5 Best Dog Foods For Australian Shepherds

In this guide we’ll take a look at the best dog food for Australian Shepherds.
We’ve compared quality of ingredients, nutritional information, and value for money
to give you our top recommendations below.

Breed Advisor only recommends products that we’ve tested, or significantly researched . This page contains affiliate links, that at no additional cost to you, may earn a small commission for the site. Find out more here.

What is the Best Dog Food for Australian Shepherds?

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Compare Our Recommended Dog Foods

Use the dropdown to sort the table by the feature that’s most important to you.

  • Top 5 Ingredients
  • Type
  • Lifestage
  • Calories
  • Protein
  • Fat
  • Fiber
  • Cost
  • Our score

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Australian Shepherd Dog Food Reviews

Sport Dog Food Elite Series Herding Dog Grain-Free Buffalo & Sweet Potato Formula Dry Dog Food review

At a Glance

  • Top 5 Ingredients:
    1. Buffalo Meal
    2. Dried Sweet Potato
    3. Dried Potato
    4. Pork Meal
    5. Coconut Oil (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols)

  • Type: Dry food
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Calories: 460 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 30%
  • Fat: 15%
  • Fiber: 3.3%

Sport Dog Food Elite Series Grain-Free is a diet specifically formulated to meet the needs of an active breed like the Australian Shepherd. This food takes its main protein source from buffalo meal, a novel protein unlikely to trigger food sensitivities.

This food, considered to be one of the best dog foods for Australian Shepherds, is free from peas and legumes, making it easy to digest. It is naturally grain-free.

Extremely high calorie, this food will stretch farther than less calorie dense kibbles, maximizing its value.

Pros

  • Owners love that this food has been enriched with taurine to provide support for optimal cardiac health.
  • Dogs fed this diet regularly display healthy levels of energy.
  • The stool quality of dogs fed this diet on a daily basis is excellent.
  • Owners report that once transitioned to this diet their dogs have beautiful, shiny coat and healthy, well-hydrated skin.
  • Owners are very pleased that this diet is free from some of the most controversial ingredients utilized in commercially prepared dog foods today such as peas and legumes.

Cons

  • Some dogs did not enjoy the flavor of this diet. Since most dogs do eat this food formulation heartily, this is likely simply a matter of individual preference.
  • Very rarely, some dogs with sensitive digestion were unable to eat this food without experiencing some gastrointestinal distress.
  • Owners dislike that this diet’s bag is not resealable, making it more difficult for them to keep the food fresh.
  • Potatoes are included in this recipe, a lower quality vegetable that has been linked to rapid spikes in blood sugar and that offers only limited nutritional benefit to dogs.
  • In a limited number of dogs, some of their coats began to appear dull after a regular diet of this food.

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The Honest Kitchen Turkey Recipe Grain-Free Dehydrated Dog Food review

At a Glance

  • Top 5 Ingredients:
    1. Dehydrated Turkey
    2. Organic Flaxseed
    3. Dehydrated Potatoes
    4. Dehydrated Spinach
    5. Dehydrated Carrots

  • Type: Dehydrated food
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Calories: 488 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 29%
  • Fat: 18%
  • Fiber: 9.6%

The Honest Kitchen Turkey Recipe Grain-Free Dehydrated Dog Food is a food that is both nutritious and delicious. A diet that is completely grain-free, this food’s main protein source is dehydrated turkey and is supported by the addition of easily digestible carbohydrates from fruits and vegetables including cranberries, spinach, and carrots.

The Honest Kitchen is free from corn, wheat, soy, by-products, and preservatives. Each of the foods included in the formulation is human grade.

This diet is rather expensive but is reconstituted with water prior to feeding, so the 10 lb bag purchased does last as long as larger bags of kibble.

The Honest Kitchen’s emphasis on highly digestible ingredients makes it among the best dog foods for Australian Shepherds.

Pros

  • Some owners share that their dogs who have been suffering from yeast-related problems found complete relief when fed this diet.
  • This diet earns rave reviews for its convenience for families on the go, allowing owners to feed their dogs a top tier diet both at home and on the road with a minimum of fuss.
  • Dogs really like the taste of this food and look forward to every meal with great enthusiasm.
  • Owners report an improvement in their dog’s coat quality when fed this diet on a regular basis.
  • The stool quality of dogs fed this diet are excellent.

Cons

  • Very rarely, some dogs dislike this food and will not eat it. This problem can easily be remedied with a switch to a different The Honest Kitchen food with another protein base.
  • In a small number of dogs, an unusual smell coming from the dog’s coat or skin was noted. This may be the result of excess gas, transitioning too rapidly, or a need for the dog’s anal glands to be expressed.
  • Some owners express that this diet is too costly for them to feed their dogs on a consistent basis.
  • A few owners feel the addition of dehydrated potato in this recipe makes it unsuitable for their dogs’ nutritional needs.
  • Some owners note that this food’s smell is off putting to them though their dogs do enjoy eating it.

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American Journey Limited Ingredient Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food review

At a Glance

  • Top 5 Ingredients:
    1. Deboned Salmon
    2. Salmon Meal
    3. Peas
    4. Chickpeas
    5. Sweet Potatoes

  • Type: Dry food
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Calories: 327 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 25%
  • Fat: 12%
  • Fiber: 6%

American Journey Limited Ingredient Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe packs a powerhouse punch with its protein derived both from deboned salmon and salmon meal. The diet focuses on limited ingredients to prevent allergic reactions from food sensitivities. A grain-free food, it is an excellent choice for the active Australian Shepherd.

