6 Best Dog Foods for Blue Heelers
The Blue Heeler is a highly active dog full of energy and a spirit of adventure. A dog breed that belongs to the herding family, the Blue Heeler, a canine companion sometimes referred to as an Australian Cattle Dog, was initially intended to function as a working dog. As a result, this dog is happiest when given a job. Should this not be possible, the Blue Heeler needs vigorous daily exercise to remain physically and mentally content.
Because the Blue Heelers are hyperactive, they need a high-quality diet to fuel their daily activity. The best dog foods for Blue Heelers include lean meat-based proteins to help encourage the development of strong muscles. But how does one find the best food for your Blue Heeler or any other breed? Each dog is different, and a dog food marked for a medium, active dog might not be the best choice for your medium-sized blue-heeler.
When choosing food for your furry friend, consider its current health, metabolism, activity level, and life stage. A puppy’s nutritional needs differ from that of a teenage, adult, and senior dog. Also, your pregnant Blue Heeler needs specific nutrients to ensure she has enough milk, and once the puppies are born, the lactating mother has additional needs. A nursing mama dog will do whatever she needs to ensure her puppies are well-fed, and you will be the one who must see that she gets the necessary nutrients to do that.
Making a choice that will provide optimal health for your Australian Cattle Dog is a complex process. It takes time to research and gather information to help you make up your mind. Many professionals agree that variety is the key to giving your dog the best diet. Dog Food Care can guide you through the clutter.
There are three primary questions for Blue Heeler parents.
- Learn the six essential nutrients every dog needs.
- Learn how much to feed your Australian Cattle Dog
- Learn what to look for on dog food labels
View Table of Contents
- What are the six essential nutrients?
- What to look for on your dog food labels
- The name game when decoding the label
- What you want to see on your Blue Heeler’s dog food labels:
- What you don’t want to see on your Blue Heeler’s dog food label:
- What are fillers?
- Dog Food Care reviewed the 9 Dog Foods listed below
- Best Overall 1. Instinct Nature’s Variety Skin & Coat Health Raw Boost Recipe with Real Chicken Adult Dry Dog Food
- Best Value 2. Diamond Naturals Senior Formula Dry Dog Food
- Best for Seniors 3. Victor Purpose Senior Healthy Weight Dry Dog Food
- Best for Active Dogs 4. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Grain-Free Recipe with Red Meat Dry Dog Food
- Best for Puppies 5. Wellness Complete Health Puppy Dry Dog Food
- Best for Dogs in All Life Stages 6. American Journey Active Life Formula Chicken, Brown Rice & Vegetables Recipe Dry Dog Food
- What are the facts you should know about dog foods for Blue Heelers?
- What Should You Avoid Feeding Your Blue Heeler?
- Is it safe for my Blue Heeler to digest raw meat?
- Is it necessary for my Blue Heeler to take vitamins and supplements?
What are the six essential nutrients?
Many dog food labels say “Complete and Balanced,” but what is required for dog food to be complete and balanced? The product is formulated to meet the nutrient levels established by AAFCO for a particular life stage or all life stages. It says you can feed only this food, and your dog will get all the required nutrients. The six essential nutrients are listed below.
1. Water: 70% to 80% of your Blue Heeler’s mature body weight is made up of water. It’s essential to make sure your dog has access to an adequate, clean water supply daily. Dogs should drink approximately one ounce of water per pound of body weight each day. Without sufficient water, your dog’s body will be unable to maintain critical bodily functions shown below.
- Dissolve and transport nutrients to cells
- Regulate body temperature,
- Digest foods
- Flush away waste, and much more.
2. Proteins: Your Blue Heeler’s body uses 23 amino acids to build tissues. However, your canine companion’s body can only produce 13 of those on its own. The remaining 10 amino acids must come from proteins in the dog’s diet. To ensure your dog is fueling their day and body with enough protein, look for dog foods with natural, high-quality proteins as the first ingredient. Whole meats and meat meals are good because both provide excellent protein and nutrition. Whole meats contain more water before being processed (which cooks off) and meals are already cooked to remove their water, dried, and ground. So a mix of both on the ingredient label is a great thing.
