The food we feed our pets has significant consequences for their happiness and well-being. Huskies and other sled dogs can be fussy eaters, and are often sensitive to some of the ingredients found in many pet foods, particularly the many of the cheaper, more widely-available brands. Fortunately, there are a wide variety of dog foods available today, some of which seem to suit huskies and sled dogs particularly well.
The choice of diets and feeding plans available can make finding a suitable diet solution seem like a daunting task!
Don’t worry though – feeding your husky or sled dog can quickly become very simple. The key points to remember are;
- Be aware of the main ‘problem causing’ ingredients found in some commercial dog food.
- Figure out the right amount of food to feed your dog (huskies and sled dogs generally need less food than other dogs their size).
- Change foods GRADUALLY! Sudden changes to diet usually lead to upset tummies.
- Stick to a set feeding routine.
Feeding Options for Huskies and Sled Dogs
Complete Foods such as kibble are ready made foods that provide all the basic nutrients your dogs needs. Feeding a Kibble is often the simplest, and generally the least time consuming option, as well as involving less mess, storage space etc.
Many owners feel that Raw Diets significantly improve the overall health of their dogs. There is no doubt a raw diet provides lots of variety for your husky. Many of the foods involved, such as raw meaty bones, provide entertainment as your dog will chew away on them happily for hours.
Feeding a Raw Diet requires some initial research into the nutritional needs of your husky, and sourcing food suppliers takes time and patience. You will probably also need to acquire an additional fridge and/or freezer in order to store food, and may want to designate an area in your kitchen or utility room specifically for meal preparation as much raw meat is involved.
Although feeding a Raw Diet may seem a daunting and complicated prospect, in reality, once you have done a bit of initial research, it does become very easy to manage and is very often cheaper on the whole than feeding kibble. Indeed, for many owners the sourcing and preparation of raw food is an interesting and satisfying task, particularly once they see their dog’s enthusiastic reaction to the foods on offer.
Combining Raw and Complete Foods
Many husky and sled dog owners feed both Raw and Complete foods at different times, depending on circumstance, availability and time constraints. This is perfectly acceptable, although it is not recommended that you feed both types of food at the same meal, as they are digested at different rates and health problems-specifically an increased risk of bloat (gastric torsion) may occur. Some owners choose, for example, to feed kibble in the morning and raw food later in the day, or they may feed raw food for the most part and kibble if travelling with their dogs or attending rallies or shows.
Huskies and sled dogs generally require a lot less food than many other breeds of dog. Sled Dogs evolved in harsh and unforgiving northern environments where food was scarce, and as a result their bodies adapted to process food very efficiently. As a result they can extract a relatively high percentage of the available energy and nutrients in their food compared to other breeds. It is often the case that the feeding instructions provided by food manufacturers will suggest feeding more than is necessary for a husky or sled dog, as instructions are not generally breed-specific. This is something to bear in mind when feeding complete dog foods such as kibble or wet food, and is discussed in more detail here
Feeding and Exercise
Feeding your sled dog too soon before or after exercise is to be avoided. It can not only be uncomfortable for your dog to exercise on a full stomach, but feeding too close to physical exertion has been linked to one of the most serious and life-threatening medical emergencies sled dogs can incur; ‘bloat’ or gastric torsion. It is recommended that you wait AT LEAST 30 minutes (longer if at all possible) after exercise before feeding. This gives the dog’s body a chance to settle down and cool off before having to deal with the digestive process. You should also wait AT LEAST 2 hours after a meal before you exercise your sled dog, longer if possible, especially if you are exercising your dog vigorously (i.e. if you are ‘working’ the dog on a rig or scooter).
Not all dogs are created equal. Every dogs nutritional requirements are different. If your best friend looks like a wolf, howls like a wolf, chances are its nutritional requirements are similar to that of a wolf as well. Find out which dog food brands are best choices for Siberian Husky and other northern dog breeds, which share many characteristics with its distant cousin, the wolf (canis lupus), including nutritional needs.
