Here it is. Everything you ever wanted to know about grooming your Husky and keeping his coat looking great; brushes and brushing, bathing and shampoos, coat health, and I even have included a recipe for a solution should your Husky get sprayed by a skunk this summer. It’s all contained here for you in one informative article.

For those of you new to Husky ownership, you need to know how to look after your Husky’s double coat. Double coated dog breeds have two layers to their coat; a soft fine insulating undercoat to keep them warm in the winter and a longer whether proof top coat consisting of guard hairs that actually grow up through the undercoat. This undercoat should never be allowed to become matted or it loses its ability to insulate your dog leaving it to get very cold. The outer coat of a Husky is very waterproof to help keep their bodies dry in snow or rain. The Husky coat also pretty effectively repels most dirt and mud. When the mud dries, it just brushes off the fur.

Puppy To Adult Coat

At first, Snow Dog puppies have a soft fuzzy undercoat but no real guard hairs to speak of. But between the ages of 10 and 14 months, Husky puppies will go through a complete shed losing all their of their fuzzy puppy fur. The puppy fuzz is then replaced by their full adult coat.

Never Clip Or Shave

For Snow Dogs, there is no clipping or trimming of the fur required. As a matter of fact you should never shave or clip your Husky thinking that you are helping him to stay cool in the summer. Once he has shed out his undercoat, his guard hairs are designed to create an air pocket of protection from both the UV rays and heat of the sun. Some Huskies may develop skin problems after having all of their fur shaved off. It is also possible for the topcoat and the undercoat to grow back unevenly in patches.

Please read our article, Never Shave A Husky, for a more in depth description of the Husky coat and why you should never ever shave a Snow Dog.

Shedding

A Husky’s thick undercoat is generally released s-l-o-w-l-y with the onset of the seasonal warm weather (in climates where there is an obvious season shift in temperatures) and is a major source of headaches for Husky owners. The process of casting off (blowing) their undercoat can easily last up to six weeks or longer! It is possible for one Husky to fill up trash bags full of cast off hair during every shedding season. This cast off undercoat tends to stick to soft surfaces like furniture and clothing so invest in lots of lint rollers and a good vacuum cleaner because you will be picking up a lot of dog hair when you own a double coated Snow Dog.

Brushing

Generally speaking, Huskies and Malamutes require very little grooming beyond having to rake out the ridiculous volumes of shed out fur. They do not have an excessively oily coat so regular bathing to combat doggy odour is not required. Bathing is only essential if they have rolled in something smelly or gotten exceptionally dirty.

During the non-shedding season only short weekly brushing sessions are needed to keep their coat shiny and healthy looking. Regular brushing stimulates the skin to produce some natural oils that are good for the coat. Feeding your Husky a good diet rich in Omega fats will also help to keep his coat and skin healthy.

The Tools For The Job

Undercoat Rake

Undercoat RakeAn undercoat rake is, as the name implies, a rake with long teeth set widely apart. It is used to remove the insulating undercoat that is ready to be shed out from a double coated dog. The rake is designed to move effortlessly past the outer guard hairs and get down to where the loose undercoat hairs are located. Undercoat rakes are inexpensive and can be found anywhere that pet supplies are sold.

To remove the dead undercoat, just begin raking, alternating some strokes going with the direction of the fur, and some strokes going against the fur to lift up the guard hairs allowing better access to the undercoat. Begin brushing when your dog shows signs of shedding and don’t stop until the fluffy undercoat has all been removed.

Furminator

FurminatorNot everyone will agree on using a Furminator brush. Some people feel that it “cuts” the guard coat hairs. I have been using a Furminator brush for a number of years and my Huskies’ guard hairs are undamaged. I think the issue with these brushes is that people do not tend to use them correctly and they do not use the correct Furminator brush for their longer coated dogs.

Types Of Furminators

Furminator makes a long coat version and a short coat version of this brush. Make sure that you use the brush meant for longer coats or it will damage the longer coat of your Husky.

Also, do not over groom with this brush. Loosen up and rake out as much of the undercoat as you can with the undercoat rake and then only do a few light passes with the Furminator brush. This way you should not have any problems with any guard hairs being damaged.

Removal of loose undercoatAs you can see in these photos, using the Furminator, only undercoat has been removed. Since Kaya is a black and white Husky any cut black guard hairs would be easily noticeable in the cast off undercoat.

