Top 10 Best Dog Food for Shelties

Top 10 Best Dog Food for Shelties

The Shetland Sheepdog, also known as the Sheltie, is a small to medium-sized pooch who hails from the most northern point of wee bonnie Scotland.

He was bred down from the Collie to be a smaller version who would eat less. This is also why Shetland ponies are so small, mainly because food sources were scarce on the island of Shetland. But, today, with all the nutritional options available, doggy food is abundant.

But where exactly do you start? What nutrition does the Sheltie need? Fear not, Sheltie lovers, because here we will cover everything you need to know about the Sheltie and his nutritional needs.

But not all Shelties are the same, which is why we have found eight of the best Sheltie options. All complete with in-depth reviews so that you can pick the best food for Shelties.

We’ve also included a buyer’s guide so that you know what to look for. If you own a Sheltie, or you are about to, this Sheltie feeding guide is a must-read.

So, let’s go Sheltie food shopping.

The 10 Best Dog Foods for Shelties

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula – Best Value

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula
Main ingredients: Deboned chicken, chicken meal, brown rice, barley
Protein content: 24% min
Fat content: 14% min
Calories: 3,618 kcal/kg, 377 kcal/cup

Blue Buffalo’s Life Protection Formula is our best dog food for Shelties for the money choice on this occasion. It’s nutrient, vitamin, and mineral-rich and contains plenty of antioxidants in the form of various fruits and vegetables. It contains no wheat, corn, or soy, so it’s an especially good option if your dog eats a diet that excludes these ingredients.

The Life Protection Formula supports a healthy immune system, skin, coat, and appropriate muscle development. User reviews say that this dog food is tasty, a good option for sensitive stomachs, and is enjoyed even by finicky eaters. Others noticed that their dog picked out the LifeSource Bits (small pieces infused with antioxidants) and refused to eat them.

  • Some dogs may pick out the LifeSource bits
  • Supports all areas of health
  • Made with real meat
  • Rich in nutrients and antioxidants
  • May be beneficial for sensitive stomachs
  • Many great user reviews

Ollie – Best Overall

Ollie Chicken Dish with Carrots

Main ingredients: Varies by recipe: chicken, beef, turkey, and lamb are the four protein choices
Protein content: Baked food: 26% min. Fresh recipes: 10%-12% (varies by recipe)
Fat content: Baked food: 16% min. Fresh recipes: 5%-10% (varies by recipe)
Calories: Baked food: 3850 kcal ME/kg. Fresh recipes: varies by recipe


Our best overall dog foods for Shelties pick is Ollie, a dog food delivery service offering fresh, baked, and mixed recipes tailored to your dog’s needs. When you get started, you fill out a basic questionnaire on your dog’s lifestyle, weight, size, and any health issues or allergies they may have, and then you get personalized meal recommendations based on this information.

Ollie uses high-quality protein sources and includes a range of fruits and veggies in their recipes. We like Ollie’s emphasis on using only natural, fresh ingredients and how personalized the service is, something a lot of users have agreed with in online reviews. In terms of reviews, Ollie gets a pretty glowing write-up for the most part, with excellent quality food and customer service cited as two of the main benefits.

Some users, however, have cited delivery issues and a frustrating customer service experience. Ollie seems to be very responsive when issues are raised, though, and the reviews they get are mostly positive in nature.

  • Expensive
  • Delivery issues mentioned by some users
  • Customer service issues mentioned by some users
  • Made with fresh ingredients
  • Personalized recommendations
  • Delivered to your door
  • Pre-portioned packages
  • Mostly excellent reviews

Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin & Stomach – Premium Choice

Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin & Stomach
Main ingredients: Salmon, barley, rice, oatmeal, canola meal
Protein content: 26% min
Fat content: 16% min
Calories: 4,049 kcal/kg, 467 kcal/cup

Due to the Sheltie’s potential to develop skin issues, this recipe specially formulated for sensitive dogs is an option worth considering. Salmon is the first ingredient with oatmeal—which is easy to digest—and it contains no wheat, soy, or corn. It’s also fortified with probiotics to aid the digestive process. Omega-6 helps keeps your dog’s coat and skin in tip-top condition.

Some users detailed in reviews that they had been recommended this product by a vet and have noticed positive differences in skin and coat condition particularly. A few users weren’t happy with the formula, however, and felt that it didn’t help their dogs. Some also found the texture powdery.

  • May not benefit every dog
  • May be powdery
  • Made with real salmon
  • Easy to digest
  • Supports healthy digestion, skin, and coat
  • Highly-reviewed

Merrick Classic Healthy Grains Small Breed Recipe – Vet’s Choice

Merrick Classic Healthy Grains Small Breed Recipe
Main ingredients: Deboned chicken, chicken meal, brown rice, barley
Protein content: 27% min
Fat content: 16% min
Calories: 3711 kcal/kg, 404 kcal/cup

Shelties are a small breed, so you might want to consider a diet specially made for small breeds. This small breed formula by Merrick contains 54% proteins and 46% whole grains, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It also contains omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, and glucosamine, which support healthy joints.

