Is My Husky Too Skinny? (5 Easy Tips For Weight Gain)

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This article has been fact-checked by Dr. Dilber Hussain, DVM, to ensure we're providing the most up-to-date guidance. READ MORE

If you’re worried about your husky being too skinny or underweight then this is the guide for you.

Huskies can become too skinny for several reasons; they might be exercising too much relative to how much food they are eating, or they might be skipping meals that they would prefer not to eat (we all know how fussy huskies can be).

In this guide I’ll explore all of the reasons why your husky might be losing weight, how to check if they are in fact too skinny and some tips for helping them bulk up healthily. We’ll also cover when weight loss can be a problem, so let’s get straight into it.

How To Tell If Your Husky Is Too Skinny

There are two common and easy ways to tell if your husky is underweight, as relying on our judgement alone is not a good indication of weight.

Use Scales

Using scales is the most straightforward method for telling if your husky is too skinny. The tables below show the healthy weights for both male and female huskies by age, according to AKC breed standards.

A table that describes how the size of a male Husky varies with age, showing when a Husky stops growing
Male Husky Growth Chart (by AKC standards)
Female husky weight chart
Female Husky Growth Chart (by AKC standards)

Weigh your husky and compare the weight to those in the tables; if the weight is below the recommended range then your husky is underweight by the AKC standards. A couple of pounds difference is not much, but if your husky is well below the range then you should consult with a veterinarian.

By Hand

The other way to check if your husky is underweight is to use your hands to check your huskie’s ribs and spine.

If you can feel individual ribs without much fat between the skin and ribs, or if you can feel the spine protruding with very little flesh on top of individual vertebrae (source) then your husky is underweight.

Body Condition Scoring System

Your husky may be genetically predisposed to storing fat differently in locations around their body, which is why vets use a Body Condition Scoring system to check different areas of their body to see if they are a healthy weight and size.

Checking the spine and ribs at home is similar to this, but a veterinarian will do a much more thorough check and this is what we recommend if you are concerned for your husky’s health.

Is It A Bad Thing?

If your husky is slightly underweight (10% or so below AKC healthy weight range) then this is usually not a big problem. Some huskies are genetically smaller than others, and some simply prefer to eat less food as well.

If your husky is very underweight then it can impact its health. Underweight dogs are at risk of reduced mobility, weakened immune systems and loss of muscle strength amongst other things.

Our advice is to always speak to a veterinarian if you are concerned about your husky’s weight. If there is a sudden drop in weight then this is very likely due to a health problem, and again you should speak to your veterinarian.

4 Common Reasons Why Your Husky Is Underweight

These are the 4 most common reasons why your husky is underweight.

1. Fussy Eater

Huskies are notorious for refusing to eat certain foods and oftentimes skipping meals entirely.

This obviously plays a big role in how much weight they are maintaining, and if they like to skip meals frequently this can cause a loss of weight.

2. Small Portions

Another common cause of underweight huskies is feeding them portions that are too small.

You should always look at the recommended amount on the label of the food and use it as a guideline, increasing the necessary according to exercise and the overall energy level of your husky. The same goes for a raw diet; monitor your husky’s weight and increase portion size if they are losing weight.

3. Lots Of Exercise

A responsible husky owner should exercise their husky at least 2 hours per day, but you may not be feeding your husky enough food to keep up with their exercise requirements.

If you are going to do some vigours exercise with your husky such as running or hiking you should always increase their portion size on these days to give them more energy. Otherwise, they will lose weight due to the amount of energy that they have burnt off.

Similarly, you need to lower their food intake on days when they aren’t exercising as much, although this should be much less often.

4. Illness

A sudden loss of weight can be associated with several health issues.

If you notice any sudden changes in weight get in touch with your veterinarian.

How To Help Your Husky Gain Weight: 5 Easy Ways

Here are 5 easy ways to get your husky to put on some weight, even if they are particularly fussy about what they eat…

1. Calorie Dense Food

Switching to a more calorie-dense kibble is a great way to increase the calorie intake of your husky.

There are lots of options on the market, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to find one that your husky likes! You can also add extras to their meals such as peanut butter or eggs that are high in calories and full of nutrition.

2. Find Snacks That They Like

Feeding snacks is a great way to introduce extra calories, especially for fussy huskies who are more likely to accept food if it is ‘special’.