Shedding and Stripping Blades

Shedding and stripping bladeStripping and shedding blades should not be used on the longer more dense coated Husky . This tool cannot reach down beyond the guard hairs to the undercoat. This tool is designed to be used with short coated dogs and is not an effective tool for shedding Husky fur.

Removing The Dead Undercoat

Removing the dead undercoatOnce the cold weather is gone, your Husky will shed his dense undercoat to help him stay cool in warmer weather. All the dead fur must be brushed out so that the dog can feel more comfortable and cool but also, removing the dead fur helps prevent matting and assures effortless re-growth of the undercoat with return of cooler seasonal temperatures.

Bathing Huskies

Huskies do not have a very oily coat so that means that they really do not have any of the usual doggy odour that is associated with an oily coated dog. That also means that your Husky will only require a minimal number of baths annually. In fact, you really should not bathe your Husky too often because it will dry out their fur and their skin.

Unless your Husky has gotten especially muddy, filthy, waded into fetid water, or rolled in something horrid and smelly, or has fleas, you really don’t need to bathe your husky more than once or twice a year. Many Huskies if given the opportunity love to “snow bathe”. They flip over onto their backs and wiggle and roll around in the snow. This helps to keep their fur nice and clean with the help of Mother Nature.

An important thing to note: Brush your husky out well BEFORE you bathe him as a Husky undercoat saturated with water cannot be brushed out while it is wet. Also, wet matted undercoat does not dry very well or quickly and can cause your Husky to get skin rashes or hot spots so do not leave your dog with wet matted fur.

3 Approaches To Bathing Your Husky

  1. Some people prefer to take their Husky to be bathed and blow dried at the grooming shop. They have all the tools there and the mess stays at the shop. However it can be very expensive to groom a large double coated dog.
  2. Some people opt for a happy medium. They take their Huskies to a You Wash It shop. The shop supplies the big washing sinks and blowers and you supply the Husky, the shampoo, and the towels. It is less expensive than the groomers and you still benefit from the specialized equipment.
  3. Or some people will just opt to use their bath tub to bathe their Husky. Remember to place a screen over your drain to catch the loose hair or you will end up with the worst hair clog that you have ever seen. Prepare to get pretty wet. Have a lot of towels handy to dry your dog. If you can, blow dry your dog using a blow drier set on cool air. Be prepared for lots of flying hair as it gets blown from your Husky’s coat.

Shampoo

Huskies do not require any special conditioning shampoos because their hair is not so long that it tangles like other very long haired breed dogs. You may want to find the most organic shampoo that you can find for your dog just because you do not want to use harsh shampoos on your dog.

Once the dog’s coat is completely dry, brush them again using the undercoat rake to remove any more dead fur released through the washing and drying process.

Help! My Husky Got Sprayed By A Skunk!

That Husky curiosity has gotten more than one Husky sprayed by skunk. It is the worst possible smell that you can imagine that does not wash off using regular soap or shampoo. There are some special washes that you can buy but if your dog gets sprayed you really don’t have time to go shopping. You will want to wash of the horrible stench as soon as possible with materials that you may already have around the house. So if you live in a rural area that commonly has skunks, you may want to print out this recipe and keep it handy should you even need it.

Homemade Skunk Spray Bathing Solution

Equipment Needed:
-A large plastic bucket (do not use a metal bucket as it reacts with the materials used.)

Ingredients:
Into the bucket add the following ingredients:

  • One quart of 3% Hydrogen Peroxide,
  • ¼ cup of baking soda,
  • A few teaspoons of liquid dish soap.

For a large Husky sized dog you will also want to add about a quart of warm water the mixture so that you can wet down the whole dog.

Instructions:

  • Using rubber gloves, stand the dog in the tub and begin wetting him down with this solution. Work this mixture very well into the fur making sure you get deep down into the undercoat. Once the dog’s coat is saturated, leave the solution sit for 5 or more minutes or until the odour has dissipated. Thoroughly rinse the solution from the coat with water.
  • If you can still smell the skunk odour you may need to repeat this procedure again.

Important: Pay very careful attention not to get the solution into your dog’s eyes.

Do not try to store any of this solution in a closed container or spray bottle as the active ingredients will cause pressure to build up causing the container to burst open.

As always, we welcome your questions, comments, and stories regarding this topic. When we share our stories we may well be helping someone who is currently struggling with their Snow Dog.

Helping ALL Snow Dogs … one owner at a time.

