Border Collies are well-known for being incredibly intelligent animals, so they’ll definitely know if you’re trying to feed them a low-quality kibble — and nothing hurts worse than the judgment of a disappointed dog.
We understand if you feel like just giving up and grabbing the cheapest bag you can find. Your dog deserves better than that, though, and we’re here to help make sure they get a food that’s worthy of them.
In the reviews below, we’ll walk you through our favorite foods for Border Collie puppies.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2022
The 6 Best Foods for Border Collie Puppies
1. VICTOR Select Nutra Pro Active Puppy Food — Best Overall
You may not have heard of VICTOR Select Nutra Pro, which is a shame, because this is a fantastic food.
It’s one of the highest-protein options out there, with a whopping 38%. Much of that comes from chicken meal, which means your puppy will also get quite a bit of glucosamine as well. While Border Collies aren’t as likely to suffer from joint issues as some other breeds, it’s always nice to have added protection.
There’s also beef, fish, and pork meal inside, as well as blood meal. Having such a wide variety of animal sources means your dog will also get a wide variety of important amino acids.
It’s not just about the meat either. This food also has seaweed, millet, and alfalfa in it, so your pup will get their fair share of complex carbs.
There’s little not to like about VICTOR Select Nutra Pro, but if we had to pick one thing, it’s the fact that it’s low in fiber. We wish that weren’t the case, but that’s not enough to knock it out of the top spot here.
2. American Journey Puppy Food — Best Value
American Journey is another brand that doesn’t enjoy a ton of name recognition, and while it’s not as good as the option from VICTOR, it’s a great value — in fact, we’d go so far as to call it the best food for Border Collie puppies for the money.
The protein levels are merely average at 25%, but that’s to be expected from a food in this price range. What’s surprising is how the manufacturer keeps costs down without using any fillers or animal by-products, which are typically how budget kibbles lower their overhead.
Instead, you’ll find chicken, chicken meal, and chicken fat, as well as superfoods like cranberries, blueberries, kelp, and fish oil. All of these are filled with nutrients essential for growing dogs.
One issue that we have with this food is how it reports the amount of rice inside. It has three different types of rice listed closely together; this could be indicative of “ingredient splitting,” in which the manufacturer tries to hide how much of an ingredient is in a food by splitting it up under different names.
Regardless, American Journey is still a quality food, and the best food for Border Collie puppies for the money we’ve reviewed. It’s just not good enough to claim the top spot here.
3. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Puppy Food – Premium Choice
Another extremely high-protein food, Blue Buffalo Wilderness has almost as much of the stuff as VICTOR does (36% compared to 38%). However, a large amount of its protein comes from peas, which lack the amino acids found in animal sources.
That’s not to say that there isn’t any meat in here, because there’s plenty. It has chicken, chicken meal, chicken fat, eggs, and fish meal, so your pooch won’t lack for nourishment (though the eggs might upset some tummies).
The fruits and veggies are even more impressive than the meats. This kibble has flaxseed, peas, sweet potatoes, carrots, blueberries, cranberries, kelp, and more. Each of these foods is packed with important vitamins and minerals, giving your dog well-balanced nutrition.
Of course, all this quality food comes at a price, and Blue Buffalo Wilderness certainly isn’t cheap. However, it’s healthy and worth every penny.
4. Taste of the Wild High Prairie Puppy Food
The ingredients list for Taste of the Wild High Prairie starts off with buffalo, which is an excellent source of lean red meat. It’s also something that’s not often found in dog foods, which can be a double-edged sword — your pup may either wolf it down or refuse to touch it.
Still, it creates a nice foundation of protein, which is further bolstered by lamb meal, which is the second ingredient. The overall protein levels aren’t awe-inspiring at 28%, but that’s still on the higher side of average.
It’s the variety of animal sources that sets this kibble apart. In addition to the meats already mentioned, it boasts venison, bison, beef, eggs, chicken fat, and fish meal. Given that each animal brings different amino acids to the table, this variety ensures that your pup will get as many as possible.
There’s a large amount of salt as in here, though, as well as a ton of white potatoes, which have little nutritional value and can cause gas in many dogs.
Overall, Taste of the Wild High Prairie is a good dog food, but given that there’s a good chance your dogs will turn their noses up at it, we can’t justify placing it in our top three.
5. Nutro Wholesome Essentials Puppy Food
Nutro Wholesome Essentials is much like most of the other foods on this list — but it’s just a little bit worse.
The protein levels are good (29%), and the first ingredients are chicken and chicken meal. There’s a large amount of rice, which is gentle on sensitive stomachs (though the way the rice is listed makes us suspect ingredient splitting).
But you won’t find many high-quality fruits and veggies, with the exception of peas and sweet potatoes, and it could use more omega fatty acids and fiber.
