It can be disheartening to see your husky age and become less active than they once were, which is why I have created this guide to share some of the best tips for living with senior huskies to make both your lives better. These tips range from reducing both exercise load and intensity to using low-calorie snacks if they are food-driven.
It’s important to look after your husky as they age, and you might just be surprised at how many things you can do to make them as comfortable as possible. Let’s get into it.
What Age Is Considered Old For A Husky?
Huskies are medium-sized dogs with an average life expectancy of 12 to 14 years.
Due to this, they are considered to be ‘senior’ at around the 7 to 8-year mark, although it does vary between individuals. If you care for your husky well and they are fortunate to avoid health conditions or illness then they can remain very active well past 10 years old, so it’s difficult to put a strict number on it.
10 Tips For Living With Senior Huskies
Here are 10 tips for making life with a senior husky better for everybody involved.
1. Adjust Exercise
While younger huskies can happily do 2+ hours of intense exercise per day, senior huskies require much less.
It can vary between individuals and how healthy your husky is, but usually, 30 to 90 minutes is a good ballpark figure to aim for. Walking is preferred to intense exercise such as running or going on long hikes, but there will always be an element of personal judgement as only you truly know what your husky is capable of.
2. Get New Toys
As you lower the amount of exercise that your husky receives, they will be missing out on a lot of mental stimulation that they would otherwise receive during exercise itself (sniffing other dogs, socializing with others, etc).
This is where toys come in, especially puzzle toys that offer a reward when complete.
Toys like these are great ways to mentally stimulate your husky without putting them through exercise. They’re easy on the body while proving the necessary mental stimulation lost from a decreased amount of exercise.
When dogs get older they tend to socialise less as they aren’t able to get outside as much. Huskies can particularly suffer from this as they are an incredible social breed, so it’s important to still socialize them when you can.
This might mean making more of an effort for play dates (with dogs they already know) or driving to the local dog park, but this effort is invaluable to your husky.
The caveat here is that your husky must be used to socializing already. If you introduce your husky to other dogs that they are unfamiliar with it can have the reverse effect and cause them more stress than anything else.
4. Consider Buying An Orthopedic Dog Bed
This one isn’t essential, but it can have quite a drastic improvement on your husky’s quality of life as they grow older.
Orthopedic dog beds are designed specifically with comfort in mind. They typically have a memory foam base to provide comfort and support for the joints and are a great idea if your husky is getting older and needs somewhere comfortable to rest.
5. Look At Their Diet
Senior huskies require less energy-dense food as they are less active overall and therefore burn less energy. They do, however, require higher-quality protein levels, which is why it’s important to consider their diet carefully as they age.
Dry kibble mixes that are designed for senior huskies are perfect. If you feed raw, make sure you are providing a nutritionally balanced diet and consider switching out fats as these are very energy dense and can quickly make a senior husky overweight.
Supplements are not a necessity for senior huskies, but they can be beneficial in improving health and fighting against degeneration. Popular supplements for older dogs include vitamin B complex, vitamin E and several others.
When it comes to choosing a supplement, always speak to a veterinarian first before as they will be able to give you the best options for your senior husky.
7. Check Their Teeth
Dental diseases are very common in older dogs, and you should regularly check for symptoms such as tartar buildup, bleeding gums and bad breath.
Brushing their teeth can help massively, as well as providing treats that are healthy for their teeth such as Dentastix.
As your husky ages, they may find grooming uncomfortable, which can become a problem given that they should be groomed every day.
Here are a few tips for making those grooming sessions more comfortable and less painful for your husky:
- Let them choose the position – Rather than forcing your husky into a position for grooming, simply let them stand how they feel comfortable (or approach them as they are laying down). The less potential stress put on the joints, the better.
- Use a gentle brush – Senior huskies can have several problems with their skin, so it’s a good idea to use a more gentle brush when grooming. Brushes with plastic caps on the end of the pins are much better than those without.
- Groom more frequently – This may sound like a contradiction, but it isn’t. Grooming more often, but with shorter sessions, is much more comfortable for a senior husky.
- Don’t forget the paws – Always check your husky’s paws and keep the nails and fur trimmed. Their nails can become too big if they are not going outside as often on hard surfaces, and if the hair on their paws becomes long it can make it easier for them to slip and fall over.
9. Low-Calorie Treats
If your husky loves treats it can be difficult to start feeding them less as they get older. This can quickly make your husky overweight, which is not ideal at any age – especially old age.
A great alternative to this is to still give your husky treats, but opt for low-calorie options instead. This way, your husky can still enjoy getting rewarded with treats and you can have the satisfaction of feeding them without the guilt of making your husky put on weight.
10. Dog Nappies
As your husky approaches very old age, it might become incontinent. I have dealt with this in the past with one of my old dogs, and I never even thought dog nappies were a thing until I stumbled across them at the local vets. This is one of those things you just have to try before you knock it, trust me.
There are a lot of different sizes and options and they are relatively inexpensive, and I speak from experience when I say that they are real difference-makers in your daily life.