Scintillating Siberians!, – By Dr Lochana Baney
Siberian Huskies have a thick, straight, smooth and medium length double coat. They have a soft woolly undercoat with a layer of outer coat that grows through the undercoat. The undercoat acts as an insulating layer. Their coats are available in all colours with shading from white to black. Specific techniques are needed when grooming your Siberian Husky because of his double-coat and shedding patterns, which aggravate due to humid and warm climatic conditions in India. But regular grooming can go a long way in keeping him healthy.
As soon as you get your puppy, start using a brush and comb to get him used to grooming without getting frightened. Most dogs love to have their head and back groomed, but will not tolerate the tail being touched. So, start early so that he will love all the attention during grooming sessions. Grooming your husky has many advantages. It will help you to bond and allow you to check for lumps, parasites, ear problems, etc. It will make visits to the vet or a professional grooming place simpler.
Typically, Siberian Huskies blow their undercoats twice a year, that is, they shed their undercoats completely. A new guard coat grows out and this pushes the undercoat, which is called blowing the coat. During this time the dog will shed profusely. The hair loss maybe in large clumps and can be seen hanging loose from the body.
In excessively warm and humid climates, the shedding will be worse. Thus by maintaining a regular grooming pattern, continuous shedding can be minimised. No trimming or shaving is required or recommended. A healthy coat not only keeps them warm in winters but also cool in summers. Thus regular brushing will remove dead hair, clean the skin of debris and increase circulation, thereby keeping the coat fresh, shiny and healthy.
Right tools and techniques for brushing
Two main tools used for brushing the coat of a Husky and getting rid of matts and dead hair are a dematting tool and a long toothed comb. The comb should have long, rounded teeth, which are long enough to reach the skin through the coat. This is especially useful to comb out the dead undercoat which is usually close to the skin. Be careful to target every part of the dog’s body. It is usually easier to brush the head and back. Target the rump, tail, neck and the undercarriage too. If not removed, some of the dead coat may not come out on its own. Thorough brushing will get the entire dead coat out and will help new soft fur to grow back, which is healthy.
Brushing during the heavy shedding weeks is tough, tedious and time consuming. It may take about half to one hour everyday for two weeks to get all the loose fur out. It is advisable to target the topcoat as well, after the undercoat is out. No brush or comb can do as good a job as your fingers. It is advisable to intermittently seek the help of a professional groomer who has a sound knowledge of the correct grooming methods, for optimal comfort of your dog.
NEVER shave your Siberian Husky
Dogs do not sweat like humans to keep themselves cool. Their body temperatures are regulated by panting and sweating through their feet pads. Thus shaving off the coat will do nothing towards keeping your dog cool! It’s merely a myth and just makes the pet parent feel better looking at the dog. Harmful effects of shaving are:
- Exposure to harmful UV rays and chances of sunburns and sometimes skin cancer.
- Overheating and chances of a heatstroke. The top coat helps in keeping the body cool as well.
- Direct exposure to insects, bramble and harmful chemicals.
- Shaving will eventually ruin the coat and disturb the normal shedding patterns.
Right bathing tips
Dr Lochana Baney
By nature a Siberian Husky is fastidiously clean and typically free from body odour. Bathing too often is not necessary. Once a month in warm weather is advisable, along with regular brushing. In the cooler months this can be further reduced as the double coat is very thick and takes a long time to soak down to the skin.
Bathing is best achieved after a thorough brushing to remove all dead hair. Use a mild shampoo meant for this kind of coat. Always use an appropriate conditioner to help restore the oil and moisture content of the skin. Use only lukewarm to cold water to bathe him. Dry the coat thoroughly with a high velocity dryer using only cool air. A fair quantity of brushing maybe needed even after drying to further remove the dead hair dislodged during the bath.
Trim the nails
The Husky is an active dog and if there is enough exposure to the pavement or a like hard surface, they do not require trimming their nails so often. But if nails are overgrown, they can affect the placement of the dog’s feet and thus the gait.
Groom your Siberian Husky ’cause he deserves it!!!
Quick facts on Siberian Husky
- Origin: North-Eastern Siberia
- Striking feature: Medium sized, compact, powerful body with a smooth effortless motion; ears are triangular, erect and rounded; eyes are almondshaped.
- Working breed: Used to pull heavy loads through long distances under difficult conditions.
- Kudos: They can travel up to 80 km a day.
(Dr Lochana Baney runs Gordon – Just FUR Dogs in Pune. This pet corner provides individualised enhancement of the pet’s skin and coat, according to the dog’s breed, physical condition and age, following international standards. Gordon is voted for the best dog shop in Germany and is now open in India at Pune. Dr Lochana can be contacted at: 020-2680 6881).