Plenty of people complain about their pets shedding, but for husky owners, the amount of fur covering all their clothes and furniture is on a whole different level. Often, the thought of having a fur-free house or leaving the house without being covered in hair may sound like a distant fantasy. But is there really nothing you can do to make a husky stop shedding so much?
Taking steps such as regular brushing, keeping your dog hydrated, and feeding them a balanced diet can significantly reduce the amount your husky is shedding. Due to their coat type, huskies will always shed a little, but there are many techniques and tools to help keep your house mostly fur-free.
We’ll dive into why huskies shed so much, how to reduce the amount of fur laying around your house, and of course, how to stop your husky from shedding so much.
What is a Husky’s Coat Like?
Before we discuss how to make your husky stop shedding so much, it’s important to have a good understanding of what a husky’s coat is like. Your husky’s fur type and length play a significant role in why a husky sheds so much and how to make them stop.
Like other famous fluffy breeds such as German Shepherds, huskies have a double coat. While double coats are found on all the famous sledding breeds, even short-furred breeds such as Rottweilers can have double coats.
As its name would suggest, this refers to a coat that is made up of two components, an undercoat and guard hairs. Chances are, you’ve seen both of these types of fur all over your clothes and furniture! The undercoat is the soft, downy fur close to your husky’s skin that keeps them cool in warm weather and warm in cold weather, and the outer layer is made up of the thick and sleek guard hairs that help block out sun, dirt, and water.
Without both of these components working together, a husky would be unable to spend hours in the snow or stay safe while running around your yard in the summer.
As we’ll cover later on, each of these layers drops at different times of the year, which is one of the major reasons huskies are known to shed so much.
As part of their breed standard, huskies are bred to have thick, medium length fur. This fur comes in a variety of colors and patterns, both within the breed standard and outside of it. Multiple fur lengths are being bred outside of breed standards, such as long-furred wooly coated huskies.
Regardless of your husky’s exact coloring, its lighter-colored undercoat and thick guard hairs all make your husky’s fur incredibly noticeable from afar.
Why is My Husky Shedding So Much?
There are numerous factors that contribute to having husky fur all around the house. In fact, there are so many we wrote a whole article about it! For the most part, it’s normal for huskies to shed a lot. The amount they shed can be significantly worsened due to seasonal changes, but health issues, stress, and even too much bathing can also play a part.
Huskies Normally Shed Heavily
As a breed, huskies are known to drop a lot of fur. In fact, the AKC has ranked huskies a 4 out of 5 in terms of shedding level. That said, much of the reason huskies seem to shed to much is due to their fur itself. With a light color and medium length, husky fur is a lot more visible.
Double coats are pretty amazing. They keep your husky at a nice temperature in cold and warm weather alike, and are just plain beautiful. Unfortunately, double-coats “blow out” seasonally, meaning that twice a year, your dog’s undercoat will come out in clumps and regrow.
During these periods, which can potentially last weeks if you aren’t thoroughly brushing your dog, clumps of undercoat will find their way onto your floor, furniture, and clothes.
Hair loss, known medically as alopecia, is a common symptom of a variety of disorders. Allergies, bacterial infections, fleas, and even ringworms are all reasons a husky will develop irritated, flaking skin. And what else can an itchy husky do but scratch? Many health issues may cause hair loss in and of themselves, but it is very common for dogs to have bald spots as a result of biting, licking, and scratching of “hot spots”.
Worse, the dander and hair that dogs scratch off can attract dust mites, which many dogs are allergic to. It’s easy for dogs with a dust mite allergy to create a vicious cycle of increased hair loss and increased allergies.
Countless bodily processes in your pooch are regulated by a wide variety of hormones, from hunger, to growth, to sleep. As you might expect, when a dog’s hormones are at atypical levels, a variety of issues can result.
Hair loss is a common symptom of many hormonal disorders, such as Cushing’s disease, hypothyroidism, and Addison’s disease. Additionally, reproductive hormones such as estrogen and testosterone can easily become imbalanced in dogs that are not spayed or neutered.
Anxiety is surprisingly common in dogs, and a reactive, social breed like a husky is especially prone to it. As with humans, anxiety and fear causes an increase in a hormone known as adrenaline. The exact cause behind this specific mechanism is unknown, but prolonged periods of elevated adrenaline are known to cause hair loss in dogs.
While they may not have the stress of a job or taxes like us humans, there are still plenty of things that can cause a dog to be stressed. Acute stress is typically the result of temporary unpleasant things such as storms and fireworks, or a scary dog at the park. The chronic stress that leads to hair loss among other things, on the other hand, is caused by persistent stressors such as a new move or unresolved separation anxiety.
Whatever the cause, dealing with your husky’s anxiety is key to maintaining a healthy dog and less hair on the floor.
