In this article you’ll discover:
- 7 real reasons why your Husky is so fat (#7 might surprise you).
- The super-easy formula to calculate the calorie needs of your Husky.
- 5 essential and doable tips to get your dog to lose weight if they’re so fat.
- The answer to your question ‘How can spaying and neutering make my Husky fat?’
- And much much more…
Table of contents
Why is my Husky so fat?
Your Husky is so fat due to several factors. Too many calories and carbohydrates but not enough exercise are at the top of the list. These easily make any dog fat. Other factors are Cushing’s disease, hypothyroidism, gonadectomy, and age.
Why is my Husky getting fat?
Your Husky is getting fat because they eat too much. On top of their regular dog food, you could be giving them too many treats and even human food. With too many calories consumed but not burned, your Husky is bound to get fat.
How to tell if my Husky is overweight?
You can tell if your Husky is overweight by checking their body. Sometimes it’s not enough to rely on their weight alone. Instead, check their body from the top and from the sides. Their missing waist and abdominal tuck, plus ribs covered in fat, are the indications.
7 surprising reasons why your Husky is so fat/overweight
#1: Too many calories and carbohydrates…
Is your Husky fat? Or is it just the floof?
What do you think is it for Vixy the Husky?
Your Husky may look irresistibly cute when their chubby bodies bounce as they sprint. But it’s not cute when your Husky is fat or overweight.
One of the reasons to blame for their growing waistline is food. Or too much of it anyway.
Dogs are similar to humans in this regard. Eating too much can make us pack the pounds.
Most of the time, pet owners don’t know how many calories a Husky needs for a healthy weight.
Admit it. Sometimes you just pour dog food into the bowl. The amount of food is based on what you think is enough for your Husky.
Without knowing their calorie needs, you might end up overfeeding your dog.
In addition, too many carbohydrates in their diet can lead to insulin spikes. Insulin spikes further leads to 2 negative effects:
- Fat gain.
- Unstable appetite.
Some dogs even have a daily ‘all-you-can-eat’ buffet. Their owners leave the food bowls overflowing. And the dog can eat whenever they want.
Which isn’t good at all.
If your Husky eats like a horse, this buffet feeding can easily make them fat.
#2: … But not enough exercise
Inadequate exercise PLUS too much food. You’ve got the perfect recipe to get your Husky chonky.
With all the foods your Husky eats, they need exercise to burn the calories. Without adequate exercise, all those calories will be stored as fat.
Just take a look at this fat Husky. It’s never a good idea to get them this fat:
Not only that. If your Husky is overweight, it can lead to a myriad of other diseases such as cancer.
How much exercise your Husky needs depends on their age and size. Huskies are different from other dog breeds when it comes to exercise.
These dogs are built for endurance. They can go on and on without getting tired easily.
So you think walking your Husky around the block is an exercise? Nah, it’s just a warm-up for them.
You need to exercise them well. Many Huskies can do 2 hours of exercise each day. For some, that’s just the minimum.
But of course, it still depends on your Husky’s overall condition. Some can’t go beyond 2 hours of exercise. The trick is giving them the amount of exercise they need.
#3: Cushing’s disease
It’s not just the food and exercise that cause havoc to your Husky’s weight.
There are also chronic illnesses that can lead to weight gain.
Let’s start with Cushing’s disease.
This study mentions that in a year, Cushing’s disease afflicts 1-2 dogs out of 1000. The signs include:
- Weight gain.
- Skin changes.
- Muscle atrophy.
- Abdominal obesity.
This is what a 2019 research found out:
Cushing’s disease is more prevalent among middle-aged and older dogs. The research also found out that the mean age for dogs with this disease was 9.8 years.
Here are the other findings of the study, which observed 21,281 dogs with Cushing’s disease.
- Females are more prone than males.
- All neutered dogs are more prone than intact dogs.
- Neutered females are more prone than intact females.
How Cushing’s disease leads to weight gain
If your Husky has Cushing’s disease, their adrenal glands produce excessive cortisol. Cortisol helps them manage stress, control their weight, and keep off infection.
With Cushing’s disease, a Husky experiences excessive hunger, and thirst.
Yet another disease that could explain your Husky’s fatness is hypothyroidism.
So what’s the deal with hypothyroidism?
It occurs when the thyroid gland shrinks. You can find thyroid glands in the neck. These glands produce hormones that affect the functions of different parts of the body.
