Unlike most other dogs, huskies have unique diet requirements, thanks to their “working dog” status. When raising a husky, be extremely particular about what it eats and how it burns all those calories to stay in good health and shape.
Huskies can eat a variety of raw meat, including poultry, beef, lamb, and seafood. Like every other dog, a husky is a carnivore. It thrives on raw bones, fresh meat, and organs. The organs you could feed your husky include liver, kidney, pancreas, thymus, and reproductive organs.
Though your husky has no trouble eating raw meat, it’s not necessary or recommended you feed your dog raw meat. There are a few things you need to consider when serving your husky raw meat. Keep reading to learn what those concerns are and other aspects relating to the topic.
Types of Raw Meat You Can Feed Your Husky
There are different kinds of raw meat dogs can technically eat. The following are amongst the safest to feed your husky:
- Chicken: Chicken meat is commonly served to dogs as food. Chicken is lean and contains a solid amount of protein, which helps your dog build muscle and mass. Also, chicken is packed with nutrients that support bone health, shiny coats, and healthy skin.
- Beef and steak: Red meat is also quite nutritious for your husky. It contains fatty acids that benefit your dog’s joints and muscle mass. Red meat, like chicken, contains omega-6 fatty acids. Besides adding to the calorie count, omega-6 is involved in cell function and cell membrane structure too.
- Lamb: Lamb meat is not just nutritious but is also quite tasty. Most importantly, it consists of dietary fats that sustain your dog’s energy levels – while, of course, maintaining its skin, muscle, and fur. Like chicken and beef, lamb meat is also available as packaged dog food. Check out the AvoDerm Natural Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Formula if you’d like to give your husky a nutrient-rich lamb meat treat.
- Turkey: If your husky is sensitive to certain kinds of meat, put it on turkey meat. The lean white meat packs in highly digestible protein, which is good for your dog’s muscles.
If you’d like to cook a special meat treat for your dog, this video might help:
Types of Meat You Should Avoid Feeding Your Husky
Now that it’s clear the animal meat varieties huskies have no problem ingesting, you must also be aware of the kind of meat your pet huskie should always steer clear of.
- Raw pork: Uncooked pork could contain the trichinella spiralis larvae parasite. Upon ingestion, the pest can lead to an infection with visible symptoms to show that include vomiting, fever, diarrhea, stiffness, and lethargy.
- Processed pork: Pork is fat-laden meat and specific processed cuts such as bacon, hams, and sausages could be fatty and also contain loads of salt. High-fat, processed meat is not recommended for huskies as it could lead to pancreatitis. The high salt content of the meat could also cause stomach and dehydration issues in your dog.
- Uncooked fish: Raw fish could have food poisoning-causing bacteria. Fishes such as trout, salmon, and sturgeon could also contain parasites that cause the “salmon poisoning disease” or “fish disease”. When the fishes are fully cooked, the parasite gets killed.
Why Raw Meat is Not Ideal Dog Food
Though huskies and most other dogs have the same lineage as wolves, that doesn’t mean you should feed your dog a wolf’s food. Doing so would be completely disregarding the evolution dogs have had over several thousand years as a species living alongside humans.
Raw meat is typically not the most nutritionally balanced. Several studies have found raw meat to contain low levels of calcium and phosphorus, and excessive amounts of vitamin A and vitamin D, besides being fraught with several other imbalances. Perhaps the biggest concern with raw meat is its impurity.
Kindly note, it’s absolutely fine to feed your husky raw meat if you know how to do it. But, if given an option, try to cook the meat before you put in on your dog’s plate.
Raw Meat Ingestion Could Cause Health Issues
Raw meat is arguably the most contaminated and toxic form of food. Uncooked meat usually contains harmful bacteria such as listeria, e.coli, and salmonella. And these bacteria could be found in the meat of beef, poultry, pork, fish, etc. Needless to say, the consumption of uncooked meat could lead to a host of health issues in your dog. When cooked, however, the meat ceases to present pretty much all of its bacterial concerns.
The worst part is that the health concerns related to raw meat are not limited to your dog. According to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), raw meat not just poses risks to your husky but also to you (the owner of the dog) and other people in the house.
There are a few ways the infection could spread from the meat or the meat-eating dog to you or your family members. Here are a few:
- Handling or touching the raw meat
- Allowing the husky to lick your face
- Touching surfaces contaminated by the dog
- Cleaning up the dog’s feces
If you opt to feed your husky raw meat, refer to and follow the safety tips or guidelines the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) recommend. If you cannot strictly adhere to those directives, cook the meat instead.
When cooked to a certain temperature, the bacteria in the meat gets killed. Also, perfectly cooked meat helps make the food a lot more digestible. When your husky is able to digest the meat, it could use the nutrients in the meat to produce energy, build muscles, and support its immune system a lot more effectively.
Store-Bought Raw Meat is the Bigger Concern
Generally, compared to carcass meat, the risk of contamination or bacterial infection is more with raw meat bought from the store, as meat processing plants have a much higher likelihood of cross-contamination. A lot of chopping and mixing take place at these plants, which could cause bacteria to get right to the core of the meat. Though freezing the meat thereafter could decrease the level of bacteria found in the meat, the chilly conditions won’t kill all the germs.
That said, meat sourced from wild carcasses is not necessarily safer to ingest than commercial or processed meat. In other words, parasite contamination is a major issue with carcasses.
The Lowdown on the Raw Food Diet
If you decided to feed your husky raw meat, then you might consider transitioning to the raw food diet. Raw food diet is a diet that consists only of raw food.
