15 Best Dog Foods for Blue Heeler (Australian Cattle Dog): Our Guide

Also known as the Australian Cattle Dog, the Blue Heeler is a medium-sized breed developed for herding.

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As a herding breed, the Blue Heeler is a high-energy dog with significant exercise requirements. In addition to being highly active these dogs are also very intelligent and trainable – they were born to do a job and they love to work. Though they are never happier than when they are performing their job, Blue Heelers also do well as family pets when raised with children and pets from a young age.

The Blue Heeler is a challenge to keep due to his high energy levels, but he is largely a healthy breed. Even so, he requires a high-quality diet to provide for his nutritional needs and to help him reach his maximum lifespan.

Keep reading to learn more about your Blue Heeler’s dietary requirements and to see our top 15 picks for the 2020 best dog food for Blue Heelers.

Understanding a Blue Heeler’s Diet Requirements

Every dog breed has the same basic nutritional requirements. Protein is the most important nutrient for any dog because it provides the building blocks for healthy muscles. Your dog needs most of his protein to come from animal sources because his body digests animal products best, and because animal proteins are complete proteins that contain all 10 essential amino acids. Fat provides a concentrated source of energy for dogs and should also come from animal products.

Your dog doesn’t have any specific needs for carbohydrates in his diet, but they can provide energy, fiber, and nutrients. The most digestible sources of carbohydrates for dogs are whole grains, starchy vegetables, beans, and legumes. Remember, digestibility is key, and you should look for a crude fiber content around 3% to 5%. You should also look for beneficial supplements like prebiotic fibers, probiotics, and glucosamine and chondroitin.

  • Puppy Blue Heelers Diet – As a puppy, your Blue Heeler needs a minimum of 22% protein and 8% fat in his puppy food to fuel his growth and development. These ingredients should come from high-quality animal sources to ensure digestibility.
  • Adult Blue Heelers Diet – When your Blue Heeler is full grown, he needs a minimum of 18% protein and 5% fat. Additional protein can help with lean muscle maintenance and extra fat can provide additional energy for active and working dogs.
  • Senior Blue Heelers Diet – As your Blue Heeler ages, he may slow down a bit and so could his metabolism. If your dog starts to gain weight, try feeding him a little less or switch to a senior diet.

In addition to protein, fat, and carbohydrates, you should look for fresh fruits and vegetables in your Blue Heeler’s food. These ingredients provide a natural source of key vitamins and minerals and are more biologically valuable than synthetic supplements. Chelated minerals are different – they’ve been bound to protein molecules which increases their absorption.

Special Dietary Considerations for Blue Heelers

Generally speaking, the Blue Heeler is a healthy breed with a lifespan of 12 to 14 years. Unfortunately, this breed is prone to several inherited health conditions, some of which might affect its lifespan. For the most part, however, these dogs struggle with musculoskeletal issues.

Here is a quick list of the health problems to which the Blue Heeler may be prone:

  • Arthritis
  • Cruciate Ligament Tears
  • Deafness
  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Patellar Luxation
  • Portosystemic Shunt
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy
  • Pyometra
  • Spondylosis

Let’s take a closer look at some of these health problems.

Many of the health problems to which the Blue Heeler is prone can be divided into two categories – musculoskeletal issues and hereditary health problems. Congenital hereditary deafness is one example and it commonly affects dogs that carry the recessive piebald gene. Progressive retinal atrophy, a degenerative eye disease, also often has a hereditary link and hip and elbow dysplasia can be inherited as well. Genetic testing is very important for this breed.

Some of the musculoskeletal issues to which the breed is prone include arthritis, cruciate ligament tears, elbow dysplasia, hip dysplasia, and patellar luxation. Elbow dysplasia is a malformation of the elbow joint which causes the arm bone to pop in and out of socket. Hip dysplasia affects the hip joint and the femoral head in a similar way. Arthritis can develop over time and cruciate ligament tears are sometimes related to working injuries. Patellar luxation occurs when the kneecap slips out of place.

The Blue Heeler doesn’t seem to be any more prone to allergies than other breeds, but there are certain conditions which may benefit special dietary consideration. Musculoskeletal issues and the risk for arthritis means that the Blue Heeler could benefit from extra glucosamine and chondroitin in his diet. These nutrients support healthy bones and joints and they become more important as your dog ages.

Blue Heeler Feeding Chart

The Blue Heeler is a medium-sized breed that stands 17 to 19 inches tall and weighs 30 to 50 pounds at maturity. Based on his size, you can assume that these dogs need about 20 to 30 calories per pound of body weight per day. What you need to consider, however, is that these dogs are highly active and they are often used for herding or dog sports. A very active adult dog may need 30 to 35 calories per pound of body weight, depending on his age and size.

