When one thinks of a strong and capable dog, they often think of Huskies. They are of the working class of dogs as they were originally bred to pull a sled behind them. This means that their diet is quite different than other dogs’ diets. The difference in their diets intrigued me quite a bit, so I did some extensive research on the subject and compiled it together here!
What Foods can and can’t huskies eat?
Huskies have a very different diet than other dog groups because they are a type of working dog. They require more nutritious and raw foods than just normal wet and dry dog foods. There isn’t an agreement on a specific diet, but be sure to consult with your vet to ensure that your husky is getting the appropriate nutrition.
There’s a lot of information about their daily diet on the web along with controversy between which one’s best. There is also just as much information about what they can and cannot eat.
There are so many things to know about a Husky’s diet, which I have put together here as an ultimate guide to their eating habits.
What Should Huskies Eat
There are three different diets that husky owners can choose from when feeding their huskies. These diets can always be changed if an owner decides to go a different way, but as with all dogs, when switching food diets it is important to do so gradually.
It is actually a subject of some intense controversy and many people are set in their ways about one way or the other. Here we will discuss the pros and cons of each diet.
Commercial Food Diet
A diet consisting of strictly dry or wet dog food is known as the commercial food diet. This is the diet that most other dog groups consume. Whether it is wet dog food or dry food or even a mix of both, some people argue that it doesn’t provide the nutrients that huskies need.
Because their metabolism works so quick and because they are active dogs, they go through the nutrients of food very quickly.
One thing is agreed though, and that is if this is the diet that you choose to feed your dog it must only be premium quality dog food. Anything less than the best brands won’t be able to deliver the ingredients that huskies so desperately need.
Sometimes it can be hard to know the difference between a quality dog food and a subpar one. Dogfood.guru provides a list of things to look for in quality dog food.
- Meat Proteins: Make sure the food has two or three meat proteins, and that they are listed as the first couple of ingredients.
- Plant Proteins: Also look for plant proteins. There should be more meat than the plant, but this is important as well.
- Fats: Some healthy fats to look for are chicken fat, canola oil or flaxseed.
- Other Protiens: Make sure that it contains Omega-3s as this helps to keep skin and coat healthy. DHA is is one of these Omega-3s and it helps the brain and eye to develop.
Other things to note are that it is high-calorie, low-carb, lactose free and gluten free.
One benefit of this diet is that it is often less expensive and last longer than a nutritional raw food diet. It also requires less effort to prepare and is easier to store.
Reputable Food Brands
According to ForeverHusky.org, these are three of the highest dry food brands recommended for huskies. If you buy these brands and products on Amazon, part of the proceeds goes to ForeverHusky.org to help huskies find a forever home.
Then according to LabradorTraininghq.com, these are some of the other best dry food brands:
- Wellness Core Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food Original Turkey & Chicken
- Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
- Best for senior huskies
- Purina Pro Plan FOCUS Sensitive Skin & Stomach Adult Dry Dog Food
- Best for huskies with sensitive stomach’s
Note From The Editor: As I was reviewing this article, I just wanted to let you know when we tried this food (#2 above) it smells really bad! Be sure to get an airtight dog food container if you are going to give it a try! Later in this article under the green “bonus tip” section, I shared the dog food we found to work well for us. We worked with our breeder to pick it out. I just wanted to give you a heads up and our first-hand experience.
Nutritional Raw Food Diet
The second diet that is an option for huskies and other working dogs is the nutritional raw food diet. Many husky owners have switched to this diet because it is thought to be healthier and more sustainable for the dog.
Also, dogs in general, but especially huskies can often get bored with their food. This is where this diet comes in handy because it brings a variety of food to the dog’s palette.
The cons are of course that this diet is more expensive, harder to store, harder to prepare and requires more effort.
Some foods that are good in nutrition and are easy for your husky to digest include:
- Chicken, Beef, Lamb and other white meats
- bell peppers
- brussels sprouts
- apples (ideal for senior pets with a lower metabolism, no seeds)
When feeding your dog a nutritional raw food diet, it is important that your dog gets all the different nutrients and vitamins that he needs.
Make sure that each meal is full of protein, carbs, vitamins,
A mixed diet is what many husky owners choose to feed their dog because it has the benefits of both the commercial food and nutritional raw food.
One crucial thing to know if doing the mixed diet is that commercial and nutritional food should never be fed in the same meal. They each take different amounts of time to digest and this can make for an upset stomach for your husky.
Overall it is important that your husky gets all the nutrients and vitamins that they need. While huskies don’t eat as much as some other dogs do, that just makes what they eat that much more important. Quality over quantity, as they say.
What Huskies Cannot Eat
There are certain foods that all dogs cannot eat, and this is a pretty conclusive list, but if ever unsure about if something is dangerous or not, always do some research before feeding it to your dog.
- Dairy: In large amounts, it is bad for the digestive system because they were never meant to process dairy. In small amounts, it’s okay.
- Cherries: Toxic to dogs and cats.
- Citrus fruits: (can cause an upset stomach)
- Raw eggs: Raw anything isn’t usually good.
- Soda: Dogs don’t handle carbonation very well.
- Chocolate: very toxic to dogs.
- Raw or undercooked meats
- Macadamia nuts
- Salty foods
How Often Should Huskies Eat
For most Huskies, it is recommended to feed husky puppies three times throughout the day. As they grow they will start eating only about two times a day.
