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Should you shave your husky? The short answer is absolutely not.
Why Can’t I Shave My Husky?
Both Huskies and Malamutes are a double coated breed, meaning they have two layers of fur. The first layer, closest to the skin is what we call their undercoat, it’s made up of fine, fluffy, and short hairs. This is the fur that sheds. This layer responsible insulating the dog by trapping air. You should never shave a husky.
The second layer is what we call the topcoat. It’s made up of courser, tougher guard hairs, true to their name they do just that, they guard your dog from the UV rays and insects. The dogs were given a coat capable of keeping them both warm in the Winter and cool in the Summer. Shaving your snow dog’s coat does much more harm than good. Owners shaving their dogs coat is a major cause of heat stroke. The only time your dogs coat should be shaved, is for medical reasons.
Shaving Your Husky Will Not Help It Cool Down
To my dismay, almost daily in the warmer months I see people posting pictures of their newly shaved huskies. I appreciate that it’s a bit of a strange concept to grasp, but unlike humans, dogs do not sweat and release heat from their skin. Dogs cool themselves primarily from panting and secondly from the pads of their paws, which are the only part of a dogs body that sweats.
Not all owners shave their snow dogs because they believe it’s best for their dog, some actually do it because they’re tired of the shedding, which is especially bad when they “blow”. Typically huskies will blow their coats twice per year, once in the Spring and again in the fall. The entire process can take up to 6 weeks and it isn’t pretty. During this time, your going to be dealing with a lot of shedding, but please don’t be tempted to shave your dog.
The final reason I see people shaving their huskies, is for fashion. This is utterly despicable, huskies are not fashion accessories.
Anatomy Of The Double Coat
Healthy Husky Coat
Groomed and free from undercoat. Cool air can reach the skin, while the suns rays bounce off.
Matted Husky Coat
Coat with impacted undercoat. Cool air is blocked and the suns rays are absorbed, trapping in heat.
Shaved Husky Coat
The shaved coat causes exposure to both cool air and the suns rays, allowing for easy sunburn.
Managing Your Huskies Coat
While we tell you to never shave your husky, you should regularly groom your husky to maintain his coat. During the warmer months their undercoat will come loose, and come out in clumps, this will need to be brushed out with a rake. This allows cool air to reach the skin and circulate, while keeping the topcoat intact to protect from the sun. Leaving the undercoat unmanaged will block cool air from getting to the skin and potentially causing your dog to overheat.
What About The Furminator?
The Furminator is cause of much controversy with husky owners. Some swear by it, while others complain that it causes damage by cutting and snapping the guard hairs. The truth is; there are two versions of the furminator, one for short coats and another for longer haired breeds. The version for shorter coats will undoubtably cause damage to a huskies coat. The version for longer coats can also cause damage if overused. If you’re going to use a furminator, use it minimally after the rake, just to clean things up a little. Use with caution.