Best Food For A Border Collie

The Border Collie breed was developed to herd sheep in the hills and mountains of the border country between Scotland and England. The American Kennel Club states: “Without the tireless work of such a dog, the vast flocks of sheep could not have been managed.”  Renowned for their intelligence – Border Collies are often touted as the smartest of all
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21st September 2023

The Border Collie breed was developed to herd sheep in the hills and mountains of the border country between Scotland and England. The American Kennel Club states: “Without the tireless work of such a dog, the vast flocks of sheep could not have been managed.” 

Renowned for their intelligence – Border Collies are often touted as the smartest of all dog breeds – and with endless energy to boot, having a pet Border Collie in your life means you’ll always be busy! 

Requiring plenty of exercise (2 hours plus per day), along with lots of games and regular training to provide mental stimulation, an all-action Border Collie requires top-quality nutrition to keep them in great shape.  

But, what things do you need to consider when choosing the best food for a Border Collie puppy or adult? How much food should a Border Collie eat? Do working Border Collies have different calorie requirements to pet Border Collies? Can certain foods affect Border Collie behaviour? Can Border Collies eat human food? 

We’ve got answers from canine nutrition and Border Collie experts to help you make an informed decision. 

Shop quality food for a Border Collie


Have you ever wondered if Border Collies are food-motivated? The consensus is that Border Collies are not as motivated by food rewards as most other breeds, which can be a challenge when it comes to training. Certified dog trainer and Collie expert, Karen Pryor, advises: “All dogs are different, some are food-motivated, others aren’t. Some may prefer a tug on a toy, or to have a ball thrown for them.” 

Shop the best food for a Border Collie puppy

Working dogs v pet dogs – how do you choose the right food for your Border Collie? 

A well-exercised pet Border Collie, which the Kennel Club classifies as part of the Pastoral group (dogs bred for herding and working with livestock), may be considered by some as a ‘working breed’. But, he or she will not require the same higher calorie nutrition as an actual working Collie who’s running about on a farm all day long.  

That’s why it’s important to choose the best food for your Border Collie's lifestyle and life stage. 

Burgess in-house vet, Dr Suzanne Moyes MVB MRCVS, who oversees recipe development and product production, advises: “When choosing food for Border Collies, it’s essential to bear in mind that the optimum diet for your dog is one that supplies the correct number of calories and balance of nutrients for their life stage and lifestyle.  

“This means calculating the nutrient content and dietary components such as protein, fat, carbohydrate and vitamins and minerals required. All Burgess Dog Food is a complete food. This means, whatever kibble variety you choose for your dog, it will contain all the nutrients they need in the correct balance.” 

So, how do the nutrition requirements of a Border Collie vary? 

  • Puppies require a little more protein to support their growing muscles and the right balance of calcium and phosphorus for developing bones and teeth.Shop our range of Puppy Dog Food, ideal for young Border Collies.
  • Adult dogs require foods that are naturally rich in protein for good muscle maintenance and essential fatty acids to help nourish their coat and maintain healthy eyes. Shop our range of Adult Dog Food
  • Older dogs benefit from added glucosamine for optimal joint mobility and prebiotics to aid the body’s natural defences. Shop our range of Senior Dog Food
  • Working dogs are always on the go and their nutritional requirements vary from those of the average pet dog. They require highly digestible proteins for muscle and tissue maintenance and optimum levels of balanced carbohydrates to meet their energy needs. Shop our food for active and working dogs

What’s the best food for Border Collies with sensitive stomachs


Dogs aren’t, as is often believed, carnivores. They’re actually classified as omnivores – benefiting from a healthy diet that contains both animal and plant-based foods such as grains. Dogs need a balance of vitamins and minerals, and their food must contain zinc and copper supplements. They also need a little bit of fibre in their diet to help maintain a healthy gut.  

Feeding your Border Collie - FAQs

How often should you feed a Border Collie and how much? 

