Howling Hunger: The Best Dog Food for Your Australian Shepherd Reviewed (2022)

🔄 Updated on November 19th, 2022

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Australian Shepherds are active, high-maintenance dogs who need the right food to energize them and keep them healthy. Finding the best dog food for your Australian Shepherd can be challenging, especially if you have a tight pet care budget, so we compiled this review and guide to help you narrow down your options.

Don’t have time to check out our entire guide? Our top pick for the best dog food for Australian Shepherd diets is Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula. It’s rich in antioxidants, promotes healthy muscles and joints, and doesn’t contain poultry by-product meals.

The Best Dog Food for an Australian Shepherd Reviewed

We understand how much you want the best food suitable for a well-balanced Australian Shepherd diet, so we compiled this rundown of the top dog food options, highlighting their strengths and shortcomings.

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula – Best Overall 

First up on our list is our best overall pick for the best dog food for an Australian Shepherd is Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula. It’s available in several flavors, making it ideal for owners looking for the perfect formula for an Australian Shepherd allergic to specific proteins. 

Blue Buffalo’s nutrients provide your Aussie plenty of energy to burn throughout the day to ensure your dog stays in shape and builds muscle. Its omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids keep your Aussie’s skin and coat shiny and healthy. Its traces of glucosamine supports your dog’s joint health and mobility to ensure they don’t develop hip or elbow dysplasia.

Our Top Pick
Blue Buffalo

Blue Buffalo's dog food formula incorporates many natural ingredients, including whole grains with healthy, complex carbs and fresh fruits and vegetables rich in vitamins and antioxidants for promoting your dog’s health.

Our Rating:
4.9
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Another reason we chose this as our top pick is because of its lack of poultry by-product meals. Its lack of corn, soy, and wheat is ideal for dogs sensitive to these allergens.

Although Blue Buffalo is a high-protein dog food, it can cause gas in some dogs, so you should consider monitoring your dog’s portions to prevent it or other gastrointestinal issues. This dog food is only suitable for adult Aussies, so you’ll need to choose a different alternative if you own a younger puppy.

Pros:

  • Excellent flavor variety
  • Doesn’t contain poultry by-product meals
  • Promotes joint health and muscle development
  • Rich in antioxidants
  • Contains whole grains

Cons:

  • It can make your dog gassy
  • Unsuitable for younger puppies

Royal Canin – Best High Digestibility Option

This Royal Canin Australian Shepherd formula is the perfect solution to ensure your dog gets all the nutrients they need throughout the day because of its excellent digestive properties.

It’s ideal for several medium-sized breeds, ranging from 23 to 55 pounds and one to seven years old. Age-wise, it’s ideal for dogs as young as 12 months and as old as seven years. You’ll need to consider feeding your Australian Shepherd a different Royal Canin formula if they’re younger than one or older than seven.

Healthy Digestion
Royal Canin Medium

This crunchy kibble contains easy-to-digest proteins and balanced fiber to improve your dog's digestion. The formula’s omega-3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA, promote healthy canine coats and skin.

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Its bag is resealable, so you don’t have to worry about the food getting stale or storing it in a different container before restocking more food. 

Despite having excellent digestive properties, this Royal Canin formula is only available in one flavor, and some dogs might not enjoy it. It’s one of the most expensive option in our rundown for the best food for Australian Shepherds, so it might not fit some owners’ budgets. Some dogs might experience diarrhea if they’re sensitive to its ingredients. 

Pros:

  • Ideal for medium-sized breeds between one to seven years old
  • Contains easy-to-digest proteins
  • Resealable bag
  • Crunchy texture
  • Contains fatty acids for healthy coats and skin

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Can cause diarrhea
  • Limited flavor options

Purina Pro Plan – Best Option for Aussie Puppies

If you aren’t sure what to feed an Australian Shepherd puppy, consider adding Purina Pro Plan to your shopping list before going to the store. The kibble formula contains shredded chicken, giving it the perfect blend of crunchiness and tenderness any Aussie puppy will love.

We consider this the best puppy food for Australian Shepherd owners to feed their puppies because it’s rich in omega oils with DHA, which helps with brain and vision development, and probiotics for developing their immune system. 

No Artificial Colors / Flavors
Purina Pro Puppy Food

This formula is ideal for puppies less than a year old, regardless of their breed, and promotes their development in several ways. Minerals like calcium promote enhanced dental and bone development, minimizing their susceptibility to joint pain as they age.

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The kibble’s size and shape are small enough to fit in your Aussie puppy’s mouth, so you don’t have to worry about them missing any morsels while they eat.

