How to Choose the Best Dog Food for Australian Shepherds
The Australian Shepherd is a highly active breed. A breed intended to function as a herding dog, the Australian Shepherd is very intelligent and in possession of a high drive. Though the Australian Shepherd does have great reserves of energy that must be expended each day, this breed is only considered to be of a medium build. To help sustain the Australian Shepherd’s nutritional needs, a diet that is rich in good quality protein sources is best.
The Australian Shepherd is a breed that can be prone to sensitivities or allergies. Individuals that suffer from allergies may benefit from a hypoallergenic hydrolyzed protein or novel protein/carbohydrate diet but only after seeking the advice of a veterinary professional. The best dog foods for the Australian Shepherd often include prebiotics and probiotics to encourage good gut health.
Choosing the Correct Calorie Count for Australian Shepherds
A breed that is medium in size, the average Australian Shepherd requires between 20 to 30 calories per day per pound of body weight. Highly active dogs should receive slightly more calories to maintain an optimal body condition and avoid hunger. As an average, this equates to approximately 1300 calories per day divided between two meals equivalent to approximately 1 ½ to 2 ½ cups of food depending on the formulation. Individual calorie count will vary depending on activity level and if the dog is spayed or neutered.
Australian Shepherds that participate in such high-octane events as agility or herding trials will require more calories per day to fuel their bodies for performance. Under these circumstances, the dog’s daily caloric requirements may go as high as 2915 calories. The Pet Nutrition Alliance calorie calculator is an excellent guide but remember to consult your veterinarian for more detailed nutritional information.
The best dog foods for Australian Shepherds should be both calorie and nutrient-dense.
Dietary Requirements for Australian Shepherd Dog Foods
Australian Shepherds, like all dog breeds, function best when fed a diet made of high-quality ingredients and that is nutritionally balanced to meet their specific needs. Though puppies require higher amounts of protein and fat to assist their developing bodies, adult Australian Shepherds require a minimum of 18 percent protein and 5 percent fat.
The first ingredient in any diet appropriate for an Australian Shepherd is a high-quality protein derived from animal origins. Protein is the bedrock on which a healthy body is built and should play a prominent role in any formulation for this high-energy breed. But the quality of protein in a diet is as important as the amount. Whole meats are best, but meat meals are also acceptable.
Energy is also derived from healthy fats, and the Australian Shepherd requires a diet with moderate levels of these important nutrients at a minimum. Animal fats such as chicken fat or fish oils from salmon or mackerel are best; however, certain plant-based oils also contain beneficial omega 3 and 6 fatty acids.
Supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin which support proper joint health are an excellent addition to the Australian Shepherd’s diet since this is a highly-active working breed.
Things to Look for in the Best Dog Food for Australian Shepherds
Here is a basic list of the most important things to look for in the best food for an Australian Shepherd:
Whole proteins heading up the ingredients list
Protein from an animal source should be one of the first ingredients in any food formulation for an Australian Shepherd. Whole meats are best; however, meat meals can also provide a powerhouse punch of nutritional benefits.
Enriched with probiotics and helpful supplements
Supplements added to a food can help enrich the efficacy of a dog’s diet. Glucosamine and chondroitin are two important natural supplements which can support the joint health of an active breed like the Australian Shepherd.
The addition of probiotics and prebiotics can also aid in proper digestion.
Meets AAFCO nutritional requirements for a complete and balanced food
All foods appropriate for the Australian Shepherd should bear the AAFCO seal of approval, indicating it meets the standards for a complete and balanced food.