6 Best Shetland Sheepdog (Sheltie) Dog Food in 2020

Affectionately known as the Sheltie, the Shetland Sheepdog is a medium-sized breed developed specifically for herding in the Shetland Islands of Scotland.

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The Shetland Sheepdog looks like a miniature Collie due to his long, multicolored coat and tapered nose. He is an intelligent and hardworking breed that always seems to be smiling which is part of what makes him an excellent family pet as well. These dogs get along well with children and other dogs and they do very well in dog sports and excel in trick training.

This breed stands 13 to 16 inches tall and weighs under 30 pounds at maturity. Though diminutive in size, this breed has impressive speed and stamina. Unfortunately, he is also prone to a number of health problems, including some which can affect his 12 to 14-year lifespan. Feeding your Sheltie a high-quality diet is the best way to maximize his longevity.

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

Understanding a Shetland Sheepdog’s Diet Requirements

All dogs require a blend of protein, fat, and carbohydrates in their diet for optimal nutrition. Protein is arguably the most important of these. As a puppy, protein provides the building blocks for healthy muscles and, as an adult, it helps your dog maintain lean muscle mass. Fat is a concentrated source of energy for dogs and is particularly important for a high-energy breed like the Sheltie. Both protein and fat should come from animal sources to ensure digestibility and bioavailability.

The Shetland Sheepdog has no specific requirements for carbohydrates, but these ingredients can provide additional energy as well as fiber and essential nutrients. Digestibility is important for plant foods, so look for a diet made with whole grains, vegetables, beans, or legumes as the primary sources of carbohydrate. The recipe should also contain between 3% and 5% dietary fiber to ensure healthy digestion – too much fiber could upset your dog’s stomach.

  • Puppy Shetland Sheepdogs Diet – As a puppy, your Shetland Sheepdog needs a minimum of 22% protein and 8% fat in his diet. Because this is a high energy breed, however, and because these dogs reach their full size fairly quickly, additional protein and fat may be a benefit.
  • Adult Shetland Sheepdogs Diet – Once your Shetland Sheepdog reaches his adult size, you can switch to an adult dog food that provides a minimum of 18% protein and 5% fat. Again, higher protein levels can be beneficial to support lean muscle mass with added fat to meet the breed’s high energy requirements.
  • Senior Shetland Sheepdogs Diet – As your Sheltie gets older, he might start to slow down but small breeds may not reach senior status until 8 or 9 years. If your dog starts to gain weight, you might switch to a senior dog food or one made with a lower fat content.

In addition to his basic requirements for protein, fat, and carbohydrates, your Shetland Sheepdog can benefit from having fresh fruits and vegetables and healthy supplements in his diet. Fresh fruits and veggies provide natural sources for key nutrients in a more biologically valuable form than synthetic supplements. Chelated minerals are mineral supplements bound to protein molecules which increases absorption. Your dog can also benefit from prebiotics, probiotics, and glucosamine and chondroitin to provide support for digestion as well as healthy bones and joints.

Special Dietary Considerations for Shetland Sheepdogs

The Shetland Sheepdog is a medium-sized breed but, weighing less than 30 pounds, he is at the lower end of the size spectrum. This being the case, he may need a more calorie-dense diet than larger breeds to fuel his faster metabolism. In addition to his need for extra energy, the Shetland Sheepdog may also have certain health problems that need to be attended to.

Here is a quick list of the health problems to which the Shetland Sheepdog may be prone:

  • Collie Eye Anomaly
  • Corneal Dystrophy
  • Congenital Deafness
  • Dermatomyositis
  • Epilepsy
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Patent Ductus Arteriosus
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy
  • Von Willebrand Disease

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

Most of the health problems to which the Shetland Sheepdog is prone can be grouped into categories such as eye problems, inherited health problems, and musculoskeletal issues. Some of the musculoskeletal issues known to affect the breed include hip dysplasia and elbow luxation. Hip dysplasia is a condition in which the head of the femur bone slips in and out of the hip joint, causing inflammation and degradation of the joint. Elbow luxation is a similar condition and is often congenital.

In terms of eye problems, the Shetland Sheepdog is prone to collie eye anomaly, corneal dystrophy, and progressive retinal atrophy as well as optic nerve hypoplasia. Collie eye anomaly is an inherited eye problem in which one or both eyes develop abnormally, leading to eventual blindness. Corneal dystrophy causes the corneas to become opaque, impairing the dog’s vision, and progressive retinal atrophy is characterized by a gradual deterioration of the retina which can lead to blindness.

