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5 Best Dog Foods For Border Collies: (All-Time Winners)

Finding quality dog food that will work well with your border collie is harder than it should be. With so many options, it’s difficult to make a decision.

I had this problem too, and after trying several top brands with trial and error I’ve narrowed it down to the best options that my pups like. I’ve also spoken with other collie owners when considering these options.

In this article:
✅ What makes a high quality dog food (what to look for)
✅ 5 great dog foods for border collie (adults + puppies)
✅ How to switch over your collie’s food properly
✅ One extra tip worth knowing

best food for border collie

What To Look For In a Quality Dog Food

There are a few things to always be on the lookout for which show you’re looking at high-quality dog food. These factors separate the good from the bad, and terrible.

Whole or unprocessed first ingredients:
When choosing food opt for one that gets the first 3-5 ingredients right. Look for ingredients that are close to their natural, unprocessed form such as whole meats, fish, and vegetables. This typically means the food is of high quality and contains real, wholesome ingredients that will be easily digested by your collie.

Low carbohydrates:
Active breeds like border collies thrive on food that’s high in protein, medium to high in fat, and low in carbs. A high carbohydrate content in the dog food is a sign that it’s not a premium product. The thing is, carbs are very cheap, easy to store, and are perfect for manufacturers looking to “bulk up” their product with minimal costs. Real forms of protein and fat are more difficult and expensive to put into the food, hence the bigger price tags for foods that prioritize this.

Where is the food made:
It was revealed that many big named brands actually had no idea what was going into their dog food formula. This was mainly because their kitchens were outsourced overseas with few inspections. And of course because they don’t care very much! Opt for a brand that uses its own kitchens within the country and monitors all the ingredients going into its food. This is always something to look out for.

Artificial ingredients, preservatives, and fillers:
You’d be surprised just how much junk goes into cheap dog foods. From crappy carbs and nasty fillers and by-products, I wouldn’t wish this upon any dog. It’s a basic one, but owners should always choose a food that doesn’t contain artificial preservatives, flavors, colors, fillers, and by-products. Most of the time this is clearly highlighted.

Omega 3 content & other vitamins and minerals:
A high-quality food using real ingredients will have plenty of Omega 3, as well as other important vitamins and minerals. To support your collie’s overall growth, recovery, and health be sure to choose a food that contains all of this. Low-quality foods lack overall nutrition, and this can really impact your dog’s health over the long run.

Helpful: Border collie daily calories by age

5 Great Dry Dog Foods For Border Collies

Let’s run through the best foods for border collies below. Mine are on Orijen Six Fish, which is first on the list.

1) Orijen Six Fish

Great for all border collies including those with sensitive stomachs.

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Orijen is my all time favorite dog food, not only because it works well with my dogs but because they prove they truly care about their product.

Why this works well for border collies:

✅ High in protein and fat
✅ Low in carbohydrates
✅ High Omega 3 content & DHA essential fatty acids
✅ Whole fresh or raw first 6 ingredients!
✅ 85% premium animal ingredients
✅ Avoids many common allergens
✅ Doesn’t contain artificial preservatives, flavors, fillers or by-products
✅ Made in their own USA kitchens with nothing outsourced

There’s no doubt that Orijen has a bigger price tag than most, but the quality can’t be faulted. It’s rare to find such a kibble like this that you know is benefiting your collie’s health and not doing the opposite!

➡️ With 85% of the food being premium animal ingredients close to their unprocessed natural state, your collie receives maximum nutrition. This also means it will digest better and be absorbed properly.

➡️ With Orijens Six Fish variation, which is what I use, it avoids common allergens like chicken, beef, lamb, and pork. This works with my collies and they no longer suffer from diarrhea or sensitive stomachs since I transitioned years ago. Many other collie owners report the same too.

This option is super high in protein, medium to high fat, and low in carbs which is exactly what collies thrive on. This will ensure your collie can recover from intensive runs and their daily exercise.

2) Acana: Freshwater Fish

Great for all border collies.

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Acana Freshwater Fish is another amazing option to consider. It’s on par with Orijen and is of a similar quality. Many owners have success when trying out this option, particularly Freshwater Fish.

Why this works well for border collies:

✅ 60% premium animal ingredients 40% veggies, fruit, and botanicals
✅ First ingredients are whole rainbow trout and catfish
✅ High protein, medium fat, low carbs
✅ Avoids most common allergens to reduce upset stomachs
✅ Digests well
✅ Made in USA kitchens
✅ Grain-free
✅ Great for active working dogs
✅ No artificial preservatives, flavors, colors, additives, by-products, fillers

A great option for all border collies, particularly those that are highly active, but also have sensitive stomachs.

➡️ With the ideal macronutrient breakdown, and with limited common allergens (if any) this food is highly nutritious and easily absorbed. Resulting in fewer upset stomachs.

➡️ Acana is a well-respected brand that makes all its food in the USA with locally sourced and trusted farmers and suppliers.

This food option is also appropriate for senior border collies.

3) Merrick: Real Salmon + Sweet Potato

Great for all border collies including those with sensitive stomachs.

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Merrick grain-free real salmon & sweet potato is another great choice to go for. Focusing on whole, fresh ingredients, limited common allergens, and all with a slightly lower price tag than Orijen and Acana.

