All dogs need basic nutrients such as protein, fat, and carbohydrates in their diet and the Collie is no exception. You should look for dog foods that use ingredients from good, healthy sources since these ingredients will provide better nutrition for your dog than poor quality ingredients.

Loyal, affectionate, and intelligent, the Collie is a graceful dog that was originally bred to herd sheep in Scotland. Collies are very active and need regular daily exercise. You’ll need to feed the best Collie food possible to provide the nutrition your dog needs.

Collies are medium-large dogs, weighing up to about 75 pounds as adults. Most people think of Lassie when they think of Collies but the breed can be rough-coated or smooth-coated. Collies are considered easy to train but they do like to bark. Learn what foods to feed a Collie below.

Collie Diet & Nutrition

As a medium-large breed, you have a wide range of food options for your Collie. You should be able to feed most good quality dog foods. Or you may opt for a large breed food if your Collie is very large. Hip dysplasia can occur in Collies but it’s not a common problem. It’s a good idea to watch your Collie’s weight and avoid letting him become overweight, especially if he’s a very large dog. Being overweight or obese puts extra strain on the joints which can lead to problems with arthritis and hip dysplasia.

Growing Collie puppies can eat most good quality puppy foods. If you have a Collie puppy from a line that produces very large adults, we would recommend a large breed puppy food. Ask your breeder about the parents of your puppy and how large they are as adults. You can also ask your breeder if they recommend feeding a large breed puppy food. Large breed puppy foods have slightly fewer calories than other puppy foods. They also have appropriate nutrients for fast-growing larger puppies to help encourage slower growth.

Some Collies can have skin problems and food allergies. Since Collies can have different kinds of skin and allergy issues, we recommend seeing your veterinarian if your dog displays any skin problems. If your dog has a food allergy or food sensitivity, your vet may suggest an elimination diet and food trial. If you can avoid the ingredient(s) that trigger your dog’s allergy, there are some limited ingredient diets and hypoallergenic foods that could be helpful for your Collie. (See below.)

Bloat can also occur in Collies. We recommend that you feed your Collie several small meals per day instead of one large meal. Using a slow feeder bowl can also encourage your dog to eat more slowly. You can find out more about bloat here.

How Much Should You Feed Your Collie?

How much you feed your Collie depends on several factors:

  • How active is your dog?
  • How much does your dog weigh?
  • How old is your dog?
  • Is your dog spayed/neutered?
  • What food are you feeding
  • What is your dog’s overall health like?

Different dogs have different metabolic rates. Large dogs like Collies usually need between 20 and 30 calories per pound of bodyweight per day even if they are just sleeping and running around the backyard. If your Collie is herding or training for agility, he will need more calories.

When you consider all of your dog’s individual factors, you still need to consider the kind of food you are feeding. In most cases, if you are feeding a premium dog food, you can feed less food than if you are feeding a lower quality food. Better quality foods, using better quality ingredients, generally have nutrients that are more bioavailable to your dog. “Bioavailable” is a fancy word that simply means the ease with which any nutrient can make its way from the food to the body. Poor quality ingredients have nutrients which are not very good at nourishing your dog’s body. Shoe leather is protein but it won’t provide your dog with much nutrition. When you feed your dog better quality ingredients they usually have more nutrients that are easily available to your dog so you don’t have to feed as much food.

Do pay attention if you change dog foods because different foods can have different calorie amounts, even if you are changing from one premium food to another. For instance, you may feed your dog three cups of your old food but when you switch to a new food, you only need to feed two cups to provide the same amount of calories per day. If you continue to feed three cups of food without checking the calories, your Collie could quickly become overweight.

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How Many Calories Does My Collie Need?

An adult male Collie can weigh up to about 75 pounds. Adult female Collies weigh up to about 65 pounds. Based on recommendations from the National Research Council of the National Academies, the group that researches and make nutritional recommendations for dogs and cats, if your Collie weighs 70 pounds, you would need to feed him about 1688 calores per day. If your Collie is getting ore exercise, such as herding or training for agility, you would need to increase his calories. If he’s neutered or very inactive, you would need to decrease his calories so he wouldn’t put on extra weight.