For many dogs, feeding this formula has been beneficial according to reviews, with improvements in joint health and reduced skin issues being cited. Negative reviews—of which there weren’t many—point to issues like the kibble size having gotten bigger recently and the product not being available in a bigger-sized bag.

  • Only comes in up to 12 lb bags
  • Kibble size may be too large for some
  • Contains quality proteins
  • Vitamin and mineral-packed
  • Has helped some dogs with health issues
  • Formulated for small breeds
  • Mostly positive reviews

Purina Pro Plan Puppy Chicken & Rice Formula – Best for Puppies

Purina Pro Plan Puppy Chicken & Rice Formula
Main ingredients: Chicken, rice, poultry by-product meal, corn gluten meal
Protein content: 28% min
Fat content: 18% min
Calories: 4,188 kcal/kg, 456 kcal/cup

Another Purina Pro product for our list—this time, the chicken and rice formula for puppies. Like the adult recipe, it contains live probiotics for digestion but also DHA from fish oil to support brain and visual development and calcium and phosphorus for tooth and bone development. Antioxidants help the developing immune system.

Positive reviews mention how well this food went down with puppies with sensitive stomachs and that their dogs seem to be happy and active on this food. Some reviewers, however, weren’t pleased with the condition the food arrived in and some were frustrated with apparent changes to the product.

  • Might not be suitable for every puppy
  • Not for adult dogs
  • Supports overall development
  • Live probiotics for digestion
  • May benefit dogs with sensitive stomachs
  • Made with real chicken
  • Lots of great reviews

Nutro Natural Choice Chicken and Brown Rice Recipe

Nutro Natural Choice Chicken and Brown Rice Recipe
Main ingredients: Chicken, brewers rice, chicken meal, whole grain brown rice
Protein content: 22% min
Fat content: 14% min
Calories: 3654 kcal/kg, 343 kcal/cup

This recipe by Nutro Natural Choice comes in five bag sizes ranging from 5 lbs to 40 lbs. The first ingredient is real chicken and natural fiber, antioxidants, and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids help to keep your dog’s overall health in check. It’s also made with non-GMO ingredients, contains no chicken by-products, and is suitable for dogs over the age of 1 year.

In terms of positive reviews for this product, there are plenty. It seems to be well-liked by a large number of dogs and plays a role in keeping them happy and healthy according to their humans. Others were frustrated with a change in formula and others mentioned how pricey this dog food is.

  • Expensive
  • Formula has changed at some point in recent years 
  • Contains real meat
  • High-quality ingredients and proteins
  • Non-GMO ingredients
  • Highly reviewed
  • Multiple bag sizes available

Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

6Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Salmon & Potato Formula Dry Dog Food

We have another Wellness recipe in our top picks for the Sheltie, but this time we have chosen their limited ingredient option. It is simple for his digestive system to breakdown, and every ingredient has a purpose. This recipe doesn’t include grains, gluten, or wheat.

Salmon and salmon meal are the first two ingredients, which provide lots of amino acids, flavor, and omega fats to keep his long coat gleaming. Some reviewers commented that this kibble smelt strongly of fish, but this probably won’t be an issue for Fido.

With a long list of fermented probiotic ingredients, you can be sure that his sensitive stomach is well supported in his gastrointestinal tract. Prebiotic fiber such as chicory root is also included for that extra digestive support boost.

  • Limited ingredient formula
  • Single protein source
  • High in omega fats
  • Smells strongly of fish
  • High in potato ingredients

American Journey Active Life Formula Salmon, Brown Rice and Vegetables Recipe

American Journey Active Life Formula Salmon, Brown Rice and Vegetables Recipe
Main ingredients: Deboned salmon, menhaden fish meal, brown rice, peas
Protein content: 25% min
Fat content: 15% min
Calories: 3,506 kcal/kg or 345 kcal/cup


Our last dog food pick for Shelties is this Active Life formula by American Journey. The protein source is 25% real salmon and antioxidant sources are a blend of fruits and vegetables including carrots, cranberries, and blueberries. The recipe also contains omega fatty acids for keeping the skin and coat healthy and is free of corn, soy, wheat, and poultry by-products.

Some users consider this recipe a great choice for sensitive stomachs and a large number of dogs enjoyed the taste. A few users found that there was a strong and unpleasant “fishy” smell that was too overpowering.

  • Possible strong “fishy” smell
  • Formulated for active dogs
  • Supports overall health
  • May be beneficial for sensitive stomachs
  • Tasty and well-liked by most dogs

CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE Dry Dog Food

7CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE Real Bison, Lentil & Carrot Recipe Dry Dog Food

This is a premium recipe from Canidae, making it great for those that can stretch their budget a little. This is the only reason why this product is towards the end of our picks. But if you can, this is a fantastic option. It offers an alternative meat source, bison, which, in addition to lamb meal, provides plenty of amino acids for your Sheltie’s hardworking body.

