Known for their long multicolored coats, their tapered noses, and their friendly personalities, the Collie is one of the best family dogs around.
These large-breed dogs were originally developed for herding and, as such, they have excellent stamina and high needs for exercise. This breed has natural protective instincts, though they are by no means aggressive or territorial. They simply love their families, including other pets. The only problem is that their herding instincts run deep, so they may have a tendency to nip at the heels of children, dogs, or other pets.
The Collie is a large-breed dog that stands 22 to 26 inches tall and weighs between 50 and 70 pounds at maturity. Generally speaking, they have a long average lifespan for large breed of 10 to 14 years. Unfortunately, they are prone to a number of health problems which can limit their lifespan. They also have a tendency to suffer from food allergies, so the diet you choose for your collie is very important.
Keep reading to learn more about your Collie’s dietary requirements and to see our top 15 picks for the best dog food for Collies.
What is the Best Dog Food for a Collie?
- The Honest Kitchen Grain-Free Turkey Recipe
- American Journey Salmon & Sweet Potato Large-Breed Adult Recipe
- Taste of the Wild Sierra Mountain Grain-Free Dry Food
- NomNomNow Fresh Food Delivery Service
- Blue Buffalo Basics Grain-Free LID Lamb & Potato Large Breed Recipe
- Merrick Grain-Free Chicken & Sweet Potato Large Breed Recipe
Understanding a Collie’s Diet Requirements
The Collie is no different from other dogs in terms of his basic requirements for protein, fat, and carbohydrates. Protein provides the building blocks for healthy muscles, essential amino acids, and there are 22 that your dog needs. Out of those 22, 10 are considered essential amino acids because they must come from your dog’s diet. Animal proteins like meat, poultry, and fish are the best sources of protein for dogs because they are complete proteins containing all 10 essential amino acids.
Fat provides your dog with a concentrated source of energy as well as support for healthy skin and coat – both of these are particularly important for the Collie breed. Your dog is better able to digest and metabolize fat from animal than plant sources, so look for quality animal fats like chicken fat and salmon oil in your dog’s food.
Dogs don’t have any specific requirements for carbohydrates, but these foods can provide energy, fiber, and essential nutrients. The most important thing is that they be digestible. Whole grains, vegetables, beans, and legumes are digestible for most dogs, but the Collie is prone to food allergies. Grains are some of the most common food allergens, so your dog may need a grain-free diet.
- Puppy Collies – As a puppy, your Collie needs a minimum of 22% protein and 8% fat in his diet to sustain healthy growth and development. Collies are a high-energy breed, however, so they may need much more than 8%, depending on the puppy’s activity level.
- Adult Collies – When your Collie reaches his full size, he needs a large-breed adult recipe that provides at least 18% protein and 5% fat. Again, higher fat percentages are important for this breed to meet their high energy requirements and protein is important for lean muscle mass.
- Senior Collies – As your Collie gets older, he may slow down and his risk for obesity may increase as well. As long as your dog remains active you can keep him on an adult diet but once he starts to slow down you might switch to a lower fat formula or a senior recipe.
A good dog food will meet your dog’s basic requirements for protein, fat, and carbohydrates but your Collie can also benefit from fresh fruits and vegetables and healthy supplements. Fresh fruits and veggies provide natural sources for key nutrients and they are more biologically valuable than synthetic supplements. Chelated minerals are mineral supplements that have been chemically bound to protein molecules which increases their absorption. Your dog can also benefit from prebiotics and probiotics for healthy digestion, and glucosamine and chondroitin for joint support.
Special Dietary Considerations for Collies
The Collie is a large-breed dog with a long coat and a friendly personality. Unfortunately, these dogs are prone to a number of health problems which can be a bit tricky to manage. Many of these problems have dietary components, so it is extremely important to choose a high-quality dog food for your Collie.
Here is a quick list of the health problems to which the Collie may be prone:
- Canine Cyclic Neutropenia
- Collie Eye Anomaly
- Collie Nose
- Drug Sensitivities
- Gastric Dilation
- Hip Dysplasia
- Nodular Granulomatosis Episclerokeratitis
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy
Let’s take a closer look at some of these health problems.
Two of the conditions to which the Collie is prone are breed-specific – Collie eye anomaly and Collie nose. Collie eye anomaly is a condition in which changes and abnormalities happen to the eyes, eventually leading to blindness. It is an inherited condition common in Collies. Collie nose is also known as nasal solar dermatitis and it is a condition in which the nose oozes, peels, and loses color. It may seem minor, but it can develop into cancer if left untreated.
