Is this pup cute, or what?! Seriously, have you ever seen a more adorable face? I don’t think so. This is my guy, Fairbanks. Actually, this is his “before” picture. See below for his “after” picture (after adding over 100 pounds). First cute, then handsome — what a guy.
Fairbanks is an Alaskan Malamute, a breed evolved as freighting dogs among the native Alaskan Eskimos, the Mahlemut tribe (hence the name). Because of the harsh winter conditions, these people depended on the dogs for their very survival. As hunting partners, they were able to help take down large game, often located far from home, and then haul it back over the frozen tundra. They had to be strong, powerful and able to withstand long days of hard work in frigid temperatures with little fuel. These dogs aren’t built for speed, they’re built for stamina and endurance. Their efficient metabolisms require far less food than you’d expect from an animal this big.
Descendant from the northern wolf, Malamutes are rugged dogs who thrive on hard work. In 1984 at the Winter Ski and Sports Show in Portland, Oregon, a big Malamute named Mack pulled record weights of 3570 pounds on snow and 6900 pounds on wheels. You can understand how the native Eskimos needed these dogs to survive. Hauling a caribou back home over harsh terrain for days on end couldn’t be done without them. Having said that, Fairbanks prefers hanging out, doing his dog thing, going for his daily walk, and enjoying a rather cushy life compared to his ancestors. He does sleep outside though and had no problem with our recent record cold nights (19 below zero). It’s where he wants to be, but he does have a well-built dog house with a nice fleecy bed inside. Aaah, and he deserves it.
One more thing and I’ll get on with the food part to this post (yes, there is a food connection). My dad was an Arctic Survival Specialist for the Air Force and spent time during WWII in Alaska and Canada teaching potentially “downed” pilots survival skills. He traveled by dog team and his favorite buddy and lead dog was named Fairbanks. I named my guy after my dad’s dog. See Fairbanks #1 and Fairbanks #2. (This brings tears to my eyes. I’m such a sap.)
Okay on to the food part. My last post with the companion dog doing his job (sleeping while officially off-duty) inspired me to do this one. I’m always ranting about people food (what to eat, what not to eat, what to eat in moderation — blah, blah, blah). I decided I needed to do a “what NOT to feed your dog” post. Some of these foods might surprise you. I tried to get Fairbanks to eat a grape one time and he gummed it up and spit it out, hilariously so. I had no idea grapes were toxic to dogs. Yikes! Thank goodness he did. He’s not only handsome, he’s smart.
The following information came directly from my vet. Some of these foods are so toxic to dogs, they not only endanger their health, they may cause death.
Harmful foods (don’t feed these to your dog and store them where the dog can’t get to them)
• chocolate (all forms)
• coffee (all forms), tea, energy drinks
• onions and onion powder
• garlic and garlic powder
• macadamia nuts
• all alcoholic beverages
• moldy/spoiled foods
• gum, candies, and other foods sweetened with xylitol
• tea leaves
• raw yeast dough
Good treats for dogs are baked potatoes and green beans (see, I told you Fairbanks had a cushy life). He also has a taste for wild-caught salmon.
Go forth and scratch some tummies!
P.S. Check out Liz and Henry for another food and dog blogger.