It is another limited ingredient formula that is simple for his tummy to break down. The protein content is 25%, which is just enough to provide him with all the power he needs, but not too much so that his stomach struggles. The omega fatty acids from the meat meals and canola oil keep his locks lush and shiny.

After cooking, each kibble piece is also coated in Canidae’s HealthPlus blend of probiotics, antioxidants, and omegas. This kibble is high in calories making a fantastic for all the energetic Shelties out there.

  • No fish oils, which is excellent for skin and coats
  • Higher price
  • Limited ingredient formula
  • High in glucosamine and chondroitin
  • Bison offers alternative protein

Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
Main ingredients: Water buffalo, lamb meal, chicken meal, sweet potatoes
Protein content: 32% min
Fat content: 18% min
Calories: 3,719 kcal/kg, 422 kcal/cup


Taste of the Wild is a dog food brand famous for creating recipes based on what dogs would eat out in the wild. Because of this, they tend to use more unique protein sources as opposed to the standard chicken, lamb, and beef. This roasted bison and venison recipe is grain-free and high in protein at a 32% minimum. It contains K9 strain proprietary prebiotics and a variety of fruits and vegetables.

As a very popular dog food and bestseller on online vendors like Chewy, it’s unsurprising that this recipe gets lots of great reviews. Users have praised its value for money and how beneficial it has been for their dogs, health-wise. Unhappy users claimed that it just didn’t sit well with their dogs and some dogs simply didn’t enjoy it.

  • Grain-free recipe not ideal for all dogs
  • High in protein
  • Uses uncommon protein types
  • Nutrient-rich
  • Prebiotic fiber aids digestion
  • Very popular recipe

Sheltie Feeding Guide

When it comes to buying the best food for your Sheltie, you should always feed him the best kibble that you can afford. Nutrition is an easy way to keep him healthy, and what you put into his bowl can reduce vet visits and bills. So, it’s essential to get it right.

In addition to this, here are the most important factors that you need to consider.

Nutrients for Life Stages

Your Sheltie will grow through various life stages, and each stage requires different nutrients and has different focuses. How much do Shelties weigh? This is important to consider when choosing the best food for Shelties.


  • At around the age of 12 months, he will become an adult. And by now, you will probably know what his specific diety needs are, such as particular intolerances or whether he is a sensitive pup. Whatever his dietary needs are, be sure to follow them. If he is a working Sheltie, you will need to feed him a kibble that provides much more calories per cup, and fats and protein for sustained energy.
  • Many Shelties have sensitive stomachs and suffer from skin conditions such as dermatomyositis (Sheltie skin syndrome). Although nutrition might not cure it, it can alleviate it. Look for kibbles that offer prebiotic fiber, probiotic ingredients, and plenty of omega fats to soothe his skin and coat. Overall, adulthood is all about a well-balanced diet.


  • Although a Sheltie puppy doesn’t have as much growing to do compared to, say, a Great Dane, he still needs to lot of puppy fuel to grow to his full size. Puppies need higher protein content compared to adults. According to the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), puppies need 22%, and adults need 18%.
  • They also need higher energy and fats as well. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and arachidonic acid (ARA) are naturally found in their mothers’ milk. To support his continued healthy brain and eye development, his kibble should also contain these. Ingredients such as meat meals, fish oils, plant oils, flaxseed, and eggs are excellent sources.


  • When he reaches the age of seven or eight years old (every Sheltie is different), he will need to be transitioned to a senior kibble. These kibbles will have less energy, fats, and protein. Mainly because he doesn’t need as much power, and his aging stomach will struggle to digest it as well as he once did.
  • Glucosamine and chondroitin are vital nutrients at this stage, as they will help keep his joints supple. Meat meals and fish oils are excellent sources of these much-needed senior nutrients.

Look for the AAFCO Seal of Approval

AAFCO set guidelines about the nutritional expectations of pet foods, so it’s essential to look for their approval on the packaging. If it has, you can be sure that it is nutritionally complete, and if it doesn’t, steer clear of it. All of our recommendations above are AAFCO approved. And you might be surprised to know just how many store budget kibbles are not.

Final Thoughts

For a quick recap of our reviews, our best overall dog food for Shelties recommendation is Ollie’s fresh food delivery service. We love the “tailor-made” approach and that you get recommendations based on your dog’s specific needs. Our best value pick is Blue Buffalo’s Life Protection Formula and the Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin & Stomach formula is our premium choice.

For puppies, we recommend the Purina Pro Plan Puppy Chicken & Rice Formula, and our vet’s choice is Merrick’s Classic Healthy Grains Small Breed Recipe. We picked these foods based on their popularity and mostly excellent user reviews.

Edward Hollon is an avid dog lover and writer, knowing all there is to know about our furry friends. Edward has been writing for petdii for three years now, wanting to use her knowledge for good and share everything she can with new dog owners. Edward has two dogs herself - a German shepherd called Banjo and a chocolate labrador called Buttons. Edward knows more than anyone how adjusting to new life with a puppy can turn your life upside down, and she wants to ease some of the burdens through her articles.