10 Best Dog Food For Border Collies (Adults & Puppies)

Mike PowellEdited by: Mike Powell
Abby TexasReviewed by: Abby Texas

Last Update:

Border Collies are super energetic, boisterous pups who were bred as working dogs. Despite their sky-high energy levels, they are loving and cherish time with their humans.

They’re highly intelligent and need plenty of mental and physical stimulation. Don’t let your Collie get bored, or you may find yourself minus a shoe, piece of furniture, or garden!

These black and white beauties can be prone to food allergies, so it’s important to feed them one of the best dog food for Border Collies so they get enough nutrients and energy to be their spirited, exuberant selves without any digestive issues.

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Ranked #3
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CANIDAE PURE Real Salmon, Limited Ingredient, Grain Free Premium Dry Dog Food
Merrick Grain Free Dry Dog Food Recipes, Texas Beef, 25 Pound
Diamond Naturals Extreme Athlete Real Meat Recipe High Protein Dry Dog Food With Real Cage Free Chicken Protein 40Lb
Rating
Our Rating 91 / 100
Our Rating 90 / 100
Our Rating 90 / 100
Pro 1
Grain-free for easier digestion
Great protein and fat content for active breeds
Superior ingredient additions, such as glucosamine and L-carnitine
Pro 2
Added probiotics and antioxidants
Contains a decent amount of glucosamine and chondroitin
Fantastic protein and fat levels, particularly for active dogs
Best Overall
Rank
Ranked #1
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CANIDAE PURE Real Salmon, Limited Ingredient, Grain Free Premium Dry Dog Food
Rating
Our Rating 91 / 100
Pro 1
Grain-free for easier digestion
Pro 2
Added probiotics and antioxidants
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Best For Active Collies
Rank
Ranked #2
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Merrick Grain Free Dry Dog Food Recipes, Texas Beef, 25 Pound
Rating
Our Rating 90 / 100
Pro 1
Great protein and fat content for active breeds
Pro 2
Contains a decent amount of glucosamine and chondroitin
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Best Budget Option
Rank
Ranked #3
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Diamond Naturals Extreme Athlete Real Meat Recipe High Protein Dry Dog Food With Real Cage Free Chicken Protein 40Lb
Rating
Our Rating 90 / 100
Pro 1
Superior ingredient additions, such as glucosamine and L-carnitine
Pro 2
Fantastic protein and fat levels, particularly for active dogs
Custom Button
Sources researched
12
Sources researched
Customer reviews
17,650
Customer reviews
Hours spent testing
12
Hours spent testing
Products tested
10
Products tested

Best Dog Food For Border Collies

1. Canidae Pure Real Salmon Limited Ingredient Premium Dry Dog Food

Best Limited Ingredient Food: Limits food sensitivities 

CANIDAE PURE Real Salmon, Limited Ingredient, Grain Free Premium Dry Dog Food
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Overall Rating91%
Calorie Count95%
Ingredient Quality95%
Protein & Fat Counts90%
Added Ingredients90%
Affordability85%

PROS

  • Various flavours available (including many without chicken products)
  • Grain-free for easier digestion
  • Added probiotics and antioxidants
  • No corn, wheat, or soy

CONS

  • Not the most affordable, but in the average range for limited ingredient foods

Even if your pet hasn’t been recommended a limited ingredient by a vet, if you want to get ahead of food allergies or intolerances from the start, a limited ingredient food is a super idea. They are no less nutritious and healthy than other foods, so don’t think your pup won’t be getting what they need. They simply pack more punch for fewer ingredients, and that can only be a good thing.

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Fewer Than 10 Ingredients 

The fewer ingredients there are in your pet’s food, the less there is to react badly to. We’ve reviewed the salmon flavour here, and it contains salmon, salmon meal, menhaden fish meal, sweet potatoes, peas, canola oil, sun-cured alfalfa, and potatoes. That’s a really nice concise list, and every one of those ingredients contains plenty of good stuff that will benefit your pet. 

Extra Ingredients  

Other things on the list include natural flavours, vitamins, minerals, and a probiotic mix. These things generally are not allergy-inducing and don’t count as food ingredients, so they fall outside of the main ingredient list. They add many health properties to the food, though, so they’re good things to see.

