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Despite its name, the Australian Shepherd was not actually developed in Australia – it is an American breed and a very popular one, at that. The Australian Shepherd is a medium-sized breed known for its multi-colored coat as well as its intelligence and trainability. These dogs are commonly used for herding, though they can also be used for a variety of dog sports including obedience and agility. In addition to their intelligence and versatility, these dogs are energetic and easy-going which makes them a great choice as a family pet.
In order to make sure that your Australian Shepherd’s needs are met, you need to educate yourself about the nutritional needs for this breed and choose the best dog food for Australian Shepherd’s. This will help you to choose the right commercial food for your dog. Below you will learn the basics about the nutritional needs for Australian Shepherds – you will also learn about some special considerations to keep in mind when feeding your dog. You will also receive recommendations for three top-quality commercial dog food products that would be ideal for your Australian Shepherd.
Nutritional Needs for Australian Shepherds
The Australian Shepherd is a medium-sized breed of dog known for its intelligence and its endurance. These dogs would be happy to spend all day running around, especially if they are given a task or job that will occupy their minds. This breed stands about 20 to 23 inches tall at maturity (for males of the breed) and weighs between 50 and 65 pounds at full size. Females of the breed are a little smaller by about 3 inches and 15 to 20 pounds. Largely due to its trainability and friendly personality, the Australian Shepherd is consistently ranked among the top 20 breeds according to AKC registration statistics.
In order to sustain your Australian Shepherd’s high energy levels you need to make sure you feed him a diet that meets his nutritional needs. Protein is the most important dietary consideration for dogs because it helps to support the growth and maintenance of muscle and tissue. Protein should come from high-quality animal-based sources like deboned chicken and fresh fish, not from plant-based sources or animal by-products. Fat is also very important for energetic breeds like the Australian Shepherd because it is the most highly concentrated form of energy available. Like protein, fat in your dog’s diet should come from animal-based sources like chicken fat and salmon oil. You should make sure your dog gets a balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids to ensure skin and coat health.
Another important part of your dog’s diet is carbohydrates. Dogs don’t have specific needs for an amount of carbohydrate but they should come from high-quality and digestible sources like whole grains and vegetables. Avoid low-quality carbohydrates like corn and wheat – these ingredients do not provide much nutritional value and they are also responsible for many food allergies in dogs. If you suspect that your Australian Shepherd is suffering from food allergies, switch him to a Limited Ingredient Diet for about 12 weeks until all signs of the allergy have disappeared. Then you can introduce potential allergens one at a time until you identify the culprit – then you can simply remove it from your dog’s diet permanently.
Special Considerations for Feeding Australian Shepherds
One of the most important things you need to remember about the Australian Shepherd breed is that it is a very high-energy and active breed. Not only does this mean that you need to provide your dog with plenty of mental and physical stimulation on a daily basis, but you also have to make sure that his energy needs are being met. To make sure your Australian Shepherd gets the energy (calories) he needs, consider feeding him an active or working breed formula. These formulas are typically a little higher in fat to support a fast metabolism – they are also rich in protein to support lean muscle mass. If your Australian Shepherd is not very active, do not feed him an active or working breed formula because the extra calories could lead to obesity. Choosing the best dog food for Australian Shepherd’s really comes down to your individual Australian Shepherd’s energy level.
While your Australian Shepherd puppy is growing, you need to make sure that he gets the protein and fat he needs to develop properly. It is recommended that you offer your Australian Shepherd a commercial dog food specially formulated for puppies. If your Australian Shepherd doesn’t seem to be growing at the proper rate, you can supplement his dry food with a little bit of wet food on a daily basis. Keep your Australian Shepherd on a puppy-specific formula until he reaches about 80% of his adult size and then switch him over to a medium breed-specific formula or simply an adult dog food. When your Australian Shepherd reaches his full size you can then think about feeding him an active or working breed formula. Just play around with the portions a little bit until you find the right amount that will sustain your dog’s high energy levels without him gaining too much weight.
The Best Dog Food For Australian Shepherds
If you need some help in finding the best dog food for Australian Shepherd’s, consider one of the commercial dog food brands discussed below. Be careful when considering a breed-specific formula for your dog – do not just assume that the formula will meet your dog’s needs without evaluating the product for yourself. Consider the ingredients list to make sure the product is of high-quality before offering it to your dog.
1. Nutro High Endurance Adult Dog Food
The Nutro Natural Choice pet food company is known for using high-quality ingredients in their formulas and for performing rigorous quality checks on their products. This company offers a wide array of different products for dogs and cats, including formulas that are specially designed for puppies, adults, and senior dogs as well as breed-specific and working breed formulas. The Nutro High Endurance Adult Dog Food formula is made with a 30/20 protein-to-fat ratio which is ideal for high-energy and working breeds. This formula is designed to ensure balanced energy and accelerated muscle recovery – it also contains advanced antioxidants for immune system support. The Nutro High Endurance Adult Dog Food formula is made with chicken meal and whole brown rice as the top two ingredients followed by whole grain oatmeal, chicken fat, and fish oil. Overall, this formula provides balanced nutrition that is ideal for active and working breeds like the Australian Shepherd.
2. Dr. Tim’s Active Dog Formula Dry Food
This pet food company was started by veterinarian and dog sledder Dr. Tim in an effort to produce dog foods that supported the stamina, endurance, and performance of active and working breeds. All of Dr. Tim’s products are made with all-natural ingredients including antibiotic-free chicken, ocean fish, and highly digestible carbohydrates. Dr. Tim offers an assortment of different dog foods including the Highly Active Formula and the Active Dog Formula. The Active Dog Formula is designed for dogs with moderate to high energy levels – it provides high levels of protein to support lean muscle mass and it contains beneficial bacteria and antioxidants. The Highly Active Formula is designed to support the endurance and stamina of highly active breeds – it provides a blend of protein, fats and carbohydrates to support the nutritional needs of the most athletic breeds. Depending on your Australian Shepherd’s level of activity, either of these formulas would be a good choice. If your dog isn’t overly active, Dr. Tim also offers an All Life Stages Formula which is a complete and wholesome diet for dogs that are not particularly active.
3. Nutrience Originals Medium Breed Dog Food
The Nutrience pet food company is based in North America and it creates small-batch formulas made with quality ingredients. This company doesn’t use any corn, wheat or soy in their products – they also avoid by-products as well as artificial flavors, colors and preservatives. Another factor that makes Nutrience unique is that it offers a medium-sized breed formula. Many pet food companies offer formulas for large- and small-breed dogs, but only a few offers formulas specially designed for medium-sized breeds like the Australian Shepherd. The Nutrience Originals Medium Breed Dog Food formula is made with chicken meal and brown rice as the top two ingredients followed by green peas, oatmeal and chicken fat. This formula is designed to ensure the maintenance of lean muscle mass while also supporting your dog’s immune system and digestive system. This formula would be a good choice if your Australian Shepherd is only moderately active – if you are not training him for herding or other dog sports.
Because the Australian Shepherd is such a high-energy breed you need to be intentional about selecting a commercial dog food diet that will meet his calorie needs. If you need a place to start in selecting a food for your Australian Shepherd, consider one of the brands reviewed above.