Advice · Blog

What Should I Feed My Siberian Husky?

With so many different dog foods on the market today, it can be hard to find the right food for your dog. Everyone seems to have a different opinion about what the best dog food is and how you should feed dog. Rather than saying that one food is the best food out there, I follow strict guidelines of what I look for in food for my huskies. Several different brands and types of food can match these guidelines, so it gives you several options of what to get.

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Nom Nom Now

1. Protein and Fat content

Siberian Huskies are very active and high energy dogs, but they can still become overweight if you do not feed them correctly or do not exercise them enough. To help keep my huskies at a good weight and have the appropriate nutrients in their diet, I look for a protein level over 30% and a fat level of at least under 20%, preferably under 18%, in dry dog food. This does not apply to all breeds of dogs. This is specifically geared towards high energy working breeds. However, if you were running your Siberian Husky on sled team, you would want a higher fat percentage since they would be burning it off. Most pet Siberian Huskies do not run over 10 miles or get over 2 hours of exercise though. I like for my Sibes to get around an hour of physical exercise a day, more if possible. You can find the protein and fat percentages of your dog food under the guaranteed analysis on the bag. If you are looking at canned or raw food, these percentages will be different because both of those foods have high water contents. High water content is a good thing since your dog will be getting more moisture in their diet, which helps with digestion and helps prevent bloat. When comparing raw and canned to kibble, you have to figure out what the protein and fat is without the moisture. This is where some math comes in. You first subtract the moisture percentage from 100. So, if your moisture is 60%, 100 minus 60 is 40. Then you take the protein or fat percentage and divide by the number you just found (so, using the previous example, it would be protein/40 or fat/40) then multiply it by 100 to turn that number into a percentage. You will then have the protein percentage based on dry matter and can accurately compare dog foods. If you don’t want to do all this math, typically raw food is the way to go. Raw tend to be higher protein and lower fat. In the case of the sled dog above, you could add more fat or feed a meat that is naturally higher in fat, like duck.

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2. The meat ingredients

I like for the first three ingredients of my dry dog food to be some sort of meat and for it to always be a named meat. I avoid anything that does not state what animal the meat is coming from. Nobody wants to eat mystery meat, and when it comes to feeding your Siberian Husky the right way, mystery meat is not the way to go. Ingredients like Animal Meal, Blood Meal, Bone Meal, Animal By-Product, etc should always be avoided. However, “meal” is fine if the type of animal is listed, such as Turkey Meal or Lamb Meal. Meal is simply the meat with the moisture removed and ground down. By-products, on the other hand, should be avoided. By-product is basically the parts and meat that is left over after all the meat for human consumption has been removed. In other words, its the stuff that we wouldn’t want to eat, such as feathers, organs, feet, fur, heads, etc. I do not have a certain type of meat that I prefer to feed my Sibes. I like to mix up for them and give them a different flavor with every bag. If I had to pick some of my favorites, I’d pick Game Birds (quail, duck, pheasant), Salmon, Beef, and Lamb.

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Darwin’s Raw Pet Food

3. No artificial ingredients

Artificial colors are added to make the dog food bright colors, such as red, yellow, and green, that make humans feel that the food is healthier because it looks like the colors of fresh vegetables and meats. It is just a marketing scheme. Your dog does not care if his kibble is green or brown. However, many artificial colors and dyes are listed as possible carcinogens (cancer causing agents) or can create issues with your dog’s immune system.

Artificial preservatives are commonly used in lower quality dog foods. However, many people do not recognize them on the ingredient list because they do not know what they are. Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), tert-butyl hydroquinone (TBHQ), propyl gallate, and ethoxyquin are some of the most commonly used artificial preservatives used. Artificial preservatives can have a negative impact on your dog’s liver and BHA and BHT have both been linked to causing cancer in lab animals.  These two preservatives are banned in many countries, including all of the European Union, but are allowed in the US in both human and dog food.

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Holistic Health Extension Dog Food

When talking about artificial ingredients in particular, I often hear people say that they have fed their dogs x brand for years and that their dogs have all been fine. My opinion is that you do not know what could have been had you been feeding your dog a healthier option that did not put such strain on your dog’s liver or had a chance of causing tumors or cancer. A dog that lived 12 years, could live 15 and be active and healthy for longer. Even a dog that lived 18 years, may have been physically healthier during their senior years. My senior Siberian Husky, Gracie, will be 11 this year. I used to feed her a food with artificial ingredients before I knew all of this information. My mom switched her dogs to something better and I started using that food too when she was about 4 or 5 years old. Even just feeding her better the last 6 years, I see a big difference between her and other Siberian Huskies her age. Gracie did not come from a great breeder that health tested their dogs or had great show dog or anything. She has genetic epilepsy. Genetics are not on her side. However, because of her healthy diet she looks and acts like Siberian Huskies three years younger. I had her bloodwork done recently at our vet and he said if he did not know her age, he would think her results were of Siberian Husky much younger than her. Her joints are healthy and her teeth are white.