- Chicken Meal
- Beef Meal
- Salmon Meal
Meat meals contain about four times the protein meats do, so generally, they’re a good source of nutrients, but only when they are named.
3. Fats: Fatty acids, as they are called when talking about dietary needs, are essential for energy and also for your furry doggo’s skin and coat health. Your dog’s body cannot produce essential fatty acids and relies on you to include them in its diet to maintain optimal health. Some essential fatty acids for your dog are:
- Linoleic acid
4. Carbohydrates: Carbs are necessary to power the tissues in your dog’s body and for healthy digestion. Carbohydrates are plant-based, coming from grains, barley, brown rice, whole corn, potatoes, etc. It provides the dog’s body with
5. Vitamins: Proper growth and health maintenance are impossible without including vitamins in your Blue Heeler’s diet. Vitamins support many critical roles in your dog’s diet. As long as your choice of dog food is a complete and balanced meal under AAFCO’s guidelines, your pup should be receiving many of the vitamins necessary to keep them healthy and happy.
- Vitamin D helps to regulate calcium and phosphorus levels
- Vitamin A helps to boost the immune system
- Vitamin E and C serve as antioxidants
- Vitamin K helps with blood clots and
- Vitamin B12 helps maintain a healthy nervous system.
6. Minerals: Like vitamins, minerals support several critical roles in your dog’s diet. While different minerals provide different benefits, some general functions include bone and cartilage formation, hormone regulation, oxygen flow, and nerve and muscle function. Recipes with chelated minerals promote mineral attachment to proteins for maximized absorption during the digestive process. Below are some specific attributes of essential minerals for your dog.
- Calcium and phosphorus make up a large portion of bone matter
- Iron helps to carry oxygen through the body
- Zinc supports proper wound healing
- Selenium helps provide antioxidant support
- Sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium help with nerve transmission and fluid balance.
What to look for on your dog food labels
Like your food labels, your Blue Heeler’s food label shows what ingredients it contains and the percentage of essential nutrients in each bag. The ingredients are listed from highest to lowest content by weight and the percentage it represents, with 80% of the food made up of the first 5 ingredients. Studying the ingredients list will help you understand what you feed your dog.
Another part of the information on dog food labels is the Guaranteed Analysis (GA). It is the nutrient profile found on the back of the bag or can. GAs divulge the diet’s basic nutrient composition regarding minimum crude protein, minimum crude fat, and maximum crude fiber. GAs let you know precisely what you are getting.
The name game when decoding the label
The first five or 10 ingredients on the list will give you a good idea about the quality of the ingredients. You always want to see the protein listed in the first position, and then it must be the real thing. If the list of a bag of Beef Dog Food shows the beef first, followed by whole-grain corn and then soybean meal, the percentage of whole-grain corn will be less than the beef, and the soybean meal will be less than the whole-grain corn.
So, if you buy a bag of kibble called Beef Dog Food, beef must be number one on the list, and as per the FDA, it must make up 95% of the product. In contrast, if that bag of dog food’s label says “Beef Dinner,” “Beef Recipe,” “Beef Flavor,” or similar descriptions, the beef percentage need not exceed 25%.
What you want to see on your Blue Heeler’s dog food labels:
- Real meat is the first ingredient
- Fillers, if any, (corn, wheat, soy) should be listed low on the ingredients list.
- If a “meal” is listed, be sure it’s from a specific source like chicken meal, beef meal, or salmon meal. You don’t want to see a general “meal” like poultry meal, fish meal, etc., which leave you with a guess as to the source of the meal. The fact that it is a meal is not a bad thing. It is significantly more concentrated than the fresh product because the source product is dehydrated and worked into a fine meal, losing no nutrients in the boiling process.
