Husky and Malamute Diet – The Complete Guide

50
Husky and malamute diet
This entry is part 1 of 6 in the series Snow Dog Appropriate Diet

The Perfect Husky Diet

If ever there was a volatile subject in Snow Dog groups, it is the topic of what to feed your dog. Just mention the subject and watch for the proverbial fur begin to fly. People will argue at length as to what the perfect Husky Diet is.

Regardless of whether you choose to feed raw, home-cooked, kibble or combination of all the above, the diet has to be good quality and appropriately balanced for this breed of dog.

The husky diet must be complete

  • Feeding your dog poor nutritional quality kibble is an incomplete diet.
  • Feeding only chicken necks and too many raw bones is not a complete diet.
  • White rice, cooked chicken, and a few cooked veggies for every meal is an incomplete diet.

This series of articles will address keeping your husky healthy, so instead of debating, I am going to offer you information so that you can make your own well-informed choice about what to look for when choosing foods to feed your husky.

To look at Siberian Huskies and Malamutes, you would not think that these tough and hardy dogs would be prone to sensitive stomachs and easily upset digestive tracts. But these dogs do have special needs and requirements when it comes to feeding and diet.

All breeds of dogs require good nutrition that optimally supports their daily requirements for the production of fuel for their body. Huskies and Malamutes require good quality, high protein, moderately high fat, and low carbohydrate needs (sources not from wheat, corn, or soy). Why these grains are undesirable in the husky diet will be further discussed later in this article.

Good quality nutritious foods suitable for huskies

  • Get their protein from whole meat and meal, and it will appear as the first ingredient on the list. This tells you that food primarily contains protein. Good sources of protein come from Grades of meat A through C.
  • Primarily use fish, fowl or other grassland animals as a protein base.
  • Use quality sources of fat in their food obtained from their whole meat sources.
  • Be over 30% protein, approximately 20% fat, and approximately 30% complex carbohydrate.
  • Use a source of complex carbohydrate from legumes, seeds, fruits and vegetables (but not corn or wheat for husky diets).
  • Include whole sources of fruits or vegetables.
  • Include dog-safe herbs for digestion or immune system support.
  • Contain pre and probiotics to aid with digestion.
  • Use natural sources for their vitamins, minerals, and supplements, not synthetic.
  • And will use natural pure Vitamin E oil sources ( not synthetic), to preserve the food.

High protein and mid range fat

These dogs require a higher than average protein in their diet. That means if you are feeding kibble, the protein content should be close to 30% to 40% (depending on the activity level of the dog). The fat content should be around 18% to 20%. The best proteins for Snow Dogs come from lots of fish and fowl based foods. Red meats like beef, lamb, or bison should constitute a smaller percentage of their protein intake. Adding rabbit, venison, elk, and bison as a switch up from their regular protein source is also a good option for your husky diet.

Change the protein base with the changing seasons

Very often Snow Dogs do well with a change of protein base as the seasons change.

  • That means you may want to feed a fish-based kibble primarily high in Essential Fatty Acids in the Winter to support healthy skin and coat.
  • In the spring, you may want to start adding lighter proteins like more fowl to the diet.
  • In the Summer months with their lowered energy levels and calorie requirements, they really don’t require as much protein and fat in their diet, so switching to a mixed protein base lower in fish and higher in fowl and some added grassland animal protein may be welcomed thing for them.
  • Then in the cooler temperatures of Autumn, begin adding more fish-based protein and higher fat content to support their need to grow a thick and healthy coat.

How Much Food Does Husky Or Malamute Need?

Huskies and Malamutes require a comparably small amount of food for their size. They have a very high metabolism, so a small amount of nutritious food will adequately supply their nutritional needs. These Snow Dogs differ from some other breeds that are notoriously well known for eating as much food as they can to the point of becoming sick.

Notably, when a husky is full, they will not eat. If they get a lot of physical exercises, they will eat a bit more food to adjust for increased activity. If they are inactive, they will eat less to adjust to their activity level. In cold weather, huskies will consume more calories. In the hot weather, huskies will consume fewer calories because they do not burn as many calories. As always, there are notable exceptions to these “husky eating rules”.

Nutrient-dense foods supply nutrition efficiently so less food is fed at each feeding as compared to feeding of cheaper foods. When feeding kibble, it can be hard to imagine that you only need 1 to 2 cups of good food per day while you may be required to feed 3, 4, or even 5 cups per day on food that is full of corn and animal by-product.

This is something must be factored when calculating the true cost of your dog’s food.

