Why Does My Husky Smell? (8 Key Reasons)

Vet Approved

This article has been fact-checked by Dr. Dilber Hussain, DVM, to ensure we're providing the most up-to-date guidance. READ MORE

If you notice your husky starts to smell bad it can be quite worrying, so we’ve created this article to address all of the concerns you might be having.

Huskies can smell bad for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it can simply be a case of something being caught in their fur, and other times it can be due to a medical issue or poor dental hygiene.

In this guide we’ll take you through the 8 most common reasons why your husky smells, what you can do about it and when you should get in touch with your veterinarian.

8 Reasons Why Your Husky Smells

Here are the 8 most common reasons for your husky smelling bad.

1. Something Caught In Fur

Probably the most common reason for huskies smelling bad is due to something being caught in their fur; such as mud or other dog faeces.

Most of the time huskies will clean themselves but if they get something caught in the fur that is difficult to remove they might not be able to remove it themselves. Over time this can lead to bad smells, particularly in the case of other dog or animal faeces caught in their fur.

This is why grooming and bathing are so important, but more details on that later.

2. Dental Hygiene

A lot of people neglect the dental hygiene of their dogs, but it’s a very common cause of bad breath amongst most dogs including huskies.

If your husky’s teeth aren’t kept clean then bacteria can quickly build up resulting in damage to the teeth and gums and an unpleasant odor as a side effect.

If your husky’s breath starts to smell bad, it can also be a sign of more serious issues relating to stomach health, inflammation in the mouth and several other things (read the list here). If you notice a sudden change in your husky’s breath, get in touch with your veterinarian as soon as possible.

3. Unable To Clean Themselves

Huskies are great at keeping themselves clean, much like cats. As they get older or suffer from mobility issues they can become unable to clean themselves.

If this happens they’ll likely start to smell much quicker than normal as they won’t be able to remove dirt or debris from their fur that they otherwise would. Grooming is essential for huskies, and even more so for huskies that aren’t able to clean themselves.

4. Other Medical Issues

There are a lot of medical issues that can cause a husky to smell bad. For example, yeast infections around the ear that smell sweet and musty or diabetes causing their breath to smell sweet.

Again, if you notice any sudden changes in smell or if there are any other concerning symptoms present then get in touch with your veterinarian.

5. Dirty Paws

Dirt and debris can also get caught in your husky’s paws and be a source of bad odor.

Keeping the fur trimmed on their paws can reduce the chances of this happening.

6. Diarrhea/runny Poop

If your husky has diarrhea or runny poop for any reason it can easily get caught in their fur.

This, obviously, leads to a very strong odor from their behind. If your husky is struggling with a stomach issue you need to keep the area as clean as possible and stick to plain foods and no treats.

7. Anal Sac Disease

Dogs have two anal sacs located on either side of the anus which contains chemicals secreted during bowel movements that act as ‘dog calling cards’.

If these sacs become impacted it can lead to a range of problems and an unpleasant odor. The first symptom of anal sac disease is when a dog drags their rear end along the ground, so if you notice your husky doing this then you need to take a look for any other symptoms and contact your veterinarian.

8. Wetness

Everybody knows that classic ‘wet dog smell’, and it’s a fairly common reason for huskies smelling bad, especially since they have a thick double coat that can be difficult to fully dry.

If you’ve been out in the rain or bathed your husky make sure you dry them out properly or they can start to smell very quickly.

5 Tips To Make Your Husky Smell Good

Here are 5 tips to get your husky smelling fresh again.

1. Regular Grooming

Huskies need to be groomed daily regardless of how they smell to keep their fur in good condition.

It does, of course, help to minimise any odors as grooming helps to remove anything that might be trapped in their fur causing a bad smell. Grooming after exercise is a good idea to keep dirt and debris to a minimum, and you should also check their paws as well.

2. Check The Weather Before Exercise

Huskies require a lot of exercise, so you definitely can’t avoid exercising them if the weather outside is bad.

It is still helpful to check the weather, though. If you know it’s raining heavily you will need to dry your husky before they get inside, otherwise, they will start to develop the ‘wet-dog’ smell quickly.

You can also avoid times when you know the weather is bad or choose a different route (e.g one with less mud).

3. Take Care Of Their Teeth

Taking care of your huskies teeth will not reduce nasty odors, but it will also help to keep your husky happy and pain-free.

There are several dog treats that do a great job at maintaining husky mouth health, and you should also consider brushing your husky’s teeth daily as well.

4. Bathing Your Husky

Bathing can be an effective tool to keep your husky’s coat from smelling bad, but how often should it be done?

You should only bathe your husky a few times per year when it is necessary. If you bathe your husky too often it can remove essential oils from their coat which can lead to long-term problems with their fur.

A good rule of thumb is to bathe your husky when their coat starts to smell and you notice that they aren’t able to clean the source of the smell themselves. For example, if you take your husky for a walk in a muddy field and they get lots of mud caught in their fur they might not be able to remove it themselves.

5. Dog Cologne

If you take your husky to a professional groomer you may notice that they smell incredible afterwards.

This is typically a combination of shampoo and a cologne – or dog deodorizing spray – that is added afterwards to make them smell fresh. I’d like to stress here that using a dog cologne on your husky is not a solution to them smelling bad, but it is an option if you are certain there aren’t any underlying problems.

Dog colognes are specially formulated to not cause any irritation to your husky’s fur, eyes or nose, so they are completely safe to use.

When To Contact A Veterinarian

If a medical reason is causing your husky to smell bad, then you need to get in touch with a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Here are some key signs (source) that a medical problem is causing a smell:

Photo of author

About The Author

Caitlin is the owner and lead writer for The Malamute Mom. She has over 10 years of experience with Alaskan Malamutes and Huskies. She is currently working on getting her PhD in materials science but continues to write for The Malamute Mom in her spare time.

Read More

Leave a comment