Border Collies are widely regarded as the most intelligent dogs in the world.
But they require a lot of mental and physical exercises and a suitable diet to provide them with the energy they need to maintain their highly active lifestyles.
So, if you are a Border Collie parent, you most likely need to feed your bright and energetic pup dog food, which has a lot more calories than food for other dog breeds of approximately the same size.
Here are some tips on the best dog food for Border Collies and how to choose the most suitable food for your pup of this breed.
How to Best Feed Your Border Collie
First of all, here are some general tips for feeding your Border Collie.
Caloric intake that Border Collies need
The exact number of calories that your dog needs to eat to stay healthy, have the energy it needs, and maintain a healthy weight depends on its age, weight, activity level, metabolism, and health.
Growing puppies require about 1,400 calories a day. Adult healthy Border Collies need about 35 calories per pound of their body weight. So, an average adult dog must consume about 1,000 calories daily.
Senior pups are usually less active and more sedentary, so they will need to consume only about 700 to 900 calories per day.
If your dog needs to lose some weight, then subtract 5–10 calories per pound.
How often should you feed a Border Collie?
It’s best to divide your adult Border Collie’s daily food into two smaller meals so that it can keep its energy levels stable throughout the day.
It is not advisable to leave bowls full of dog food all day long or to rely on automatic feeders for your pup.
If your pet eats its food in seconds, consider using a slow feeder or hiding some treats or kibble in dog puzzles.
On the other hand, puppies need more calories and nutrients, so you should feed them 4-6 times per day for the first six months and then 2-3 times a day until they become adults at 12 months of age.
Should your Border eat dry kibbles, wet food, or raw?
There is no one right answer to the question of which type of dog food is best for your Border Collie. The answer depends on your pup’s weight, age, activity level, metabolism, health, and flavor preferences. It also depends on your budget and your storage availability.
Dry dog food is no doubt the most accessible, convenient, and often the least expensive of all other options.
Wet dog food is more palatable to dogs, especially to picky eaters. It also contains more water, which is essential for pups. But wet dog food is also a more expensive option. Plus, it requires more effort to serve and wash up than kibble.
One clever trick is to mix up your four-legged friend’s diet by topping kibble with wet food or mixing the two for a tastier and more nutritious meal.
Preparing your own Biologically Appropriate Raw Food (BARF) at home can be time-consuming and expensive. Still, you will know what your furbaby is eating at all times and will be sure that there are no ingredients that you wouldn’t want your Border Collie to eat.
Border Collie Food with Grains or Grain-Free Border Collie Food?
In the last few years, there has been ongoing controversy regarding the supposed correlation found between feeding canines with grain-free dog foods and the development of canine dilated myopathy (DCM).
Even though the FDA did not find any evidence of such a correlation, many dog parents switched from grain-free formulas to dog foods containing grain.
7 Best Dog Foods for Border Collies Reviewed
Best for Border Collie Puppies
- The first 5 ingredients: lamb, rice, chicken by-product meal, corn gluten meal, and whole grain corn
- Guaranteed Analysis: crude protein is 28% minimum, crude fat is 18% minimum, and crude fiber is 3% maximum.
- Caloric Content: 447 kcal per cup
- Type of food: high-protein dry dog food, promoting brain, dental, and digestive health and care, and immune support
- Life stage: puppies of all breeds
The best kibble for Border Collie puppies is created to meet the needs of puppies of all breeds up to the age of 1 year. The high-protein dry dog food has real lamb as its primary protein source and number one ingredient. With a minimum of 28% protein content, your puppy will get all of the amino acids needed for growing lean muscles.
It is highly digestible, ensuring that your growing puppy absorbs all the essential nutrients it needs to grow healthy, happy, and fit.
Thanks to the added fish oil in the recipe, your pup will get the DHA and healthy omega fatty acids necessary for its brain and eye development and function.
The kibble is fortified with the right quantities and ratio of calcium and phosphorus, which are essential for the development and health of your puppy’s bones and teeth.
There are also added probiotics, which will ensure that your puppy’s gut health, digestive system, and immune system are all in superb condition and functioning correctly.
You can buy this food in 6-, 18-, and 34-pound bags, and it is also available in a Chicken and Rice flavor if your puppy has allergies, sensitivities, or taste preferences.