2. Merrick Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Best For Active Border Collies: Great protein and fat content

Merrick Grain Free Dry Dog Food Recipes, Texas Beef, 25 Pound
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Overall Rating90%
Calorie Count90%
Ingredient Quality95%
Protein & Fat Counts90%
Added Ingredients90%
Affordability85%

PROS

  • Great protein and fat content for active breeds
  • Contains a decent amount of glucosamine and chondroitin
  • No chicken or poultry products
  • High Omega fatty acid levels

CONS

  • This food is a little pricey compared to others

Border Collies who are quite active will benefit from the levels of protein and fat in this nutrient-dense kibble. 38% protein is right in the zone for healthy adult Collies who get plenty of exercise. 15% fat is perfect for pups who are high-energy, and it comes from some great sources too. No matter your pup’s size or age, this is packed with quality, all-natural ingredients to build strength and immunity in your pet.

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Premium Quality Ingredients 

The ingredient list kicks off with deboned beef, lamb meal, and salmon meal, which are three fantastic protein sources. These are followed by peas, sweet potatoes, and potatoes, which will give your giant sustained energy as the day goes. Pork fat and flaxseed are premium fat sources. One of the best things about this particular food is that it has no hint of chicken products in it, which is one above many of the foods out there. It’s safe for pups with food allergies as well as those who can tolerate anything. 

Your Collie’s Joints 

The guaranteed analysis list is missing the calcium and phosphorus counts, which is unfortunate as these are important numbers to know when you own an active breed who are prone to joint problems and hip or knee dysplasia. It does contain good levels of glucosamine and chondroitin, which will go a long way towards helping keep your bouncy guy or girl’s joints healthy and strong. The protein count will keep their muscles strong too, which also helps stabilise joints, so you can be sure feeding your pet this food will be good for their stomach and their joints. 

3. Diamond Naturals Extreme Athlete Real Meat Recipe

Best Value For Money: Superior ingredient additions, but affordable

Diamond Naturals Extreme Athlete Real Meat Recipe High Protein Dry Dog Food With Real Cage Free Chicken Protein 40Lb
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Overall Rating90%
Calorie Count90%
Ingredient Quality90%
Protein & Fat Counts90%
Added Ingredients90%
Affordability95%

PROS

  • Very affordable, especially for its quality
  • Superior ingredient additions, such as glucosamine and L-carnitine
  • Fantastic protein and fat levels, particularly for active dogs
  • Great Omega fatty acid count for healthy skin & coat

CONS

  • Not suitable for pups who are sensitive to chicken

Diamond Naturals have created the perfect blend in this high-protein, high-fat, high-calorie, low-price food. You won’t find a comparably priced food on the market that hits all the essential points when it comes to nourishing your dog. At just over a dollar per pound, both you and your pet will benefit from choosing this as your pup’s everyday meal.

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Most Affordable High-Quality Dog Food 

The ingredient list looks great, beginning with chicken meal and chicken. Although the real meat doesn’t feature as the first ingredient, chicken meal is a great protein source and is closely followed by the real meat ingredient, and with a protein count of 32%, these ingredients are quite decent and generous. White rice and barley are the main carbs, and you’ll find antioxidant and probiotic-loaded fruits and vegetables further down the list, including kale, chia seeds, pumpkin, quinoa, blueberries, oranges, and coconut. Chicken fat and flaxseed provide the fat content, which comes in at 25%, higher than most but great for active Border Collies to burn as energy. 

Useful Ingredients 

There’s a good bit of glucosamine and chondroitin to keep your Collie’s joints tough. The Omega fatty acid levels are among the highest out there, which not only helps with digestion but will keep that black and white coat sleek and shiny. There are plenty of chelated minerals finishing off the ingredient list, which are always a good addition and aid in digestion, even for pups who don’t have sensitive tummies. Another great addition is L-carnitine, which helps with energy regulation and metabolism. You can’t go wrong choosing this food for your Collie – it’s great quality and will keep both your pooch and your pocket happy.