It’s only available in a chicken and rice formula, limiting your flavor options. Some puppies might prefer other proteins over chicken, while others might be prone to having allergies to chicken. Some dogs can develop diarrhea if they’re allergic to chicken poultry, so consider monitoring them between meals.

Purina Pro Plan’s 34-pound bag can be pricey for some pet care budgets, so we recommend starting with a smaller puppy food bag to see if your Australian Shepherd puppy enjoys it.

Pros:

  • Contains DHA for healthy brain and vision development
  • Promotes teeth and bone growth
  • Contains live probiotics for improving immunity
  • Crunchy and tender texture 
  • Ideal for any dog breeds

Cons:

  • Not ideal for puppies with chicken allergies
  • A bit pricey
  • Causes diarrhea in some dogs

Nutro – Best Option Without GMOs

Consider adding Nutro to your Australian Shepherd’s diet if you need help finding a formula with GMO-free ingredients. Their formula incorporates three proteins to promote your Aussie’s health: chicken, salmon, and lamb.

Its formula contains several flavorful natural ingredients, from whole-grain oats and brown rice to fruits and vegetables like dried blueberries, kale, carrots, and coconut.

Non-GMO Ingredients
Nutro Ultra

Nutro Ultra doesn't contain GMOs, corn, wheat, soy, chicken by-product meals, or artificial preservatives.

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Nutro contains several beneficial nutrients for keeping your Aussie’s coat, heart, and skin in top condition, including omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, and vitamin B12. It’s rich in fibers for aiding digestion. 

It contains less crude fat than other dog food brands, which can benefit your Aussie if they need to lose some weight.

Nutro’s packaging quality can vary from bag to bag. Some bags might have tears or holes, making it more likely for food to spill or get moldy over time. It’s expensive for some pet owners’ budgets.

Its chicken protein can cause allergic reactions in some dogs, while its salmon and lamb meal might react in other dogs.

Pros:

  • GMO-free
  • Rich in lean protein
  • Contains natural ingredients
  • Builds muscle

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Packaging quality might vary
  • Some proteins can trigger allergic reactions

Wellness CORE – Best Non-Chicken Poultry Option

This Wellness CORE formula doesn’t contain grains or wheat, making it ideal for Aussies with grain allergies. Debonded turkey is its main ingredient, making it a great alternative for Aussie dog owners looking for something besides chicken-flavored dry food.

If your dog doesn’t like turkey-flavored dry food, this formula is available in fish and wild game flavors.

Grain Free / High Protein
Wellness Core

The Wellness Core is rich in healthy fats such as ground flaxseed, one of the best plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids, and salmon oil, a rich source of E.P.A. and D.H.A. omega-3 fatty acids. This formula is specifically for adult dogs.

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It contains several ingredients for improving your Australian Shepherd’s coat and skin, including biotin and flaxseed oil. Its taurine content improves your Aussie’s blood flow, strengthens canine muscles, and promotes heart health.

This dog food’s concentration of glucosamine and chondroitin are essential nutrients for improving your Aussie’s joint health as they age.

This dry dog food formula doesn’t contain wheat gluten, which can help your Aussie digest the food without upsetting their stomach.

This dry food’s formula isn’t breed-specific, so you’ll have to thoroughly measure each of your Aussie’s meal proportions before filling their bowl. The bag’s poor quality makes the food grow stale and moldy within a month. 

Pros:

  • Grain-free recipe
  • Contains taurine for promoting heart health
  • Excellent flavor variety
  • Rich in antioxidants and probiotics
  • Easy to digest

Cons:

  • It isn’t breed-specific
  • Prone to fast mold growth

Merrick – Best Option with Natural Ingredients

Finding nutritious dog food can be challenging, but we consider Merrick’s formula one of the best options offering premium natural ingredients for Australian Shepherd’s health while providing a quality taste they’ll enjoy.

Its deboned salmon, whitefish meal, and salmon meal contain plenty of omega-3 fatty acids for supporting your Australian Shepherd’s immune system and keeping its coat shiny. The dry food contains sweet potatoes, an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Other flavor options include lamb, duck, Texas beef, and chicken.

High Protein & Omega Fatty Acids
Merrick Real Salmon

The main ingredient in this Merrick dog food is real deboned salmon with no poultry ingredients or grains. It's safe to feed to dogs who don't tolerate ingredients like gluten, wheat, corn, or soy. Merrick's formula is a whole-food dry dog food suitable for any breed. 

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You can expect their formula to provide plenty of energy for your dog to exert throughout the day, build muscle mass, and maintain your dog’s ideal weight. 

It provides carbs for a standard adult Australian Shepherd diet with pea and potato protein, substituting grain, corn, wheat, soy, and gluten. It features glucosamine and chondroitin in its recipe for dogs’ hips and joints by repairing broken-down cartilage and reducing pain.

