Top 10 Best Dog Foods for Blue Heelers

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Blue Heelers are hard working dogs that are often found on farms and cattle ranches. These loyal dogs flourish in these wide open environments and in family situations. These high-energy dogs constantly need exercise, so a high-quality diet is crucial.

One major mistake made by Blue Heeler dog owners is providing them  a subpar dog food that cannot address their unique dietary needs. The high-energy level of Blue Heelers supports a serious appetite!

Below are some of the best dog foods available for this irresistibly fun dog breed.  

#1 Holistic Select Adult & Puppy Grain Free Salmon, Anchovy & Sardine Meal Recipe

Best for Adults

Holistic Select’s grain free formula is a great overall choice for healthy Blue Heeler adults

This protein rich formula contains quality meats like salmon and Menhaden Fish Meal.

Food TypeDry Kibble
Stage Adult
Crude Protein, Fat, Fiber %29%, 14%, 5%
First Five IngredientsSalmon, Potatoes, Peas, Menhaden Fish Meal, Dried Ground Potatoes
Key Features:Omega Fatty Acids (Skin & Coat), Antioxidants (Immune), Probiotics (Gut), Mineral (Joint Health)

#2 CANIDAE Grain Free Pure Ancestral Dry Dog Food, Salmon, Mackerel, & Pacific Whiting

Best for Adults (High Protein)

CANIDAE’s grain free ancestral formula is a great high-protein choice for highly active Blue Heeler adults.

This higher protein formula contains quality fish based protein and is lower on the fat scale too. 

Food TypeDry Kibble
Stage Adult
Crude Protein, Fat, Fiber %36%, 12%, 4%
First Five IngredientsSalmon, Mackerel, Pacific Whiting Meal, Salmon Meal, Menhaden Fish Meal
Key Features:Omega Fatty Acids (Skin & Coat), Antioxidants (Heart), Probiotics (Gut)

#3 ORIJEN Dry Dog Food, Tundra, Biologically Appropriate & Grain Free

Best for Adults (High Protein)

Orijen’s Tundra formula delivers a diet rich in varied, whole animal protein (85% of which are quality animal ingredients).

This formula also provides supplements for brain development, joint care, skin & coat and arthritis & inflammation.

Food TypeDry Kibble
Stage Adult
Crude Protein, Fat, Fiber %.40%, 18%, 5%
First Five IngredientsLamb, Venison, Duck, Arctic Char, Whole Pilchard
Key Features:DHA (Brain Development), Glucosamine (Joint Care), EPA (Arthritis & Inflammation), Omega Fatty Acids (Skin & Coat)

#4 Merrick Dry Dog Food, Real Texas Beef and Sweet Potato Grain Free Dog Food Recipe

Best for Adults (High Protein)

Merrick’s Real Texas Beef and Sweet Potato high protein formula contains 65% protein and healthy fat ingredients.  This recipe includes 35% produce, fiber, vitamins, minerals and other natural ingredients too

This formula also provides supplements for joint care, skin & coat and blood flow, brain and heart.

Food TypeDry Kibble
Stage Adult
Crude Protein, Fat, Fiber %.34%, 15%, 3.5%
First Five IngredientsDeboned Beef, Lamb Meal, Salmon Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes
Key Features:Glucosamine and Chondroitin (Joint Care), Omega Fatty Acids (Skin & Coat), Taurine (Blood Flow, Brain, Heart)

#5 Wellness Complete Health Natural Grain Free Dry Puppy Food, Chicken & Salmon

Best for Puppies

Wellness Complete Health’s focus on natural ingredients with multiple sources of quality protein.

This formula also provides supplements for brain, blood flow & heart, bone growth and skin & coat

Food TypeDry Kibble
Stage Puppy
Crude Protein, Fat, Fiber %.32%, 18%, 5.5%
First Five IngredientsDeboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Peas, Chickpeas, Lentils
Key Features:Calcium & Phosphorus (Bone), DHA (Brain), Omega Fatty Acids (Skin & Coat),  Taurine (Blood Flow, Brain, Heart), Vitamins A & E (Antioxidants)

#6 Nulo Freestyle All Breed Senior Dry Dog Food, Premium Grain Free Dog Kibble 

Best for Seniors

Nulo’s senior-focused formula supports a dog’s aging body

The high-protein content prevents muscle decline even as the dog becomes less active, while the L-Carnitine supports your dog’s metabolism to avoid weight gain.

This formula also provides supplements for joint care, heart and gut.

