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Best Dog Foods For Border Collies: Puppies, Adults & Seniors


Last Updated: May 9, 2024 | 14 min read | Leave a Comment

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The Border Collie is one of the most intelligent, if not the most intelligent, dog breed on the planet. They are also one of the most active. This is exactly why he makes such a great herding dog. But it’s also for this reason that it’s important to find the best dog food for your Border Collie and their nutritional needs. You need a formula that’s packed full of calories and nutrients that will keep his active body and mind sustained and healthy.

In this comprehensive guide to Border Collie nutrition, we take you through each of his life stages and explain the nutrients needed during each. You’ll learn how many calories a typical Collie will need, and what ingredients to look out for in a high-quality kibble. You’ll also learn about our favorite dry dog food formulas for your pup at each life stage.

At maturity, the Border Collie weighs anywhere between 30 and 55 pounds. This makes him a medium-sized dog. Border Collies are also known to have sensitive stomachs. Picking the right dog food may not cure that, but it can help. As such, we’ve hand-picked a few kibbles with higher fiber content to help meet their digestive needs. Below you’ll find a full list of dry dog foods that we recommend for the Border Collie.

At a Glance: Our Favorite Foods for Border Collies

Blue Buffalo Large Breed Senior Food
Our Rating

Best For Puppies

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Puppy

The Farmer's Dog Food Products (3 flavors)
Our Rating

Best For Adults

The Farmer’s Dog

Our Rating

Best For Seniors

Orijen Senior Dog Food

Border Collie Puppy Nutrient Needs

The Border Collie puppy, being a medium-sized breed, is suited to most high-quality kibbles. Choosing kibbles for him is somewhat easier compared to a small or giant breed. It’s most critical to find the right formula at the puppy stage of their life. This is arguably the most important life stage, as this sets the precedence for a healthy body for the rest of his life. You need to make sure your pup has enough growing power for him to get him to adulthood. So avoid “all life-stage foods” and stick to kibbles specifically designed for puppies.

Some of the most important nutrients that a puppy needs are docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and arachidonic acid (ARA). They are amino acids naturally found in mothers’ milk. These nutrients support healthy brain development and eye function. This is particularly important for Border Collies and their poor eye health. Added vitamins and minerals will also support his developing immune system and improve his oxidative health.

If your Border Collie comes from a family that exceeds 50 pounds in weight then it is likely that he might as well. If this is the case, consider a puppy formula that is designed specifically for large breeds. Such formulas have optimum calcium and phosphorus levels. It will help to control bone growth and decrease the chances of developing Hip Dysplasia.

The MSD Veterinary Manual recommends that all puppies need a kibble that provides a minimum protein content of 22%. Larger or more active dogs such as the Collie should seek a protein level of at least 26%. It also recommends that a minimum fat content of 8% is needed. It also suggests a boost in omega fatty acids to help to support healthy skin and coat, as well as eye health and bone health.

Adult Border Collie Nutrient Needs

Between the ages of 12 to 15 months, the Border Collie should be fully mature. At this time, your pup should be switched to adult kibble. Adult kibble will be slightly lower in protein, fats and calories. It will provide a more balanced diet that caters to his adult needs. The average Border Collie will need around 1,000 calories every day. But, a seriously active or working dog will likely need in excess of 1,400 calories.

Omega fatty acids and DHA, EPA and ARA will ensure that his eye and brain health are still well cared for. They will also nourish his skin and coat from the inside out. Healthy carbohydrates are key to providing much-needed energy. A blend of vitamins and minerals is still crucial for maintaining immunity against diseases.

The MSD Veterinary Manual recommends that adults need a protein content of at least 18%. But, again, for a larger and energetic breed such as the Collie we would recommend a higher content of at least 23%. Even more, if your pup is a super energetic or a working Collie.

