Care of huskies

Husky Diarrhea and Diet

Our adopted husky, a male named Lobo, has had trouble with chronic loose stools. He would frequently produce puddle-like, yellow globs, which closely resemble vomit. Quite evident in the texture of the stools is ground corn from the dry kibble we usually feed our dogs. A dry kibble that agrees well with Lobo is a lamb and rice food that does not include any corn products.

After a few changes of dry kibble, I started to research the Internet to find out if Siberian Huskies needed a different diet than some other dogs. Our German Shepherd – Siberian Husky mixed-breed female (Willy) can eat any “good” brand of dry kibble and thrive. Her stools have consistently been firm and compact. So, it was obvious that the digestive systems of the two dogs are not the same.

Diarrhea in Siberian Huskies is apparently seen more often now than in years previously, according to Kathleen Stryeski, DVM .(1) You should have

your dog checked for parasites by a veterinarian, be sure to treat the problem if it exists. Then, if the dog is healthy, Dr. Stryeski suggests that you try changing brands of dog food, slowly. She suggests that the differences in protein and carbohydrate sources between foods can cause the gastrointestinal troubles in some dogs – though she is referring specifically to husky puppies. Another suggestion she has is to stay away from excessive treats, and to avoid colors (dyes), and added artificial flavors, in treats.

Dr. Stryeski suggests adding rice, stool formers (like liquid Kaopectate®, – never use the tablets), or plain yogurt, in quantities appropriate for your dog, as treatments. Ask a veterinarian for dosage with the Kaopectate, please.

We have found that the addition of cooked brown rice, sweet potato, and cooked ground meat (usually turkey or hamburger) to the dry kibble has been an effect anti-diarrhea treatment for our husky, Lobo. The idea, and a complete diet recipe, came from an Internet article by Peter Amantia.

His Siberian Husky, Shamus, who was four years old, suddenly came up with violent diarrhea. Numerous tests, including a full gastrointestinal endoscopy, revealed only Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Peter writes that gluten (a protein that is in many cereals an in wheat flour) is present in all pet foods sold commercially, and is a bowel irritant. (2) Since he did not want to feed gluten to his dog, he came up with his own formulation for homemade dog food. The recipe includes free-range ground turkey, tofu, sweet potato (must be thoroughly cooked), rice, fish, and vegetables. He supplements the home-cooked food with bone meal, wheat germ, multi-vitamins (human ones), and a few other things. Read the complete article here: http://www.siberianhuskyhealthfoundation.org/ibd.asp

Both of our dogs instantly loved having such great “people food” added to their diet. Lobo will actually refuse to eat plain, non-supplemented kibble, which (I think) is an indication that he knows the food is not the best for him. He will eat around the dry kibble, if the supplementary food is not thoroughly mixed, and leave it in the bowl. I am not yet ready to prepare all of our dogs’ food from scratch, but the time may come!

Another type of diet that I want to explore is the BARF diet. BARF stands for Biologically Appropriate Raw Food (and for Bones And Raw Food). (3) It is

based on the oldest diet of dogs – raw food that they caught themselves. More to come after further reading and research. See my blog (Husky behavior with food / raw food) for more comments and website links about raw feeding. It's quite controversial!

 

 

References:

(1) http://www.siberianhuskyhealthfoundation.org/puppies_diarrhea.asp

(2) http://www.siberianhuskyhealthfoundation.org/ibd.asp

(3) http://www.barfworld.com/

NOTE: The Web sites listed above are intended as resources only. They are not a substitute for professional veterinary care. We recommended consulting a certified animal trainer before beginning any pet training program.

Huskies' Coats!

No, I don’t mean you should make a coat out of your husky – though if you save enough of the undercoat when you groom your dog during the annual blowout, you could make some really warm knit garments. Read on!

A Siberian Husky is naturally protected against cold winter weather. They have a double fur coat – outer guard hairs and an inner wooly undercoat. Our husky, Lobo, has the usual husky waterproof outer coat that our shepherd-husky mix female is missing. He can stay out in the cold rain or snowing weather and come in with only his outer fur wet. Lobo can shake off, and be dry in a few minutes. The female, Willy, can be out in the same weather – shake off – and be wet for hours to come. The natural oils and texture of the husky coat keep that water from penetrating to the undercoat.

You should keep your husky brushed out on a weekly basis, all through the year. Keeping the mats out of his fur is important to the dog’s overall temperature control (warmth) during the coldest months. Diane Morgan, in “Siberian Huskies for Dummies,” suggests that you lightly mist your dog’s coat before grooming to 1) make grooming easier, and 2) to keep guard hairs from breaking. (1) Use a long-toothed comb and start from the outer mats, not at

the skin.

That is normal grooming. Then there is the once or twice a year (depending on your climate) coat blow. “Blowing their coats” is the term used for huskies when the dog sheds its entire undercoat. The guard hairs also shed, but the majority of the “blow” is undercoat. Be prepared with combs, shedding brushes, and any brushing implements you can find, to determine the best tool for grooming your husky during this time. Our short-coated husky, Lobo,

has a typically dense coat – and not too much patience with extended grooming sessions. The yard, where I usually groom him, often looks like an animal exploded in it. In the evenings, our girls can “pick” clumps of blown coat out carefully without awakening him. They will collect handfuls of the stuff in a half an hour. If we kept all of the blow fur, compacted lightly, we would have at least a large brown paper grocery bag full by the end of spring.

Husky fur, like wool, can be spun into yarn. (2) It is extremely waterproof, warm, and firmly textured, and the yarn is sometimes called ‘chiengora’ (the word may originate from ‘chien’ – French for dog, and ‘gora’ for extremely warm hair). (3) A number of businesses either spin dog fur into yarn for you, or collect fur for yarn to create items for fund-raising project sales. Some I have found are http://www.vipfibers.com/, http://www.wootoyou.com/services.html, http://www.elkcreekllamas.com/, and http://www.sos-srf.org/FurSpinning.html.  

 

References:

(1) Morgan, Diane. (2001). Siberian Huskies for Dummies ®. Hungry Minds, Inc. New York, NY. 147-152.

(2) http://www.sos-srf.org/FurSpinning.html

(3) http://www.elkcreekllamas.com/page3.html

 
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