Not sure how often you should bathe your husky? Some people think that huskies should be bathed frequently due to their long coats, but this is not the case.
Huskies don’t need to be bathed very often at all as they will keep themselves clean and look after their coats by themselves. A few times per year when necessary is enough, and overbathing will cause more problems than it will fix, so it should be avoided.
In this guide, I’ll break down the problems that overbathing can cause, how to bathe your husky properly when you need to and more. Let’s get into it.
- Why Huskies Shouldn’t Be Bathed Often
- Don’t Neglect Grooming
- How To Tell When Your Husky Is Ready To Be Bathed
- What Type Of Shampoo Should You Use To Bath A Husky?
- Tips For Bathing A Husky At Home (Step By Step)
- Can You Bathe A Husky In The Shower?
- Taking Your Husky To The Groomers
Why Huskies Shouldn’t Be Bathed Often
Huskies shouldn’t be bathed often for two main reasons – they are naturally very hygienic, and frequent bathing can remove natural oils from their skin and coat.
Huskies Clean Themselves
Huskies are quite similar to cats in that they will look after their coats themselves. Yep, you heard that right – huskies are one of the very few dogs that actually look after their own coats.
Bathing just isn’t something that is needed unless they have become too dirty to clean themselves, which is quite easy to spot.
Removes Oils And Damages Hair
Frequent bathing, even with a neutral shampoo, can strip the oils from the skin and coat of your husky. These natural oils prevent dirt in the first place and keep the skin and coat in good condition, which is why huskies’ fur is often referred to as ‘self-cleaning‘.
This will dry out the top coat and thin the hair. It can also cause problems for your husky’s skin as well, such as dryness and itchiness. Over time these problems will only get worse.
Don’t Neglect Grooming
Just because huskies don’t need to be bathed often, it doesn’t mean that they don’t need to be groomed either.
Grooming is an essential part of owning a husky, and you should look to brush their coat quickly once per day. When they are blowing coat you may even need to groom them thoroughly more than once per day.
Daily grooming also helps you to stay on top of any problems such as fleas or dry skin.
How To Tell When Your Husky Is Ready To Be Bathed
It’s important to know when your husky needs to be bathed to prevent issues related to overbathing, luckily it should be very easy to know when they are ready.
A strong odor is a sign that they are unable to remove whatever is causing the small by themselves and need some assistance.
If your husky is starting to smell then it’s time for them to be bathed.
If your husky likes to roll around in the mud when out on walks then you may need to bathe them to help them get rid of dried mud.
Huskies will try to clean the mud themselves, but if it dries and gets stuck they might struggle.
What Type Of Shampoo Should You Use To Bath A Husky?
All-natural shampoos are best for huskies, and the fewer ingredients the shampoo has the better it will be.
As well as being all-natural, look for shampoos that are made for dogs with sensitive skin as well. These types of shampoo avoid harsh chemicals that can strip the oil away from the skin.
Before choosing any type of shampoo, you should always consult with your vet if your husky has a known allergy.
What Types Of Shampoo Should You Avoid?
Some dog shampoos can be expensive, so oftentimes you find people looking for cheap alternatives around the house.
For a start, human shampoo should never be used for your husky. According to the AKC, human shampoo disrupts the acid mantle leaving your dog vulnerable to parasites, viruses and bacteria.
Another common home remedy is dish soap. Dish soap is designed to cut through oils and grease, which is exactly why you should not use it on your husky.
Dish soap will strip the oil, leaving the skin and fur vulnerable to dirt and creating a host of problems such as dry skin and flakey fur.
Tips For Bathing A Husky At Home (Step By Step)
Bathing a husky can be tricky, so here are a few of the best tips to make the process a little easier.
Grooming before bathing your husky is absolutely crucial.
Starr your grooming with a slicker brush to get into the undercoat and follow up with an undercoat rake. After this, use a grooming comb to remove any remaining loose hairs or tangles. Full details of this process can be found in our guide here.
Get Lots Of Towels Ready
Huskies are notoriously difficult to dry, so you’ll need to get at least 2 or 3 towels to get the job done.
A blow dryer is the best option for drying your husky, but this isn’t really a practical option in most homes as it will make hair go absolutely everywhere.
Use Food As A Distraction
Using food as a distraction is easily the best tip when it comes to bathing your husky.
Peanut butter works great, as well as simple dog treats. Use them to distract your husky from the water and the sound of the bathtub filling up, as this can stress them out especially if they are just being introduced to bathing.
