Feeding a Husky puppy starts with decisions about kibble versus wet food, and whether to try raw or home cooked meals.
Changes to feeding a Husky puppy must happen gradually.
The number of meals they have a day, and the portion size at each sitting also needs to be appropriate with their age.
But with a little consideration, it’s easy to get it right.
Feeding a Husky Puppy
Are you looking for information on feeding a Husky puppy?
If you’re getting a fluffy baby arctic dog, you’ve come to the right place.
Not all dogs are created equal, and Huskies are certainly a very special breed.
The former is a recognized breed with defined breed standards, while the latter is a mixed breed.
As they were both bred mainly for dog sledding, they have some traits in common.
All Huskies have special dietary requirements, which we cover in this article.
We’ll explain what to feed your Husky puppy, how much of it to feed her, when to feed her and much more.
Let’s get started.
Swapping Puppy Food Brands
First off, a note of caution: We know you want to get your pup started on your chosen diet right away.
However, it pays off to have a bit of patience.
When your puppy is moving into her new home and meeting the family, there will be quite a bit of excitement.
Excitement translates to stress hormones, which can upset a puppy’s tummy.
Researchers have shown that big changes can even diminish the helpful bacteria in your pup’s gut.
So here’s what to do.
- Get a probiotic supplement for dogs.
- Feed that to your puppy once daily for two weeks.
- Continue feeding her the original food that she was getting at the breeder’s.
Then, stick with the probiotics, but start mixing in some of the new chosen puppy food with the old one.
Gradually increase the amount over the course of seven to 10 days.
At this point, you can leave out the “old” food completely, and your Husky puppy’s digestion is now accustomed to the “new” diet.
If you’re switching between two completely different diets (from kibble to a raw diet, for example), this transition period might need to be longer—two weeks or more.
Husky Puppy Diets
Huskies are very active dogs and generally have a high protein requirement (just like human athletes).
All puppies need tons of high-quality protein, as their bodies are growing and they’re developing muscle.
The AAFCO recommends at least 22.5 percent of protein for puppies.
Other nutrients are just as important, though.
Calcium and phosphorus are needed for healthy bone growth, and the ratio between the two should be at least 1:1, if not up to 2:1.
To support your Husky pup’s developing immune system, puppy food should also contain lots of Vitamin E.
How Feeding Changes as a Husky Puppy Gets Older
Puppies have a fast metabolism.
This means that they can’t go very long without food or their blood sugar gets dangerously low.
As your Husky pup gets older and heavier, the metabolic rate slows down a bit. You can get by with fewer feedings.
When your puppy is less than four months old, she needs at least four meals per day.
After that, you can reduce to three meals per day.
Over six months of age, two meals a day are also acceptable.
Another thing to keep in mind is that your puppy’s calorie needs change as she ages.
Adjust your puppy’s daily portion regularly, based on weight and age. (We’ll talk about how much to feed later on in the article.)
You’ll want to keep your Husky pup from growing too fast, as fast bone growth can result in joint problems.
Slow and steady is the way to go; and you can achieve that by controlling the calories that your pup consumes.
What to Feed a Husky Puppy
So what’s the ideal diet for a Husky puppy?
Huskies are athletic dogs. They’re used to running great distances daily, and their metabolism is accustomed to arctic temperatures.
The consequence of this is that some Huskies’ genes are adapted to high-fat diets and don’t do very well with too many carbs.
So what does this mean? Most commercially available diets might be too high in carbs for your Husky.
It’s super important to have a look at the labels and choose low-carb foods with natural ingredients.
Anecdotally, Huskies have a low tolerance for artificial ingredients, soy, corn and wheat.
Try to avoid any commercial dog foods with these ingredients in them.
What are the different options to choose from your Husky? Let’s have a look at all of them in detail.
Feeding a Husky Puppy Kibble
Kibble is the most popular commercial dog food.
It’s cheap (though it pays to spend a bit more for high-quality kibble), convenient and well-balanced.
In general, lots of dogs thrive on kibble. Huskies might be different, though.
If you like to feed your Husky puppy kibble, give it a try and monitor her digestion and general well-being.