This diet is high in protein, moderate in fat, and has a minimal amount of carbohydrates. It primarily consists of:
Raw food diets have been around domesticated dogs for a while now. Sled dogs and racing greyhounds have been eating raw foods to keep them in top shape since before the diet became mainstream.
In 1993 an Australian veterinarian named Ian Billinghurst proposed this raw diet be extended to all dogs in his book, "Give Your Dog A Bone." He called his feeding suggestions the BARF diet, an acronym that stands for Bones and Raw Food, or Biologically Appropriate Raw Food.
Dr. Ian Billinghurst, along with other advocates of raw food diets, contends that dogs thrive on a diet that has an evolutionary base; that is, a diet that canines ate before they were domesticated — particularly those that were given grain-based commercial pet foods to eat.
A carefully planned raw diet can have many health benefits over time. Conversely, it can present a few challenges and might not be suited for every Husky. Let’s explore both sides of the coin.
The Nutritional Benefits of a Raw Food Diet
A raw food diet may improve your Husky’s overall health when done properly. That is, making sure there is a variety in their meals to provide all of the vitamins and minerals they need for optimal nutrition. A balanced raw diet is crucial.
A few health benefits could include:
The Potential Risks of the Raw Food Diet
Despite the many health benefits of a raw food diet, there are a few drawbacks that can put your Husky at risk of poor nutrition. Not to mention, there are potential dangers for humans too!
A few potential risks could include:
In addition to health concerns, a raw food diet can be expensive and time-consuming. The preparation of well-balanced meals for your Husky can be a challenge if you have a busy schedule.
Raw diets can also be inconvenient if you travel often. Many hotels are not equipped to deal with storing raw food, and not all commercial brands are available everywhere.
Since raw diets are often higher in protein, they aren’t usually a good fit for Huskies with kidney or liver failure. Dogs with cancer, receiving chemotherapy treatments, or other immunosuppressive diseases should also avoid raw food.
How to Transition a Husky to a Raw Diet
If you’re considering feeding your Husky raw meat as a part of a raw food diet, there are some steps you can take to ease the transition and potentially minimize health risks.
There are two general approaches you can take when switching your Husky to raw foods — rapid and slow. Typically, healthy young dogs will respond best to the rapid method, whereas older dogs that have gotten used to eating commercial foods all their life, may prefer a slower transition.
The Rapid Approach
Generally speaking, most young and healthy dogs can make the switch to raw overnight. With this approach, you can pretty much start them off without a transition day.
For the first week or so, it’s good to give your Husky a high-quality game meat meal that does not contain bones, so it is easier on their stomachs. Then, once they’ve tried a variety of protein sources, you can rotate around. Variety is achieved over a period of time.
The Slow Approach
This approach may work better on older Huskies or even picky eaters. Basically, you’re switching your dog gradually over a seven day period. However, your dog may require longer, depending on their age, weight, etc.
How this works is for one meal, let’s say breakfast, you give your Husky their regular commercial food, and the next, let’s say dinner, you give them the raw food. Gradually, you will decrease the amount of dry or wet food and increase the amount of raw food until your dog’s diet fully consists of raw food.
Depending on how your Husky reacts to the change, you may need to cut back on the amount of raw food given. You can monitor this by checking their stools; if they are loose early in the process — slow it down a bit.
Senior Huskies that have been fed commercial foods for a long time can benefit from probiotics and digestive enzymes being added to their new raw food to help ease the change.
An important note: Do not mix processed foods with raw foods within one meal. Huskies process and digest these two kinds of foods differently.
Resources We Recommend for Beginners
It can be a little tricky to get started with a new diet for your dog, and that’s why we compiled a list of resources that we think will help you on your raw food journey.
What About Feeding a Husky Bones?
If you’re uncertain about your husky’s ability to chew on raw bones, worry not since your dog is more than capable of pulverizing the mineralized tissue. Just make sure you are not feeding raw bones to husky puppies as they won’t have the ideal set of teeth for the job. Raw bones are ideal as they contain calcium and phosphorus. They help a husky:
- Build strong teeth or prevent tartar buildup
- Keep its mouth clean
- Improve calcium intake
However, cooked bones are not safe. They, in fact, present major health risks. When cooked, bones become soft, causing them to splinter when gnawed. When the splintered bone enters the dog's digestive tract, it could puncture its colon or stomach. Cooked bones could also cause other problems in your husky, which include:
- Intestinal blockages
- Vomiting or diarrhea
Cooked chicken bones come with the highest splintering risk and should be avoided like the plague. Smaller cooked bones such as chicken bones would likely cause more issues than bigger bones such as beef or lamb bones. Also, steer clear of rib bones as they tend to be quite brittle and could hurt your husky’s throat and stomach.
Generally, the internal damage caused by the fragmentation of the bones is not apparent right away. The problems may take some time to manifest, but it’s recommended you do not wait for any visible warning before springing into action.
Besides being unsafe, cooked bones are also not as nutrient-dense as raw bones, as most of the minerals and vitamins found in bone get lost to cooking. Uncooked bones, on the other hand, are packed with nutrients.
As we’ve shown through the course of this article, it can be safe to feed your Husky raw meat as a part of a raw food diet. It can provide many nutritional benefits that can result in your dog leading a happy and healthy life. That said, it is important to keep in mind that it might not be the right dietary path for every Husky out there.
Feeding a husky just raw meat may fail to provide the dog balanced and complete nutrition, particularly husky puppies. Without proper nutrition, your husky may not live its life to potential.
Therefore, feed your husky raw meat only when you’re absolutely sure the meat is free of bacteria. And if you’re going the commercially packaged raw food route, ensure the food is put together by a certified nutritionist.