This food is free from corn, wheat, soy, meat by-products, and preservatives.

One of the biggest strengths of American Journey is its excellent price point. The one drawback to this food is its heavy reliance on peas and pea proteins which can be known to contribute to fertility issues in breeding dogs.

For families looking for the best food for an Australian Shepherd, it’s hard to go wrong with American Journey.

Pros

  • Dogs fed this diet exhibit excellent stool quality, indicating they are processing the food well.
  • Some owners share that their dogs no longer struggled with compulsive paw licking once transitioned to this diet, making this American Journey offering an excellent choice for dogs with allergies.
  • Owners of dogs with skin conditions as a result of allergies report an alleviation of all symptoms and a return to healthy skin.
  • This diet is so flavorful that it doubles as both a meal and a training treat, increasing its value to owners.
  • Owners across the board agree that this high quality food is available at a very reasonable price point.

Cons

  • Some owners note an increase in the number of bowel movements their dog has when fed a steady diet of this food.
  • A few owners report this food has an overpowering fishy aroma. This is the result of the inclusion of salmon and salmon meal in this recipe.
  • Some dogs dislike the taste of this diet. This is usually simply a matter of the dog’s unique preferences.
  • In some cases, owners indicated that they needed to mix in some wet food, broth, or a topper to interest their dog in this food formulation.
  • In only a few cases, some dogs experienced mild gastrointestinal distress as a result of eating this food. This may be from an attempt to make a switch to a new food too quickly for the dog’s system to adjust well.

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CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE Limited Ingredient Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe Dry Dog Food review

At a Glance

  • Top 5 Ingredients:
    1. Salmon
    2. Salmon Meal
    3. Menhaden Fish Meal
    4. Sweet Potatoes
    5. Peas

  • Type: Dry food
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Calories: 496 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 32%
  • Fat: 18%
  • Fiber: 4%

CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE LID is another food that is designed to meet the nutritional requirements of working breeds like the Australian Shepherd. This food lists its primary ingredient as whole salmon and is closely followed by salmon meal to provide added protein to promote strong and healthy muscles, coat, and skin. The diet consists of only eight ingredients from high quality sources, making it well-suited to dogs that suffer from allergies.

CANIDAE, consistently rated one of the best dog foods for Australian Shepherds, is grain-free and does not include such common allergens as wheat or soy.

Pros

  • Owners of dogs suffering from recurring allergies report their dogs found relief from such symptoms as itching, dry skin, open sores, hair loss, and gastrointestinal distress with a switch to this food.
  • Many dogs saw a great improvement in their coat quality once transitioned to this diet. Owners indicate their dog’s coat looks healthy and shiny and feels very soft.
  • Dogs that regularly experienced diarrhea exhibited good stool quality once fed a steady diet of CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE LID.
  • Most owners report their dogs love the taste of this diet and consume their meals with great gusto. Even picky eaters enjoy this food.
  • The grain-free recipe and emphasis on a finite grouping of ingredients makes this diet a good fit for dogs with allergies.

Cons

  • Some owners feel that the kibble pieces are small, and thus, may be unsuitable for larger dogs like the Australian Shepherd.
  • A few owners express that this food is too expensive to fit within their budget.
  • Some dogs did not like the taste of this food and would not eat it. This is simply a matter of preference.
  • A few people report that this food has an exceptionally strong smell that they find off putting.
  • On rare occasions, some dogs experience mild gastrointestinal distress when fed this diet. This is likely the result of transitioning too rapidly to a new food.

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Nutro Ultra Adult Dry Dog Food review

At a Glance

  • Top 5 Ingredients:
    1. Chicken
    2. Chicken Meal
    3. Whole Brown Rice
    4. Brewers Rice
    5. Rice Bran

  • Type: Dry food
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Calories: 341 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 25%
  • Fat: 14%
  • Fiber: 4%

Nutro Ultra Adult Dry Dog Food is a food that can greatly benefit the Australian Shepherd. This diet, one of the best foods for Australian Shepherds, offers protein from three different sources which include salmon, lamb, and chicken. Sunflower oil has been added to the formulation to promote healthy skin and coat.

The main disadvantage to this food is its emphasis on grains for carbohydrates; however, for dogs that do not suffer with food sensitivities, this particular food is ideal.

Pros

  • Dogs that are notoriously finicky eaters love this food and look forward to their every meal.
  • Some dogs with digestive issues saw rapid improvement once fed a regular diet for Nutro Ultra Adult.
  • Owners expressed they felt comfortable with the ingredients contained in this diet, giving them confidence that the formulation was of exceptional quality.
  • Owners report an improvement in their dog’s coat and skin quality when transitioned to this food.
  • Most owners felt this food offered excellent nutrition at a price point that easily fit within their budget.

Cons

  • A few dogs experienced mild gastrointestinal distress when switched to this diet. This may be the result of transitioning to the new food too quickly.
  • Some owners feel this food is too costly, making it an unaffordable option for them.
  • A few owners expressed concern that their dogs were having more frequent bowel movements when fed a regular diet of Nutro Ultra Adult.
  • In cases of some dogs with allergies, a small number of owners indicated the ingredients in this food were too many for their dogs to tolerate the formulation well.
  • Some owners felt the kibble pieces in this diet were too large for small dogs to process well.

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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.

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