This recipe is well-rounded, as well as focusing on senior dog needs.

Food TypeDry Kibble
Stage Senior
Crude Protein, Fat, Fiber %.30%, 12%, 5%
First Five IngredientsTrout, Turkey Meal, Salmon Meal, Yellow Peas, Sweet Potato
Key Features:L-Carnitine (Metabolism), Glucosamine and Chondroitin (Joint Care), Antioxidants (Immune), Probiotics (Gut)  

#7 Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Natural Senior Dry Dog Food, Chicken and Brown Rice

Best for Seniors

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Natural (Senior) provides high-quality protein with no chicken by-product meals.

Provides supplements for joint care and immunity support. 

Food TypeDry Kibble
Stage Senior
Crude Protein, Fat, Fiber %.18%, 10%, 7%
First Five IngredientsDeboned Chicken, Brown Rice, Barley, Oatmeal, Chicken Meal
Key Features:Glucosamine and Chondroitin (Joint Care), Omega Fatty Acids (Skin & Coat), Antioxidants (Immune)

#8 Go! Solutions SENSITIVITIES Limited Ingredient Grain Free Venison Dry Dog Food

Best for Food Allergies

Go! Sensitivities formula is perfect for dogs  sensitive to allergens. Limited ingredient list by design but still nutritionally balanced.

Prebiotic fiber from chicory root for digestive support.

Food TypeDry Kibble
Stage Adult
Crude Protein, Fat, Fiber %22%, 12%, 4.5%
First Five IngredientsDe-Boned Venison, Venison Meal, Tapioca, Peas, Pea Flour
Key Features:Chicory Root (Digestive), Omega Fatty Acids (Skin & Coat)

#9 Instinct Original Grain Free Real Beef Recipe Natural Wet Canned Dog Food

Best Wet Food

High-quality wet food with visible vegetable ingredients.

Primary protein sources are beef and beef liver, which make up about 95% of the entire recipe. Also, peas and carrots provide additional vitamins and nutrients to keep your dog healthy.

Short and simple ingredients list with no needless additives/chemical preservatives. 

Food TypeWet 
Stage Adult
Crude Protein, Fat, Fiber, Moisture %11.5%, 7.5%, 3%, 78%
First Five IngredientsBeef, Beef Liver, Beef Broth, Tricalcium Phosphate, Ground Flaxseed
Key Features:Omega Fatty Acids (Skin & Coat), Vitamin A & E (Antioxidants)

#10 Wellness CORE Natural Wet Grain Free Canned Dog Food, Whitefish, Salmon & Herring

Best Wet Food

Wellness’ canned food is high quality. They make a solid dry kibble as well.

Primary sources of protein include chicken, whitefish, chicken liver and salmon complimented by healthy amino acids.

This recipe includes chicory root for digestive support.

Quality, balanced natural ingredients.

Food TypeWet 
Stage Adult
Crude Protein, Fat, Fiber, Moisture %10%, 7.5%, 1%, 78%
First Five IngredientsChicken, Salmon Broth, Whitefish, Chicken Liver, Salmon
Key Features:Vitamin A & E (Antioxidants)

Important Note: For wet dog food if you’d like to convert the protein on a “dry matter” basis (to compare it to dry kibble) you’ll need to do a quick calculation. Take the amount of protein in the wet food by the total amount of dry matter in the can. In the case of the Instinct and Wellness wet dog foods above, that amount is (100% – 78% = 22%). As you see, these wet foods are very high protein.

Instinct Original Grain Free Real Beef Recipe Natural Wet Dog Food

Dry Matter Protein Content = (11.5/22) x 100 = 52.3%

Wellness CORE Natural Wet Grain Free Canned Dog Food, Whitefish, Salmon & Herring

Dry Matter Protein Content = (10/22) x 100 = 45.5%

More About the Blue Heeler

Blue Heelers are medium-sized dogs that originated in New South Wales, Australia.  The Blue Heeler was bred to herd cattle in Australia in the 1820’s since the English cattle dogs struggled to tame the bush beasts in the new colony. Thomas Simpson Hall crossbred an English drover’s cur with a dingo.  It is believed to be the only instance where a wild dog has been bred with a domestic dog to achieve an agreeable working dog. This breed is now officially called the Australian Cattle Dog.  

The name “Blue Heeler” is derived from the dog’s unique look and job responsibilities. The dogs have a short double-coat with a bluish tinge in many areas of their mottling of fur and they nip at the heels of cattle they are herding.  