Senior Border Collie Nutrient Needs

Border Collies reach thier senior years at around the age of 8 or 9. While it’s likely that he will still be energetic compared to most other breeds, his body will need specific nutrients. All senior kibbles will cater to these needs, and a typical senior Collie will need around 700 calories every day. It is crucial to ensure that he does not consume more calories than he burns off. Senior kibbles often have fewer calories to ensure that he does not become overweight in his senior years.

Because he is constantly running around, or likely to still be herding, his bones and joints will need higher levels of glucosamine and chondroitin. These nutrients help to both support and keep joints and bones supple. While protein is still the key focus, it is important that he consumes many vitamins and minerals that will help to boost his aging immunity.

Best Dog Foods for Border Collie Puppies

Border Collie Puppies Eating
These pups are well known for their activity levels, so you’ll want to consider nutrient-dense dog foods.

Border Collies are an extremely active breed. Because they were bred for shepherding other animals, their working dog instinct is part of them from a very early age. As puppies, they will burn some serious calories with as active as they are. This means you’ll want to make sure that they are nutritionally equipped to deal with that activity level.

Border Collie puppies need nutrient-dense dry dog food to support their growth and high metabolism. Puppies are usually fed a puppy formula food from the time they come home through about 12 to 15 months of age. During that timeline, they are growing rapidly and need the right nutrient balance to support their bone and muscle growth. Below you’ll find our favorite puppy foods for Border Collies, compared side by side.

Nutro Wholesome Puppy Formula

Nutro Senior Formula Dog Food
  • Non-GMO ingredients.
  • Made with real chicken.
  • No by-products, corn, or soy.
  • No wheat ingredients.
  • DHA for brain development.
  • 390 Calories per cup.
  • 28% Protein, 16% Fat, 3% Fiber.

This puppy food formula is the most affordable on this list. While the protein content is the lowest, it exceeds the AAFCO standards and does not compromise on quality. It’s a worthy competitor compared to other leading brands. Deboned Lamb and Chicken meal are the main protein sources. These protein sources assist with healthy muscle development. It will also provide glucosamine for his joint needs.

It offers the lowest fiber content too, which is great for some pups. Bran and beet pulp will help ensure that your pup still gets the fiber that he needs. Fish oil provides DHA for his brain and eye development.

We love that this recipe is highly rated for soothing sensitive stomachs. It’s also a great option and for dogs who prefer non-poultry flavored kibbles.

Merrick Backcountry Puppy Recipe

Raw Boost Chicken Formula
  • Grain-free formula.
  • Contains freeze-dried ingredients.
  • Provides benefits of raw feeding.
  • High glucosamine content.
  • Made in the United States.
  • 396 Calories per cup.
  • 30% Protein, 14% Fat, 3.5% Fiber.

Deboned Chicken and Chicken meal are the first two ingredients. With deboned Salmon and Chicken liver, you can be sure that he will get all of the amino acids he needs from healthy protein sources. Sweet potatoes and peas ensure that he receives healthy carbohydrates without using any grains.

Salmon oil adds to the omega fatty acids which contribute to a healthy coat. This formula also has extra added vitamins and minerals to ensure that his developing immune system receives everything that it needs to grow strong.

We love that this recipe has raw infused pieces that are packed full of meaty nutrition. It also has extra texture and taste to his bowl, which picky eaters love.

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Puppy Recipe

  • Grain-free formula.
  • Contains real chicken.
  • DHA for brain development.
  • No corn, soy, or wheat.
  • No fillers or byproducts.
  • 423 Calories per cup.
  • 36% Protein, 16% Fat, 5% Fiber.

Deboned Chicken and Chicken meal make the first two ingredients. It also includes fish meal, which provides him with omega fatty acids as well as protein for his developing body.

This recipe is also grain-free. Sweet potatoes provide carbohydrates for all the energy he needs to sustain him throughout his puppy growing stage. Fish oils and egg products provide him with plenty of DHA and ARA for his brain and eye development too.

We love that this recipe has exclusive LifeSource Bits. These are cold-formed to retain their potency and are full of puppy life-stage nutrients.