The correct food amount for a Border Collie depends on their age. Puppies, with their small stomachs need three or four small meals a day, while adult dogs generally have two meals a day. Sometimes, elderly dogs benefit from three or four smaller meals.  

For Border Collies, veterinary charity PDSA advises: “You should feed them a good quality, commercially available, complete dog food. We usually recommend splitting their daily allowance into two meals. If you give your dog the occasional treat or use treats for training, remember to take this into account and reduce their daily allowance. Treats shouldn’t make up more than 10% of their daily calorie intake as this can unbalance their diet. You should try to feed your dog at the same time every day to get them into a routine. Remember to leave at a gap after eating and before exercising.” 

The key to avoiding over-feeding is to follow the on-pack feeding guidelines and ensure you measure out their daily ration – don’t guess it – and then divide it up throughout the day.  


What are the benefits of feeding Border Collies dry food? 

Dry kibble dog food is widely acknowledged to be a great way to deliver a nutritious, balanced, complete diet for your Border Collie. It’s a dog food that’s carefully crafted to provide exactly the right balance of vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, and fats that your dog needs, in an easy-to-feed form. 

Dry dog food stays fresh inside the pack until you’re ready to serve it to your dog – and, by following the on-pack instructions, it’s easy to measure out exactly the right sized portion

Make sure your dog always has plenty of fresh, clean water available and, if you are feeding dry food to your Border Collie, you’ll find they’ll need a little more. 

When introducing a new food to your dog, you should do it gradually to avoid upsetting their digestion. Mix in the new food with the old over a period of 7 to 10 days until the new food completely replaces the old diet. 

Shop the best dry food for Border Collies

Raw, grain free or home-cooked? Find out the truth about fad diets for dogs  


Does certain dog food affect a Border Collie’s behaviour? 

If your Border Collie is not receiving the best food or correct nutrition it will impact on their overall health and wellbeing, which in turn can affect their behaviour. After all, if you’re not feeling good, you’re not going to be enjoying life as much as you should.  

Tom Bury, Clinical Director at Bath Vet Group and Winterbourne Vets in Bristol, says: “If your dog is energetic and bright-eyed with a shiny coat and is neither over nor underweight, you can relax in the knowledge that you’re feeding them well. It may not be nice, but check their stools too – if the food is working, your dog will produce consistently well-formed, firm stools.  

“Dry food – dog biscuits or dry kibbles – can help to keep your dog's teeth clean with its rough texture. Bear in mind that certain wet foods can contain up to 75% water – which provides no nutrition whatsoever. Cheaper dog food can be made from inexpensive ingredients – harder for your dog to digest and offering less nutritional value, which means that the dog's body uses less of it. This has two principal effects: You'll need to feed your dog more of it. Your dog will produce a lot more poo.” 

Burgess in-house vet, Dr Suzanne Moyes MVB MRCVS, advises: “When choosing Border Collie puppy food, or adult food for a Border Collie, select a recipe that’s highly digestible, with no added artificial flavours, colours or preservatives and which has the full list of ingredients, so you know exactly what you’re feeding your dog. Look for recipes that are made from premium ingredients such as lamb, turkey and salmon to ensure excellent quality and superior taste.” 

Shop high quality dry food for Border Collies

With a whole host of five-star reviews, here’s a snapshot of what happy customers have told us about our Burgess Dry Dog Food range: 

“Works well for my puppy and has made a great difference to his digestive system.” 

“Excellent. Have used this food for 5 years.” 

“Our senior dog has been enjoying this food for the last couple of years.” 

“This food is great for my dog!” 

“Excellent service, delivered on time, we have had this product for over 10 years, it's just such a quality product at an affordable price. Burgess never let you down, a true Yorkshire product.” 

“The dog food is great, and my fussy Border Collie loves it.” 

“Both the two dogs I have now and several dogs I’ve had in the past have thrived on this food.” 


What human foods are dangerous for Border Collies? 

While a little lean, cooked meat or plain, boiled vegetables such as carrots and broccoli are safe for canines, alongside their regular dog food, many other human foods should be strictly off the menu. 

