Summers are reaching record-breaking highs over much of the Northern Hemisphere, and if you’re a Husky owner, you’ve probably already had to tackle the hairy issue of Husky grooming.
Our favourite fuzzballs are notoriously labour-intensive when it comes to bathing, grooming and keeping them comfortable in the warmer months. In their natural habitat as sled dogs in the Arctic regions of the world, they mostly live outdoors where grooming doesn’t come into the picture.
As pets in our comfortable climate-controlled modern homes, Huskies often bask in a level of personal attention normally reserved for Red Carpet guests and pro athletes. It’s time-consuming, but it helps to keep them healthy – and it protects your carpets and furnishings from a Husky Hairpocalypse or Blow-Out Blizzard!
Related: Why Do Huskies Shed So Much?
Why Do Huskies Need Grooming?
Most domestic dog breeds need some level of grooming to keep them clean and comfortable, but they generally have shorter and finer hair than our Husky pals. The Siberian Husky’s majestic double coat evolved as a specialized form of natural weatherproofing – with a soft undercoat that sheds or “blows out” once or twice a year.
Husky owners who regularly groom their fuzzy kids can help keep the blow-out where it belongs – in the garbage and not on the throw rugs.
Can You Shave Your Husky?
The answer is a simple and resounding “Never!” Shaving or cutting a Husky’s coat will affect their ability to regulate their core temperature. They can become overheated, dehydrated, or sunburned. Think twice before trimming those furry Husky feet as well – even if YOU like walking on hot tarmac barefoot, your guy or gal prefers to wear their built-in socks.
What Tools Do You Need To Groom Your Husky?
Just as humans have an array of equipment and products for our hygiene and grooming routines, so do our pets. If you’re the type of pet owner who loves to buy every gadget on the market, go right ahead, but your animals only need a few core essentials to get by.
Here are the grooming basics every decent doggo should own!
- An undercoat rake is a type of brush with extra-long metal or nylon teeth in a row. It’s designed to get down through your Husky’s rough outer fur (guard hairs) and help remove the loose, soft undercoat hair.
- A slicker brush (the kind with metal bristles in a flexible rubber base) will remove tangles, debris and loose guard hairs without injuring your Husky’s skin.
- A high-quality dog shampoo can be used on those days when your fuzzy has decided to take a roll in a muddy puddle. You don’t need to bath your Husky often, in fact it’s not recommended. Repeated wetting and too much shampooing can irritate their skin. Huskies are naturally not stinky, so a bath once or twice a year is fine!
- Absorbent towels for drying off your damp doggo– Husky fur can retain a lot of water, which will spread EVERYWHERE with a vigorous shake or two.
- Nail clippers are a good investment, as it can be costly to rely on dog groomers and vets for this task. It’s vital to make sure you know how to trim pet nails safely without hurting the paws. Ask a professional to show you how to do it a couple of times, and start while they’re young so they get used to having their feet handled.
- Yummy, healthy dog treats for your good boy or girl will keep them cheerful and calm during the grooming process, and reinforce good behaviour for future “makeover sessions”.
The Husky Grooming Process
The first step is to be calm and positive. Dogs can read our emotional state to an almost uncanny degree – so if you’re confident and in charge, they’ll feel less nervous about their grooming sessions.
If you’re starting the process with a bath, you might want to use a drain filter of some kind – the “hair of the dog” can clog up your outlet in record time!
Have a few towels handy for drying, and laying on the bathroom floor – dogs often tend to flounder around in the bath, and they’ll DEFINITELY shake themselves everywhere as soon as they exit the tub.
Make sure the water is not too hot, and don’t drip any in those beautiful doggy eyes. You probably won’t need to rinse your dog’s head or face anyway – and most will hate it if you do. You can use bathtime as an opportunity to feel around your Husky’s chest, back, abdomen and legs for any abnormal lumps and bumps or sensitive spots.
Related: Making Husky Bathtime Easy and Fun!
After bathing, use your best soothing pet parent voice to praise them and give them a good firm rubdown and a treat. Don’t let them outside – they’ll instinctively want to roll around, to get their familiar “camouflage” scent back.
Wait until your dog is thoroughly dry before brushing her or him, as damp hair will be more tangled and harder to brush. The hair can pull painfully, and might put your dog off brushing completely.
Using the undercoat rake first, and avoiding those sensitive areas under the abdomen or around the tail, use long strokes in the direction of hair growth to remove as much loose undercoat as possible. Persistence is key, because there’s probably a LOT more blow out than you realise!
Next step is the slicker brush, which will spruce up that wiry top coat. If nail trimming is required, cut the nail no closer than 2 millimeters from the pink fleshy toe area or quick. Huskies are notoriously short on patience and don’t like their feet touched, so bribery with treats might be the best way to keep them still while you make them pretty!
If your Husky exercises a lot on hard surfaces, he or she might need extra foot pampering with lotion or balm. You don’t need special mutt moisturiser, although there are plenty to choose from if you like them. Any scent-free non-greasy vitamin E lotion (such as you might use on your own dry or sensitive feet) will work just as well. Larger dog breeds might need an extra pair of hands to keep them still during this process – the lotion should be rubbed in well so the pooch doesn’t lick it off, or slip on a shiny floor.
Your basic Husky routine should include brushing once a week in the colder months when they don’t shed, twice a week during peak blow-out season, trim their nails and apply paw balm every 3 to 4 weeks, and do the full bath a couple of times a year.
Happy Husky Grooming!