Huskies are energetic and active, which contributes to their longer-than-average lifespans. Most medium to large breeds live for 10-12 years, while the life expectancy for huskies is 12-15 years old.
Some factors that affect your husky’s lifespan, including genetics, are beyond your control. However, you can control other factors, including diet, exercise, and routine veterinary care.
- Husky Life Expectancy
- Husky Life Stages
- What Factors Affect It?
- Problems Older Huskies Can Face
Husky Life Expectancy
The average life expectancy for huskies is 12 to 15 years. Just like humans, females tend to live slightly longer than males.
It’s not uncommon for huskies to reach 16 years old. The oldest living husky at the time of writing this article is Tori, who is 18. Her owners have applied to the Guinness Book of World Records.
Husky Life Stages
Huskies, like all dogs, go through 5 stages of development. These closely mirror human life stages, although huskies move through the stages much more smoother.
The husky life stages include:
- Puppy Stage 0-6 months old
- Adolescent Stage 6-2 years
- Adult Stage: 2-7 years
- Senior Stage: 8-10 years
- Geriatric Stage 11 years and up
The puppy stage begins at birth and lasts until your pooch reaches 6 months old. This is the stage with the highest rate of growth and development, and you’ll find that your husky sleeps for the majority of this time.
At 6 months to 2 years, your husky is in the adolescent stage. This is the equivalent of the teen and young adult stages in humans. They will reach their adult size between 12-18 months old. Puberty and sexual maturity also occur during this stage.
From 2 to 7 years, your husky is considered an adult. They’ve outgrown their puppy and adolescent behavior, and their personality is fully developed.
When your husky reaches 8 to 9 years old, they can be considered seniors. They should still have plenty of active years left, however.
During this stage, your husky may slow down a bit. Their risk for health problems also increases.
Geriatric huskies are 11 years old or older. This is the stage when ageing really begins to take a toll. The risk of health problems continues to increase with age, and energy levels and cognition will usually decline at some point during the geriatric stage.
What Factors Affect It?
There are several factors that affect your husky’s lifespan. The good news is that most of these factors are under your control. This means that you can have a positive effect on your pooch’s longevity.
The factors that affect lifespan include:
- Mental and Emotional Health
- Veterinary Care
- Safety and supervision
Genetics are the most influential factor when it comes to life expectancy, and it’s the one that is outside of your control. However, this doesn’t mean you are completely powerless.
Genetics include the dog’s breed, as well as their individual genetic makeup passed on from their parents.
Choosing a husky from a reputable breeder that performs genetic testing before choosing breeding pairs can help you avoid some health issues common in huskies.
You can also familiarize yourself with health issues that huskies are prone to, and keep an eye out for symptoms of these disorders.
You can also get genetic testing for your husky. This will reveal any diseases they are genetically predisposed to, which allows you to take steps to prevent these issues.
Diet is a controversial subject among husky owners. Some swear by a raw or homemade diet, and others believe that commercial kibble is the best option.
Regardless of the type of diet you choose for your pooch, there are some guidelines to follow.
Huskies have different nutritional needs and a different metabolism than other breeds. They have a specific gene that allows them to eat high amounts of fat, without the health issues such a diet often brings.
They share this gene with polar bears, who survive the arctic winters by eating a very high-fat diet of seal and whale blubber.
Huskies also need a diet higher in protein. Their diet should include 30% to 40% protein and a fat content of 18% to 20%.
It’s also important to be sure they’re getting a balanced diet with plenty of vitamins and minerals.
If you choose a commercial dog food, the percentage of fat and protein will be listed on the label. If you choose a raw or homemade diet, it’s best to work with your vet to ensure their nutritional needs are met.
You can also feed them commercial food while providing treats like chicken feet, or nutritional supplements to fill in any gaps.
Huskies require about 2 hours of exercise each day. They are a working breed and are capable of travelling up to 100 miles in a single day.
Break your husky’s exercise up into 2 to 3 exercise sessions. Be sure to include high-intensity exercise, like running.
It’s also important to give them mental stimulation. This can include teaching them commands, games like hide and seek, and puzzle toys.
Just like humans, a lack of exercise is linked to health issues and a shorter lifespan.
Exercise helps keep your pooch’s heart healthy. It also helps their joints and muscles stay strong.
Exercise is good for your husky’s mental health too. Exercise releases endorphins, which help your husky feel calm and happy.
4. Mental And Emotional Health
Your husky’s mental and emotional health has a significant impact on their lifespan.
A study conducted by Pennsylvania State University revealed that fear and anxiety were closely linked to a shorter lifespan in dogs. Research has also revealed that stress can contribute to or worsen a range of heat conditions, including gastrointestinal disorders, skin conditions, heart problems, and respiratory disorders.
Providing mental stimulation, along with physical exercise, is key to a happy and healthy husky. Lack of mental stimulation leads to boredom, which can cause behavioral issues and depression.