- Suitable for Border Collies aged up to 12 months
- The formula is created to promote healthy growth, brain, eye, bone, and other development
- Real lamb is the first ingredient and protein source
- It comes in chicken and rice flavor options as well
- The second ingredient is chicken by-product meal, which means the part of the animal left after the meat is removed rather than the meat itself
Best for Adult Border Collies
- The first 5 ingredients: deboned chicken, chicken meal, brown rice, barley, and oatmeal
- Guaranteed Analysis: 24% crude protein minimum, 14% crude fat minimum, 5% crude fiber maximum
- Caloric Content: 378 kcal per cup
- Type of food: dry dog food with a grain (no wheat, soy, or corn), no poultry by-product meals for immune support, skin and coat health, and minerals and vitamins
- Life stage: adult dogs of all breeds
This dry dog food is created to provide holistic health for adult dogs of all breeds. It contains all essential nutrients and added ingredients to ensure your Border Collie is healthy, energetic, and fit.
The recipe has real, deboned chicken as its main protein source and the first ingredient. Alongside it, the kibble also contains superfoods like blueberries, peas, sweet potatoes, and alfalfa, and more natural sources of the vital minerals, vitamins, and other micronutrients your pup needs.
The dry dog food is fortified with calcium and phosphorus, which will help keep your pup’s teeth and bones healthy and strong.
Thanks to the included omega fatty acids, the coat of your Border Collie will be shinier than ever, and its skin will be healthy and problem-free.
Special LifeSourceBits mixed into the kibble contain the essential chelated minerals and vitamins for your pup.
You can buy this high-quality dog food in bags of 5, 15, 30, and 34 lbs. And it is also available in other flavors, including beef and brown rice, fish and brown rice, and lamb and brown rice, too.
- There is added glucosamine which helps keep the joints of your dog healthy
- It contains whole grains and real deboned chicken.
- There are LifeSource Bits mixed into the kibble, which contain concentrated amounts of vitamins and minerals
- Some pups tend to avoid eating the LifeSource Bits at all
Best for Senior Border Collies
- The first 5 ingredients: human-grade chicken, chicken meal, whole grain barley, split peas, and brewers rice
- Guaranteed Analysis: crude protein is 24% minimum, crude fat is 12% minimum, and crude fiber is 4% maximum.
- Caloric Content: 319 kcal per cup
- Type of food: natural, high-protein, the human-grade first ingredient, no molasses, wheat, corn, soy, or GMO; for muscle care, sensitive skin, digestion, and with minerals and vitamins
- Life stage: senior dogs of all breeds
This dry dog food is formulated for senior dogs aged 7 years or more. As such, it contains all of the nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and other ingredients to keep your dog in excellent shape and health as it ages.
The kibble has real, human-grade chicken as its first ingredient and primary protein source, making it delicious even for picky eaters and an excellent source of the proteins needed to keep your pup’s muscles lean and strong.
It contains natural sources of the essential antioxidants and calcium your four-legged friend needs for strong and healthy bones and overall well-being.
The kibble from Nutro Natural Choice has selenium, glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, and omega fatty acids added to it to help keep joints, coats, and bodies healthy.
All ingredients are natural and real, and no GMO products are used to make this high-quality dry dog food for senior Border Collies.
You can buy it in bags of 13 or 30 lbs. and in a lamb and brown rice flavor too.
- It is made of human-grade chicken and real non-GMO ingredients
- Contains natural fiber, which promotes healthy digestion
- The kibble has added calcium, selenium, glucosamine, and chondroitin, which are all essential for senior dogs
- It is appropriate for dogs aged 7 or more of all sizes and breeds
- You can also buy it in a lamb and brown rice flavor option
- Some dog parents complain of an unpleasant smell of fish from the kibble
- The first 5 ingredients: deboned duck, duck meal, peas, sweet potatoes, and pea starch
- Guaranteed Analysis: minimum crude protein of 25%, minimum crude fat of 12%, and maximum crude fiber of 6%
- Caloric Content: 324 kcal per cup
- Type of food: limited ingredient diet, no corn, wheat, or soy, grain-free dry dog food for dogs with food sensitivities, skin and coat health, digestive health, and containing all essential vitamins and minerals
- Life stage: all life stages
The American Journey Limited Ingredient dog food is affordable and suitable for Border Collies of all ages—from puppies to seniors.
