What is the best dog food for feeding Border Collies?

We may earn a small commission if you buy products through links on this page. This helps us to keep creating great content.

One of the most important questions you ask as a pet owner is: what should I feed my dog?

Understandably, this task may be quite overwhelming. Aside from picking out one type of dog food and a brand, you also have to think of other factors related to feeding Borders.

Let us help you narrow down your options as we tell you the best dog food for Border Collies.

Eating Habits: How much food does a Border Collie need?

Some would say 2 cups of dry kibbles daily, but that’s not applicable for all Borders. There are a lot of things to consider, such as your Border Collie’s age, size, activity level, metabolism, and, if applicable, health issues.

So before we discuss dog food brands, it’s essential to know what Border Collies are like and their lifestyle. This will give you an idea of the nutrients, ingredients, and feeding amount this breed requires.

Borders are very active canines. Originally bred as working dogs to herd livestock, they genuinely are a hardworking companion for ranch and farm owners. Even though they’re under the herding class, they also make a great family pet.

The catch is, working or non-working, all Border Collies need constant mental and physical stimulation. They’re so energetic that they require more calories in a day compared to other breeds.

Caloric intake that Border Collies need

There are so many types of dog food, and all of them have different ingredients. That would mean their serving suggestions would also vary.

If you’re wondering how much to feed a Border Collie, it’s best to rely on calories, no matter what kind and brand of dog food you choose.

Since Borders will do everything to expend their energy, they tend to have a high metabolism.

A growing Border Collie would need 1,400 calories per day since they’re more likely to be highly active. For average adults, an average of 1,000 calories should be enough for them to thrive. As this breed gets older, their activity and energy decline, so senior Borders can consume around 700 calories daily.

You must observe your dog’s behavior as they age so that they don’t overeat and gain too much weight.

Active and Young1400 Cal
Average Adult1000 Cal
Senior Dogs700 Cal

Remember, these numbers can vary since each dog is unique, even if they’re the same breed. No worries, there are a lot of dog food calculators that you can find online.

How often should you feed a Border Collie?

Since Borders are one of those breeds that have trouble self-regulating their food intake, split his caloric intake into two separate meals. It’s up to you if it’s breakfast and dinner, or lunch, then dinner.

The important thing here is to control how much he eats, which helps him regulate his energy throughout the day. That means free-feeding and automatic feeders are out of the question.

There are Border owners who prefer giving their pooch one large meal. But doing so can affect their activity or performance, especially if it’s a working dog. It can also lead to obesity, which applies to all breeds.

Puppies are still developing, so they should be eating more often compared to adults. You can feed a Border Collie puppy about four to six times a day, then by the time he’s 6-months-old, reduce it to two or three small meals.

While your dog is growing, portions will get larger but reduce the frequency to two meals a day.

If your fur baby still looks hungry, don’t give in for those puppy dog eyes and whining. Instead of risking your pet’s weight, be creative in making him feel full quicker.

Slow-feeders are great for Border Collies. It may be challenging for him to eat a lot, but that’s what you’re aiming for, so he doesn’t gulp his meal down in less than a minute. Puzzles, where you can hide kibbles or treats, is another way to entertain this breed mentally.

If you have a muffin tray and a lot of ball toys, you can make your very own simple feeding game for your Border Collie:


Should your Border eat dry kibbles, wet food, or raw?

A lot of dog owners, whether they own a Border Collie or not, choose dry kibbles because it’s more accessible. If not, they go for the saucy canned food.

Another option that you can go for is the raw diet since it’s better when it comes to nutrition. These dog foods still have their pros and cons that anyone with a dog should know.

Dry kibbles for Border Collies

When you’re at the grocery store, you’ll find different brands and bag sizes of dry kibbles along the pet aisle. As an owner, one of the reasons we choose kibbles is because they’re cheaper compared to wet food. It will still depend on the brand that you’d go for.

