The Siberian husky was first brought to Alaska from Russia during the gold rush of 1909, when hard-working sled dogs were needed to haul gold through the unforgiving wilderness.
Today, huskies are still used in sled racing — but they've also become one of the most popular companion dog breeds in the United States. Their fluffy coats, friendly demeanor, and (sometimes) striking blue eyes make them a lovable and welcome addition to many families.
Whether you're planning to adopt a husky in the near future or already have one sharing your home, you may be curious about how to feed your canine companion the quality food they need to thrive. And choosing the best dog food starts with understanding the unique nutritional needs of Huskies.
Understanding Your Pup's Basic Nutritional Needs
All dogs, including huskies, require basic nutrients to grow and thrive. These include:
- Protein - Perhaps the most important nutrient for dogs, high-quality protein supplies the amino acids your pup needs to grow healthy muscle, skin, nails, fur, tendons, and ligaments.
- Fat - While not all fats are created equal, your husky dog still relies on healthy fats as a source of energy and as a mechanism for absorbing vitamins. Fatty acids like Omega-3 fatty acids and Omega-6 fatty acids also play an important role in your dog's health and wellness.
- Carbohydrates - Carbs provide dogs with energy, allowing the body to spare protein for building and maintaining as needed. Complex carbs, such as whole grains and brown rice, provide added nutrients and minerals.
- Vitamins - Dogs rely on vitamins like vitamin A, B12, and D in their diets. These can be found naturally in some ingredients (such as berries) or in supplement form.
- Minerals - Essential minerals for huskies include calcium, iron, phosphorus, and zinc — which can be found in nutrient-rich ingredients like spinach, broccoli, kale, fish, and poultry.
Considerations for Feeding Huskies
Huskies are a unique breed, so there's a lot to keep in mind when feeding them what they need to thrive. From age and activity level to pickiness and sensitivities, here are a few of the most important factors for feeding your husky.
There's a big difference between feeding a husky puppy, an adult husky, and a senior husky. Puppies who are actively growing will not only need a lot of food to support their appetites, but they'll also need high protein and fat. Likewise, ingredients like DHA can be great for a Husky puppy's eye and brain development.
Adult huskies who have reached their full growth potential will do better on a maintenance diet with a little less protein and lower fat content.
Senior huskies (those older than seven years) are prone to becoming picky eaters or having other health conditions (such as dental problems) that slow down their eating and growth. With this in mind, switching to dog food specifically developed for senior dogs may be helpful here. These foods will be more nutrient-dense to help senior huskies maintain a healthy weight.
Level of Activity
You'll also need to consider your husky's activity levels when deciding on what food is best for them (and how much to feed them every day). For example, there's a huge nutritional difference between working huskies versus companion huskies.
If you have an endurance-athlete husky who pulls sleds, then they'll need a balanced diet that's higher in fat and protein because they're burning a tremendous amount of calories in their everyday work.
Companion huskies with lower energy levels don't need to consume as many calories as their more active counterparts and will likely do better with recipes slightly lower in protein and fat.
Regardless, it's important not to feed a husky within an hour or two of any intense exercise. Instead, adjust their feeding so they have plenty of time to digest their food before they get moving.
Huskies are notoriously picky eaters — especially as they age. Because they're more discerning about what they eat than other breeds, choosing a food that's more nutritionally dense and contains more calories is a good idea. This way, they don't have to eat as much to meet their nutritional needs.
Of course, picky eating doesn't apply to all huskies. You know your dog best: If your pup isn't a picky eater, then feeding a nutritionally dense food may actually lead to unwanted weight gain.
Speaking of weight, be sure to consider where your pup stands. One of the most common misconceptions about huskies is that they're a large breed. In reality, many huskies don't grow to exceed 50 pounds, which is generally the point at which a dog is considered a large breed.
Instead, huskies are medium-sized dogs and should be fed accordingly. This means that if you've been feeding your pup a large-breed dog food, it may be time to switch.
From there, it's all about whether or not your husky is considered a healthy weight. If you have concerns about your dog's weight, speak with your veterinarian. However, you can use this body condition score chart to determine whether your husky is at a healthy weight.
A nutrient-dense recipe may be a good choice if your pup is underweight. On the other hand, if your dog is overweight, it may be time to speak with your vet about switching to weight-management food and increasing activity levels.
It's also worth noting that huskies are deep-chested by their very nature. Unfortunately, this also makes them more prone to bloat, gas, and abdominal pain. Foods with added probiotics, probiotics, and even pumpkin (which is high in fiber) may help them avoid painful bloating.
Allergies and Sensitivities
Huskies, like any other dog breed, can be prone to certain food allergies and sensitivities. Some of the most common sensitivities among huskies include dairy, wheat, and soy. If your dog seems to experience sneezing, itchy skin, eye redness, or other signs of a reaction after eating, it may be time to schedule a vet appointment.
Your vet may recommend an elimination diet to narrow down the source of the intolerance. From there, you may want to explore dairy-free, soy-free, or even grain-free dog food options to support your pup's health and wellness under your vet's direction.