4. Orijen Puppy Large Dry Dog Food

Best For Border Collie Puppies: Biologically appropriate for growing puppies

ORIJEN Dry Dog Food, Puppy Large, Biologically Appropriate & Grain Free
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Overall Rating88%
Calorie Count90%
Ingredient Quality90%
Protein & Fat Counts90%
Added Ingredients90%
Affordability80%

PROS

  • Biologically appropriate nutrition for growing puppies
  • Contains DHA and EPA, specifically for developing pups
  • Good calcium/phosphorus ratio to help bones develop strong
  • Added vitamins, minerals, and amino acids

CONS

  • Contains chicken
  • Somewhat expensive

Your Border Collie puppy can only benefit from this high-calorie, high protein and fat, nutrient-loaded dog food. It’s filled to the brim with the healthiest, highest quality ingredients, and you won’t find an artificial thing in sight. It’s based on the WholePrey diet, which is based on how a puppy would eat in the wild, which means it’s packed with meat, veggies, fruits, and some interesting botanical inclusions. 

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Formulated Especially for Puppies 

The ingredients in this food are of the highest quality, and it’s very nutrient-dense. It contains 85% animal ingredients and 15% fruits and vegetables for an extremely well-rounded meal. 38% protein is great for a puppy, and 16% fat is a good number that will help sustain their energy. Although Border Collies are medium-sized breeds and this food is geared for large breed puppies, the contents are super for Collies as their activity level puts them more on the large-breed energy spectrum. 

DHA and EPA 

In addition to the glucosamine and chondroitin content, calcium/phosphorus ratio, and fantastic Omega fatty acid levels, this puppy food contains DHA and EPA for developing pups. These are essential ingredients when it comes to a pup who is still growing, and are basically fatty acids. DHA is the most abundant fatty acid in the brain, so it’s crucial to have plenty of this in your puppy’s food when their brain is still developing. EPA is another great joint supplement.

5. Taste Of The Wild Grain-Free Real Meat Recipe Canned Stew

Best Wet Food For Border Collies: No carrageenan

Taste Of The Wild Grain Free Real Meat Recipe Premium Wet Canned Stew Dog Food (12) 13.2 oz. Cans
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Overall Rating87.5%
Calorie Count90%
Ingredient Quality90%
Protein & Fat Counts85%
Affordability85%

PROS

  • It contains no carrageenan, which is a low-quality thickener
  • Various flavours are available
  • Superfood vegetables included for antioxidants and vitamins
  • Nothing artificial added

CONS

  • May be too rich for pups with sensitive tummies

A great quality wet food is always a good idea to have stashed away, in case you need a little extra incentive for your pet to eat, or a sneak treat in between meals. While it’s not recommended to feed your pet only wet food (unless they really can’t deal with kibble, but there are specific soft foods available in that case), it’s a super option for a kibble-topper to add some extra calories to your pet’s meal.

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Ingredients in Wet Food 

This food is made with the same quality ingredients as many of the best dry kibbles out there, which is real meat, vegetables, and fruits. The difference is in the quantity and the moisture content. You’ll find beef, lamb, venison, and liver, as well as lamb and beef broth. Veggies include potatoes, peas, sweet potatoes, blueberries, and raspberries. 8% protein is pretty average for a canned food. 

Easy To Digest 

Due to their moisture content and the addition of plenty of chelated minerals, canned foods tend to be quite easy to digest. The moisture content is also wonderful for adding some extra hydration, especially for active pets who can accidentally dehydrate during their energy-expending day.

6. Taste of the Wild High-Protein Premium Recipe

Best Without Glucosamine: High in protein and fat

Taste of the Wild High Protein Real Meat Recipe Premium Dry Dog Food with Roasted Bison and Roasted Venison
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Overall Rating87%
Calorie Count90%
Ingredient Quality90%
Protein & Fat Counts90%
Added Ingredients80%
Affordability85%

PROS

  • High in protein and fat (32% and 18%), which is ideal for active pups like Collies
  • High calorie (370 per cup)
  • Multiple protein sources
  • Grain-free and contains veggies for sustained energy

CONS

  • No glucosamine and chondroitin, so you will need to supplement

Some pet parents may prefer to feed their dog a food that doesn’t contain glucosamine and chondroitin and to supplement these separately. There are plenty of good glucosamine supplements for pets, and it’s entirely up to you, although we recommend choosing a food with it already included. There are various reasons this may not be possible though, so we’ve chosen this as the best dog food for Border Collies that doesn’t contain glucosamine.