Orijen Puppy Formula

  • Made from 85% poultry & fish.
  • Made with fresh and raw ingredients.
  • Coated with freeze-dried liver.
  • Puppy pleasing flavor.
  • Made in the United States.
  • 449 Calories per cup.
  • 38% Protein, 20% Fat, 6% Fiber.

This recipe is the most premium on our list. With that, comes incredible ingredients that will ensure the very best for your Collie puppy. The first 15 ingredients are from animal sources, which offer the best protein content for his muscle needs. It also provides him with plenty of oils for his skin and coat, which is great for dogs with longer coats.

It also has the highest fiber content which is great for his digestive tract. With pumpkin, carrots and apples he has all of the superfoods and vitamins he needs for his immune system.

We love that this premium formula is the highest protein formula, It utilizes the whole prey concept, which means all of the animal organs, cartilage, blood, and bones are used. This means it’s very nutritious and tasty.

Wellness Core Puppy Recipe

  • Grain-free formula.
  • Smaller kibble size for puppies.
  • Made with chicken, turkey, with fresh vegetables.
  • Probioitics for gut health.
  • Taurine for heart health.
  • 491 Calories per cup.
  • 36% Protein, 18% Fat, 5% Fiber.

This grain-free recipe is nutrient-dense and protein-rich. Deboned Chicken, Chicken meal, and Turkey meal make the first 3 ingredients. The calcium and phosphorus levels are balanced to ensure controlled bone growth too, which is important for puppies.

DHA from Salmon oil assists his brain and eye development. When combined with flaxseed, his coat health is well cared for too. Having the second highest fiber content, and with each kibble piece covered in acticoat solution, his digestive tract will be kept regular and healthy too.

We love that this recipe is specifically made for puppies with a big appetite. If your pup is more active, this will make an excellent option after a long day working or playing.

Best Dog Foods for Adult Border Collies

Border Collie Adult Eating
You can start your Border Collie on an adult dog food around 12-15 months of age.

Once your Border Collie reaches about 12 to 15 months of age, you’ll want to start transitioning to an adult formula dog food. Most dry dog foods that are formulated for mid-sized dogs will do. But your choice will likely vary depending on how picky your puppy is.

Border Collies can be picky eaters, so you may have to add a topper or some type of meat to get them accustomed to changing their food once they exit puppyhood. Border Collies can stay on an adult formula food until they reach about 7 years of age.

As you transition from your puppy food, make sure to transition slowly. You’ll want to mix the puppy food with the adult food and graduating your puppy over the course of several weeks. This will help ensure you do not irritate their stomach. For the right nutritional balance, we’ve laid out our favorite foods for adult Border Collies in no particular order below.

The Farmer's Dog

  • Cooked fresh, flash-frozen, and shipped to you.
  • Personalized meal plans.
  • 4 healthy, vet-designed options: beef, chicken, turkey, or pork.
  • Made with human-grade ingredients (no fillers or preservatives).
  • Manufactured in the United States.
  • Calories and nutritional values vary based on recipe.

The Farmer’s Dog makes wholesome food that dogs love. Since the first ingredient in each of the four recipes is a whole protein source, your canine’s muscles will grow strong and stay healthy for the long run.

The fresh, human-grade produce also packs in loads of fiber and vitamins for the ultimate balanced nutrition, confirmed by veterinary experts. The added supplements also support strong bones and joints.

We love that these premium recipes are so healthy and tasty that you could even eat them. With fresh cooked and flash frozen goodness in every pack, your dog is sure to love it. And you’ll love the convenience of home delivery as well!

Instinct Raw Boost Grain Free Recipe

Royal Canin Medium Breed
  • Grain-free formula.
  • Made with cage free-chicken.
  • Made with freeze-dried raw pieces.
  • Minimally processed formula.
  • Made in the United States.
  • 508 Calories per cup.
  • 37% Protein, 20.5% Fat, 4% Fiber.

This premium dry dog food is high in protein. It has leading levels of fat and calories similar to the sporting formula which is great for energetic Collies. Beef, chicken meal, and fish meal are the first three listed ingredients. With beef heart, liver, spleen, and kidney your Collie will love the taste too.