- Specific protein by-products like beef by-products are high in nutritional value and generally not an issue. However, watch out for general statements like by-product meals, as these are lower in quality.
What you don’t want to see on your Blue Heeler’s dog food label:
- The name of the food contains the statement “with” or “flavor,” like “with beef” or “beef-flavored,” as this indicates a small percentage of real meat.
- The same ingredient is listed multiple times using different names, such as high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, sugar, and sucrose. This tactic is often used to hide high levels of an unwanted ingredient by dividing them and using different terms on the ingredients list. The same goes for manufacturers trying to hide high filler contents like corn, cornmeal, and ground corn, which, if shown under one name, might even exceed the amount of the primary protein at number one on the ingredients list.
- Fillers in foods and treats or too many fillers in dog food may not be biologically appropriate for your Blue Heeler.
- Artificial colors and flavors
What are fillers?
In most dog foods, especially kibble, there are added ingredients to help your dog feel full but provide little nutritional value. Usually, fillers are bulky, starchy, and carbohydrate-rich ingredients that could have been replaced by healthier, more natural ingredients.
Typically, these products are cheap, and easy for manufacturers to keep costs low. Some common fillers in commercial dog foods are so cheap that they will irritate your dog, causing allergies or sensitivities. There is no official list of fillers, and what some dog owners regard as fillers, others believe they are healthy. Examples include corn, wheat, rice, unspecified by-products, potato protein, pea protein, and more.
Dog Food Care reviewed the 9 Dog Foods listed below
After reviewing many dog food brands for your Blue Heeler, Dog Food Care recommends those that stood out as best and informs you of the worst on the list below.
- Instinct Nature’s Variety Skin & Coat Health Raw Boost Recipe with Real Chicken Adult Dry Dog Food
- Diamond Naturals Senior Formula
- Victor Purpose Senior Dry Dog Food
- Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Grain-Free Recipe with Red Meat Dry Dog Food
- Wellness Complete Health Puppy Dry Dog Food
- American Journey Active Life Formula Chicken, Brown Rice & Vegetables Recipe Dry Dog Food
The packaging of the above dog foods ranges from 14-pound bags to 40-pound bags, and prices from $17.99 to $79.95 per bag. When broken down to prices per pound, the average is $2.17 per pound.
Dog Food Care’s choice of top 6 dog foods for Blue Heeler dogs is listed below:
Best for Seniors
Best for Active Dogs
Best for Puppies
Best for All Life Stages
Below are Dog Food Care’s top recommendations for feeding your Bue Heeler at its different life stages
1. Instinct Nature’s Variety Skin & Coat Health Raw Boost Recipe with Real Chicken Adult Dry Dog Food
Instinct Pet Food was founded in 2002 and produces frozen and freeze-dried raw pet food in their company-owned Lincoln, Neb. Facilities. The corporate offices are located in St. Louis.
This all-natural formula is made in the USA and combines high-protein kibble with bites of freeze-dried raw chicken, along with other minimally processed whole-food ingredients like menhaden fish meal, salmon oil, and chia seeds add a helping of omega fatty acids to encourage healthy skin and a shiny coat.
The freeze-drying process helps preserve the raw nutrients your Blue Heeler needs and the delicious flavor he craves. This dry dog food is completely free of grains, but it’s also made without corn, wheat, soy, by-product meal, potato, artificial flavors, or preservatives.
Instinct Nature’s Variety Skin & Coat Health Raw Boost Recipe is a high-priced dog food with excellent quality. It has very well-balanced amounts of protein, fat, and carbs, with outstanding meat and fat quality. It is good to be aware that Instinct has an above-average number of dog food recalls.
However, this Instinct Raw Boost Recipe has well-balanced protein, fat, and carb levels. It is Dog Food Care’s overall best choice and highly recommended. Diets high in protein and fat, with moderate to low carbs, are ideal for most Blue Heelers, Border Collies, and other active medium and large dog breeds.
