Raw Diet for Border Collies

Raw Diet for Border Collies. The Benefits and Guidelines

Raw food diets for dogs have become increasingly popular in recent years, and for good reason.

Many pet owners are now turning to them, as a way to provide their furry friends with a more natural and nutritious diet, as opposed to some of the more processed food, which have problems of their own.

This is especially true for Border Collies, who are known for their high energy levels and active lifestyles.

Raw diets for Border Collies in particular, can provide a range of benefits including improved digestion, healthier skin and coat, and increased energy levels. In this article, we’ll be looking into all of these benefits in more detail.

We’ll also provide tips on how to properly transition your dog to a raw diet, as well as some of the best raw dog food brands on the market.

Whether you are considering a raw diet for your Border Collie or simply want to learn more about this popular trend, this article will provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision about your dog’s diet.

Raw Diet for Border Collies

Understanding the Raw Diet

Before we go looking into the topic in the best raw diet for Border Collies, first, we’ll want to go over some definitions.

What is a raw diet anyways?

A raw diet is a feeding regimen that involves feeding your Border Collie with raw, unprocessed foods, the idea being to mimic that of the Border Collie’s wild ancestors.

A raw diet thus, consist of mostly:

  • Raw meat.
  • Bones.
  • Some vegetables.
  • And fruits.

The raw diet is believed to be more natural and healthier for dogs since it eliminates the additives, preservatives, and other chemicals found in commercial dog food.

Types of Raw Diets

When it comes to specific types of raw foods that you can feed your Border Collie, these include:

  • Biologically Appropriate Raw Food (BARF) Diet: This diet involves feeding your dog with raw meat, bones, vegetables, fruits, and offal. The BARF diet aims to provide a balanced and complete diet for your dog by mimicking the diet that dogs would have, in the wild.

  • Prey Model Raw (PMR) Diet: This diet is based on the idea that dogs are carnivores and should only eat raw meaty bones and organs. The PMR diet aims to provide a diet that is similar to what a wild dog would eat, but wouldn’t include veggies or fruit.

  • Raw Meat Diet: This diet involves feeding your dog with raw meat, such as beef, chicken, fish, and salmon. The raw meat diet is a simple and easy way to feed your dog a raw diet.

Any one of these diets will be good enough, although most dog owners will choose a diet that includes some sort of vegetables and/or fruit. Border Collies do eat different vegetables so don’t be afraid to include them in their diet.

Benefits of Raw Diet for Border Collies

If you’re considering getting your pup raw food, instead of kibble, here are some of the benefits of feeding your Border Collie a raw diet, that you might not find if you gave them something else:

Health Benefits

A raw diet can help improve your Border Collie’s overall health.

Raw food is packed with essential nutrients and minerals that can help boost your dog’s immune system, making them less susceptible to diseases and illnesses.

Additionally, raw food can help reduce inflammation and improve joint health, which is particularly important for Border Collies who are prone to joint problems.

A raw diet is also the most natural form of food that is out there, with no human intervention. Sure, dry food or kibble might be a good imitation, but nothing trumps raw food when it comes to health benefits. 

Improved Energy Levels

Raw food contains richer nutrients than processed dog food, which can help improve your Border Collie’s energy levels.

Some lower-quality kibbles may contain fillers, additives, or lower levels of essential nutrients which could impact their energy levels and overall well-being, which simply doesn’t happen with raw food

Better Skin and Coat

A raw diet can help improve your Border Collie’s skin and coat health.

Most of the recommended raw food for dogs, is rich in essential fatty acids which help keep your dog’s coat shiny and healthy.

Additionally, raw food can help reduce skin irritation and allergies, which is particularly important for Border Collies who are prone to skin problems.

Also, dry food (especially when used during long periods of time) can cause rashes and dry skin as well as hair loss or bald patches in your dog.

Dental Health

A raw diet can help improve your Border Collie’s dental health.

Raw food helps keep your dog’s teeth clean and healthy by reducing plaque buildup and preventing gum disease.

Additionally, chewing on raw bones can help strengthen your dog’s teeth and jaws.

Kibble, on the other hand, can get easily stuck between the dog’s teeth and can cause tooth decay, particularly if it’s food with high sugar or carbohydrate content (which kibble can have).

Digestive System Health

A raw diet can help improve your Border Collie’s digestive system health.

Raw food is easier for your dog to digest, which can help reduce issue such as bloating, gas, and other digestive problems.