Like many large breeds, the Collie also prone to certain musculoskeletal issues like hip dysplasia. This is a condition in which the femur bone slips out of the hip joint, causing inflammation and an increased risk for arthritis. A diet with supplemental glucosamine and chondroitin can help with the management of this condition. Another problem related to the Collie’s size is gastric dilation or bloat. This is a condition in which the stomach fills with air and twists on its axis, cutting off blood flow and causing a life-threatening condition. It happens when your dog eats too much, eats too fast, or swallows too much air while he is eating.
Collie Feeding Chart
The best way to ensure that your Collie’s nutritional needs are met is to feed him a high-quality dog food formulated for large-breed dogs. As a puppy, a large-breed puppy food will provide your dog with protein to grow strong muscles and enough fat to sustain his growth. It will also contain controlled levels of calcium and phosphorus to prevent him from growing too quickly and increasing his risk for skeletal problems in adulthood. Feed your puppy three meals a day according to the recommendations on the dog food package.
When your Collie reaches 12 months or his adult size, switch to a large-breed adult diet. Again, this will provide ample protein to maintain lean muscle mass with healthy fats to sustain the breed’s high energy requirements. Feed your dog two meals a day unless he is highly active and needs a third meal to keep his energy up. When your dog becomes a senior, you may need to adjust the amount you feed him so he doesn’t become obese and increase his risk for joint problems.
The Best Dog Food for Collies: Our Top 15 Picks
Now that you have a better understanding of your Collie’s nutritional needs, you’re ready to start shopping for dog food! Remember, the best Collie food will be made from digestible natural ingredients such as quality proteins, healthy animal fats, digestible carbohydrates, and healthy supplements. Joint-supporting nutrients like glucosamine and chondroitin are a bonus, as are probiotics for digestion. Here are our top 15 picks:
Overall Best Food for Collies: If you want to provide your Collie with the nutritional benefits of raw food but the convenience of dry food, try this The Honest Kitchen Grain-Free Turkey Recipe. This recipe features premium-quality ingredients and can be rehydrated to create a full 40 pounds of fresh food. It contains cage-free turkey as a lean source of protein with digestible grain-free carbohydrates like spinach, cranberries, apples, and more. It features plenty of healthy fats with vitamin supplements and chelated minerals for nutritional balance. Plus, it is full of natural flavor.
- Pros: Dehydrated not cooked, contains 40 pounds of wholesome ingredients, easy to rehydrate, lean source of protein, fresh fruits and vegetables, grain-free, no artificial additives
- Cons: Some dogs dislike the dehydrated texture, no probiotic supplements
Most Affordable Food: If you’re looking for an affordable dog food recipe for your Collie, try this American Journey Salmon & Sweet Potato Large-Breed Adult Recipe. Formulated for large breeds, this recipe features protein-rich salmon which is also a good source of omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat. This recipe contains grain-free carbohydrates like sweet potatoes with fresh fruits and vegetables to provide natural sources of key nutrients. Chelated minerals ensure optimal nutrient absorption and nutritional balance while dried fermentation products provide probiotic support.
- Pros: High-quality sources of animal protein, rich in essential fatty acids, digestible grain-free carbohydrates, chelated minerals, no artificial additives
- Cons: main source of fat is plant-based (canola oil)
Most Popular Food: If you’re not sure what to feed your Collie, try a popular recipe like this Taste of the Wild Sierra Mountain Grain-Free Dry Food. This recipe is great for allergy-prone dogs like your Collie because it contains a single source of novel animal protein as well as digestible grain-free carbohydrates. This recipe features real lamb as the main ingredient, followed by other wholesome ingredients including fresh fruits and vegetables for vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. This recipe is also supplemented with probiotics to ensure healthy and regular digestion.
- Pros: Novel source of animal protein, digestible grain-free carbohydrates, fresh fruits and vegetables, rich in omega fatty acids, chelated minerals, prebiotics and probiotics
- Cons: Main source of fat is plant-based (canola oil)
Super Premium Food: If you want your Collie to enjoy the nutritional benefits of fresh food, try NomNomNow. NomNomNow is a fresh dog food delivery service that sends fresh, custom meals right to your door on a monthly basis. Signing up takes just a few minutes and all you have to do is type in some basic information about your dog. From there, you can select your recipe from the collection and they will automatically be customized according to your dog’s nutrient and calorie needs. Every recipe is made with the freshest natural ingredients to guarantee the highest quality nutrition and plenty of natural flavor.
