How long do Huskies live?
First of all, it is important to understand that there are average indicators of the life expectancy of the Siberian Husky breed, determined by dog breeders, veterinarians, and dog handlers.
It should be noted that husky dogs differ from many other dog breeds and known for their high level of activity. These pets are strong, playful, and have good stamina. Such characteristics are assigned to the dog from puppyhood to an old age, which also determines its lifespan.
Huskies typically live from 12 to 16 years of age. Due to successful selection, Siberian Huskies remains one of the healthiest dog breeds, that has a serious advantage such as the absence of a pronounced tendency to genetic diseases, which positively affects their lifespan.
Of course, these facts remain relevant only if the dog is kept in optimal conditions, the owner paid sufficient attention and also provides his four-legged friend with proper nutrition. Cases have been recorded when these dogs, under favorable conditions, lived up to 20 years.
However, some common husky health problems do randomly occur and every husky owner should take this into consideration if they want a long and fulfilling life for their beloved dog.
How to determine a husky age and why is that important?
A lot of husky owners who get their dog from the shelters, animal rescue organizations, or simply picked up an adult animal on the street, have one question in common: ”What is the age of my dog?”. This information could be very useful if you try to prolong your husky lifetime.
For example, the chances of cancer in dogs—that’s responsible for about 47% of dog deaths—increases manifold after dogs hit the 10-years benchmark.
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 and how to take better care of them. Feed ration, amount of exercises, frequency of vet visits: all these factors should be adjusted according to the dog’s age in order to provide a happy and long life for your pooch.
There are several methods to determine the age of your husky:
1. Look at the teeth condition
|Husky age||Teeth condition|
|7 month old||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.|
|3 years old||By the time your Siberian Husky is 3 years old, you’ll notice tartar accumulation at the back teeth|
|5 years old||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, as well as tartar buildup.|
(for more accurate results, consult with your vet)
2. Eyes and fur condition (indirect way)
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.
As you can imagine, these methods can not 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.
Factors and main causes of the premature death of Siberian Husky?
The premature death of a husky can be caused by a number of reasons:
- Genetic health problems and other diseases
Huskies are prone to some genetic defects such as hip dysplasia, blindness, and other eye issues.
Hip Dysplasia. 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.
Eye Diseases. 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.
Other health issues such as myelopathy, epilepsy, diseases of the genitourinary system. Although most of them will not end a dog’s life, they may put you in a difficult position.
For example, such as degenerative myelopathy, which leads to paralysis of the limbs over time, or epilepsy attacks, which, having begun at the age of 7 months to 3 years, progress over time and become more frequent and prolonged. There is no cure for these ailments, and therefore, when they reach the extreme stage, sometimes difficult decisions need to be made in your Husky’s interests.
Putting your dog to sleep (euthanizing it) is something you should be prepared for in advance. That doesn’t make it any easier, but at least you might have an idea of when to say goodbye. A dog in pain from health issues (such as dysplasia), or having trouble with organs functioning the way they should, might warrant a peaceful end to a happy life.
Do you really want your last memories to be of your family pet in agony? Your vet can recommend a course of action in advance so that decisions can be made before emotions run high. In any case, it should be a well-considered decision, and only you as a husky owner can feel what is right to do.
We have some more specific information on the various health issues of Husky puppies available if you want to read more about it. And also, what else to look out for, when choosing a husky puppy from a litter.
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.
You need to carefully monitor the pet, engage in its training, and if he is left alone for the whole day, it is necessary to provide him with a sufficient number of safe treats and dog toys.
Sometimes being alone for the whole day, husky could spoil things out of boredom and happens to swallow different pieces that can fit in his mouth. This does not always lead to serious consequences, but sometimes these “pranks” end up with blockage of the stomach or intestines. That is why it is so important to reduce the likelihood of an accident happens, especially when you are not around.
And everything that can be dangerous for a husky or be swallowed by him, if possible, should be removed to a place inaccessible to the dog.
How to Extend the Lifespan of a Siberian Husky?
We’ve discussed how long Huskies live and have covered all the health concerns and other factors 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.
1. Proper nutrition and vitamins
It does not matter if you decide to feed your husky raw food or kibble, wet or dry, home-cooked or canned, but it is very important to include in the dog’s regular diet all essential nutrients, such as water, proteins, carbohydrates, and fats.
Also, vitamins and minerals must be periodically added to their food. Feed your husky only with food not lower than the premium class, suitable by age, size, and physical activity. You might want to read our entire husky feeding guide to make sure your puppy has a perfectly balanced diet.
2. Keep its body weight in check
According to research published in The Veterinary Journal, overweight dogs tend to have shorter lives. In 2019, 31 out of 100 dogs that were admitted 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!
The size that your husky grows will indirectly affect its longevity. Obviously an overweight dog is simply not going to have the stamina, muscle mass, and immune system to last through old-age for very long. As with any breed, there will be genetic variations in size.
Do larger dogs die sooner? Maybe, but the research can not explain exactly why. In any event, the Husky breed, with the exception of a miniature variant being bred, has a largely consistent adult size and small variations are unlikely to lengthen or shorten the lifespan significantly.
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?”