Blue Heelers are highly active and hard working cattle dogs. They work relentlessly  to guide cattle in the proper direction. 

Blue Heelers weigh between 33 and 49 pounds fully grown. Males can grow to 18 – 20 inches and females are usually 17 to 19 inches tall. This breed (aka Australian Cattle Dog) tends to have a dog lifespan between 10 – 13 years.

Blue Heeler Dog Food Buying Guide

Blue Heelers are highly active and energetic by nature.  Their muscular build and agility requires a significant amount of calories for their high activity level. 

In general, adult dogs require about 25 calories per pound of body weight. For a 45-pound Blue Heeler, that’s about 1,125 calories from 2 – 3 meals. Puppies tend to require more like 30 calories per pound of body weight, with seniors needing more like 20 calories per pound. However, always also consider the specific dog’s activity level to prevent weight gain. 

Top-Quality Proteins

Top-quality protein should be first on your list when selecting a dog food. Dogs in general require a decent amount of protein and the active Blue Heeler will require plus protein!

While most breeds are good with a diet that includes 22% protein, the minimum recommended by the Association of American Feed Controls  (AAFCO), Blue Heelers will need more like 25% – 30%+ protein to support their high activity level. 

It’s not just the amount of protein you need to look for. The type of protein matters, too. Whole premium, identifiable meats such as chicken, salmon, beef are great examples. Multiple sources of protein also provide a range of amino acids. Steer clear of by products with unidentifiable or mystery meats!

Complex Carbs

High-quality, complex carbs such as sweet potatoes, quinoa, peas, oatmeal are much more preferable versus simple carbs like corn, wheat and soy. While simple carbs can provide a nice energy boost, they can also cause your dog to crash.  

Higher-quality complex carbs have a low glycemic index. They absorb more slowly to provide steady energy through the day.

Healthy Fats

Healthy fats like fish oil, flaxseed and olive oil are loaded with omega-fatty acids and antioxidants. The numerous benefits include fighting free radicals, supporting the joints, improving heart health, and much more.

Most adult dogs need a diet with about  12 – 15%  fat. Steer clear of low-quality fats as they lead to weight gain with much less nutritional benefits. 

Important Micronutrients

Finally, vitamins and minerals in dog food can provide some great added benefits. Only a small amount is needed and they can help with gut health (probiotics), boosting the immune system (vitamin A) and antioxidants (vitamins C & E). It’s also a good idea for Blue Heeler owners to look for glucosamine and chondroitin, for joint health for this active breed. 

For more information on this topic please see our article on nutrition for dogs. 

Ingredients to Avoid

Just as there are many beneficial ingredients to look for, there are also (unfortunately) several to sidestep.  

Here’s are some common ingredients to avoid:

  • animal by-products, mystery meats
    • can contain hormones, chemicals and other bad stuff and often lack nutritional value
  • chemical preservatives, colorants and other needless additives
    • BHA, BHT and Ethoxyquin can cause health issues over time such as kidney issues, cancer, blindness and other health problems
  • artificial colors and flavors, top-quality dog food doesn’t have either

Also be aware of common human foods that dogs can not eat.

Common Blue Heeler Health Problems

Joint Health.  Due to their short, muscular build and their high activity level this breed often encounters arthritis as these dogs age.  To help mitigate this, seek formulas that contain omega fatty acids, glucosamine and chondroitin to support joint health, making the arthritis more manageable.  

Leg/Hip Injuries. The Blue Heeler’s high activity can cause various leg injuries including cruciate ligament tears and knee joint dislocations. In addition, hip/elbow dysplasia can occur frequently. 

Sometimes surgery can be an option or alternative therapies may be available too. 

Progressive Retinal Atrophy. This health issue causes the eye’s retina to slowly deteriorate. Although painless, it can in due course cause blindness.

Speak to your vet about recommended dietary changes to support optic health for this condition.

Other health issues this breed experiences include deafness, dog dermatitis (skin inflammation and itchiness) and urolithiasis (stones forming in dog’s urine).

To Sum It All Up

Sticking to a high protein, top-quality dog food will help you keep your active Blue Heeler healthy for many years to come.  These great dog food picks will keep your dog happy and help to bypass many of the common breed health issues (at least prematurely). 

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Mother of three children and avid dog lover. I've had several dogs over the years including Border Collies, Pomeranians and Shih Tzus. We absolutely love our current Shih Tzu Fiona and I'm consumed with learning about all dog breeds, dog fitness and discovering new dog wellness tips!