How to Groom a Siberian Husky
Your Siberian Husky’s thick coat not only looks beautiful, it also keeps them cool in the summer and warm in the winter. But you should never have the undercoat of your Husky manually removed or shave her fur. Instead, the secret to keeping your Siberian Husky clean and comfortable is regular grooming and upkeep of her beautiful coat.
Preparing to Wash and Groom
1. Buy an undercoat rake.
An undercoat rake is a rake with long teeth set widely apart. It is designed to move past the outer guard hairs on your Husky’s coat and get down to the loose undercoat hairs. Look for undercoat rakes at your local pet supply store.
2. Get a slicker brush.
This is a brush with a slanted head containing fine metal pins set in a rubber cushion. You can purchase a slicker brush from your local pet supply store.
- The slicker brush will pull dead hairs from your Husky’s outer coat and detangle any mats in her undercoat. It also stimulates your dog’s skin and removes dander or dead cells from her skin.
- The cushion will protect your dog’s skin from pressure during brushing.
3. Buy a Furminator.
A Furminator is a special grooming brush. Though not required, a Furminator brush will make grooming you Husky less time consuming.
- Only use a Furminator that is meant for longer dog coats, as a short coat Furminator will damage the longer coat of your Husky.
4. Invest in a good vacuum.
This is a must for any Husky dog owner. Look for a high quality vacuum like a Dyson, with an animal attachment. Though a good vacuum can be expensive, they should last you for a very long time and will help you rid your home of dog hair.
- A vacuum will also be essential for cleaning up after a grooming session.
5. Gather your other supplies.
In addition to the specialty grooming supplies mentioned above, you will also need basic supplies like:
- Organic dog shampoo.
- Lots of towels.
- A portable hair dryer or a large blower.
- A small pair of scissors.
- Nail clippers.
- Dog treats to reward your Husky after the grooming session.
Bathing Your Husky
1. Bathe your Husky no more than twice a year, unless she is very filthy or has fleas.
Huskies do not have a very oily coat so they do not have that usual doggy odor. Bathing your Husky too often will cause her fur and skin to dry out and turn dull.
- Most Huskies will take a “snow bathe” in the winter. They flip over onto their backs and wiggle and roll around in the snow. So Mother Nature helps them stay clean!
2. Use the Furminator brush to loosen and rake out your dog’s undercoat before you bathe her.
Only do a few light passes over her coat with this brush. Avoid over grooming with a Furminator brush as it can damage the guard hairs in her coat.
- It is difficult to brush a Husky’s undercoat when its wet. As well, a wet matted undercoat does not dry well and can cause your Husky to get skin rashes or hot spots. So its important to give your pup a light brush before you start the bath.
3. Place your Husky in your bathtub.
Lay a screen over your drain to catch the loose hairs from your dog’s coat. Otherwise you will end up with a clogged drain. Have lots of towels nearby to wipe up any puddles or splashes.
- Some owners prefer to take their Husky to a grooming shop to be bathed and blow dried. But it can be expensive to pay for a groomer to wash a large double coated dog like a Husky.
- You can also opt for a happy medium and take your Husky to a You Wash It shop. The shop supplies big washing sinks and blowers, and you supply the Husky, the shampoo, and the towels. It’s less expensive than the groomers and you have access to special equipment to get the job done.
4. Wet your dog’s coat with warm water.
Wet her head as well. Be sure to tilt back her head so water does not get in her eyes.
- Avoid getting water in her ears.
- Make sure the water isn't too hot that it hurts your dog
5. Apply an organic dog shampoo in circles against her wet coat.
Huskies do not require special conditioning shampoos, as their hair is not long enough to get any major tangles. Look for an organic shampoo that will be gentle and soft on your dog’s coat.
- You can also apply an oatmeal conditioner to your Husky’s coat if it looks a little dull or ratty. The oatmeal will also soothe any itchy spots or hot spots on your dog’s coat.
- Be sure to also clean the inner surface of your dog’s ears, using a cotton ball soaked in mineral oil, to prevent ear mites.
6. Rinse off the shampoo.
Make sure you get as much of the soap out of her coat as possible. You may need to rinse her coat several times.
7. Towel off and blow dry your dog.
Give your wet Husky a light towel off. Set the blow dryer on cool air and blow dry her coat. Be prepared for lots of flying hair from your Husky’s clean coat. If possible, have a vacuum nearby.
8. Brush the dog’s coat with the undercoat rake.
Once your dog’s coat is completely dry, brush it to remove any dead fur released during the bath.
- You can also use a slicker brush to brush out your dog’s coat.
Grooming Your Husky
1. Set up a grooming station.
Place a sturdy table that is at least 48 inches long in an open space, like a garage or a driveway. Like more dogs, Huskies tend to fidget when they are groomed, so the extra length of the table keeps them from sliding off.
