Did you know that Australian shepherds were the 12th most popular dog breed in the U.S. in 2022?
If you’re familiar with these incredible canines, this probably doesn’t come as a surprise. Aussies are extremely smart yet playful and great with kids, making them excellent family dogs. In fact, their history goes back to cowboy life on the frontier, which gave them a strong work drive and impulse to herd anything like birds, other dogs, or even kids.
Because of their active personalities, Australian shepherds require a diet that can keep up with them. In this article, you’ll learn about the essential nutrients dogs need in their diet, as well as which specific ingredients to look for on dog food labels.
5 Things To Consider When Choosing Food for Your Australian Shepherd
As mentioned above, Australian shepherds are an active breed, requiring food with ingredients that can sustain their energy level. Below are five things to keep in mind when choosing a food for your Australian shepherd.
First Ingredient of Whole Meat: Chicken, Beef, Turkey, Lamb, or Fish
Whole meat provides dogs with high-quality proteins essential for their growth and ongoing health maintenance.
A good indication of whole meat in dog food is if the label simply says “chicken” or “beef” rather than “chicken meal” or “beef byproduct.” Meat meals and meat byproducts come from lower-quality, highly-processed cuts of meat that can lack some of the nutrients in whole meat. Additionally, meat meal and meat byproducts can contain additives that may cause gastrointestinal issues in some dogs.
If you choose a food with whole meat instead of meat meal, it should have essential amino acids your dog needs to build and repair their muscles, organs, and tissues. Lastly, high quality whole meats can contain more chondroitin, a component of animal cartilage and meat necessary for joint support in larger dog breeds like Aussies.
Options That Are Moderate to High in Fat Content
As has been debunked in human diets, fat is not the enemy. This is also true when it comes to dog diets.
Fat is an important aspect of anyone’s diet (human or animal). In fact, fat provides more than twice as many calories per gram as protein or carbohydrates.
Healthy fat is made up of animal fats like chicken fat or fish oil, rather than vegetable oil or rendered fats. Beyond supporting your pup’s energy, it is essential for a variety of bodily functions, including:
- Absorption of vitamins and minerals
- Production of hormones
- Brain health
- Maintenance of healthy skin and coat
A diet too low in fat for Australian shepherds can lead to dry, itchy skin as well as a dull, brittle coat.
Similar to fat, carbohydrates are good if they are high quality and ingested in moderation. Like fat and protein, carbs provide dogs energy that fuel the body’s cells and maintain normal bodily functioning.
However, it’s important to identify carbohydrates that are high quality. Some carbs like wheat or corn can be hard for Australian shepherds to digest and can cause digestive issues like gas, bloating, or diarrhea.
Instead, consider dog foods that have carbohydrates from whole grains, fruits, and veggies. This may include ingredients like whole rolled oats, brown rice, carrots, sweet potatoes, cranberries, or apples.
All that being said, it’s important to keep in mind that dogs are primarily carnivores and require a diet rich in animal-based protein. To ensure your pup is getting the necessary amount of high quality animal protein, consider choosing a dog food recipe that balances proteins with digestible carbohydrates. And, when in doubt, consult your veterinarian.
Naturally Sourced Ingredients
Look for dog food that includes high quality, natural ingredients without any artificial:
Dog food that contains byproducts or meat meal can have lower quality sources of proteins and nutrients.
In addition, if you choose dog food with naturally sourced ingredients, you could also be supporting sustainability and ethical practices in the food industry. This is true in the case of The Honest Kitchen’s dog food, which is human grade.
As the first human grade pet food company, all of The Honest Kitchen’s offerings meet strict standards set by the USDA. In fact, The Honest Kitchen is a certified B Corp, with several recipes certified by the Non-GMO Project, and several of their chicken-based pet food recipes for dogs being certified by the Global Animal Partnership.
Complete and Balanced Diet
A complete and balanced diet is essential when it comes to Australian shepherds, as they require key nutrients to support their high activity levels and long life. Some of these nutrients include:
- High quality protein
- Good fats
- Essential vitamins (like calcium)
It can be hard to find a food that checks all these boxes, but The Honest Kitchen can provide all of these things and more in options that your dog will love.