This recipe is grain-free. Rather than traditional grains, it instead uses sweet potatoes and chickpeas as the main energy source and fiber content. A blend of vitamins and minerals, as well as blueberries and cranberries, will ensure that his immune system is kept strong. This is an excellent option for more active dogs during adulthood.

We love that this dry dog food has freeze-dried raw toppers. These are both nutrient-dense and flavorful.

Merrick Grain-free Adult Dog Food

Natural Balance Adult
  • Made with real beef and sweet potato.
  • Poultry-free formula.
  • Omega fatty acids for skin & coat health.
  • High glucosamine content for joint support.
  • Made in the United States.
  • 379 Calories per cup.
  • 34% Protein, 15% Fat, 3.5% Fat.

This dog food formula is also grain-free. It compromises of 65% protein and healthy fat sources and 35% fiber, vitamins, and minerals. This dry dog food has an optimum blend of glucosamine, chondroitin and calcium. With the natural ingredients, you can be sure that he will have plenty of energy too.

Salmon meal and egg products ensure that his coat is nourished and he receives the all-important DHA for brain and eye function. Texas beef is the main source of protein here.

We love that this recipe is made from sustainably sourced farms. With leading levels of glucosamine and chondroitin, his active joints and bones will be well cared for.

Purina Pro Plan Sport Dog Food

Ziwi Peak Pea Free Food
  • Budget-friendly.
  • Made specifically for working dogs.
  • 30% Protein and 20% fat ratio.
  • Probiotics for gut health.
  • Made in the United States.
  • 484 Calories per cup.
  • 30% Protein, 20% Fat, 3% Fiber.

This formula is designed with the sporting dog in mind. The high-fat content, along with added vitamin E, biotin and folic acid, helps those pooches who have sensitive and itchy skin. This means you can be sure it’s great for your pup’s rabbit-like coat. It’s also been well received by choosy pups that may turn their nose from other formulas.

Chicken is the first ingredient, and the optimum 30/20 content level helps to fuel his metabolic needs and maintain muscle mass. Rice provides him with energy and DHA is also present thanks to egg products.

We love that this recipe is made with the working dog in mind. The optimum protein and fat ratios are great for working dogs, and provide them with all the nutrients they need.

Orijen Original Recipe Dog Food

  • Grain-free formula.
  • 85% meat ingredients.
  • Freeze-dried liver coating.
  • First 5 ingredients are fresh protein.
  • Made in the United States.
  • 449 Calories per cup.
  • 38% Protein, 18% Fat, 4% Fiber.

Orijen makes premium formulas that dogs love. With the first 5 ingredients being whole protein sources, you can be sure that his muscles will have all the maintenance and repair power he needs to stay healthy and energetic. This formula is one of the closest formulas to a raw diet you can achieve in kibble form.

This grain-free dry dog food recipe has the highest fiber content. This is in large part thanks to ingredients such as lentils, pumpkin, and dried kelp. Each of these is a strong source of calcium for his bones and joints.

We love that this premium recipe is biologically appropriate. It uses the whole prey, which includes bones and cartilage for extra taste and joint health.

Royal Canin Medium Breed

Purina One Senior Food
  • Made for medium-sized dogs.
  • Nutrient-dense antioxidant complex.
  • Omega fatty acids for skin & coat health.
  • Great for working dog breeds.
  • Balanced nutrient profile.
  • 340 Calories per cup.
  • 23% Protein, 12% Fat, 3.2% Fiber.

This recipe is created with the medium-breed dog in mind, which is often what the Collie is. This recipe has the lowest protein content on this list. So while it may not be ideal for the working Collie, it still exceeds the AAFCO guidelines, and worthy of making it on our list of favorites.

A select blend of highly digestible rice, grains, and dried beet pulp aid his digestion and promote healthy gut flora. This not only helps to reduce flatulence but also creates healthier and firmer stools.