But the price isn’t the only good thing about dog food. Since dry kibbles are dry and hard, the texture helps keep your dog’s teeth healthy.

The cons? It’s not as tasty as other types of dog food. Some Borders wouldn’t even eat any kibble you place in front of them. Believe it or not, some pets are picky with their meals.

You should also carefully read the packaging before buying a bag of dry kibbles. Being able to save money doesn’t always mean that you’re giving your dog a high-quality meal. Be careful of commercially made products that are chock-full of fillers. They don’t give any nutrients for your Border Collie.

Different types of dog food for Border Collies

Should you feed your Border Collie wet food?

If you would compare canned dog food to dry kibbles, wet food is much tastier and is also pricier. Borders will definitely enjoy saucy meals, making sure that there’s nothing left on their bowl.

The downside of this kind of food for canines is the texture. Unlike dry kibbles, wet ones can’t satisfy your pet’s need to chew on solids. What you can do to deal with it is brush your Border Collie’s teeth regularly and provide raw bones or treats to gnaw, which is very helpful with growing pups.

Going for wet or canned food means you are prepared for the expenses. It can quickly add up, especially if you have an adult Border dog.

If you have a pooch that’s picky or doesn’t seem to have any appetite, tempt him with canned dog food.

What some owners do to minimize the budget pressure while making sure their dog eats is mix wet food and kibbles. It’s a good trick but do it gradually. You wouldn’t want to cause stomach problems such as vomiting. And whichever kind of dog food you choose, pick one that’s appropriate to your Border’s age.

Good to know: Around 12 months, your Border Collie may still be growing, but you can start feeding him dog food for adults.

Feeding a raw diet or BARF for Border Collies

Border Collie with a raw meat in his mouth as his dog food

This option is perfect for Border Collie owners who have a lot of time because preparing home-cooked meals or BARF (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food), would demand it. Although it’s not for everyone, it’s a great way to feed your pet precisely what you want – no additives, preservatives, or fillers.

Luckily, there are commercial-made raw food packs, so it means you can use this diet minus the time for gathering and prepping recipes.

It’s essential to clarify that homemade meals for canines don’t mean you literally give your Border Collie a piece of raw meat. It’s also not the same as feeding him what you eat. There is a lot of human food that dogs shouldn’t consume, like grapes and chocolate.

We recommend that you work with a pet nutritionist or a vet when figuring out the ration or amount of fat, protein, veggies, and other ingredients to create that balanced and nutritious diet.

Once you’re making your Border Collie’s meals, you have to be extra careful. Did you know that when you’re thawing frozen raw meat, it activates bacteria and proliferates again?

Thoroughly cook anything you give your dog to kill parasites and bacteria. Keep surfaces and utensils clean to avoid contamination, and always wash your hands. Following food safety rules when handling raw meat and ingredients is key here.

Check out this video of a Border Collie owner who cooks for her dog Pepsi, who is vegan, and maybe you can try this raw food recipe:


Factors to consider when choosing dog food for your Border Collie

We’ve taken account of the Border Collie’s lifestyle, eating habits, as well as the amount of food and frequency of feeding they require.

We also have to think about the health conditions that this breed is predisposed to. It will make the search for that one particular dog food easier if you know what you’re looking for.

Common health problems in Border Collies

This breed is one of the healthiest canines, but some Borders can still suffer from diseases that are mostly passed on genetically.

Knowing what illnesses can befall your Border Collie will let you know what ingredients to avoid and what should be included in their meals. After all, a healthy diet can keep your pooch away from getting sick and make him reach or surpass their life expectancy of 10 to 15 years.

Joint Issues

This is quite common for canines who are very active like Borders. Their constant need for work and play can put a lot of stress in their joints. If it doesn’t happen during adulthood, it may catch up as they get older.

Hip Dysplasia can lead to significant pain, which would eventually require serious medical attention.

Throughout your dog’s life with you, he would need calcium to strengthen his bones over time. You can find this ingredient in various dog foods.