Dogs with hypothyroidism produce a low number of thyroid hormones. Thus, the disease affects how some parts of the dog’s body function.
Medium to large breed and middle-aged dogs are more prone to this disease. You’ll notice weight gain among them.
Aside from weight gain, other symptoms are:
- Thinning fur.
- Reduced activity.
- Getting cold easily.
- Excessive shedding.
- Thickening of the skin.
- Ear and skin infections.
- Excessive scaling of the skin.
How hypothyroidism leads to weight gain
Your Husky needs the thyroid hormone to keep their metabolism working fine. If there isn’t enough thyroid hormone, metabolism will slow down.
If that happens, your Husky will experience weight gain.
#5: Gonadectomy’s link to weight gain
Is your Husky spayed or neutered? You may not be aware of what gonadectomy does to make your Husky gain weight.
First of all, gonadectomy is the general term for the removal of testes in males and ovaries in females. It puts dogs at an increased risk of weight gain.
This 2013 study proved that. But the study also emphasized that the risk was greater only within the first 2 years after gonadectomy.
The study included 1,930 gonadectomized dogs and 1,669 sexually intact dogs. The researchers checked the dogs’ medical records for 10 years or so. Or until a diagnosis of overweight was made.
In addition, the study proved that age does not affect a dog’s risk of gaining weight. That is, whether the dogs were gonadectomized at 6 months of age or later.
How gonadectomy leads to weight gain
There are two possible explanations for a dog’s weight gain after a gonadectomy.
First, gonadectomized dogs have lower energy requirements than intact dogs. They also experience decreased metabolism.
Second, gonadectomized dogs have their ovaries and uterus (for females) and testes (for males) removed. These parts are the source of sex hormones.
Because they are removed, the dog’s body produces reduced levels of sex hormones.
Now, this has many implications. For one, decreased sex hormones lead to lower metabolism. You probably know by now that slower metabolism leads to weight gain.
Two, gonadectomized females are more likely to gain weight. This is due to the decreased levels of the sex hormone estrogen.
Among many functions, estrogen is responsible for regulating body weight and food intake.
With decreased estrogen, the brain doesn’t realize right away that the stomach is already full. Thus, the female dog can experience an increase in appetite.
Three, reduced sex hormones make dogs more lethargic. If dogs feel this way, then they’d prefer to lounge around than be active. This, in turn, will lead to weight gain.
#6: Your Husky is growing old
As your Husky ages, many bodily changes take place. They can no longer run as fast as they used to. Old Huskies move as achingly slow as a snail.
Growing old can actually lead to weight gain. If your Husky is old, you wouldn’t want them to over-exercise their joints. And so they don’t do exercise as much as they should.
Unfortunately, this canine sedentary lifestyle can make your Husky gain weight.
In addition, metabolism plays a part here. It naturally slows down as your dog grows old. And many studies have proven this.
What studies say about a dog’s age in relation to gaining weight
Let’s look at this 2003 study involving dogs from Perth, Western Australia.
Households owning dogs were asked to categorize their dogs according to the following:
Out of 860 dogs, 25.2% were categorized as overweight by owners. The researcher also reported that the risk of obesity increased for each year of age.
This 2006 study of dogs in France had the same observation regarding age. The researchers surveyed owners of 681 dogs.
Among the dogs, the mean age was 5.7 years old. The results showed that as the dog ages, the risk of being overweight increases.
Specifically, it increased from 2.74-fold at 2-3 years of age to 12.33-fold for 12 years and above.
#7: Treats overload
I have a friend who admitted to feeding her dog lots of treats. Now her dog is on the border of being fat.
Sometimes she jokingly blames her pooch for looking at her with those begging eyes. But of course, it’s the pet parents’ responsibility to keep their dogs healthy.
Though her dog isn’t a Husky, overfeeding does not spare any dog from being fat.
The amount of calories a Husky must consume depends on many factors. Age, sex, health condition, and physical exercise levels.
But let’s say your Husky is 2 years old. They exercise a minimum of 2 hours per day and are generally healthy. They’re gonna need 1300-1600 calories per day.
This is the same amount of calories they need to burn each day. Otherwise, your Husky will gain weight.
The case with treats
There are treats on the market with low calories. That’s good for your Husky. But treats such as pig ears? A piece can contain about 150 calories.