Additionally, raw food can help improve your dog’s bowel movements, making them more regular and consistent.

Nutritional Requirements of Border Collies

Now that we’ve looked at some of the different benefits of raw diets, let’s look at the nutritional requirements of Border Collies to see if the raw diet is a good option, and what a good balanced raw diet should look like.

As we mentioned before, Border Collies are highly active dogs that require a balanced and nutritious diet to maintain their health, bodies and energy levels.

A well-balanced diet should provide all the necessary nutrients, minerals, and vitamins that are essential for their growth and development.

Here are the key nutritional requirements for Border Collies:


Border Collies need high-quality protein to maintain their muscle mass and support their active lifestyle.

Protein is also essential for the growth and repair of tissues, so a diet with at least 18% protein is recommended for adult Border Collies, while puppies need a higher percentage of protein (22-32%) to support their rapid growth.

These percentages are on a dry matter basis. This means that the protein content is calculated without accounting for the moisture content of the food.

This is a simplified calculation and actual protein requirements can vary depending on your dog’s specific needs.

Puppies, highly active dogs, and working dogs might require higher protein intake, while senior or less active dogs might require slightly less.


Carbohydrates are an important source of energy for Border Collies, but they should be limited in their diet. They cannot be the primary components.

Protein and fat are typically more important macronutrients for dog, and many high-quality commercial dog foods contain carbohydrates in the range of 30% to 50% of the total diet on a dry matter basis, which is a no go.

A diet high in carbohydrates can lead to weight gain and other health problems, therefore, a raw food diet with low-carbohydrate is the best option.

Raw Diet for Border Collies 4


Fats are a much more important part of a Border Collie’s diet than compared to carbs, and provide a much more plentiful and natural source of energy.

Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids in particular, are important for maintaining healthy skin and coat, while DHA is necessary for brain development in puppies.

A diet with at least 5% fat is recommended for adult Border Collies, however more active dogs and working dogs, might benefit from slightly higher fat content in their diets. Puppies need around a 8-10% to support their growth.

Vitamins and Minerals

Border Collies require a wide range of vitamins and minerals to maintain their health and well-being, some of these include:

  • Vitamin A: Important for vision, immune system function, and skin health. It’s commonly found in foods like carrots, sweet potatoes, and liver.
  • Vitamin D: Essential for bone health and calcium absorption. Adequate exposure to sunlight helps dogs synthesize vitamin D, and it’s also present in some dog food and supplements.
  • Vitamin E: Antioxidant that helps protect cells from damage. It’s important for skin health and immune system function. Sources include nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils.
  • Vitamin C: Antioxidant that’s beneficial for their immune system and overall health. Foods like berries and certain vegetables can provide vitamin C.
  • Calcium: Essential for strong bones and teeth, calcium is vital for maintaining a healthy skeletal system. It’s found in dairy products, leafy greens, and some dog food.

  • Phosphorus: Along with calcium, phosphorus is necessary for bone health, as well as for energy production and cell function. It’s present in meats, fish, and some grains.

  • Zinc: Zinc supports immune system function, wound healing, and skin health. It’s found in meat, poultry, and certain grains.

  • Iron: Iron is important for oxygen transport in the blood and overall cellular health. It’s present in red meat, organ meats, and some plant sources.

A diet with a variety of fruits and vegetables can provide all the necessary vitamins and minerals, but supplements may be necessary in some cases.

Choosing the Right Raw Food

When it comes to feeding your Border Collie a raw food diet, choosing the right ingredients is crucial.

Here are some factors to consider when selecting the best raw food for your pup.

Choosing the Meat

When choosing meat for your Border Collie, it’s important to choose high-quality, lean cuts.

Some good options include chicken, turkey, beef, and lamb.

Avoid giving your pup meats that are high in fat for prolonged periods of time, such as pork, as they can lead to obesity and health issues.

Choosing the Bones

Bones are an essential part of a raw food diet for dogs, as they provide important nutrients and help keep teeth clean.

When choosing bones, make sure they are raw and uncooked.

Good options include chicken necks, turkey necks, and beef marrow bones.

Choosing the Vegetables and Fruits

Vegetables and fruits are important sources of vitamins and minerals for your Border Collie.

Some good options include carrots, sweet potatoes, broccoli, and blueberries.

Make sure to chop the vegetables and fruits into small pieces to make them easier for your dog to digest.

