Do you own a Siberian Husky or plan to get one? Well, here’s some good news for you. They have a very healthy lifespan when compared to other dog breeds.
Siberian Huskies have an average lifespan of 12-15 years. However, their lifespan primarily depends on where they live and how they are taken care of. Huskies living in an immobile life in an apartment can live 10-12 years. In the countryside, huskies often cross the 15-year threshold. Cases have been recorded when these dogs, under favorable conditions, lived up to 25 years. Female dogs, in general, (including huskies) are known to live longer. However, the reason is still not that clear.
In this article, we’ll be covering all the major health concerns of Siberian Huskies. Also, we will suggest critical takeaways on how you can increase your dog’s years with you.
Health Concerns That Can Reduce the Lifespan of a Husky
As you’ve already noticed, the Siberian Husky has a very healthy lifespan. However, their lifespan may be cut short due to several health problems that we’ll discuss in this section. Some of them are older Husky problems, while many others develop early on.
The Siberian Husky Club of America states that 2.2% of Huskies were diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia through 1994-1998. Unfortunately, the stats haven’t been updated for a long time on their website.
In this painful disease, the bones in the hip joint don’t sit well in the socket. This causes the bones to collide and rub against each other. As you can imagine, this can be quite painful.
Hip Dysplasia is a polygenic disease that’s affected by environmental factors. What’s more, a Husky puppy that’s fed a high-caloric diet would have a faster onset of Hip Dysplasia, in case it contains the genes for it. So, try to feed a minimal diet to your dog.
Although eye diseases aren’t necessarily life-threatening, for a working dog like the Husky, eyesight is vital. However, eyes seem to be the weak-spot for Huskies as they’re prone to several eye-related problems, including PRA, hereditary or juvenile cataracts, and corneal dystrophy.
If you notice any sort of opacity in your husky’s eyes, then you need to visit the vet as soon as possible.
In 2019, 31 out of 100 dogs that came to the Banfield Hospitals were obese. That should give you an idea about how prevalent obesity is in dogs. But obesity in active and working dogs like Huskies; boy oh boy, that’s a biggie!
Obesity in Huskies can lead to several other severe health problems, including cardiac issues and high cholesterol. These secondary problems can lead to a significant reduction in the lifespan of a Siberian Husky.
Hypothyroidism in dogs is an autoimmune, genetic disease that reduces the thyroid function in the body. If you’re not aware of that, the thyroid gland regulates the body’s metabolism. So, messing it up can lead to lots of problems.
Dogs that suffer from hypothyroidism show hair loss, dullness in their coat, lethargy, and weight gain. For a Husky that’s supposed to have a beautiful coat with a dynamic personality, Hypothyroidism would be the worst-case possible.
How to Extend the Lifespan of a Husky?
I’ve discussed a lot about how long Huskies live and have covered all the health concerns that might cut your Siberian’s life short. But in this section, we’ll be teaching you about the measures you can take to increase the lifespan of your husky.
Keep its Body Weight in Check
According to research published in The Veterinary Journal, overweight dogs tend to have shorter lives.
So, you’d want to keep your lovely Husky’s body weight in control. Bear in mind that the average weight of female Huskies ranges from 35 to 50 pounds (16 to 23kg) while that of a male is 45 to 60 pounds (20-27 kg). Anything within this range should be okay for a grown-up dog, but if you still raising a puppy, you can find our weight chart right here “Is My Husky Puppy’s Weight Normal?”
Try to provide supervised playtime every day to your dog. If he ever gets overweight, make sure you’re providing him enough exercise. Also, consider feeding him a quality low-fat dog food, we found this one on Amazon – Hill’s Science Diet Weight Management Formula works the best for maintaining the healthy weight of our huskies.
Keep it Busy
The Siberian Husky Club of America (SHCA) recommends not to buy a Husky if you work all day and can accommodate only 1 dog. The reason is that Husky’s thrive on physical attachment and bonding. They’d want to spend time with you or with other dogs. So, make sure you’re keeping your pooch busy with playtime, exercise, and other furry friends.
“Fix” Your Husky
A research conducted by the University of Georgia suggests that spayed or neutered dogs, on average, live 1.5 years longer than those that are left intact. The reason, however, isn’t that clear. But if you’re not planning to breed your dog, then you might want to consider spaying or neutering it.
Regular Vet Checkups
This is extremely important for all types of dogs, regardless of whether they’re sick or not. Make sure you’re taking your hound to the vet at least once every year for a routine checkup. This way, you can avoid a lot of diseases and stop them right in their tracks.
Grooming and Hygiene
It’s quite important to groom your Husky properly in order to maintain its health and increase its lifespan. For that, you should regularly brush your dog’s teeth and use teeth-cleaning toys for it. Also, clean your dog’s ears and wipe its eyes as well. Also, don’t forget to brush your Husky’s magnificent coat regularly. Check out our Grooming section, where we give more tips on how to properly groom and take care of your husky.
