Huskies are self-cleaning, but why do they really smell?
Good thing you found this article! Because it answers this question and more.
- 17 real reasons why your Husky smells.
- 7 ways to keep your Husky smelling good.
- A cheap alternative to dry shampoo that’s in your kitchen.
- Why you shouldn’t wash your Husky with water and shampoo when sprayed by a skunk.
- And many more…
Table of contents
Why does my husky smell so bad?
Your Husky smells so bad because they are dirty, or not rinsed and dried properly. Huskies’ double coats can pick up bacteria, plant material, dried poop, and so on. Trapped moisture also leads to a bad smell. Other factors that make them smell are infections, impacted anal sacs, and bad breath.
How to keep your Husky smelling good?
Keep your Husky smelling good by regular brushing, using shampoo, and consulting with a vet. Make sure you wash, rinse, and dry their coats properly. For infections and diseases, consult your vet for proper treatment. You can also use dry shampoo or cornstarch to keep your Husky smelling fresh.
17 reasons why your Husky smells (so bad)
#1: Your Husky is dirty
A dog naturally smells when they’re dirty.
It’s no different with your Siberian Husky. Yes, they are self-cleaning dogs.
But when dirt accumulates, they’re going to smell over time.
Besides, Huskies are very adventurous. They love running, digging, and rolling around.
And when you’re not looking, they might find parts of your yard you didn’t know about. They could be rolling around in muck or mud.
This will get stuck in their coats long enough to kick up a stinky smell.
Not only that.
If your Husky finds the garbage interesting, they could be rifling through it. The awful smell could stick to their fur.
One pet owner shares on a forum that his dog smells when its dead fur builds up. Add to that all the dirt and debris, and you’ve got one smelly dog.
#2: Your Husky rolls in animal poop
Huskies love rolling around. On the tiled floor, the carpet, the grass, and dirt.
They look so goofy when they do it that it makes you laugh.
But not so when they happen to roll in animal poop. They’ll have that smell if the poop hardens on their fur.
You know the distinct smell of animal poop. If you smell it on your Husky, time for some washing.
#3: Dirty paws
A dog’s paw can get really stinky.
It’s one of their body parts that are used all the time.
Paws are constantly on the ground. Who knows what they’re stepping on?
Their paws pick up dirt and debris when walking or running. The same happens when dogs use their paws to scratch themselves.
Not only do they pick up dirt from their fur
They also collect dead skin under their nails.
It’s not often that their paws are inspected thoroughly. Thus, dirt is stuck under their nails or between their toes.
In addition, Huskies frequently lick their paws. Saliva dries on their fur or the surface of their paw pads.
Further, dogs have sweat glands on their paws. When they exercise, or they get nervous, they release more sweat than usual.
All these ‘ingredients’ mix together and make the paws smell.
Remember, dogs have bacteria on their paws. There will be a build-up of this bacteria over time.
That contributes to their paw giving off a strong smell.
#4: Your Husky has bad breath
The stink you get a whiff of could come from your Husky’s mouth.
A Husky’s breath can be slightly smelly and it’s okay. But if it smells so bad it makes you cringe, something’s wrong.
It could be bad breath.
A dog’s mouth is such a small cavern. Yet a lot is going on in there.
Without you knowing, diseases could slowly creep up to the gums and teeth.
A Husky’s bad breath can be the works of several things:
- Gum disease.
- Stomach issues.
- Your Husky’s diet.
- The buildup of tartar and plaque.
- Consumption of foul-smelling food.
Aside from this, periodontal disease is also a cause of bad breath. A lot of dogs are affected to some degree by 2 years of age.
According to this study, the prevalence of this disease in the US is 80%.
The Reader’s Digest added more factors that cause bad breath, including:
- Licking behavior.
- Underlying diseases.
Remember, bad breath might just be the tip of an iceberg. There could be a more serious problem.
In addition, bad breath is only one of many symptoms of dental problems.
It’s time for a checkup if your Husky:
- Is uncomfortable while eating.