NOTE: If you want to learn more about the top vegetables for Border Collies, we’ve made a separate article on that, here.

Choosing the Fish

Fish is a great source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for your dog’s overall health.

Good options include salmon, sardines, and mackerel.

Make sure to remove any bones from the fish before feeding it to your dog, as they might be a bit too thin and sharp for your pup to handle.

Preparation and Storage of Raw Food

Preparing and storing raw food for your Border Collie can be a bit time-consuming, but it’s an essential part of the raw diet process.

In this next section, we’ll look over some of the tips for preparing and storing raw food for your Border Collie.

Preparation Time

If you are making homemade raw food, you will need to purchase the ingredients and prepare them yourself.

This can take anywhere from a 2 to 4 hours, depending on the recipe. It is essential to follow the recipe carefully and ensure that you are including all the necessary nutrients.

If you are buying commercially prepared frozen raw food, the preparation time will be much shorter.

You will need to thaw the food before serving it to your dog. This can take a few hours in the refrigerator or a few minutes in warm water.


Proper storage of raw food is crucial to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.

If you are making homemade raw food, you will need to store it in the refrigerator or freezer.

Raw food can be stored in the refrigerator for around 4-5 days and in the freezer for up to six months, sometimes more.

If you are buying commercially prepared frozen raw food, you will need to store it in the freezer until you are ready to use it. Once thawed, the food should be ready to be used.


Always handle raw food with care to prevent contamination, and make sure to keep good hygiene practices at all times to protect both your dog and yourself from potential pathogens.

Wash your hands and any surfaces that come into contact with the raw food thoroughly with hot, soapy water.

A Few More Things…

  • Consult a Vet: Before starting a raw diet, consult with your veterinarian. They can help you create a balanced and appropriate feeding plan for your Border Collie based on their individual needs and health status.
  • Transition Gradually: If you’re transitioning your dog from a different type of diet (e.g., commercial dog food), do so gradually to allow them to adjust.
  • Monitor and Adjust: Regularly monitor your dog’s weight, energy level, coat condition, and overall health. Adjust their diet as needed based on their responses.
Raw Diet for Border Collies 2

Potential Health Risks and How to Avoid Them

When it comes to feeding your Border Collie a raw diet, it’s essential to be aware of the potential health risks and how to avoid them.

Raw feeding carries some risks, including bacterial contamination and nutritional imbalances if not done correctly.

For the most part, you’ll be fine, but it’s best to be safe.

Here are some of the most common risks associated with raw feeding and what you can do to keep your pup healthy and happy.

Visiting the Vet

While a raw diet can provide many health benefits for your Border Collie, it’s important to consult with your veterinarian before making any changes to their diet.

Your vet can help you determine if a raw diet is suitable for your dog and provide you with guidance on how to transition them to a new diet safely.

Dealing with Bacteria

One of the most significant risks associated with raw feeding is the potential for bacterial contamination.

Raw meat can be contaminated with harmful bacteria like Salmonella and E. coli, which can make your dog sick and pose a risk to human health as well.

To minimize the risk of bacterial contamination, handle raw meat safely.

Always wash your hands thoroughly after handling raw meat, and keep your dog’s feeding area clean and sanitized.

Additionally, consider using stainless steel bowls that are easy to clean and disinfect.

Salmonella Risk

Salmonella is a type of bacteria that can be found in raw meat, including raw pet food.

While dogs are less likely to become sick from Salmonella than humans, it’s still essential to take precautions to minimize the risk of infection.

To reduce the risk of Salmonella infection, consider feeding your Border Collie a balanced and complete commercial raw diet that has been tested for bacterial contamination.

Additionally, always wash your hands thoroughly after handling raw meat, and avoid feeding your dog any raw meat that has been left out at room temperature for more than two hours.

Cooked Bones vs Raw Bones

While raw bones can be a great source of nutrition for your Border Collie, cooked bones can be dangerous.

Cooking bones can cause them to become brittle and splinter, which can lead to serious health problems like intestinal blockages or punctures.

If you choose to feed your dog raw bones, always supervise them while they are chewing and discard any bones that become too small or brittle.

Additionally, consider consulting with your veterinarian to determine the appropriate size and type of bones for your dog’s size and age.

Feeding Raw Diet Across Different Life Stages

When it comes to feeding raw diet to your Border Collie, it’s also important to consider their life stage.

