Feeding Your Samoyed
This page probably has the potential to create more controversy than any other page. Except my comments on judging I suppose.
People seem to get quite vehement about how they feed their dogs. I have a theory on that. I think every person wants to think they are doing the best for their dogs because they love them. They may, or may not be, but a little education doesn't hurt.
So I am going to be a little circumspect about what I do myself in detail, and give you some reasons for raw food feeding, and some reasons for kibble feeding, along with how you might maximize that path. Everyone will have an opinion, but I want to present some views, and look at We Suggest... if you want to know more. There is a site on the hereditary requirements of the Samoyed and what they might do well with and without.
The fact is, there is a lot of misinformation, and I don't think you can find
the answers in any empirical way. The example I would give is when I tried to
discover if narrow angles in the eye led to glaucoma. In theory, they certainly
could. But no proof has been done, and the Swedish scientists who did the other
Samoyed eye research did not go this far. So no one knows. But it makes sense
if you understand the structure of the eye. The research is too expensive and
will probably never be done. (I recommend gonioscopies for ALL Samoyeds.)
So sometimes there just isn't the kind of answer we'd like.
So let's look at what makes sense. There is no proof. Look at the sites to find 'balance' and what works for you and your dog.
Dogs lived on raw meat and bones for eons. Any dog that can eat a rotting fish lakeside can certainly handle a few extra bacteria!
I managed restaurants years ago in another life. I CAN tell you that salmonella is nothing to play with in humans. I have a certificate that says I know something about food borne illness (and the sex life of salmonella), but the fact of the matter is while it's a danger to us, it's rarely a danger
TO A DOG THAT HAS A HEALTHY DIGESTIVE TRACT.
But for humans, soap and water your hands and counters very well! Watch if your hands touched the doorknobs or refrigerator handle.
Dogs fed a wide variety of foods have a wealth of enzymes to digest those things, an intestinal length far different from ours, and unless they just came off a series of antibiotics (which means against life...anti bio), they will do just fine. That's why you hear so much about yogurt as it helps replenish the intestinal flora.
Antibiotics can save lives, but my vet says they are woefully overused and
someday they are just going to quit working. He uses them sparingly, and the
weakest one that will do the trick.
Yogurt given on an empty stomach will go through faster, and stomach acid kills lactobacillus and acidophilus. Give it to the dog as a treat between meals and more of it will get into the intestine.
So the first issue comes when a dog only gets one kind of food. ANY difference in that means the dog cannot process the new food for lack of the proper enzymes and often gets diarrhea.
Diarrhea is the bodies attempt to flush itself of poisons. The concept of
some of the over-the-counter medications that STOP diarrhea astonish me. They
leave the poisons inside and then the intestines reabsorb them. To
So when doing any diet change, do it slowly, supported by probiotics, enzymes and/or yogurt. I use a certain product, but I'm not on here to promote it. Just to say that the SUPPORT of the intestinal tract and it's health are important.
I had a puppy back for a vacation and they 'promised' me they fed the same way he was raised. I got a bucket of some cheap food, the kind with oil from rendering plants sprayed on the outside. So I fed the dog some raw food. Fast forward to the next day when he comes in with bright red blood all over his pants! Camphlobactor, if I remember correctly. Nasty. My vet warned me all my dogs may be sick soon.
Gave this some of my magic stuff, and within 24 hours he was fine. Dogs that eat only junk have trouble with diet changes, but a little intestinal support helps. This is particularly significant for puppies going off mom's milk for the first time.
Oh, and all my dogs were fine.
That said, now we can feed raw food, right? Just slowly at first as the body adjusts.
Never, never, never cooked bones. Never. Cooked chicken can kill your dog. There's always the old saying: When did you see the wolves by a campfire cooking their dinner?
One trick I have is to get the leavings from the veggie/juice bar at my local co-op. Now, you have to fight for it in the spring as people want that for compost, but that is free organic produce.