As mentioned above, allergies can easily cause itchy skin and hair loss. Aside from seasonal allergies, some of the most common things dogs are allergic to are regularly found in their kibble, like beef, wheat, chicken, and soy. Eating these foods will often cause a dog to develop itchy skin as a primary symptom, resulting in a lot of itching.
Aside from allergies, it’s also possible that your dog’s food is lacking in key nutrients required for proper hair and skin growth and maintenance. Major suspects include diets that are lacking in healthy fats, proteins, vitamins, and minerals.
If you suspect your dog’s diet is not sufficient or that they have a food allergy, you should speak with your veterinarian.
Huskies are renowned for their cleanliness and lack of odor, but even the neatest dog needs a bath every now and then. Unfortunately, it’s common for diligent owners to overestimate how often they should bathe their pup, and using too harsh of a shampoo is an easy mistake.
Over-washing and harsh shampoos containing sulfates can strip your husky’s coat of valuable oils, making them brittle and prone to breakage. Often, this is accompanied by flaky or irritated skin. If you suspect this is the cause behind your dog’s fur loss, we have a few tips and shampoo recommendations below to help make this issue a thing of the past.
How Does Husky Shedding Work?
- Anagen phase: During this period, your dog’s fur is rapidly growing.
- Catagen phase: In this period, your dog’s fur growth slows down considerably until it has reached its final length.
- Telogen phase: After reaching full length, your dog’s fur stops growing and “rests” until shedding.
- Exogen phase: During this stage, your dog’s fur is forced out by new growth and sheds.
Differences in the length of these stages help explain why exactly some breeds are famous for shedding while others are not. “Non-shedding” dogs like poodles, for instance, have an anagen phase that lasts years, which is why they need frequent trims.
Dogs like beagles go through their hair growth and shedding stages rapidly, meaning they are constantly shedding small hairs. In the case of your husky, their guard hairs have a prolonged telogen phase and rarely fall out and regrow.
On the other hand, all of their undercoat enters the exogen stage twice a year as the weather changes, which is why they blow out between seasons.
6 Ways to Stop Your Husky from Shedding So Much
Now that you know how and why a husky sheds so much hair, you may be wondering what you can do to help. Luckily, things like brushing or even just keeping your husky hydrated can go a long way in reducing the amount of fur balls you have rolling around.
Regular brushing is key to stopping your husky from shedding so much, but more importantly, keeping a dog’s coat healthy. It’s also a great way to show the love and build a bond with your husky.
Not can you remove the dead fur that would otherwise gather up around the house, but you can also prevent matting and help distribute the oil in your dog’s skin to give their coat a healthy sheen. Plus, keeping your dog’s coat free of dead hair is critical to helping their natural temperature regulation and avoid overheating.
For the majority of the year, brushing your husky’s fur once or twice a week will suffice, but during shedding season, daily brushing is necessary.
There are a variety of brushes that can be used to brush a husky’s fur, but the ability to reach their undercoat is required to be effective. I use this slicker brush, but many individuals and groomers swear by this type of undercoat brush and undercoat rakes. Regardless of which tool you use, consistent brushing is key!
Bathe Your Dog Only as Needed
As far as dog breeds go, huskies are known to be relatively clean and odorless dogs. That said, the occasional bath is necessary if your husky gets into mud or mischief.
However, it’s not always easy to bathe your husky and some huskies will go full drama mode!
As we mentioned above, too frequent bathing or the use of low quality shampoos and conditioners can contribute to dry, brittle hair and lead to fur loss. According to veterinary dermatologist Robert Hilton, bathing your dog is not required unless they have an unpleasant odor or are dirty, which is good news for this water-wary breed!
On the other hand, if your pup has a way of getting into messes, they may need to be cleaned more frequently. Dirt can often be brushed out easily, and if you have to bathe your husky, try to limit it to no more than once a week.
Any time you bathe your dog, a gentle shampoo should be used. Gentle shampoos like this are free of sulfates, the chemical that is especially responsible for stripping your dog’s fur of the oils it needs to stay in peak condition.
Make Sure They Have a Healthy Diet
Many of us think of our dogs as walking trash disposals that will eat anything remotely resembling food, but our pets have surprisingly complicated nutritional needs. A dog’s dietary requirements depend on a variety of things, such as age, breed, and general health.
It’s important to supply your pup with food that is nutritionally sufficient as well as lacking in any ingredients your dog has an allergy to.
A veterinarian or board certified dog nutritionist can help you give your pup a healthy diet and talk about the possibility of using supplements such as fish oil or omega 3.