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42 Comments

  1. Jessi Selte on

    Hi Margit I am wondering what the best method is for hair regrowth after they have blown there coat??

    • Margit Maxwell on

      Jessie, you really do not need to do anything except feed them a good diet high in essential fatty acids and zinc in the fall their winter coat starts to grow in.

    • Dawn Schwartz on

      my husky can only take the furminater in small doses, I wonder if its hurting him or he is just a brat?!!!

  2. I have a husky-rotweiler mix. She stinks. We live in a sub-tropical climate and she gets out into a bayou almost every day. Any tips for how to keep her livable? We have considered giving her up because she stinks so badly. We were planning to shave her. Thanks for the article! We won’t now.

    • Try giving your dog a BATH. To see someone comment on getting rid of their pet because they “stink” is horrible and it’s on you…. please don’t shave a husky or husky mix anything. Do animals a HUGE favor and DO NOT get anymore animals. Take care of your dog’s and if they smell, there’s a reason. Ugh….

    • I can’t believe you actually considered giving her up over something so trivial. Dogs aren’t some toy you discard when they smell a bit. You don’t deserve to have any pet if you want to give her away when she does what comes naturally. As Vernie said “try giving her a bath” and your problem is solved.

    • I absolutely hate people like you. You should have never gotten a dog!!!! Get off your lazy butt and bathe the dog, it’s one of the responsibilities of owning a pet.

    • First of all I’m sorry people can’t answer a simple question instead of being absolutely rude. I’m very happy to see you have this problem as well! I found that if I add a couple tablespoons of baking soda to my pups shampoo it ups it power so to speak 🙂 I would say give that a shot and really let it get worked in. If your little angel still smells very bad I would then recommend seeing the vet, you never know if your dealing with a skin condition due to the high humidity in your area. Good luck!! And keep the negativity out of your head and out of your life 😉

  3. I have a 5 mon old husky who keep going in her crate so been having to give her baths daily. She gets lwt out at 2 am n by 7am shes already go e in crate. Plz help me…

    • Have you considered maybe your Husky is just anxious…
      I’ve had one like that out of four…
      I’ve just tried and I don’t know how it works but it does for one of my anxious pup!
      Les fleurs de bach I give her 4 types and she’s doing amazing!
      I even tried rescue remedy for car sickness for another husky who was drowling just to get in the car and would be sick 500metees away…
      Do get how it works but it does…
      You might want to try it…
      Good luck!

    • Michael Neland on

      just make sure at this age to keep a regular schedule for them to get used too, they are like a baby just four paws. Is the problem pee or poop ? don’t let them drink large amounts of water before bed time ! If its poop could be type of food? Might have to give a small amount of rice and baked potato bland diet for a short time then try a different brand good luck

  4. Hi, we’re potentially fostering a husky with a damaged coat. What would you recommend to repair her coat? It looks like she may have been badly neglected and we’d like to restore her to the beautiful creature we know she is.

    • Claudia McKissick on

      Huskies have very coarse hair and if a husky needs to be shaved, it won’t destroy his coat bc of it. If he had an injury, a vet would have to shave the area to perform what is needed. The coat takes longer to grow than a poodle type dog. I bathe my cats, yes you heard right, my cats. My Persian gets a lion cut and in 3-4 months, her hair is long and beautiful again. I don’t want her myself because it is too hot for her have all that hair. I’ve groomed my husky before and the hair grew back just as beautiful again.

  5. Our old Shepherd got skunked and we used a light mix of orange cleaner. It worked wonders. Nose in fur and all I could was the citrus scent.

  6. Indira Guereque on

    Hello I read above that you don’t need to bathe huskies that often yet my husky smells a lot and I don’t know why even after his bath he still has a really bad smell lingering. what can I do about?

    • The undercoat will not dry out. It will stink and cause rash. Before bathing remove all undercoat with the rake. Anytime they play in water (sprinklers) etc. and there is undercoat you will get stink and rash and uncomfortable for doggy. Take care of that undercoat by raking.

  7. My full Sibe is coming up on 10 months and some shedding has started. Are there any “side effects” ie, tiredness, lack of appetite?

  8. leokane1Leo on

    My three year old sibe gets a bit low when shedding so regular brushing and treats for being good help him perk up. The vet said its hormonal.