- You can also put the Husky on a counter top or workshop table in your garage if you don't have access to a 48 inch long table.
- Attach a neck loop to a pole on one side of the table. You can tie a stripe of cloth or soft fabric to the pole to make the neck loop. If you can find a neck loop with an adjustable arm (available at most pet stores), this is a better option as you can adjust the neck loop so your Husky can relax her head as you groom her. Never adjust the neck loop so high that your husky is forced to hold his head up.
- Attach another pole to the opposite end of the table. Then, attach a longer neck loop or a white rope to the pole. This will serve as a hip loop to keep your Husky still as you groom them. If you have someone else who can assist you as you groom and hold your Husky still at the hips, you may not need a hip loop attachment.
2. Place your clean, dry Husky on the table.
Loop the neck hold over her head so it sits comfortably around her neck. Then, loop the hip loop over her hips to keep her in place.
3. Trim the hairs on your dog’s toes with the scissors.
Then, trim the hairs growing between the pads on the undersides of her feet so her feet appear neat and clean.
4. Clip your dog’s toenails.
Knowing where to trim your dog’s nails takes some practice and skill. If your dog has clear nails, look for the live quick, which will be pink. Cut the nail no closer than 2 millimeters from the quick or the flesh under your dog's nail.
- If your dog has dark nails, avoid cutting to the quick by trimming one little sliver of nail at a time, starting with the tip. As you cut slices off your dog’s nail, look at the edge of the cut nail. Once you start to see a gray or pink oval, stop trimming.
- Most dogs dislike getting their toenails trimmed. It helps to prepare your pup by making sure she is comfortable with you touching her paws. A few tasty dog treats will also help keep her calm and still.
5. Wipe your dog’s eyes with a moist towel.
This will keep her eyes clean and free of dirty.
- If your dog has constant eye discharge, bring this to the attention of your vet. If your Husky’s eyelashes are interfering with her eyes, your vet can trim them for you.
6. Never clip your Husky’s whiskers.
They act as sensory devices for your dog, as they vibrate to warn your dog when she comes into contact with a solid object or surface.
7. Inspect your dog’s coat for fleas.
Use a fine tooth metal flea comb to gently part the hairs in her coat. Look for small black or brown dots.
- Dip the comb in a glass of hot water periodically to drown any fleas that end up on the comb.
- If you discover a large amount of fleas in your dog’s coat, you may need to look at How to Get Rid of Fleas.
8. Blow dry your dog’s coat.
Give your Husky a few reassuring pets and then use the hair dryer or the blower on her coat. Use the cool air setting on the blow dryer. Start from her front paw and work your way up and across the coat.
- Point the blower nozzle or the blow dryer head straight into her coat, so you can see skin in the center.
- If the hair looks like a smooth flat circle all the way around, with no fuzziness to the hair, you don’t need to blow dry your dog’s coat anymore as there is no extra hair in her undercoat to remove.
- If there are any fuzzy or clumpy areas on your dog’s coat, you will need to blow them out.
- Hold the undercoat rake in one hand and the blower in the other hand. Point the blower or hair dryer at the skin and bring the rake to the bottom half of the circle it creates. The visible bit of skin will be the center of the circle. Groom downward, with a light grip. Brush lightly, and don’t pull or tug at the hair.
- Avoid grooming in one spot for too long. Move around your dog’s body and work on different spots.
- With this method, you should be able to groom a full coat in less than an hour. The blower helps you to get directly to the undercoat and brush it well.
- Once you have finished blowing your dog’s hair, you should be able to back comb or back brush her hair smoothly and easily. You should also be able to run your fingers through your dog’s coat and not feel any unevenness or lumps.
Maintaining Your Husky’s Coat
1. Let your Husky shed her coat naturally.
By nature, Siberians are very clean dogs and will clean themselves on a daily basis. They also shed their entire undercoat least once a year, called “blowing the coat.” This process can last up to six weeks from start to finish. Your job, as an owner, is to clean up after your Husky’s shedding and brush out her coat to encourage shedding and strong hair re-growth.
- Though your Husky may appear hot during the summer in her thick coat, never shave or over groom them. Her coat is designed to keep her cool in the summer. Her undercoat insulates her and her top coat provides protection from harmful UV rays, so it should never be cut short.
2. Use a shedding brush once a week on your dog’s coat.
These consist of a hoop made of metal attached to a plastic handle. It’s a must have tool to upkeep your Husky’s coat and make sure it looks its best.
- With swift, light side to side motions, run the shedding brush over your Husky’s coat.
- It helps to have a second person close by with a vacuum as you groom your Husky with the shedding brush. This will prevent hair from flying all over the place and keep hair off your furniture and your carpet.