Some of the inherited health problems to which the Shetland Sheepdog breed is prone include congenital deafness, dermatomyositis, patent ductus arteriosus, and von Willebrand disease. Congenital deafness is sometimes seen in dogs with a lot of white in their coat and blue eyes. Dermatomyositis is a breed-specific condition that causes skin lesions and hair loss. Patent ductus arteriosus is a congenital heart defect and von Willebrand disease is a bleeding disorder.

The Shetland Sheepdog does not appear to be affected by food allergies at a higher rate than other breeds, but they are sometimes prone to skin problems which can be triggered by certain foods. The best thing to do is feed your dog a high-quality diet made from natural ingredients to reduce the risk for any kind of negative reaction.

Shetland Sheepdog Feeding Chart

When it comes to feeding your Shetland Sheepdog, his needs will vary depending on his age, weight, and activity level. Because this breed is closer to a small-breed dog than a large-breed dog, he may have a faster metabolism and higher need for calories than other medium breeds. For this reason, you should choose a high-quality diet rich in protein with a slightly higher level of fat to provide for these high energy requirements. You could also feed your dog an extra meal each day.

For the most part, Shetland Sheepdogs eat about 1 to 2 cups of food per day, generally divided into two meals. Puppies may need three meals while they are still growing, but you should scale it back to two meals once they reach most of their adult size. If you are training your Sheltie for herding or other dog sports, however, he may still need that third meal to fuel his metabolism. Refer to the feeding recommendations on the package to see how much to feed your dog per day and keep an eye on his body weight and condition in case you need to make adjustments.

The Best Dog Food for Shetland Sheepdogs: Our Top 15 Picks

Now that you have a better understanding of your Shetland Sheepdog’s nutritional needs, you’re ready to start shopping for dog food! Remember, the best Shetland Sheepdog food will be made from high-quality natural ingredients, rich in protein and healthy fats with digestible carbohydrates. It should also contain fresh fruits and vegetables for nutritional support and healthy supplements.

Here are our top 15 picks:

The Honest Kitchen Whole Grain Chicken Recipe Dehydrated Dog Food

Overall Best Food for Shetland Sheepdogs: If you want to provide your Shetland Sheepdog with a high-quality diet that approximates the nutritional integrity of fresh food, try this The Honest Kitchen Whole Grain Chicken Recipe Dehydrated Dog Food. This recipe features 14 ½ pounds of free-range chicken, 5 scoops of whole-grain oats, 2 ¼ bunches of carrots, and a wealth of other healthy ingredients in every box. This food is dehydrated rather than cooked, so it retains more of its original nutritional integrity. It features all-natural ingredients free from artificial additives and is completely non-GMO.

  • Pros: Dehydrated to preserve nutritional integrity, free-range chicken as main ingredient, whole-grain carbohydrates, fresh fruits and veggies, chelated minerals, ideal blend of protein and fat
  • Cons: Expensive to feed as a staple diet, some dogs dislike the texture of dehydrated food

American Journey Salmon & Brown Rice Dry Food

Most Affordable Food: If you’re looking for a healthy dog food that won’t break the bank, this American Journey Salmon & Brown Rice Dry Food is a great option for your Shetland Sheepdog. This recipe features real deboned salmon as the first ingredient which is a rich source of protein and omega fatty acids. It contains plenty of natural fiber from digestible whole grains and fresh vegetables, plus fruits to provide antioxidants. This recipe is supplemented with chelated minerals to ensure optimal nutrient absorption and it provides a total of 25% protein, 15% fat, and 6% fiber.

  • 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: If you’re not sure what to feed your Shetland Sheepdog, you can’t go wrong with a popular choice like this Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Adult Dry Food. This recipe features premium roasted meats like buffalo, bison, and venison with digestible grain-free carbohydrates like sweet potatoes and peas. It is rich in omega fatty acids to support skin and coat health, plus supplemental fats from canola oil for balance. This recipe contains fresh fruits and vegetables to provide natural sources of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants with probiotics for healthy digestion.

