Siberian Huskies are one of the most popular dog breeds, coveted for their bright blue eyes and gorgeous fluffy coats. However, for dog owners, this beauty comes at a cost. Huskies shed heavily and leave a lot of dead hair behind.
Luckily, most of this shedding occurs for a few weeks of the year and can be managed by bathing and brushing regularly.
What is a Husky Coat Like?
A distinguishing feature of the Siberian Husky breed is its dense double coat. The two layers of fur have different jobs: the outer fur prevents sunburn, helps avoid insect bites, and holds off the water, while the undercoat is involved in temperature regulation of the body.
In summers, this undercoat is lighter and allows air to flow through it, taking heat off the body. In winters, it traps air, creating an insulating barrier that prevents loss of body heat. Both these coats are also involved in keeping the Husky safe from external injuries like cuts, nicks, and scratches.
Why Does the Coat Shed?
Unlike most dog breeds, the Siberian Husky follows a bi-yearly shedding schedule or a ‘blowout’. This is when a majority of the hair is lost in clumps. However, you may find a little dead hair around the house all year round. The undercoat shedding occurs before the seasons change, so the pups are prepared to remain cool during summers and stay warm during winters.
Yes, Huskies lose their undercoat before winters: by losing the thinner hair, they have more space to grow a longer, denser, and fluffier coat that helps them beat the chilly season.
However, depending on where you live, your Husky may follow a different shedding routine. For example, if you live in a warm climate, it’s likely your Husky will blow its fur all year-round. And since Huskies have a thick double coat, this fur accumulates in your home quickly, so you’ll need to vacuum frequently.
What’s Husky Shedding Season?
Typically, Huskies only shed their coats twice a year to prepare for seasonal changes. The first shedding begins when the spring season starts to heat up, and summer is just around the corner (around April). This shedding period spans over three to four weeks in which a lot of dead fur is removed. The second blowout starts around the middle of fall when temperatures begin to drop (around October-November).
The new coat is visibly thicker – if you run your hands through a Husky’s coat during the summer, it’s much thinner. Meanwhile, the winter coat is denser and mats easily. Winter shedding takes around 3-5 weeks as well and is followed by fluffier and thicker growth. Because of the hair loss and new growth occurring together, you may find a patchy coat on your pup for a few weeks.
While the shedding time period is always around 20-30 days, some Huskies can go through the blowout faster and earlier than anticipated. But generally speaking, it’s easy to predict when your Husky will start to shed, so you can help get rid of dead hair and avoid finding clusters of fur in your home.
Grooming Huskies Before and During Shedding Season
Now that you’re aware of Husky shedding seasons, you can prepare for the blowout by gathering all the necessary tools and starting grooming more frequently. But first things first: never shave your dog during the summers. This leads to a messy matting of the undercoat. Plus, the absence of hair can cause overheating and sunburns.
When the shedding season comes around, brush your Husky every other day. Use slicker brushes to remove hair and detanglers and dog rakes to go through loose knots. Another excellent way to get rid of most dead hair in one go during the blowout period is by giving a bath using deshedding shampoos. Use a pet dryer or blow dryer with grooming brushes after the shower, going in the direction of hair growth.
Brushing stimulates new hair development for winters too, so go over all the patchy areas with a round-tip brush gently. In addition to this, providing your Husky with a nutritious diet and regular exercise are key to maintaining a healthy coat in your pup (Huskies need about 1.5 hours of exercise each day).
Do Huskies Need Grooming After Shedding Season is Over?
Simply put, yes. Huskies still need to be groomed after shedding season is over. Even if your pup isn’t actively losing chunks of hair, the existing hair can easily get matted and have dirt stuck in it. Especially during winters, when the coat is denser, if your pup goes near a body of water the hair can get saturated and form knots.
To ensure your Husky’s coat remains fluffy and healthy, and the natural oils are evenly distributed, brush your pup 1-2 times a week after the shedding season is over. If your dog has recently gotten a professional haircut, use a slicker brush once a week. If your dog has a long winter coat, use a wider brush with long, round-tip bristles.
Other than brushing, follow a regular shower routine. Huskies are very playful and outgoing and need to be bathed at least once every 5-6 weeks to avoid the build-up of dirt, bad odor, or skin infections. Training your Husky to enjoy showers with treats as a puppy is essential and makes the job a hundred times easier. Be sure to use a dog-friendly organic shampoo and lukewarm water when bathing.
Other Reasons for Huskies Shedding Excessively
Do you find excessive dead hair around your Husky before and after shedding season, even though you don’t live in a particularly hot climate? Then there is some other reason for your dog shedding so much.
A poor diet may lead to shedding as well. If your Husky doesn’t get all the essential nutrients from its diet, he may shed more hair, lose weight, and tire out easily. Little protein intake and iron deficiency are major contributors.
A major reason behind any dog shedding more is stress. There are other noticeable signs of stress, including aggressive scratching at a particular spot and patches of lost hair. Figuring out the cause of stress is important. Generally, it’s because of separation anxiety or switching to a new home, but can extend to mistreating or your Husky not getting along well with other pets. Vets can help figure this out.
Fleas and skin irritation are easy to miss if you don’t groom your dog regularly, but these contribute to shedding as well. Using a flea shampoo to bathe your dog is beneficial. Follow a more regular brushing routine. In case of skin infections, visit a vet instead of trying home remedies.
As a responsible Husky owner, following a regular grooming schedule is very important. It not only helps you avoid your home looking like a barn full of Husky hair but keeps the pup’s coat luscious and fluffy.
Additionally, if your Husky keeps shedding and has a patchy coat, especially if it’s not the right time of year, then there’s an underlying issue that needs your attention.