Here are some of the main foods that are dangerous for dogs. If you suspect your Border Collie has eaten any of the following, consult your vet immediately. 

  • Alcoholic beverages
    Can cause intoxication, coma, and death. 
  • Chocolate, coffee, tea
    Contain caffeine, theobromine, or theophylline, which can be toxic and affect the heart and nervous system. 
  • Fat trimmings
    Can cause pancreatitis. 
  • Pits from peaches and plums 
    Can cause obstruction of the digestive tract. 
  • Grapes and raisins
    Contain an unknown toxin, which can damage the kidneys. 
  • Gravy 
    If made from meat juices, it can contain high levels of fat, which can cause pancreatitis. 
  • Large amounts of liver
    Can cause Vitamin A toxicity, which affects muscles and bones. 
  • Macadamia nuts
    Contain an unknown toxin, which can affect the digestive and nervous systems and muscle. 
  • Milk and other dairy products
    Some adult dogs do not have sufficient amounts of the enzyme lactase, which breaks down the lactose in milk. This can result in diarrhoea. 
  • Mouldy or spoiled food 
    Can contain multiple toxins causing vomiting and diarrhoea and can also affect other organs. 
  • Mushrooms 
    Can contain toxins, which may affect multiple systems in the body, cause shock, and result in death. 
  • Onions and garlic (raw, cooked, or powder)
    Contain sulfoxides and disulfides, which can damage red blood cells and cause anaemia. Garlic is less toxic than onions. 
  • Potato, rhubarb, and tomato leaves; potato and tomato stems 
    Contain oxalates, which can affect the digestive, nervous, and urinary systems. This is more of a problem in livestock. 
  • Raw eggs
    Contain an enzyme called avidin, which decreases the absorption of biotin (a B vitamin). This can lead to skin and hair coat problems. Raw eggs may also contain salmonella. 
  • Raw fish
    Can result in a thiamine (a B vitamin) deficiency leading to loss of appetite, seizures, and in severe cases, death. More common if raw fish is fed regularly. 
  • Excessive salt
    If eaten in large quantities, it may lead to electrolyte imbalances. 
  • Sugary foods
    Can lead to obesity, dental problems, and possibly diabetes mellitus. 
  • Table scraps (in large amounts)
    Table scraps are not nutritionally balanced and if excessively fed can lead to obesity. Fat should be trimmed from meat; bones should not be fed. 
  • Xylitol 
    This artificial sweetener sneaks its way into all sorts of foods – from peanut butter to jellies and jams and is highly toxic to canines. After a dog consumes a significant amount of xylitol, there is a massive release of insulin from the pancreas. This, in turn, results in a dangerously low blood sugar level and symptoms such as weakness, trembling, seizures, collapse, and even death. 

Caring for you Border Collie

As well as offering the best food for your Border Collie puppy or adult dog, there are some other important things to consider when it comes to caring for your pet:

Need more advice? 

If you’re at all unsure about the best way of feeding your Border Collie or have any concerns about specific nutritional requirements, ask your local veterinary practice for advice. 

You can also call our expert team, available 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday, on +44 (0)1405 862241 who’ll be happy to help. Alternatively, use our online contact form to get in touch. 

Is your dog a Burgess dog? Join the Burgess Pet Club for exclusive offers and rewards.

Tasty, nutritious recipes for your Border Collie

Each and every dog deserves a first-class dinner. Burgess Pet Care is a British, family-owned company and all our dog foods are made in our own factory in the heart of Yorkshire.

We use premium ingredients, locally sourced where possible to support British farmers, to ensure excellent quality and superior taste to help keep your dog happy and healthy – from puppy, to adult and senior and for active, sporting and working dogs. For canines with sensitive stomachs, we’ve also developed recipes especially for dogs with sensitivities

Order online dog food from the Burgess Sensitive & Hypoallergenic Dog food range and save 10% with Subscribe & Save  

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