Feeding time can be a challenging experience for many husky owners. Huskies largely have a slim appetite for dogs of their size, as a result they can also afford to be very picky.
Here we’ll explain why your dog might be being a bit choosey when it comes to their dinner, and how best to combat that.
For the most part, we split dog food options in to two categories; processed and natural.
Why is my dog so fussy?
Siberian Huskies have been relied upon for hundreds of years to transport their handlers across miles and miles of harsh winter landscape. In these conditions, food is scarce and difficult to transport in bulk, meaning the less food a dog requires, the more practical the dog becomes. As a result, through years of breeding for these positive traits, huskies have become hyper-efficient at functioning on minimal amounts of food.
In addition, huskies are currently thought to be the only animal on the planet that has full-control over their metabolism, enabling to change how much energy they use up depending on the task at hand.
So, are they actually fussy?
Well yes, at least we think so. In our experience huskies really do enjoy the finer things in life – but don’t confuse that with being the most expensive.
It’s their fussiness along with their ability to go a very long time on very little food that makes them exceptionally difficult to coax in to eating good regular meals.
Their fussiness is not always drawn from simply ‘wanting’ something better, often it’s because the ingredients in their food isn’t really food to them at all. Ask yourself, what food stuffs are available to them in arctic conditions – it’s proteins and fats, and really nothing else. So a meal that has a high grain content, or proteins from alternative sources may very well to them seem synthetic – and no-one wants to eat plastic for dinner, right?
But be aware…
With all that said, a dog will only starve itself for so long under normal conditions – should your dog be rejecting food completely we must suggest seeking the advice of your vet.
Processed Dog Foods
Processed dog foods are what 99% of the population would consider to be the only type of real dog food. This is primarily made up of dried kibble products, and canned meat varieties.
Alarmingly, the majority of products available in this category bare little resemblance to what a husky really requires to stay fit and healthy. The majority of items are grain-based which brings in a number of potential health concerns (see Could there be a medical reason? below).
Of course processed dog foods are very convenient and easy to purchase, so for some this really will be the only option. We always recommend doing your own research prior to making any changes to your dogs lifestyle. As a general rule we’d advise to select a dog food that is grain-free and lists real meat at the main bulk ingredient, we believe that meat derivatives do not provide the required nutritional value.
For a detailed look at the history and composition of modern processed dog food, we found the following video to be a real eye-opener.
You can find specific information about the quality of your current processed dog food at All About Dog Food.
Natural Dog Foods
Don’t be confused by supermarket labels and marketing, the only really ‘natural’ dog foods are fresh (or frozen) pieces of meat, bone, offal and anything else that comes along with it. What we’re really talking about here is RAW feeding.
RAW feeding as a practice is rapidly growing right now, with more and more options seemingly available every week. Switching dogs over to a raw diet has seen fantastic changes for some, everything from coat condition to behaviour has noted to be improved.
In order to raw feed effectively, it is important to understand specifically what types of meat a dog requires for a balanced diet – simply feeding supermarket chicken-wings for life will not suffice. For those that wish to start out straight away, without having the time to become a RAW expert, a number of companies are now offering ‘complete’ raw meals which can be a great way to see if it’s the right thing for you and your dog.
Like with processed foods, there will be some raw products that you dog is not suited to, whether it results in a dodgy stomach, or a full-blown allergy – so monitor any changes carefully to work out what is the best for your dog.
We will produce more articles taking in to account our own experiences with RAW feeding very soon, but in the mean time we recommend you visit Rawfeeding Rebels for more information.
Could there be a medical reason?
Absolutely, and if you suspect as much a trip to the vet should always be the first port of call.
That said, Siberian Huskies in particular are prone to a few ailments that a lot of vets are unfamiliar with, thus making them hard to diagnose.
In particular Zinc Deficiency or ZRD is a condition that plagues many huskies and their owners as finding a treatment or solution that works can be difficult.
How is Zinc Deficiency related to my huskies diet?
The truth is ZRD is not completely understood at this point, there are many theories which prove to be correct in the majority of cases – but we are yet to receive a one-fits-all solution to this condition.
A popular theory is that huskies become zinc deficient because the zinc that enters their digestive system through their regular food becomes unusable in certain circumstances. It is thought that when fed a diet with any grain-content, the zinc elements bind to those in the grain during the manufacturing process, as dogs in general cannot properly process grain, and huskies seemingly less-so, the zinc is passed through with the grain as a waste product and never utilised by the body.
Always keep in mind that these theories are just that, and whilst it has proved to be true and effective in many cases – there are also many instances of huskies on grain-free diets suffering from the same condition.
What should I do now?
If you’re still a bit confused about what to feed your dog, we recommend talking to other owners and breed experts in your area to narrow your choices. In addition, if there’s any specific you’d like to know or want us to cover please leave a comment on this article and we’ll respond as best we can.
A Small Plea
Throughout this month, all revenue gained by our website will be donated to help the mushers affected by the Alaskan wildfires, many of whom have to evacuate their dogs and abandon their homes. You can help raise the money we make by giving our page a Like on Facebook, and sharing this article with your friends.