Glucosamine is another content that helps with keeping the joints’ cartilage stable and healthy.

Eye problems

Aging is a common reason behind dogs’ losing their eyesight. Most of the time, this genetic illness is inevitable, and symptoms can start during their early stages. But you can give your Border Collie some veggies to improve his vision.

If your pet regularly consumes orange vegetables, it can help put off this problem. They will help supply nutrients, like Beta Carotene and Vitamin A, that are proven to enhance the eyesight in both humans and animals.

Food allergies

While we’re discussing ingredients, there are some foods that you should avoid giving your Border Collie. They’re not the type of breed that suffers from allergies, but it can be triggered.

Sources of carbohydrates such as soy, wheat, and corn may cause upset stomachs and allergic reactions.

What you should look for in your Border Collie’s dog food

Start looking for essential macronutrients that would benefit your pet. It’s our job as paw parents to make sure that your canine would get a nutritious meal all the time.

Unlike other breeds, Borders would need a diet that can keep up with their needs, which is more on fats and proteins.


When it comes to Border Collies, the more protein the dog food has, the better. Generally, dog food formulas have about 25%, but for this breed, it’s best if they can up to 50% protein.

Proteins contribute to the dog’s development and overall health as it contains essential amino acids. If they don’t get a high level of protein, your pet can grow weak, which can lead to lethargy.

Nowadays, you can find dog foods that have two high-quality sources of protein or more.


As humans, we try to steer clear of consuming this, but not all fats are bad. The right kind of fat is essential to keep your Border Collie’s skin and coat healthy. It would also give your pet an added boost of energy, and it’s easy to digest.

If you check the nutritional facts label of most dog food packagings, they contain some sort of fat. It may make the meal more appealing for canines, but it’s ideal if fat comes from the source of protein. It will ensure that it’s unprocessed and all-natural.

Fish and flaxseed oils are conventional, but fish meat is one of the best sources of this nutrient because it’s rich in omega fatty acids.

Salmon oil is a fat that also adds a natural yummy flavor that any pet will love.

Watch this video that talks about the importance of reading dog food labels and being aware of the ingredients in the meals that you give to your Border Collie:


Dog food ingredients that are NOT beneficial for Borders

This breed is not picky and can tolerate mediocre ingredients, but you should be wary of other components that you feed your dog.

One of the main ingredients that should be kept to a minimum is carbohydrates. You can always find carbs in almost all types of dog food, and some of them provide 70% of it.

Carbohydrates may give your Border Collie some fuel to be more energetic, but it doesn’t offer much when it comes to nutrition. We mentioned earlier that you should avoid some carbs that may cause an allergic reaction for dogs, but you can look for substitutes.

Sweet potatoes and peas are healthy carbs that we recommend as they also offer nutritional benefits.

Stay organic or natural as much as you can. Don’t go for those dog food, which adds artificial flavors and colors. They don’t do anything good for any dog’s health, yet they may cause harm, such as weaken your Border’s immune system or irritation.

The best dog food for Border Collie puppies

Black and white Border Collie puppy with a bone

Growing Border pups would always require more – more attention, more care, more sleep, more nutrients.

If you have a Border Collie puppy, choose a formula or recipe that will nourish him during his early developmental years.

DHA will support vision and brain development, while antioxidants will help him thrive by supporting his developing immune system.

Border Collie puppies should be given 25% protein or more. It can come from whole meat like a boneless lamb or meat meals such as chicken. Other owners mix them, too. They need to be served a generous amount of oil- or animal-based fats.

With this breed, their food should have at least 15% fat while staying within the recommended calories based on their age and weight.

Aside from those essential macronutrients, your dog’s food should also contain vitamins and minerals that will aid other functions and cellular processes.

For fiber, go for the dietary vegetable- or grain-based recipes.

The best dog food for Border Collie adults

Even if an adult Border Collie needs less fat and protein, you would need to choose a dog food that would serve as maintenance.