Reduce Their Stress
As we mentioned above, it’s incredibly common for dogs to develop anxiety. There are a variety of things that can stress out your husky, and sometimes anxiety doesn’t have a specific cause. Getting to the root of your husky’s stress and taking steps to solve it can lessen the amount of fur your husky drops.
Considering the fact that roughly 60% of your dog’s body weight is made up of water, keeping your dog hydrated is incredibly important to their overall health. Among many other things, a poorly hydrated dog will have dry skin, which makes it much easier for their fur to come out.
Keeping water dishes full and readily available helps keep your husky at peak health, including their skin and fur.
Spay or Neuter Them
Spaying or neutering your husky is always recommended.
Outside of avoiding unwanted pups, spaying and neutering dogs has significant benefits, such as decreasing aggressive and roaming behaviors, reducing the likelihood of certain cancers, and overall increasing their life span.
In terms of shedding, spaying and neutering helps your dog avoid hormonal fluctuations that can cause hair loss, bald spots, and plenty of fur on the floor.
How to Reduce Fur Around the House
Doing all of the above can significantly decrease the amount of fur your husky sheds, but it’s impossible to avoid having hair pile up over time. Not only is all this fur unsightly, but it can actually have some negative health effects. The dander found in dog fur can commonly trigger allergies in humans, and the dust mites that thrive on dander can cause irritation to the lungs of you and your pooch.
Invest in A Vacuum and Hair Removal Tools
If there are two lessons to be learned from this article, they’re these: brush your husky regularly and get a nice vacuum cleaner! A vacuum specialized for fur pickup is indispensable for any pet owner, especially husky owners. Specifically, keep your eye out for a bagless vacuum with covered bristles.
This vacuum is an excellent option for everyday cleanup, and I’ve personally used mine for several years. I also enjoy gathering up fur into a neat pile with a silicone broom to help with making vacuuming quick, but a nice vacuum is efficient as is. A robot vacuum is an excellent way to keep your floors effortlessly cleaned as well.
As far as furniture goes, this fur roller does an amazing job with cleaning up fur, and a traditional sticky-tape roller does the trick for clothes. With all these tools handy, your house should be relatively spotless!
Cover Your Furniture
Regardless of whether or not your husky is allowed on your furniture, husky hair will inevitably wind up all over it. Digging between cushions can be a pain, and lint rolling over loose fabrics such as sheets on a bed can be incredibly time-consuming and frustrating.
Buying a few covers for your bed or couch can save you a lot of time and effort in terms of fur clean-up, as well as make your furniture resistant to drool, mud, and whatever other messes your husky will bring in.
Give Them a Hairy Space
Although giving your dog a specific spot to spend time in doesn’t actually help with reducing the amount they shed, having all of their fur concentrated in one area is very convenient.
It may seem impossible to keep a husky in one area for most of the day, and truthfully this social breed is more likely than not to follow you around the house.
But even energetic breeds like huskies spend around 12 hours of the day sleeping. A little spot set aside with a nice dog bed, fluffy blanket, and a few of their best toys can become a favorite resting spot for any dog. That’s a lot of time spent in one area and a lot of fur that isn’t all over your living room.
Use an Air Purifier
An air purifier may not actually help with cleaning visible fur, but it can be incredibly useful in terms of keeping you and your husky healthy.
Although you may only see your husky’s hair on the floor, the dander that comes with shed fur is easily airborne and dust mites are more than happy to chow down on it. Air purifiers with HEPA filters can eliminate 99.7% of airborne particles, including pet dander and dust mites.
How to Know if Your Husky is Shedding Too Much
As we’ve covered throughout this article, it’s normal for huskies to shed surprising amounts of fur. So how much is too much?
Typically speaking, hair loss is considered atypical if there is a massive increase in it out of nowhere (outside of the seasonal changes we’ve mentioned above) or if your husky has bald spots or thin fur. Keeping up with your husky’s grooming and keeping your house clean can help you figure out what’s normal for your dog and let you know when to keep an eye out.
If your dog clearly has bald spots or thinning fur, asking a veterinarian for advice is a solid option.
Do NOT Shave Your Husky
Dealing with husky fur can be very frustrating, especially if you haven’t been brushing your husky regularly. The desire to just shave off all your husky’s fur to save yourself the hassle of cleanup seems like a tempting option to some, but it’s actually a terrible idea.
There are many, many reasons not to shave a husky or other double-coated breed, including poor temperature regulation, easy sunburning, and permanent hair loss.
Although dogs may have health issues that contribute to excessive hair loss, such as hormonal imbalances or allergies, huskies naturally shed. A lot.
If you suspect your husky is shedding excessively, it’s a good idea to examine the potential causes, possibly with a veterinarian. Thankfully, it’s possible to keep normal husky shedding to a reasonable amount with the use of regular brushing and effective cleaning tools.