Last updated: 03 Apr 2020

The Best Dog Food for Border Collies (Review) in 2020

Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Dog Food

Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Dog Food

Orijen Senior Adult Dry Dog Food

Orijen Senior Adult Dry Dog Food

Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets Dog Food

Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets Dog Food

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Dr Tracy Douglas
Published 08:46 am

Border Collies are highly intelligent and very active dogs. They hate a sedentary lifestyle and do best when they are either a working dog or when they live with a family that loves long walks in the country. They need a lot of exercise to keep them physically and mentally stimulated. They also need the right food to support their particular health needs.

Food for a Border Collie must be packed with high-quality protein to help build strong muscle, it must have fats and healthy carbohydrates to give them loads of energy and stamina and micronutrients to support overall health. You also need to carefully control their calorie intake because they will not do this for themselves and will just carry on eating!

Border Collies need a food that will provide a balanced diet for medium-sized breeds and that will help them to maintain their active lifestyle. To help you make the right decision for your dog, check out our guide below.

The Best Dog Food for Border Collies


There’s a minimum of 25 percent protein in this recipe which is based on salmon and fish meal and provides amino acids for building strong muscle. This ingredient also provides omega oils for maintaining a shiny coat. The recipe has been formulated for adult dogs and contains everything your Border Collie needs for a healthy digestion.  There are probiotics provided by millions of live cultures and prebiotic fiber provided by chicory root.

Related Post: Best Probiotics for Dogs

To avoid allergic reactions and to protect a sensitive digestion, there are no eggs or grains. Thanks to the superfoods in this recipe, including sweet potatoes, blueberries and raspberries, there’s plenty of antioxidants to fight disease and keep the immune system healthy.

Related Post: Taste of The Wild Dog Food

25 percent protein content provided by high-quality fish sources

Sweet potatoes and blueberries for antioxidants

Contains no grains or soy

Omega oils for a shiny coat

  • Brand: Taste of the Wild
  • Model: TWDT1576
  • Weight: 1 pounds


This food is made with a nutritionally dense recipe that is suitable for Border Collies of all life stages. It contains a minimum of 24 percent protein to build strong, healthy muscle. There’s also a minimum of 14.5 percent fat to provide plenty of energy. The meat content is provided by chicken, turkey and lamb meal.

The probiotics are added after processing so they are not damaged by the heat and there are plenty of antioxidants and omega oils. To protect a delicate digestion, there are no corn, wheat or soy and no meat by-product meals.

Related Post: CANIDAE Dog Food Review

Minimum of 24 percent protein

Contains chicken, turkey and lamb meal

Antioxidants and omega oils

Probiotics added after processing

  • Brand: CANIDAE
  • Model: 1044
  • Weight: 44 pounds


Made from simple and wholesome ingredients, this is a limited ingredients recipe to keep your dog’s diet nice and simple. The primary ingredients are sweet potato and fish which provide carbohydrate and protein for energy and muscle development. Just what an active dog needs.

The sweet potato contains highly digestible fiber and is packed with potassium and the fish provides all the amino acids your dog needs. The smaller sized kibble is completely grain free and contains no artificial additives that could upset a delicate digestion. It will suit dogs of all ages and contains all the essential vitamins, minerals and omega oils.

Related Post: Natural Balance Dog Food Review

Limited ingredients and natural

Based on sweet potato and fish

High in potassium and amino acids

Digestible fiber

  • Brand: Natural Balance
  • Model: 42034
  • Weight: 4.4 pounds


There’s plenty in this recipe to help your dog build lean muscle (minimum of 26 percent protein) and to give them loads of energy (minimum 16 percent fat and rice as carbohydrate). The main ingredient is real salmon and to this are added plenty of micronutrients to support your Border Collie’s overall health.

There’s natural prebiotic fiber which is provided by wheat bran which promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. There are antioxidants to support a healthy immune system and omega acids for a healthy skin and coat.

Related Post: Purina Pro Plan Dog Food Review

Minimum 26 percent protein

Contains real salmon

Antioxidants for a healthy immune system

Omega acids for skin and coat health

  • Brand: Purina Pro Plan
  • Model: 381445-purinapare
  • Weight: 33 pounds


Based on lean protein and high-quality fats, this recipe has all your Border Collie needs to keep them healthy. The deboned chicken makes up 70 percent of the meat content and delivers plenty of high-quality protein. In this recipe, there are also omega acids to support joint health and glucosamine and chondroitin for healthy joints.

The ‘super foods’ content includes sweet potatoes, blueberries and peas which deliver plenty of vitamins and minerals as well as antioxidants. It has a very high protein content (38 percent minimum) and contains no grains, gluten or by product meals.

Related Post: Merrick Dog Food Review

Minimum 38 percent protein content

Contains deboned chicken

Glucosamine and chondroitin for healthy joints

No grains or gluten

  • Brand: Merrick
  • Model: 38248
  • Weight: 25 pounds


A wet, canned dog food that is suitable for pups, this recipe contains a minimum of 10 percent crude protein and turkey, chicken and duck are the main ingredients. To this are added healthy and easy-to-digest carbohydrates including sweet potatoes, peas and carrots. There are even Granny Smith apples!