The best way to make sure your Blue Heeler’s needs are met is to choose a high-quality adult dog food made with plenty of protein and healthy fat. Refer to the feeding instructions on the package to determine how much to feed him according to his age and weight, then divide that amount by the desired number of daily meals. As a puppy, your Blue Heeler needs three meals a day. As an adult, you might go down to two meals or stick with three for a very active dog.

The Best Dog Food for Blue Heelers: Our Top 15 Picks for 2020

Now that you have a better understanding of your Blue Heeler’s nutritional needs, you’re ready to start shopping for dog food! Remember, the best Blue Heeler food will be made with wholesome natural ingredients, is rich in animal protein and fats, with beneficial supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin. Here are our top 15 picks:

Holistic Select Chicken Meal & Brown Rice Adult Recipe

Overall Best Food for Blue Heelers: If you want what’s best for your Blue Heeler, consider a holistic recipe made with all-natural ingredients like this Holistic Select Chicken Meal & Brown Rice Adult Recipe. This formula features real chicken and whole grains as well as fresh fruits and vegetables for nutritional support. It provides 25% protein and 15% fat with plenty of omega fatty acids. Fresh berries provide a rich source of antioxidants for healthy immunity while prebiotic fibers and probiotics support healthy digestion. There are also chelated minerals to ensure optimal nutrient absorption and nutritional balance.

  • Pros: Holistic all-natural recipe, real chicken as the main ingredient, digestible whole-grain carbohydrates, fresh fruits and vegetables, rich in omega fatty acids, probiotics
  • Cons: Some dogs may be sensitive to grains, could be higher in fat for some dogs

American Journey Chicken & Brown Rice Dry Food

Most Affordable Food: If you don’t have a big budget but still want to give your Blue Heeler a healthy diet, try this American Journey Chicken & Brown Rice Dry Food. This recipe features real chicken as the main ingredient with digestible brown rice for carbohydrates. It is all-natural and free from fillers, by-products, and artificial additives and it contains beneficial supplements like omega fatty acids and chelated minerals. This recipe contains 25% protein and 15% fat to help your dog maintain lean muscle mass while supporting his energy requirements. It also contains plenty of fiber for healthy digestion.

  • Pros: Several sources of animal protein, rich in essential fatty acids, digestible carbohydrates, fresh fruits and vegetables, chelated minerals, contains 25% protein and 15% fat
  • Cons: Contains some plant protein (pea protein), may be too high in fiber for some dogs

Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Adult Dry Food

Most Popular Food: When you’re not sure what to feed your Blue Heeler, why not choose one of the most popular dog food recipes on the market? This Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Adult Dry Food features all-natural ingredients like real animal protein and healthy fats in a grain-free recipe formulated for adult dogs. This recipe features buffalo as the main ingredient with several supplemental proteins including lamb, chicken, bison, and venison. With fresh fruits and vegetables for nutritional balance and grain-free carbohydrates, this recipe is highly digestible and it contains probiotics for support. Plus, it contains a whopping 32% protein with 18% fat.

  • Pros: Several premium animal proteins, digestible grain-free carbohydrates, fresh fruits and vegetables, rich in omega fatty acids, chelated minerals, prebiotics and probiotics
  • Cons: Main source of fat is plant-based (canola oil), contains some plant proteins (potato and pea protein)

NomNomNow Fresh Food Delivery

Super Premium Food: If you’re looking for a high-quality diet for your Blue Heeler, NomNomNow may be the way to go. This company offers fresh food custom-made for dogs and delivers it right to your door. Simply fill out a profile online with basic information about your dog, choose a recipe from the collection, and you’ll start receiving monthly deliveries. Every recipe is prepared fresh from high-quality ingredients and perfectly portioned for your dog. You can even make adjustments according to your dog’s calorie needs or any special dietary requirements.

  • Pros: Made with the freshest ingredients, custom meals for your dog, delivered fresh to your door, perfectly portioned pouches, automatic shipments
  • Cons: Limited number of recipe options, very expensive to feed, delivery restrictions in some areas

Go! Sensitivity + Shine LID Grain-Free Duck Recipe

Best Food for Blue Heelers with Allergies: If your Blue Heeler suffers from food allergies, quality ingredients are a must. This Go! Sensitivity + Shine LID Grain-Free Duck Recipe is a great option because it is all-natural, grain-free, and made with a limited number of main ingredients. Featuring fresh duck as the main ingredient and single source of novel protein, this recipe also contains digestible grain-free carbohydrates with plenty of omega fatty acids for skin and coat support. It is supplemented with prebiotic fibers to support healthy gut flora with chelated minerals to ensure optimal nutrient absorption.

