What Is The Best Dog Food for a Samoyed?
The Ultimate Samoyed Food Buyer’s Guide
The Samoyed is part of the large spitz family of dogs. These dogs have long been associated with Arctic areas. They generally have long, thick fur to keep them warm and pointed ears and muzzles. Their brushy tail often curls over their back. Spitz-type dogs often use their tails to curl over their faces when they sleep to keep themselves warm. This is an ancient family of dogs and they have helped humans throughout history by pulling sleds, hunting, and herding. The Samoyed is said to be descended from a type of Eurasian dog called a laika, a generic term for several hunting dogs in northern Russia and Russian Siberia.
The Sammy, as he is familiarly known, gets his name from the Samoyede tribe of people in northwestern Siberia. The Samoyede people were nomadic reindeer hunters. They bred the fluffy spitz dogs (which came in different colors at one time) to help with herding reindeer and other animals; and for pulling sleds or sledges. Dogs of this breed were brought out of Siberia in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. They were desirable dogs when it came to pulling sleds on Arctic and Antarctic expeditions. Dogs on these expeditions endured terrible hardships and few returned. Most Samoyeds in the United States today trace their ancestry back to dogs that were imported following World War I. The Samoyed was accepted into the AKC in 1906.
Today the Sammy has adapted to warmer living conditions and they can be found from Florida to southern California. They are happy sleeping indoors and do not require a cold climate. Sammies love to be with their family and want to be part of your activities. The breed is known to be affectionate, intelligent, alert, and full of action. They love to play and they can be quite mischievous at times. Some people find the Sammy stubborn and hard to train but, if treated with love, patience, and respect, they should not be hard to train. A Samoyed expects to have a close relationship with his family. Without it, he will not be a happy dog. Sammies do need a fenced yard. They have a strong herding instinct and they will leave your yard to go after other animals.
One thing Sammy owners love about their breed is the famous “Sammy smile.” More than any other breed, Sammies do appear to smile. Sammies do have a lot of fur and they require plenty of regular grooming. Expect quite a bit of shedding with this breed.
The Samoyed is the 63rd most popular breed in the U.S. today, according to the AKC.
Quick Look : Top 4 Best Dog Foods for Samoyeds
|*New Formula* ACANA Grasslands Regional Formula Grain Free Dry Dog Food
Read Reviews Where To Buy
Male Samoyeds stand 21 to 23½ inches tall at the withers; females stand 19 to 21 inches. The Samoyed’s weight should be in proportion to his height which, translated, usually means female dogs weigh 35-50 pounds and male dogs weigh 50-65 pounds.
Sammies tend to be active dogs. They usually need 40-60 minutes of exercise per day as adults. However, there is some concern among breeders about exercise for puppies. Sammy puppies grow fast. They do require exercise for their muscles to develop. However, overexertion at a young age puts stress and strain on their joints and bones which can lead to serious problems later in life. So, it’s important to oversee your Sammy puppy when he exercises to make sure he doesn’t over-exert himself. Slipping, sliding, jumping off high perches are all things that you should discourage your Samoyed puppy from doing.
Expect your Sammy puppy to grow from about one pound at birth to about 60 pounds by the time he’s a year old, depending on his size and bone structure.
The Samoyed is able to engage in many activities such as obedience, sledding, herding, pulling (weight) and others. If you and your dog are training for or participating in some of these events, you should take this into account when you figure how many calories your dog needs.
According to the National Research Council of the National Academies, an active adult Samoyed weighing 60 pounds requires an average daily caloric intake of 1504 kcal. Dogs that have been spayed/neutered, or that are older, may need slightly fewer calories. Some dogs may need more calories depending on their level of activity and their individual metabolism. For example, if you train with your Samoyed (weighing 60 pounds) and do herding work, you might need to feed him somewhere around 1671 kcal. Growing puppies consume more calories than adult dogs and so do young adult dogs. A young Samoyed puppy (4-12 months) weighing 40 pounds needs an estimated 1233 kcal per day. You always need to adjust your dog’s food intake based on his activity level, body condition and other factors.
