We all want what is best for our pets, from exercise to nutrition. There are many different feeding options, and the raw diet has become very popular in recent years. A raw diet appropriately done can be good for Huskies and Husky puppies, but there are a lot of things to consider before embarking on the raw diet.
The raw diet is time-consuming, requires a lot of preparation time, space and equipment to avoid cross-contamination, and can be expensive. In addition, the raw diet does not suit every dog. For example, my Husky didn’t do well on the raw diet, and we now use a vet-recommended kibble and cooked meat or fish.
Each dog has specific requirements, and it is worth speaking to your vet and a dog nutritionist to get your dog’s correct information and balance. Be aware that not everyone is a fan of the raw diet. It is still widely debated among vets and other animal professionals if the raw diet is good for dogs.
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What is a raw diet
The raw diet, or BARF (Bones and Raw Food/Biologically appropriate raw food), is feeding raw meat, bones, raw vegetables, and fruit at meal times. The idea behind this diet is that the dogs would eat this in the wild as their ancestors did, much like the human Paleo Diet.
You can buy commercial raw food or make raw meals at home.
The commercial raw food comes prepared in pucks, which can be fresh or frozen. Commercial raw food is industry-regulated, and the nutritional balance has already been worked out for you. Commercial raw food is now widely available from many pet stores.
Since commercially available pet food contains the proper nutrients for your dog, we don’t have to work out protein, vitamin, and mineral ratios. However, on the raw diet, you will have to know how much meat, bone, and vegetables are needed for each meal.
- A rough guide of ratios is:
- 80% of meat, sinew, ligaments, fat
- 10% edible bone
- 5% liver
- 5% organ meat
Too much or too little protein, for example, is bad for your Husky. Likewise, too much or too little vitamins or calcium is also harmful to your Husky. Unfortunately, the effects of an unbalanced diet can take time to reveal themselves, so it’s essential to get the right balance each meal time.
Some more important points to consider:
- Meat is high in phosphorus. Bone is high in calcium. When the bone is fed at 10%, you have almost the right amount of calcium required by your Husky. Whole prey, fish, eggs, and tripe help complete a balanced ratio.
- Organ meat should not exceed 10% of the overall diet, with 5% being liver. The liver should be fed once a week. An organic free-range fed source is the best choice.
- Salmon and pork should be frozen for two weeks before feeding to kill parasites.
- Trachea, trim, and poultry feet are an excellent natural source of chondroitin and glucosamine that help build and support healthy joints.
Feed only raw bones as cooked bones will splinter and pierce the stomach or the intestines.
Most dogs eat approximately 2-3% of their ideal adult weight per day.
30kg (66 lb) dog:
2% would eat 600g (22 oz) of food
3% would eat 900g (32 oz) of food
20kg (44lb) dog:
2% would eat 400g (14 oz) of food
3% would eat 600g (22 oz) of food
10kg (22 lb) dog:
2% would eat 200g (7 oz) of food
3% it would eat 300gr (11 oz) of food
6 months plus: divide the food into 2 feedings per day
Husky puppies 4 – 6 months: divide the food into 3 feedings per day
For a puppy under 4 months, divide the food into 4 or more feedings per day
Unlike many other breeds, a Husky will only eat until it is full. However, some Huskies are picky eaters and will leave food they don’t like or have become bored with. For example, my Husky will eat around vegetables she doesn’t want. Therefore, supplements may be required to ensure that your Husky gets a balanced diet.
Pros of a raw diet
One of the main pros of a raw diet is knowing precisely what your dog is eating. In addition, there are no fillers or preservatives in a raw diet, unlike many commercially available dog foods. The raw diet hasn’t been scientifically proven healthier for your Husky. However, many owners say that their dog’s coats and skin are much healthier from a raw diet. Additionally, the poop size seems to be smaller.
Cons of a raw diet
The downside of the raw diet is the risk of cross-contamination. Space for storage of the raw food is needed. Good hygiene is necessary before, during, and after feeding. The risk of pathogens must be considered if you have young children, older adults, or anyone with low immunity.
Additionally, you must consider that pathogens can be present in your dog’s poop and saliva.
Cost can also be an issue. Sourcing good-quality meat can be expensive and time-consuming. Buying packs of commercial raw food will save time but can still cost more than other commercial dog food.
Some dog boarders or sitters charge more for looking after a raw fed dog simply because of the additional food storage and the extra work in prepping and cleaning.
Things to consider before going raw
A raw diet for your Husky isn’t just about the type of food you’re feeding. It’s more of a lifestyle change. You will have to source good quality food and know the ratios of the food you give. Be prepared to be able to safely store, prepare and thoroughly clean the work area, your hands, the utensils, and the feeding bowls.
The risk of pathogens is relatively high with a raw diet, not just with the food but also in your Husky’s saliva and poop.
Likewise, you will likely have to pay more to board your Husky if you go away. Or, if your Husky is traveling with you, you will need to consider safe storage for your Husky’s food.
Before changing your Husky’s diet, you must speak to your vet and a nutritionist for dogs. Professional guidance is essential before undertaking this diet for your Husky. Like any dietary change, it should be done gradually to allow your Husky’s digestive system to adapt.
Alternatives to raw
The main alternatives to the raw diet are home-cooked meals and traditional dry and wet food from the pet store or your vet. It is also possible to do a combination of these.
The home-cooked meals run similar risks as the raw diet in terms of ensuring you get the proper ratios in the meals. Cooking can also reduce the amount of goodness in meat and vegetables.
Commercial dry and wet food is readily available, and as long as you choose good quality food, your dog should receive a balanced diet.
I have chosen to give my Husky a good quality dry kibble that our vet recommended. Additionally, we cook her some chicken, mince, or fish. The dry food is given separately to the meat, as kibble and meat digest differently. This also stops my Husky from getting bored with her food. Huskies are notorious for being picky eaters and getting easily bored with their food!
How you feed your Husky is truly a personal choice. If you have the financial means, the time, and the facilities to source, safely store, prepare and clean for a raw diet, then there isn’t a problem. The problems occur when you don’t thoroughly research and understand the nutritional ratio requirements for a healthy balanced diet for your Husky.
After researching, if you find that the raw diet isn’t for you, choose a diet that suits your Husky and your lifestyle. The only thing that really matters is that you provide a healthy balanced diet for your Husky. After all, we want our dearest Huskies to live a good healthy life and be with us for as long as possible.
I hope that you found this article helpful.