These are general guidelines. It’s always important to watch your dog and notice if he’s gaining or losing weight with the amount of food you are feeding. You can adjust the amount as needed. Dog food companies are supposed to provide calorie content statements on the label of foods but it can be hard to find. If you can’t find the calories listed on the label, check the company’s web site. It’s usually listed with the feeding recommendations.

What To Look For In A Good Collie Food

Look for the following specifics in a good food for your Collie:

Good Sources of Protein – Your Collie needs good sources of protein in his diet. Protein helps build muscle and keeps a dog’s skin and coat healthy. We suggest that you look for several sources of animal protein in the first few ingredients. It’s good if the first ingredient listed is an animal protein. Dogs can absorb nutrients from animal protein more easily than from plant protein but many of today’s dog foods, including grain free foods, use lots of plant protein such as peas and lentils. Some plant protein is okay but it’s better if the food has plenty of animal protein such as meat, poultry, fish, and eggs.

With all ingredients, including animal protein, the more specific the ingredients, the better. For example, chicken meal is considered better than “poultry meal” because ingredient is more specifically identified. “Poultry” could include different kinds of fowl. The same is true for “meat” meal. It could refer to any kind of meat.

Some people prefer whole meat protein to meals – whole chicken to chicken meal, for instance. However, whole meats are mostly water; whereas meals have already had most of their moisture content removed. What remains is mostly protein. You can often find good premium dog foods that combine these two ingredients. The food may have whole chicken as the first ingredient followed by chicken meal. Or turkey and turkey meal, and so on.

Good Sources of Fat – You should also look for foods that have named sources of fat. Your dog needs fat in his diet as a source of essential fatty acids (EFA) and as a way to distribute the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. Here again, your dog can absorb fat from animal sources such as fish oil and chicken fat better than from plant sources.

Low to Moderate Carbohydrates – Even many good quality dog foods have lots of carbohydrates. This is true even for many grain free dog foods. Carbs don’t come just from grains. Ingredients such as sweet potatoes and potatoes – often found in grain free foods – are mostly carbs.

You don’t have to avoid all carbohydrates but you should look for foods that are low to moderate in carbs. Some carbohydrates are beneficial for your dog. For example, the prebiotic chicory is a carbohydrate. Dietary fiber in dog food usually comes from carbohydrates. However, dogs don’t need the extra carbs that can come from filler ingredients.

Avoid Lower Quality Ingredients – Lower quality ingredients can include things such ass meat or animal digest; unnamed meat by-products; and corn and wheat gluten.

Avoid Artificial Preservatives, Colors, and Sweeteners – Artificial preservatives have been linked to various health problems in humans and animals. The same is true with artificial colors/dyes. Your dog doesn’t need any kind of artificial sweetener.

AAFCO – AAFCO is the Association of American Feed Control Officials. They set voluntary standards for pet food labeling at the local, state, and federal level. Look for foods that have met the minimum standards set by AAFCO. You will find these statements of nutritional adequacy on the dog food label.

Most dog food experts today recommend that dogs should eat a diet that is relatively high in protein and moderate in fat. A healthy adult Collie should do well on this kind of diet.

Top 3 Best Foods To Feed An Adult Collie

Wellness CORE Grain Free Original Formula

First 5 Ingredients : Deboned Turkey, Turkey Meal, Chicken Meal, Peas, Potatoes

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Wellness CORE Grain Free Original Formula

Wellness CORE Grain Free Original Formula can be a good choice for Collies that have allergies or food sensitivities. It’s grain free with lots of protein and it’s moderate in fat. It has 421 kcal/cup. The first five ingredients in the food are deboned turkey, turkey meal, chicken meal, peas, and potatoes. And it has no artificial flavors, preservatives, meat by-products, or fillers. If your Collie is very active, this food would be a good dog food.