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Supplemental Glucosamine 

It’s a good idea to give active dogs all the help they can get when it comes to keeping their joints strong and able to withstand plenty of exercise. Not all foods contain glucosamine, and it is all right if you choose one that doesn’t contain it, but we advise buying a separate supplement because without it, your dog’s joints can weaken and cause them pain, as well as increasing the chances of arthritis and hip or elbow dysplasia. 

High-Quality Nutrition 

The absence of joint supplements doesn’t diminish the quality of this food at all. There are multiple high-quality protein sources, including real meat and meat meal, as well as some nice quality veggies that add all the right carbs. These also bring a dash of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that make for a really healthy, nutritious meal for your Border Collie.

7. Orijen Freeze-Dried Dog Treats

Best Without Glucosamine: High in protein and fat

ORIJEN Freeze-Dried Dog Treats, Original, Biologically Appropriate & Grain Free
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Overall Rating86.25%
Calorie Count80%
Ingredient Quality95%
Protein & Fat Counts90%
Affordability80%

PROS

  • High in protein (45%)
  • Various flavours available
  • Naturally preserved, freeze-dried

CONS

  • Low in calories, so if you’re using them as a calorie supplement you will need to feed them plenty! (5 calories per treat)

What you feed your pet between meals is as important as what’s in their bowl at mealtime. For pups with as much energy as Border Collies, you want something that is high in protein, free from artificial stuff, and obviously, tasty! These little freeze-dried bites will deliver a nice bit of protein and can be used as incentives, for training, or simply to reward your pup for being a good boy or girl.

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High protein, low calorie 

There are only 5 calories in each treat, so if you want a treat that will up your dog’s protein count, this may not be the one. These are great for active pets though, because they are packed with quality protein, and come in various flavours so your pooch will never get bored with them. It’s essential to have a treat that your pet loves, especially if you want to use it for any kind of training purposes. 

Freeze-Dried Preservation 

Freeze-drying as a way of preserving dog food is a fantastic way of getting the job done without the need for artificial preservatives. It’s a way of locking in the nutrients, texture, flavour, and smell, so the food is every bit as nutrient-dense as raw and smells and tastes amazing to your pet.

8. Wellness Core Natural Grain-Free Large Breed Dry Dog Food

Premium Option: High-quality ingredient list

Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food, Large Breed, 26-Pound Bag
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Overall Rating86%
Calorie Count85%
Ingredient Quality90%
Protein & Fat Counts85%
Added Ingredients90%
Affordability80%

PROS

  • Great protein and fat content for Collies
  • The calcium/phosphorus ratio is great for active breeds
  • High levels of Omega fatty acids, which will keep your pup’s skin and coat healthy
  • Added glucosamine, chondroitin, and beta-carotene

CONS

  • Not suitable for dogs sensitive to chicken

There is no disputing the quality of the ingredients that go into this food, and that’s the foundation for a healthy pet. Good protein sources (a combination of real meat and meat meal), and fruits, vegetables, and chelated minerals make this a great quality option to feed your pooch. It also contains some extras that are geared towards keeping active dogs strong and healthy.

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Health-Promoting Ingredients 

The protein sources include real meat (deboned chicken) as the first on the list and two sources of meat meal (chicken and turkey). Fruits and veggies include potatoes (if your pet is sensitive to these you may want to choose a potato-free food), peas, spinach, broccoli, sweet potatoes, apples, and blueberries, all of which contain plenty of nutrients and have antioxidant properties. 

Glucosamine and Beta Carotene 

While the ingredients in this food are health-promoting in themselves, the added supplements are what really take this food from good to great. Glucosamine and chondroitin are present in good numbers, so you can rest assured this food will do its bit to keep your energetic Collie strong and agile. Beta carotene is another supplement that isn’t often seen in dog foods and ends up being stored as Vitamin A in your dog’s body. It’s also a good antioxidant, so it’s a really nice addition to this food. L-carnitine is also present, so there’s a very well-rounded mix of supplements here. 

