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Nutrition is one of the major elements that have the biggest impact on a husky’s lifespan. The primary nutrients in a dog’s diet are macronutrients and micronutrients. To live a healthy life, all dogs must receive the proper amount of macronutrients according to their age and body weight.
Macronutrients are those nutrients that are required by a dog’s body in significant portions. The word “macro” also means large, so these nutrients must make up a large portion of a dog’s daily diet. Macronutrients include protein, fat, carbohydrates, water, and fiber.
If you are a husky parent, you should have a basic understanding of your husky’s nutritional needs, particularly its macronutrient requirements because these have a direct impact on growth and development. Our veterinarian has put together a comprehensive guide about macronutrient requirements to help you take care of your husky.
What Macronutrients do Huskies need?
Macronutrients are nutrients that dogs require in large amounts on a daily basis. According to the USDA (US Department of Agriculture), there are six macronutrients: carbohydrates, proteins, fats, cholesterol, fiber, and water. The specific number of macronutrients, however, is disputed because several sources claim that there are three, five, or seven.
Macronutrients are needed by a dog’s body for a variety of processes including energy production, reproduction, body temperature regulation, muscle growth, bone formation, and others. A dog’s diet will typically be unbalanced if it lacks particular macronutrients, which can be harmful to the dog’s health.
Macronutrients which include protein, fat, and carbohydrates provide energy to the dog while the others do not provide any energy, though this does not make them less important.
Macronutrient Requirements for Huskies
The dog’s breed, age, activity level, geography, weight, temperament, and health condition all affect the macronutrient requirements. The list of all the macronutrients that a dog’s body needs, along with the recommended amounts of each, is as follows:
The simple statement that a dog cannot survive without protein demonstrates the importance of protein in a dog’s diet. Amino acid chains come together to form complex molecules known as proteins. The body of a dog needs ten essential amino acids, which it cannot synthesize on its own and must be obtained from the diet in the form of proteins.
Protein Requirements for Huskies
The NRC (National Research Council) recommends that healthy adult dogs need a minimum of 2.62 g of high biological value (HBV) protein per kilogram of metabolic body weight each day.
According to NRC recommendations, healthy puppies 4 to 14 weeks old and above need between 9.7 g and 12.5 g of high biological value (HBV) protein per kilogram of metabolic body weight per day.
AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) recommends that a dog’s diet must contain at least 18% and 22% protein, respectively, for maintenance and growth.
For puppies, the daily crude protein requirement is 56 grams, compared to roughly 25 grams for adult dogs. The term “crude protein” refers to the total protein measured by estimating the total nitrogen present in dog food.
Protein should not exceed 30% dry matter in a dog’s diet at every age because it provides no nutritional advantage to your dog. High biological value (HBV) protein is a protein that contains all of the essential amino acids required by a dog’s body, and it is typically derived from an animal source such as eggs or meat. This is why plant-based protein is not thought to be very good for dogs because it lacks some amino acids that dogs require.
Sources of Protein
Dogs cannot absorb plant-based protein very well, hence they primarily require animal-based protein. A dog obtains the majority of its protein from real meat, such as chicken, beef, turkey, and several other types of meat. Eggs can also be offered to dogs as an HBV protein source.
Further reading: Can huskies eat raw meat?
Benefits of Protein
Here are some of the benefits of including protein in your Husky’s diet:
Carbohydrates, also known as saccharides, are made up of carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen. Carbohydrates are classified into two types; simple and complex. Mono-saccharides and di-saccharides are examples of simple carbohydrates, while polysaccharides are examples of complex carbohydrates. Carbohydrates include sugars, starch, and cellulose.
Carbohydrate Requirements for Huskies
There is no specific carbohydrate requirement for dogs according to the AFFCO because commercial dog diets include enough carbohydrates to meet the daily amount of glucose required by dogs. Glucose is required to keep the neurological system working normally.
However, according to one study, a dog’s daily meal might contain up to 50% carbohydrates.
Sources of Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates in pet foods include low-molecular-weight and high-molecular-weight sugars, starches, and different cell walls, as well as non-starch polysaccharides or dietary fibers.
For dogs, healthy sources of carbohydrates include apples, honey, corn, wheat, rice, barley, oats, potatoes, wheat bran, and rice bran. However, because some of these items cannot be fed directly to dogs, they are incorporated into dog food.
Benefits of Carbohydrates
The benefits of carbohydrates in your dog’s diet are:
- Carbohydrates are a major source of energy
- Part of the DNA and RNA of the dog
- Some carbs join with other proteins and lipids to create complex compounds that the body needs.
The most concentrated source of energy in a dog’s diet is fat. Dietary fat is primarily made up of triglycerides, which are complex molecules made up of one glycerol molecule linked with three chains of fatty acids.