Puppies, adult dogs, and seniors have different nutritional requirements, and feeding them a diet tailored to their needs can help them thrive.


Border Collie puppies require a diet that supports their growth and development.

  • They need a higher calorie intake than adult dogs.
  • They need a balanced ratio of protein, fat, and carbohydrates.
  • Raw diets for puppies should contain a higher percentage of protein and fat than diets for adult dogs.

Puppies also have a higher risk of nutrient deficiencies than adult dogs, so it’s essential to ensure that their diet is nutritionally balanced.

A raw diet for puppies should be formulated to meet the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) nutrient profiles for growth.


Adult Border Collies have lower calorie requirements than puppies, but they still need a balanced diet that provides all the nutrients they need to maintain their health.

  • Raw diets for adult dogs should also contain a balanced ratio of protein, fat, and carbohydrates.
  • In their case, when feeding a raw diet to adult Border Collies, it’s important to monitor their weight and adjust their food intake as necessary.

Overfeeding can lead to obesity, which can increase the risk of health problems such as joint issues and diabetes.


Senior Border Collies have lower energy requirements than adult dogs, and their nutritional needs may change as they age.

  • A raw diet for senior dogs should be formulated to meet their specific needs
  • Generally need lower calorie intake and increased fiber.

It’s important to note that senior dogs may have dental issues that make it difficult for them to chew raw bones, in which case it may be necessary to feed ground raw food or supplement their diet with joint support supplements.

Transitioning to a Raw Diet

Transitioning your Border Collie to a raw diet can be a big change, but it is worth it for the many health benefits that come with it.

If you’re considering switching a dog over to raw diet, here are some tips to help make the transition as smooth as possible.

From Kibble to Raw

If your Border Collie is currently eating kibble, it is important to transition slowly to a raw diet. This will give their digestive system time to adjust. Here is a sample transition plan:

Raw Diet for Border Collies 3

During the transition, monitor your dog’s closely. Make sure it doesn’t feel uncomfortable or taken aback by anything it’s eating.

You can also keep a mix of both types of food for a longer period of time if you want, but the main idea of this strategy, is to have your dog become comfortable with the new food.

Many owners switch foods too quickly, and then wonder why the dog won’t eat it. You want to gently integrate the new food into their diet. 

From Rice, Corn, Wheat, and Potatoes to Raw

If your Border Collie is currently eating a diet that includes rice, corn, wheat, or potatoes, as we mentioned before, it’s important to gradually eliminate these ingredients from their diet.

These ingredients can be difficult for dogs to digest and can cause allergies or other health issues.

Here are some tips for transitioning to a raw diet without these ingredients:

  • Replace rice with quinoa or sweet potato.
  • Replace corn with green beans or carrots.
  • Replace wheat with oats or barley.
  • Replace potatoes with pumpkin or squash.

Make sure to introduce these new ingredients slowly and monitor your dog’s reaction.

If they are picky eaters, try mixing in small amounts of the new ingredients with their current food and gradually increasing the amount over time.

Remember, every dog is different, and it may take some trial and error to find the right raw diet for your Border Collie. With patience and persistence, you can help your dog achieve optimal health and wellbeing.

Supplementing the Raw Diet

Sometimes, you’ll feel that one of the ingredients you’re leaving out or are switching out when you transition from dry food to raw food, is hard to replace.

Some vitamins and minerals are simply too hard to come by, if you’re going for a straight raw food diet from the three we mentioned at the beginning of the article.

In these cases, supplementing the raw diet could be a good idea to ensure your Border Collie is getting all the necessary nutrients.

Supplements can be beneficial for dogs who have specific health conditions, are pregnant or lactating, or are recovering from an illness.

Choosing the Right Supplements

When choosing supplements for your Border Collie, choose high-quality supplements that are specifically designed for dogs.

Here are some supplements that can be beneficial for dogs:

  • Probiotics: Probiotics can help improve your dog’s gut health and boost their immune system. They can also help with digestive issues such as diarrhea and constipation.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids: Omega-3 fatty acids can help improve your dog’s skin and coat health, reduce inflammation, and support their immune system.
  • Multivitamins: Multivitamins can help ensure that your dog is getting all the necessary vitamins and minerals they need for optimal health.

In conclusion, supplementing your Border Collie’s raw diet can be beneficial for their overall health and well-being.

However, it is important to consult with your veterinarian before adding any supplements to their diet and to choose high-quality supplements that are specifically designed for dogs.

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