9. Wellness Core Grain-Free Senior Recipe

Best For Border Collie Seniors: Senior-specific recipe

Wellness Natural Pet Food CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food, Senior, 24-Pound Bag, Turkey
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Overall Rating86%
Calorie Count85%
Ingredient Quality90%
Protein & Fat Counts85%
Added Ingredients90%
Affordability80%

PROS

  • Senior-specific recipe
  • Leading levels of Omega fatty acids
  • Great calcium/phosphorus ratio to keep bones strong
  • Grain-free, so it will be easier on your senior’s tummy

CONS

  • High in protein, so may not be best for inactive pups
  • Slightly pricey

This recipe is designed specifically for seniors and features a thoughtful mix of real meat and meat meal, as well as a host of healthy, easily digestible, antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables. It’s fairly high in protein still, so it would suit still-active seniors best, although if your old guy or girl is less active, you can adjust their calories down and they’ll still be getting a highly nutritious meal out of this food.

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Best For Active Older Collies 

With 359 calories per cup, it’s easy to adjust the amount you feed your pet each day based on their general activity level. If your older Collie is slightly more inactive, it shouldn’t be a problem, as long as they’re eating the right amount of calories for their energy levels. It is great for still-active Collies, though, as the protein level is still pretty high to keep active muscles strong. The fat content is good at 12%, which will be easily metabolised if your pooch exercises quite a bit, but isn’t too high that a less-active pup will have a problem with it. 

Senior-Specific Levels 

As our pets get older, their bones and joints tend to take strain from general wear and tear. The levels of glucosamine hydrochloride and chondroitin are perfect to keep joints solid, and the calcium/phosphorus ratio is right where it should be for strong bones. Your older guy’s coat and skin will be kept healthy and hydrated by the Omega fatty acids present in each bite, and the vitamins and minerals promote a healthy immune system. 

10. Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain-Free Adult Large Breed Recipe

Best Low Protein: For dogs who are on a low-protein diet

Blue Buffalo Large Breed Freedom Grain Free Chicken Recipe Dry Dog Food, 24-Pound
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Overall Rating84%
Calorie Count85%
Ingredient Quality85%
Protein & Fat Counts85%
Added Ingredients85%
Affordability80%

PROS

  • Low in protein for dogs who are on a low-protein diet
  • Grain and gluten-free, so it will go easy on your dog’s system
  • Contains Blue’s special blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals
  • Doesn’t contain any meat by-products

CONS

  • Non-chicken flavour recipes contain chicken ingredients, so not suitable for pups who are sensitive to it

Kidney and liver problems can happen to any pup, and if your pooch is one who suffers from these things, your vet may have recommended a low-protein diet. For active pets such a Border Collies, a higher protein diet is the norm, but putting your pet on a prescribed low-protein diet doesn’t mean they won’t get all the nutrients they need. This food from Blue Buffalo contains only the best all-natural ingredients, and although it’s got less protein in it, it still contains everything your pet would need to be healthy and happy.

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Low-Protein Diets 

Digesting protein can be hard on the kidneys and liver, as they play key roles in the process. If your fluff suffers from problems with either of these organs, it’s common for vets to suggest a diet that doesn’t contain as much protein as is normally accepted, in order to take some pressure off of them during the digestion and absorption process. 

Although Collies tend to do well on a food containing 30-plus percent protein, a food with a lower number doesn’t mean they won’t be able to be their usual bouncy selves. As long as they’re eating the right amount of calories, and supplementing with glucosamine and chondroitin (which will most likely be found in the food itself), they’ll be quite happy to eat a lower-protein diet. 

Helpful Supplements 

Pups who may need a special diet would perhaps benefit more from added supplements. This food contains great levels of glucosamine and chondroitin, so even if your pooch is getting less protein, their joints will be kept strong. It also has L-carnitine, which is a more unusual supplement to find in foods, but it’s super for energy-level management and is also linked to healthy liver function, so it’s fantastic for pups with liver issues. 

Blue Buffalo foods also contain their exclusive LifeSource Bits, which combine various vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and so add a dash of health-promoting goodness to each bite of your pet’s meal.