- Eats from one side of the mouth.
#5: Your Husky’s food
Sometimes, it’s your Husky’s diet that causes a foul smell.
The kind of food they eat can affect their breath and lead to digestive issues. Both of these produce a foul smell that comes back to your Husky’s mouth.
Some Huskies have sensitive stomachs. Therefore, it may take a few samplings of dog foods to find out what agrees with their stomach.
#6: Skin diseases and infections
Does your Husky scratch themselves to death?
The sound of scratching can be annoying. But more than that, you feel sorry for your poor Husky. Then they’re most likely suffering from skin problems.
Possible causes of skin problems are:
- Underlying conditions.
There are telltale signs to indicate skin problems, such as
- Red or flaky skin.
- Excessive scratching.
- Nibbling around their paws.
- Nibbling on their underbelly.
- Thinning of hair where they always scratch.
Skin infections that smell
Unfortunately, skin infections lead to a foul smell.
Take folliculitis for instance. Folliculitis is characterized by scabs or lesions on the skin, as this study shows.
When your Husky scratches a lesion, it could turn into a smelly wound.
Another skin disease that smells is seborrhea. A dog with seborrhea has flaky skin and oily skin and fur. They suffer from inflammation and itching.
They will smell bad because of the buildup of oil on the skin. The smell is worse than a ‘wet dog’ smell. It is foul or sour.
That’s your first sign that there is a skin infection.
In some cases, infections are worsened by frequent swimming.
That’s because the dense coats take forever to dry. As a result, the skin is always wet.
Note: Here’s another fact. It’s not easy to know if Huskies have boils, sores, or rashes. You really have to part the fur and get to the skin to see for yourself.
#7: Dirty bum
Have you noticed how the hair around your Husky’s bum is longer?
That’s a bad thing sometimes.
What if your Husky has eaten something that disagreed with their stomach?
When they have runny poop, it can get to the hair around the bum.
The smell of poop is unmistakable. If the smell followed you all the way back home, better check under the tail.
#8: Impacted anal sacs
Does your Husky smell like a fish?
Their anal sacs could be the culprit why they smell that way.
All dogs have anal sacs, which are located just inside the anus. These are marking glands.
When your Husky poops, these sacs are squeezed to release an oily, smelly secretion. That’s what gives the poop its scent.
Fun fact: Did you know that this is why dogs smell each other’s butts? They can get a lot of information from that smell.
Okay, so back to the topic. You wouldn’t smell the secretion because it works only when your dog poops.
So if you smell something fishy – and your dog is not pooping – they might have involuntarily squeezed those sacs. The secretion could end up in your Husky’s bum hair.
This involuntary squeezing of the sacs happen in the following situations:
- They’re scared.
- They’re excited.
- Their sacs are full.
- One or both sacs are infected.
If it happens once, no need to worry. But if it happens too many times, the problem could be an infection.
Or a full sac that needs to be expressed.
#9: Not rinsed properly after a bath
Huskies have dense and thick undercoats. So thick it’s gonna take you forever to rinse them.
But rinsing thoroughly is a very important step when bathing your Husky. There is no shortcut here.
If there is shampoo left on the coat, it will smell bad over time. Not only that, but it can also irritate your Husky’s skin.
Here’s a suggestion when giving your Husky a bath:
- Apply shampoo on the dirtiest areas first. Paws, genital areas, and legs.
- Shampoo the head last.
- When rinsing, start at the head.
It’s better this way so that the shampoo can work its magic on the dirtiest areas. And you rinse from the head to avoid irritating your Husky’s eyes.
Note: Use dog shampoo and not human’s. Human shampoo is made to remove extra oils from the scalp. But dogs don’t sweat through their skin. Dog shampoo is especially formulated to remove dirt and not oils.
#10: Yeast infection
A yeast infection often comes with a bad smell.
In dogs, it targets the paws and ears. These are the perfect places for yeast to grow.
Most often, Huskies with yeast infections have allergies to certain foods.