- First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Menhaden Fish Meal, Chicken Meal, Peas, Tapioca
- Guaranteed Analysis: Crude Protein 32.5% min, Crude Fat 20% min, Crude Fiber 4% Max
- Calories: 529 kcal per 8-oz cup
- Suitable for which dogs: Active dogs of all breeds
- Feeding: one 8-oz cup of food for every 25 pounds of its body weight.
- Key Benefit: The grain-free combination of high-protein kibble and freeze-dried raw ingredients help promote healthy skin and a lustrous coat.
- Price: $79.95 per 18-lb bag ($4.44-lb)
2. Diamond Naturals Senior Formula Dry Dog Food
Diamond Foods were established in Meta, Missouri, in 1970. All dry foods are manufactured at Diamond’s company-owned plants in South Carolina, Arkansas, California, and Missouri.
Give your medium or large-breed adult dog the necessary nutrition with Diamond Naturals Senior Formula Dry Dog Food in his golden years. Each Diamond Naturals dry formula is enhanced with superfoods and guaranteed probiotics to support your furry friend’s development and overall health. This large breed adult dry dog food recipe is made with real cage-free chicken, whole grain brown rice, and fruit and vegetables, including kale, blueberries, and coconut. It provides your furry friend with protein, minerals, and omega fatty acids to help promote healthy skin and a shiny coat, plus antioxidants for overall nose-to-tail well-being.
Diamond Naturals Senior Formula Dry Dog Food is a low-priced dry dog food with good quality. This product includes no controversial ingredients like artificial preservatives, colors, and flavors. However, the food has a high amount of carbs but excellent meat and fat quality at a price that deserves our Best-for-budget recommendation.
- First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Whole Grain Brown Rice, Cracked Pearled Barley, Ground White Rice
- Guaranteed Analysis: Crude Protein 25% min, Crude Fat 11% min, Crude Fiber 3% Max
- Calories: 347 kcal per 8-oz cup
- Suitable for which dogs: Senior dogs of all breeds like Bassets and giant dogs like Black Russian Terriers
- Feeding: one 8-oz cup of food for every 25 pounds of its body weight
- Key Benefit: Glucosamine and chondroitin support healthy joints, omega fatty acids support skin and coat health, and superfoods, including fruits like blueberries and oranges, provide your large breed dog with vitamins and minerals.
- Price: $40.99 per 35-lb bag ($1.17-lb)
Best for Seniors
3. Victor Purpose Senior Healthy Weight Dry Dog Food
Introduced in 2007, VICTOR is sold primarily in farm & feed and independent pet stores across the country and through select online retailers. With a commitment to offering high-quality nutrition at a common-sense value, the company manufactures all kibble in-house at its Mt. Pleasant, Texas facility.
This multi-protein, nutrient-dense formula is specially formulated for dogs susceptible to joint issues. This diet is ideal for less active seniors and other dogs that need to reduce overall weight. Victor Purpose Senior Healthy Weight Dry Dog Food is made with gluten-free grains, and it contains glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM. They all have anti-inflammatory attributes that can relieve arthritis symptoms without painkillers’ addictive and woozy side effects.
Victor Purpose Senior Healthy Weight Dry Dog Food is a great quality dog food at a low price. This product has no controversial ingredients and does not use artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors, making it an outstanding dog food for your Blue Heeler in its golden years.
Thus, Dog Food Care can confidently recommend this dog food for your Blue Heeler companion as he ages.
- First 5 Ingredients: Beef Meal, Whole Grain Brown Rice, Whole Grain Millet, Grain Sorghum, Chicken Fat (preserved with mixed Tocopherols)
- Guaranteed Analysis: Crude Protein 27% min, Crude Fat 11.5% min, Crude Fiber 4.5% Max
- Calories: 360 kcal per 8-oz cup
- Suitable for which dogs: All breeds from small Border Terriers to Giants like Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs and medium-sized Blue Heelers
- Feeding: one 8-oz cup of food for every 25 pounds of its body weight.
