Huskies are known for being very active animals, so it’s important that they have the right amount of calories to keep up with their lifestyle. Despite their small size, they do need high-energy foods to get them through the day.
Originally bred to be working dogs, such as for sledding, these traits continue to thrive in the breed, and have been known to travel far distances of even a small amount of food. That doesn’t mean that you can feed them just anything, however. Because they’re so different from other dog breeds, they don’t eat like they do.
When it comes to eating, most dogs tend to eat whatever food is put in front of them. This leads to the danger of over-eating and getting sick. However, huskies are quite different. They watch their intake of food to regulate how many calories they’re burning.
If a husky is already full or isn’t very active, they won’t eat at all or will eat a lot less respectively. Typically, a husky will only eat after he has had a lot of exercise. That isn’t to say that huskies won’t overeat, however. When they do, they put the weight on very quickly and it becomes quite difficult to lose.
Overweight huskies also have shorter life spans than healthier ones, as they are more prone to other diseases and conditions that are associated with weight gain.
Another eating habit that is very common in huskies is a result of their stubborn nature. The smallest things could put a husky off of a certain food, and he may choose to avoid it altogether.
Huskies are very individualistic and can be quite particular of the food that they are being given. From the size and texture of the food, or being bored of eating the same food all the time, there are a number of reasons that a husky may not eat. Even experiencing sickness after eating can result in a husky not eating that kind of food ever again.
Boredom is a big factor to get over when it comes to feeding your husky. Leaving food out for too long can result in your dog becoming bored with it and will choose to avoid it altogether. If you find that he hasn’t eaten and there are no other signs of illness that could be causing this, return his food to the bag or container and try again at a later feeding schedule.
How often should they be fed
Before discussing the best foods for your dog, it’s important to consider just how much food you should be feeding him and how often. Huskies are known for being grazers, so leaving a bowl of food for them to much on throughout the day can certainly help them deal with their calorie count.
However, to avoid them getting bored with their food, divide their meals up into two or even three equal servings. This gives them a source of calories that they can burn throughout the day without them having to resort to the fat being stored in their bodies, which can cause them to lose weight unnecessarily.
In conjunction with how often, knowing how much food to give can also help your dog from becoming overweight. They do not require as much food as other dog breeds, and can perform just as well on relatively smaller amounts of food.
That’s why you should be careful with the amount of food that you put in your dog’s bowl. Overfeeding can quickly lead to weight gain, as well as upset stomachs and diarrhea. It can be difficult to determine how much food should be given, as a dog’s weight and energy levels both play as factors.
A good baseline range to work from is roughly sixty percent of the food that the manufacturer recommends and to adjust it accordingly to meet your dog’s needs.
What to do if my Husky is underweight
Whether you’ve adopted a new husky or your dog has gone through a period of illness that has caused him to lose a lot of weight, there are steps that you can take to help your dog regain what he’s lost.
Weight management can be difficult, as it’s hard to see what your dog really looks like with all of the thick fur in the way. The best way to determine how healthy your dog is, is to feel through the fur to his body.
If you can feel his ribs and spine easily, then your dog is underweight. Choose a high-quality dog food and mix in with dog food to provide the calories needed to start the weight gain process.
Only choose a high quality dog food, as cheap stuff may smell great, but it won’t have the essential vitamins and minerals that will help to restore the function of your dog’s organs and muscles. To further increase weight gain, choose high quality treats that are also good for your dog. Some of the best treats include hard boiled eggs, raw baby carrots, and cooked pieces of chicken.
Choosing different foods
Due to their prone nature to boredom, there have been many questions as to whether a husky should remain on the same dog food or should be provided with a variety of foods in their meals throughout the day.
Many vets and nutritionists are of the opinion that constantly switching a dog’s food can lead to an upset stomach, allergic reactions and agitation of the digestive tract. However, there are other opinions that state that dogs are natural scavengers, and that there is nothing wrong with adding variety to their meals, and may even perform better on such changes.
Instead of purchasing different brands of dog food, you can try sticking to one, and then adding different things to your dog’s food each day. Anything that changes the flavor, such as different kinds of fish, raw minced meat, peas or shredded carrots, can make all the difference in the world and get your dog eating regularly again.
Cheese in extremely small amounts is acceptable, but should be avoided in larger quantities.
When adding new ingredients, reduce the amount of kibble and replace it with the equivalent measurement of the food you’re adding. Simply throwing in more food can quickly lead to overeating and giving your dog too many calories.
If you do decide to do a complete overhaul of the food that you’re giving your dog, it’s important that you do so on a gradual basis over a period of two weeks.
Some of the old food should be exchanged with the new in order to see if there are any adverse reactions. Gradually decreasing and increasing these amounts respectively will eventually lead to your dog accepting the new food without any problems.
Finding the Best Dog Food for Siberian Husky
1. Nutro Max Chicken Meal and Rice
When it comes to large dog breeds, Nutro Max provides the nourishment that they need to keep going throughout the day. Only high-quality ingredients are used, such as chicken protein, from farm-raised chickens, and whole grain rice.
There are no by-products, preservatives, artificial flavors or artificial colors that are added to the food. It was developed to provide a complete and balanced nutrition for any large dog breed, chock full of all the vitamins, minerals and calories that they’ll need to get the job done.
The dry kibble bits will help to reduce any plaque and tartar on the teeth, the high protein content promotes the development and growth of the muscles, and the fatty acids improve skin and coat, so that your dog will look his best.
Not only does Nutro Max help your dog on the outside, but it also helps within, promoting a strong immune system to fight off infections and illnesses that may arise.
