Why is my Siberian Husky so skinny?

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You have been feeding your Siberian Husky plenty of foods and treats but lately, he/she has been looking a little too thin. You are not sure whether you are doing something wrong. So, you want to figure out what to do.

So what causes a Siberian Husky to get so thin?

A Siberian Husky can get skinny because of eating foods that are not nutritious enough, being underfed, parasitic infections or other illnesses and behavioral changes such as being bored of the same foods. However, sometimes, it may even be the genetics that make your Husky look skinny which is a common thing to see in this northern dog breed.

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However, one factor to consider is that naturally, Siberian Huskies are quite lean dogs and if there are chunky looking ones, it is probably due to their thick double-layered coats that make them look full and hefty. So if your Husky suddenly appears thin, examine the coats and its fluffiness because it can be the coats that have gotten thin and not weight loss.

But still, abruptly losing the fluffiness can also be due to a sickness, in that case, seek veterinary help ASAP. Nonetheless, go to the vet’s office and make sure whether your Husky is actually skinny due to one of the reasons I mentioned above or it is just normal and the doggo is healthy and happy.

Here is a thorough explanation of what makes your Husky skinny

(According to my own experience I have with my brother’s Husky and research)

Foods not being nutritious enough

You might think you are feeding your Husky plenty of healthy foods but it is never a bad thing to re-check because most pet-parents tend to rely on dog-foods way too much that the dog ends up not getting all of its dietary requirements.

You see, dog-foods mostly contain carbs and for a healthy Husky, the diet should be consisted of high protein, fairly low fats, moderate carbs and micro-nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and omega 3 fatty acids.

So losing weight is the obvious results of not getting enough of these nutrients but what can we do about this?

It is simple, try including some wet and fresh foods along with dog foods. Wet foods are extremely rich and nutritious. So if you can balance out both dry-dog foods and raw-fresh foods. Then it will be a perfect diet for your Husky.

This is something that has happened with my brother’s Husky too, he had not been feeding the doggo enough wet foods but once he started giving it both raw and dry foods, the dog started filling out his frame much better with fat and muscle mass.

Being underfed

This is surely a pretty comprehensive factor, if a dog does not eat enough food, it will simply lose weight. Same goes with humans too. However, the difference is that you, the pet-parent probably think you are feeding the doggo enough foods but in reality, that amount is just not enough.

You see, on average, an adult Siberian Husky can eat foods worth of 850 to 1350 calories but the exact amount is determined by the activity level and the age of the dog.

So let’s say, your Husky is adult and quite active such as going for a 15 min walk for two times a day which in total, burns approximately 220 to 250 calories and also, he/she plays with you in the yard and sometimes in the house. Then, eating 900 or 1000 calories is not enough, at least 1100 to 1250 calories of foods should be fed to the Husky. So that he/she will not lose weight due to a calorie deficit.

Nonetheless, just make sure to change the calorie intake according to the activity level and the age of the dog.

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Parasitic infections or other illnesses

A Husky can lose weight because they are suffering from parasites, mainly worms such as tapeworms or whipworms. These worms stay inside the stomach of your dog and feed on all its nutrients. This results in rapid weight loss even if the Husky is still having an usual appetite.

It can be other diseases too such as metabolic disorders and hyperthyroidism. All these show symptoms and weight loss is one of them along with more signs such as constantly urinating, fatigue and vomiting. So if you see these other symptoms too, definitely, go to the vet’s office and get the dog examined and treated.

Behavioral changes

Do you think you can eat only rice and chicken for years with no other variety? Probably no right? Well, same thing applies to a Siberian Husky. If you keep on feeding the same kind of foods, the dog will just lose interest in eating.

This is also another thing that happened with my Brother’s Husky, he got super bored of eating only dog-foods and wanted something different. So once, my brother figured it out, he rushed to the grocery store and brought all kinds of raw and fresh foods, a Siberian Husky can eat.

After that, his Husky started eating both dry and raw foods with such passion like the good boy he is. So several weeks went by, the doggo started looking much more full and beefy and not skinny anymore.