Feeding puppies

If you are feeding a puppy, you not only have to feed a Breed Appropriate food but an age-appropriate food as well. Many high-quality puppy foods are designed to feed for the entire first year of a puppy’s life. The nutritional requirements of a growing puppy are very different from that of an adult dog, so please feed a Puppy Formulation to your puppy.

Feeding larger dogs such as malamutes

Also, for dogs that will grow to be 55-60 pounds and larger, a Large Breed Formulation is recommended. These foods actually pay careful attention to keeping growth in check as not to overwhelm the immature skeletal and musculature system of a larger dog.

That’s an overview of the husky and malamute diet, be sure to read the rest of the series before making any changes to your dogs’ diet. As always, we look forward to your comments and questions regarding this topic. Please feel free to share your stories for when we do. We may help someone who is currently struggling with their Snow Dog.

Helping ALL Snow Dog … one owner at a time.

Series NavigationFeeding Kibble >>
Previous articleIntroduction to raw feeding
Next articleEarly removal of puppy from mother

50 COMMENTS

  1. 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 fatal for dogs and there is 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, chocolate and energy drinks. Why not wake up your dog the old fashioned way with a good daily run and high-quality food?

  2. Huskies should eat carnivorous diets. Think about it. Do you think these dogs ate any starches or “complex carbohydrates” during their evolutionary history, living with nomadic people in Northwest Siberia? Maybe they ate some berries during summer, but any carbohydrate consumption would have been few and far between. The bottome line is these dogs are way less genetically capable of eating higher carb diets than regular dog breeds. Your dog will do okay eating complex starches especially compared to processed dog. But if you really want your dog to be healthy throughout its lifespan, the prudent thing is to feed it a carnivorous diet or to only give it carbs after intense exercise.

  3. 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.

  4. I am on the struggle bus with my 10mo old Siberian. For most of his life he has had on and off issues with his stool and occasional vomiting. Our vet has never found any serious issue with him and has just given us probiotics. For a time he was on the costco puppy formula and it was working great! Then about two months ago his stool got sad again. I switched him over to Purina Pro Plan for sensitive stomachs with Salmon as the main ingredient, but it hasn’t quite made things perfect. Would yall suggest I move him to a large breed puppy plan over this? He’s eating a ton now too (like 6 cups a day sometimes) because of the cold weather.

    • Try Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Puppy Formula Grain-Free dry kibble. I have an 11-month old, and she started on a chicken formula with Blue Buffalo from 2-5 months, and she suddenly began to have diarrhea.
      Then we got her on this food, which has probiotics and it has helped her stool regulate 100x better. She loves it, and her coat is amazing. We occasionally add dog pumpkin puree, pieces of semi-cooked chicken breast and toppings for extra flavor on top of her food, but we do not add all these items at once, we space them out bi-weekly or so.

  5. hi there… I’m so glad I found your website. I have a 2 1/2 year old Siberian who has been diagnosed with zinc deficiency. I’ve been giving him 5 tablets a day of NutriVed Zinc and Methionine. He continues to have the what I call breakouts and looking for another source of zinc. I will consider moving to a fish/veggie diet, however, not sure how much is too much. I also just learned from your article, I should give these to him 3-4 hours after he eats.. well, I’ve been cutting them up and putting them in his food because the vet said he needed to have them with food for absorbtion. Looking for any advice as I’m at a loss with this at the moment.

    • The only reason your dog would have issues with zinc or methionine is because you are not feeding it enough red meat. Both nutrients are ubiquitous in red meat.
      By the way, vegetables are not a part of this breeds evolutionary diet. Depending on what plants you are feeding your dog, they could cause leaky gut (which causes inflammation and immune disfunction), reduced mineral absorption, or autoimmunity… because plants defend themselves with a variety of toxic agents (their only defense from animals eating them willy nilly) that are more severe if you are not adapted to handle them. Feed your dog an all meat diet and there’s a good chance that these problems will resolve.

  6. I have a 7 and a half month old Malamute. over the last few days she has started to “pick” at her food. this morning she wouldnt eat at all just sniffs it and leaves it alone. We feed her Victor brand dog food(1/2 puppy 1/2 adult) 4 cups a day(2 cups in the AM and 2 cups in the PM). before this she would eat really fast. I have read different things that this is normal to this isnt right. Can someone point me in the right direction please?

    • During Summer months, most dogs eat less but especially snowdogs. Sounds like your dog is full. They are great at conserving caloric energy. If pup visibly losing weight, contact your Veterinarian.

  7. avoid blue buffalo dog food.
    lethal doses of toxic mold in dry and wet.
    my 5yo husky malamute mix died after switching. $6000 in emergency vet, regular vet, and myoctoxin studies…
    bag was positive for stachybotrys and aspergillus $780 for that

Comments are closed.