If you’re a new Husky owner with a beautiful fuzzy little pup, you might not be fully aware of the “fur blizzard” that is part of this breed’s natural cycle as adults. Don’t be unprepared for the Hairpocalypse that awaits you!
Read on and find out why Huskies shed so much, and what you can do about it.
Why Is My Husky’s Coat So Thick?
A Siberian Husky is an animal that evolved (and was bred, in recent centuries) in one of the coldest and most inhospitable places on Earth. Siberia is colder on average than Arctic Canada and Scandinavia, due to geographical factors like the sheer size of the Asian continent and the distance from warming ocean currents.
Of course, people and animals can live almost anywhere they find themselves – with some adaptations. In the case of indigenous Arctic people, they have a diet rich in animal fats which combines with a unique skin capillary system to maintain a constant body temperature. They also have remarkable skills and ingenuity in homebuilding, clothing, and food collecting and storage.
Photo: Russia Beyond/TASS/Anatoly Strunin
In the case of Huskies, their main adaptation is their unique double-thick coat. They have an outer wiry layer that repels water, UV rays and insects, and a softer inner “underwear” layer that helps maintain the skin temperature. Shedding or “blowing out” is the process of losing the undercoat as the outer coat grows and pushes it out.
This adaptation, which is a blessing from Nature, is not always a blessing on your carpets and furniture!
When Do Huskies Shed Their Fur?
Most Huskies shed a couple of times a year – once in the spring, and again in the fall. Some shed only once a year, usually in the spring. If you live in a warm climate, or your Husky lives indoors in your comfortable climate-controlled home, he or she might shed to some extent throughout the year.
As most Huskies fall into the category of pampered pets rather than outdoor working dogs, you should accept that your Husky will shed. A lot. All the time.
Huskies shed their undercoat, which is short, white, and fluffy. It falls off them in tufts and clumps, and they tend to scratch and groom as this happens which hastens the process. It can reach peak shedding, then relax back into “normal” shedding after the change of seasons.
How Do I Groom My Shedding Husky?
The simple answer to this is “brush them, outside, every day”.
When your guy or gal is in full blow out, you need a special brush to shift that fluffy undercoat before it gets on your couches and rugs. Your short-haired doggoes will be fine with a bristle-brush grooming once a week or less, but Huskies and other long-haired breeds need to get brushed with a rake style brush that has metal or nylon spikes.
Long-haired breeds usually appreciate a good grooming, because that thick coat can get itchy!
IMPORTANT: work slowly and gently – the idea is to remove some fur, not ALL the fur, and avoid scratching your dog’s skin. Praise and reward your dog as you work, for standing still and accepting the grooming procedure.
Avoid brushing the underparts of your dog – no-one wants a heavy brushing in THOSE areas of their anatomy! Most dogs are also very sensitive in the tail as well, so take notice of your dog’s reaction if you brush the tail. Concentrate mainly on the back and sides. It’s also a good opportunity to check for unusual lumps and bumps on the skin that might need medical attention.
Should I Bathe My Husky?
Huskies are clean, fastidious animals who tend to groom and take care of their coat – almost like cats. They don’t generally smell bad, even by sensitive human olfactory standards. Also, they tend not to roll in mud (or worse) like your other dog kids might enjoy doing.
It’s important to remember that your Husky or Malamute is a primitive wolf-like breed that instinctively feels that a wet coat is a death sentence. A bath, to them, is a frightening ordeal in a way that us lucky humans don’t comprehend. In fact, most Huskies can go their entire lives without a bath, and be A-OK without it.
Should I Shave My Husky?
Absolutely NEVER shave your Husky, or any other dog breed. A dog’s coat protects it from cold, heat, insects, sunburn, chemicals – you name it. Think of what clothing and overalls protect you from – your pets’ hair does the same job for them.
Even in hot climates, your Husky should never be shaved. You might feel sorry for your panting boy or gal in hot weather – but this is completely normal. All dogs pant to regulate their temperature as they don’t sweat. This is why short-nosed breeds like Pugs and Bulldogs suffer many terrible health problems throught their (usually short) lives – it’s simply from overheating.
People in hot countries that have lots of goats and sheep, often wear wool garments – because wool is a natural fibre that protects against both cold AND heat. Your Husky’s woolly coat performs the same function. Don’t compromise your fur kids’ health by ruining their fur!
The ONLY time any pet should be shaved is if they undergo a medical procedure in some part of their anatomy, or if they are rescue animals with mange or other skin conditions that require a complete removal and regrowth to get back to full health.
Am I Ready For The Hairpocalpyse?
Yes, yes you are! Ideally, you have a garden or yard where you can groom your Husky. Buy the right doggy brushes, and be gentle and patient. If you can’t DIY, doggy grooming parlors often give discounts for regular clients, or for senior doggy parents.
Most importantly, make sure your guy or gal is comfortable and healthy from day to day, no matter the season. Remember that shedding isn’t them being “naughty”. Finally – maybe consider refurnishing your house in “all white and furry”!