  9. Wow, with all the books I read before I got my Husky (several years ago) you have taught me something new about bathing and grooming him. I did read and have heeded the DO NOT SHAVE YOUR HUSKY information. Thank-you so much for this information.

    • I dont know who would even THINK OF SHAVING A HUSKY!! it’s a NO BRAINER NOT TO. OMG WOW. its unbelievable people dont know that.

  10. Anjie Nelson on

    My husky is itching after a visit from the groomers I have checked him for fleas found none. Anyone ideas why?

    • Has it been checked for lice or maybe a food allergy or mange Not all mange means you will see hair loss. Good luck

    • Are they using oatmeal shampoo or some kind of detangling spray on him regardless if he needs it or not? Ask for details or better yet physically go there to check or write down the ingredients, provided that the product is still in its original bottle. Dogs can be allergic to anything including grains like oatmeal even if it is topical.

    • Allergies possibly? Maybe its the shampoo they used, my pup has so many he’s allergic to so much so its hard to find one he’s NOT lol like father like son I suppose we are two peas in a pod.. hahaha good luck and I hope you find answers!

  11. We adopted our husky a little over 2 years ago when he was 10 years old. He had been severely abused. Brushing can be hard on him so we use a dog brush and get of what we can. I am gentle and use a brush with widely spaced metal teeth. He is not happy so we never get to do a full job especially on his back legs because they are so sensitive. I am looking for a way to brush him so that he doesn’t get so upset. Has anyone tried the glove brushes? I just saw one on TV and would love opinions before I buy. My main question would be if they take the undercoat off.

  12. I wonder about the undercoat rakes scratching or opening the skin. Do you just go very lightly or what is your experience with this? I live in Florida. I rescued my gold and white husky mix from the local shelter. He is beautiful, clean and happy, just trying to cut down on the hair floating around. Thank you!

  13. Quds Manasra on

    these are all helpful tips however my sib husky of 4 months hates all kinds of grooming and is getting really aggressive when we try to brush her, even when giving her a bath. We tried so many different ways with her; like treats and calming voice and slowly doing this, yet all didn’t work… what else can I do? and is there something wrong I am doing?

    • There nothing wrong with brushing your husky puppy even if it doesn’t need it this is a great time to teach him. Mabe you can try and get someone to hold a treat a front of him or her while you are brushing him or her. As far as you giving your puppy a bath it’s not really necessary at that age unless it’s gotten into something really stinky. Good luck just be patient

  14. A four month old husky doesn’t need a bath or a brush .they don’t blow their fur til they are a year or more. I have 5 huskies and they have never had a bath just some brushing and we live in the suburds where they frequently dig mud holes and roll in dirt and grass . once it dries it just falls off.
    if you continue to bath you r husky he will likely develope skin issues. Brushing at this age is only for familiarizing them w the activity.

    • Exactly! Huskys keep themselves clean almost like a cat. They’re basically waterproof my sibe has never smelled at all.

  15. My rescue husky seemed to be a bit afraid of grooming tools at first.I would give her massage,talk calmly,complimenting her.then just show her the tool and rub the tool on her without brushing.Slowly worked up to brushing with all tools.We rotate the 3,whip,rake and furminator.Sometimes putting a flat palm above the area to be groomed,it has a calming effect.and the hair doesn’t pull.She was bathed once at the groomers since we have had her.My groomer uses gentle Paul Mitchell oatmeal shampoo.Also,I have used Dr.Bachs Rescue remedy for a natural anti anxiety treatment.Its made from flower essences.Can be used on dogs without any problems.Helped with anxiety,I put it in her water.Have had a hell of a time with housebreaking schedule.All dogs need routine.She goes out 3x a day and is walked 2x away.I find she poops and pees at the park every time.Not so much at home.in the yard.But there is a trick.A dog will always go where another dog has gone.I had my friends dog go in the place I want her to go.in my yard.Took her to the spot.Worked like a charm.Also remember,you control what goes in you control what goes out.Too many treats is more poo, less on schedule.Lastly,tired dogs are good dogs.With walking,she is stimulated,by smells,socializes with people and dogs and anxiety goes down,confidence goes up.

    • When I picked up my rescue husky, i confined him in one room of my house with newspaper near the door. I then took the newspaper he did his business on and put it outside so he knew that’s where to go. My siberian husky has never had an accident in my home in any room. It’s the best and most effective way to housetrain any dog. Know, my shihtzu took longer but both my dogs never ever have accidents in my house in years.

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