How to Choose the Best Dog Food for Shetland Sheepdogs
The beautiful Shetland Sheepdog, often affectionately referred to as a Sheltie, traces its roots to the Shetland Islands where the breed was originally developed as a guardian and protector of its owner’s farm. The breed possessed a sharp bark that drove away strangers, birds, and prey alike, keeping the property safe from harm. In subsequent years, this early prototype of the Shetland Sheepdog was purposely bred to other Scottish herding dogs to create a dog breed that would be well-suited to herding sheep.
The Shetland Sheepdog is affectionate and loving towards those it loves most; however, this charming, sweet-natured dog can be aloof with strangers. A natural guardian, the Shetland Sheepdog is prone to alert barking.
A dog breed that is highly intelligent, the Shetland Sheepdog is both quick and eager to learn. They are natural born people pleasers, taking great delight in any opportunity to acquire new skills. A dog that is both athletic and energetic, the Shetland Sheepdog excels at many different activities including conformation, agility, obedience, Rally, and much, much more. This dog breed requires regular daily exercise to remain physically and mentally content, and as such, is not prone to becoming overweight.
Since the Shetland Sheepdog was intended to function as a working dog, this breed requires a job to do. Otherwise, this happy, busy dog can become neurotic and even destructive. The breed will not thrive as a couch potato, requiring mental stimulation and regular activity.
The Shetland Sheepdog is especially prey driven. This means that its natural tendency to herd may result in the dog corralling all kinds of things including cats, squirrels, other household pets, and even children. The dog’s instinct compels it to herd these creatures by barking and gently biting at their heels. For this reason, the Shetland Sheepdog must have an outlet for its herding instincts and should be supervised when around children and other family pets.
Though typically a very healthy dog, the Shetland Sheepdog, as with all dog breeds, can be prone to developing certain health problems. These include collie eye anomaly, corneal dystrophy, congenital deafness, epilepsy, hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, progressive retinal atrophy, and more. It is recommended that this sweet, busy breed be fed a diet that contains supplements to support eye and joint health.
The best dog foods for Shetland Sheepdogs should ideally be comprised of 18 percent protein and 5 percent fat.
Choosing the Correct Calorie Count for Shetland Sheepdogs
The lively, happy Shetland Sheepdog requires a high performance diet that is comprised of easily digestible ingredients and based on a lean, meat-based protein. Selecting the right diet is a challenging task, but once that has been done, it is then time to determine how much of the food to feed a dog. The best dog foods for Shetland Sheepdogs provide helpful hints through their suggested serving sizes based on a dog’s age and weight.
The suggestions provided on the side of a food’s packaging make an excellent starting point. These amounts can be gently adjusted with the dog’s body condition, appetite, and activity level all serving as helpful guidelines until the correct portion has been found.
Free feeding the Shetland Sheepdog is not recommended. Since maintaining a healthy body weight is vitally important, this dog breed’s food should always be measured and its intake, including treats, should be monitored.
Dietary Requirements for Shetland Sheepdog Foods
The energetic Shetland Sheepdog is a carnivore, and thus, needs an exceptional food formulation that is well-balanced and based on a lean meat-based protein to achieve optimal health and wellness.
The best dog foods for Shetland Sheepdogs base their recipe on a whole meat or a meat meal is easily digestible. By-products are not of sufficient nutritional quality to fuel the requirements of this busy breed. Likewise, the plant-based proteins soy, corn, and wheat have been linked to food allergies in many dogs, and thus, are best avoided.
Chemicals, additives, fillers, artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives are often included in commercially prepared dog foods to improve taste, appearance, or shelf life. These ingredients offer no nutritional benefit to the Shetland Sheepdog.
Carbohydrates can come from fruits, vegetables, whole grains, or a combination of the three. It is from this food group that the Shetland Sheepdog obtains the nutrients for fluid digestion and a thriving immune system. Dogs that have previously shown sensitivities to grains may do best on a grain-free diet.
All dogs require healthy fats to boost their overall health and wellness and encourage excellent skin and coat quality. The ideal sources for these healthy fats are found in ingredients such as chicken fat and oily fish. Some plant-based oils such as canola, safflower, sunflower, and coconut also offer ample amounts of these critical nutrients.
All diets can benefit from the addition of supplements to reinforce their nutritional value. The ideal supplements for the Shetland Sheepdog include glucosamine, chondroitin, prebiotics, and probiotics.
Things to Look for in the Best Dog Food for Shetland Sheepdogs
Here is a basic list of the most important things to look for in the best dog food for a Shetland Sheepdog:
Lean, meat-based proteins heading up the ingredients list
The best dog foods for the Shetland Sheepdog are based on a lean, meat-based protein. Whole meats and meat meals make the ideal foundation for a high quality, nutritious food for this active breed. By-products and plant proteins should be avoided.
Prepared without the addition of chemicals, flavorings, fillers, or mystery ingredients
Chemicals, fillers, artificial flavorings and colorings, and mystery ingredients provide no nutritional benefit to a Shetland Sheepdog. Diets which contain any of these items are best left on the shelf.
Enriched with probiotics and helpful supplements
Supplements can be of great benefit to the Shetland Sheepdog’s overall health and wellness. The ideal supplements to look for in a food for this active breed include glucosamine, chondroitin, prebiotics, and probiotics.
Meets AAFCO nutritional requirements for a complete and balanced food
All foods appropriate for the Shetland Sheepdog should bear the AAFCO seal of approval, indicating it meets the standards for a complete and balanced food.