We love that this recipe is suited to those Border Collies who are medium-sized, and active. This is a solid all-around dry kibble that’s reasonably priced.

Best Dog Foods for Senior Border Collies

Senior Border Collie Eating Food
Senior Border Collies will still be active, but need joint support as they age.

As Border Collies age, their metabolism slows down.  Similar to other breeds, this is the right time to start dialing their caloric intake back, and it’s also time to pick a food that will meet the nutritional needs of an older dog.

Because Border Collies are prone to Hip Dysplasia, it’s recommended that you pick a food that’s higher in Glucosamine and Chondroitin. This will help support healthy joint movement.

You can start to transition your dog to a senior formula around the age of 7 years. Maybe even 6 years if your dog starts showing signs of aging at an earlier age. Let’s take a look at our favorite foods for your aging Border Collie.

Purina One Vibrant Maturity

Science Diet Senior Vitality
  • Budget-friendly formula.
  • Real chicken is the first ingredient.
  • High protein content for muscle retention.
  • Glucosamine for joint support.
  • Antioxidants support immune health.
  • 363 Calories per cup.
  • 28% Protein, 13% Fat, 4.5% Fiber.

Purina One created this dry dog food formula with the senior breed aged 7 years and older in mind. It’s a budget-friendly formula made with high-quality protein. Chicken is the first ingredient, and fish meal provides much-needed glucosamine and chondroitin for his joints.

This kibble has tender meaty pieces in addition to the kibble biscuits. With a moisture content of 12%, older dogs sometimes find this easier to crunch. Select vitamins, egg products, and omega fatty acids support healthy coats and eyes too.

We love that this recipe promotes mental sharpness and energy levels thanks to enhanced botanical oils. This can help make an impact in your pup’s overall wellbeing as they age.

Nulo Senior Recipe Dog Food

  • Grain-free senior formula.
  • Glucosamine for joint health.
  • L-carnitine for metabolism support.
  • Probiotics for digestive support.
  • Made of 82% animal protein.
  • 396 Calories per cup.
  • 30% Protein, 12% Fat, 5% Fiber.

This dry dog food is grain-free and uses sweet potatoes and chickpeas to provide energy. L-carnitine is also included to support his metabolism and muscle retention. Nulo is a popular option for other breeds that are a similar size to the Border Collie.  With fish being the main protein source, there is a high level of glucosamine for his joints too. Picky eaters will also love this recipe due to the nutrient-dense ingredients.

Nulo made this formula with their patented BC30 probiotic strains. These strains help to support a healthy gut flora and digestive system, as well as healthy fibers such as peas and dried chicory root.

We love that this recipe lists deboned Trout, Turkey meal and Salmon meal as the main protein sources. These protein sources are great for those fussier pooches who do not like the common Chicken flavor.

Hill’s Science Diet Youthful Vitality

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Puppy
  • Antioxidants boost immune health.
  • Omega fatty acids for skin and coat health.
  • L-carnitine for muscle retention.
  • Easy to digest formula.
  • Veterinarian endorsed brand.
  • 363 Calories per cup.
  • 19% Protein, 11% Fat, 3% Fiber.

This does have the lowest protein content on this list, but it would make a great option for those older seniors who are not as active as they once were and need their energy levels boosting. It claims to fight the effects of aging, and most owners will notice a difference in their dog’s energy levels.

It lists easy to digest ingredients, and with plenty of omega fatty acids such as flaxseed and fish oil, it takes good care of his aging coat and joints. Science diet compares well to other brands, and frequently stands out as a favorite of many other breeds as they age.

We love that this recipe is made and recommended by Veterinarians across the world. This means you can rest assured that this recipe will support the aging needs of the Collie.

Orijen Senior Dog Food Formula

  • Made from 85% poultry and fish.
  • Real and raw ingredients.
  • Coated with freeze-dried liver.
  • Wholeprey formula approach.
  • Made in the United States.
  • 414 Calories per cup.
  • 38% Protein, 15% Fat, 8% Fiber.