4. No corn, wheat, or soy

I avoid any dog food with these three ingredients. Dogs thrive off meat protein and fat. You may look at the protein on a dog food bag and it seems good, but if that protein is coming from vegetables, it is not necessarily good. Soy ingredients often boost the protein level of the food and is cheaper than meat. Some dog foods will add in soy ingredients because of this. Wheat is one of the most common allergies for dogs and can cause symptoms such as hot spots, ear infections, and itchy dry skin. Corn is also a common allergy (my Echo is allergic to corn), but it is mostly used a source of carbs and vegetable protein. Dogs do need carbs and corn is a source of carbs, however dogs do not digest corn very well, which can lead to stomach troubles and put them at risk of bloat. This is especially important if your dog is over 50 pounds, lives in a warmer climate, or eats quickly, as both of these things also add to the risk of bloat.

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Wellness Core RawRev Dog Food

My Preferences

The four above points are my absolute requirements when picking out dog food for my huskies. However, I do have a few other things that I prefer in dog food. While corn, wheat, and soy are an absolute no for me, I do prefer grain free over grain inclusive. However, if I did get a grain inclusive food, I would prefer oats, brown rice, and barley over other grains. Typically foods that are grain free have more peas and potatoes, which not all dogs do well with. Based on this, my ideal food for my dog is either raw or homemade. Grains, peas, and potatoes are not necessary for a dog to have a balanced diet, but kibble needs them for carbs and to bind the food together. An advantage to kibble is the price and convenience. Raw can be pricier and takes up room in the freezer. I have gotten a second refrigerator just for the dogs for whenever I do have raw food.  As I have mentioned in previous reviews of raw dog food, raw nutrients are healthier and easier for your dog to absorb than cooked nutrients in kibble. I would say my last preference in dog food is small batch made kibble over large batch. This means that the kibble itself was cooked and created in smaller groups rather than a bunch of kibble all at once. This means that the quality can be monitored more closely and any defects or issues are easier to detect.

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I would encourage you on your journey to find the right food for your Siberian Husky to use this list and knowledge to compare different brands of kibble on the market. I always tell people that there is not one perfect kibble that works for every single dog ever. Different dogs have different needs.

Do you have any other questions about what to feed your Siberian Husky or want to know about a specific food? Leave me a comment below! Be sure to visit our reviews page and check out some of the dog food reviews I have done in the past.

Thanks for reading,

Katie, Gracie, Echo, and Yoshi

Are you new to owning a Siberian Husky or thinking about getting one? Check out my post on Advice from Husky Owners!

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33 thoughts on “What Should I Feed My Siberian Husky?

  1. I don’t own a dog however I agree with your sentiments. I think when it comes to food every pet parent has their own must haves when choosing the best food for their pet based on quality and cost. If I were in your shoes I’d probably do a combination of raw ( due to the benefits) and quality kibble ( easier on the purse strings and easier to store). In the end you just have to see what works best for your dog and monitor how they respond.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for sharing such valuable information about nutrition. I think there are many takeaways here for everyone – not just sibe peeps! I avoid wheat, soy, and corn for my guys, too. I never really made the connection about artificial colours being added to make the dog food seem healthier. Our food is not but still, very interesting. And misleading for consumers.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Nutrition for pets have changed so much in the last decade! I remember feeding my first cat “cheap” food off of the shelves of grocery stores. She lived to be 19 years old. My first Persian ate dry kibble until she was a senior kitty and I began giving her wet food along with the kibble so she’d get enough water. I’ve had Truffle and Brulee almost 7 years and I’m so conflicted on what to feed them. They still eat kibble, but are also fed a high quality wet food. I’m researching the best food to feed Truffle since her bladder stones. She really doesn’t like the prescription food. We’ve tried the Nom Nom Now for cats and both of the girls love the chicken flavor. I’m hoping this may be a food Truffle can eat.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Unfortunately the cheap food wasn’t so good for my old cat 😔 he developed liver failure.
      I think it’s that we are learning more about nutrition for animals. Veterinary care has grown a lot in the past decade as well as veterinary research.