Merrick’s premium ingredients make it more expensive than other dog food options, especially for owners interested in buying a larger dog food bag to feed their dogs for several weeks.

The food’s packaging can have an intense aroma, which some owners and dogs might find unappealing once they open the bag.

Pros:

  • Grain-free recipe
  • Excellent source of fiber
  • Builds muscle mass
  • High in protein
  • Ideal for dogs with allergies

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Overbearing scent

Taste of the Wild – Best Budget-Friendly Pick

Taste of the Wild can be pricey for some Australian Shepherd owners’ budgets, but it’s the least expensive option in our roundup. 

It incorporates roasted bison and venison as primary protein sources. These ingredients make the dry food easily digestible and a great alternative to Australian Shepherds sensitive to poultry. The protein helps your Aussie build lean muscle and strengthen their joints.

Made in the USA
Taste of the Wild

Taste of the Wild supports dogs' immune systems, digestion, and overall wellness with its K9 strain of probiotics in every serving of this pellet dog food. 

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Adult Australian Shepherds who eat this dog food will get plenty of essential nutrients and antioxidants from the sweet potatoes, blueberries, and raspberries incorporated into Taste of the Wild’s recipe, including vitamin E and zinc. It uses potato and pea proteins as fiber alternatives. 

The formula’s chicory root promotes your dog’s digestion, provides essential prebiotic fibers, and contains omega fatty acids for keeping your Australian Shepherd’s skin and coat healthy, making it an excellent alternative for owners looking for budget-friendly dog food for dogs with allergies or dull coats. 

Taste of the Wild can cause gas in some dogs. Its salt content might be a bit high for some dogs, which can cause diarrhea. Though ideal for some Aussies with allergies, the grain formula can lead to potential heart issues.

Pros:

  • Highly-digestive protein
  • Packed with probiotics, antioxidants, and prebiotics
  • Builds muscle mass
  • High in fiber

Cons:

  • Can cause gas
  • High salt content
  • It can lead to heart issues

Natural Balance – Best for Aussies with Sensitive Stomachs

Natural Balance incorporates a limited-ingredient formula typically consisting of one protein and one grain, which won’t overwhelm dogs with sensitive stomachs. Their salmon and brown rice recipe promotes healthy digestion, builds lean muscle mass, and supports active Australian Shepherds’ metabolisms.

The first ingredient listed is real salmon, ensuring high-quality natural flavors in every bite. This feature might be ideal for owners having trouble finding Australian Shepherd dog foods without fillers.

Balanced Nutrition
Natural Balance

This limited-ingredient formula doesn't contain gluten and soy, two other common dog food allergens.

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We consider this the best dog food for Australian Shepherd owners dealing with a dog with food allergies because of its one-protein formula. Natural Balance offers other flavor options, such as beef or lamb, for Aussies who don’t like salmon-flavored food.

It contains several minerals beneficial to your Aussie’s health, including zinc, iron, calcium, and phosphorus. Its flaxseed, menhaden fish meal, and canola oil content provide omega-3 fatty acids for your dog’s skin if they’re prone to allergies. 

Natural Balance can be expensive for some Australian Shepherd owners looking for quality dry food with fewer ingredients than other brands. The kibble can go stale quickly if you don’t have a sturdy plastic container to store it securely.

Pros:

  • Limited ingredients
  • Reduces stomach issues
  •  Soy and gluten-free
  • Available in several flavors
  • Ideal for dogs with allergies 

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • The bag isn’t resealable

Choosing the Best Dog Food for An Australian Shepherd

Before narrowing down your top options for the best dog food for an Australian Shepherd, there are several factors you’ll need to consider when looking for a tasty and nutritious formula.

aussie-next-to-spilled-kibble-of-dog-food

Factors to Consider

When choosing the best dog food for an Australian Shepherd, you must consider what you want in your food to ensure it’s the best fit for your dog’s needs.

We compiled a few examples of things to look for to help you streamline making your decision since many dog food options can share similar features which can make or break your choice.

Ingredients

The first thing most people think of when choosing dog food is its ingredients. They’re essential to your Aussie’s growth and development, so it’s crucial to find a dog food brand incorporating natural ingredients into its formula.

Choose dog food with high-quality protein listed as its first ingredient or shredded meat to ensure lean muscle development for your Aussie.

The best dog food for an Australian Shepherd should contain healthy fats, such as omega-3 fatty acids. You can find these healthy fats in dog food containing fish oil or flaxseed. Other essential ingredients to look for include vitamins, minerals, and complex carbs.

Avoid dry dog food recipes containing GMOs, artificial coloring, BHA, and corn syrup since they can harm your Aussie if consumed excessively.