There are lists where people get raw food at astonishing prices. Chicken
backs around here go for about a 25 cents/lb. That's wholesale and it's hormone
free chicken. Get on a BARF list and find out where people get food in your
Someone once asked me how to clean their dogs teeth. It seems to be quite expensive at the vet! I wouldn't know. I told them bones. Check the link to Country Butcher if you want cooked, but give the dog something to gnaw on and his teeth will improve tremendously.
Some believe that chlorinated water is bad for dogs teeth as well. I have a well, so can't tell you. See the links for natural information. That's attached to the Samoyed Breed Specific site.
So let's move on to the kibble based diets....
I'm not here saying what is right or wrong. But if you think they cut up nice fresh meat for kibble, check some links such as naturalrearing.com.
The history of dog food is scary. Did you know it started by sweeping up the blood soaked sawdust when they butchered cattle? That nice fresh lamb you envision in your favorite lamb & rice chow may include dead dogs and cats, plus the meds to put them to sleep, and the vaccines in them, and the tumors they died from, etc. Look it up yourself. You ARE paying for something with the higher priced dog foods.
Whole Dog Journal does some pretty good investigative work on dog food. Some of the brands that seem to consistently come up high on the charts are Solid Gold, Flint River Ranch, Innova, and California Natural. Their ingredients (which granted are COOKED and so without enzymes) sound like real food, not a series of parts and chemicals.
I assume everyone knows beet pulp is sugar. So is corn; at least basically the body breaks those down to sugars. This breed has diabetic issues and please watch for those ingredients.
Of the kibbles, I would recommend Solid Gold for one reason: It's based upon fish. Medhadden herring. I believe that it's about as close as you can get in a kibble to the natural food Samoyeds ate in history. I have not seen a walrus based food. Or whale.
I'll tell you one thing the Samoyed Breed Specific link says: Tuna is very good for Sams.
I never feed Samoyeds anything with soy. There may, or may not, be a connection between thyroid and soy. Why take a chance?
Every Sammie person I know adds some kind of kelp. Don't overdo.
Expanding upon a kibble based food to make it a little more Sammie based is not hard. A bit of tuna, or canned mackerel. Mackerel is less than $1 a can (less than most canned dog foods). The stuff smells horrid, but the dogs love it and I've often recommended it to people whose dogs have dry coats. It's very rich in calcium, so watch pregnant bitches. They are better off with tuna.
This stuff is rich, and I absolutely would NOT feed it as a whole diet. Variety, please!
Watch for sales on salmon for a treat, which usually run a between $1 and $2. One can of salmon works to stretch out for several days if you're feeding kibble.
Another easy and cheap way to supplement a kibble diet is to use scrambled eggs. Throw in the shell. A scrambled egg (or raw if their system is ready) and a teaspoon of tuna makes for one happy Sammie!
Samoyeds have the ability to survive on very little. For adult dogs 2 cups a day with some goodies is great plenty. Puppies need more, and some older, altered dogs just frankly need less. Many show people add green beans for fiber and to make food filling with less calories if they need to take a little weight off. Another thing to add is canned pumpkin (not the sweetened pie filling) or sweet potatoes sometimes for variety. That is NOT diet food, though. Green beans... but exercise is by far the better choice!
I have yet to see a dog go out and gnaw on a corncob. (Very dangerous anyway for intestinal blockages.) So the entire grain discussion doesn't sit well with me. If you want to do it, perhaps a bit of oatmeal or millet.
One trick you will see on dog food labels is to take one ingredient, often corn as it's so cheap, and divide it into parts. Corn meal, or wheat bran or whatever. They do that so that by PERCENTAGE the meal (or meat meal) ingredients seem like a larger portion. If you see 3 corn ingredients (ditto wheat) in the first half dozen ingredients on a label, that's the main ingredient. Slick, huh?
These are options and things to consider. Take what you like and leave the rest. But here's the summary:
Raw feeding is not as expensive as you might think.
Wash your hands a lot.
Variety is a good thing.
Yogurt is a good thing.
Sammies ate fish and like it.
Give your dogs something to gnaw upon.