It is especially suitable for pups with food allergies or sensitivities or those on elimination diets because duck is its single protein source and contains no other potential allergens such as grains or other proteins such as beef, pork, veal, or chicken.
Along with the real duck, there are other added nutrient-dense and healthy ingredients such as carrots, blueberries, and easily digestible sweet potatoes.
The budget-friendly dry dog food for Border Collies is packed with healthy omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which will help keep your dog’s coat, skin, brain, and eyes healthy. Because of the antioxidants included, your dog’s immune system will remain healthy and strong, protecting your pet from illnesses.
You can buy this affordable kibble in 12 or 24 lbs. bags. It is also available in a number of other flavors with single protein sources, such as salmon and sweet potato, venison and sweet potato, and lamb and sweet potato.
- Limited ingredient dog food suitable for pups with sensitivities or allergies
- The single protein source contains optimal levels of protein
- No added fillers or poultry by-product meals
- It contains enough fiber to help boost the digestive system function and keep the pup feeling full for longer
- You can also buy it in other flavors with other single protein sources
- It is very affordable
- Some dogs may not like its taste
Best Grain-Free Border Collie Dog Food
- The first 5 ingredients: deboned beef, pork meal, salmon meal, sweet potatoes, and peas
- Guaranteed Analysis: crude protein is 34% minimum, crude fat is 15% minimum, and crude fiber is 3.5% maximum.
- Caloric Content: 389 kcal per cup
- Type of food: grain-free dry dog food, high protein, chicken-free, gluten-free, no wheat, corn, or soy
- Life stage: adult dogs of all breeds
This premium-quality dry food is made up of 65% animal-based proteins and healthy fats and 35% plant-based fiber, vitamins, minerals, and more natural and nutrient-packed ingredients.
It contains glucosamine and chondroitin for healthy joints and improved mobility of your pup.
The food has healthy omega fatty acids for a beautiful and healthy coat and skin.
The kibble doesn’t contain chicken, corn, gluten, wheat, grains, or poultry—perfect for dogs with intolerances or allergies to these ingredients.
The dry dog food is high in proteins and has high-quality real beef as its primary protein source, making it perfect for active working dogs.
It also has glucosamine and chondroitin to keep the pup’s joints healthy and pain-free.
You can also buy this high-quality grain-free food in other flavors, including real chicken, real duck, real lamb, and real salmon as the first ingredients.
The premium-quality dry dog food is sold in bags of 4, 10, 22, and 30 lbs.
- A very high protein content of 38% min.
- Made with healthy carbohydrate ingredients that are grain- and gluten-free
- It is loaded with beneficial fatty acids for healthy and beautiful skin and coat
- Added chondroitin and glucosamine to keep the joints of your dog healthy and pain-free
- No poultry or grains
- Also available in other flavors and recipes
- It is a more expensive option than some of the other dry dog foods on our list
Best Wet Dog Food For Border Collies
- The first 5 ingredients: for the red meat: are beef, beef broth, beef liver, lamb, and pork liver. For the chicken and poultry flavor: chicken, chicken broth, turkey, chicken liver, and sweet potatoes
- Guaranteed Analysis: 8% crude protein, 5% minimum fat, 1.4% crude fiber, and 78% maximum moisture
- Caloric content: for red meat, 396 kcal per can; and for chicken and turkey, 440 kcal per can
- Type of food: wet dog food, grain-free, gluten-free, no soy, wheat or corn; natural, BPA-free, complete and balanced dog food
- Life stage: adult dogs of all breeds
If your four-legged companion is a fussy eater, lacks appetite, or prefers eating wet dog food, then this variety pack offered by Whole Earth Farms is our top pick, especially for Border Collies.
The variety pack contains grain-free and natural canned wet dog food in two flavors: red meat and chicken and turkey.
The first ingredients in both recipes are real USA-raised chicken and turkey or real beef, as well as broth, sweet potatoes, apples, carrots, and more healthy ingredients.
