It’s Grooming time! Today I’ll cover the best practices on grooming your Siberian Husky, what I’ve found out after too many baths, brushing & pampering for my Huskies and what you’ll need in order to have your Husky looking show-ready at home.
Your Husky’s thick coat helps them keep cool in the summer and warm in the winter. The secret of a great coat is grooming and the regular upkeep by brushing and a well balanced died. By taking care of their coat, you’re basically helping them have a more efficient heating or cooling system.
Siberian Huskies usually shed their undercoats twice a year. This phenomenon is called blowing the coat and occurs in the spring and in the fall season. But hair manages to get all over, all year round as far as I can say.
Remember the vital Husky coat rules! Never shave or clip their coat. It’s really not necessary and quite harmful to them. I’ve talked about this in this article. Also, never clip your Husky’s whiskers.
Before starting the actual guide I must say I don’t like or use Furminators. Even if it gets rid of excessive fur faster and there are models for longer dog coats, I feel that they are a bit too harsh for their coats. I’d rather brush them another 10 minutes or do it more often than using a Furminator. As they say… just my 2 cents.
On to the guide!
Preparation & tools needed
Being prepared and having all the required tools sets you up for success. So let’s get to the list of things needed in order to groom your Husky at home!
1. Buy a good undercoat rake
An undercoat rake is a rake with long teeth. This type of rake is specifically designed for undercoats, as it has the long teeth set widely apart.
It can get past the outer guard hairs (the long coat) and get down to the undercoat hairs. Most decent pet supply store have in stock a good undercoat rake. Try to find a sturdy feeling one, so it will last you a while.
2. Get a slicker brush
This type of brush resembles the ones that some women use to brush their hair. It’s a brush with a slanted head, containing fine metal pins that are set in a rubber cushion. Again, you can get this from a pet supply store.
This brush is designed to pull dead and loose hairs from your Husky’s coat. It also detangles the undercoat pretty good. All this while protecting your dog’s skin from excessive pressure thanks to the rubber cushion.
3. Have the vacuum ready
A good vacuum is a must-have for any Husky dog owner. I’d recommend going for a model that has a plastic container or at least not a textile one. You don’t want those pretty hairs stuck in your vacuum’s textile bag. It’s a nightmare to clean that!
You’ll use the vacuum to clean the area and excess fur once you’re done with grooming your Husky.
4. Acquire a good, organic, dog shampoo
A good organic shampoo will clean your Husky good while taking care of his skin and coat. As long as brands and types go, that’s a long story and it might vary on what you can find in stock or at your pet supply store.
It’s worth mentioning that huskies do not necessarily require a special kind of shampoo or anything. You basically want a good quality shampoo.
As long as you are not using special anti-flea or other type of treatments for other problems, the essential things in a good shampoo are:
- it should be hypo-allergenic;
- it should contain one or more of the following ingredients: rosemary, lemongrass, lavender, tea tree oil, oatmeal or aloe.
Please note that the above ingredients are not required as I said. It’s just a nice thing to have in order to make sure your Husky’s coat gets the best treatment.
I’m a fan of shampoos that contain lavender, as they tend to smell prettier. Also, lavender is a good natural pest repellent.
5. Other must-have things before you start grooming your Husky
You’ll also need:
- 3-4 soft towels that absorb water well, for the drying process;
- a hair dryer, if your Husky agrees with it (one of my Huskies hates it);
- a small pair of scissors, for the hairs between the paws;
- nail clippers, if you decide you want to clip his or her nails;
- delicious dog treats to reward the good boy / girl during and after the grooming session;
Grooming your Siberian Husky
The process of Grooming your Husky consists of several activities or steps: brushing, bathing, trimming the hair between the toes, clipping the toenails and gently wiping the eyes.
Tip: Before going through the actual steps, if your Husky has some thistles or burrs tangled in their coat, what I’ve discovered, is that Coconut Oil can help you get them our easy peasy. Do this before Grooming.
Let’s get them in order, as I like to do them in order to ensure that we’ll get our Husky looking like a fluffy and puffy happy dog.
1. Pre-wash brushing
Brushing your Husky before taking the bath, can help you get the coat cleaner as you untangle and remove loose hair before the coat gets wet. Brushing the undercoat is pretty hard when it’s wet.
You’ll need to do a few light passes over your Husky’s coat with the undercoat rake and then the slicker brush. Once you’re done, let’s go to the next step.