A dog’s body requires dietary fat for a wide range of functions. The dog’s body cannot synthesize essential fatty acids, thus they must be obtained through the fat in the diet. In general, there are two types of fat: saturated and unsaturated.
It’s worth noting that diets high in fat don’t automatically lead to overweight huskies. Your Husky has to eat more calories than they burn throughout the day to gain weight. So don’t be afraid of a diet with fat!
Fat Requirements for Huskies
According to the MSD Veterinary Manual, the NRC recommends 1.3 grams of fat per kg of body weight per day, while for puppies it is 5.9 grams of fat per kg of body weight.
AAFCO guidelines state that recommended diets for adult dogs should have a minimum of 5% fat as dry matter and 8% fat as dry matter for puppies. Note that dry matter is the percentage of nutrients in dog food when the moisture content has been subtracted.
Dog food terminology explained:
- Governing body e.g. AAFCO, provides regulations for dog food nutrient requirements
- Dog food companies make food that aligns with dog food regulations
- Dog owners follow the recommended serving guidelines when feeding their dogs. These guidelines vary between companies and products.
Usually, 5%-15% fat (dry-matter basis) is present in the majority of commercial adult dog foods. Puppy diets typically comprise 8%-20% fat (dry-matter basis).
Sources of Fat
Dogs can get fats from both animal and plant sources. Purified algal oil, flaxseed oil, maize oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil, and canola oil are examples of plant sources, whereas chicken fat and beef fat are examples of animal sources. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are often found in fish oils and oils derived from plants.
Note that the above are only examples of sources of fat. We do not recommend mixing highly processed oils into your Husky’s food.
If something has to be processed and heated to high temperatures to extract the oil, most of the natural nutrition is lost during this process. This will likely take away from their health instead of making them healthier. It’s better to feed your Husky food that contains fat in its natural form. e.g. a nice juicy piece of steak with all of the fat trimmings!
Benefits of Fat
The following are a few of the crucial functions that fats perform in a dog’s body:
- Production and regulation of steroid hormones
- Most concentrated source of energy for dogs
- Helps to maintain the body temperature
- Vital for nerve stimulations
- Helps to absorb certain vitamins (A, D, E, K, and carotenoids)
Since water cannot be synthesized by the dog’s body and must be consumed along with the diet, it is regarded as an essential nutrient. A dog needs to drink water every day to maintain its body composition because about 70% of its body is water.
Dogs that don’t drink enough water can become dehydrated. If a dog is dehydrated by 10% or more, all of its essential bodily functions will stop, and it won’t be able to regulate its body temperature.
Water Requirements for Huskies
Huskies should drink 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight each day. The same goes for most dogs. Therefore, a 10-pound dog needs roughly 10 ounces of water each day. For instance, a dog weighing 50 pounds (22.6 kilograms) has to drink roughly 50 ounces of water each day, which is equal to 1.4 liters of water.
The amount of water required by a dog is determined by several factors, including its nutrition, environment, activity level, and overall health.
The moisture level of canned pet foods ranges from 60% to less than 87%. The water content in dry pet diets ranges from 3% to 11%, whereas in semi-moist pet foods, it ranges from 25% to 35%. Because of this, dogs that consume wet dog food tend to drink less water.
Sources of water
The drinking water you put in your dog’s bowl is their primary source of water. In addition to drinking water, dogs also absorb water from food such as fresh fruit and vegetables, wet dog food, and semi-moist dog food. See our topic picks for the best dog bowls for huskies for both water and food.
Benefits of water
The body of a dog needs water to perform the following functions:
- Water is required to maintain the osmotic pressure in the cells
- Water maintains the proper viscosity of body fluids like blood
- Water helps to retain moisture in your husky’s eyes, nose, and mouth
- Required for food digestion
- Required for almost all the chemical reactions in the dog’s body
Dietary fiber is a form of carbohydrate that dogs cannot digest because they lack the necessary enzymes and microflora. Dogs cannot digest fiber, yet it still has several advantages for them, including better digestion. Fiber is classified into two types: soluble fiber and insoluble fiber.
Fiber requirement for Huskies
Fiber is a form of carbohydrate that dogs cannot digest. While most carbohydrates are converted into the sugar molecules known as glucose, fiber cannot be converted into these sugar molecules and instead passes through the body undigested.
Fiber, like carbohydrates, has no recommended serving amount for dogs. However, the Nutrient Requirements of Dogs and Cats (National Research Council) recommends that 2.5–4.5% of the daily carbohydrates in a dog’s diet should be fiber.
Sources of Fiber
For dogs, the main sources of fiber are fruits, vegetables, and cereal grains like oats and barley. Dogs must get their fiber from plant sources because animal meat does not contain fiber.
One tip for increasing your dog’s fiber intake is to find kong recipes for huskies that mix fruit and/or vegetables with treats.
