If you’ve adopted or brought home a new husky puppy, then you probably realize you’ve signed up for some serious fur business.
Huskies are a breed of double-coated dogs. That makes caring for their coats a little different than single coat breeds, but it’s nothing a little know-how can’t solve.
That said, husky grooming and taking care of a husky’s coat isn’t always a case of common sense. Knowing what not to do is important, too.
Below, we’re taking a look at the do’s and don’ts of husky coat care and grooming.
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Husky Grooming and Coat Care Tips
#1 – Do Get Them Used to Grooming
Grooming your husky is a fact of life – of both your lives! So it pays to get your dog used to grooming early.
If you start grooming at an early age, your husky is less likely to develop an aversion to it. Instead of seeing it as a strange process you’re subjecting them to, they’ll see it as a natural part of life.
Some dogs simply enjoy grooming more than others. If you’re lucky, your husky will line up for their turn whenever the brush appears.
Begin grooming when your husky is still young, even if they don’t yet need it. Dogs are often nervous about new sensations and don’t usually enjoy a change to their routine. Introducing the brush late can turn it from something harmless into something new and scary.
If you didn’t get the chance to introduce brushing early, then introduce it gently. Bring excitement to the experience, not intimidation. Chasing you dog around the house with a hairbrush is a good way to put them off it for life!
#2 – Do Brush Your Husky Often
The old “stitch in time” saying applies well to taking care of a husky’s coat. Little and often will always be better than leaving a husky’s coat maintenance until it becomes a real problem.
A husky’s coat can become knotted and matted easily when left to its own devices. In the summer, their shed fur can clump together with their coat, making a regular brush essential. Shed fur from the undercoat can become trapped, causing knots and irritation.
Brushing your husky regularly will open up the coat and remove stubborn fur.
If you brush regularly, your dog will also get used to the feeling. Many dogs actually enjoy the process once they’re familiar with it. But few dogs enjoy having lumps yanked out of their tangled coat, so do it early and often.
We love and recommend the FURminator (available on Amazon), which is highly effective in reducing shedding in dogs with double coats such as huskies.
#3 – Don’t Shave
Unless you’re a qualified veterinarian, you’re not able to judge whether your husky needs a shave.
It sounds harsh, but it’s true. A dog’s heat regulation is alien to us mostly-bald humans. Not only does a dog’s coat play a vital role in their temperature control, but they also don’t even sweat as we do, so shorter hair isn’t always the advantage it seems to us.
This is even more relevant for double-coated dogs like huskies. Their fur is of a complex and clever design that regulates their temperature whatever the season. Only in extreme cases will a husky’s fur become a thermoregulation problem.
If your dog is showing signs of suffering even with a healthy coat and sufficient hydration, then it’s time to talk to a vet. They may advise medical shaving.
But for most dogs, a brush to keep the coat loose and remove shed should be enough to keep them looking good and feeling fine.
#4 – Do Watch for Shedding
If you have a husky in your house, you aren’t likely to miss shedding season. Even so, it’s smart to keep an eye out for the signs.
With a little attentiveness, you can make the husky shedding season easier for everyone. Spotting it early can help you prepare your house. You might want to switch out the couch covers for less precious ones, for instance.
Being ready will also help your husky. You can start brushing early and make it a regular feature of the season, which will make it easier to keep your dog’s coat under control in the long run.
Most huskies have two principle shedding seasons: spring and fall. The spring shed prepares them for the heat of summer, and vice versa. You might not be able to mark the date on your calendar, but knowing when to expect the shed will help you prepare for it.
READ MORE: 5 Best Dog Shampoos for Shedding
#5 – Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
Are you an expert in dog grooming? Probably not. As with most things in life, it’s often a good idea to turn to the experts when you can’t handle something alone.
It’s great for an owner to learn about the basics of husky coat care and grooming. But some coats will be trickier than others. If your dog has a talent for tangles, then taking them to a professional groomer could save you both a lot of stress when husky shedding season comes.
A professional groomer might also offer advice on the root cause behind your Husky’s coat issues, like a nutritional problem or evidence of an underlying health condition.
#6 – Do Take Care of Nutrition
Much like human skin, a dog’s coat indicates its health, nutrition, and hydration.
Ensuring you keep your husky well hydrated and fed with nutritious food can cut down on the need for coat maintenance. Healthy fur is sleek and well-oiled, which reduces the likelihood of knots and matting.
Good nutrition will also prevent other coat issues, like shedding out of season. This can be a sign that your dog’s coat isn’t healthy or that they’re stressed.
Pay close attention to your husky’s dog food. It might all look the same to us, but some foods don’t provide the full range of nutrition your dog needs. For a healthy coat, make sure your dog’s food contains the same fatty acids humans need – Omega 3 and 6 in particular.
#7 – Don’t Use Human Shampoos
While we might share a need for fatty acids, that’s about where the similarities between human hair and dog fur end.
Human shampoos and conditioners are crammed full of chemicals designed to do more than simply clean hair. That’s because humans subject their hair to more abuse than nature intended, with drying, styling, and dying. These chemicals can be tougher on both skin and hair as a result, stripping out their natural oils.
Dogs don’t put too much unnatural stress on their hair, so their shampoo doesn’t need the bells and whistles. Their skin also isn’t as used to harsh treatment as ours, so dog shampoos usually contain better formulations for sensitive skin.
READ MORE: 5 Best Dog Shampoos for Itchy Sensitive Skin
#8 – Do Bathe When Needed
Huskies are energetic dogs and, like all energetic dogs, they’re bound to get dirty.
Whether it’s mud, grass, or something worse, a dirty coat is unsightly and likely to smell. If left unchecked, that smell will only get worse, and the dirt will clot and dry, leading to matted fur.
If your husky has picked up some dirt, make bathing a priority. They don’t need a bath after every outdoor adventure but use your judgment as you would for a child.
READ MORE: How to Clean Your Dog Between Baths
On the flip side, don’t bathe your husky too often. A husky’s coat is mostly self-regulating, so let their natural oils take care of their fur. Washing their fur too often with harsh chemicals can expose the hairs to damage and even introduce skin problems.
Bathing often will also help your mucky pup acclimatize to the process, just like brushing. Some dogs love bathing, but many others might need a lot of reassurance to convince them it’s for their own good.
#9 – Don’t Punish Shedding
We all let out some words of frustration every now and then. But have you considered what happens when your dog is there to hear it?
Dogs have a complicated relationship with crime and punishment. They can’t understand our bizarre human preferences, so often they can’t understand what they’ve done to make you angry. There’s no way your husky will comprehend the link between shed hair and your frustration.
Shedding isn’t a correctable behavior, so don’t punish your husky for it, even unintentionally. Avoid shaming your dog even as a joke or an emotional outlet. What might seem harmless to you will mean distress for your dog.
Instead, remain patient and adapt your own routine to compensate for the shedding season. By taking on a dog, you’ve also signed a contract to provide appropriate care even when that means putting in the extra work.
Husky Grooming Makes a Happy Husky
Grooming your husky is about more than keeping up appearances. It also keeps your dog happy and makes them less prone to other health problems and other skin conditions. These simple do’s and don’ts of husky coat care should get you both through shedding season.
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Forrest is a lover of dogs, the wild outdoors, deep mysterious conversations… and coffee. He is the owner of several websites, including Canine Weekly. He resides in Austin, Texas.