Fill The Bathtub
Filling the bathtub while your husky is in it is the best option for two reasons:
- It stops water splashing everywhere when your husky climbs inside.
- Keeping the water level lower makes it easier to rinse the shampoo (the idea here is to rinse as the bathtub is filling).
Lukewarm to warm water should be used when bathing your husky, but not too hot. If your husky is panting excessively then lower the temperature and consider opening a nearby window to let some cooler air inside.
Hot water will also cause the skin to dry out afterwards, so it is crucial to not let the temperature get too high.
Rinse + Lather Shampoo
Use a large cup or jug to gently pour water over your husky. Try to get all of the fur wet, and then apply a generous amount of an all-natural shampoo (ideally for dogs with sensitive skin) to create a lather.
Rinse the lather out thoroughly using clean water from the tap until it has all rinsed out. For this stage, I like to empty the bathtub and then keep rinsing the shampoo out until it has all been removed, as you may find it difficult to get it out of your huskys’ legs with water in the bottom.
Prepare For The Zoomies
If you’ve never bathed your husky before, or just about any dog for that matter, then you’re in for a treat.
Once your husky has been bathed it’s very common for them to get the zoomies, where they’ll run around like crazy for a couple of minutes. It’s completely normal, and also very fun to watch.
Can You Bathe A Husky In The Shower?
Most showers are not big enough to fit a husky inside, but if you have the space then this can be a great option and potentially better than using a bathtub. Showering makes it easier to rinse the fur through and remove the shampoo lather, and it takes less time overall.
A key problem with using a shower is that the drain may become more easily blocked by the sheer amount of hair. Of course, grooming before will reduce the amount of hair that comes off, but it’s still important to keep in mind.
Taking Your Husky To The Groomers
As you can probably tell, bathing a husky is quite a lot of work, especially if you want to do it properly. It’s also very difficult to find space to bathe them properly in most houses as well.
If you can afford it I would highly recommend finding a local groomer that has experience with the breed. Groomers will have dedicated wet rooms with enough space to properly bathe your husky, as well as the best shampoos already in stock.
If you decide to go down this route here are a couple of tips to ensure it goes as smoothly as possible.
Exercise Your Husky Before
Before you take your husky to be groomed it’s a good idea to go for a long walk or even a run with your husky to use up some of their energy.
They will, understandably, be very nervous to go to the groomer for the first time so exercising them thoroughly beforehand will help to lower their energy levels which should lower anxiety.
If your husky is particularly nervous about new places you can take them to the groomers as a test run. You’ll need to contact your groomers beforehand, but most will happily do this as a way to introduce a dog to the environment before they are groomed.
Once you have permission, take your husky to the groomers and pair being in the parking lot with events that your dog likes, such as treat training. Take them inside and continue with positive reinforcement, letting your husky get used to the sounds of the clippers and dryers.
Choose The Right Groomers
Ultimately once you’ve dropped your husky off it’s all down to the groomers, so it’s crucial to choose the right place.
Pick somewhere that has experience with larger dogs, and ideally somewhere that has groomed huskies before. Huskies can be quite dramatic when being bathed, especially by a stranger, so you’ll need somebody who can handle that.
Stay With The Same Groomer
Once you’ve found a good groomer you should stay with them.
This way, your husky will become used to them and hopefully be less nervous with each visit.
Do Huskies Hate Baths?
Huskies were originally bred by the Chukchi tribe in Siberia, where getting into the water would’ve been a death sentence as their coat would have frozen almost instantly afterwards.
This is the reason why most huskies have some apprehension before getting into any water, bathing included. There will of course be lots of huskies that have grown out of this instinct due to breeding and domestication around the world, but it’s still a very common trait to see amongst huskies.
So, it isn’t like huskies hate to be bathed, but rather they have a natural instinct to avoid water.
Can I Bathe My Husky In Cold Water?
As I mentioned earlier, lukewarm to warm water is the best temperature for bathing your husky.
Although huskies can tolerate cold temperatures, they are not suited for getting wet, especially if the water is cold.
Can You Bathe Husky Puppies?
It’s recommended to wait until a puppy (no matter the breed) is eight weeks old before bathing as they are not able to self-regulate their temperature correctly.
Huskies older than this can be bathed, but keep in mind that they won’t get their adult coat until they are around 1 year old so grooming is essential before bathing, even more so at this age.
Bathing More Often In Winter Or Summer?
The season is irrelevant to how often your husky needs to be bathed.
You should base the frequency on how dirty their fur is getting due to activities outside, or if they are starting to smell. Remember, less is more when it comes to bathing huskies.