Since Samoyeds are a medium-large breed, it’s not hard to find foods for them. They will usually do well on a good premium kibble. The breed is on the borderline when it comes to feeding a large breed adult food. Some dogs may benefit from having joint supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin added to their food.
Most breeders say that Sammy puppies can eat a regular puppy food but keep the protein and fat percentages, as well as the calories, moderate. Sammy puppies grow fast and you shouldn’t encourage them to grow faster. Keep the diet moderate. You should talk to your breeder about the food they recommend for their puppies since they usually have experience with how their puppies grow and develop.
Feeding Your Samoyed
According to Samoyed breeders, most Sammies are “easy keepers,” although there are a few here and there that can be difficult to put weight on. Contrary to what you sometimes see online about the breed, most Sammies won’t voluntarily skip a meal. In fact, a much bigger problem tends to be fat Samoyeds. Breeders caution that Samoyeds cannot be free fed.
As with any dog, you should feed your Samoyed a good quality dog food. Food that is high in animal protein is usually a good choice.
Whether you feed your dog a food with or without grains is a personal choice. Many people choose grain free dog foods because their dogs have digestive problems, food allergies or sensitivities, or skin problems. You may want to avoid the most common grains, such as corn and wheat which are often over-used in dog foods, but there are many good dog foods that use alternative grains/cereals such as oats and barley. If you still prefer to feed a grain free dog food, that should also work for your Samoyed. Try a couple of foods, with and without grains, and see how your dog does on the foods so you can make your decision.
Adult Samoyeds usually do well eating two meals per day. You can feed Samoyed puppies three meals when they are very young, then move to two meals per day as they get older. By the time they are about a year old they should be eating two meals per day.
Samoyed Health Problems
The Samoyed is an ancient breed and, according to the Samoyed Club of America, has had minimal genetic manipulation by mankind. It is a generally healthy breed. However, like all animals, they can have some health issues.
Samoyeds can be more prone to adverse reactions from sulfa medications. If you have a Sammy, this is something you need to discuss with your veterinarian. You should make sure that your dog’s medical records have this information noted.
Several eye issues are found in Samoyeds such as cataracts and distichiasis (eyelashes interfering with the eye). Persistent pupillary membrane (PPM) can be present in a small percentage of dogs. Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) and retinal dysplasia are also seen in a small percentage of Samoyeds.
The Samoyed Club of America advises that all breeding animals should be evaluated by a veterinary cardiologist before breeding to minimize the risk of passing on congenital cardiac abnormalities in their offspring. Aortic stenosis/sub-aortic stenosis and pulmonic valve stenosis have been seen in a small percentage of Samoyeds.
Hip and elbow dysplasia can occur in some Samoyeds. Bloat is also a possibility in the breed.
VKH or Uveodermatologic Syndrome is an autoimmune disease. Symptoms include red, cloudy eyes, excessive tearing, sensitivity to light (referred to as progressive uveitis) and loss of pigmentation of the eye rims, lips, nose and other black points on the dog. It can lead to other eye problems.
Samoyeds have a higher than normal risk of developing diabetes mellitus. Hypothyroidism also occurs in the breed.
Although these issues can occur in the breed, that does not mean they affect every dog or even most dogs. If you are interested in a Samoyed, talk to the breeder about these health issues. Ask about health testing and results.
You can find out more information about Samoyed health at the Samoyed Health Foundation site.
The Sammy has a lifespan of 12-13 years.
Ingredients to Look for and Some to Avoid
As with most dogs, when choosing a food for your Samoyed you should look for a food that has good sources of protein and fat.
