Spring Shedding – in Huskies
Huskies and Malamutes have beautiful coats that protect them from extremely cold environments. Their coat is made up of a double layer, the extra thick coat means they can lay out in the snow without any worries. They also produce natural oils to help make their coats waterproof. These benefits are great for survival in arctic climates, but it can prove challenging for them and owners in our own climates. In particular, the challenge for us owners is the spring shedding.
How a double coat works and why:
The incredibly thick coat of Huskies and Malamutes allow for the survival of harsh temperatures. The double layer of coat is made up of an inner coat – short and thick, and an outer coat made of longer hairs.
The inner coat helps to keep them warm with the thickest layer being so close to their skin.
The outer coat helps to shield against the sun, heat, wind and cold, along with repelling water to give that waterproof effect.
These two layers combined help both Huskies and Malamutes adapt to temperatures as low as -75F!
Luckily the top coat or outer later helps to keep dogs cool too. In warmer months during spring and summer the double coat does a good job at regulating body temperatures.
How often do Huskies and Malamutes shed their coats?
Huskies and Malamutes have two seasonal coats, a lighter summer coat and a heavy winter coat. This means they tend to shed twice a year, unlike other dogs that shed all year round.
To climatize their bodies during the colder winter months, they will grow an incredibly fluffy and thick coat. This helps to shield against the rain, wind and snow in some cases and to insulate the body to keep warm.
As we come into the warmer months during spring, the thick coat is no longer required. Huskies and Malamutes then “blow” their winter coats. This usually is a short period of around three weeks (although it may not feel short to us owners!!) It makes for fun during spring as your Husky starts shedding!
The shedding is mainly made up of the thicker under coat. Don’t be surprised by the sheer volume of coat that will shed. (enough to make another dog out of!)
Once the shedding process is complete, your dog will have a much lighter undercoat and will feel less dense.
You will also find that your Husky or Malamute will shed again coming into fall, in preparation for growing their winter coat. However, you will find it can come out in clumps. This is completely normal. With the right tools you can assist in the shedding process, but Huskies and Malamutes require very little grooming.
Why its important NOT to shave your Husky or Malamute
Not only do Huskies and Malamutes look rather daft shaven it can have quite negative impacts on them.
A Husky or Malamute’s skin is not designed to be exposed to direct sunlight. By stripping them of their coats it can be potentially quite dangerous for them. Removing their fur takes away their ability to self-regulate and you run the risk of heat stroke during the hotter seasons.
Only under appropriate circumstances should you shave your Husky, such as vet requirements for surgery or medical emergencies.
How to best look after your dog’s coat during shedding
As an owner, shedding season is a busy time for us! We need to keep on top of managing this time otherwise it could be quite literally a hairy nightmare! Some tips for you to manage this time carefully are:
- Invest in two brushes
- A Thick Rake-like Brush – (see our post about grooming tips) to remove most of the hair. The rake-like forks will help make it easier to collect up a large amount of hair in the early stages.
- A finer brush (see earlier post) – this will be used in the second stage to help pick up any remaining hairs.
- Brush daily – during the shedding season it is important to carry out brushing as detailed above daily. We recommend to do so in that order to help achieve maximum shed.
- Have some treats to hand (link to raw treats) so that your dog finds grooming an enjoyable process. As you will be doing this for a while during shed season you want to make sure you both have fun.
- Make sure you have access to a good hoover that can pick up animal hair.