Proper grooming is an important part of owning any breed of dog. Different breeds have different requirements for how to groom them. Some dog breeds, like poodles and bichons, need to have their hair cut and brushed to keep it from turning into painful mats. Other breeds, like Siberian Huskies, should never have their hair cut or shaved because it can be very dangerous for them to not have their coat. Does this mean that there is no grooming required for Siberian Huskies? Absolutely not.
1. Bath time!
One question I hear a lot is ‘how often should I bathe my Siberian Husky?’ The answer is surprisingly simple- whenever they need one. My two get a bath once a month. However, if your dog get dirty or smelly more often than that, it is okay to bathe them more. If your dog truly does not need a bath every single month, then you do not have to give him one that often. If you are bathing your dog more than a few times a year, it is important to use a good conditioner to make sure their coat and skin do not dry out. Years ago, bathing a dog too often would cause them to have a brittle and dry coat. The main reason for this is shampoos filled with chemicals and sulfates that dry out hair and skin. High quality shampoos and conditioners for dogs are now free of harmful chemicals and sulfates. Two brands that I like to use for my dogs are Nature’s Specialty and Lucy Pet Products. I prefer either a de-shedding or brightening/bluing shampoo for my huskies. Some husky owners also like fluffing or texturizing shampoos to make their huskies look extra fluffy. After the bath, it is important to dry your Siberian Husky as much as possible. Because of their thick coats, it can take them a very long time to air dry and have even be known to develop mold or mildew in their coats if not properly dried. I use a force drier on my dogs, but if your dog is afraid of driers then towel dry them as much as possible. I have also put them out in the sun to dry during the warmer months. Even with huskies’ ability to withstand freezing temperatures, it is not a good idea to put a wet or damp husky out in the cold. I also like the force drier because it helps to remove any lose undercoat that the dogs have. Before blow drying, I will sometimes use Nature Specialty’s Hair Raiser spray. It makes the coat extra fluffy and bouncy.
If your dog has eye gunk on their face, soak it in dog facial wash while you bathe your dog. Facial wash will not burn your dogs eyes. Rinse the facial wash out and use a flea comb to remove any remaining gunk. Siberian Huskies typically do not need their anal glands expressed. If your dog has an issue that causes them not to express their own glands naturally, it is important to do this before the bath.
Right after the bath I also clean my dogs’ ears with ear solution. This helps to remove any dirt or buildup in the ears and prevent infection or irritation. I apply the solution to a cotton ball and wipe the inside of their ears.
2. Brush, Brush, Brush!
After your Siberian Husky has completely dried, it is time to brush them. You do not want to brush a damp dog too much because it can damage their coat. It is okay to comb out any knots while they are damp though. I usually use an undercoat rake, slicker brush, and a comb. The comb is good for any particularly knotted spots or to remove a chunk of loose undercoat. The undercoat rake helps to get under the coat and loosen up any dead under coat and bring it to the top. I follow up with a slicker brush, which will remove any of that dead hair you just loosened up with the rake. Repeat this process as much as necessary. If your dog is blowing their coat and has chunks of loose hair, you can remove quickly with a comb. Be careful not to force undercoat out before it is ready as this can hurt the dog.
A popular tool for double coated dogs is the Furminator. You need be extremely careful with this tool. When used incorrectly it can damage the top coat and irritate your dog’s skin. If you are using this tool and you see anything besides undercoat in the hair you are removing, stop using the tool and seek help to learn how to correctly use it. It is much safer to stick with a rake and slicker brush and many experienced husky owners actually prefer these brushes over the Furminator.
Do not over brush your dog in one sitting because it can start to hurt their skin. When your dog is blowing their coat, you may need to brush them every single day to remove the hair. When they are not blowing their coat, they will still shed a good bit and may need brushing up to once or twice a week.
3. Pawdicure time!
Nail care is very important for all breeds of dogs. Long nails can be painful for your dog and make them walk uncomfortably. Untrimmed nails can eventually lead to joint and mobility issues. However, each dog’s nails will grow at different rates and some dogs will naturally grind down their nails depending on their activity level and what kinds of surfaces they walk and run on. Echo and Gracie run and play a lot and we do have a paved patio in our backyard. They rarely need their main nails trimmed, however they both have front dew claws and need those trimmed much more often. It is important to not forget about the dew claws. A long dew claw is prone to getting caught on things and ripped, which can be very painful.
I also get the hair on the bottom of my huskies’ paws trimmed. This helps with traction issues on indoor flooring and ice in the winter. The hair on the bottom of their feet can be long enough to cover their paw pads, making it difficult for them to gain traction. I only recently started doing this after Echo had several accidents that caused him to fearful of walking on certain floors. He also slipped and fell outside and got a nasty gash on his leg. I have also noticed Gracie having difficultly walking on certain floors, but she has never had a bed fall. Since trimming their paw hair, they both are able to walk more confidently on any surface. Long paw hair can also collect mud and dirt and become painful for the dogs or even cause a paw injury while mushing or hiking.
The only other acceptable place to get your husky trimmed is their sanitary area. If you dog has an issue with getting feces stuck in their hair, then trimming the hair can help keep it clean and sanitary.
4. Pearly Whites
Another important part of keeping any dog well groomed is dental care. Your dog might not be a huge fan of you sticking stuff in their mouth to brush their teeth, but you need to try to train them to let you. Keeping clean teeth can effect more than just their mouth, it can also have an impact on their digestive tract and cause issues later in life. You start by just cleaning the front teeth with a soft cloth and move up to eventually brushing all the teeth with a dog toothbrush. There are also many dog toothpastes on the market with flavors like chicken and peanut butter that can make the experience a little better for your dog.
5. Finishing touches
I always like to finish up with a leave in conditioner. This helps to make the coat shiny, soft, and smelling good! A cute bandana or a bow adds a nice touch as well.
Do you have any questions about grooming a Siberian Husky? Please ask below!
Thanks for reading,
Katie, Gracie, and Echo