Testing Protocol & Criteria Used For Evaluation

Criteria 1 – Calorie Count

The average Border Collie needs 1000 calories a day, split between two meals. Those who get more exercise will need more calories, up to 1400, and so it’s a good idea to choose a food with a higher calorie count so your pup will get what they need and you avoid having to feed twice as much food to get their count up. 

We’ve reviewed foods here that have 350-plus calories unless we’ve specified otherwise. Lower calorie foods will most likely need some supplemental treats in between meals to make sure that calorie count is reached, especially if your guy or girl is one of the playful ones.

Criteria 2 – Ingredient Quality

The importance of the quality of what goes into your pup’s food can’t be overstated. Unfortunately, commercial dog food can be packed full of cheap, low-quality ingredients to keep manufacturing costs down, but this comes at a great cost to your dog’s health. 

We’ve made sure the dog foods we review here are made up of high-quality, all-natural ingredients, contain no cheap fillers or artificial ingredients, and have added antioxidants and supplements for optimal health. 

The order in which the ingredients appear on the list also makes a difference, and we’ve chosen foods that have real meat or meat meal as their first ingredient, followed by healthy grains or fruits and vegetables. Chelated minerals are also great ingredients to see on a list.

Criteria 3 – Protein & Fat Counts

Border Collies need high levels of both of these nutrients in order to thrive. For those pups getting plenty of exercise in, protein in the high 30s (and upwards) is a great number, and a fat count of 15% and upwards. 

The protein count should be made up of multiple animal protein sources for optimal nutritional value. Plant proteins are decent additional sources, but should not be the main protein source. A large part of the fat count will come from the protein source, but additional healthy sources should be present as well. 

We’ve reviewed dog foods here that meet the requirements for Collies in terms of protein and fat counts and get these numbers from premium quality sources. 

Criteria 4 – Added Ingredients

These pooches tend towards certain health issues, so it’s a great idea to make sure their food contains certain added ingredients to try and combat these problems right from the start. 

We’ve tried to make sure that the dog foods we’ve compared here contain glucosamine and chondroitin, which are very helpful to strengthen joints, especially in dogs who are active and prone to joint problems. 

Although Border Collies don’t usually have sensitive tummies, chelated minerals present in a food are always a great help for digestion. Prebiotics and probiotics are good supplements to include as well. 

For puppies, DHA is a must to see on the ingredient list. This contributes towards healthy brain and eye development, which is essential for dog breeds such as these guys and girls who are known to have eye problems later in life. 

We’ve checked out foods that contain glucosamine, chondroitin, probiotics, and DHA whenever possible. 

Criteria 5 – Affordability

This criteria is more for pet parents than it is for pets, but is no less important. Our mission is to make happier dogs and dog parents, so finding a food that doesn’t cost you a fortune is an essential piece of the puzzle. 

Some of the high-quality foods out there can have a price tag on them that makes you cringe, but it’s often justified by the superior quality of the product. Don’t worry, though – there are plenty of affordable options out there that are just as good quality-wise but don’t have the same cost. 

This criterion is important to make sure your dog eats well no matter how much you spend on a dog food. That’s not to say you should avoid the more expensive ones, though. If you can afford them, then go for it. But we have made an effort to include something for everyone on this list, so your budget doesn’t have to dictate the quality of your pet’s meals.


Questions & Answers

How much food do Border Collies need?

The average, moderately active Collie needs around 1000 calories a day. If your pup is extremely active, you can raise that number to around 1400 to help keep his energy levels up. 

As your Border Collie gets older and starts exercising less, they’ll be burning fewer calories during their day. You should adjust their calorie intake to around 700 per day if they’re quite chilled, or if they’re still quite bouncy you can stick to 1000 and see how it goes. 

This does differ with each dog, and depends on their energy levels and metabolism. You may need to experiment a little until you find the right number for your pup. If your dog is eating two meals a day and getting plenty of exercise but is scrawny and looks like he needs a bit of meat on his bones, you might want to increase his daily calories. If your Collie is putting on weight, you will need to adjust down until you find the lower-calorie, high-nutrient sweet spot for her.

How should I feed my Border Collie?

This may sound like a strange question, but it’s important to consider the way in which your pet is fed. Some dogs can deal with “free-feeding” (leaving a constant supply of food available for your pooch to snack on as the day goes), but this is not a good idea for Collies. 