Nutro Wholesome Essentials isn’t a bad food — it’s perfectly fine. It just can’t quite measure up to those ranked above it on this list.
6. Royal Canin Medium Puppy Food
The very first ingredient in this kibble is an animal by-product, and Royal Canin doesn’t get much better after that.
In addition to the chicken by-product meal, there are cheap fillers like corn and wheat in this food. These ingredients are hard to digest and are filled with empty calories, making them a poor choice for a growing puppy.
Even the good foods have issues. There’s vegetable oil inside, which is filled with omega fatty acids — but it can also make your pups pretty fatty themselves.
Despite using cheap ingredients, this is definitely not a cheap food.
The best thing about Royal Canin is the overall protein levels, which sit at 30%. However, if you’re going to use inferior meat to get there, that number isn’t impressive.
Buyer’s Guide – Choosing the Best Food for Border Collie Puppies
Reading a dog food label can be surprisingly confusing, especially if you’re not up to date on the latest trends in dog food. In the guide below, we’ll show you which questions you should ask before deciding on a food for your Border Collie puppy.
Do Border Collies Have Special Nutritional Needs?
Yes and no. They need the same nutrients that every dog needs, but since Border Collies are so incredibly active, they need more of them.
That’s why we believe in a high-protein diet, as it will give your dog long-lasting energy without filling them up with empty calories or cheap carbs. Plus, dogs love meat, so it should be easy to convince your pooch to wolf it down.
Are All Meats Created Equal?
Absolutely not. Most dogs will do well eating just about any protein source, whether it be chicken, turkey, bison, etc. However, that’s assuming that the meat used to make the food is high quality.
Look out for ingredients like “animal by-products” or “animal fat.” This is often low-quality meat that’s left over after all the better foods have taken the choice cuts. It’s generally not something you’d want your dog to eat.
Any time the label refuses to specify what animal the meat came from, it’s a problem. That could mean the manufacturer doesn’t want you to know, or worse, they don’t know themselves.
Manufacturers use this meat because it’s cheap, but we think the savings aren’t worth it. Spending a few extra bucks to get high-quality meat could save you a fortune in vet bills down the line.
What About Fruits and Vegetables?
Many of the best fruits and veggies for dogs to eat are the same ones you should be eating (but please don’t steal your dog’s kibble). That means so-called “superfoods” like cranberries, kale, spinach, and blueberries are all fantastic for your pet, as they’re packed with vitamins and antioxidants.
On the flip side, the foods that you know you shouldn’t eat are also ones you shouldn’t give your dog. That means empty carbs like wheat and corn. These ingredients add little in terms of nutrition, but they can contribute to canine obesity. Also, many pups have trouble digesting them.
So, why would a manufacturer use inferior fruits and vegetables when there are so many great ones available? Again, it’s to save money.
Is There Anything Else I Should Be Looking For?
Glucosamine and chondroitin are important for larger dogs like Border Collies because they contribute to joint health. Look to see if any has been added to the food; if you don’t see either ingredient listed, look for things like “chicken meal.” Regardless, you may want to consider giving your dog a supplement to ensure that they get as much as possible.
Omega fatty acids are also essential, especially for puppies. These antioxidants help the brain, eyes, and immune system develop properly, while also fighting off inflammation. The total amount of omegas should be listed on the label, but also look for ingredients like fish, flaxseed, or animal fat.
If I Buy a High-Quality Food, Does It Matter How Much I Feed My Border Collie?
While these dogs burn off a ton of calories, that doesn’t mean they can eat as much as they want.
Obesity can be a huge problem with this breed, and extra weight just puts more stress on their joints. You can stave off obesity by letting your dog eat as much as they want and exercising them around-the-clock, but it’s much easier to practice proper portion control.
The bag should tell you how much to feed your dog based on their weight, or you could ask your vet for recommendations. If you notice your dog getting pudgy, however, you should cut back — and limit the treats and table scraps.
We also discourage the practice of free-feeding. Instead of leaving a bowl full of food out all day, feed your dog a specific amount at designated times, and pick up the bowl when they’re finished.
Buying Dog Food Isn’t Rocket Surgery
As long as you follow these simple rules and look for a few key things on the label, you should be able to find a great kibble for your pooch in no time.
Many people are unfamiliar with VICTOR Select Nutra Pro, but that’s a shame, as it’s our favorite food for Border Collie puppies. It’s absolutely stuffed with protein, and it has similarly high amounts of glucosamine and other important amino acids.
If you want a great food at a better price, bring home a bag of American Journey. It doesn’t have any of the cheap ingredients that budget kibbles are often filled with; instead, it’s loaded with nutrient-dense superfoods.
Deciding on a dog food is more stressful than it should be, but we hope that our reviews have made the process a little easier for you. After all, feeding your Border Collie puppy the right kibble will set them up for a lifetime of health and wellness.
Featured Image: serena montagnani from Pixabay