What Is the Best Dog Food for Australian Shepherds?
The Australian Shepherd is a medium sized breed of working dog that was developed in the Western United States in the 19th century. It is not actually from Australia as its name suggests! Aussies are versatile stock and herding dogs that are obedient, easy to train and eager to please. They are still commonly used by ranchers today.
As a working breed, Australian Shepherds are energetic and like to be kept busy with a job to do. An Australian Shepherd shut up at home on its own all day may develop destructive or behavioural issues, as by nature this breed needs to be kept active and given mental stimulation.
Adult male Australian Shepherds typically weight 50-65lbs and stand 20-23 inches tall. Females are smaller, weighing 30-45lbs and reaching 18-21 inches tall. All dogs have different metabolisms and lifestyles, but as a guide it is recommended by the National Research Council of the National Academies that an active adult Aussie of 50lbs should receive an average of 1353 calories a day.
As well as requiring energy from fat in their diet, all dogs need to consume enough protein to stay healthy. The suggested minimum percentage of protein a dog food should contain is 18% (22% for puppy food). Most commercial dog food contains more protein and fat than the minimum recommended amounts, so owners should focus on good quality protein and fat from real food sources. The first ingredients of a top quality wet or dry dog food should be animal protein of some kind, such as whole meat like chicken, beef, lamb or fish, organ meat such as liver or heart, or meat meal.
As a breed, Australian Shepherds can be prone to hip and elbow dysplasia, which is a joint issue that can be related to diet. It can become worse in older dogs and those that overweight. Younger Australian Shepherds tend to be very active, so gaining excess weight shouldn’t be an issue, but owners should make sure their dog maintains a healthy weight as it ages by providing enough exercise and adjusting its diet if necessary.
The healthiest dog foods are those that are free from artificial flavors, colors, preservatives and sweeteners and contain a high proportion of nutrient dense natural ingredients rather than animal by-products, processed ingredients or cheap fillers.
Some owners report seeing health benefits when they switch their dog to a grain free dog food or one that is free from wheat, corn and soy, particularly if the dog was showing signs of a sensitive stomach or skin allergy. Having said that, these issues aren’t something that Australia Shepherds as a breed are particularly susceptible to.
Australian Shepherd puppies are best fed on a puppy food rather than an adult recipe. Puppy food is specially formulated to provide the optimum balance of nutrients and energy that growing pups need to develop healthily. As a rule, puppies need to play and get plenty of exercise so as to avoid becoming overweight. Owners should be able to feel their ribs but not see them.