Choose a kibble that is high in protein and good, healthy fats.
We recommend an all-natural kibble with fish as the main protein source.
The brand you choose should be specifically designed for medium-size puppies to large breeds.
Feeding a Husky Puppy Wet Food
Another commercial dog food option is wet food. As the name says, wet food contains more water than kibble (around 75 percent).
If you want to choose a good wet food for your Husky puppy, the same basic principles apply as with kibble.
Make sure it’s made for puppies and for medium-size to large breeds.
If you want to feed your pup on wet food only, check that it’s a “complete” wet food—not “complementary.”
Ensure that your puppy gets all the necessary nutrients.
Another option would be “topping.” This refers to mixing kibble and wet food together to get the most of both foods.
We recommend topping over feeding a wet food only diet because kibble helps mechanically clean your pup’s teeth.
Feeding a Husky Puppy Raw (BARF)
If you don’t want to feed your Husky puppy a commercial diet, you’re not alone.
Mushers (the humans that drive dog sledges) mostly keep their Huskies on a diet of raw meats and bones.
Huskies are one of those breeds that seem to really thrive on a raw diet, compared to a commercial one.
If you want to feed your Husky pup a biologically appropriate raw foods (BARF) diet, here’s a list of things you should pay attention to:
- Macronutrients and micronutrients: Make sure your dog’s diet is well-balanced according to the AAFCO recommendations.
- Get an experienced vet on board to help you with nutrient calculations.
- Schedule frequent deworming for your puppy—again, your vet can advise on what is necessary.
- Monitor hygiene—this is especially important for you and your family.
- Raw meats can be contaminated with harmful bacteria and parasites.
- To minimize the risk of infection, proper storage and handling of raw meats is crucial.
Here’s a helpful article if you want to learn more on feeding a raw diet to your Husky puppy.
If there are small children, elderly people, pregnant women or otherwise immunocompromised individuals in your household, raw feeding may not be a good idea.
Consult your doctor if you’re unsure.
Feeding a Husky Puppy a Homemade Diet
Another option is to prepare homemade meals for your Husky puppy.
This diet is very similar to raw feeding, except that the ingredients are cooked, therefore minimizing the risk of infections by meat-borne pathogens.
The same basic “rules” apply as with BARF diets. You’ll have to ensure that the diet is well-balanced and complete.
Keep in mind that leftovers are not good for your Husky pup.
Human meals contain ingredients that can harm your dog, such as onions, garlic or certain spices.
They also tend to be too high in salts.
A Word on Zinc Deficiency In Huskies
Some Huskies’ absorption of zinc from their food is defective, meaning they don’t get enough of this vital nutrient if they are fed a “normal” dog diet.
This is mostly seen in Siberian Huskies.
Zinc deficiency mostly manifests as skin problems. If you suspect that your Husky pup might be affected, please consult your vet.
Some Huskies might require a lifelong supplementation of zinc with their food.
However, supplementing every Husky with zinc—“just to be on the safe side”—is not recommended.
Talk to your vet if your think your Husky pup might suffer from zinc deficiency.
How Much Should I Feed My Husky Puppy?
If you have opted for a commercial diet, you usually don’t need to worry about calorie calculations.
The packaging of your chosen puppy food should tell you exactly how much to feed your puppy, depending on age and/or weight.
Should you decide on feeding your Husky puppy a raw or homemade diet, determine your pup’s resting energy requirement (RER) and multiply that by two.
This will tell you how many calories your pup needs each day.
Is My Puppy the Right Weight?
If your puppy is overweight, this can cause a lot of damage to her growing joints and bones, so keep an eye on your Husky pup’s weight.
On the other hand, you don’t want your puppy to be too skinny.
If you think your puppy is not gaining weight appropriately, take her to the vet.
An underlying infection or parasites could be the cause.
Overall, it’s best to track your puppy’s weight gain at least once per week.
A steady increase in weight is good; loss of weight can be a cause for alarm.
Another tool to gauge your puppy’s weight is the body condition score.
Often, the body condition score tells you more than the numbers on the scale.
My Puppy Is Still Hungry
If your puppy is constantly hungry, and you are sure that they’re getting the right amount of calories, try spacing out meals throughout the day.