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  4. I was always told that Huskies need more zinc in their diets and they must get it in supplement form since no kibble diet contains enough for them. Have you found that to be true?

    I started down this holistic path in 2002 and continue to be disappointed in all of the marketing and deception…even by veterinary schools that pooh-pooh consumer choices.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Zinc deficiency is common in Siberian Huskies. The easiest symptom to see is hair loss on the face around the eyes and red bumps on the chin. I personally have never had any issue with it, but if I had a dog with zinc issues I would feed NutriSource or PureVita. They add in enough zinc for zinc deficient dogs. I am sure there are other brands too, but that one I know for sure off the top of my head.

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  5. There is a LOT of information here which is totally brilliant.

    What you need to do now is make it into a printable with cute pictures so people can have it beside them in the kitchen, and not miss ANY of the important information you provide.

    Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. One of the vets at the practice we go to is extremely passionate about dog food. Whenever I think about trying something different, I run it by her first. It seems like she is on the same page as you, especially when it comes to organs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My passion for dog food and the effects of different foods on dogs’ health is part of what got me first interested in becoming a vet. I love studying dog and cat nutrition and helping owners pick out food for their pets.

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  7. Good information, thanks for sharing. I’m glad you talked about the guaranteed analysis, most people just ignore that. I’m a big label reader for my dogs’ food. I feed my Husky a higher protein food because she’s so active. I also add quality canned food and homemade food liked cooked carrots and chicken or salmon. My other dog is much less active so I feed her a regular high quality dog food. I also started giving them fish oil tablets.
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Echo is the one that made me start paying more attention to the guaranteed analysis. He has a very slow metabolism and if he eats a lower protein food he does not burn off enough fat despite being active.
      Gracie is okay on a lower protein food since she is a senior, but she is active enough for a high protein so I just feed them all the same food. I give my three Nupro Silver for immunity and joint health and salmon oil in addition to whatever food I am feeding.

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  8. I agree with you, every dog is different and so are their food requirements. Not only that, they will change over the years, so we as their guardians need to be prepared. What you feed your dog is such an emotive subject and everyone has an opinion. For me, I suggest people do their research well and figure out what is important to them and their dogs.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I do not have a husky but I have a working dog a shetland sheepdog, she is active so I give her a combination of protein (cooked beef/fish/turkey I do for her) combined with high quality kibble absolutely no corn or soy nor by-products. She has a sensitive stomach so I do not feed her any organ meats either just lean meat.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I love your attention to detail. It’s amazing how much junk food for pets is on the market and people don’t even think to read the labels…or if they do, they are overwhelmed by the confusing wording. Looks like you have it really figured out for your dogs – they are lucky to have such an attentive mama 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Fantastic Article as I feel feeding our pet should be a decision we make and not what everyone is saying or doing, same as we do for ourselves. I cook for Layla and add a vegetarian freeze dried food and it works with her, have been doing it for over a year now and will not change her diet. For me the plus is I can change the protein so she does not get bored but she is still getting all the nutrients that are necessary.

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  12. A really through post on a topic I consider to be a minefield. So much conflicting information, with “experts” on every side convinced they are right. I am a big label reader so protein has to be the first ingredient, and I like to see fruits and vegetables as well. When we first adopted Jack he was always scratching so I prefer grain free because I find it helps. He is also now eating a bit of raw added to his good quality canned food so I’m happy with what he’s eating.

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  13. Well done post, and very appropriate for huskies! I would like to note that by-product can’t contain feathers or other inedible products. But yes, by-product can contain internal organs and things we typically don’t like to eat. My biggest issue with by-product in petfood is that the companies are not allowed to advertise what quality/grade by-product they are using. A cheap “animal” by-product has a very different nutritional profile than a high quality, high grade “chicken” by-product, and yet, the companies are not allowed to advertise that they are using the highest grade! We need better and more information in commercial pet foods, IMO. I have contacted companies directly to get quality/grade info, and any company that can’t give me an answer doesn’t get my biz.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for that information! Personally if a food is including any organs, I would rather them be listed out like chicken liver or beef tripe, rather than just listed as “by product”
      Many of the natural and higher quality brands do exactly that. Liver is very good for dogs, but a gallbladder is bad. I’d imagine “by product” could also include heart, which is a muscle meat, and skin, which tends to be high fat. Since different organs do have different nutrients and vitamins, it would be better to be very clear about which ones are in the food.

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