Does a Siberian Husky Need a Haircut?
Animal file: Siberian Husky
The Siberian Husky is a dog known for their coat. Not only is it beautiful in appearance, but it is a thick layer of protection against the harsh tundra of their native land. However, the popularity of different husky breeds has meant that this dog is now relatively common in all different types of climate. Many countries with a temperate climate have residents with Siberian Huskies in their families, leading us to question what kind of coat care a dog like this will need. Should Siberian Huskies be shaved? Do we need to cut their hair at all?
In this AnimalWised article, we look into whether a Siberian Husky needs a haircut.
Siberian Husky coat
Before we can start to look at the care a Siberian Husky's coat requires, we need to understand its characteristics and purpose. The first important quality of a Siberian Husky's coat is the fact that it grows in two layers which have two different functions working in unison together.
- Undercoat: the inner layer of the Siberian Husky coat is dense and soft, protecting the dog from the often freezing temperatures of the Siberian climate. However, this undercoat has a dual purpose and also helps the dog in summer. Its density acts as an insulator, meaning it retains warmth in winter and deflects heat in the summer. While an incredible protection system, it is also in a delicate balance. Disturbing this balance can be detrimental to the animal.
- Guard hair: the second layer of a Siberian Husky's coat is their overcoat made up of coarse guard hair. While smooth and pleasant to the touch, the guard hair is coarser and longer than the downy undercoat. The Siberian Husky has a medium-length coat, represented by these guard hairs. This hair protects against physical elements and provides much of the distinct coloration.
Many guardians discover that their Siberian Husky becomes very obsessed with personal grooming. They don't like to be dirty and this raises many questions about caring for their coat.
How often should we bathe a Siberian Husky?
The type of hair a dog has will affect how often they will need to bathe, but it is not the only thing to consider. The frequency of cleaning any dog will depend on how best to maintain the health of their coat. An important factor is related to the natural protective oils which appear on the skin of the dog. Bathing them too often can remove these oils and the dog loses natural protection and conditioners which help to keep the coat, and by extension the rest of the dog, healthy.
To bathe a Siberian Husky we need to look at the specific needs of the breed and of the individual dog:
- If your dog frequently becomes excessively dirty, you do not necessarily need to bathe them each time. We can use cleaning wipes or dog-friendly dry shampoo which removes cosmetic dirt, but maintains the protective oils of the dog's skin.
- With dogs which do not regularly get dirty, you will need to bathe them, but only every 1.5 to 2 months. The minimum time you should wait between bathing a Siberian husky is 7 to 10 days. This will depend on the quality and state of the coat, something you can discuss with your veterinarian if necessary. It is important to remember that Siberian Huskies do not usually smell strongly, so odor is not a good indicator of cleanliness.
- For show dogs, it is common to bathe a Siberian Husky before the event.
Shampoo for a Siberian Husky
Only bathe your dog with a shampoo specific for dogs. The reason for this is to do with the pH levels of a dog's skin which are different to those of humans. The ideal shampoo to use is one recommended by your veterinarian. They will be able to assess the individual dog's health and the state of their coat. Afterwards, they can recommend a shampoo which best suits their needs. If this is not possible, a Siberian Husky-specific shampoo is best, ideally one which is anti-allergy.
You should not let your Siberian Husky's hair dry on its own. Leaving their fur wet can promote certain bacteria and even fungal infections. Use a hair dryer when feasible to reduce drying time.
How to brush a Siberian Husky's coat
A Siberian Husky requires regular coat care, as any dog with hair will need. You can take a look at our article on how to brush a dog's hair for some general tips. Brushing a dog's hair is important as it removes dead hair which can accumulate and promote disease. We also untangle knots and allows us to monitor the dog for issues such as parasites, wounds or skin disease. Brushing our dog's coat also allows us an opportunity to bond.