Your Aussie’s Age and Size

Another factor you should consider is your dog’s age and size. The best puppy food for a Mini Aussie usually contains more calcium, fat, and protein than adult food for a Standard Aussie because they require more nutrients as they grow. 

Many dog food brands offer age and size-specific formulas to meet a medium-sized Aussie’s daily nutritional requirements.

Your Aussie’s Health Issues

You’ll need to look for a dog food formula that accommodates your dog’s health issues and typical Australian Shepherd eating habits, like skin allergies, obesity, or gastrointestinal issues. Check dog food labels for specific allergens or fat and calorie content per serving.

What Are the Nutritional Needs of an Australian Shepherd?

Medium-sized dog breeds like Australian Shepherds need enough food packed with high-quality animal protein and healthy fats to power them throughout the day and maintain their health. They need digestible carbohydrates to provide fiber and vitamins for their bodies.

Which Foods Cause Allergies in Australian Shepherds?

Like humans, Australian Shepherds can become susceptible to food allergies caused by animal proteins, grains, and other ingredients, resulting in itchy skin, vomiting, and diarrhea. 

Chicken is a common allergen in many foods for Australian Shepherds, but they can be allergic to any animal protein, from beef to lamb. Check your dog food’s labels to ensure your ideal formula doesn’t contain allergy-triggering proteins.

How Often You Should Feed an Australian Shepherd

Once you choose a dog food suiting your Australian Shepherd’s needs, you’ll need to keep track of their meals to ensure you don’t overfeed or underfeed them.

Australian Shepherd puppies eat more meals than adults and seniors because their bodies need more nutrients to grow, typically having three to four meals daily. Adult and senior Aussies usually eat two meals daily.

Are Aussies Prone to Having a Sensitive Stomach?

One common hurdle a dog owner might encounter when choosing dog food for their Australian Shepherd is whether or not it will agree with their stomach. 

Some common causes of a sensitive stomach in Australian Shepherds include:

  • Abrupt dietary changes
  • Allergies to dog food ingredients, like proteins or grains
  • Eating their food too fast
  • Internal parasites
  • Motion sickness


The best way to prevent a sensitive stomach in Australian Shepherds is to limit their portion sizes and find a dog food formula with lower fat content and higher fiber content.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are you still having trouble choosing dog food for your Australian Shepherd? Check out the following answers to some common questions.

What are some advantages of feeding an Aussie dry dog food over wet?

Many prefer buying dry food for their Australian Shepherds over wet food because it’s easier to measure portion-wise and won’t spoil as quickly if left sitting in a dog bowl for several hours.  Wet food has a higher moisture content for hydrating your Aussie more efficiently..

How many calories should my Australian Shepherd eat per day?

Consider feeding your Australian Shepherd 30 calories per pound of their total weight each day. Active Aussies need to eat between 990 to 1300 calories throughout the day. Your Aussie’s calorie count can differ based on factors such as activity level, age, and gender.
Be sure to track your Aussie’s daily intake to ensure you don’t overfeed them because they are prone to gaining weight quickly.

Why isn’t my Australian Shepherd eating its food?

Although some Australian Shepherds can be picky eaters and prefer some dog food flavors over others, they can stop eating their food for several other reasons, such as:
Having an upset stomach or other underlying health issues: A loss of appetite can indicate health issues, so you should consider reaching out to your vet to see if anything’s wrong.
Stress: If your Aussie gets stressed because of loud noises, create a safe spot in your home where you can feed them without stressful distractions.
Having an inconsistent feeding schedule: Consider feeding your Aussie at the same time every day to prevent them from losing their appetite.
Poor food quality: Consider switching your Australian Shepherd’s food if their current food option doesn’t contain natural ingredients or is stale.

Conclusion

Like all dog breeds, Australian Shepherds need quality dog food to help them develop and energize themselves throughout their lives. 

Each option in our roundup has its share of nutritional benefits, but we chose Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula as the best dog food for an Australian Shepherd.

Our Top Pick
Blue Buffalo

Blue Buffalo's dog food formula incorporates many natural ingredients, including whole grains with healthy, complex carbs and fresh fruits and vegetables rich in vitamins and antioxidants for promoting your dog’s health.

Our Rating:
4.9
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Its omega fatty acids keep your Australian Shepherd’s skin and coat looking healthy. The formula contains several natural ingredients for healthy bone and muscle development. Its flavor options offer more variety for Aussies who are picky eaters than brands with one-flavor formulas.

Sarah Alward | Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
Sarah Alward | Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
Our resident DVM helps review every article to ensure we always provide scientifically accurate, up-to-date information. She’s proud to help provide pet parents everywhere with the info they need to keep their pets safe, healthy, and comfortable.