Best known as a working dog, the Australian Shepherd is fun-loving, exuberant, and intelligent. These “ranch dogs” are lean, tough, and great herders. They live a cowboy life all over the Southwest United States.
Aussies (as they are known) are nimble and love to outmaneuver their owners. While they are certainly playful and kind, they are also incredibly high energy—not the greatest breed for families that are out of the house several hours each day. So, how can we choose the best food for your puppy?
Makings of an Aussie
Research has shown that Aussies are generally very healthy animals. They live an average of 12 to 15 years and don’t have a lot of medical issues to contend with. The Aussie is happiest when he is working, whether that be herding animals or playing with your kids.
One thing you need to know about Aussies is that they need near constant stimulation—either from work or play. Without it, they can become very destructive. Aussies need 30 to 60 minutes per day of hardcore exercise. One way is to play their favorite game: frisbee!
Like with border collies and the German Shepherd, Aussies are also fiercely protective of their pack. If they sense something dangerous, they will use an alert bark to let you know. So, since your Aussie is looking out for you, you need to look out for your Aussie.
Health Concerns for Aussies
The most common health problems for your puppy hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia. This is a genetic condition where the hip socket or elbow socket is malformed. Because of that malformation, the connection of the hip socket to the top of the femur is loose. This causes a lot of pain and your dog can become lame, anywhere from a slight limp to crippling pain. If not treated, this will eventually lead to arthritis in the dog’s later years. If you suspect this is a problem for your dog, your vet will need to take X-rays and then come up with a treatment plan.
Aussies can also have multiple problems with their eyes, including cataracts (cloudy vision), colobomas (underdeveloped irises), and retinal atrophy (degeneration of the retina). Each one of these, if left untreated, will cause blindness in your dog.
Some Aussies can have epilepsy as well. When the dog has a seizure, it is crucial that you are trained in how to deal with the situation and offer the aid your pup needs to get through the ordeal.
Common health problems include:
- Allergies (especially Food allergies)
- Dysplasia (hip and elbow)
- Von Willebrand’s Disease
- Eye problems
So, when choosing a diet for your Aussie, you want to get foods that offer joint support (for the hip dysplasia), extra vitamins for eye health, no added chemicals as toxins can trigger epilepsy, and a weight management system will keep your dog at a stable weight to take pressure off the joints.
Top Dog Foods for Australian Shepherds
While it is always best to choose foods that are all-natural or organic, when looking for extra joint support and weight management, some of the best foods don’t fall into that category. So, whether you are looking for the latest grain-free dry dog food, raw food, dry food, puppy food, or some other high-quality dog food, just what dog food for Australian Shepherds is best to ensure a well-balanced diet. Read on to find out our best dog food reviews.
This low-fat kibble is loaded with lean chicken for your dog’s muscle health and prebiotics to aid in digestion. It has 25% less fat than some other Purina recipes so that your dog will maintain a healthy weight. The formula also includes omega-6 fatty acids that help your dog maintain healthy eyes, skin, and coat. Made in the USA, this dog food has no artificial additives or preservatives.
The farm-raised chicken, river caught salmon, and pasture-fed lamb create a unique combination of amino acids that help your dog maintain strong, lean muscles. The nutrient-dense whole grains promote a healthy digestive system and optimal nutrient absorption. The superfoods help your dog maintain an ideal weight. The added glucosamine and chondroitin nourish healthy joints. Taurine is a natural antioxidant that promotes healthy eyesight. Nutro never uses additives or artificial colors and flavors.
The Holistic Weight Management formula includes protease, which helps to efficiently break down proteins for nutrient absorption. The formula also includes alpha-amylase for breaking down starch. This recipe contains healthy fruits like papaya and pumpkin which provide fiber to support healthy digestion. The natural fiber in these fruits keeps the digestive tract healthy. Holistic also uses glucosamine to support healthy function of the joints and hips.
If your Aussie becomes overweight, this formula will balance your dog’s diet with high-protein, real lamb for lean muscle support. Diamond care also contains L-Carnitine to help boost your dog’s metabolism; chondroitin and glucosamine for tired, overused joints; and probiotics for optimal digestion. These meals are packed with the vitamins, minerals, omega oils, and antioxidants that keep your dog in top shape.
The primary proteins of whitefish and chicken give your Aussie the protein needed to maintain healthy muscles. The veggies and fruits—sweet potatoes, blueberries, and apples—give your dog the energy he needs for a high-energy day. Wellness Complete also works to maintain your dog’s joint health with chondroitin sulfate.
Made in the USA, this formula from Black Gold has no by-products, artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. The tasty recipe uses salmon oil, including DHA, to keep your pet’s eyes and brain healthy. The formula includes an essential oil blend of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids to provide EPA and DHA. The food is also nutrient dense and offers prebiotics and oatmeal to aid in doggy digestion. The antioxidants are provided by real veggies and fruit to keep your pup’s immune system strong.
Your Australian Shepherd is a herding master with limitless energy. To avoid the common health issues for this breed, focus on a diet that maintains his weight, has the nutrients needed for good eye health, has added joint support, and no added toxins.
If you keep yourself aware of your Aussie’s overall health and watch out for the health issues specific to the Australian Shepherd, your pup will live a long and happy life with your pack.