It’s happened to every husky owner at least once– You’re all dressed up and ready to leave the house, then you look down and realize your favorite shirt is covered in dog hair! Or maybe you’re about to have company over and realize your friends will be swimming in fur. The sheer amount of fur that can come off of one husky is as frustrating as it is baffling.
At some point or another, most husky owners have looked at all the fur around their house and thought: is this normal? Why does my husky shed so much?
Huskies shed so much because of their fluffy double coat, which drops seasonally as well as year-round. This shed fur is also more noticeable due to being medium-length, thick, and light in color. Excessive shedding may also be the result of medical issues such as fleas, infections, anxiety, and hormonal disorders.
We’ll go over the major reasons huskies shed so much as well as some causes for excessive hair loss. Finally, we’ll discuss a few ways to handle a husky’s shedding.
Reasons Huskies Normally Shed A Lot
Huskies are famous for their fluffy coats and ability to thrive in cold weather. Unfortunately, many of the traits that create their beautiful, cold-resistant fur are also major causes for why they shed so much noticeable fur. Huskies shed a lot due to their fur type, and their fur is especially troublesome due to its texture and color.
They Have A Double Coat
As with many other frequently shedding breeds (including rotties!) huskies have a double coat. As its name would suggest, a double coat is one which features two types of fur, guard hairs and an undercoat. A husky’s undercoat is the dense, downy fur that is close to their skin, and guard hairs are the shiny and sleek hairs that lay on top and protect the dog from dirt and water.
This combination of fur types makes for an amazing temperature regulation system! In cold weather, the double coat is able to keep warm, insulated air against your dog’s fur and protect it from windchill. In warm weather, guard hairs help block out sunlight to keep your dog’s skin safe and keep cool air circulating through.
A husky’s double coat sheds throughout the year, but twice a year huskies “blow out” their coat. This refers to the seasonal process where a husky sheds its undercoat in large clumps. During this time period, your husky will shed and regrow copious amounts of fur.
They Have Medium-Length, Thick Fur
Double coats do a good job at keeping dogs insulated, but being bred to live in the arctic requires another layer of warmth. On top of having a double coat, huskies are particularly resistant to cold weather due to how long and thick their fur is.
Having medium-length and thick fur doesn’t actually make your husky shed any more than other double-coated dogs, but it certainly makes these hairs more noticeable. After all, are you going to spot a tuft of chocolate lab fur at a distance or a mound of white husky fluff?
They Have Light-Colored Fur
Huskies come in a variety of colors, but most standard colors feature plenty of grays and whites. Additionally, a dog’s undercoat is usually lighter in color than their main coat, so even a darker husky can drop nearly white hair. As with texture, fur color doesn’t actually have any impact on a dog’s shedding tendencies, but it does make them more prominent. It’s a lot easier to see the light whites and grays on most fabrics and materials than more neutral or dark colors.
Other Reasons Your Husky May Shed A Lot
As we’ve covered, it’s normal for a husky to leave a lot of fur laying around the house. Unfortunately, there are many reasons a dog may start shedding excessively or even develop alopecia (substantial hair loss). If your husky is losing an atypical amount of hair, several disorders may be the cause, such as those listed below.
Many dogs have allergies to all sorts of things, just like humans. Food allergies are surprisingly common in the canine world, as are contact allergies and seasonal allergies. But while humans typically experience a runny nose and sneezing as their primary symptoms, one of the most prominent results of canine allergies is skin irritation.
While coming in contact with an allergen may cause hair loss on its own, most hair loss associated with allergies is due to the excessive scratching, licking, and biting of itchy areas and dry skin. If you notice your husky scratching a lot and if you can see visible flakes in their fur, allergies may be the cause.
If there’s one word that owners of long-haired breeds dread, it’s fleas. Although fleas aren’t more likely to dwell in the fur of fluffy breeds than those of single-coated dogs, manually finding or removing fleas from a dog with a double coat can be excruciatingly difficult for everyone involved.
Flea infestations are itchy and uncomfortable for your dog, so excessive biting and scratching can quickly lead to alopecia. Worse, many dogs are allergic to flea bites, leading to plenty of fur on the floor and a miserable husky. If you notice bald spots or see your dog frequently biting at the “flea triangle,” (the region from the middle of a dog’s back, to the base of their tail, to their backs of their paws,) fleas are an especially likely possibility.
Allergies and fleas aren’t the only causes of itchy skin and hair loss- dogs can fall victim to a variety of infections and diseases of the skin. Bacterial infections, fungal infections, and even parasites such as ringworm can all lead to excessive hair loss and patchy fur. These infections are often contagious to other dogs and even humans, so catching and treating them early on is key.
