and chondroitin.
Meets AAFCO nutritional requirements for a complete and balanced food
All foods appropriate for the Australian Cattle Dog should bear the AAFCO seal of approval, indicating it meets the standards for a complete and balanced food.