  • 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: When nothing but fresh food will do for your Shetland Sheepdog, try NomNomNow. This is a fresh food delivery service that prepares custom meals for your dog and delivers them fresh to your door in automatic monthly shipments. With several recipes to choose from, you can select the best option for your Sheltie and you can customize it if he has unique dietary requirements. Every package is properly portioned for your dog and arrives fresh, never frozen. Simply pour it into your dog’s bowl and save the other packages in the fridge or freezer.

  • 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

Wellness Simple LID Grain-Free Salmon & Potato Dry Food

Best Food for Shetland Sheepdogs with Allergies: If your Sheltie has food or skin allergies, you might try a limited ingredient formula like this Wellness Simple LID Grain-Free Salmon & Potato Dry Food. Not only is it made with a limited number of ingredients to reduce the risk for triggering allergies, but it features salmon as the main protein which is also an excellent source of omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat. This recipe contains digestible grain-free carbohydrates like potatoes and peas with healthy supplements like chelated minerals for optimal nutrient absorption and probiotics for healthy digestion. Overall, it provides 25% protein and 12% fat with 5% crude fiber – an ideal balance for your active dog.

  • Pros: Made with a limited number of ingredients, single source of animal protein, digestible grain-free carbohydrates, prebiotics and probiotics, chelated minerals
  • Cons: Main source of fat is plant-based (canola oil), may be too high in calories for some dogs

Solid Gold Wolf King Bison & Brown Rice Adult Recipe

Best Food for Shetland Sheepdogs with Sensitive Stomachs: If your Shetland Sheepdog has a sensitive stomach, he needs a highly digestible dog food made with quality ingredients. This Solid Gold Wolf King Bison & Brown Rice Adult Recipe is a great choice because it features premium proteins like fresh bison and ocean fish meal with plenty of omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat plus digestible whole-grain carbohydrates. It is supplemented with fresh fruits and vegetables as natural sources for key nutrients with probiotics for healthy digestion.

  • Pros: Real bison as the main ingredient, digestible whole grains, rich in essential fatty acids, fresh fruits and veggies, ideal blend of protein and fat, chelated minerals, probiotics
  • Cons: May not be high enough in fat for very active breeds

3 more Top Rated (5 Star) Shetland Sheepdog Adult Foods

Merrick Classic Chicken & Green Peas with Ancient Grains Adult Dry Food

For a high-quality source of natural nutrition for your Shetland Sheepdog, try this Merrick Classic Chicken & Green Peas with Ancient Grains Adult Dry Food. This recipe features 60% poultry and fish ingredients with 20% produce and supplements, and 20% whole grains. It is rich in omega fatty acids and supplemented with joint-supporting glucosamine and chondroitin in addition to being formulated for all breeds to ensure complete and balanced nutrition.

Zignature Zssential Multi-Protein Formula Grain-Free Dry Food

Even if your Sheltie doesn’t need a grain-free diet, this Zignature Zssential Multi-Protein Formula Grain-Free Dry Food could be a good choice. It features several high-quality sources of animal protein with plenty of omega fatty acids for skin and coat support. It contains 32% protein for lean muscle mass and 16% fat to meet your dog’s high energy requirements. It also contains fresh berries for antioxidants.

Wellness Complete Health Deboned Chicken & Oatmeal Adult Recipe

If you’re looking for a recipe made with simple, natural ingredients then try this Wellness Complete Health Deboned Chicken & Oatmeal Adult Recipe. Formulated for adult dogs, this recipe features deboned chicken and whole-grain carbohydrates to provide complete and balanced nutrition. It also contains glucosamine and chondroitin for joint support with probiotics for healthy digestion.

3 More Top Rated (5 Star) Shetland Sheepdog Puppy Foods

Adirondack 30% High-Fat Puppy & Performance Recipe

If you’re training your Shetland Sheepdog puppy for herding or other dog sports, he’s going to need a calorie-dense diet like this Adirondack 30% High-Fat Puppy & Performance Recipe. This recipe features premium-quality ingredients like chicken meal and whole grains to provide 30% protein and 20% fat. It also contains chelated minerals to ensure optimal nutrient absorption and probiotics for digestion.

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Chicken & Brown Rice Puppy Recipe

If you’re looking for a simple source of high-quality nutrition for your Sheltie puppy, try this Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Chicken & Brown Rice Puppy Recipe. This recipe features real chicken as a premium source of protein with plenty of omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat. It is also rich in DHA and ARA for healthy brain development with chelated minerals and antioxidants for nutritional balance.

Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Grain-Free Puppy Recipe

For a dry puppy food that offers the nutritional quality of raw food, try this Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Grain-Free Puppy Recipe. This recipe is grain-free which is a good option for puppies with skin problems or sensitive digestion, but it is still rich in protein and healthy fats. It features deboned chicken as the first ingredients with freeze-dried raw pieces for a boost of nutrition and flavor.

2 More Picks for Senior Shetland Sheepdog Foods

Precise Holistic Complete Senior Recipe Dry Food

For a recipe made from high-quality natural ingredients, try this Precise Holistic Complete Senior Recipe Dry Food. This recipe features chicken as the number-1 ingredient with supplemental protein from lamb and salmon. It features fresh fruits and vegetables as natural sources for key nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. This recipe also contains prebiotic fibers and probiotic supplements to ensure healthy and regular digestion.

AvoDerm Natural Chicken Meal & Brown Rice Senior Recipe

For a digestible recipe for your senior Sheltie that is still rich in protein and fat, try this AvoDerm Natural Chicken Meal & Brown Rice Senior Recipe. This recipe features chicken meal as a concentrated source of protein with whole ground brown rice for carbohydrates. It contains chicken fat and avocado for energy and essential fatty acids with chicken cartilage as a supplemental source of glucosamine and chondroitin. It is also supplemented with chelated minerals and probiotics.

Our FAQ and Shetland Sheepdog Feeding Guide

In addition to picking out a high-quality Australian Shepherd food, you should also think about feeding and food storage. Choosing a dog bowl isn’t hard, but there are a few factors to consider. Think about the materials you want in a dog bowl to start. Stainless steel is a durable option that is also quite affordable. Ceramic is easy to clean but it might break if you drop it. Look for a medium-sized bowl that can hold a cup of food at once and make sure you clean the bowl often.

When it comes to dog food storage, you should know that your dog food will start to lose some of its nutritional value as soon as you open the bag and expose it to air. You can minimize the damage by buying it in smaller volumes and by storing the entire open bag in an airtight container in a cool, dry location. The inside of dog food bags is treated to preserve the food, so you don’t want to lose that benefit by pouring the bag out into a new container. If you buy a bag that is too large, you may not be able to fit it into a container.

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

How much food should I feed my Shetland Sheepdog? – The amount you feed your Shetland Sheepdog will depend on his age, weight, and activity level as well as the calorie content of the product you choose. Generally speaking, however, you’ll be feeding your dog between 1 and 2 cups of high-quality dry food per day. Refer to the feeding instructions on the dog food package to determine your dog’s daily feeding amount then divide it into the desired number of daily meals – either two or three.

How many times a day should I feed my Shetland Sheepdog? – When your Shetland Sheepdog is a growing 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. Just keep an eye on his body weight and condition to make sure he isn’t gaining too much weight.

What kind of food do Shetland Sheepdogs eat? – The best dog food for any dog is made from high-quality, natural ingredients and formulated to meet his nutritional needs. Fresh food is a great option for Shetland Sheepdogs because it provides the highest quality nutrition and digestibility. If you can’t afford fresh food, freeze-dried or dehydrated food is a good alternative. Even a high-quality kibble mixed with freeze-dried raw pieces or sprayed with a freeze-dried coating can provide a boost of high-quality nutrition. The key is to buy the highest quality dog food you can consistently afford.

What vegetables are good in a Shetland Sheepdog 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 Shetland Sheepdogs:

  • 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 Shetland Sheepdogs need grain-free dog food?- The Shetland Sheepdog is no more prone to food allergies than any other breed, though they are sometimes affected by skin allergies which can be triggered by food. If your dog suffers from frequent ear infections or skin problems, it could be the result of an allergy and grains are a common culprit. Unless your dog is sensitive to grains, however, there is no need to feed him a grain-free diet. In fact, there is some evidence to suggest that grain-free diets may not be safe for dogs in the long-term.

A Final Word

Now that you know the basics about your Shetland Sheepdog’s nutritional needs, you’re ready to start shopping for the best Shetland Sheepdog food. Remember to look for a product that is made from high-quality natural ingredients, rich in protein and healthy fats with digestible carbohydrates. It should also contain fresh fruits and vegetables for nutritional support and healthy supplements.

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

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