As with any other mammal, dogs have a variety of hormones that regulate countless bodily processes and functions. There are many diseases and disorders that can cause these hormone systems to go awry, and many of them result in the thinning or loss of fur. Hypothyroidism, Cushing’s Disease, and abnormalities in reproductive hormones such as estrogen and testosterone are all common hormonal disorders that may cause your husky to drop more fur than normal.
You may think a dog has a life free of worries, but you’d be wrong– over 70% of pups experience signs of anxiety. Canine anxiety can be caused by a variety of things such as situational factors (like storms, strange dogs, or fireworks,) separation anxiety, changes in environment, or anxiety disorders.
If your husky experiences anxiety for a prolonged amount of time, stress hormones such as cortisol may disrupt their fur growth cycles and lead to hair loss. If your dog’s abnormal shedding is accompanied by whining, excessive licking, destructive behaviors, panting when not hot, or wide eyes, it may be time to look into anxiety as a potential cause.
Of course, there is a difference between anxiety and a husky’s usual dramatic behavior so make sure you know the difference before jumping to any conclusions!
With the exception of a few picky pups, many dogs will eat just about anything remotely edible in front of them. Despite this, dogs have very specific dietary needs and feeding them an incorrect diet can easily occur if you aren’t careful.
One issue dogs face is that their food contains a common allergen they are reacting to. Ingredients like milk, beef, chicken, wheat, and soy are all incredibly common ingredients in dog food as well as some of the most common foods dogs are allergic to. If your husky’s fur changed right after starting a new type of chow, this is a strong possibility.
Even if your dog isn’t allergic to their food, it may just be lacking in the nutrients needed to produce healthy, sleek fur. Adding supplements or better yet, switching over to a higher quality dog food can do wonders for your dog’s coat. Ingredients such as omega oils as found in flax seeds and fish oil, or gentle grains like oats can do wonders for a dog’s health, inside and out.
If you suspect your dog’s diet is lacking in nutrients, take a look at the ingredients or better yet, consult your vet.
What To Do About A Husky’s Shedding
Now that you have an idea of why your husky is shedding so much, you may be wondering what to do about it. Shaving your husky’s coat is NOT the way to go, but there are luckily some practices and items that can help you keep your house free of fur.
Keep up with Regular Brushing and Grooming
I know many of you out there aren’t looking forward to brushing your dog– and trust me, I get it. Huskies have a way of convincing you that getting brushed is the worst thing in the world! That said, the only real way to prevent shedding all over the house is to brush their fur.
Not only does regular brushing help keep fur off your floor, but it keeps your husky’s coat functioning like it should. If a husky’s coat does not get brushed when it is blowing out, dead fur can accumulate in their undercoat, resulting in impaired temperature regulation and overheating.
Having the right brush for the job is also useful for fast, efficient grooming and as little pain as possible. I personally use this slicker brush due to how well it reaches my husky’s undercoat and how convenient it is to clean, but an undercoat rake can also do the trick.
Invest in a Nice Vacuum
Sweeping up dog fur by hand can take all day, and even then the results aren’t usually the best. A quality vacuum designed to pick up fur like this may be a bit of an investment, but boy does it pay off! Make sure to have a hose attachment for furballs hiding underneath the couch! Of course, if you’re willing to spend a little bit extra to keep your house extra spotless at no effort to you, a robot vacuum can also be nice to have on hand.
Get a Lint Roller
There are some surfaces that vacuums can’t clean no matter how good of a vacuum you have, which is where lint rollers come in.
A traditional lint roller works well enough for small surfaces like your jeans, but if you hate messing with the sticky tape like I do, let me be the first to tell you that this roller works amazingly for furniture in my experience.
Either way, a lint roller is always a great tool for your fur-fighting arsenal.
Get Fur Covers
If lint rolling isn’t your style, one easy way to keep fur off of your furniture is to simply ban your dog from dozing on the couch. Unfortunately, the average husky will break the rules from time to time, especially if you aren’t looking. And even if your husky doesn’t directly go on the furniture, stray hairballs often have a way of inviting themselves onto any type of surface.
Whether or not you allow your husky to go on your furniture covers for your bed or couch make it easier to clean fur off without the awkwardness of digging through cushions or manually going over your entire bed with a lint roller.
Take Your Dog to the Vet if Necessary
Huskies naturally shed a lot, but as we’ve mentioned above, several disorders can make it excessive. If you suspect your dog is shedding an abnormal amount of hair or if you can see visible bald spots, a vet visit can help diagnose or eliminate potential causes. Additionally, a vet can help you figure out a proper diet for your husky and offer some preventative measures for fleas and other pests.
As a husky owner, you can always expect your dog to shed throughout the year due to their coat type, color, and length. That said, if your husky is losing an unusual amount of fur, you may want to take a closer look at the cause. Luckily, normal shedding can be easily managed with brushing and a quality vacuum.
If you’re someone that likes having two dogs at home, it may also be a good idea to consider a companion for your husky that isn’t as prone to shedding in to order to spare your furniture!