The Siberian Husky is typically a clean dog and will attempt to take care of itself as best it can. It is one of the few dogs that don’t usually have that ‘doggy smell’ that you encounter when you enter most people’s houses who have dogs. However, sometimes there can be a problem and it will be left up to their owner to find the root cause and fix it.
Why does my Siberian Husky smell bad? Your Husky probably smells because they have some external debris that has become caught in their coat however there can be other sources, such as dental hygiene or from their paws. These issues can usually all be resolved quite easily but you do need to pay attention to these smells to ensure they don’t linger and aren’t a symptom of something more serious.
Possible Sources of the Smell
The first thing you need to do is identify the source of the smell on your Husky. Depending on where the problem area is will dictate what you should do and whether the problem needs professional help.
The Coat of the Husky
Despite the Husky being a clean dog, problems can sometimes occur and you should check this first. Please don’t make the mistake that many people do and immediately bathe them, more on this later but it’s usually not the answer. In fact, it is linked to the first thing you should consider – have you been bathing your Husky too often? This will give you more problems than solutions.
In case you didn’t know the coat of the Siberian Husky consists of two layers. The undercoat is dense and furry and provides a valuable insulation layer against the elements. Protecting this undercoat is the primary coat which consists of guard hairs. These hairs are slightly longer than you find in the undercoat and are designed to form a protective layer against vegetation and also insects coming into contact with the skin. The undercoat will come out in clumps (this is referred to as blowing) once or twice a year and will take 3 to 4 months to re-grow. During this time you need to groom your Husky even more regularly than before to help that undercoat come out.
However, with the Husky’s rather long coat it is possible for it to become knotted. When this happens, stuff from outside can become stuck into their coat. Things like mud, vegetation and even the odd insect or two. All of these things can, and will, start to smell over time.
So, you should groom them and it should be done frequently, ideally every day. This doesn’t just help remove anything that shouldn’t be in their coat but it also removes any hair that has detached but perhaps hasn’t been able to drop out. There are only advantages to grooming your Husky frequently, no negatives. It will prevent a build-up of hair all over your house (where you groom them you will easily be able to clean it up), it will help to bond with them and also it will prevent any foreign objects from getting caught up.
The Husky’s Paws and Toes
The paws and toes of the Siberian Husky may be a bit smelly and this isn’t unique to this breed. The Huskies though seem to have less smelly areas than almost any other dog. Your Husky will have bacteria naturally on their paws and this, combined with them licking them and walking in outside mess can mean things can start to get a little whiffy after a while. Actually, dogs have sweat glands in their feet so if they’ve been on a particularly energetic run or maybe they’ve encountered something (or someone) that has made them a bit nervous, they may start to sweat in these areas more than usual. Whatever it is, over time this bacteria can build up and can start to smell. It is also possible that a yeast infection can develop between their toes.
For the paws and toes of the Husky, they shouldn’t be just made to have a bath to try and clean them up. Clean them gently using special dog-friendly cleansing wipes. I’d really recommend the Glandex Pet Wipes, do click on the link to check out the reviews of this (opens in a new window) – they aren’t expensive and are great to have around the house for when required. Give them a wipe with one of these and you’ll be sorted.
Bad Breath and the Siberian Husky
There could be a few underlying reasons for this:
- Tooth and Gum Disease.
- Stomach related issue or other issue related to their internal organs.
If your Husky has dental problems then bad breath might not be the only symptom. If you see them eating out of one side of their mouth or in obvious discomfort during other times then it may be time to get them checked out. If the smell is related to their teeth and mouth then it may be tartar build-up or alternatively, some food could be trapped between their teeth somewhere. You can try and provide some raw carrots to your Husky as this can sometimes help to dislodge any food. If you’re out of ideas, have a chat with your vet.
There are so many different foods out there it could be that one, in particular, disagrees with them but this does seem to be noticed more by people who feed their Husky tinned food. You could just try and change their diet, perhaps look at kibble and raw food as the latter does seem to be quite popular these days. It seems to be 50/50 how people feel about feeding their Husky raw food, however. Not just the owners though but vets. Some are dead against it yet others promote it, it’s hard to know what’s right. However, if you think it could be related to their diet, try changing to something else.
If you’ve discounted the above then the default action should be to let a professional take a look. There is only so much you can fix so get your vet involved at this point.
