|Nutrition And Your Alaskan Malamute|
Food Basics 101
All packaged pet foods, whether they are canned, bagged or boxed, will give you a breakdown as to protein, fats, fibre and moisture. Many will state they are a “Completely Balanced Nutritional Dog Food”, and supplements need not be added.
The best and easiest food (and also the cheapest) to use is dry feed – Meal or Kibble. A good dry food should be 21% to 27% with 10% to 14%fat (24 to 30% protein, and 14 to 20% fat for working dogs). Canned foods are only about 12% protein while soft foods are about 20% protein with dry food being 21 to 28% protein. The higher protein products are useful for growing puppies and active working dogs, but are higher than what the average dog needs. 21 to 24% usable protein is sufficient for most dogs. Big dogs tend to prefer a chunk type dog food as it helps keep their teeth clean and they have something to chew.
A well formed stool is a sign of good health. When a dog passes a fairly solid stool, it squeezes the anal glands preventing them from becoming impacted.
At least 90% of your dog's diet should be dog food. Table scraps are fine, but always in moderation. Cooked eggs, soup, gravy, cooked cereal, vegetables and the water they are cooked in, cheese, fish, chicken, raw muscle meat, and cooked organ meat are all good additions to your dog's regular feed.
You should add fat to your dog's diet, but in most cases it must be introduced gradually. Dry dog foods are generally fat deficient. Use oils, bacon drippings or suet (beef fat), and add daily to the dry ration. Fat is a good source of energy, keeps the coat glossy, and is essential for vitamin absorption, as some vitamins are only fat soluble.
Finicky eaters are generally created by well-meaning owners. If the dog will not eat and the food is not spoiled, leave the food, and the dog will eat if hungry. No dog will starve himself. Malamutes evolved as dogs who could do with less food, and they generally do not need the colossal amounts of food shown on some dog food packages. As the dog matures and is less active, he will need less food.
Pups are best kept lean during their first year. This means you should see the definition of rib cage even when in heavy coat and you should always be able to feel the ribs. Over feeding and over supplementation can cause weak top lines, bad feet, kidney problems and Hip Dysplasia. A slower developing dog, fed a balanced diet, will reach his genetic potential soon enough, live longer, and stay healthier.
Self-feeding (leaving food available at all times) of dry food and water usually eliminates gorging, overeating, bloat, etc., and is easier on the dog. In some cases, this does not work, as dogs will overeat out of boredom and oral fixation. In those instances 2 meals a day , one in the morning and one in the supper hours should be sufficient.
Dry Puppy Food
As the puppy grows, the basic diet of puppy food will supply all his needed growth factors as well as help to provide a shiny coat and lots of energy. I recommend with the average puppy that they should begin eating the adult ration at around 9 months of age, and continue on the adult ration from then on. At this time self feed can be tapered off, and the pup gradually switched to one meal daily of this adult ration.
Beef Fat/Ground Beef
This can be obtained from your butcher as suet. It is a very good addition to the winter diet of a dog living outside, as it gives instant fuel for warmth, and additional energy during cold spells. Ground Beef may be fed if desired, and it makes for good muscle tone, and a bright energetic dog.
A special treat for your dog can be Milk Bones or other like biscuits which help keep teeth bright and clean. Raw knuckle or shank bones are also good for the teeth. Do not feed rib, steak, or chicken bones, as they often splinter.
Water should be available free choice at all times.
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