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
- Body Condition Scoring System
- Is It A Bad Thing?
- 4 Common Reasons Why Your Husky Is Underweight
- How To Help Your Husky Gain Weight: 5 Easy Ways
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.