Ideally you will select a dog food that features two or three meat proteins in the first several ingredients listed. Both whole meats and meat meals are good sources of protein. Whole meats refer to foods such as whole chicken, beef, fish, and lamb. Some people don’t like meat meals as much as whole meats but they are a concentrated form of the meat in which the moisture has been removed. They contain several times as much protein as a whole meat. Meat meals are usually quite acceptable as one of the first ingredients in a good quality dog food. They are used by many good dog food brands.
Many dog foods today, even some of the most expensive and highly touted, use lots of plant proteins such as lentils and peas. These foods often have high protein percentages on the label. When you read the guaranteed analysis it’s important to consider how much of the protein in the food comes from meat and how much comes from plants. Your dog is able to digest meat protein more easily than plant protein. Meat protein is a much more natural source of protein for your dog than plant protein.
Dogs also need good sources of fat. You should look for named fat sources such as chicken fat. Other named fats also provide needed nutrients such as fish oil which can provide omega-3 fatty acid to help keep the skin and coat healthy. Puppies can benefit from DHA which is Docosahexaenoic acid. This is a specific form of omega-3 fatty acid that helps with brain and eye development. Older dogs seem to benefit from medium chain triglycerides which feature medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs). These have been found to help older dogs feel and act younger. They are often made from a combination of coconut oil and other oils.
If you want to avoid corn, soy, and wheat in your dog food, your Samoyed may still be able to eat an alternative grain such as barley or oats. Or you can feed a grain free dog food that uses an alternate source of carbs that is low glycemic such as sweet potatoes. You don’t have to feed a dog food with an excessively high percentage of protein but it’s a good idea to keep the carb percentage low to moderate.
If your Samoyed has a food allergy or food sensitivity, you may need to work with your veterinarian to identify the food triggers unless they are very obvious. There are lots of good foods with alternative meat proteins today as well as limited ingredient diets which we will discuss below.
Recommended Dog Food For An Adult Samoyed
Unless your Sammy has a food allergy or sensitivity or some other health problem, he should be able to eat most good quality dog foods. If your dog has a food allergy or food sensitivity you will need to try to avoid foods with ingredients that are triggers for your dog. We have listed some foods we recommend for dogs with food allergies and food sensitivities below.
We have suggested a variety of foods here for Samoyeds. Most of the foods we have selected do not contain corn, wheat, or soy, unless noted. You may have to try a couple of foods to find which one is best for your dog. You should also keep in mind that your dog’s dietary needs can change as he grows and ages so you may have to change foods to suit him.
Best Dog Foods for Samoyed Adults
|*New Formula* ACANA Grasslands Regional Formula Grain Free Dry Dog Food
Read Reviews Where To Buy
The first five ingredients in this food are Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Sweet Potatoes, and Potatoes. This recipe is an all life stage food with 460 kcal per cup ME (metabolizable energy) on an as fed basis (calculated). It has 70 percent meat ingredients, 30 percent vegetables, vitamins, and minerals. It is grain free – no corn, wheat, or soy. No gluten. No ingredients from China. It has 38 percent crude protein and 17 percent crude fat, with 3.5 percent crude fiber. It also has glucosamine and chondroitin added, as well as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Merrick uses local growers from Texas, where the food is made. We think this food has good quality protein and other ingredients for Samoyeds that need good nutrition for an active lifestyle. Not everyone will like a protein percentage this high but if you do, give this food a try.