- Key Benefits: VICTOR is made with only Natural Plant-Based Preservatives
- Price: $62.99 per 40lb bag ($1.57-lb)
Best for Active Dogs
4. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Grain-Free Recipe with Red Meat Dry Dog Food
Bill Bishop and his sons Billy and Chris founded Blue Buffalo in 2003 in Wilton, Connecticut, to honor their beloved family dog, Blue. The Bishop family became increasingly concerned with the quality of Blue’s food when Blue had a bout with cancer at a young age. On April 24, 2018, General Mills, Inc. of Minneapolis announced its acquisition of Blue Buffalo Pet Products, Inc.
Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Grain-Free Recipe with Red Meat Dry Dog Food was created for adult dogs’ health and well-being. All formulas start with real meat, whole grains, garden veggies, and fruit. This adult protein-rich recipe features delicious, protein-rich red meat and other natural ingredients for your dog’s healthy meal.
Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Grain-Free Recipe is a low-priced dry dog food with average quality. The biggest positive is that this Blue Buffalo product has zero controversial ingredients – that also means no artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors. The food has a high amount of carbs causing lower protein and fat content, but excellent meat and fat quality. Thus, Dog Food Care recommends Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula as an average quality dog food.
- First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Beef, Beef Meal, Pea Protein, Pea Starch, Tapioca Starch
- Guaranteed Analysis: Crude Protein 30% min, Crude Fat 15% min, Crude Fiber 6% Max
- Calories: 393 kcal per 8-oz cup
- Suitable for which dogs: All fairly active breeds, from your Blue Heeler to the little Scottish Terrier and the massive Neapolitan Mastiff
- Feeding: one 8-oz cup of food for every 25 pounds of its body weight
- Key Benefit: Essential, high-quality protein for healthy muscle development, and excellent fat and meat quality for energy for your active adult Blue Heeler.
- Price: $62.98 per 22-lb bag ($2.86-lb)
Best for Puppies
5. Wellness Complete Health Puppy Dry Dog Food
This dog food is manufactured by Wellpet LLC, headquartered in Tewksbury, Massachusetts, founded in 1926. Wellness uses minimum ingredients but aims for maximum nutrition while ensuring that its recipes care for dogs at all life stages.
Power up your pup with Wellness Complete Health Salmon & Oatmeal. This natural dry food for puppies is specially formulated to provide whole-body nutritional support for your growing guy. It is designed with carefully chosen ingredients that include premium proteins and wholesome grains supported by omega fatty acids, like DHA, essential vitamins, antioxidants, glucosamine, and probiotics. This balanced, healthy dry dog food is designed to encourage healthy brain development, optimize energy levels and help ensure healthy skin and coat while promoting whole-body health.
Wellness Complete Health Puppy Dry Dog Food is a great-quality, mid-priced dog food. It has no controversial ingredients, including zero artificial preservatives, flavors, and colors. Furthermore, it has well-balanced amounts of protein, fat, and carbs with excellent meat and fat quality to give puppies a healthy start, earning a Dog Food Care recommendation.
- First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Oatmeal, Ground Barley, Peas
- Guaranteed Analysis: Crude Protein 29% min, Crude Fat 18% min, Crude Fiber 4.5% Max
- Calories: 450 kcal per 8-oz cup
- Suitable for which dogs: Puppies of all breeds like Dalmatians and Blue Heelers
- Feeding: To be determined according to age and breed
- Key Benefit: Protein-rich formula features chicken, lamb, and salmon, with chicken as the first ingredient.
