Why Do Huskies Eat Their Own Fur? 14 Causes & Tips

Have you ever noticed your husky eating their own fur and wondered why this is happening? Why do huskies eat their own fur in the first place?

Most huskies eat their fur while grooming themselves, but they can also make a habit of it if they are bored or experiencing anxiety. Many other factors can be responsible for this type of behavior, and I’ll take a deep dive into 14 of them in this guide.

Let’s get straight into it.

Is It Normal For Huskies To Eat Their Own Fur?

Most huskies owners I’ve spoken to have experienced their huskies eating fur at least once in their lives, and I have had the same experience as well.

Huskies are much like cats in that they groom themselves and keep themselves clean, so even if they aren’t deliberately eating their own fur, it can sometimes get stuck on their tongues while cleaning their fur.

It’s standard for your husky to eat their own fur at some point, so don’t worry too much unless it gets excessive.

Excessive fur-eating is obviously not healthy for your pup and should be discouraged.

If you are concerned, read through the 14 reasons below, and you’ll probably be able to figure out the cause of your husky eating their own fur. I’ll also share some tips for when you should contact a veterinarian as well.

14 Reasons Why Huskies Eat Their Own Fur

Here are 14 of the most common reasons your husky might eat their own fur.

1. Anxiety

One of the most common causes for huskies eating their own fur is as an outlet for anxiety.

Huskies are not an inherently anxious breed, but they can suffer from specific types of anxiety, and the most common of these is separation anxiety.

Separation anxiety is a condition where huskies develop destructive behaviors when left alone for long periods.

Most huskies suffer to some degree from this condition because they are a social breed with a pack mentality, and a common symptom is eating their own fur as a coping mechanism.

How To Help Your Husky Deal With Separation Anxiety

There are many ways to help your husky deal with separation anxiety, including leaving them lots of toys to play with, ensuring their exercise needs are met, and many more.

You can find more details in our vet-approved husky separation article here.

2. Grooming Themselves

I touched on this one before, but huskies are very much like cats because they like grooming themselves to keep their fur clean.

If they have lots of loose fur in their coats, there’s a good chance that some of this will be eaten accidentally or on purpose, as they groom themselves.

What To Do If Your Husky Eats Their Own Fur While Grooming Themselves

In most cases, your husky isn’t actually trying to eat their own fur on purpose, and it has simply stuck to their tongues during grooming.

You only need to step in if they actually start eating their fur.

You can also reduce the likelihood of this happening by regularly grooming them (see details on this here) to remove loose hairs before they are eaten.

3. Curiosity

If you’ve just groomed your husky and there are lots of furs clumped up on the floor or if they are going through a coat blow, don’t be surprised if your husky tries to take a bite at it out of curiosity.

Husky puppies are the most likely culprits for this, especially as they transition from their puppy coat into their adult coat.

What To Do If Your Husky Eats Their Own Fur When Curious

It isn’t a problem if your husky tries to eat clumps of fur that fall out during grooming or when blowing coat.

The best thing to do is to pick them up and move them out of the way to avoid them eating them.

4. Boredom

Huskies can get bored very easily as an intelligent and high-energy dog breed.

A puppy floppy-eared husky

They can resort to unwanted behaviors, such as eating their own fur when bored.

Dealing With Boredom

The secret to dealing with a bored husky is to give them more mental stimulation.

Our guide on providing mental stimulation for huskies goes through 13 proven techniques you can try, so use that as a starting point and go from there.

5. Allergies

Huskies can suffer from allergies like any dog, and food, flea bites, or environmental allergens can cause these.

Most allergies cause the skin to become inflamed and itch, making your husky lick the area excessively and pull out hair in the process.

How To Deal With Allergies

If your husky shows symptoms of an allergic reaction, take them to the veterinarian as soon as possible. Note down any changes that you have made to their diet, as this will help eliminate potential allergens.

6. Dry Skin

Dry skin is a common symptom of allergies, but other issues like frequent bathing, parasites, and skin infections can also cause it.

If your husky is suffering from dry skin, one common side effect is for them to like the area excessively and pull fur out from the area. It’s common for huskies to eat the fur they have pulled out.

What To Do If Your Husky Has Dry Skin

If your husky has dry skin, the first thing you should do is take them to the veterinarian, who will be able to determine the underlying cause and treatment protocol needed.

Some home remedies can help to ease dry skin, like natural moisturizers or oatmeal baths, but it’s essential to speak to a veterinarian first to identify any possible medical issues first.

7. Lack Of Exercise

If your husky isn’t getting enough exercise, they will resort to other behaviors like eating their own fur as an outlet for their boredom and excess energy. They may also start to exhibit destructive behaviors like excess chewing or howling.

A husky with its head laid on a pillow
Huskies need a lot of exercise!

Huskies need 2 hours of exercise or more each day, which is something that many people find challenging to do, and it’s why we don’t recommend this breed for most people.

What To Do If Your Husky Isn’t Getting Tired Out

There are many ways to tire out a husky, and we’ve covered this in a guide you can find here.

These methods include playing games like fetch, taking them running while you ride alongside on a bike, and more.

8. Pica

Pica is a common condition where dogs eat objects that aren’t food, including metal, plastic, and, of course, their fur.