2. Bathing your husky
You usually don’t need to bathe a Husky more than twice a year. That is unless he or she gets very filthy or has fleas. Then, of course, you must take action.
Be careful as bathing your Husky too often can make her fur and skin to dry out and turn dull. We don’t want that! We want a shiny and fluffy coat.
Huskies don’t have a very oily coat so they don’t have that usual doggy odor so prominent or at all. That being said, get your favorite dog shampoo and let’s get started.
How to actually bathe a Husky, step by step:
- Place him or her in your bathtub, which already has some warm water in it.
- Wet the coat with warm water. Don’t forget to wet the head as well, but be sure to avoid getting water in the Husky’s eyes or ears. Tilt her head in order to avoid this. Make sure to properly wet the coat, the undercoat needs a lot of water.
- Apply the dog shampoo in circles against her wet coat. Give the coat a good wash, be persistent but don’t scrub too hard as to make your dog uncomfortable.
- Rinse off the shampoo with the showerhead. Several rinses might be needed as the coat is very dense. Make sure to get as much of the soap out of the coat as possible.
- Get some dry towels and start drying the coat. If your dog likes it, you can also use a blow dryer with cool air. Make sure to dry as much as you can, so it won’t get dirty the first time your dog sits on a dirty surface.
Some handy tips for the washing process:
- lay a screen or something over your drain to catch the loose hairs from your Husky’s coat. This helps to prevent a clogged drain;
- you might need to place some towels near the bathtub to avoid getting the floor too wet;
- talk with your Husky and make sure he knows that you appreciate that he’s sitting calmly. Praise him. The whole bathing activity can be a bonding process between you and your Siberian Husky;
- be patient, calm and confident. A great attitude will show your Husky that everything that is going on is fun, normal and a great thing to do with his owner;
3. After wash brushing
Once completely dry, you’ll need to properly brush the coat. Use the undercoat rake all over their coat, and finally brush it with the slicker brush.
Be persistent as this is the last brush, so you want to get the loose hair out of your Husky’s coat as much as you can.
4. Trimming the toes
You need to trim the hairs between the toes with the small scissors. You just need to level the hair with the toes, so your Husky will not step on the hair when walking and running.
This is especially needed if you walk a lot on paved roads. Your dog will love walking and running if his paws are comfortable and not hurting.
5. Clip the toenails
Be careful how you clip the toenails. Look for the live quick, which will be pink.
You want to cut the nail no closer than 2 millimeters from the quick or the flesh under your Husky’s nail. If you are not comfortable doing this, get him to a groomer or vet and observe how they do it first.
As far as I experienced, most Huskies are not to keen on getting their toenails clipped. So be prepared for a stubborn boy. Make sure he’s comfortable with you touching and handling his paws. (treats also help)
6. Balm the paws
It’s SPA time baby! If you walk and exercise your Husky a lot (and you should!) you can notice his paws getting harsh or dry. This can especially happen if he walks a lot on roads and pavements.
Just like us, when the paw skin gets too dry it can become uncomfortable. But there is a solution: paw balms!
Just like dog shampoo, there are a lot of brands. What you need to look for is a paw balm that: is organic, has coconut oil, aloe, vitamin e, and other goodies. I’ve discovered that products that have aloe and vitamin e are always a good fit. So try to find a paw balm that has at least these two ingredients.
7. Wipe his eyes
Get a moist towel and gently wipe your Husky’s eyes. This will keep the eyes clean and free of dirt.
8. Maintenance and keeping your Husky Clean
It’s a great practice to brush your Husky’s coat at least once a week. This way you’ll end up having less hair around the house, and your dog will look great all the time.
Of course, some Husky’s love getting down & dirty and even dig. I try not to bathe them too often, and when things get really messy I sometimes use a dry shampoo. A dry waterless shampoo for dogs is a special type of shampoo that does not need rinsing or anything. (I use one from Hartz, it cleans surprisingly well)
And that’s about it! You now have a Siberian Husky that looks straight out of the dog show! What a cutie! And he’ll be happy to roam around and play with his groomed and soft paws.
Lastly, I must say that the steps I outlined in this article are not exactly specific to Siberian Huskies. You can apply this to any breed, as long as you account for special needs – some dogs might require a certain type of shampoo, might not have an undercoat and other things.
I hope you found my guide on grooming your Husky at home useful and let me know if you have other tips & tricks to share with other Husky owners. Also, check out my guide on what you need to know before getting a Siberian Husky.