Good options here include peanut butter, dog treats, apples and many more.

3. Stock A Variety Of Food

Sometimes the secret to getting your husky to eat more food is variety.

We all know how fussy huskies can be, so having two or three different options for food is a great way to get them to eat more. This can get expensive though, so this is best if you have other dogs who (hopefully) aren’t as fussy.

4. Free Feeding

Free feeding is a method that a lot of dog owners have had success with, and it’s very simple.

To free feed, all you need to do is leave food out all day in a bowl. There are a few caveats:

  • Not suited for warm environments – If there are lots of flies getting to the food it will be unsafe to eat.
  • Kibble is better than wet foods or raw diet food – Kibble will be safe to eat if it is left out during the day, assuming there aren’t lots of flies around. Wet food or raw food is obviously not suited to be left out all day.

5. Moisten The Kibble

Some fussy huskies prefer their dry food to be soft, so you should try adding a small amount of water to their food and see if they prefer it.

Sometimes a small change like this is all you need to get them to enjoy their food again.


Is It Better For A Husky To Be Overweight Or Underweight?

It is not better for a husky to be underweight or overweight, as there are health problems associated with both conditions.

The same can be said for severe cases, and you should consult a veterinarian as rapid weight gain or loss is likely due to an underlying health problem.

Husky Looks Skinny After Blowing Coat?

It’s normal for your husky to look skinny after blowing coat, especially if they go outside and get wet from the rain.

When your husky blows its coat they are losing a lot of fur, which can make them appear much skinnier than usual. If you are concerned about their weight during this time simply weigh them every day; it’s highly likely that they are not losing weight and simply appear skinnier due to a loss of fur.

Is It Normal To Feel A Huskies Spine?

The spine test is a good indication of whether your husky is underweight.

To recap, if you can feel individual vertebrae on your huskies spine without much flesh underneath the skin then it’s very likely that your husky is underweight.

Cant I Just Exercise My Husky Less?

Huskies are a breed that requires a lot of exercise, so reducing this is not a good solution at all.

If you don’t provide enough exercise your husky may become bored and irritable, potentially developing destructive behaviors. The best option is to simply increase the amount of food that they eat.

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About The Author

Caitlin is the owner and lead writer for The Malamute Mom. She has over 10 years of experience with Alaskan Malamutes and Huskies. She is currently working on getting her PhD in materials science but continues to write for The Malamute Mom in her spare time.

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4 thoughts on “Is My Husky Too Skinny? (5 Easy Tips For Weight Gain)”

  1. I want to know why my husky won’t eat if we are in the same room. Sometimes she doesn’t want us to look at her.

    • Hi Candy,

      Thank you for the comment.

      This might be a case of accidental negative reinforcement; for example, if somebody scolded her for eating something she isn’t supposed to, she might associate this with eating her normal food as well. It could also be due to past trauma if she’s a rescue.

      I’d recommend offering her some of her favorite treats and praising her when she eats them. Take this to her bowl, and offer her the treats in the bowl – again, praising her if she eats them.

      This may take a while, but once she is comfortable eating the treats in the bowl, she will hopefully be confident with her food. If you feed dry kibble, you could replace the treats with those and continue the training in this way.

      Another tip that is helpful is to put her food down for an allotted amount (10 minutes, for example) of time and then remove it. A healthy dog won’t starve themselves, and eventually, she will have to eat. This is a good way to tell if something else is wrong, i.e. a health related problem.

      Also, never praise her when you put the food down, and only give her praise if she starts eating.

      I hope these tips help!

  2. My husky only likes to eat in the evenings. However she looks a little thinner around the hip area. And yesterday she didn’t touch her food. She is still acting fine. I can feel her ribs they feel right under the surface of her fur.

    • Hello Lauren,

      Thank you for reaching out to us. Unlike many other dog breeds, Huskies are notorious for being picky eaters. It’s not unusual for a Husky to refuse their food – they might have decided they don’t like that particular brand anymore, or they might simply be looking for attention! It’s also normal to be able to feel their ribs under their fur, but in most Huskies they shouldn’t be so obvious that you can actually see the outline of them. If she continues to refuse food, or if your concern continues, we recommend you take her to the vet for a checkup. It’s always better to be on the safe side, and they can help you to better monitor her weight.

      Best wishes,
      -The Malamute Mom team


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