Many things, including illness, can cause pica, but it is more commonly associated with boredom, depression, anxiety, or extreme hunger.

What To Do About Pica

If you notice your husky eating their own fur and other non-food items, take them to a veterinarian as soon as possible.

They can assess the underlying cause and see if any damage has been caused due to the behavior.

9. Skin Infections

Skin infections can make your husky’s skin turn flakey, crusty, or moist and feel very itchy.

If an area of skin becomes infected, they are very likely to lick or bite at it, which can pull fur out (eating it in the process) and make the infection worse.

What To Do About Skin Infections

If you suspect your husky has a skin allergy, immediately take them to the vet.

Home remedies will not be effective, and you need a vet to determine the cause and the treatment required moving forward.

10. Fleas Or Ticks

Flea or tick bites can cause skin irritation, and in the case of flea bites, they can also cause flea allergy dermatitis, an allergic reaction that causes extreme itchiness and inflamed, scabbed skin.

If your husky starts to irritate or lick a flea or tick bite, it can result in fur loss, which they might then eat.

What To Do About Flea Or Tick Bites

You should always treat your husky with flea and tick prevention products year-round and regularly check for signs of fleas. Read our guide on husky flea prevention here for more details.

If they react badly to a bite, take them to the veterinarian, who can prescribe treatment for the affected area.

11. Teething Issues

Huskies go through teething for roughly eight months, suffering a lot of discomfort and pain during this time.

It’s very common for huskies to chew on just about anything they can while they are teething, and they might be tempted to chew on their legs as well, pulling out lots of fur in the process and eating it.

Husky pups also shed a lot as they transition into their adult coats, which means there are many furs available for them to chew and eat when their teeth cause discomfort.

What To Do During Teething

When your husky is teething, give them lots of toys to chew on.

Remove any clumps of fur that end up on the floor or furniture as well, as they will try to eat these when they get bored.

12. Other Dental Problems

Several dental problems outside of teething can lead to excessive chewing to help your husky reduce the pain they are experiencing.

If there isn’t anything available for them to chew, they may resort to chewing their legs or any fur that they can find, likely eating some in the process.

What To Do About Dental Issues

If your husky is suffering from dental problems that are causing them to chew on anything they can find, you need to get them to the vet straight away.

You can help prevent dental problems by practicing good dental hygiene, including regularly cleaning your husky’s teeth and giving them dental chews.

13. Changes In Diet

Sudden changes in diet can lead to allergic reactions, especially if you’re offering your husky something they haven’t eaten before.

A black and white husky with blue eyes laid down

Itchy skin is one of the most common signs of a food allergy reaction, and this can lead to chewing and removing fur from the area as before.

What To Do About Issues With Changing Diet

If your husky starts to become more irritated and licking or scratching themselves due to a change in their food, an allergy is likely to blame.

Again, it’s important to take them to the vet, who can determine exactly what is happening and treat them appropriately.

14. Other Parasites

Other parasites like lice and mites can cause itchiness and discomfort to your husky’s skin, causing them to bite or lick the area and remove fur in the process.

What To Do About Parasites

Use preventative measures to stop parasites in the first place, and consult your vet if your husky has a severe reaction to them.

Steps To Take In The Short And Long-Term

I’ve separated the next steps for stopping your husky from eating their own fur into short-term and long-term methodologies because they are very different.

For the short-term, you need to stop your husky eating their fur and take them to the vet if something is wrong. Long-term prevention, on the other hand, is all about lowering the chances of them eating fur in the first place and addressing the habits that cause the behavior.

Short Term

In the short term, the first thing to do is to stop your husky eating their own fur.

This is not a behavior you want to reinforce, so if you see your husky eating their own fur, you need to say a command like ‘No!’ to get them to stop, and only praise them after they stop eating their fur.

A baby husky laid down on  the grass

If your husky gets in the habit of eating their own fur, it can lead to skin infections and other issues, so it’s essential that you don’t reinforce it by distracting them with a toy or treat. This may seem like a good idea, but in your husky’s mind, they are getting rewarded for the previous behavior, which reinforces it.

After that, check for any signs of dry skin or damage to their coat or other skin damage.

You need to contact your veterinarian immediately if they are eating other non-food items apart from fur or if they are showing any symptoms of an underlying medical issue like dry skin or loss of hair.

Long Term

It isn’t healthy for your husky to continuously eat their own fur, so it’s important to keep this behavior to a minimum in the long term.

Make sure to address the behavior whenever it happens, and give your husky fewer chances to eat their own fur by grooming them regularly and removing clumps of fur from their reach when they are shedding heavily.

Make sure you keep their diet nutritionally balanced and consistent and don’t overbathe them, as this can lead to dry skin and other problems.

In Summary

Many things can cause your husky to eat their own fur, but it’s essential to figure out why they are doing it so you can know whether it’s normal behavior (for huskies, at least) or if they are suffering from an underlying problem.

Most of the time, your husky will be eating their own fur accidentally as a result of self-grooming. If you haven’t had a husky before, you might be surprised at this behavior at first, but it’s just one of the many ways that huskies are different from other dogs.

Photo of author

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.

Read More

Leave a comment