- Price: $69.98 per 30-lb bag ($2.33-lb)
Best for Dogs in All Life Stages
6. American Journey Active Life Formula Chicken, Brown Rice & Vegetables Recipe Dry Dog Food
American Journey is exclusively made for and distributed by Chewy, who works closely with production partners to create and develop their own recipes and oversee production to ensure it adheres to their quality standards. American Journey’s dog food is produced in Chewy’s partner facilities, located in Kansas.
Feed your dog the high-quality nutrition he needs and deserves with American Journey Active Life Formula. This dry dog food has a high percentage of quality chicken ingredients and fiber-rich grains as the first five on the list. It offers your dog complete nutrition and is an excellent choice for active dogs of all sizes and breeds.
American Journey Active Life Formula is a great quality dog food at a low price. This product has no controversial ingredients and does not use artificial preservatives, colors or flavors, making it an outstanding dog food for your Blue Heeler and highly recommended by Dog Food Care.
- First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Rice Bran, Peas
- Guaranteed Analysis: Crude Protein 25% min, Crude Fat 15% min, Crude Fiber 6% Max
- Calories: 342 kcal per 8-oz cup
- Suitable for which dogs: All breeds, from the small Shetland Sheepdogs to the Blue Heelers, and the giant Dogue de Bordeaux.
- Feeding: one 8-oz cup of food for every 25 pounds of its body weight
- Key Benefit: Antioxidant and nutrient-rich vegetables plus easily digestible, fiber-rich grains
- Price: $49.99 per 28-lb bag ($1.79-lb)
What are the facts you should know about dog foods for Blue Heelers?
How much should you feed your Blue Heeler?
Because of the Blue Heeler’s high activity needs, you should feed this breed a diet comprised of excellent quality proteins and well-balanced to meet its nutritional requirements. The best dog foods for Blue Heelers contain a minimum of 18 percent protein and 5 percent fat, with higher amounts also acceptable for this energetic dog.
It would be best if you watched your Blue Heeler’s weight very closely. If you overfeed your furry friend, your dog will develop joint and other health problems due to its size.
It is essential to remember that feeding guides on dog food bags are precisely that – guides based on age and weight. However, your dog’s activity level, metabolism, and overall health are essential in determining how much to feed him.
Also, keep in mind that puppy food is different from the food you will feed an adult Blue Heeler dog. Please buy appropriate food for your dog’s life stage. Adult dog food can be too big for puppies and can cause harm to their teeth and gums. Below are guides for feeding puppies.
Recommended daily quantities for your Blue Heeler are listed below, and you can adjust those to meet your canine companion’s unique needs.
- 1 3/4 cups per day if they weigh 30 pounds
- 2 1/4 cups per day if they weigh 40 pounds
- 2 2/3 cups per day if they weigh 50 pounds
Calculate 1 to 1 ½ cups per 25 pounds body weight if your dog weighs more than 50 pounds.
Remember that you must divide the total daily food allocation into several daily meals to prevent the deadly risk of bloat. Puppies should eat three to four times per day, and twice per day is good enough for adult dogs.
What type of diet is perfect for your Blue Heeler?
You know your Blue Heeler best, and as long as you understand that a high-quality diet is packed with nutrients, you don’t have to feed more to get the benefits. Below is a list of different diet options for Blue Heelers.
- Kibble Diet
A kibble diet is a dog food that is processed and cooked and comes in many different varieties. It is supposed to be a balanced diet and meet the dog’s nutritional needs required by law. Dry dog foods should have necessary ingredients such as animal protein, grains, cereals, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
- Raw Diet
A raw diet usually consists of organ meat, muscle meat, whole or ground bone, raw eggs, and dog-friendly vegetables. It comes in many different forms: dehydrated raw, freeze-dried raw, pre-packaged raw, BARF (biologically appropriate raw food), and PMR (Prey Model Raw). Blue Heeler dog parents are advised to feed raw diets under the eye of someone knowledgeable in this area, such as a clinical nutritionist.