They also need plenty of quality time with their owners. They are highly pack oriented, which means they develop very close relationships with their family, or pack.
Because of this, they are more likely than average to experience separation anxiety.
If your husky is experiencing behavioral or emotional problems, including destructiveness or anxiety, don’t hesitate to contact a professional. Your vet is a great first step. You can also consider working with an animal behavioralist.
There are a few ways to help keep your husky calm at home as well. Calming pheromones have been shown to help calm anxious dogs.
You can also try calming essential oils, thundershirts, or even music designed to help dogs relax.
5. Safety And Supervision
Another aspect of caring for your husky which can lengthen their life is proper safety and supervision. Accidental deaths are an unfortunately common occurrence for dogs.
This includes poisonings, drownings, car accidents, and obstruction due to eating non-food items.
In most instances, these accidents could have been prevented. Huskies love to run, and will often take off after an animal, or even a car, without a second thought.
Unless your husky is in an area that you know is safe, they should be confined or restrained. Don’t leave them unsupervised in potentially dangerous situations.
6. Veterinary Care
Veterinary care is an obvious way to maximize your husky’s lifespan. Vets play a few roles in keeping your husky alive and well.
The first is preventative care. Vaccinations and parasite prevention can help your husky avoid life-threatening diseases or parasites.
Preventative care also includes health screenings, which can catch serious illnesses or disease early, when they are more easily treated.
Your vet can also ensure that your husky is on track with their weight and development. They will discuss the milestones your husky is reaching, and what you can expect. They will help you work through any health or behavioral issues you are experiencing as well.
Lastly, your vet can treat any disease or injury that your pooch encounters. This includes chronic issues like diabetes or allergies, and life threatening conditions like bloat.
Problems Older Huskies Can Face
Huskies are considered a healthy breed. However, they can develop health issues, like any pooch. They are more likely to develop certain health conditions as they age.
These conditions include:
- Eye Conditions
- liver disease
- Dental Disease
- Skin conditions
Cancer is the leading cause of death for senior and geriatric dogs, including huskies. Huskies are at a particularly high risk of several types of tumors, according to Winter Park Veterinary Hospital.
Lymphoma is the most common type of dog cancer, accounting for 24% of new cancer diagnoses each year. Melanoma is also common.
The good news is that at least half of all canine cancers can be treated with tumor removal. Others can be treated with chemotherapy. Just like humans, early detection is essential for cancer survival for huskies.
Your husky should visit the vet regularly, particularly once they reach their senior years. The vet will screen them for common cancers and other health issues.
Eye disorders that can affect senior huskies include glaucoma and cataracts. Huskies are prone to juvenile cataracts, which also increases their risk of cataracts as they age.
Cataracts cause a film to form over the eye. Glaucoma causes increased eye pressure, and is the leading cause of blindness in senior dogs.
Huskies are prone to hypothyroidism. The thyroid gland is responsible for growth and metabolism. Hypothyroidism means that the thyroid is underactive, which slows metabolism.
This can cause lethargy, poor coat, weight gain, intolerance to cold, and a higher incidence of skin and ear infections.
Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is a common problem for ageing huskies. The condition can be caused by an underlying disease, which is known as secondary hypertension. When it occurs without an underlying cause, it’s known as primary hypertension.
Hypertension can have serious effects, including eye problems, depression, seizures, abnormal bleeding, and abnormal heart rhythms.
Liver Or Kidney Disease
Liver and kidney diseases are very common in geriatric dogs, including huskies. Liver disease can be caused by another disease or poisoning. However, both liver and kidney disease are also associated with the normal ageing process.
Signs of liver or kidney disease include changes in urination, gastrointestinal upset, and lethargy.
Arthritis is common in senior huskies and most other old dogs, just as it is in humans. Huskies with arthritis have pain in their joints, particularly when they are moving. If your husky whines when moving, or has stiff movements or limps, they may have arthritis.
Arthritis can’t be cured, but it can be treated with medication and proper exercise. Supplements designed to support your husky’s joint health may also help relieve the symptoms of arthritis.
80% of dogs who are 3 years or older have some form of dental disease.
Dogs who are seniors are prone to severe dental disease, which can lead to tooth loss, gum disease, and systematic health issues.
Huskies are prone to a few skin conditions. These include allergies, zinc deficiency, and alopecia.
Symptoms of skin conditions include hair loss, itching, frequent licking, and skin lesions. Some other conditions, like hypothyroidism, can also cause problems with your husky’s skin or coat.
Can Huskies Live For 20 Years?
There’s no record of a husky living to 20 years old. There are a few huskies who make it to their 18th birthday.
What Is Considered Old For A Husky?
A husky is generally considered “old” when they reach the senior stage at 8 years old or the geriatric age at 11 years old.
How Often Should Huskies See The Vet?
Once a husky reaches 6 months old, they need yearly wellness checkups. When they reach the geriatric stage, they should see the vet every 6 months.