If your husky is a picky eater or if they tend to get bored with their food it is suggested that the daily intake amount is split into three and the husky is fed three times a day.
It is suggested that the daily intake is at least split into two meals though. Doing this gives them a steady intake of calories that they can burn throughout the day while exercising and going about their business.
Often when fed just once a day the calories run out quicker and the body starts taking from the good body fat, causing them to lose weight.
One thing is crucial and that is that a Husky should be on consistent eating and exercise schedules. Never feed him right before exercising, as this might cause stomach problems. Give your husky at least 2 hours to digest the food and then exercise.
Then wait at least 30 minutes after exercise before feeding them again. This will allow time for their digestive system to
How Much Should Huskies Eat
How much your dog eats actually depends on the weight of your dog rather than the breed of your dog. So, for each Husky, it will be slightly different. But, it also depends on their metabolism.
This is what can make it complicated for husky owners to know how much to feed their dogs. ForeverHusky.org has a good rule of thumb though to know how much to feed them.
“Feed your adult husky about 60 percent of what the label on his food suggests for his weight.”Forever Husky
Huskies weigh anywhere from 35 pounds (small female) to 60 pounds (large male). The National Research Council of the National Academies agrees that a good weight to daily calorie ratio is that an active 50-pound husky should intake about 1358 calories a day on average.
This calorie intake will vary on things such as metabolism, age, activity, weight, and if they were spayed/neutered. To find out a more exact calorie intake you can consult with a vet.
Picky/ Slim Eating Huskies
Huskies were bred to go long distances and sustain a certain amount of energy when there wasn’t a lot of food to go around. This is evident in them still today. Unlike many other dogs (such as Labradors, Dachshunds and Beagles) the Husky only eats until he is full.
Their metabolism is extremely high and a small food intake can keep them going and functioning for quite a long time.
It can often take a long time to figure out what your husky will eat, as they are very picky eaters. This means that, as a husky owner, you will be required to do a lot of trial and error with foods you feed your husky.
You’ll need to make note of what makes your husky sick and what they seem to like. While this does require patience, it is very possible and doable.
To prevent them from getting bored, don’t keep food out all the time. This will increase their chances of deciding that it’s boring. Instead only leave it out until their done eating.
Also, make sure to change the flavors and colors up once in a while, while still making sure that all the need nutrients and vitamins are there still.
BONUS TIP: We worked with our breeder to determine which food brand would work best. Our girl has been an extremely picky eater, but we found she gobbles up the Royal Canine brand which gets very good reviews too! It comes in a special German Shepherd puppy formula and adult dog food versions!
Husky Food Recipes
Homemade Dog Food – Emily Trudeau
Step 1: Boil or saute meat. Use more if the meat is very lean. This can be ground meat like beef or turkey, or chicken thighs and giblets. De-bone and chop up small. Set aside.
Step 2: Boil fresh or frozen vegetables until tender. Do not include corn, soy, or onions, since these are not healthy for your husky. Good choices are carrots, broccoli, spinach, potatoes, yams, and garlic. Try to mix it up and use different colors. (This will help them to not get bored.)
Step 3: Add the cooked rice or oatmeal to the meat. Then fold in the vegetables and let cool.
Step 4: Add one sardine per day to a meal. This could be replaced with a fish oil capsule or flax seed if you prefer. Also, add any digestive enzymes or probiotics to the meal and serve.
BBB (Beef, Barley and Bowties) – MyHusky.com
- 1 cup barley
- 1 tbsp veg oil
- 500gm beef mince
- 1lt beef broth
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 4 potatoes, peeled & chopped
- 4 carrots, peeled & sliced
- 1 half small cabbage, chopped
- 300gm small bowtie pasta
- It’s easier and quicker if you have all of the ingredients chopped, grated and sliced before starting, so go do that now.
- Bring 2 cups of water to boil, and add the 1 cup of barley. Cover the pot and bring the heat down to medium-low. Cook for around 45 minutes, or until all the water has been absorbed. Set this aside for now.
- Heat the oil in a large pot (roughly 8 litres). Add the beef mince and cook until the mince has browned, stirring it regularly to keep the mince from burning.
- Add the can of tomatoes (including the liquid), beef broth, and 5 cups of water. Bring the pot to boil.
- Add the chopped potatoes and sliced carrots. Reduce the heat and let the pot simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Add the bowties and simmer for another 10 minutes. Once again make sure to stir frequently.
- Remove from heat and add the cabbage and barley.
We warm the stew for 90 seconds, and mix in a few biscuits, before serving.
- Other recipes for homemade dog food can be found at myhusky.com.au
What should I do if my Husky isn’t eating? To other breed owners it may seem as if your husky isn’t eating enough, but they actually just eat a lot less than other breeds.
But, if it seems they aren’t eating at all, then it might be due to the fact that they are picky. It might require some trial and error to find what thye’ll eat. If this persists bring them to the vet.
What is a working dog? According to the American Kennel Club, “Quick to learn, dogs of the Working Group are intelligent, strong, watchful, and alert. Bred to assist man, they excel at jobs such as guarding property, pulling sleds and performing water rescues.”
What can I do if my husky gets bored with his food? You can try adding different flavored things in as well as different colors veggies or fruits. Some good things to add that will switch it up while keeping it nutritional are raw mince, different types of fish, or different types of white meat. Often it just takes a color change to do the trick.