To make matters worse, we give our dogs human foods as treats.
In this study, 243 out of 681 dogs that were given extra food were obese. Another interesting result was that this practice of giving extra food increased with the dog’s age!
No wonder your Husky’s packing in the pounds with high-calorie foods.
A tablespoon of peanut butter has 96 calories. A piece of pork sausage has a whopping 150-300 calories!
And ice cream, which many dogs love? A hundred calories in 50 grams (1.7 ounces).
Well of course dogs don’t wake up all fat and pudgy suddenly. They gain weight slowly but steadily.
In my friend’s case, she had been overfeeding her dog for more than a year.
Bonus: You feed them YOUR food
Eating high-quality dog food should be enough for your Husky. But if you throw in human food, that could make your Husky fat.
Imagine your Husky eating dog food, plus table scraps, plus treats. Without watching their calorie intake, they’ll get fat!
Besides, human food is not designed for dogs. There could be ingredients that are high in fat or salt.
5 tips on what to do if your Husky is so fat
#1: Watch the calories
Did you know that in the US, more than half of all dogs are either overweight or obese? Your Husky might be one of them.
Being fat puts your Husky at risk for arthritis and other diseases. And it also shortens life expectancy.
To avoid getting fat…
The number of calories consumed must be the same amount of calories burned.
But first, you should know how many calories your Husky needs daily. This is so you know how much to feed them.
In addition, don’t rely too much on the feeding guides you see on dog food bags. The feeding guides are mostly for active, un-spayed, un-neutered adult dogs.
So if your Husky is a senior, spayed or neutered, or isn’t active, you might end up feeding them too much.
The best thing to do is to ask your vet’s help. Have them calculate the number of calories your Husky needs on a daily basis.
Or you can do this formula:
Note: It’s better to consult with your vet first if you’ll put your Husky on a diet.
#2: Always measure the meals
Giving your Husky freedom to eat whenever and how much they want is a no-no. This is one of the sure ways to make them fat.
How to determine if your Husky is fat
Huskies are big dogs. You might think they’re fat when all of it is just floof.
Here are the three things that say your Husky is fat:
Have your Husky stand. Then look at them from above. They’re fat or overweight if you see no waist.
Missing abdominal tuck
Their stomach looks rounded from the side.
Not visible ribs
Ribs are covered in fat. You’ll have a hard time feeling the ribs due to fat cover. They also have fat deposits in thoracic, spinal, and abdominal areas.
Use a measuring cup
Keep the fats at bay by using a measuring cup. Give your Husky the recommended amount of food and nothing more.
Here’s if you need additional tips for the proper way of measuring your dog’s food:
#3: Put a weight loss plan in motion
Formulating a weight loss plan specifically for your Husky? Get your vet’s approval first.
That said, avoid doing crash diets for your Husky. As well as drastic changes to their diet and exercise.
Remember: Losing weight isn’t going to happen overnight. It took time to get all fat. In the same way, it takes time to remove excess fat. And there are safe ways to do it, which your vet knows.
In addition, your Husky won’t benefit from a high-carb diet. The best choice is a high protein/low carb diet to lose weight.
For spayed or neutered dogs
Gaining weight after the surgery can be avoided. Pet owners must give their dogs the right amount and kind of food to keep the fats at bay. Especially in the first 2 years of surgery.
Note: Spayed and neutered pets also need enough exercise. Your pet may not feel like doing exercise. But they need it to stay healthy.
#4: Hustle, hustle, hustle!
Want a healthy and happy Husky? Exercise!
Exercise is your Husky’s best partner – aside from you, of course – to keeping a long and healthy life. For most adult Huskies, they need 2 hours of exercise a day.
Now, this may seem like too much. But Huskies are not like other dog breeds that can do with a 30-minute walk.
Giving your Husky the amount of exercise they need is essential so they don’t become destructive. Besides, daily exercise improves cardiovascular health.
Plus, it reduces a lot of behavioral problems.
#5: Watch the treats
Sometimes, the culprit is too many treats.
Remember the friend I told you about? She admitted to giving her dog treats every now and then. She also gave her dog table scraps.
I am not saying do not give your pooch treats. But if you do, steer away from treats that are sugar and fat.
Look for ones that are low-calorie and no-sugar. Or make some at home. Sweet potatoes, boiled bananas, and healthy frozen treats will be a hit among your dogs.