- Pros: Made with the freshest ingredients, custom meals for your dog, delivered fresh to your door, perfectly portioned pouches, automatic shipments
- Cons: Limited number of recipe options, very expensive to feed, delivery restrictions in some areas
Best Food for Collies with Allergies: If your Collie suffers from food allergies, consider a limited ingredient diet like this Blue Buffalo Basics Grain-Free LID Lamb & Potato Large Breed Recipe. This recipe features real lamb as the main ingredient which is a rich source of protein and a natural source of glucosamine and chondroitin. This recipe contains grain-free carbohydrates like potatoes and peas with a blend of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for healthy skin and coat. It is rich in calcium and phosphorus for strong bones and joints with plenty of beneficial supplements like prebiotic fibers, chelated minerals, and probiotics. It also contains fresh fruits and veggies to provide natural sources for vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
- Pros: Balanced for large breeds, limited number of ingredients, deboned lamb as first ingredient, digestible grain-free carbohydrates, natural source of glucosamine and chondroitin, probiotics
- Cons: Contains some plant protein (pea protein), main source of fat is plant-based (canola oil)
Best Food for Collies with Sensitive Stomachs: For a Collie with a sensitive stomach, you need a grain-free and highly digestible recipe like this Merrick Grain-Free Chicken & Sweet Potato Large Breed Recipe. This formula features deboned chicken as the first ingredient which is not only a lean source of protein but also contains glucosamine and chondroitin for joint support. This protein-packed kibble is specially designed for large breeds, but it still has enough fat to sustain your Collie’s metabolism. This recipe contains fresh fruits and vegetables to provide biologically valuable sources of key nutrients with chelated minerals for balance and probiotics for digestion. All in all it provides 31% protein and 15% fat with 3.5% fiber.
- Pros: Highly digestible, protein-rich chicken as main ingredient, grain-free carbohydrates, fresh fruits and vegetables, glucosamine and chondroitin, chelated minerals, probiotics
- Cons: Contains some plant protein (pea protein), some dogs may be sensitive to chicken ingredients
3 more Top Rated (5 Star) Collie Adult Foods
For complete and balanced nutrition in a grain-free diet, consider this Wellness Complete Health Grain-Free Deboned Chicken & Chicken Meal Large Breed Recipe for your Collie. It features chicken as the main ingredient which also provides natural glucosamine and chondroitin in addition to being a lean source of protein. This recipe also contains fresh fruits and vegetables for balanced nutrition.
If your Collie has a sensitive stomach, a grain-free recipe like this Blue Buffalo Wilderness Grain-Free Salmon Large-Breed Recipe might be a good option. This recipe features deboned salmon as the main ingredient which, in addition to being an excellent source of protein, is also rich in omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat. This recipe also contains grain-free carbohydrates and probiotics for digestion.
For Collies with food allergies, a limited ingredient diet like this Nutro Grain-Free LID Lamb & Sweet Potato Large Breed Recipe would be a good choice. This recipe features deboned lamb as the main ingredient which is also a natural source of glucosamine and chondroitin. It also contains grain-free carbohydrates like chickpeas and potatoes to ensure easy digestibility.
3 More Top Rated (5 Star) Collie Puppy Foods
To start your Collie puppy on the right foot, try this Now Fresh Grain-Free Large Breed Puppy Recipe. This recipe features 100% fresh turkey, salmon, and duck to grow healthy muscles with a balance of omega fatty acids for energy as well as skin and coat support. It is grain-free to ensure digestibility and contains added taurine for heart development and healthy vision.
For holistic, natural nutrition designed specifically for large-breed puppies, try this Precise Holistic Complete Large & Giant Breed Puppy Formula. This recipe features real chicken as the main ingredient with lamb and salmon for supplemental protein and omega fatty acids. It also contains prebiotics and probiotics to support healthy digestion with fresh fruits and vegetables for antioxidants and nutrients.
If you’re looking for a holistic source of nutrition for your Collie puppy, try this Solid Gold Wolf Cub Bison & Oatmeal Puppy Recipe. This recipe features protein-rich bison as the main ingredient with wholesome natural ingredients like brown rice, oatmeal, peas, and barley for nutritional support. It also contains plenty of omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat, plus probiotics for digestion.