Toilet Related Problems
Of course, this is a smell you will probably recognize but especially with a longer coat, like the Husky has, occasionally problems can occur whilst they are going to the toilet. Sometimes, if their poo is a bit runny then it can get caught in their fur and cause it to matt. You might not be able to see this as their fur covers it but you will certainly be able to smell it! Of course, if you are grooming on a daily basis this shouldn’t happen so try and keep on top of that. If their anal area is quite dirty you can clear it yourself using the pet wipes I mentioned earlier. This is quite a tender area so you might need to distract them with a treat whilst cleaning it and try not to rub too hard.
What Can You Do About It?
The best thing you can do to keep on top of health issues is to groom them regularly. This actually serves a couple of purposes. Firstly, grooming the coat will help to keep external debris from it and ensure that it doesn’t get matted. It will also help with the last point and there is less chance of any toilet-related accidents. The next point is that spending time in their close-company will mean that you spot/smell any problems sooner rather than later. The very best treatment is always helped by an early diagnosis so if you can smell that their breath seems a little different from yesterday or you’re sure their paws weren’t so whiffy from last time, you can get on top of things that little bit quicker.
The default course of action should not be to get them to have a bath. This is only recommended once or twice a year with the Siberian Husky and can actually do more harm than good, which leads us very nicely into the next section.
How Often Should I Bathe the Husky?
You should only bathe your Husky once or twice a
So, as I said – the Siberian husky needs only to be bathed once or twice a year. This bathing process will help remove the unwanted fur. You should not bathe your Husky any more than you absolutely need to. The primary coat of the Husky has a glossy feel to it and this helps to protect its skin from water. Bathing your Husky will dry this primary layer out and will remove these protective qualities, leaving the coat dry.
When it does, eventually, come round to bath time – only use top quality products and certainly don’t use a shampoo that is meant for us humans. If you’re looking for a good shampoo, use something natural like this natural oatmeal type shampoo, again – if you’re in any doubt, just click through and check out the reviews. There’s a reason so many people rate it so highly.
Do I Need A Professional Groomer?
As the bathing process only occurs once or twice a year you may want to get someone to do it who knows exactly what they are doing and will ensure it is done correctly. Personally, I would really recommend this as these guys already have the right shampoo, will ensure it’s properly cleaned away afterward and they are thoroughly (and properly) dried. You will find some that will come round your house and others that require you to take your Husky to them. Personally, I prefer the former as your dog will, of course, be in more comfortable, familiar surroundings. However, this will cost more as the groomer will need to come to you.
Are They Acting Normally?
Occasionally and thankfully quite rare, a bad smell associated with your Husky can be a symptom of something more serious. It is unlikely but none the less, owners should be aware and look out for anything that is unusual. If they are showing obvious signs of pain when eating, there’s a chance there could be a problem with their teeth. But other issues may be harder to spot so if you notice a bad smell and other symptoms, don’t dismiss them and assume everything will just be alright. It probably will be but don’t assume this. Make sure they are drinking enough fluids and eating and ensure there are no problems with their toilet behavior.
When Is It Time to Call the Vets?
There are some symptoms that make it quite obvious where the problem is. For instance, with their teeth. There’s not much you’re going to be able to help them with here, assuming it’s not just a bit of food stuck somewhere. So, if you suspect this then you’re going to have to speak to your vets. We all know how horrible it is to have dental problems, it must be a lot worse if you can’t tell anyone about it and are totally reliant on someone else doing something about it! If you don’t believe the problems are related to their dental hygiene or their diet, then it is also worth just giving your vet a call to discuss.
If there’s a problem with excrement stuck to their coat then this is something you will be able to sort out for yourself, however unpleasant it will be. Ensure they are groomed frequently and use the wipes that I mentioned earlier to clean their anal area afterwards. Obviously, if it continues and you suspect they are suffering from diarrhea continually, then this is also a time when you’re best to give you vet a call, describe the symptoms and visit if required.
Hopefully, this article has helped in pointing you to where the problem might be if your Husky has started to smell less pleasant than usual. Sometimes we don’t notice. It will be when someone visits your home and interacts with your dog than they make a comment. After a while, you just get used to the sounds and smells of animals and you start doubting yourself as to whether this is a new smell or something new. The vast majority of smells can easily be dealt with and you should consider yourself lucky that you have a Siberian Husky. They are one of the cleanest, nicest smelling dogs on the planet. Well, usually…
If you’d like to know more about this fantastic breed, then please check out my Complete Guide to the Siberian Husky, which should tell you everything you ever wanted to know!