I completely understand any husky owner not wanting even to contemplate the thought of losing their beloved dog, but it is important to be aware of certain problems they can face so you can be more prepared.
Luckily for us, huskies are a very healthy breed and enjoy long lives. When they reach their golden years, cancer is the most common recorded cause of husky death, followed by other issues such as gastrointestinal problems and infectious diseases.
In this guide, I’ll take you through why huskies are healthy, what problems you can expect them to face as they age according to data, and some tips you can implement to give them the best chance of living a long and healthy life.
Let’s get into it.
- Why Huskies Are A Healthy Breed
- What The Data Shows On Husky Mortality
- Things Huskies Usually Die From According To The Data
- Tips For Helping Your Husky Live A Long And Happy Life
- In Summary
Why Huskies Are A Healthy Breed
There is no denying that huskies are a very healthy dog breed, especially when you compare them to other dogs of a similar size.
It isn’t common for medium-sized dogs to live above ten years old, but huskies have a much higher average age.
This is thanks to many things. For one, huskies are capable of extreme endurance, which means owners need to exercise them for at least 2 hours a day, which keeps them healthy.
Huskies also need a lot of mental stimulation, which keeps their brains stimulated and stops them from getting bored or depressed.
They also have good genetics thanks to their working background, which allows them to enjoy long lives.
They do not have breathing issues that are found in brachycephalic breeds, for example, and the issues that they are prone to, like hip dysplasia, can be screened for and bred in a way that reduces the risk greatly (more on that later)
How Long Do Huskies Usually Live?
Given how healthy this breed is, it should be no surprise that huskies have a respectable average age of 12 to 15.
This is higher than most other dog breeds that are similar in size, and it’s a testament to the breed and the work registered breeders do to give them the best chance to live long and healthy lives.
As huskies reach this age, it’s important to be aware of some problems they can face that can ultimately lead to the end.
What The Data Shows On Husky Mortality
To get a clearer picture of the causes of husky death, I took a deep dive into an article in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, which studied mortality in dogs in North America between 1984 and 2004, registered in the Veterinary Medical Database.
816 Siberian Huskies were featured in this study (out of 74,556 dogs), and the causes of death were separated into organ systems and pathophysiologic processes. Although this isn’t a particularly large sample size, it is the most extensive current study available.
You can find the study here if you want to read through it thoroughly.
Things Huskies Usually Die From According To The Data
Here are the most common causes of husky mortality according to the data in the study.
Organ System Category
In the organ system category, the top 3 most common causes of death for huskies in order were gastrointestinal, neurological, and musculoskeletal.
Gastrointestinal refers to digestive issues like pancreatitis and gastrointestinal disease. Neurological problems refer to disorders in the nervous system that can lead to severe symptoms like seizures or paralysis.
Lastly, musculoskeletal problems refer to those that affect the bones, cartilage, muscles, and more.
Neoplasia was the leading cause of death across all breeds in the study, including Siberian Huskies.
Neoplasia is an uncontrolled, abnormal growth of cells or tissues and most commonly refers to cancer.
Trauma is much more common in young huskies than old, but it was still third overall in this category.
Do Huskies Get Sick Easily?
Huskies are not prone to getting sick easily.
Most of the time, if your husky is sick, it is either due to something they have eaten or a short-term illness they have caught from another dog or something they have come into contact with.
Tips For Helping Your Husky Live A Long And Happy Life
Here are some easy tips to help your husky live a long and happy life.
The chances are you’re already following most, if not all, of these. It’s still worth giving them a quick read-through in either case.
Work With A Breeder Where Possible
We’re big advocates of adopting huskies where you can, but we also believe that you should support responsible breeders who breed their huskies for optimal health.
Responsible breeders should be doing eye and hip tests at a minimum, which can make problems like hip dysplasia or hereditary cataracts less likely. They can also select breeding pairs that pass such tests to ensure the litter’s health.
Exercise, Nutrition, And Mental Stimulation
Meeting the needs of your husky by providing them with a high-quality diet, as well as lots of exercise and mental stimulation, is a great way to keep them both happy and healthy, which can have an impact on how long they live:
- Exercise them for at least 2 hours a day and vary the type of exercise that they get. Going for hikes or taking them running are great examples of how you can switch things up a bit.
- Give them lots of mental stimulation in the form of obedience training, puzzle toys, and more (see more ideas here). Huskies are highly intelligent and prone to getting bored easily.
- Feed a high-quality, protein-based diet with lots of fatty acids. Keep snacks to 10% or less of their daily calories to avoid becoming overweight.
There will always be things we can’t prepare for, like health issues that your husky inherited, but it’s important to focus on what we can control.
Regular Veterinary Appointments
The key to helping your husky overcome or manage health issues is to identify them early so a treatment plan can be put into place.
If you notice any signs that your husky is unwell or not themselves that persist, take them to your local veterinarian.
By putting a treatment plan into place, you can give your husky the best chance to live as long as possible.
It’s a sad fact of life that everything must come to an end, but it is important to be aware of the problems huskies can face in their later years so you can be a little bit more prepared.
Fortunately for us, huskies are a healthy breed and don’t face too many serious health issues until later on.
While being aware of these issues is important, it’s more important to focus on the time you have with your pup and meet all of their needs to give them the happiest and healthiest life possible.