If you have any questions or concerns about which types of nutrients your specific pup may need, check in with your veterinarian.
Best Honest Kitchen Food Options for Australian Shepherd
Some of The Honest Kitchen’s best food options for your Aussie include grain free beef clusters, dehydrated fish, and bone broth.
1. Grain Free Beef Clusters
The Honest Kitchen’s Grain Free Beef Clusters are a great option if you want the convenience of traditional dry dog food with the quality and nutritional standards of homemade food.
These clusters are human grade, minimally processed, and consist of whole food ingredients. Learn more and purchase The Honest Kitchen’s Grain Free Beef Clusters.
- Beef liver
- Ground flaxseed
- Salmon oil (contains omega-3 fatty acids)
- Chia Seeds
- Dried bacillus coagulans fermentation product (probiotics)
- Essential vitamins and minerals
Why It’s Great for Australian Shepherds
This grain free dry food option may be ideal for Australian shepherds, as it provides a balanced nutritional profile along with the necessary levels of fat and protein for a high energy dog. Per cup, this food has 427 (kCal), 26% protein, and 14.5% fat. It is also available in real chicken and turkey recipes.
2. Dehydrated Limited Ingredient Fish
Next up is The Honest Kitchen’s Dehydrated Limited Ingredient Fish recipe, which also happens to be grain free. Within this 16-pound bag, there are over eight pounds of wild-caught white fish, one whole pumpkin, and four and a half coconuts.
Like all Honest Kitchen foods, this option doesn’t contain rendered meat meals, artificial flavors or preservatives, GMO ingredients, by products or fillers. It also doesn’t include common allergens like gluten, white potatoes, flaxseed, or green peas. Learn more and purchase The Honest Kitchen’s Dehydrated Limited Ingredient Fish dog food.
- Dehydrated white fish
- Dried organic coconut
- Dried chickpeas
- Dehydrated pumpkin
- Dehydrated celery
- Dehydrated spinach
- Essential minerals like potassium chloride, zino amino, iron amino acid chelate, and copper amino acid chelate
- Essential vitamins like E, B12, B1, B2, and D3
- Fish oil (a natural source of DHA and EPA)
Why It’s Great for Australian Shepherds
This grain free dehydrated dog food supports the gut health of Aussie puppies and adult Aussies alike. With its limited ingredients, you can support your pup’s stomach and their high energy level.
The recipe is also high protein, with 34% per cup, though it still contains substantial fat to balance everything out. There are even dehydrated limited ingredient food options in turkey, beef, duck, and chicken recipes.
3. Bone Broth Pour Overs - Beef
Our final top pick that can be a great treat for your Aussie is The Honest Kitchen’s Bone Broth Pour Overs, specifically the beef recipe. This slow-cooked beef stew is a grain free and potato free topper you can add as a meal enhancer to your dog’s dry or dehydrated food.
These toppers are a nutritious grab-and-go alternative to topping your pet’s primary meal with canned wet food, and only include the highest quality protein. Learn more about The Honest Kitchen’s Pour Overs.
- Beef bone broth
- Butternut squash
Why It’s Great for Australian Shepherds
Since the beef pour overs are meant to go over another food, they only contain 107 (kCal) per box, 4.5% protein, and 2.5% fat.
The best part about this topper? The moisture content is 90% per box.
So, when your Aussie has come home from a long day of running around, the added moisture can help support their hydration. This delightful topping can also be a great choice for senior dogs who may be more picky and need something to entice them to finish their dinner. These pour overs also come in chicken, turkey, and fish recipes.
Try an Honest Kitchen Diet for Your Aussie Today
Whether you’re looking for a traditional dry dog food or a savory hydrating treat for your Australian shepherd, look no further than The Honest Kitchen — and Aussie parents agree!Your search for a human grade, nutritionally rich dog food can come to an end now that you’ve found The Honest Kitchen. Our recipes contain all of the necessary good stuff and none of the bad. To explore more of what The Honest Kitchen has to offer for your pup, check out our full line of quality dog food.