There are plenty of added vitamins and minerals. However, there are no grains and no artificial flavors or preservatives in this best food for a Border Collie puppy so it will not trigger allergies.

Related Post: Best Wet Dog Food

Minimum of 10 per cent crude protein

Easy to digest carbohydrates

Added vitamins and minerals

No grains

  • Brand: Merrick
  • Model: 20288
  • Weight: 5 pounds


This recipe has been formulated to maintain muscle and control weight in senior dogs. It’s made with real meat and fish and comprises 38 percent protein. To preserve the nutritional content, a third of the meat has been air-dried at low temperatures. The remaining meat content is fresh or raw and has been flash frozen. This removes the need for the use of artificial preservatives.

Related Post: Best Senior Dog Food

It provides all the nutrients that a senior dog needs and has no grains or potato as cheap fillers.

Related Post: Orijen Dog Food

38 percent protein

Carefully prepared meat to maintain nutrients

No grains or potato

  • Brand: Orijen
  • Model: DOR4420-25
  • Weight: 24.9 pounds


The high quality protein in this recipe has been obtained from lamb, Muscovy duck, nest-laid eggs, rainbow trout and free-run quail. They are farmed locally to the production plant in the US and are minimally heat treated to maintain the nutrient profile.

The recipe has been matched carefully to the diet of wild dogs to suit your dog’s natural physiology. Liver, tripe and cartilage are included to provide essential nutrients. A full 30 percent of the recipe is made up of carbohydrates that include easy to digest vegetables and fruits. There are no grains or fillers.

Related Post: Acana Dog Food

High quality protein

Matches the diet of wild dogs

Easy to digest fruit and vegetables

  • Brand: ACANA
  • Model: DAC3170-25
  • Weight: 24.9 pounds


There’s 26 percent protein and 15 percent fat in this best food for Border Collie pups. It contains all the nutrients that an active dog needs. As well as the protein to build strong muscles, there’s natural sources of glucosamine and chondroitin to support healthy joints that have to work hard. There are omega fats to support normal development and carefully controlled levels of calcium to build strong bones.

The recipe is full of flavor and contains easy to digest carbohydrates such as sweet potato and rice which provide plenty of energy for a lively pup. There are no grains, no chicken by-product meal and no artificial additives that could upset a delicate digestion and trigger allergies.

Related Post: Nutro Dog Foods

26 percent protein

15 percent fat

Carefully controlled calcium levels

No grains or artificial additives

  • Brand: Nutro
  • Model: 10157636
  • Weight: 30 pounds


Chicken, turkey and salmon are the main ingredients in this wet dog food.  It offers balanced nutrition in a natural recipe and has everything your Border Collie needs to maintain a healthy coat (with less shedding) strong nails and high energy levels.

There’s 9 percent protein and 6.5 percent fat and plenty of moisture to keep your pooch hydrated. There are added amino acids to build strong muscle and flaxseed to provide omega oils for a healthy coat and skin.

Related Post: Whole Earth Farms Dog Food

9 percent protein

Added amino acids

Flaxseed provides omega oils

  • Brand: Whole Earth Farms
  • Model: 85472
  • Weight: 10 pounds

Dog Food for Border Collies Buying Guide

What to Look for When Buying Dog Food for Border Collies

Border Collies are considered to be a medium-sized breed who can happily live on dry or wet food. However, they are known for being extremely active dogs who need a high-quality diet to fuel all that activity. Here are some of the things you should consider when looking for the best food for Border Collies.

  • Will it provide plenty of energy? The calorie content is important because Border Collies need a lot of energy. Check with your vet to find out how many calories your dog needs each day.
  • Has it got a lot of protein? Look at the crude protein content of the food. This will give you an idea of how much protein it will provide. Proteins provide amino acids which the body uses to build healthy muscle and an active breed like the Border Collie needs a lot of muscle!
  • What are the carbohydrates? All dog food will have some sort of carbohydrates which are needed for energy. Border Collies need high quality sources because they use up a lot of energy. Look for peas and sweet potatoes amongst the ingredients.
  • Will it support joint health? Border Collies’ joints have to put up with a lot of punishment. To avoid arthritis in later years, it is a good idea to choose foods that have plenty of glucosamine and chondroitin which will keep the joints healthy.
  • Is it good for their coat? Collies have a gorgeous thick coat but it does shed! You can keep it healthy and minimize shedding by feeding them a diet rich in omega oils. These are found in ingredients such as fish and flaxseed.

Nutritional Needs of Border Collies

Border Collies are highly intelligent and very active dogs who need a lot of physical and mental stimulation to keep them happy and healthy. Their diet is a big part of this so it is vital that you understand their nutritional needs. Here are the basics.

  • Overall calorie intake 

This needs to be carefully worked out for your individual dog depending on their age, size, activity levels and lifestyle. Your vet will be able to give you an ideal weight that you should be aiming for and will advise on calorie intake to maintain that weight. It may take some trial and error. Many Border Collies will not self-regulate their diet and will just carry on eating!