Champion Pet Foods has completed their new kitchen in Kentucky and they are now reformulating some of their dog and cat foods to reflect what is“regional” to the Kentucky area. So, it’s still the same award-winning company, but Acana will be made in Kentucky. We’ve had a chance to review the Acana dog and cat foods and there are some changes in the meat proteins but the foods still look good. If you visit the Acana web site you can view the old and new formulas to see the changes (we really like being able to compare the formulas). The old Grasslands formula, for example, was heavy on lamb, duck, whitefish, and lentils. The new formula features goat meal and catfish meal, in addition to the lamb and duck. The old formula has 31 percent crude protein, 17 percent crude fat, 5 percent crude fiber, and 10 percent moisture. The new formula has 33 percent crude protein, 17 percent crude fat, 6 percent crude fiber, and 12 percent moisture. The food has 70 percent animal protein ingredients and 30 percent vegetables, fruits, and botanicals. No grains, potatoes, or tapioca. If you’re looking for a good grain free dog food for your Samoyed that is low in carbohydrates, we think that the Acana foods are a good choice. Acana foods typically have slightly less meat protein than Orijen (made by the same company), but we think they’re a good choice for many dogs. We should also note that some Samoyed breeders mentioned they like feeding the all life stage Acana to puppies.
Victor dog food has something of a cult following. It’s made by Mid America Pet Food – a company that co-packs for some other well-known brands. Mid America is a family-owned and operated company located in east Texas. According to the company, more than 80 percent of the ingredients used in their foods come from a 200-mile radius of their facility. They currently have seventeen formulas available. They have foods that are free of corn, wheat, soy, gluten, and grain by-products. They use no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. The Yukon River Salmon formula has 32 percent crude protein, 15 percent crude fat, and 34 percent crude carbs. Seventy-six percent of the protein in the food comes from fish. We think that active Sammies would do well on this food. Or you could check out one of Victor’s other foods. People who feed Victor are devoted to this brand. Considering the ingredients, their foods are very reasonably priced.
If you would like a food with a little less protein, we also like Fromm Adult Gold. This formula has duck, chicken meal, and chicken as the first three ingredients. It has 24 percent crude protein, 16 percent crude fat, and 3.5 percent crude fiber, with 408 kcal/cup. It is AAFCO-approved for growth and maintenance. The food includes salmon oil – a great source of omega-3 fatty acid for healthy skin and coat; probiotics, and prebiotics. No corn, wheat, or soy. The food is also made at the family’s own facilities in Wisconsin. The Fromm family has been making dog food and dog products for over 100 years and they have a great reputation. The food includes brown rice and pearled barley in the first five ingredients. It does contain oatmeal and potatoes so if you are trying to keep the carbs very low you may not like this food. However, we think the ingredients are good quality and many Sammies will do well on this food. You can see the technical analysis for the food, with the dry matter basis figures on the site.
Best Dog Foods for Samoyed Puppies
Samoyed puppies can usually begin eating a puppy food after they are weaned or they can eat a good all life stage food. Some people like to feed a puppy food for a few months and then switch over to an all life stage food when their puppy is a few months old. Honestly, we got all kinds of answers from Sammy people on this question. Some breeders don’t like puppy foods and feed an all life stage formula. Other breeders feed a large breed puppy food. If you have questions about how to feed your puppy, we recommend talking to your puppy’s breeder. They usually have the most experience with raising Samoyed puppies and can guide you about your specific puppy.
Puppy foods should have a calcium to phosphorus ratio of about 1.2 parts calcium to 1 part phosphorus, though there is some slight room for variation such as 1.5:1.2. It’s also important that dog and puppy foods do not have an excess (or deficiency) of calcium since this can affect bone growth. If you are feeding your puppy a food that is properly formulated, you should not add any extra calcium, such as milk, cottage cheese, or other calcium supplements. Doing so can lead to serious health problems such as OCD (osteochondritis dessecans) – painful bone spurs that may require surgery – and other orthopedic problems.
Here are some of the puppy foods we like for Samoyed puppies. Note that an All Life Stage food can also be fed, as long as the nutrients are appropriate for your puppy.
