Husky Appetite Issues: Food Refusal and Weight Loss

Has your husky been eating not so well recently? It’s one of those things dog owners become suddenly alarmed with. Their beloved furry companion which will usually have a large appetite has become a shell of their former self all of the sudden. Wherein the food that you served which will usually be consumed in a few minutes is now left untouched for hours as your husky seems lethargic in one spot.

That’s definitely a scenario that can induce anxious thoughts about your husky, especially if they are already at an older age. Your anxiety will further be elevated when you weigh your husky and it turns out that they have lost a significant amount of weight.

Fortunately, this article will provide everything you need to know about why huskies tend to lose their appetite and how to treat them. Knowing the possible causes of the lack of appetite can help you find ways how to get rid of the perpetrator. But first, we must talk about the signs you need to watch out for that indicate a need for medical attention. 

When To Be Concerned?

underweight husky with loss of appetite
Photo credits: Free Malaysia Today

If your husky is not eating, it can be an indication of a bigger problem. A husky who doesn’t want to eat can be a sick dog on the verge of death. This is because your husky’s appetite is often a sign of how well they feel. If they’re not eating, something has gone wrong; they’re probably feeling ill or are in pain.

If you have been feeding your Husky food with flavoring and he still won’t eat, then it’s crucial to see a veterinarian as soon as possible. Your husky needs medical attention if:

  • Your husky is refusing food for more than one day or has lost interest in their favorite treats
  • They are showing symptoms of dehydration or lack of nutrition, such as vomiting or diarrhea
  • Their gums are pale instead of pink
  • They seem lethargic and tired all the time
  • They have recently lost weight rapidly

For the last factor, your husky should not go below the average weight which we will talk about in the next section. 

Huskies’ Average Weight

If your husky is a female, she should not go below 35 to 50 pounds depending on her size. If your husky is a male, his weight should not be below 44 to 59 pounds. It is very important to take these weight ranges into account because if your husky’s weight goes below the average weight, it is crucial for them to get immediate medical attention. 

Being generally underweight poses some threats in huskies as well. However, if being underweight was due to severe weight loss that is caused by a lack of appetite, it may be an indication of an underlying condition. This isn’t something you should ignore because severe weight loss is not something that should happen spontaneously when your husky suddenly loses appetite.

During this time, you may also notice shedding and hair loss as weight loss can cause that symptoms as well. So be sure to bring your husky to the vet if this happens! 

Caloric Requirements For Huskies

A husky’s daily caloric needs will depend on their size and weight, as both factors affect how much they will need. You will also need to find out their activity level. To understand this better, each organism has a basal metabolic rate that is basically their caloric needs to perform basic involuntary functions such as heartbeat and breathing. However, besides their BMR, the caloric needs can increase if your husky has high levels of physical activity which will require more energy in the form of calories.

For this reason, the caloric needs of a dog will be measured by the vet. Your vet may also point out any other conditions or factors in the husky’s medical background in order to accurately measure what calories they need. If your husky eats fewer rations and is not getting the number of calories it needs, this can be an early indication that they have an underlying condition. 

Typically, however, huskies will consume an average of up to 1000 to 2000 and even 4000 calories per day depending on their activity level. 

Health Issues That Affect Huskies’ Appetite

Huskies' health issues that affect appetite and weight loss

If you have a husky, you probably know that they typically enjoy eating and are strong dogs, but they can also be prone to health issues that can interfere with their appetite and cause weight loss. 

⚕️ Parasites

Like most breeds of dogs, huskies are susceptible to parasitism by intestinal worms (like hookworms). Parasites are small organisms that latch onto, grow on, and consume your husky’s skin and hair. They exist almost everywhere in the world, but they’re typically shielded from view by fur. If you think your husky may have fleas or ticks, check them for these tiny bugs by running your hands through their coat. Flea bites look like little black dots on their skin. Though these flea bites aren’t painful for dogs, they can cause a rash if the dog licks the bite repeatedly or another dog licks him/her.

If you have an older husky that is losing weight, take him/her to the vet for a full health check-up to make sure there are no more serious underlying problems. Your vet will be able to give you advice about parasites that could be causing this and how to treat them properly. If it turns out that worms are causing your puppy’s lack of appetite, he will need treatment with anti-parasitic medicine which will help clear out any parasites that may be living in his digestive system.

⚕️ Hypothyroidism

Another common issue for huskies is hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is when your dog’s thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone. This can be treated with medication administered by a veterinarian or dietary supplementation with a hypo-allergenic diet from any pet store.

⚕️ Sniffing behavior

In addition to these health problems affecting their appetites, some huskies just aren’t big fans of eating. Huskies are great at sniffing out food and may want to focus more on exploring the world than on eating while their owners are away during the day. The easiest solution for this problem is keeping your husky well exercised during the day using constructive outlets like playtime in a fenced area or going on walks in a secure location where it isn’t distracted by other animals or people walking by.