As a very rough guide, you could expect senior and less active dogs to need around 700 calories per day but an active dog that loves long walks and extended play sessions could need 1,000 calories per day. A Border collie that is actively working as a herding dog could need as much as 1,400 calories per day.

  • Protein

Because they are very active dogs, they need a lot of high-quality protein to build strong muscle. This is essential for an active lifestyle and especially important for a working dog. High-quality sources of protein (from lean meat and fish) are the best option.

  • Glucosamine and chondroitin

Working dogs place a lot of strain on their joints because they are running and leaping around so much. These two supplements are essential for healthy cartilage and joints. It may be found in food naturally as part of meat meals or it may be added as a supplement. Look out for them on the nutrients list.

  • Calcium

Calcium is essential for building strong bones and needs to be matched with phosphorous levels in the body. It is essential for active dogs but the levels of calcium in a pup’s diet need to be carefully controlled. Look out for food that is suitable for pups.

  • Carbohydrates and fat

These are essential to provide energy for an active lifestyle but they must be provided by healthy sources. Look for ingredients such as sweet potato and peas which provide both carbohydrates and other nutrients.

  • Omega oils and vitamins

Border Collies do shed their coat and anything that reduces this has got to be a good idea. They need omega oils in their diet to keep their skin and coat healthy.

Ingredients to Avoid Feeding Your Border Collie

Border Collies are a fairly tolerant breed when it comes to diet but there are still certain ingredients that it would be best to avoid.

  • Cheap fillers. These are usually carbohydrates that offer little in terms of nutrition and are just there to ‘bulk out’ the volume of the food and make it go further. They can add to obesity problems. Some grains, tapioca and potato can be examples.
  • Protein source. When it comes to dog food, not all proteins are equal! Chicken by-product meals are probably the cheapest source of protein in dog food but the protein is poor-quality and will not provide all the amino acids that your dog needs. High quality meat from lamb, chicken, game or fish is preferable.
  • All dogs need carbohydrates but not too many and not the wrong type. Cheaper carbohydrates, such as grains, are not easy for all dogs to digest and are best avoided. Preferable alternatives are pumpkin, rice and sweet potato.
  • Allergy triggers. Some dogs suffer from food allergies which can cause digestive or skin problems. The common culprits are corn, wheat and soy so these are excluded from many recipes.
  • Artificial additives. The highest quality dog food recipes are based on natural ingredients and try to match the formulation with the diet of a wild dog. Therefore, it is best to avoid artificial flavors and preservatives because they can trigger reactions and are not necessary.

Potential Border Collie Health Problems

You can expect your Border Collie to live for between 10 and 14 years and to enjoy remarkably good health provided they have a suitable diet and plenty of exercise.  However, as with all breeds, they can suffer from some minor health problems.

Here are some of the more common.

  • Progressive retinal atrophy – a degenerative condition affecting the eyesight which can lead to blindness.
  • Osteochondritis dissecans – is a joint disorder that causes articular cartilage to crack and the joint swells and locks into position.
  • Lens luxation – a condition where the lens of the eye shifts out of place.
  • Hypothyroidism – insufficient thyroid hormone which can cause obesity and a brittle coat.
  • Collie eye anomaly (CEA) – an inherited eye disease that can cause partial or complete blindness.
  • Canine hip dysplasia – a malformation of the hip joint.
  • Border collie weight issues – make sure you know what your Border Collie average weight should be because many will overeat and will become obese.

How to Feed a Border Collie

One characteristic of the Border Collie breed is that they will not self-regulate their food intake. Therefore, if you keep feeding them, they will carry on eating! This will inevitably lead to obesity and all the associated health problems. Left to their own devices, a Border Collie will easily eat their whole day’s allocation of food in just 15 minutes. Therefore, a strict feeding routine is vital.

So, how much food should a border collie eat? Speak to your vet about the total calories your dog needs and then stick to it. Monitor their weight and make adjustments if needed. Border Collie pups need to be fed twice a day but this should be continued into adulthood. One meal a day is not going to suit this breed. In fact, some owners find that they do better on three meals a day. Remember that food treats given as rewards for training need to be subtracted from the overall daily calorie allowance. It may be best to use a game or a toy instead.

Two Border Collies

Our Top Pick

Our top pick has loads (25 percent) of protein provided by salmon and fish meal. There are also omega oils and everything your Border Collie needs for a healthy digestion including live cultures and prebiotic fiber.

The recipe has no eggs or grains but is packed with superfoods such as sweet potatoes, blueberries and raspberries.


  1. Border Collie Dog – Pet MD
  2. How to Choose Food for your Border Collie - WikiHow

Dr Tracy Douglas
Dr Tracy Douglas
General Practice Veterinarian, currently working at the Glenwood Veterinary Clinic, Glenwood Springs, Colorado. Dr. Douglas began her veterinary career as a Veterinary Nurse in Highton Veterinary Clinic, Highton Victoria, and then as an Emergency Veterinarian in Uintah Pet Emergency, Colorado Springs, Colorado. Tracy is particularly interested in surgery, neurology and internal medicine, which gives her a well-rounded knowledge on animal health and well-being. She received her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Melbourne, while her undergraduate bachelor of science is from the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York.
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