2. Orijen Original Dog Food
Orijen Adult dog food has been specifically formulated to match the natural dietary needs of your dog. Containing over 90% meat ingredients made of chicken, turkey, eggs and fish that are delivered fresh each day to their processing plant, your dog will benefit from the calories that Orijen provides for their growth, development and calorie-burning.
Their food is free from any preservatives and the ingredients are never frozen, which has shown to destroy some of the nutritional value of ingredients. Fruits and vegetables are also included in the making of their dog food, and they’re entirely grain-free, making it easy for you and your dog to avoid any grain allergies that may occur from cheap, mass-produced dog foods.
3. Innova Adult Dog Food
Made with all-natural ingredients, Innova is made with chicken, turkey, whole peas and fresh fruits, providing all of the vitamins and minerals that are needed to keep your dog healthy and happy.
The high-quality protein is harvested from farm-raised chickens and turkeys, and there are no by-products included to jeopardize the quality of the food being provided to your dog. Your dog’s skin and coat are also cared for with the inclusion of Omega-3 fatty acids, as well as the necessary ingredients to boost their immune system.
4. Blue Buffalo Food
Blue Buffalo has quickly gained popularity as one of the best dog foods to purchase as an alternative to the raw diet.
They contain a unique blend of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to keep your dog’s health in shape. It is without any corn, wheat or soy, and only healthy grains are used, such as brown rice, barley and oats to give them the energy that their body needs to burn calories. Vegetables such as carrots and sweet potatoes provide the complex carbohydrates and roughage that are needed.
Tolerance and health issues
Many huskies and sled dogs are unable to tolerate specific ingredients that are commonly found in commercial dog food.
The cheaper brands of dog food are mostly guilty of this, which means that you’ll have to spend a little more at the pet store to find the right food for your dog. Avoid brands that include wheat in their ingredients, as this can lead to the irritation of the digestive system.
Your dog may also develop Zinc Responsive Dermatitis. The signs of this disease include scabs and hair loss, especially around the muzzle, ears and eyes. This is due to the fact that huskies and similar breeds of dog have difficult time absorbing zinc, so they will start to show signs of deficiency, even if the food that they’re eating has the right amount.
Symptoms can appear when your dog is stressed or is being fed a diet that is high in plant material and/or calcium. Adding a zinc supplement to his food should clear up the symptoms within a week or two.
Foods that should be avoided
There are some foods that should never be given to your dog on any basis. These foods include:
Large amounts of dairy: many dogs are known for being lactose intolerance. This means that they are unable to digest the specific protein that is contained in milk. Ingesting large amounts of dairy can lead to gas and loose stools. Each dog is different, however, and reacts to different amounts and kinds of lactose.
Foods like whole milk and ice cream can have a sudden, adverse effect on your dog. However, low fat greek yogurt and some kinds of cheese can be fine for your dog to eat, as long as they’re provided in moderation.
Cooked bones and fat trimmings: you may think that it’s best not to waste food by giving your dog your table scraps, but you could be doing more harm than good. Fat that has been trimmed from meat can lead to pancreatitis, where the pancreas becomes inflamed from infection and causes serious abdominal pain.
Dogs can choke on the bones from cooked meat, and they can also splinter within the digestion tract. This can lead to the obstruction of the bowels or lacerations that can cause internal bleeding.
Onions/anything in the garlic family: these ingredients in any form should not be included in your dog’s diet. Onions and garlic are known to destroy a dog’s blood cells, which can lead to anemia.
Signs of this occurring include vomiting, weakness, difficulty breathing, having no interest in food and lethargy. Avoid these foods in any form, included powdered, dehydrated, cooked, or raw. Putting your dog’s health at risk simply isn’t worth it.
Raisins, grapes or prunes: you may have heard recently that grapes and raisins can be detrimental to your dog’s health, but may not know why. Raisins and grapes can cause kidney failure; the kidneys are responsible for cleaning the blood of any waste products and removing any excess water to be excreted as urine.
The failure of these organs can lead to the rapid decline of your dog’s health. The first sign is repetitive vomiting for an extended period of time. Lethargy and depression soon present afterwards; once you notice these, you should take your dog to a vet immediately.
Macadamia nuts: cashews and peanuts may be provided to your dog as an occasional treat, but macadamia nuts are a no-no. These nuts can actually be fatal to your dog and lead to poisoning.
Signs include muscle tremors, paralysis of the hindquarters, weakness in the hind legs, vomiting, increased temperature, and a rapid heart rate. It’s best if you avoid giving any foods that contain these nuts. If you have done so accidentally, get your dog to a vet immediately.
Avocado: guacamole may be delicious, but your dog may not think so. Avocados contain persin, which affects dogs differently from humans. It can damage your dog’s heart muscles, which can lead to lethargy, difficulty breathing, vomiting and diarrhea.
Persin is present in the leaves, seeds and bark of avocado plants, so if you’re growing your own indoors, it’s important that you keep your dog way from them. Resist the temptation to share your nacho dip with your dog, and leave him to his regular treats instead.
Coffee or tea: caffeine can be great as a pick-me-up in the mornings, but your husky is not going to appreciate the effects of it in his system. Caffeine intake in large amounts can be quite fatal for dogs and has no known cure.
Your dog will become restless, have muscle tremors and fits, heart palpitations, rapid breathing, and bleeding. Caffeine can also be found in cocoa and chocolate, as well as some energy drinks. Why not wake up your dog the old fashioned way with a good daily run and high-quality food?
Taking care of your husky’s diet can be quite rewarding if done properly, and will help your husky to lead a full and healthy life.
Though they are known for being quite finicky when it comes to their food, it’s important that you exercise patience when providing healthy meals that they also find attractive. Going through a period of trial and error is normal in any husky owner’s life, but once you’ve found the right balance, then all of your worries simply melt away.