Does a Norwegian Elkhound need special dog food?

For those of you who have heard of a Norwegian Elkhound or have the privilege of owning one, you might already know that these dogs were once roamed around with the ancient Vikings. Yes, you read that right! Norwegian Elkhounds were the trusted companions of the seafaring Vikings, guarding their camps, hunting down game and sometimes even fending off bears and wolves. Now, isn’t that an interesting piece of trivia?

Despite their past as rugged, outdoor dogs, Norwegian Elkhounds are now far more commonly found as beloved family pets. Known for their intelligence, loyalty, and gentle temperament, these dogs are like the hardy warriors of the dog world, able to adapt to different conditions admirably.

However, this breed’s robust, active nature has led to a question that many Norwegian Elkhound owners often wonder about: Can these dogs eat just any ordinary dog food, or do they need special nutrition?

The simple answer is, not all dog foods will provide your Norwegian Elkhound with the nutrition that their unique breed demands. Think about it – a dog bred for hunting needs a different dietary provision than a dog bred solely for companionship. Let’s dig in a little deeper.

Every living creature needs a balanced diet for optimal health, and your Norwegian Elkhound is no exception. A balanced diet chiefly means providing the right amounts of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins, and water. However, when it comes to dogs, their requirements might flourish better with dog breed-specific diets.

Norwegian Elkhounds fall under the category of medium-sized dogs. With a full-grown male weighing anywhere between 50-60 pounds and a female weighing between 40-55 pounds, maintaining a healthy weight is of crucial importance for their wellness and longevity. But remember the Viking warrior reference? Their ancestors were not couch potatoes but hunters and protectors, thriving on physical activities. This directly influences their dietary needs.

The Norwegian Elkhound’s calorie consumption should be monitored carefully. An active adult Elkhound needs approximately 1500 calories per day. However, older, more sedentary Elkhounds might require fewer calories, averaging 1000-1300. Now, calories not only mean quantity but quality too. Not all calories are created equal, and so the source matters.

Protein should make up the majority of a Norwegian Elkhound’s diet. Your pup needs ample protein to develop healthy muscles and to sustain their high energy levels. Look for food containing high-quality, whole meat sources. Chicken, beef, fish, bison – anything works, as long as it’s not just the by-product.

Like any other terrestrial animal breed, the Norwegian Elkhounds generally thrive with healthy fats in their diet. Fats provide extra energy and help to keep their striking double coat looking sleek and glossy. Look for named fat sources like chicken fat or flaxseed and avoid foods with unidentified “animal fat”.

Although dogs are omnivorous, they lean towards the carnivorous side of the spectrum. So, grains and fillers should be minimal in their food preparation. Certain grains could cause allergies or upset their digestive system. Look for foods with digestible carbohydrates like sweet potatoes and brown rice, and avoid corn, soy and wheat gluten.

Feed your Elkhounds food rich in Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids for a healthy heart. Also, look for chondroitin and glucosamine in the lesser known magical ingredients. Known for their active nature, this breed could face hip dysplasia in their later years, and these ingredients support joint health.

Now, you might think, why not buy high-protein, low-grain food and be done with it? Well, one of the surprising things about the Norwegian Elkhounds is that they can put on weight easily, and obesity can lead to numerous health issues. Not all high-protein low-grain foods are low fat. It’s vital to manage the quantity of daily food intake and balance this with adequate exercise.

The next obvious question is about the puppies? Puppies have different requirements than their adult counterparts. Their rapidly growing bodies need more fat and protein. Look for large-breed puppy formulas to make sure your Elkhound pup is getting the right nutrient balance.

Now, if you assume that this all could be done by just feeding your Elkhound a Viking-like diet of meat and fish straight from the local market – well, it’s a no. A lot has changed from the time of Vikings, including the dogs’ dietary habits. Commercially produced dog foods now include breed and age-specific formulations that ensure a balanced nutritional diet for dogs.

In conclusion, a Norwegian Elkhound doesn’t need ‘special food’, but it does need balanced nutrition that takes into consideration its size, breed characteristics, age, and activity level. Norwegian Elkhounds are a delight to have and with proper care, they can lead healthy, happy lives. It’s a little work to get to know their nutritional needs, but surely our furry family members deserve our best effort, just like they give their best to us!

Remember, each dog is unique, even within the same breed. Always work with a trusted vet for your dog’s dietary and healthcare needs. Caring about your dog’s health and understanding their needs marks the journey from being a good pet parent to becoming an excellent one. So, bring your understanding to their feeding bowls, and watch them thrive, bringing joy and happiness to your life, just like the old Viking times.