Canidae Grain Free Pure Foundations Puppy Formula is a limited ingredient food with nine ingredients plus vitamins and minerals and probiotics. It’s grain free with probiotics to help digestion; antioxidants for a healthy immune system; and omega 3 and 6 to support healthy skin and a beautiful coat. The first five ingredients are Chicken, menhaden fish meal, lentils, peas, potatoes. The recipe is supposed to be especially good for puppies with sensitive digestion. The food has 30 percent crude protein, 12 percent crude fat, 4 percent crude fiber, and 10 percent moisture. This food checks in at 520 kcal/cup, so it’s high in calories but active, growing Samoyed puppies can usually burn them off. Just remember that you don’t need to feed a lot of food with these very nutrient-dense foods. If your Samoyed puppy does well on this puppy food, Canidae has some good adult foods – both grain free and foods with grains.
This grain free, high protein food can be a good choice for fast-growing Samoyed puppies. No grain, corn, soy, wheat-gluten or artificial preservatives, colors or flavors. No meat by-products or fillers. It has DHA for brain and eye development, antioxidants, and probiotics. And it has the proper calcium level for puppies. The first three ingredients are Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, and Turkey Meal. It has 417 kcal/cup.
Best Dog Foods for the Senior Samoyed
It’s not unusual for many Samoyeds to live into their teen years. This means that you will probably need to consider what kind of food to feed your Samoyed as he gets older. As your dog ages it’s a good idea to plan an annual senior check-up with your vet. Many older dogs begin to put on pounds as they become less active. For this reason, most senior dog foods have fewer calories and they can skimp on protein. You should watch your older dog’s weight as he gets older to make sure he doesn’t become overweight. In some cases you can simply cut back on the portions of his regular dog food to help him stay fit or increase his exercise.
On the other hand, some very old dogs often start to have some problems metabolizing nutrients, including protein. It can become hard for them to keep good muscle tone and weight as they age. For this reason, you may wish to avoid many dog foods labeled “senior.” These foods are often formulated for older dogs that have gained weight. Instead, look for a senior dog food that we like which has lots of protein. As long as your older dog doesn’t have any problems with his kidneys or with phosphorus, there is no reason to avoid higher protein levels.
Orijen Senior provides plenty of excellent quality protein for your older Sammy. This food features deboned chicken, deboned turkey, yellowtail ﬂounder, whole eggs, and whole Atlantic mackerel. It helps keep older dogs in good muscle even as they become less active. Made of 85 percent meats and fish, the food is low-glycemic and has low carbs to help keep your older dog’s blood sugar steady. The food also contains natural sources of glucosamine and chondroitin to keep your Sammy’s joints healthy. The food is 38 percent crude protein and 15 percent crude fat. It checks in at 414 kcal per 8 ounce cup. We think this is a very good food for senior dogs who often need extra protein as they get older. (We know Orijen is expensive but this food really stands out for senior dogs.)
Another food you may want to consider for older dogs is Weruva’s Caloric Harmony Venison and Salmon Meal Dinner with Pumpkin. This food (and several others in this product line) is potato-free with no corn or wheat, easy to digest, and low-glycemic. It contains pumpkin and oatmeal for healthy gut motility. Meat protein comes from grass-fed venison and the food also features salmon meal and herring meal. The dry matter basis for this food is an estimated 37.8 percent protein;14.4 percent fat; 3.9 percent fiber; and 35 percent carbs. The calorie count (calculated) is Metabolizable Energy (ME) 3320 kcal/kg; 348 kcal/cup. Those look like good figures for senior dogs who need more protein without extra fat.
Best Dog Foods for Samoyeds with Skin Problems/Allergies
If your Samoyed has a skin problem or allergy and he needs to avoid common proteins, you can try this food.
Any dog suffering from skin problems or food allergies may benefit from Wild Calling!’s Xotic Essentials recipes. Formulas like their rabbit meal recipe use exotic meats that are rare in today’s pet food market so your dog hasn’t eaten them before – less chance of having an allergic reaction. The foods are also highly digestible. Wild Calling! also uses what they call LITe (limited ingredient technology). They don’t use any of the ingredients commonly found in most dog foods such as chicken, grain, gluten, egg, yeast, corn, wheat or soy. If your Samoyed has a food allergy, he may benefit from Wild Calling! The foods are formulated for rotational feeding and they offer several Xotic Essentials recipes, such as kangaroo and bison, so your dog doesn’t get over-exposed to one kind of meat protein. This is an All Life Stage food. We think that dogs with skin problems and food allergies can definitely benefit from these recipes.