This premium recipe completes the set recommended in the puppy and adult stages. So, if your Collie did well on this kibble then he will certainly do well eating this in his senior years. With the same high-quality proteins his muscle mass and energy levels are still a top priority. This food is one of our favorites, and we actually like it more than some other higher quality competing brands.

With the whole prey ingredients, it is super tasty for his aging taste buds. It competes very well against other formulas with even the choosiest pups.

We love that this premium recipe is packed with high-quality protein sources. These proteins ensure that he has all of the energy and muscle power that he needs for his activity needs despite his age.

Merrick Senior Dog Food Recipe

  • Grain-free formula.
  • Deboned chicken is first ingredient.
  • Ideal nutrient profile.
  • Glucosamine boost for joint health.
  • No corn, wheat, soy, or gluten.
  • 370 Calories per cup.
  • 30% Protein, 12% Fat, 3.5% Fiber.

Deboned Chicken, Chicken meal and Salmon meal are the main protein sources in this recipe, and with that comes leading levels of glucosamine and chondroitin for his bones and aching joints.

With optimized fat and calorie content, and the listed L-carnitine, you can be sure that this recipe provides him with enough energy while ensuring that his slowing digestive system will be supported. Sweet potatoes, peas and apples provide his immune system with plenty of defense power too.

We love that this recipe offers leading levels of glucosamine and chondroitin for his aging bones and joints.

Dog Foods for Overweight Border Collies

Overweight Border Collie
If your Border Collie has gained weight, you’ll want to put them on a food to manage it.

It’s not often that a Border Collie becomes overweight, simply because they are very active and not particularly food driven, but it does happen every now and then.

If your Collie finds himself in this position, then be sure to visit your veterinarian for a checkup to rule out any serious underlying causes for his weight gain. If it is just a case of a few too many calories, then it is important to switch him to a weight loss dog food.

Collies are most happy when they’re active and healthy, so not only will you find a happier Collie on your hand, but you’ll also avoid associated health issues that will soon arise should you not tackle the chunk. Here are our top favorite diet recipes for the Collie.

Canidae Pure Healthy Weight

Nutro Ultra Weight Management Formula
  • Made with only 9 ingredients.
  • No artificial colors, or preservatives.
  • Probiotics for gut health.
  • No corn, wheat, or soy.
  • Made in the United States.
  • 409 Calories per cup.
  • 28% Protein, 9% Fat, 5% Fiber.

This weight management dog food is a limited ingredient grain-free kibble, so it is suited to those Border Collies who have particular intolerances or a sensitive stomach. Probiotics are also added to every bite to support his gut too. Chicken, Chicken meal and Turkey meal are the first 3 ingredients and they provide a protein content of 28%. The fat content is 9% and the calorie count is 409 per cup.

Nutro Ultra Weight Management

  • Made from lean animal protein.
  • Nutrient-dense formula.
  • Glucosamine and chondroitin boost.
  • No artificial colors or preservatives.
  • Taurine for heart health.
  • 335 Calories per cup.
  • 23% Protein, 10% Fat, 4% Fiber.

This healthy dry dog food recipe is made with grains for those Collies who do better on a grain inclusive diet. With the first listed ingredients being Chicken and Chicken meal, it offers a protein content of 23% and a fat content of 10%. Using healthy carbohydrates such as brown rice and pumpkin, it offers 335 calories per cup as well as a wide variety of superfoods to keep his immune system in strong shape.

Final Thoughts

The Border Collie is a crazily active pooch who needs lots of energy, whether that’s to keep him energized on the farm or as the main source of family entertainment. By choosing one of our suggested kibbles you can be sure that not only will it meet his nutritional needs, but he will also love the taste and keep him working hard.

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The information provided through this website should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease; it is not intended to offer any legal opinion or advice or a substitute for professional safety advice or professional care. Please consult your health care provider, attorney, or product manual for professional advice. Products and services reviewed are provided by third parties; we are not responsible in any way for them, nor do we guarantee their functionality, utility, safety, or reliability. Our content is for educational purposes only.

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