- Home Cooked Diet
A home-cooked meal prepared for a dog can consist of many different animal proteins and vegetables. It is based on the nutritional needs and health issues of the dog. Home-cooked diets require dietary supplements such as Balance IT to ensure that the dog’s nutritional needs are met. Blue Heeler parents feeding a home-cooked diet would be advised to do so under the care of a veterinary nutritionist.
What health conditions should be considered when feeding your Blue Heeler?
Blue Heelers are prone to several health conditions that should be considered when choosing the best dog food.
- Skin allergies
Blue Heelers have double coats with extremely dense undercoats, which is why they are predisposed to food allergies and occasional environmental allergies that cause skin conditions like repeated hot spots. If your gentle furry friend suffers from food allergies, it’s essential to remember that they will usually have additional symptoms. They could suffer chronic ear infections, digestion problems, and skin issues.
Blue Heelers are not prone to weight problems that could lead to obesity. However, overweight dogs are often caused by owners who do not realize the dangers of over-feeding their dogs. They should be fed their daily food, divided into two meals per day, to maintain a healthy weight. Overfeeding, or even free-feeding a Blue Heeler will lead to other health problems such as joint conditions, heart disease, and canine bloat/GDV, which could be deadly.
What Should You Avoid Feeding Your Blue Heeler?
Not all dog food ingredients are suitable for your canine companion. Some provide little to no nutritional value, while others only function as fillers or preservatives. And the dangerous part? Some pet food ingredients can put your Blue Heeler’s life at risk.
For responsible owners of medium-sized dogs like Blue Heelers, English Bulldogs, Bassets, Huskies, and Poodles, it pays to inspect the ingredients of dog foods closely before feeding them to your furry friend. Below is a list of some ingredients to avoid.
- BHA (Butylated Hydroxyanisole) is a chemical preservative added to fats and oils. The United States, Canada, and other European countries approve the use of BHA but only in small doses. However, the CDC regards BHA as a carcinogen for humans, and it could be as deadly to dogs. Potential adverse effects include liver and kidney damage and skin and eye irritation.
- White Flour is a starchy ingredient, a simple carbohydrate used as a binding agent and filler in some dog foods. During the bleaching process, most of the nutrients from the wheat are stripped away.
This ingredient can drastically increase or decrease the dog’s blood sugar levels, and it only keeps them full for a short time. When this happens, your dog consumes more food than usual, increasing the risk of diabetes and obesity.
- Unspecified Meals can be harmful if the source is not specified. While specified meals like beef meal, chicken meal, and salmon meal are excellent protein sources, meat meal, poultry meal, and fish meal leave you guessing. It could contain low-quality, expired, or infected meat. It can also include fatty tissues or remains of dead animals from shelters.
When you see unspecified meals on the ingredient labels, you can be sure they are used as fillers. Their only purpose is to cut costs and benefit the manufacturers’ bottom lines.
- Artificial Food Colorings and flavors have no nutritional benefits. Instead, they can be harmful. Manufacturers add artificial colors to make the food appear more appetizing for dog owners, and artificial flavors are added to make low-quality food smell appetizing to dogs. Flavors like chicken liver flavor and pork liver flavor feature in several brands of dog food. Dogs care for taste, not color. Artificial colorings used in dog foods, known as Blue 2, Red 40, and Yellow 5, are linked to hyperacidity and extreme allergic reactions to food. Only get dog food that is naturally colored.
- Corn Syrup is often used as a cheap source of flavoring in pet treats. This concentrated sweetener has a thick, syrupy consistency once extracted and processed from corn. It’s highly addictive to dogs, so they keep coming back for more. It can cause an abrupt rise and fall in your dog’s blood sugar. Letting your dog consume corn syrup with their diet also puts them at risk of diabetes and obesity.
- Rendered Fat is a non-descript ingredient that enhances the flavor of some pet foods. However, it’s one of those dog food ingredients with poor quality, since it comes from unidentifiable sources. Because of this, rendered fat can become a breeding ground for mold and harmful microorganisms like salmonella. It also contains high toxin levels, such as heavy metals, highly concentrated in their fat content. What you want to see is specified fat, like chicken fat.