  • Pros: All-natural ingredients, limited number of ingredients, duck as single source of novel protein, digestible grain-free carbohydrates, plenty of omega fatty acids, chelated minerals
  • Cons: Main source of fat is plant-based (canola oil), could be higher in fat for some dogs

Canidae PURE Grain-Free Ancestral Avian Formula Freeze-Dried Raw Coated Adult Recipe

Best Food for Blue Heelers with Sensitive Stomachs: For dogs with sensitive stomachs, a high-quality recipe made with quality ingredients is important. This Canidae PURE Grain-Free Ancestral Avian Formula Freeze-Dried Raw Coated Adult Recipe is a good option because it is completely natural and grain-free, made with premium proteins and digestible carbohydrates. Not only does it limit the number of ingredients that could trigger a reaction, but it is supplemented with chelated minerals for balance and probiotics for healthy digestion. This recipe provides 34% protein and 13.5% fat to support lean muscle mass and provide healthy energy.

  • Pros: High-quality natural ingredients, several novel animal proteins, digestible grain-free carbohydrates, freeze-dried raw coating, protein-rich, chelated minerals
  • Cons: Could be higher in fat for some dogs, some dogs are sensitive to chicken ingredients

3 Top Rated (5 Star) Blue Heeler Adult Foods

Victor Hi-Pro Plus Formula Adult Dry Food

For Blue Heelers that are trained to herd or perform other jobs, you may need a high-protein, high-energy recipe like this Victor Hi-Pro Plus Formula Adult Dry Food. This formula features beef, chicken, pork, and fish for a protein-rich recipe loaded with healthy fats. It provides 30% protein and 20% fat with high-quality ingredients like nutrient-rich chicken fat, whole grains, and dried fermentation products for probiotic support.

Nutro Wholesome Essentials Salmon, Brown Rice & Sweet Potato Adult Recipe

If you want to provide your Blue Heeler with an easy-to-digest recipe made from quality ingredients, this Nutro Wholesome Essentials Salmon, Brown Rice & Sweet Potato Adult Recipe is an option to consider. This recipe features seasonally caught fish, whole-grain brown rice, and sweet potatoes as well as other all-natural ingredients. It also contains optimal levels of omega fatty acids with chelated minerals for nutritional balance and optimal nutrient absorption.

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Lamb & Brown Rice Adult Recipe

If you’re looking for an affordable dog food made with high-quality and digestible ingredients, try this Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Lamb & Brown Rice Adult Recipe. Formulated for adult dogs, this recipe features fresh lamb as the main ingredient with menhaden fish meal for supplemental protein and whole-grain carbohydrates. It also contains an assortment of fresh fruits and vegetables as well as beneficial supplements.

3 Top Rated (5 Star) Blue Heeler Puppy Foods

Adirondack 30% High-Fat Puppy & Performance Recipe

If you’re training your Blue Heeler puppy for herding or other dog sports, he may need a high-fat recipe to provide for his energy needs. This Adirondack 30% High-Fat Puppy & Performance Recipe features chicken meal as a concentrated source of protein with brown rice for carbohydrates and chicken fat for energy. It provides 30% protein and 20% fat, plus plenty of healthy supplements for balance.

Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Boost Grain-Free Chicken Puppy Recipe

When it comes to high-quality nutrition for your Blue Heeler puppy, it’s hard to do better than this Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Boost Grain-Free Chicken Puppy Recipe. Made with high-protein kibble and infused with freeze-dried raw bites, this formula is packed with protein and natural flavor. It also contains digestible grain-free carbohydrates, plenty of omega fatty acids, and no artificial additives.

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Lamb & Oatmeal Puppy Recipe

If you want to start your puppy on the right foot with an affordable, high-quality diet then try this Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Lamb & Oatmeal Puppy Recipe. This recipe features real lamb as the main ingredient with digestible whole grains and plenty of omega fatty acids. It is rich in DHA for brain development, fats for energy and coat support, and chelated minerals for nutritional balance.

2 Picks for Senior Blue Heeler Foods

Wellness Complete Health Deboned Chicken & Barley Senior Recipe

As your Blue Heeler gets older, his metabolism may slow down but he still needs a high-quality diet. This Wellness Complete Health Deboned Chicken & Barley Senior Recipe is a great option because it is formulated for senior dogs with high-quality protein, digestible carbohydrates, and supplemental glucosamine and chondroitin. It also contains probiotics for healthy digestion.