Why this works well for border collies:

✅ Premium ingredients including fresh deboned salmon
✅ Avoids many common allergens
✅ High in Omega 3 + 6 fatty acids
✅ Great to preserve joint health (contains glucosamin and chondroitin
✅ Incudes probiotics for aided digestion
✅ Added blueberries and apples for extra fiber, vitamins and minerals
✅ No artificial flavors, preservatives, colors, or junk
✅ Made in their own regulated kitchens

Merrick salmon and sweet potato provides a super high protein, medium to high fat, and low carb premium dog food.

This food is known to digest easily and is ideal for breeds that are prone to sensitive stomachs, like border collies.

➡️ Merrick prioritizes high quality, whole and fresh ingredients and uses fresh deboned salmon as the no.1 ingredient here. This is then followed by “meal” which is still a good form of the meat, just dried and highly concentrated.

➡️ This option also contains added glucosamine and chondroitin which you don’t often see. This is particularly important for collies due to how active they are and how much they love to run.

If my dogs ever seem to want a switch, this is the food I’ll try next.

4) Victor Super Premium Hi-Pro Plus

High quality grain-included dog food for border collies.

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Victor Super Premium Hi-Pro Plus formula is a quality food with a very high protein and fat content ideal for active working dogs like border collies. This product DOES contain gluten-free grains.

Why this works well for border collies:

✅ Excellent protein and fat levels with low carbs
✅ High in Omega 3 fatty acids
✅ Contains prebiotics and probiotics for great gut health
✅ Ideal for highly active collies
✅ Supports healthy skin & coat from essential minerals
✅ Produced in Texas with USA sourced ingredients
✅ Grain-inclusive (gluten-free)
✅ No artificial flavors, colors, preservatives

❌ The first ingredients are proteins from “meal” not whole sources. While this is an important factor to consider, meal is still OK and can be of high quality. Meal is not the same as by-product. Meal is dried and rendered clean meat, skin, bones, and organs. While by-product is the less desirable parts of the animal.

➡️ This food is super high in protein at coming in a 30% (calories from protein), which they get from 88% meat sources, 2% from plants and veggies, and 10% from grains.

➡️ The reason I include this option with grains is because ultimately many people have mixed feelings about the whole grain-free thing. While there is evidence to support grain-free, there is also evidence suggesting otherwise. And many dogs get on well with dog food containing grain.

➡️ This food is known to digest well and has both prebiotics and probiotics to help your collie’s gut and digestive system.

Victor specializes in high quality dog food and this one in particular is perfect for highly active dogs with intensive exercise regimes, which is what most collie’s should have.

If I ever want to try a food with my dogs that does contain a grain, this will be the one I opt for.

5) Wellness CORE Natural Food (Puppy Formula)

The best option for border collie puppies.

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Wellness CORE is one of the best options on the market ideal for border collie puppies. It’s never recommended to feed your pup an “all-life stages” formula despite the name. Pups need their own unique formula to support their rapid growth.

Why this is great for border collie puppies:

✅ Quality whole ingredients for maximum nutrition
✅ Sufficient Omega 3, & DHA fatty acids from quality salmon oil
✅ Sufficient calcium, phosphorus, antioxidants and other essential vitamins and minerals
✅ High protein, medium fat, and low carbs for the ideal macro breakdown
✅ Glucosamine to help develop the joints
✅ Probiotics for gut health and good digestion
✅ Contains everything a puppy needs

This premium formula contains absolutely everything that a growing collie puppy needs under the age of one.

➡️ It’s super high in protein and contains sufficient Omega 3, DHA fatty acids, antioxidants, calcium, phosphorus and other essential vitamins and minerals to support strong healthy bones and immune system.

➡️ This kibble is made from Deboned Chicken as it’s first whole ingredient, followed by other healthy sources of turkey, salmon oil, fruits and veggies to provide a complete nutritional profile that puppies need.

This is a highly favored puppy formula that I’ve used as well my other friends with success.

Switching Over Your Border Collie’s Food

If you’re in the process of changing your collie’s food then it’s important to do it slowly!

  • Even if the new food is destined to work out better, it could still initially give your collie a sensitive stomach and diarrhea if the switch over is too abrupt.

When you switch kibbles, be sure to follow this:

Day 1: 25% new food 75% old food
Day 2: 50% new food 50% old food
Day 3: 75% new food 25% old food
Day 4: 100% new food

This is the minimum and quickest switch over process. It’s actually a little bit better if owners stretch it out over the course of one week.

One Extra Tip

You might want to consider soaking kibble in water or weak meat broth (plain & unsalted) before giving it to your collie.

  • Not only does this increase your collie’s fluid intake and increase their hydration, but it makes the food more palatable AND far easier to digest. This alone can contribute to fewer upset stomachs.
  • In addition to those great benefits, it also EXPANDS before going inside your collie’s belly, which can reduce bloating and more upset stomachs.

It’s not a requirement, but something I do after my vet told me about the benefits of it.

What food is your collie on? Are you switching? Let me know your thoughts 🙂

Back to more border collie articles


Before making any decisions that could affect the health and/or safety of your dog, you should always consult a trained veterinarian in your local area. Even though this content may have been written/reviewed by a trained veterinarian, our advice to you is to always consult your own local veterinarian in person. Please read our full dislcaimer if you have any questions.