Genetics can play a major role in making your Husky look a certain way. You see, Huskies were originally bred for a few reasons such as to be working-line dogs and show-dogs.

Working-line Huskies are less fluffy with long legs which makes them look leaner and skinny but surely strong. On the other hand, Show-line Huskies were focused on looks such as being fluffy and furry and having legs that are shorter than the working-line dogs which made them look chunky and broad (Mainly, due to the fluffiness of the coats).

So if your Husky is looking skinnier as it grows, that can likely mean the dog has breed lines of working-line Huskies (his/her ancestors).

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How to tell whether my Husky is skinny?

Run your hand over the Husky’s ribs and you should be able to feel the thickness of a fat and muscle layer but if you do not feel that and can touch and feel the dog’s ribs, then that is likely a sign your Husky is skinny. Plus, another indication is that if you can see the prominent bones of the Husky such as the spine and pelvic bones.

Seeing bones like that means the dog already has lost a striking amount of weight which is a crystal-clear sign for the dog to start gaining weight as quickly as possible.

However, if you are still not sure, it is better that you show your dog to a dog expert or your family veterinarian.

I recommend you bring your Husky to the vet’s office anyway for an examination (Whenever you feel that the dog is getting skinnier).

Are Siberian huskies inherently skinny?

Yes, Huskies are naturally not hefty dogs, in fact, being a little underweight is quite normal for this breed. As I mentioned previously, the breed lines of a Husky can cause them to appear skinny such as a Husky coming from working-line dogs that were bred to be lean and less fluffy with long legs.

Is my Husky skinny because it is a picky eater?

Yes, a Husky has its tastes and not every food will be liked by them. For example, if you changed the dog food brand to a new one, the dog might not like the new one and likely start to eat less and less. As a result, the dog will lose weight.

How can I get my Husky to gain weight?

There are a variety of things you can do to help your Husky gain weight and I will give you the best ones.

Set up a feeding schedule

By a feeding schedule, it means to feed the dog at specific times for the entire day and do not hand-feed or give treats at random times. When you feed the dog in this manner, it will subconsciously get used to that routine and then, physically start to feel the hunger at those particular feeding times especially since you do not randomly hand feed or give treats.

With this method, you can help the dog want to eat more foods than usual.

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Include foods that are high in fat and protein in the diet

If you know about nutrients, you should know that fat contains a lot of calories (9 calories per gram) but protein and carbs only have 4 calories per gram.

So foods high in fats will help the dog consume more calories in total

And foods high in protein will help the dog build muscles and balance out growing both muscles and fat.

However, do not forget to include good carbs too along with micro-nutrients such as vitamins and minerals. So that the dog will gain weight the right and healthy way.

Add new foods to the diet

As I previously mentioned, buy both dry and wet foods. Then, mix up both of them and feed the Husky. That will increase the dog’s interest in eating again as he/she gets to eat different kinds of foods for every meal.  

For example, for a meal, you can add rice (high in carbs), potatoes and carrots together with some kind of fish (High in fats and protein).

Then for the next meal, you can give some dry foods.

Everyday, change it up.

More exercise

This sounds like the polar opposite of what a Husky should do to gain weight but more daily activity is a great proven-way to give a dog a bigger appetite.

The more calories a Husky burns throughout the day, the hungrier it gets. So the dog would want to eat much more willingly than usual.

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Click here for a weight and height chart of a healthy Siberian Husky at different ages.

Final Thoughts

It is safe to say that there are many reasons that could make a Siberian Husky skinny such as eating less nutritious foods and not being fed sufficiently but sometimes, it might not be an abnormal health condition and that is just what the dog looks like genetically.

So it is the best to go to the vet’s office and get your Husky fully examined to determine whether it is underweight or not.

Then, according to the results of the check-up, you can either proceed with a plan to make the dog gain weight or if he/she is already in a healthy weight range, just continue a healthy lifestyle for him/her as you have been doing already.

Featured image credit: Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

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