⚕️ Anorexia

Anorexia in huskies is a serious condition that requires veterinary attention. Your husky may refuse to eat for many reasons, but the most common cause of anorexia is an underlying illness or condition. If your husky has refused food for 48 hours, he may be exhibiting symptoms of anorexia.

The causes of anorexia in dogs include:

  • The digestive upset is caused by food poisoning, an upset stomach, pancreatitis, and other issues. Your dog may also develop food allergies or sensitivities that trigger these symptoms. If your dog is suffering from digestive issues, a vet will likely recommend changing his diet and adding probiotics to his diet to help him digest his food better.
  • Certain diseases can also cause your husky not to eat because the disease process interferes with digestion. Common diseases that cause this problem include arthritis and heart disease (chronic valvular heart disease).

Anytime there’s something wrong with your husky’s eating habits, it’s important to visit the vet right away and get treatment as soon as possible. In some cases, you may need to force-feed your dog if he refuses all types of food or if he stops eating altogether. The longer an illness goes untreated in a pet like a husky who won’t eat, the more serious it can become and lead to death. So don’t wait if you think something is wrong with how much your husky eats!

⚕️ Infections 

Maybe your husky is picky about eating, or maybe he or she has a kennel cough or gingivitis infection. These common conditions can have drastic effects on your husky’s overall health and can result in to decrease appetite. This will also result in weight loss over time. If you notice that your pet isn’t eating enough to maintain his or her body weight, see a vet immediately.

I’m sure you know this, but if not: never administer human medication to your pet without first consulting with an experienced veterinarian. Besides these common infections, your husky may be experiencing a more serious condition such as parvovirus or rabies. It is very important to observe your husky for any other symptoms or behavioral changes such as lethargy and irritability as they may be signs of illnesses such as what was previously mentioned.

Both parvovirus and rabies are fatal diseases that have high mortality rates if your husky does not receive immediate medical attention. Fortunately, both can be prevented through vaccinations, but parvovirus, in particular, can still infect a vaccinated dog. 

What To Do After 24 Hours Of Not Eating?

<strong>Husky Appetite Issues: Food Refusal and Weight Loss</strong> appetite,underweight

Some huskies love nothing more than to eat, and others only seem interested in food when they’re actually hungry. Typically, a husky that’s not eating for 24 hours is one that should be taken to the vet. Whether your pup has stopped eating because of stress or his health is declining, you need to get him help as soon as possible.

A husky not eating for longer than a day can have a variety of health issues, from an upset stomach due to overeating or something in the environment (like the smell of paint) to organ failure or cancer. The most common reason why huskies stop eating is due to pain; they simply don’t feel like putting anything into their stomachs when they’re hurting. If you notice any changes in your husky’s behavior (it seems lethargic, depressed, or irritable), it’s best to consult a vet right away, and you might just find that you spend more time at the vet than your pet!

Treatment And Recovery For Weight Loss

Listed below are the main forms of treatments for huskies who suffered a loss of appetite and weight loss:

Giving Them A Bland Diet

A bland diet consists of boiled meat (usually chicken, pork, and hamburger) along with cooked white rice. The meat should not contain any skin and bone and the white rice should be preferably moistened. This bland diet provides a decent amount of nutrients for your husky while being easy to digest for them. A bland diet can also cause an increase in appetite because it is one of the appetite stimulants, together with some medications.

You can temporarily feed them with this diet and slowly transition to their usual diet after they are accustomed to consuming everything in this bland diet. It is important to note that the bland diet should be given in small yet constant rations. 

Seeing Your Vet

This will be the most effective and safest choice you can go for as your vet will be able to provide the proper treatment for your husky. Usually, your vet will provide your husky with some IV fluid and medication in order to prevent the condition from progressing to malnutrition. They will then proceed to look for the cause of the symptoms and treat the cause as soon as possible. Within a span of a few hours to a few days, your husky can go home and you can proceed to the next step.

Obliging With Your Vet’s Prescribed Recovery Plan

Your vet will prescribe you a recovery plan for your husky, which will include what diets you should use, what medications to be given, and how you should approach the recovery itself. Depending on the severity of their situation, the recovery and treatment can cause a hefty amount of cash. So you should always be prepared to have emergency funds in case your husky has to go through medical conditions like this.

Bottom Line

Sustenance is one of the basic needs of every living being and without it, the whole mechanism that keeps us alive will fail. However, there are some factors that can affect how our beloved companions view their food. Huskies will typically be very invested in food and treats, and a sudden change in this part of their behavior can indicate an underlying health issue you shouldn’t ignore.

Of course, your vet will be your go-to person when it comes to these things because they are the ones with the knowledge of your husky’s medical background. Treatments for the decreased appetite and its effects (weight loss) can take quite a long time for the husky to recover from. But with patience and the hope that their former large appetite will eventually return is what you should hold on to moving forward through their recovery. 

For a broader discussion about your husky’s food refusal, click this link to know other causes of this behavior.

And if you want specific products that target your husky’s weight, check this link for our best picks!

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