Benefits of Fiber
Fiber provides the following benefits to dogs:
- Improves gut motility
- Resolves constipation
- Acts as a probiotic and increases the ratio of healthy gut flora
Do Huskies Need Micronutrients?
Huskies and dogs do require micronutrients, which are just as vital as macronutrients. Since they are required in such small amounts by the dog’s body they are referred to as micronutrients.
Even though these nutrients are required in small amounts, they are necessary to your dog’s health since they play a vital part in many body functions, and deficiencies in some of these micronutrients can contribute to a variety of health problems.
Vitamins and minerals make up the majority of micronutrients.
Micronutrient Requirements for Huskies
Dogs need vitamins, a class of micronutrients, to carry out a number of metabolic processes in the body. Some vitamins can be produced by the body of a dog, including vitamin C, which is produced in the liver, and vitamin K, which is produced by the microflora that lives in the dog’s colon. The following are the two primary categories of vitamins:
These vitamins require fat or bile salts to be absorbed into the dog’s body through the digestive tract. These include the following:
Vitamin A, commonly known as retinol, is required for healthy husky eyes, development, reproduction, and immunity. According to AAFCO, dogs require 5000 IU/kg DM throughout all life stages. For dogs fish oils, liver, carrots, eggs, and dairy products are the main sources of vitamin A.
Vitamin D, also known as cholecalciferol, is a necessary vitamin because dogs cannot synthesize it in their bodies. In accordance with AAFCO, dogs require 5000 IU/kg DM of vitamin D in their diet at all ages.
Given that calcium cannot be absorbed by a dog’s body without vitamin D, vitamin D is necessary for the development of the dog’s bones and teeth. Some of the key sources of vitamin D for dogs are dairy products, eggs, beef, liver, fish flesh, fish oils, and dairy products.
Vitamin E is also known as alpha-tocopherol. Dogs need vitamin E for detoxification since it serves as an antioxidant and is also important for the health of their fur and nails. AAFCO recommends including 50 IU/kg DM of vitamin E in the diet for dogs. The majority of vitamin E comes from plant-based foods such as grains, seeds, vegetable oil, fruits, and vegetables.
AAFCO does not specify vitamin K requirements for dogs since they can synthesize it on their own. Fish oil, fish meal, liver, seed oils, and green vegetables are all excellent sources of vitamin K for dogs if your pet has a vitamin K deficiency.
These vitamins are soluble in water and don’t require fat or bile salts for absorption. In general, there are 9 essential water-soluble vitamins which are listed below:
This vitamin, commonly known as B1, is necessary for many activities in the dog’s body, including neurological function and enzymatic processes. Dogs can get enough vitamin B1 through whole grains, organ meat, and animal products. On a dry matter basis, dogs require 1 mg of vitamin B1 for every kg of their diet.
It is also known as vitamin B2, and dogs need it for protein metabolism, body growth, and the synthesis of blood cells. A few of the best sources of vitamin B2 for dogs are salmon, organ meats, liver, cheese, and eggs. AAFCO estimates that dogs require 2.2 mg/kg DM of riboflavin in their diet.
Another name for pyridoxine is vitamin B6. Dogs require 1 mg/kg of vitamin B6 in their diet on a dry matter basis throughout all stages of their lives. For dogs, the best sources of vitamin B6 include meat, whole grains, veggies, and nuts.
Niacin is commonly referred to as vitamin B3. Dogs require approximately 11.4mg/kg of vitamin B3 at all stages of their lives, according to AAFCO. Fish oils, beans, grains, and oil seeds all contain niacin. A dog’s body requires niacin for metabolism.
It is also referred to as vitamin B5, and it is necessary for a dog’s body to produce energy and metabolize protein, carbohydrates, and fat. During all stages of life, dogs require approximately 10 mg/kg of vitamin B5 on a dry matter basis in their diet. Fish and organ meats, particularly the heart and liver, are rich sources of this vitamin B5.
Folic acid, often known as vitamin B9, is necessary for DNA synthesis and red blood cell synthesis. According to AFFCO, dogs require 0.18 mg/kg DM of folic acid in their diets at all life stages. Meat, egg yolks, and leafy green vegetables all contain folic acid.
Cobalamin, which has the largest molecular size of any B vitamin, is necessary for canines to synthesize DNA and blood as well as to maintain the health of their vital organs. According to AFFCO, dogs require 0.022 mg/kg DM of this vitamin in their diet. For dogs, meat and some dairy products are rich sources of cobalamin.
Another name for biotin is vitamin B7. A dog’s body needs it to maintain healthy skin, hair, and nails. Furthermore, it facilitates the metabolism of macronutrients. The official quantity of this vitamin required by dogs is not listed by AFFCO. Biotin is found in egg yolks, liver meat, oilseeds, fish, and some vegetables.