Another food that is often recommended for dogs with food allergies and skin problems is Zignature. It comes in proteins such as trout & salmon, kangaroo, turkey, duck, venison, and others. It’s available in dry and canned versions. Foods are potato- and grain-free, and chicken-free. They do not use common bonding agents (thickeners and ingredients to hold the food together) in their foods which are high in simple carbs and starches. They only use low glycemic carbs such as chickpeas that add extra protein and fiber to the food. They work with Tuffy’s in Minnesota and Performance Pet in South Dakota to make their foods. Many people like Zignature very much. If you have a dog with food allergies, this is a brand that you might consider.
Best Dog Foods for Samoyeds with Sensitive Stomachs
If your dog has a sensitive stomach it can be an indication of a food sensitivity, which is different from a food allergy. A dog with a food sensitivity will have gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting or diarrhea. Or it could be something more serious.
A dog with a sensitive stomach can often be helped by feeding the right dog food. Sticking to a limited ingredient diet food with as few ingredients as possible can reduce the chance of your dog having a bad reaction to something in the food.
We recommend Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Sweet Potato & Fish Formula Small Breed Bites Dry Dog Food. This food is grain free with limited ingredients. It has good quality, alternative ingredients that are easily digestible for a dog with a sensitive stomach. And it contains no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. The first five ingredients are: Sweet Potatoes, Salmon, Salmon Meal, Canola Oil, and Potato Fiber. It has 21 percent crude protein, 10 percent crude fat, 4.5 percent crude fiber, and 10 percent moisture. It has 380 kcal/cup and it’s an all life stage formula. If your dog can’t eat some of the ingredients in this food, Natural Balance has lots of other LID recipes that you might check.
Best Dog Foods for Overweight Samoyeds
If your Samoyed becomes overweight, it may be due to overfeeding and not enough exercise. You can help your dog lose weight by cutting back on his portions and encouraging him to get more exercise. Samoyeds are very active and playful dogs as puppies and young adults but owners and breeders warn that they can become overweight if you free feed them or overfeed.
If your Samoyeds needs to lose more than one or two pounds, however, you may need to consider a weight control dog food.
We do not recommend a weight control dog food for a puppy or a very old dog. These foods generally have fewer calories and may have some other differences in nutrients that make them inappropriate for growing puppies or older dogs who need special nutrition.
If you have a Samoyed that needs to lose weight we recommend Merrick Grain Free Healthy Weight Recipe. We like the fact that this food has 32 percent crude protein. The crude fat percentage is between 8 and 11 percent with 5 percent crude fiber so your dog should not feel like he’s starving. It is AAFCO-approved for a maintenance diet. The food has 3,210 kcal per kilogram or 360 kcal per cup ME (metabolizable energy) on an as fed basis (calculated). It is grain free and made from 55 percent beef and poultry. And it contains no corn, wheat, or soy and no ingredients from China. The first five ingredients in this food are: Deboned Beef, Chicken Meal, Potatoes, Peas, and Sweet Potatoes.
If your dog needs to lose weight, you should proceed slowly. No crash dieting. You should aim for your dog to lose no more than 3 to 5 percent of his body weight per month or about one percent each week.
Playful, intelligent, and friendly, the Samoyed can make a wonderful family dog today. They enjoy children — and may try to herd them! Sammies do need training and something to do or they can become destructive in the home. They make good watch dogs and will bark to give an alert but they are not guard dogs. They are far too friendly. We hope this look at their food requirements is helpful. Talk to Samoyed breeders and meet members of this ancient breed in person.