- Vegetable Oil may seem like a pretty healthy ingredient. However, the nutrient value of this type of oil depends on where it came from and how they were processed. Vegetable oil is derived from corn and soybean oils. It contains omega-6 fatty acids, which are considered healthy for dogs in limited quantities.
Added to other fatty ingredients in the recipe may cause excessive levels of Omega-6, which could trigger inflammation. It can negatively affect your dog’s joints and worsen their arthritis, hip and joint pains, and other related conditions.
- Farmed Salmon, unlike freshwater salmon, could harm your Blue Heeler’s health. Salmon is an excellent source of healthy omega-3 fatty acids for humans and dogs. But here’s the catch: the wrong kind of salmon can be toxic to your dogs. Unlike fresh salmon, farmed salmon are bred in artificial environments instead of wild waters. They are less nutritious than fresh salmon. Farmed salmon are typically shown on ingredient lists as “salmon meal” or “salmon oil.”
Furthermore, they could contain many harmful chemicals like mercury, pollutants, and other fat-soluble toxins. When ingested in huge quantities, these substances can be cancerous to your dog. Farmed salmon also contain 9 Nitrates/Nitrites that serve as preservatives for products like processed meats. Sodium nitrite is the most common preserving ingredient linked to cancer and a blood disorder called methemoglobin in dogs.
- Melamine usually serves as a filler ingredient to reach the required protein content for pet food. But in reality, it’s a type of plastic that contains nitrogen. This dangerous substance can contaminate your dog’s food.
Ingesting this is toxic for your canine companion. Depending on their size and the amount of melamine added, its consumption can lead to kidney failure. Melamine caused one of the worst pet food recalls in 2007.
Is it safe for my Blue Heeler to digest raw meat?
Because dogs are no longer relying on their hunting skills for food, their owners must ensure they receive proper nutrition. Feeding them on diets that consist mainly of raw meat could deny them essential nutrients. In addition to the risk of nutritional deficiencies, raw meat does pose other health risks—both for you and your dog.
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) have all spoken out about the dangers of feeding raw meat. According to an FDA study, it poses a risk to your dog, but it also poses a threat to you and your family.
Raw meat is likely to contain harmful bacteria like Salmonella, Listeria, E. coli, and more, and cooking meat to a safe temperature kills off those harmful bacteria. By feeding uncooked meat, there’s a higher risk your dog will develop a foodborne illness or another type of bacterial infection.
Additionally, there’s an increased risk you or a member of your family will come into contact with the bacteria and develop a foodborne illness. Handling the raw meat, letting your dog lick your face, cleaning up his feces, or touching any contaminated surfaces increase the risk of infection.
If you choose to feed your dog an RFD, we recommend referring to the safety guidelines published by the FDA, CDC, or AVMA. Doing so will help minimize the risks of contamination and foodborne illnesses.
Is it necessary for my Blue Heeler to take vitamins and supplements?
Good nutrition starts with what you feed your Blue Heeler every day. That may sound simple, but the number of dog foods on the market can be overwhelming, and to figure out which one is right for your furry friend. Fortunately, with a bit of knowledge about essential nutrients and dog vitamins, you can feel less overwhelmed when providing your dog with everything he needs to thrive.
Your dog needs six essential nutrients to live a healthy lifestyle: water, protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. However, each dog may require more or less of some of those essentials. Understanding your dog’s nutritional requirements, activity level, age, health problems, and any typical genetic issues will help you look for food that meets the dog’s individual needs.
The next step is to discuss food recommendations with your veterinarian. Only through regular checkups can your vet determine if the food you are feeding your pup provides him with the essential nutrients he needs. If your vet feels that your dog needs additional nutrients, they will either prescribe a prescription dog food or give you a prescription for dog supplements.