A high-calorie meal twice a day with a couple of treats in between is a great routine to get your Collie into. You can add some canned dog food as a kibble topper to up calorie a little if necessary, but be mindful that wet dog food is often very calorie-dense. 

Some Collie owners feed their pooch only once a day, but we advise against this due to their highly active natures. They burn food off pretty quickly and so two meals a day is the best way to ensure that they always have enough energy. 

What are the keys to a balanced diet for Border Collies?

Because these working dogs are designed with a fast metabolism and plenty of energy, they need quite a nutrient-dense diet to keep them going day-to-day. The optimal diet for a Border Collie is one that is high in protein and fat. 

These pooches are super active and need high-quality nutrients to fuel that activity. The higher the protein count the better, and Border Collies don’t tend to suffer from food intolerances so mixed protein sources are great. Your Collie will thrive on a diet that contains between 30 and 50% protein. 

Fat is an important energy source for dogs who are on the move a lot. A lot of the fat in a dog food will come from the meat sources, which is a superb, healthy source. Other fats that are considered healthy and useful for your pet are flaxseed, canola oil, and any animal fats (as long as they are identified). A fat count of 15% and upwards is great for Collies. 

Carbohydrates are important too, even though most dog food labels don’t specify them on the guaranteed analysis list. Collies tolerate gluten-free grains quite well, so rice, oatmeal, barley, millet, and sorghum are good, easily-digestible carb sources. Fruits and vegetables are super carbs to see on an ingredient list, as they provide a plethora of antioxidants as well as essential nutrients. 

Are there ingredients I should avoid when looking for the best dog food for Border Collies?

Even though Border Collies don’t tend to suffer from food intolerances, there are some ingredients that are best avoided to ensure they’re getting nothing but healthy stuff. 

Grains containing gluten are always a good idea to skip, and these include corn, wheat, and soy. These ingredients are difficult to digest and add little to no nutritional value to your pup’s diet. 

Artificial colours, flavours, and preservatives should also be avoided. Artificial colours are added purely for aesthetics, and it’s pretty clear that pups don’t really care what their food looks like anyway. There are plenty of healthy ingredients that can be used as flavouring, as well as natural preservatives that are much better options than artificial stuff. 

Something else that should not be on a dog food label is meat or poultry by-products. These are made up of things like hooves, beaks, hair, and the other “left-over” bits after the quality meat sources have been extracted. Even for dogs on a raw food diet, by-products offer little nutritional value. 

Border Collies can develop food allergies, so if your pooch suddenly starts rejecting their food, it’s a good idea to pay attention to what ingredients are in there.

What are common health problems for Border Collies?

Although Collies are among the healthiest dog breeds in the world, there are some breed-specific conditions that they can suffer from. 

They are particularly susceptible to eye problems, including a genetic condition known as Collie Eye Anomaly. This causes the gradual disintegration of the retina which leads to loss of eyesight. Other eye-related issues that plague Border Collies are glaucoma and progressive retinal atrophy. 

Due to their highly energetic natures, they can also suffer from orthopedic problems. Hip and elbow dysplasia are common ones, as is a condition called osteochondrosis dissecans, which is a malformation of the cartilage in joints. 

Other common health problems in Border Collies are epilepsy, and two highly dangerous diseases called neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis and trapped neurophil syndrome. The first causes severe neurological impairment and death, and the second is when the bone marrow cannot release white blood cells into the bloodstream to fight infections. 

Collies are also prone to developing food allergies, the most common culprits of which are chicken, beef, pork, potatoes, and lower quality grains. 

How often should I feed my Border Collie?

These fluffs are highly active, so two meals a day is a good idea to make sure they have energy throughout the day. Remember, you’ll be feeding them a high-calorie food with quality protein, carb, and fat sources, and those will continue to burn and provide energy as the day goes. 

It’s a good idea to feed your pooch a few treats throughout the day as well, if you are able to. Make sure these fall within their calorie range, though – a couple of treats every day can contribute to weight gain if they are over and above your pet’s optimal calorie level. 

If you have a Border Collie puppy, you should be feeding them three times a day from the time that he can eat kibble until he is an adult. Then it’s time to scale back to two a day.