If you notice that your husky is gaining too much weight or even getting fat, it’s normal to have questions and be concerned for their health. This article will cover the reasons why your husky is gaining weight, what’s a normal weight for a husky, and what you can do to help.
Why is my husky gaining weight
Your husky may be gaining weight due to a number of reasons including eating too much throughout the day, eating too many carbohydrates, a lack of exercise, water retention or bloating, or due to a health problem.
6 Reasons your husky is gaining weight:
1. Eating too much throughout the day | Watch the calories!
This is often overlooked but it explains most weight gain issues in huskies (and in fact, all dogs).
If your husky is gobbling down everything given to him throughout the day on top of his usual meal in the morning and evening, his calories could be much higher than what’s needed.
The average amount of calories that a husky should consume per day is effected by many things including age, sex, exercise levels, and current health. A male husky at 2 years old exercising 2 hours per day with no health issues average 1300-1600 calories per day for maintenance.
How calories work is easy to understand. If your husky consumes more calories per day than the number of calories he burns on that same day, he will gain weight. It happens slowly over a period of time, but that’s the basic principle. That’s how it works for us too!
Everything your husky eats will have calories in it. It’s important to check the calorie content of what you give him. Zukes Naturals are one of the most common dog treats on the market and they are as low as 3 calories per treat which is excellent! But if you’re giving your husky “jerky” dog treats or pig ears, calories could be upwards of 150 per treat. Not so excellent.
Dog treats are one thing, human food is a whole different ball game!
As an example, here’s a list of calories in human foods that are often used as dog treats:
- Peanut butter (1 tablespoon) – 96 calories!
- Boiled chicken (50 grams or a handful) – 80-100 calories
- 1 Pork sausage – 150 – 300 calories
- 1 Banana – 90 calories
- Ice cream (50 grams) – 100 calories
- 1 Egg – 80 calories
And the list goes on, but as you can see, there are more calories in human food than dog treats. Especially meat items.
A tablespoon of peanut butter and a cheeky pork sausage will probably put your husky over the caloric limit when combined with his dog food.
The main take away from this is to be really careful with what extra “tidbits” your husky eats throughout the day. If you want to continue giving your husky treats for training purposes, at least use a low-calorie option like Zukes Naturals.
2. Carbohydrates are too high
It’s worth checking the dog food that you’re using. All dog foods have different nutritional breakdowns and lean towards either higher protein, fat, or carbs. They all vary with their proportions.
Huskies are a highly active breed and thrive on a diet that contains medium-high protein, medium fat, and low-medium carbs.
Without getting too scientific, carbohydrates contribute to insulin spikes. Insulin spikes not only lead to fat gain but will give your dog an unstable (or increased) appetite. It may be subtle, but more begging will result in your husky receiving more treats (even if you don’t approve, it will happen.)
Now, you’re probably thinking, ok, so “what does all that mean? how do I know what’s in the dog food I use?”
Well, typically speaking, the cheaper the dog food, the higher the carbohydrate content will be. Why? because carbohydrates are far cheaper and easier to process into the dog food, than using high-quality whole ingredients and more meat. Opting for a premium dog food like Orijen or Taste of The Wild, gets you higher protein and fat, with a lower proportion of carbs.
Here’s a good example of high protein and fat, to low carbs:
✔️ Calorie weighted breakdown for Orijen Premium Dry Dog Food Six Fish
- 37% Protein – Considered high
- 23% Carbohydrate – Considered low
- 40% Fat – Considered high
Try googling the dog food you are using along with “carbohydrate content” to find out the ratio. I say google it because the packaging label may not show the percentages like this.
One last point about carbs. According to the National Research Council, zero carbohydrates are needed for a healthy canine diet. That’s right. carbohydrates are quite literally, not needed. Protein and fat can do the job alone. Dog Food Advisor Article Source
3. Inadequate exercise routine
There are TWO parts to this…
Let’s get the obvious out the way first. If your husky doesn’t receive enough exercise in the first place, then, of course, it’s time to start upping it. Huskies should receive a minimum of 2 hours of intensive exercise per day. Remember that huskies are not like other breeds! 2 hours of exercise is the minimum.
As your husky gets older (above 6 or 7 years old) then it’s understandable to lower the volume and start protecting those joints. (again, another reason weight gain can set in) But until then, exercise should be a key part of your husky’s day.
But like I said at the start. There’s a twist! Over time, your husky will adapt to the exercise routine you practice on a daily basis. So a routine that used to be “high intensity” may not be as intensive 3 or 4 months from now. Your husky will adapt and become fitter, essentially making the exercise easier and less effective.
To counteract this, try switching up your routines and avoid doing the same thing every time you go out. Luckily, I have a great article that gives you 10 high-intensity exercise ideas you can try with your husky. You can check it out here.