It has added vitamins and minerals that your dog needs, and it is certified as a complete and balanced food for adult dogs of all sizes and breeds.
The wet dog food is very tasty and can be used as a topping or added to your dog’s regular food.
It is grain, BPA, and soy free and comes in a variety pack of 12 12.7-oz cans, or you can buy only the red meat or chicken and turkey recipes if you prefer.
- The food is highly palatable
- It is sold in variety packs with two recipes: chicken, turkey, and red meat
- The canned food can be mixed with kibble, given as a topper, or fed to the dog as its main food
- Made of USA-raised animals and farm-grown veggies
- It doesn’t contain soy, wheat, or corn
- It is not a high-protein dog food, so it is not suitable for working or highly active Border Collies
Best for Border Collies With Sensitive Stomachs
- The first 5 ingredients: chicken, chicken meal, yellow peas, cracked pearled barley, and brown rice
- Guaranteed Analysis: crude protein is 20% minimum, crude fat is 13% minimum, and crude fiber is 4% maximum.
- Caloric Content: 382 kcal per cup
- Type of food: veterinarian-recommended dog food for sensitive stomachs, skin, and coat health
- Life stage: adult dogs of all breeds
This dry dog food from Hill’s Science Diet is made especially for adult dogs with sensitive skin or stomachs.
It is veterinarian recommended and has beet pulp, which contains natural prebiotic fiber for healthy digestion.
The kibble is formulated to be highly digestible and to provide maximum nutrient absorption, even by pups with sensitive stomachs.
The dry food is made of natural ingredients and fortified with minerals, vitamins, and amino acids.
It also contains omega-6 fatty acids and vitamin E for a shiny and healthy coat and skin.
You can buy it in bags of 4, 15.5, and one or two 30 lbs. bags.
- The number one ingredient is real chicken, which is a superb protein source
- The ingredients include beet pulp, which is a natural prebiotic fiber
- It has added omega-6 fatty acids and vitamin E for a healthy and shiny coat and for skin health
- Suitable for dogs with sensitive stomachs and skin due to allergies, intolerances, or other reasons
- The crude protein content is at least 20%, which is low for many highly active Border Collies.
A Guide to Buying Dog Food for Border Collies
Here are the main features to keep in mind when selecting the right food for your Border Collie.
Nutrients Your Border Collie Needs
When buying dog food, the first thing to do is look at the ingredient list. Make sure that it includes all of the right nutrients that your pup needs. Check the percentages and the first ingredients, as well as for ingredients that you cannot pronounce or that seem like they should not be there.
Border Collies need to eat a high-protein diet because they are very active and agile. This is especially true for working dogs and dogs that compete in dog sports.
An average adult Border Collie weighs 30 to 55 lbs. It needs to eat sufficient amounts of natural proteins to have enough fuel for its muscles and brain.
Keep in mind that the protein should be a minimum of 25% of the daily intake of your furbaby.
If your Border Collie is energetic and engages in a lot of physical exercises, work, and play, then you shouldn’t worry about feeding it food with a higher fat content.
While other sedentary dogs will do better with dog food with a lower fat content, an active Border Collie can safely eat food with up to 20% crude fat in it.
Of course, always monitor your pup’s response to the food it eats. If you notice that it gets diarrhea or soft stool after eating high-fat food, then you may want to switch to lower-fat content options.
Vitamins & Minerals
The other essential nutrients your dog needs include vitamins and minerals, omega fatty acids, glucosamine, and chondroitin.
All of the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients your Border Collie needs every day should be in commercial dog foods that meet the AAFCO’s nutrient guidelines for a complete and balanced diet.
If you are concerned that your puppy may be deficient in vitamins or minerals, consult with your veterinarian to determine whether additional supplements are required.
Fruits and Vegetables
Dog food containing real, healthy veggies and fruits is a preferred option compared to food fortified with synthetic vitamins, minerals, fiber, and artificial supplements.
Plant-based ingredients are excellent sources of the essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, and other nutrients that your four-legged companion needs to stay fit, healthy, energetic, and happy.
Plants are also sources of carbohydrates, which are essential for the dog’s well-being and energy levels.
Common Border Collie Health Issues
These highly intelligent and hardworking dogs have a life expectancy of 12 to 15 years, but some are known to have lived up to 20 or more years.