What To Look for in Dog Food for Huskies
Now that you have a better idea of what to keep in mind when feeding your husky, let's dive into some of the most important things to look for when choosing the best dog food for them.
Meets AAFCO Nutritional Requirements
At the very least, you'll want to make sure that your husky's food meets nutritional requirements set forth by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). Specifically, AAFCO has created specific requirements that dog foods labeled "complete and balanced" must meet. The nutrient profiles for dogs are as follows:
- Protein - 18% (for adult dog maintenance) or 22.5% (for growth and reproduction)
- Fat - 5.5% (for adult dog maintenance) or 8.5% (for growth and production)
- Vitamins - Such as vitamin E, D, A, thiamine, riboflavin, folic acid, and choline
- Minerals - Such as calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, and zinc
While AAFCO doesn't test dog foods, reputable dog food companies that follow AAFCO recommendations will have specific labeling on their dog food packages. Look for an AAFCO statement printed on the package that says something along the lines of, "Animal feeding tests using AAFCO procedures substantiate that this food provides complete and balanced nutrition for adult dogs."
Doesn't Contain Additives, Including Artificial Flavoring
Unfortunately, selecting a dog food that meets AAFCO nutritional requirements doesn't always mean that you're feeding your husky the best formula for their specific needs.
Many dog food brands these days use artificial flavoring, artificial colors, artificial preservatives, by-products, fillers, and other additives that may be detrimental to your dog's health. Some common examples of additives that can be dangerous to huskies include BHA, BHT, nitrates, and nitrites.
Ideally, you'll want to choose a food for your dog that contains only what your pup needs to thrive and nothing that they don't need. Dog food with real, high-quality ingredients shouldn't need artificial flavoring to make it appetizing to even the pickiest of eaters.
When it comes to dog food for your husky, it really doesn't get any better than human grade. Human grade dog food is made to the same high standards (based on USDA requirements) as human food. By choosing dog food that's made with human grade ingredients and processed/packaged in a human food facility, you can rest assured that you're feeding your beloved pup the same quality food that you'd buy for yourself.
As you might imagine, it takes a lot of extra work, expenses, and time for a pet food brand to be designated as human grade — which is why many commercial brands opt not to pursue it. However, The Honest Kitchen takes this distinction seriously, and we're proud to be the world's first human grade pet food brand (we’ve been around since 2002)!
Best Food for Huskies: The Honest Kitchen's Picks
There's no shortage of dog food brands vying for your attention. However, if you're looking for high-quality dog food with a real animal protein source as its first ingredient, The Honest Kitchen has some top picks for you.
1) Grain-Free Beef Clusters
Dog owners love the convenience of this dry dog food, which is suitable for all life stages from puppy to senior. With human grade ingredients that are cold-pressed and gently dehydrated to retain nutrients and flavor, our Grain Free Beef Clusters are a favorite among hungry Huskies.
Main ingredients include:
- Ranch-raised beef
- Beef liver
- Ground flaxseed
- Broccoli, pumpkin, and apples
- Salmon oil
This dry dog food is grain-free, ideal for Huskies who may suffer from oats, rice, and barley sensitivities.
Why It's Great for Huskies
Our Grain-Free Beef Clusters are ideal for Huskies because they contain real beef as the main ingredient, providing Huskies with the protein and lean fat they need to build healthy muscle. The pumpkin in this recipe is a great source of fiber, added probiotics are gentle on sensitive stomachs, and fish oil is an excellent source of essential fatty acids.
2) Dehydrated Limited-Ingredient Fish
Treat your husky to the taste of a homemade meal with our Dehydrated Limited-Ingredient Fish recipe. All you need to do is add water to this gently dehydrated food to give your pup the tantalizing flavors and quality nutrients they crave.
The main ingredients include:
- Dehydrated white fish
- Dried organic coconut
- Dried chickpeas
- Dehydrated pumpkin
- Dehydrated celery
- Dehydrated spinach
This limited-ingredient recipe is ideal for Huskies who may suffer from food sensitivities and picky eaters who may turn their noses up at more complex formulas.
Why It's Great for Huskies
Our Dehydrated Limited-Ingredient Dog Food offers the simple ingredients that Huskies need to thrive, starting with wild-caught white fish high in protein and low in fat. From there, ingredients like dehydrated pumpkin are great sources of fiber, while dehydrated spinach adds essential minerals like phosphate and zinc.
3) Bone Broth Pour Overs: Chicken
Add a little variety to your husky's diet with our Chicken Bone Broth Pour Overs, which are great as an everyday food topper or an occasional treat. Individually portioned in 5.5-oz. boxes, this pourable stew is sure to become a new favorite.
- Chicken bone broth
- Cage-free chicken
- Butternut squash
This simple, grain-free bone broth reduction provides the variety and natural flavors your husky craves.
Why It's Great for Huskies
Our Chicken Bone Broth Pour Overs are ideal for Huskies because they're high in protein, allowing you to boost their everyday food with added flavor and nutrients. They're also great for picky eaters when added as a topper to dry food.