Solid Gold Young at Heart Grain-Free Chicken, Sweet Potato & Spinach Senior Recipe

Made with high-protein chicken as the main ingredient and formulated for senior dogs, this Solid Gold Young at Heart Grain-Free Chicken, Sweet Potato & Spinach Senior Recipe is a great choice for your aging Blue Heeler. It features grain-free carbohydrates, plenty of essential fatty acids, and fresh fruits and vegetables for nutritional balance. It is also highly digestible for dogs with sensitive stomachs.

Our FAQ and Blue Heeler Feeding Guide

Not only do you need to think about choosing the best dog food for your Blue Heeler, but you should also think about how to store and feed it. Choosing a dog bowl is easy, but you should think about things like size, durability, and safety. A medium-sized bowl should be adequate for your Blue Heeler’s needs and one made from durable materials like stainless steel or ceramic would be a good choice. Just make sure you wash the bowl often to prevent bacteria from growing.

When it comes to keeping your dog food fresh, you want to avoid exposing it to air as much as possible. This means using an airtight container and storing the food in a cool, dry place. Take the whole bag and place it in the container instead of pouring the food in. The insides of dog food bags are treated to help preserve the product, so you don’t want to lose that benefit.

And now, here are the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about feeding a Blue Heeler:

How much food should I feed my Blue Heeler? – Based on his size, you’ll be feeding your Blue Heeler about 1 ½ to 2 ½ cups of food per day. His individual needs will vary depending on his age, body weight, and activity level and the amount you feed will vary depending on the calorie content of the dog food you pick. Refer to the feeding instructions on the package and divide that amount by the desired number of daily meals.

How many times a day should I feed my Blue Heeler? – When your Blue Heeler is a puppy, you should feed him three small meals a day to fuel his growth and development. As an adult, he might be able to get by with two meals a day unless he is highly active. For very active or working breeds, consider breaking your dog’s daily portion up into three meals instead of two. You can also try feeding him two meals with some snacks in between.

What kind of food do Blue Heelers eat? – The best food for your Blue Heeler is the highest quality food you can consistently afford. If you can afford it, fresh food, dehydrated, or freeze-dried food offers the best nutrient profile. If that isn’t in the cards, look for a high-quality kibble – maybe even one infused with freeze-dried raw pieces. Just make sure it is made with wholesome natural ingredients including premium animal proteins, healthy animal fats, and digestible carbohydrates.

What vegetables are good in a Blue Heeler food? – Vegetables provide dietary fiber as well as natural sources for vitamins and minerals. As such, they are a valuable addition to any high-quality dog food. Here are some of the best vegetables for Blue Heelers:

  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Cucumber
  • Green beans
  • Peas
  • Pumpkin
  • Spinach
  • Sweet potato
  • Zucchini

Even if the dog food you choose contains fresh vegetables, you might still want to consider supplementing his diet with veggies as a healthy snack. Just make sure they are safe for dogs to eat and that you clean them thoroughly before feeding. You should also feed small amounts to avoid upsetting your dog’s stomach from an overload of fiber.

Do Blue Heelers need grain-free dog food? – The Blue Heeler is no more prone to food allergies than any other breed, so they may not need a grain-free diet. If your dog suffers from recurrent ear infections or skin problems, however, it could be due to a food allergy. Switching to a grain-free diet or a limited ingredient diet could help resolve the issue. Unless your dog is sensitive or allergic to grains, however, you should stick with a regular diet because there is some concern about the long-term effects of grain-free diets for dogs.

A Final Word

Now that you know the basics about your Blue Heeler’s nutritional needs, you’re ready to start shopping for the best Blue Heeler food. Remember to look for a product that is made with wholesome natural ingredients, is rich in animal protein and fats, with beneficial supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin.

If you’re still not sure where to start in choosing the best Blue Heeler dog food, try one of our top 15 picks reviewed above!

About The Author

1 thought on “15 Best Dog Foods for Blue Heeler (Australian Cattle Dog): Our Guide”

  1. Avatar
    Karen Stasiewitz

    I feed Orijen & Acana. I hav never found a better dog food & they never had a RECALL. I supplement with veggies fresh or baby food veggies organic when I see it. I also boil chicken with carrots, celery & add coconut oil & olive oil or I boil chicken hearts, liver, gizzards for the dogs & cats. They get freezes dried organs & fish too. I give them LifeWay organic probiotics added to food. That’s a few things they get.

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