Here’s a fact:
Huskies LOVE to run. If you give them a chance, they will run off into the wide open and won’t look back until they’re tired. Unfortunately, many dog owners have lost their Huskies in road accidents in similar situations.
Make sure that your Husky is supervised at all times. If you’re not in the house, then ensure that your dog is well-contained and that there’s no possibility of it breaking out.
Expose it to the Outdoors
Bear in mind that Huskies aren’t supposed to be indoor dogs, even though ist very popular nowadays to keep them in an apartment. They are working dogs that love exercise and physical activity.
Confining these dogs would significantly reduce their lifespan. An indoor Husky without proper exercise routine would probably live less than those, who expose to the outdoors more often and might reach the 15-year benchmark and even more in some rare cases.
Buy from Certified Ethical Breeders
This can’t help you increase the lifespan of your Husky, but it surely will allow you to buy one that has a better chance of living a long, healthy life.
Not everyone can breed a dog. Breeders not only have to choose dog parents that have favorable traits, but also have to eliminate genetic health conditions from the gene pool.
The wrong dam and sire pair could allow a genetic health problem to pass onto its offspring. So, try to buy your Siberian Husky from a certified ethical breeder. The SHCA has a list of certified breeders that you can purchase high-quality litter from. Also, you can check our Breeder Directory to find a reputable breeder near you.
Insurance for Your Dog
I know… vet fee is a big headache for dog owners. And the prospect of having to pay thousands of dollars in case your Husky gets sick is daunting, to say the least. I wrote my thoughts on pet insurance before and you can read it here- Is Pet Insurance Worth It For A Puppy?
But fret not; the right pet insurance will see to it that you never experience the pain of not having enough money to save your dog’s life.
Although pet insurance might sound like an unfamiliar concept to you, it’s getting popular with every passing year. In fact, the number of people that bought pet insurance in the UK increased from 2.8 to 3.8 million from 2013-2017, with about 2.1 million GBP being paid daily in insurance claims.
If you buy pet insurance, you’ll have to pay a monthly fee. But in case your Husky gets sick, the insurance company will pay for its treatment according to its terms and conditions.
Husky Dog Age Compared to Humans
If you’ve been a dog owner for more than 3 seconds, you’ve probably heard the folklore that each dog year equals 7 human years. Well, we wish it were that simple. In fact, this belief is not backed by any scientific reasoning whatsoever.
So, how can you compare your Husky’s age to a human’s? Recent studies show that the first year of a medium-sized dog (like a Husky) equals 15 human years. Furthermore, the second Husky year is the equivalent of 9 human years, while all the coming years range anywhere from 4-6 human years.
By that logic, a 3-year-old Siberian Husky is already about 30 human years old! The reason why a single dog year isn’t merely equal to 7 in human terms is that dogs grow exponentially in the first couple of years. This growth is not just in terms of size but in terms of metabolism and immune system as well.
How to Determine the Age of a Husky (And Why That’s Important)
The best way to determine the age of a husky is to look at its teeth. Usually, all baby teeth of a husky are in by the 7th month. These teeth would be pure white in the first year of your dog’s life.
By the time your Siberian Husky is 3 years old, you’ll notice tartar accumulation at the back teeth. At 5 years old, this tartar would have built upon its front teeth as well. With passing time, these teeth would show more wear and tear and tartar buildup.
As you can imagine, this isn’t a method that can tell you with certainty about how long your Siberian Husky has lived. In fact, it involves significant guesswork, and it works best if used by professionals. So, if you’re ever confused about the age of your Husky, feel free to hit up your local veterinarian.
You can also guess the age of a dog by noticing its eyes. Older dogs often have cloudier eyes as their lens hardens. At times, you’ll also notice some signs like the “greying” of your Husky’s fur as it ages. However, that’s not all that common. Not to mention, older dogs also tend to get less active.
Knowing the age of your Siberian Husky is extremely important, as it can give you a heads up about what to expect in terms of your dog’s health. For example, the chances of cancer in dogs—that’s responsible for about 47% of dog deaths—increases manifold after dogs hit the 10-year benchmark.
How to Care for an Old Husky
It’s important to make your dog feel loved and belonged as it grows. However, don’t expect your mutt to be as fast or athletic as it used to be.
Huskies, like humans, will slow down as they age and would probably not be up for all types of adventures. With that said, take your old dog to the vet every month to evaluate its health condition. Ask your veterinarian about what your dog’s ideal weight should be and work on maintaining that. Also, discuss if your dog needs a special diet based on its health condition and weight.
Exercise is another important part of keeping an old Husky healthy. As they are working dogs, you’d want to go out on regular walks with them, even as they age.
So, there you have it. The average Siberian Husky lifespan is satisfactory, to say the least. However, make sure you’re providing enough exercise to your pooch, feed them good quality dog food and getting regular vet checkups for it. These factors are fundamental for deciding how long your Siberian Husky lives.