Say Goodbye to Corn
When was the last time you saw a pack of wolves grazing in the corn fields? Not very likely, and yet most brands of the commercial dog food available in grocery stores, contain corn meal, as one of the main ingredients. Can anyone say filler? This is why it is very important to look at the ingredients of the dry dog food you are feeding, and eliminate those brands that contain fillers such as corn meal, soy bean, and other grain products not meant for canine consumption.
Best Dog Food Options
With so many dog food brands out there, how do you decide which one is the best choice for your dog? We have looked at over 700 brands and have found 4 dog food brands that excel in quality and nutritional value.
The Way Nature Intended
Timberwolf Dakota Bison is an excellent choice for the maintenance of a healthy skin and coat. Dakota Bison™ Canid Formula is a new formulation that actually simulates the natural diet of a wild canid in protein, fats, seeds & other nutrients but in a dry form and is designed for Northern Dogs, Wolves, Wolf Hybrids, Guard, Military, Police and other Service Dogs, kennels, show breeders and other dog enthusiasts who have a need for high levels of nutrients.
EVO Herring and Wild Salmon (Grain Free) Dry Dog Food
The ancestral diet meets modern nutrition. Traditionally, dry pet foods required a significant concentration of grains and carbohydrate-rich “filler” ingredients to aid in the manufacturing of a crunchy kibble pet food. EVO challenged this tradition, and developed the first-ever grain free, low carbohydrate dry pet food. Removing grains and dropping carbs leads to many benefits for our beloved four-legged friends. The protein in EVO is derived from premium quality fresh meats that are highly digestible, highly palatable and provide maximum nutrient absorption, encouraging strong bones and muscles. Price: $69.99
Free-Range Bison – bison is free range fed, not from feedlots. No chemicals or hormones are fed. The bison are not branded, castrated or dehorned. This USDA human consumption grade meat is from Montana, Oregon and Washington.
Cracked Pearl Barley, Brown Rice, Millet, Oatmeal – complex carbohydrates for energy, also good sources of dietary fiber. Barley is also thought to help enhance the color of white-coated dogs.
Flax Seed, Rice Bran and Canola Oils – excellent sources of Omega 3 essential fatty acids. Price: $51.55
Bison | Ocean Fish Meal | Brown Rice | Oatmeal | Millet | Cracked Pearled Barley | Rice Bran | Canola Oil | Tomato Pomace | Flaxseed | Natural Flavor | Salmon Oil | Choline Chloride | Taurine | Dried Chicory Root | Parsley Flakes | Pumpkin Meal | Almond Oil | Sesame Oil | Yucca Schidigera Extract | Thyme | Blueberries | Cranberries | Carrots | Broccoli | Vitamin E Supplement | Iron Proteinate | Zinc Proteinate | Copper Proteinate | Ferrous Sulfate | Copper Sulfate | Potassium Iodide | Thiamine Mononitrate | Manganese Proteinate | Manganous Oxide | Ascorbic Acid | Vitamin A Supplement | Biotin | Calcium Panthothenate | Manganese Sulfate | Sodium Selenite | Pyridoxine Hydrochloride | Vitamin B12 (Cyanocobalamin) | Riboflavin | Vitamin D3 Supplement | Folic Acid
Blue Buffalo Wilderness Dry Dog Food
Highly digestible dog food formulated by animal nutritionists. Blue Wilderness provides your dog with the optimal balance of protein, fats and healthy complex carbohydrates. High-quality ingredients for a high performance diet:
* Deboned chicken, chicken meal, turkey meal, and fish meal supplies the protein your dog needs to support a healthy and active lifestyle.
* Sweet potatoes, oatmeal and potatoes provide healthy complex carbohydrates for lasting endurance.
* Blueberries, cranberries and carrots support antioxidant enrichment and make this natural dog food a great choice for your dog. Price: $51.32