Dogs will molt their fur twice a year during the shedding season. This usually takes place twice a year, but how much a dog sheds will also depend on the individual. Siberian Huskies will have two major molts a year, but most will shed throughout the year in lesser amounts. Some Huskies may only shed their undercoat once a year.
There are many different types of dog brushes on the market, but the three most important for Siberian Huskies are:
- Rake brushes
- Slicker brushes
These brushes are used for different aspects of a dog's coat. Some dogs may only require one brush to meet all of their grooming needs, others will need more than one at different times. For a Siberian Husky, you should start by using the comb to ensure there are no tangles and to condition the coat for the rest of the brushing.
The rake brush has heavy metal teeth which are effective for removing a lot of the dead hair which accumulates on the dog's body. If you look at the main picture of this article, you can see how much hair might be removed from a Siberian Husky.
The shedding season is the period when the most dead hair will accumulate, resulting in something known as the ‘blow’. There is so much hair needing removed that we may need to use another tool. In these cases, a shedding blade might be useful as a fast and effective way to remove the dead hair from the Husky's coat.
How often do you need to brush a Siberian Husky?
With the majority of dogs, we will need to brush them a minimum of once a week. This will help remove dead hair, keep the coat in condition and ensure there are no issues which may affect the dog's health. For a Siberian Husky, this will need to be performed at least three times a week. Some guardians even brush their dog daily so they can stay on top of their care.
When a Siberian Husky's dead hair is removed, you will be able to see a lot of dead hair on the ground. For this reason you should not do it on carpet. Ideally, you should have a plastic sheet down to easily collect the hair afterwards.
Shedding of the Siberian Husky
As we have stated above, the shedding season in Siberian Huskies occurs twice a year for most dogs. The time of year usually coincides with the change in season. The first shedding usually occurs when spring turns to summer, the second when autumn turns to winter. However, there may be some deviation from this depending on whether the dog is male or female. This is because females will often shed when they come into heat, something which also happens twice a year.
When the Husky is shedding, they should be brushed daily. Otherwise, the amount of hair will become problematic and they will leave it all over furnishings. It is best to think ahead and time the dog's bathing with the end of these seasons. You can tell when the shedding season is ending because less hair will be removed when brushing. This is a good time to bathe the dog and recondition the hair.
Can you cut a Siberian Huskies hair?
This article posits whether we should cut a Siberian Husky's coat. Many guardians think that it is a good idea to cut a Siberian Husky's hair in the summer to stop them form overheating. However, as we have mentioned previously, the Husky is actually surprisingly well-suited to temperate climates, despite being able to survive in very low-temperatures.
Guard hair also helps to reflect away the heat in summer, so even trimming the dog's hair is not wise. Although natural shedding in the Siberian Husky allows some of this hair to fall away, how much will depend on different circumstances. The heat of a climate will affect the dog and how much they will shed, so cutting a Siberian Husky's hair is unnecessary.
Can I shave a Siberian Husky?
While giving a Siberian Husky a haircut is not recommended, shaving a Siberian Husky is a particularly bad idea. The main reason for this is due to the undercoat. If we shave a Siberian Husk's undercoat, we seriously affect the dog's ability to regulate their temperature. One of the ways the undercoat regulates the dog's temperature is because the individual hairs are hollow. This allows them to trap air an insulate then both in winter and summer.
Shaving a Siberian Husky will also make them much more vulnerable to the sun's UV rays. The Husky does not have much pigmentation in the skin, making them vulnerable to sunburn and related cancers.
Also, when you shave the coat of a Siberian Husky, it will be very difficult for them to grow back properly. The undercoat and guard hairs can blend improperly. Upsetting the balance of the dog's coat is unnecessary and potentially harmful. The only time is should happen is when it is a medical necessity.
Since the quality of a dog's coat is indicative of their health, we should feed with food which results in a beautiful coat. Omega-3 and omega-6 rich food for dogs is a great way to help their coat look bright, shiny and healthy.
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