Husky Care – Tips and Advice for Dog Owners
The husky is one of the most recognisable dog breeds. They will sometimes be referred to as ‘Siberians’ or ‘Siberian huskies’. Originating from the coldest regions of Siberia as a sled dog, huskies have since been found all over the world. The Chukchis used them to help hunt and gather before they became domesticated. Huskies do usually prefer colder climates, but they can be a viable option if you live in a hotter country.
Throughout this guide, discover handy tips and advice on the best ways to take care of your snow-loving pooch.
Huskies have a very distinct and unique look, similar to their wolf cousins. Although not the biggest breed of dog, they are still powerful. In their working days, their size and power helped them to pull large, heavy things. Their eyes are either brown or blue and, in rare cases, they may have one of each colour.
To help combat colder climates, their coats are dense with a thick undercoat. Whilst this keeps them warm, they shed often. Huskies will need regular grooming. The colour of their coats is often black or white, and some will have white markings on their chest and legs.
The tail of a husky is one of their most prominent features, too. It looks like a brush and is sometimes likened to that of a fox’s. A husky’s tail is designed to help them work in the snow. They use it to protect their face from the snow and wind when curled up on the ground.
Age and size
Huskies are classed as a ‘medium-sized dog’. They grow to around 23 inches if they are male and 21 inches if female. They also weigh around between 35-60 pounds, which varies depending on gender and lifestyle choices. Even though they are not as big as other dog breeds, they need a lot of space to roam and play. This can be far from ideal if you are living in an apartment or flat.
The average lifespan of a husky is about 12-14 years, with some managing to live to around 15 years. For your pooch to be as happy and healthy for as long as possible, proper care and exercise are needed. Neglecting exercise can have adverse effects as they are used to being so active.
Food and diet
Getting your husky’s diet right is so important. As they began life as working dogs, their diet is more high maintenance than other breeds. Commercial wet foods or dried kibble won’t be enough – they need nutritious, high-quality foods or a raw diet.
Many husky owners choose to give their dog a commercial food diet. Huskies go through nutrients much quicker than other breeds as they are so active. It is therefore recommended to go for the higher-quality brands. These often contain more ingredients that are beneficial to your husky’s wellbeing.
Your husky can also be fed a raw diet alongside commercial foods. This is a mixture of beef, lamb, and other white meats that can be fed with vegetables and certain fruits. Feeding your pup raw meat is a great way to recreate the diet that they would have had in the wild. Introducing vegetables and fruits is a surprisingly good way to give huskies the proper nutrition they need to thrive.
Huskies also need a lot of exercise. Being highly-active working dogs, they need at least an hour a day – if not much more. Not giving your husky enough can lead to destruction around the house, as it will seek ways to release its pent up energy.
How much and often to feed
When huskies are puppies, most owners give their pups three meals a day. When they grow older, they are usually happier with two daily meals. Huskies are different from other dogs because they will eat until they are full instead of eating until they are ill. Don’t worry about overfeeding as your dog will simply stop once it has had enough. Unlike other breeds, you may be able to give your dog access to its food all day so that it can eat when it’s hungry.
You can also switch between a commercial food and raw food diet. If you’d like to feed your husky a mixed diet though, do not feed them a mix at the same time. This can upset their stomachs. Always wait around 2 hours from feeding before you take your furry friend out for walkies too.
Huskies are often described as loving, outgoing and friendly. They make a wonderful addition to the family, especially those with young kids as they love to play. Don’t expect your furry pal to make a good guard dog though as they’re too trusting of strangers, especially as puppies.
Huskies get along well with other dogs too. If you already have a dog or are looking to introduce your pooch to other dogs, your husky should be fine with this. Be careful if you have other small dogs or animals in your house already though. Being so closely related to wolves, they have the instinct to hunt. This can put other animals – such as cats – at risk, even with good training.
One downside to owning a husky is that they are stubborn dogs. Huskies are also very intelligent. As they were once working dogs, they have learned over time to make ‘judgement decisions’. They will generally listen to the pack leader – the alpha in your household – but other family members may struggle to have their commands listened to.
Care and training
If you’re looking for a dog that doesn’t need too much care, a husky could be the perfect breed for you. They are naturally clean dogs and only require bathing a few times a year – providing they stay away from the mud. Thoroughly shampoo their thick coat to ensure it’s properly cleaned.
Grooming is important as huskies will shed a mass amount of fur. Groom your dog to keep their hair short while minimising the amount of hair that will be shed. This will also maintain a healthy coat. Cleaning their ears is also recommended, but be sure to never stick anything within the ear canal.
It is important to start training your husky as early as possible. A lot of work needs to be committed to training your puppy due to their stubbornness. Make sure that you are patient and don’t be too disheartened if they don’t take to your training straight away. It is vital to start training early as husky puppies love to chew on everything. Keep anything that is chewable out of reach in the early part of their lives to make sure you don’t lose anything valuable.
Common health problems
Although huskies can suffer from the same ailments as other breeds, they are generally considered to be a healthy breed of dog. Their lack of greediness with eating means they usually avoid becoming overweight.
The most common issues huskies face is with their eyes. They can develop cataracts or suffer from progressive retinal atrophy. This consideration is a degeneration of the retina, causing progressive vision loss culminating in blindness. Ensure that regular vet visits are part of your routine so that any eye issues can be spotted early.
It’s clear to see why so many people choose to have a husky as their canine companion. Now that you have all the information you need, you should have the tools you need for your husky to lead a long and happy life.