If you have a full-grown Border, he would need to have at least 12% fat and 22% protein. Don’t forget to include fruits and vegetables, as well as vitamin and mineral supplements.

It may be quite tricky to find dog food products that have no chemical preservatives, but you can stick with naturally-preserved ones.

Top-rated dog food brands for Border Collies

No matter if you have a working or non-working Border Collie, this breed is very active. With that said, they may benefit from dog food formulas or recipes that will help them maintain an ideal body condition and sustain their energy levels.

Here are some of the dog food brands that are well-suited for the Border Collie breed.

Merrick Grain-Free Recipe Dry Dog Food

Merrick dog food for Border Collies

Merrick created this dog food with ingredients that are healthy and natural. 70% of it comes from meat, and 30% is derived from fresh produce.

Deboned beef is the primary protein source that they used, which makes up 38% of the recipe. The flaxseed and salmon oil will provide high amounts of omega fatty acids to help your Border Collie’s coat look top-notch.

This grain-free kibbles also have nutrients and antioxidants that they got from produce, such as peas and fresh blueberries. The carbs are sourced from potatoes and the glucosamine to help avoid joint problems as your Border ages.

American Journey Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

American Journey Salmon dog food for Border Collies

Canine food that goes above and beyond, American Journey’s goal is to provide ingredients that are all-natural while ensuring that Border Collies are fueled throughout their day.

One of the best things with this recipe is sourcing protein from real salmon. It offers exceptionally high-quality amino acids and essential oils. Healthy carbs are derived from chickpeas and sweet potatoes, combined with a lot of minerals and vitamins.

They’re not only targeting coat and skincare to help control the shedding, but it’s also high in calcium to support your Border’s bones with regular consumption.

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Salmon Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Blue Buffalo Wilderness dog food for Border Collies

Have your Border Collie howl in happiness with Blue Wilderness’ salmon blend that’s bursting with omega fats. With this brand, all their dry kibbles are formulated with LifeSource Bits – a precise combination of antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins.

This recipe will help your canine buddy thrive as it promotes strong bones and teeth, as well as healthy muscle development and immune system.

VICTOR Select Grain-Free Yukon River Canine Recipe

Victor Yukon River Canine dog food for Border Collies

Packed with vitamins, nutrients, and amino acids, this versatile dry dog food is designed for canines of all age, size, and breed.

Give your Border Collie a fish-based protein meal with premium quality like dehydrated salmon and menhaden fish meal. Victor’s canine formula is created to meet the requirements established by AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles of All Life Stages.

If your dog has allergies or you’re worried about allergy triggers, this one is 100% grain-free.

CANIDAE All Life Stages Multi-Protein Formula Dry Dog Food

Canidae all-life stages multi-protein dog food for Border Collies

Formulated by veterinarians, Canidae’s multi-protein recipe is designed for all types of dogs, no matter the size, breed, and age.

Aside from being completely free of soy, wheat, and corn, it’s also a nutritionally dense formula that has chicken, fish, lamb, and turkey for optimum protein. Plus, it contains Canidae’s HealthPlus Solutions – a trio of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, antioxidants, and prebiotics.

Not only will single-dog households enjoy this dog food, but also those with multiple canine pets! You don’t have to deal with different bags of kibbles and no more troubles of switching from puppy food to adult/senior. This is the only pack you need.

Is there one best dog food for Border Collies?

A black and white Border Collie adult carrying a meaty bone as his dog food
Quite honestly, all the dog foods we mentioned are the ones that we think are worthy of being considered.

The best course of action is thinking about your own pet. Even if he belongs in one same breed, your Border Collie is unique. With the help of experts such as vets and pet nutritionists, you can know your fur baby’s specific needs, and you’re the only one who can provide it.

What’s the best dog food for your Border Collie? Share it with us by commenting below and help new and experienced pet owners learn about it.

Leave a Comment