Feeding tips for Huskies
Feeding any dog these days is not as simple as buying some kibble and putting in their bowls twice a day. The dog food industry has evolved a lot to provide with the best nutrition for our dogs. They are seen as part of our families, who deserve the best food to keep them healthy and active. From raw food, organic, there are so many choices that sometimes Husky owners find it complicated to find out which is the best dog food for a Husky.
Guidelines for feeding Huskies should take in consideration their size, habits and metabolism.
Understanding Huskies metabolism
Huskies have high metabolism to endure cold temperatures and the work as sled dogs.
Originally from the cold Arctic lands of Siberia, Huskies were used to pull heavy loads over long distances. This made them ideal for Alaska during the Nome Gold Rush that started in 1898. Huskies became famous back in 1925 when a group of 20 mushers and about 150 sled dogs crossed 674 miles (1,085 km) in five and a half days, during a blizzard, saving the small town of Nome and the surrounding communities from an epidemic of diphtheria, transporting the medication, diphtheria antitoxin. The lead sled dog on the final stretch into the town of Nome, Balto, became the most famous canine celebrity of the era, after Rin Tin Tin. His statue is still a popular tourist attraction in both New York City’s Central Park and downtown Anchorage, Alaska.
The mushers and their dogs were portraited as heroes at the time and the publicity also helped to create an inoculation campaign in the US that dramatically reduced the threat of diphtheria at that time.
After the advent of airplanes and snowmobiles, around 1960, dog sleds almost came to extinction. In 1970, recreational mushing became popular with the Iditarod Trail Sled dog race that happens every year from Anchorage to Nome.
Therefore Huskies metabolism is deeply related to they ability to survive in harsh conditions, going without food for long periods of time. Food was often hard to find and their bodies became accustomed to eating fewer amounts – quite differently than many other dogs – while burning their calories and nutrients efficiently.
Related: 21 Reasons to own a Husky
Huskies eating habits
They only eat until they’re full
Unlike other dogs, who don’t know when to stop eating and keep digging in their food, Huskies are intelligent dogs who will eat only until they are full. It is almost like the way cats eat. When we got our first Husky, Turbo, it took us a while to understand his eating habits, he would leave food in his dish and not eat for a full day sometimes. It is even recommended that you feed your Husky about 60% of the suggested amount given on the label of your dog food.
They get bored with the same food
Huskies, as naturally curious animals can become bored with their usual food. We feed our three Huskies with the Acana Dry Dog Food. It is a Premium, more expensive dog food that we combine with our Home made dog food, a couple of spoonfuls a day. We found it is the best food for our Huskies. However now and then they stop eating and we have to switch flavours of the dry food and even replace the Home made food with some good quality can food. It is a bit of an art to find the best food diet for a Husky.
Siberian huskies are not food oriented like other breeds
They like their cookies – they “like” their dog cookies, do not “love” them. Between having a cookie and going for a walk, they pick the walk.They do love fish and if it were not for the mess in the house, we would feed them frozen fish, whole. Once a week they get their marrow bone, raw and frozen which is a hit and helps to clean their teeth. Again, two of our Huskies like the marrow bones, the third, Stella, looks at bone and at us and says: ‘I’ll pass”.
We use dry liver cookies, pure protein too but it is not the biggest hit. Another fact to keep in mind is that Huskies that have been spayed/neutered require fewer calories.
Healthy sources of fats to include in their diet
Chicken fat, canola oil, and flaxseed are all healthy sources of fats and include additional health benefits. Omega 3 – This fatty acid helps keep their skin and coat healthy.
Siberian Huskies tend to skip meals, so if you can feed them a calorie-dense dog food, as I mentioned before, that is packed with nutrients and calories, you’ll be certain they’re getting the fuel they need.
Huskies can be lactose intolerant
Our Huskies love cheese, yes, this is one thing they love. However, it is common for Siberian Huskies to be lactose or gluten intolerant, so you may need to avoid formulas with milk, skim milk powder, whey, or wheat. We use cheese for their spring pills and their daily Glucosamine. Glucosamine is a great prevention for keeping healthy joints, improving mobility, and easing discomfort from hip dysplasia and painful arthritis. Two of our dogs take it every day, the puppy, Mary, hasn’t started yet.
Huskies show their personalities in the way they eat
Huskies have very individual personalities, and are very stubborn. If something puts a Husky off of a certain food, then they may not go back to it for quite some time, if ever. They have individual taste, for example, the size of biscuits. Our Stella doesn’t eat anything that is chunky and hard.
If a Husky feels sick after eating something they may not eat that food again.
A good tip is to not leave food out for long periods of time. If food is left standing they might get bored of stop eating it in the future.
The cost of dog food and the best food for Huskies
Probably the best tip for feeding your Husky is not too be too fussy about their diet and do what is more practical and economical. However, once you understand their needs, personality and metabolism is difficult to be cheap on the food you choose. Before our Huskies, we used to have German Sheppards and one of them died from a twisted stomach which literally broke our hearts. For us, our Huskies diet is not cheap but has kept them very healthy. They are strong dogs with powerful bodies and can burn lots of energy playing, walking and of course getting in trouble.
Related: 10 ways to show love to your dog
Same Food versus Food Variety
There are lots of discussions concerning canine nutrition about how a Husky diet should be. Remaining on one dog food or consuming a variety of different foods. Some people claim that the canine system does better when it stays on one dog food and switching around could be upsetting to the digestive tract. Others, stick to the fact that dogs are natural scavengers and should enjoy a variety of dog food and even thrive on it. For us, based in our experience with the 3 Huskies, we switch foods as I mentioned before according to “their” preferences. It is a not a big thing to please our already spoiled dogs. Spoiling them with what they like to eat is just another way to to show our dogs how much we love them.
How to pick the best food for your Husky
Ideally, you should choose a dog food that contains several of the following benefits: Two or Three Meat Proteins Whole meat, such as chicken, beef, fish, and lamb should be included in the first several ingredients listed.
The food should be over 30% protein, approximately 20% fat, and approximately 30% complex carbohydrate. Complex carbohydrate sources can come from vegetables, seeds, and fruits. Avoid corn and wheat. Include dog safe herbs for digestion or immune system support. It is a good idea to add probiotics to your Huskies diet to help with digestion. Our older dog takes it every day. Use natural sources for their vitamins, minerals, and supplements, not synthetic. Pure Vitamin E oil sources (not synthetic), to preserve the food.
Plant Protein Powder for dogs is easier for dogs to digest. For a while we had to use it with our second Husky, Stella. She would hardly touch her food and was losing weight. We were still understanding her eating habits and tried this kind of protein. I am really not sure whether it helped her or if we just figured out how she liked to eat, which is: slowly, taking her time, sitting down, dining.
You can find more detailed information about which is the best food for Huskies here. Let me know if this information was helpful or any other tip you have regarding the way you feed your Husky.