Now Fresh Grain Free Large Breed Adult Recipe

First 5 Ingredients : De-Boned Turkey, Whole Dried Egg, Potatoes, Peas, Potato Flour

Now Fresh Grain Free Large Breed Adult Recipe

If your Collie is very large, you may want to consider feeding a dog food made for large breed dogs. This large breed formula from Now Fresh uses 100 percent fresh turkey, salmon, and duck. It has no grains, wheat, beef, corn, or soy,  so it can also be a good choice for dogs with allergies or food sensitivities. And it has supplements for good hip and joint health. With 27 percent crude protein, 13 percent crude fat, and 363 kcal/cup, we think it’s a good choice for large Collies that need to be careful about their joints and weight.

First 5 Ingredients : Deboned Chicken, Chicken Giblets (Liver, Heart, Gizzard), Chicken Meal, Whole Green Peas, Red Lentils

ACANA Heritage Free-Run Poultry

Acana foods are made by the same company that makes Orijen. The Acana Heritage foods are made in Kentucky and use fresh regional ingredients. This formula has 60 percent animal protein from chicken, turkey, and eggs – all good sources or protein. The first five ingredients are: deboned chicken, chicken giblets (liver, heart, gizzard), chicken meal, whole green peas, and red lentils. The food has 29 percent crude protein and 17 percent crude fat, with 396 kcal/cup. If your Collie can’t eat chicken, the Heritage formulas also come in freshwater fish and heritage meats formulas.

Top 3 Best Foods To Feed A Collie Puppy

CANIDAE Life Stages Chicken, Duck & Lentils Formula Large Breed Puppy Canned Dog Food

First 5 Ingredients : Chicken, Duck Broth, Duck, Dried Egg Whites, Brown Rice

CANIDAE Life Stages Chicken, Duck & Lentils Formula Large Breed Puppy Canned Dog Food

Canidae’s All Life Stages Large Breed Puppy formula has calcium and protein tailored for the growth of your large breed puppy’s bones. It contains no corn, wheat, or soy. It is lower in protein and fat than many puppy foods so it helps keep large breed puppies from growing too fast. Growing too fast at a young age can lead to problems such as hip dysplasia and arthritis when dogs get older. The first five ingredients are: Chicken, Duck Broth, Duck, Dried Egg Whites, Brown Rice.

Holistic Select Large & Giant Breed Puppy Health

First 5 Ingredients : Lamb Meal, Ground Brown Rice, Ground White Rice, Chicken Meal, Dried Beet Pulp

Holistic Select Large & Giant Breed Puppy Health

Holistic Select Large & Giant Breed Puppy Health comes in a lamb and oatmeal recipe but the formula also includes chicken and fish meals. DHA supports good brain and eye development. The first five ingredients in the food are: lamb meal, ground brown rice, ground white rice, chicken meal, and dried beet pulp. This formula has 23 percent crude protein and 12 percent crude fat with 375 kcal/cup – these lower percentages and calories encourage slow growth in very large puppies. Holistic Select has a number of good kibble and canned foods including a grain free puppy food with higher protein and fat percentages, if you prefer.

Earthborn Holistic Puppy Vantage

First 5 Ingredients : Chicken Meal, Whitefish Meal, Oatmeal, Ground Barley, Ground Brown Rice

Earthborn Holistic Puppy Vantage

Not everyone feeds Collie puppies a large breed puppy food. If you prefer to feed your puppy a regular puppy food, Earthborn Holistic Puppy Vantage is good for all breeds. It has 28 percent crude protein and 20 percent crude fat, with only 32 percent carbohydrates. It has 445 kcal/cup. It contains DHA for good brain and eye developement. This food does have oatmeal, barley, and rice if your Collie puppy can eat these grains. And it has the proper balance of calcium and phosphorus for a puppy’s bone development. The first five ingredients in this puppy food are: chicken meal, whitefish meal, oatmeal, ground barley, and ground brown rice. Most Collie puppies should do well eating this food unless they are especially large, from very large parents.

We hope this information helps you choose the best food for your Collie. Remember that the foods recommended here are only suggestions. There are many good foods that your dog might be able to eat. You can use these recommendations as a starting point. Your dog is an individual. Check our dog food reviews here on Pawster for more ideas.

Carlotta Cooper

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