2 More Picks for Senior Collie Foods
If you’re looking for a nutritious recipe to support your Collie in his old age, try this Now Fresh Grain-Free Large Breed Weight Management Senior Recipe. It is rich in lean protein from deboned turkey with grain-free carbohydrates like potatoes and peas for digestibility. It is also supplemented with omega fatty acids for skin and coat plus glucosamine and chondroitin for joint support.
For a high-quality diet that won’t aggravate your senior Collie’s food allergies, try this Blue Buffalo Basics Healthy Weight Turkey & Potato Adult Recipe. This recipe features deboned turkey as a lean source of protein with digestible grain-free carbohydrates and a blend of omega fatty acids. It contains calcium and phosphorus for strong bones and teeth with supplemental L-carnitine for lean muscle mass.
Our FAQ and Collie Feeding Guide
In addition to choosing a healthy and high-quality diet for your Collie, you also need to think about the practical aspects of feeding him and keeping his food fresh. As soon as you open a bag of dog food, exposure to air starts to affect it, causing it to lose some of its nutrition integrity. You want to avoid pouring the food into an airtight container, however, because you’ll lose the preservative benefits of the bag. Dog food bags are treated inside to help preserve the food, so place the entire bag in an airtight container instead and store it in a cool, dry place.
When it comes to choosing a dog bowl for your Collie, you’ll need something that can fit at least a cup of food. Look for a high-quality dog bowl made from durable materials that is easy to clean. Stainless steel and ceramic are generally the best options because they are less likely to scratch and harbor disease-causing bacteria. Stainless-steel is the most durable and the easiest to clean. You might also consider a slow-feed bowl if your dog tends to eat too fast, just avoid raised bowls because these can increase the risk of gastric dilation for large dogs.
And now, here are the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about feeding a Collie:
- How much food should I feed my Collie? – The exact amount of food you give your Collie each day will depend on his age, weight, and activity level as well as the calorie content of the dog food you choose. Generally speaking, however, you’ll be feeding your Collie between 2 and 3 cups of food per day. Start with a large-breed dog food and refer to the feeding recommendations according to your dog’s age and weight to determine his daily portion. From there, divide it by the daily number of meals you plan to feed your dog.
- How many times a day should I feed my Collie? – Most Collies do well with two meals per day – one in the morning and another in the evening. As a growing puppy, your dog may need a third meal for the first six months or so until he reaches most of his adult size. Choosing a large-breed puppy food will ensure that he gets the right blend of nutrients without a risk of growing too quickly.
- What kind of food do Collies eat? – The best dog food for any dog is made from high-quality, natural ingredients and formulated to meet his nutritional needs. Fresh food is a great option for Collies because it offers the highest nutritional quality and digestibility. If you can’t afford fresh food, dehydrated or freeze-dried food is a good option – it is dried instead of cooked to preserve more of the original nutritional integrity of the raw ingredients. If you can’t afford those, try a high-quality dry food made with natural ingredients.
- What vegetables are good in a Collie food? – Fresh vegetables provide your dog with dietary fiber as well as natural sources for vitamins and minerals. As such, they are a valuable addition to any high-quality dog food. Here are some of the best vegetables for Collies:
- Brussels sprouts
- Green beans
- Sweet potato
Providing your dog with fresh vegetables as a healthy snack is a good idea even if the dog food you choose contains fresh vegetables. Just make sure that the vegetables you choose are safe for dogs to eat and that you clean them well before feeding. You should also feed small amounts to avoid upsetting your dog’s stomach from an overload of fiber.
- Do Collies need grain-free dog food? – There is a great deal of controversy surrounding the long-term safety of grain-free recipes for dogs, but the fact remains that there is no conclusive evidence as of yet. Keep in mind, however, that the Collie has a higher risk for food allergies than many breeds and grains are a common culprit. If your dog suffers from recurrent ear infections or skin problems, grains could be the problem. If your dog is able to tolerate grains, however, a grain-free diet is not necessary.
A Final Word
Now that you know the basics about your Collie’s nutritional needs, you’re ready to start shopping for the best Collie food. Remember to look for a product that is made from digestible natural ingredients such as quality proteins, healthy animal fats, digestible carbohydrates, and healthy supplements. Joint-supporting nutrients like glucosamine and chondroitin are a bonus, as are probiotics for digestion.
If you’re still not sure where to start in choosing the best Collie dog food, try one of our top 15 picks reviewed above!