Maybe your pup will feel fuller when eating out of a slow-feeder bowl, which forces her to slow down.
Another option is to use puzzles or treat balls to make your puppy work for her snacks throughout the day.
Don’t give in to begging, though. Once your Husky puppy learns that begging eyes will make treats appear, you’ll never be left alone.
Be mindful not to go overboard on treats.
If you do feed treats, subtract them from the daily calorie requirement that you calculated for your dog.
My Puppy Won’t Eat
Sometimes your puppy might miss a meal or two. This could be caused by excitement or exhaustion, and is nothing to worry about.
If your Husky pup refuses to eat for more than 12 hours, call your vet to be on the safe side.
The younger your puppy is, the fewer hours she can go without eating. There’s always the risk of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) or dehydration.
If your puppy is showing other symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea, a trip to the vet is necessary.
How Long Is a Husky Considered a Puppy?
Your Husky puppy can grow until 13 to 14 months of age.
Once your pooch has reached her adult weight, it’s no longer necessary to meet the dietary needs of a growing puppy.
You can now switch over to a dog food for “adult” or “young adult” dogs—if you’re feeding a commercial diet.
If you opted for raw feeding or a homemade diet, check with your trusted vet to recalculate the nutrients in your dog’s meal plan.
An adult dog needs less protein and less calories per pound of body weight than a pup.
We hope to have given you an insight into the dietary needs of these special dogs.
Do you have a Husky puppy? What are you feeding her? Head on over to the comment section and let us know.
References and Further Reading:
“Basic Calorie Calculator,” The Ohio State University
“The Business of Pet Food,” Association of American Food Control Officials
Colombini, S., 1999, “Canine Zinc-Responsive Dermatosis,” Veterinary Clinics: Small Animal Practice
Finley, R., et. al., 2006, “Human Health Implications of Salmonella-Contaminated Natural Pet Treats and Raw Pet Food,” Clinical Infectious Diseases
Freeman, L.M., et al., 2013, “Current Knowledge About the Risks and Benefits of Raw Meat-Based Diets for Dogs and Cats,” Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Gawor, J.P., et al., 2006, “Influence of Diet on Oral Health in Cats and Dogs,” The Journal of Nutrition
Greco, D.S., 2014, “Pediatric Nutrition,” Veterinary Clinics: Small Animal Practice
Hawthorne, A.J., et al., 2004, “Body-Weight Changes during Growth in Puppies of Different Breeds,” The Journal of Nutrition
Huber, T.L., et al., 1986, “Variations in Digestibility of Dry Foods With Identical Label Guaranteed Analysis,” The Journal of The American Animal Hospital Association
Joffe, D.J. and Schlesinger, D.P., 2002, “Preliminary Assessment of the Risk of Salmonella Infection in Dogs Fed Raw Chicken Diets,” The Canadian Veterinary Journal
Kölle, P. and Schmidt, M., 2015, “Raw-Meat-Based Diets (RMBD) as a Feeding Principle for Dogs,” Tierarztl Prax Ausg K Kleintiere Heimtiere
Mussa, P.P. and Prola, L., 2005, “Dog Nutrient Requirements: New Knowledge,” Veterinary Research Communications
“Nutritional Requirements and Related Diseases of Small Animals,” Merck Manual Veterinary Manual
Reiter, T., et. al., 2016, “Dietary Variation and Evolution of Gene Copy Number among Dog Breeds,” Plos One
“Resting Energy Requirement (RER),” The Foundation for Service Dog Support, Inc.
“Siberian Husky,” The American Kennel Club
Templeman, J., et al., 2018, “Assessment of Current Musher Practices across the Sled Dog Industry with an Emphasis on Nutritional Programs Implemented,” American Journal of Animal and Veterinary Sciences
van den Broek, A. and Horvath-Ungerboeck, C., 2013, “The Skin, Nutritional Deficiencies and Supplements in Dogs and Cats: Part 2,” UK Vet Companion Animal
Wakshlag, J.J., 2018, “The Role of Nutrition in Canine Performance and Rehabilitation,” Canine Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation, Wiley Blackwell