4. Water Retention or Bloating
Water retention or bloating can often make your husky appear to look bigger without adding much weight on to the scales.
Bloating or potbelly is often caused by Cushing’s disease. This disease increases the amount of cortisol produced in your husky’s body. Cortisol is a very important chemical that has multiple important functions. But too little or too much of it can cause issues.
Cushing’s disease causes dogs to lose muscle mass but at the same time display a potbelly. So while the dog may appear to increase in visual size, the scale will remain similar to before or even sometimes less.
Signs that this may be the case include hair loss, patchy skin, excessive urination, and poor wound healing.
If you think this may be the case with your husky, it’s critical you see a veterinarian as soon as possible. Cushing’s disease is very serious and needs to be addressed immediately.
One of the health issues that huskies are most prone to, is called Hypothyroidism.
Hypothyroidism is when the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough of the thyroid hormone.
How does it lead to weight gain? Well, imagine that your husky’s metabolism is an engine, the thyroid hormone will be the gas… When your husky doesn’t have enough of the thyroid hormone, the metabolism will slow down.
The metabolism is important for many different aspects of health, and as soon as it slows down or doesn’t work as well, weight gain will be an instant result.
Even if you were to decrease the calories your husky consumed, weight gain would still happen.
Just some of the symptoms of hypothyroidism include:
From Small Door Vet
- Weight loss despite no change or even an increase in appetite
- Excessive water consumption
- Increased heart rate
- Heart murmur
- Congestive heart failure
- An increased amount of stool
If you suspect this could be the case with your husky, give your veterinarian a call and schedule an appointment as soon as possible.
6. Age-related weight gain
As your husky reaches his older years, many processes in the body will naturally change.
The first one to point out, as I just spoke about it, is the metabolism. Just like with us, the metabolism naturally slows down with age. This will without a doubt lead to weight gain and is hard to counteract, especially when it’s due to age.
Your husky probably can’t exercise the same way he once could. During old age, no human or canine is a spring chicken like in their earlier years. We have to protect the joints of our furry friends, so what comes with a more sedentary lifestyle will unfortunately be some level of weight gain.
Weight gain from old age is hard to combat but not impossible. Specific diets and daily routines can be discussed with your veterinarian and will vary drastically for each husky out there (so it’s hard for me to give accurate advice here). If your husky is in his older years, schedule an appointment with your vet and hopefully, you can start making some progress.
How Much Should a Husky Weigh
We are often quite good at just looking and determining whether our canine companions are a bit overweight. But it helps to know some real numbers.
Before you realize your husky doesn’t match the numbers below and start to panic, remember that they’re just “averages”. Some huskies are thicker, some have more muscle, and some may be naturally smaller. So try to keep those things in mind.
The charts below were taken from one of my other articles.
The first chart is for females, the second chart is for males.
For example, if you have a female adult husky weighing 75lbs, it’s a good indication she may be overweight. But a female husky at 60lbs could just be a big (but still healthy) adult female husky.
|Age||Weight (lbs)||Height (Inches)|
||10-25 lbs||10-12 Inches|
||25 – 38 lbs||12-14 Inches|
|6-8 Months||38 – 46 lbs||14-16 Inches|
|8-10 Months||46 – 50 lbs||16-18 Inches|
||50 – 55 lbs||18-20 Inches|
|+ 1 Year||+ 55 lbs||20-22 Inches|
|Age||Weight (lbs)||Height (Inches)|
||10-25 lbs||10-12 Inches|
||25 – 40 lbs||12-15 Inches|
|6-8 Months||40 – 50 lbs||15-19 Inches|
|8-10 Months||50 – 55 lbs||19-22 Inches|
||55 – 60 lbs||22-24 Inches|
|+ 1 Year||+ 60 lbs||24 Inches|
When to see your veterinarian
If you are ever unsure whether your husky is overweight or has too much fat, then it’s best to make an appointment with your vet.
Nothing beats having a professional veterinarian run some checks and give their verdict. Weight management is extremely important for all dogs, so this is an area that veterinarians understand well.
Most vets I have spoken to know exactly how to distinguish a truly overweight dog from one that’s on the heavier side, but still healthy.
Just remember, if you ever need further assistance, your vet is there to help.
So there you have it! You now know why your husky may be overweight and you have some remedies ready to try.
If you have experience with an overweight husky (or any dog) and want to share how it happened and what you did to solve it, that would be greatly appreciated!
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DisclaimerThe advice given in this article is for educational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice in any context. Before making any decisions that may affect the health and/or safety of your dog, you should always consult a trained veterinarian in your local area. For the FULL disclaimer Visit Here
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