Siberian Huskies require a comparatively small amount of food for their size. They have a very high metabolism – a little food will usually last them a long way. Their ancestors were trained to travel long distances, pulling a light load, on the smallest amount of food.
Huskies are very unlike other dog breeds when it comes to feeding. Breeds like Labradors and Beagles will eat as much as you put in front of them, often to the point of becoming sick. Huskies watch their intake much more carefully:
- If a Husky is full, they will not eat.
- If a Husky has had a lot of exercise, they will eat more.
- If a Husky has been rather inactive, they will eat much less.
That being said, if a Husky does overeat and start to gain too much weight it is often very difficult for them to lose it again. And an overweight Husky will have a shorter life expectancy than a healthy one.
Huskies have very individual personalities, and are notoriously 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. Many things could put a Husky off their food:
- Boredom with commonly eaten food
- Individual taste (size of biscuits for example)
- 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 then the dog will likely get bored of it, which will stop him from eating it in the future.
One big controversy concerning canine nutrition is over whether your husky should remain on one dog food or whether he should consume a variety of different foods. Some nutritionists claim that the canine system does better when it stays on one complete food and switching around could be upsetting to the digestive tract. Others, citing the fact that dogs are natural scavengers, believe that dogs enjoy variety and even thrive on it.
Huskies as naturally curious animals can become bored with their usual food, there may be a need to change diets or to add different meats/vegetables to change the flavour whilst leaving the base the same.
If a Husky starts showing signs of being bored with his food you could try to add other ingredients. For example raw mince, different types of fish, vegetables, etc. Cheese in large amounts is not a good idea, as it can cause stomach upsets. But very small amounts can get Huskies very interested in their food without causing serious problems.
Adding different ingredients can be helpful and keep your husky interested in their meals, it is not recommended that you drastically change their food all of a sudden. For example a husky that usually eats 1 cup of biscuits could drop back to ¾ of a cup and add 50g of chicken mince.
If you wish to completely change your dogs diet it is important that you do this gradually, over one to two weeks, taking out a bit of the old and adding some of the new daily until they are just eating the new diet.
This is an important step to remember when you first get a Husky. It is good to find out what the dog ate before coming to you, that way you can make a gradual change from what he use to eat to the food your planning on feeding him. This goes for puppies and older dogs.
There is a lot of discussion on what food is best for huskies; commercial vs homemade, raw vs cooked, bones vs no bones, etc.
Some things are definitely not suitable for Huskies of any age:
- Large amounts of dairy
- Cooked bones
- Raisins, grapes, prunes, etc