In order to ensure that your Border Collie lives as long and as healthy as possible, it is essential to feed it a diet suitable for its age, activity level, metabolism, weight, and health.
Dog parents should be aware of some of the health issues to which Border Collies are more prone because many of them can be prevented or managed through a healthy diet, weight loss, lifestyle changes, and a timely diagnosis and treatment or management.
Since the dogs of this Scottish breed are so active and love running and working, they can put a lot more stress and impact on their joints than more sedentary dogs.
So, joint issues are quite common among Borders. Some of them can occur at an early age, and others are more degenerative and start appearing as the pup ages.
Hip dysplasia is an inherited condition that makes the hip joint lose and unable to hold the bones together.
Many old dogs develop arthritis, which can cause pain, stiffness, and discomfort. One way to help slow down or even prevent this wearing of the cartilage of the dog’s joints is to feed your pup food that contains glucosamine and chondroitin, which act as lubricants and help prevent the cartilage from disintegrating over time.
Intestinal Cobalamin Malabsorption
Some Border Collies have this inherited disease, which prevents them from absorbing essential nutrients like cobalamin (vitamin B) and getting enough protein.
Intestinal cobalamin malabsorption, if left unmanaged, can lead to drastic weight loss, seizures, and epilepsy, and can even be fatal.
Food allergies and intolerances can occur among all breeds, Border Collies included. The signs that your pup may be suffering from an allergy to certain foods and ingredients can include itchiness, scratching, hives, swelling, sneezing, coughing, digestive problems, and others.
The signs of intolerance to certain ingredients include digestive issues such as diarrhea, vomiting, and gas.
The best way to prevent adverse reactions is to avoid feeding your dog the allergens that trigger them.
DM, also known as chronic degenerative radiculomyelopathy, affects older dogs, aged 4 to 14 years. It is caused by a mutation that affects the pup’s spinal cord and causes gradual hind-limb weakness or paralysis.
The symptoms to look for include wobbling or stumbling, difficulty getting up, swaying of the rear, scraping or knuckling of the hind feet when walking, and others. In the later stages, the dog may have difficulty walking or controlling its defecation and urination.
Unfortunately, there is no treatment for this genetic condition, but some ways to manage it and make life more comfortable for the pup are by keeping it at a healthy weight, providing it with physical therapy and exercise such as walking and swimming, and giving it prescribed medications and vitamin supplements.
Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD)
This disease causes abnormal growth or development of the cartilage of the bones in the dog’s joints. It occurs most often in the shoulder joints but can also occur in the hip, elbow, or knee of the dog.
OCD is considered a developmental disease and usually occurs between the age of 6 and 9 months.
Other factors that can cause this painful condition include trauma, too much calcium in the diet, blood flow problems, genetics, and hormones.
The condition is painful for the dog and can cause lameness and discomfort. It can be treated by restricting the activity of the pup when it is a mild case, or it may need surgical repair in more severe cases. Often, the vets will prescribe pain relief medication, weight control, and a healthy diet, as well as restrictions on activities and walks.
FAQ About Border Collie Dog Food
How do you transition a Border Collie to new dog food?
Any time you are transitioning to new dog food, you should do it gradually. Start by introducing small amounts of the new food as an addition to the pup’s usual food. Watch your pet for any adverse reactions to the new food, such as diarrhea, stomach pain, or others.
Overall, if you want to make big changes to your dog’s diet, you should always talk to your vet first.
When can my Border Collie Start Eating adult dog food?
Puppy dog food is usually higher in protein and contains the right amount of phosphorus and calcium for the growing puppies.
With the right puppy food, you can ensure that your Border Collie grows into a healthy and happy adult dog.
You can feed your puppy with puppy food until it is fully grown, which with Border Collies is usually around 15 months.
Ask your vet when and how to transition your pup to dog food for adults safely.
Will treats affect my Border Collie’s diet?
Treats are great for training and spoiling your pup, but keep in mind that they can contain a lot of calories, fat, and other ingredients that can cause weight gain and harm your pup’s health.
Check the ingredients of your dog’s treats as well as their caloric value. The treats should not be more than 20% of the dog’s daily recommended caloric intake.