3. Regular exercises and playtime
These dogs are not created to watch TV on the couch with the owner; they were breed to run and pull, and play, and run again :)
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 – Huskies thrive on physical attachment and bonding. They’d want to spend time with you or with other dogs. So, make sure to interact with your pooch and keep it busy with a lot of exercises and playtime, as they like an active lifestyle.
It is important not only to walk around but also to run, as well as play with your husky, who will only be happy with such excessive activity. Climbing and descending, overcoming obstacles at speed, pulling activities, winter racing – all this will help Siberian husky to live as long as possible and will be beneficial in any way. Only in this way will huskies be healthy both physically and psychologically. Check our top 5 tips for exercising your husky puppy, as well as the best playtime ideas for husky.
- Expose it to outdoors
Keep in mind that huskies were bred as working dogs and they love to be outside of the house. Living conditions similar to those, which Siberian huskies have been accustomed for centuries, possibly might extend the life of these dogs.
Based on this, it was possible to find out, that keeping the dog outside might be more beneficial than for his brothers who live in the apartment. If for representatives of many other breeds, life outside in the yard or in an aviary in a private house can negatively affect their health, for husky, on the contrary, this is the best of the possible conditions of living.
Clean air, the ability to move as much as the dog’s wishes, and the natural change in the weather have a beneficial effect on their well-being.
But no worries, your husky can live a happy long life even in the apartment. Of course, if you would take good care of it and follow simple rules. Have a look at “Complete guide to Siberian huskies in an apartment”.
Huskies are mischievous dogs with indefatigable curiosity. These traits can lead your dog to some undesirable consequences. Husky chasing the cat (any small animal) and hit by a car – is a common reason for huskies’ premature death. Of course, locking a pet to protect him from an accident is not the right solution for a problem.
It is better to give the dog the necessary physical activity and at the same time carefully train it to avoid accidents. Training is important for a dog’s mental stimulation as well.
Obedience training – is the key to your pet’s safety.
Make sure that your husky is trained well and supervised at all times. Use our tips at the training section on how to train your husky on a leash and without. Or better get some certified dog training courses with positive reinforcement techniques.
We use Doggy Dan’s online courses and found it very effective and easy to implement. He recently overhauled his content and added training materials available for dog owners with hearing impairments.
5. Regular Vet Checkups and Vaccinations
Make sure you’re taking your hound to the vet at least once every year for a routine checkup. This is extremely important for all types of dogs, regardless of whether they’re sick or not. Also, make sure your husky has all the required vaccinations. This way, you can avoid a lot of diseases and stop them right in their tracks.
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. In this case, you might want to get pet insurance. We wrote our thoughts on that and you can read it here – Is Pet Insurance Worth It For A Puppy?
6. Have your husky spayed or neutered
A research conducted by the University of Georgia suggests that spayed or neutered dogs, on average, live 1.5 years longer than their counterparts who did not undergo this operation.
The reason, however, isn’t that clear. But if you are not planning to receive offspring from your dog and at the same time wants to extend his life, then you might want to consider spaying or neutering it. The procedure prevents inflammatory processes and tumor diseases of the genitals as well.
If you want to know the cost and when is the best time to do so, we got you covered here – “When to neuter or spay your husky puppy?”
7. Grooming and Hygiene care
It’s quite important to groom your Husky properly in order to maintain its health and increase its lifespan. Caring for huskies is easy. It is enough to brush your husky’s magnificent coat a couple of times a week and bathe 2-3 times a year. More frequent brushing is required during the shedding season.
Cleaning your dog’s ears, wiping its eyes should be included in your routine list. Also, we recommend regularly brush your dog’s teeth or at least use teeth-cleaning toys. We prefer to use natural dental treats, which are recommended by veterinarians and accepted by the Veterinary Oral Health Council.
We have a lot of information in our grooming section, where we give tips and guidelines on how to properly groom and take care of your husky.
8. Buy only from Certified Ethical Breeders
We can not say that this can help you increase the lifespan of your Husky with 100% certainty, but it surely will allow you to get a husky puppy that has a better chance of living a long and 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.
If you ever decide to buy a husky puppy, then you should avoid pet markets and know how to identify a husky puppy mill and buy only from a reputable 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 categorized by US states to find a reputable husky breeder near you.
Always make your own due diligence before making a purchase. We wrote some tips that might help you here – How to choose a Siberian Husky breeder.
Dog age compared to human years
If you’ve been a dog owner, 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? According to the American Veterinary Medical Association studies, 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 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 and athletic as it used to be.
In this case, it is necessary to provide the pet with proper care:
- do not physically overload;
- veterinarian examinations every two months, even if the dog is relatively healthy;
- give vitamins and minerals (on the recommendation of a veterinarian);
- do not overfeed
So, there you have it. The average Siberian Husky lifespan is satisfactory and with proper care, husky dogs can live even more than 15 years.
From a healthy happy puppy right through many fantastic years till the end is reached, you can have a loving relationship with your Siberian Husky. Although some genetic factors affecting lifespan are out of your control, things such as feeding them good quality food, providing enough exercise, and getting regular vet checkups are totally in your control! So do the right things and you can give your Husky a long and satisfying life.