The husky raw diet is becoming more popular, but is this type of diet healthy for your husky?
Although there are certain benefits associated with a raw diet, the latest research suggests that a raw diet can lead to an increased risk of malnutrition as well as bacterial problems for both your husky and you.
Keep reading to learn all about the husky raw diet, what the research says, and what you need to do if you decide to feed your husky a raw diet.
What Is A Raw Diet?
A lot of people are deciding the transition to a raw diet due to an increase in popularity over the last few years, and there are definitely a lot of pros and cons to consider before you make the transition.
Huskies And A Raw Diet
Huskies were originally sled dogs and were fed on a raw diet for the majority of the time while they were kept as working dogs.
This is similar to the malamute, and it’s why the raw diet for huskies specifically is a very popular option. In fact, to this day, lots of huskies in places like Alaska are fed lots of raw meat and bone as part of their daily diet.
Pros Of A Raw Diet
Here are the benefits of feeding your husky a raw diet.
Perhaps the main benefit of feeding a raw diet is that it is natural.
Huskies, like other sled dogs, have been fed a raw diet for many years and are well-adapted to it. Eating raw meat or chewing on a bone is much more natural to a husky than simply eating some dry food.
The impact of this is debatable, however, as most domestic huskies today have come from generations of domesticated huskies.
Heath Benefits – Teeth, Coat Condition & Intestinal Microbiome
There are certain health benefits that are related to the raw diet and the nutrients that it provides.
For example, the high-fat content usually found in a raw diet directly contributes to coat health and can help the coat appear shinier.
There has also been researching to suggest that a raw diet can help to improve the intestinal microbiome and contribute towards reduced food intolerances and other conditions.
Owners who feed their huskies a raw diet have also noted that their husky’s teeth are much cleaner, which is possible due to reduced sugar and starch intake and the availability of bones to chew on. However, this is anecdotal, and there is limited research into this.
You Know Exactly What They Are Eating
Something that is often overlooked is the ability to know exactly what you are feeding your husky when they are on a raw diet.
Since you’ll be preparing every meal from scratch, you will be able to see everything that goes into it.
Commercial raw foods also generally contain fewer ingredients which makes it easier to know what goes into them.
Cons Of A Raw Diet
The husky raw diet does have a lot of drawbacks that are backed by research, as well as practical elements that come from preparing the diet itself.
The main disadvantage of feeding your husky a raw diet is that it becomes very difficult to meet its nutritional needs.
According to the research, this is mainly due to inexpert formulation and testing of diets, AKA due to the owner’s responsibility.
It is estimated that around 20 ingredients are needed in total to meet their nutritional needs, and this is obviously unrealistic in practice.
The AAFCO publishes the standard for dog nutrition, and without the help of a board-certified veterinary nutritionist to analyze the meals you are feeding your husky, it’s practically impossible to know if you are feeding them the right nutrients.
Another big risk of feeding raw is bacteria, such as salmonella ssp and listeria monocytogenes.
Now, huskies (like most dogs) do have incredibly strong stomachs, so it is unlikely that this bacteria will affect them, although it still can. The main problem is that this bacteria can be spread in their stool and saliva around the home, which means that you could potentially get ill.
The official stance on this matter by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as the Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is that raw food is dangerous to both dogs and humans.
Raw food can also contain parasites such as tapeworm Taenia species and Echinococcus granulosa.
These can lead to a variety of health issues and can spread between dogs rapidly through their stool.
Freezer Space & Time Consuming
Feeding your husky a raw diet will require a lot of time in preparing their meals, as well as freezer space to store the meals once they are made.
The upside to this is that once you have prepped a batch of meals, you don’t have anything else left to do, but it does take significant time to prepare them.
This one probably goes without saying but feeding huskies on a raw diet is much more expensive than regular dog food.
Raw meat is much more expensive than dry dog food, and even most commercial raw food options are more expensive than their counterparts.
Keep Yourself Informed
At the time of writing this article, all of the relevant research has been considered.
I highly recommend reading the studies and articles below to inform yourself fully before you switch your huskies diet. You should also speak to your veterinarian, who will be able to explain anything in further detail regarding a raw diet:
- Educating clients about raw diets and the associated parasitic risks
- Raw diets for dogs and cats: a review with particular reference to microbiological hazards.
- Raw Dog Food, Dietary Concerns, Benefits, and Risks
- Dogs and Raw Food Diets
Feeding your husky a completely raw diet is risky, according to all of the latest research.
Not only is there a big risk of malnutrition, but there are also harmful bacteria that can spread to humans through your husky’s stool or saliva, as well as parasites that can have adverse effects on your dog.
While there are some benefits of feeding raw, most of these are either anecdotal or can be achieved through a regular commercial diet.
A great way to implement some more ‘natural food into your husky’s diet is to offer treats like chicken or fish, ideally cooked, every few days to supplement their regular diet. You can also include things like rice and eggs to change things up.