Since it is water soluble, choline is regarded as a component of the B complex even though it is not considered a vitamin. The main sources of choline include liver, egg yolks, and red meat. Dogs require 1200 mg/kg DM of choline in their diet at all life stages. In dogs, choline is necessary for healthy metabolism and nerve function.
The following are some important properties of vitamins:
- They are needed in trace amounts to support proper body function
- They cannot be produced by the body in sufficient amounts to maintain normal bodily function
- It is an organic substance that isn’t a carbohydrate, protein, or fat
- Vitamins do not provide energy to the body.
- If they are present in insufficient quantities, they might cause a deficiency in the body.
Mineral Requirements for Huskies
Apart from macronutrients and vitamins, dogs require minerals, which are an integral part of organs, bones, bodily fluids, and other body components. Dogs cannot exist without minerals because their bodies will not function. For example, if there is no sodium in a dog’s body, no muscular contractions will occur, and the nerves will also stop functioning.
Minerals are required by dogs in two forms, macrominerals, and trace minerals. While trace minerals, as their name suggests, are needed in extremely small amounts, macro minerals are needed in large amounts, often above 100mg/Mcal. The AFFCO mineral requirements for dogs are as follows:
|Minerals (% or per kg of diet)
|AAFCO recommended quantity for dogs (dry matter basis per kg)
|0.8 for growth and 0.5 for maintenance
|0.04 for growth and 0.08 for maintenance
|0.3 for growth and 0.06 for maintenance
|0.45 for growth and 0.09 for maintenance
|0.04 for growth and 0.04 for maintenance
Ensuring your husky gets adequate amounts of minerals is essential to their health. Copper in particular is necessary for the production of melanin in dogs, which contributes to their beautiful coat colors. Not getting enough copper can be a reason for changes in your husky’s coat color.
Conclusion: Nutritional Requirements for Huskies
Nutritional Requirements for Huskies and dogs, in general, can be confusing. Hopefully, this article has helped you understand the difference between macronutrients (protein, fat, and carbohydrates) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) and the minimum nutritional requirements to keep your Husky happy and healthy.
Knowing the minimum nutritional requirements is especially important for Husky owners who want to optimize their dog’s health; and those who prefer fresh dog food (e.g. homemade dog food) instead of generic dry dog food that is processed beyond belief leaving it with minimal nutrition and unwanted chemical additives.
See our recommendations for the best dog food for huskies. 👈
What’s included in your Husky’s diet?
Share their favorite foods in the comments below.
What are the nutritional requirements for Siberian huskies?
Siberian huskies require a balanced and nutritious diet to maintain their health and energy levels. Their diet should consist of high-quality dog food that provides the necessary nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
Can I feed my husky a raw diet?
Yes, it is possible to feed your husky a raw diet if you choose to do so. However, it is important to consult with a veterinarian or canine nutritionist to ensure that the diet is balanced and provides all the necessary nutrients. See our guide to the best raw dog food for huskies.
What is the best type of dog food for huskies?
The best dog food for huskies is a high-quality commercial dog food that is specifically formulated for their breed. Look for dog food that is rich in protein and contains wholesome ingredients, not highly processed filler ingredients with nasty chemical additives.
How much food should I feed my husky?
The amount of food to feed your husky depends on their age, weight, and activity level. It is important to follow the feeding guidelines on the dog food package and adjust the portion size based on your husky’s individual needs.
What is the recommended feeding schedule for huskies?
It is recommended to feed adult huskies twice a day, dividing their daily portion into two meals. Puppies may require more frequent meals throughout the day. Establishing a consistent feeding schedule is important to maintain their digestive health.
Should I feed my husky a special diet?
Unless your husky has specific dietary needs or health issues, a balanced and nutritious commercial dog food should be sufficient for their overall health. It is always best to consult with a veterinarian to determine if a special diet is necessary.
Can I feed my husky a homemade diet?
Feeding your husky a homemade diet is possible, but it requires careful planning and knowledge of canine nutrition. It is important to consult with a veterinarian or canine nutritionist to ensure that the homemade diet provides all the necessary nutrients and vitamins.
Should I feed my husky raw food?
While some dog owners choose to feed their huskies a raw food diet, it is important to proceed with caution. Raw food diets can pose risks, such as bacterial contamination. Consult with a veterinarian to weigh the pros and cons before deciding to feed raw food. If you do this, make sure you feed them the best raw dog food for huskies.
What should I avoid feeding my husky?
There are certain foods that should never be fed to huskies, including chocolate, onions, garlic, grapes, raisins, and any food that contains xylitol. These foods can be toxic to dogs and should be avoided at all costs.
How can I help my husky maintain a healthy coat through their diet?
A healthy and shiny coat can be achieved by feeding your husky a diet that is rich in essential fatty acids, such as omega-3 and omega-6. Look for dog food that contains ingredients like salmon, flaxseed, or fish oil to support a healthy coat.