If it’s a yeast infection, you’ll notice the following:
- Nibbling on paws.
- Scratching an ear.
- Irritated or discolored skin.
- A yeasty smell – something like old beer.
#11: Kidney failure
Your Husky’s smelly breath can be due to kidney failure.
If this is the case, their breath smells like urine. It happens because the kidneys fail to remove waste products from their blood.
Kidney failure can be caused by several factors, such as:
- Hereditary problems leading to the decline of kidney function.
#12: Ear infections
Does your Husky smell somewhere around their head? And then they do a lot of head shaking?
Better check their ears for infections.
Usually, your Husky’s ears have good defenses against bacteria that cause infections. But the number of bacteria increases if they have allergies or hormonal imbalance.
This leads to a bad smell. Sometimes it seems as though the whole body smells when in fact it’s just one ear.
#13: Your Husky swims in dirty water
Does your Husky have a funny smell after swimming?
Perhaps they’ve swum in a lake or pool and you’ve noticed a certain smell from them. That’s more likely if they swam in dirty water.
Yes, a Husky’s double coats work wonders in repelling mud, water, and debris. But these also trap organic materials from the water.
They could absorb bacteria, animal/fish waste, plant material, and dirt. If those things remain in their fur as they dry, they will leave a foul odor.
And if your Husky has a skin infection, the odor smells worse.
#14: Not brushed and dried properly
Your Husky will smell if their dense coats are not dried thoroughly.
A pet owner attests to this on a forum. He shares that his Husky has a musty odor.
It happens when the dog has not dried completely after swimming.
Another Husky owner has the same experience. His dog has a rotten smell after a bath.
He consulted with a vet. The vet said that the smell came from the moisture from the undercoat.
Another pet owner attests that if not dried properly, Huskies smell faster.
In addition to wet fur, a dog smells if not brushed. The loose hair traps the water and keeps the fur damp for a long time.
It is highly likely that bacteria, mold, and other nasty elements will grow in there. All that leads to a foul odor assaulting your nose.
#15: Oral cancer
Does your Husky’s breath smell like garbage?
The culprit could be oral cancer. The cancer cells grow on the lining of the mouth or nose.
Bad breath is one of the symptoms. This is due to dead tissue.
This study says that canine acanthomatous ameloblastoma is one of the most common oral tumors in dogs.
Aside from bad breath, other symptoms of oral cancer are:
- Swelling of gums.
- Changes in eating habits.
Does your Husky scratch like crazy?
Do they rub their muzzle against the carpet? Perhaps they lick or chew their paws and abdomen excessively?
Then you’re probably looking at a case of atopy.
Canine atopic dermatitis (CAD) is an allergic skin disease. It is a result of hypersensitivity to common substances.
I’m talking about dust mites, pollens, molds and animal epithelia.
This disease affects 15-30% of the canine population.
In some cases, dogs with CAD have lesions and inflammation of the skin. This leads to the secretion of oil and this produces a musty smell.
This can be worsened by poor diet. Particularly one high in carbohydrates and processed foods.
#17: Sprayed by a skunk
What an unfortunate event if a skunk sprays your Husky.
They’re going to smell so bad because the skunk spray is foul-smelling.
An encounter between your Husky and a skunk is more likely in the warm months. It is during this time that skunks are active.
Skunks are usually out and about around dawn or dusk. But they may also forage for food anytime.
Skunks may establish residence in your garden shed, under the deck, or any crawl space. They’ll stay where they have easy access to food.
Such as your garbage bin or the left-over pet food in food bowls.
Before a skunk sprays, it does other defensive mechanisms. It hisses, stamps its feet, or raises its tail.
Just look at this tiny skunk warning a Husky:
When a skunk has that defensive posture – tail erect and puffed – your Husky better run!
But you know how naughty a Husky can be. If they have no previous encounter with a skunk, your Husky will probably tease it more.
At which point the skunk will unleash hell. Or just a repugnant smell.
If your Husky is a threat to kits, the mother will have no second thoughts about spraying.
When a skunk sprays, the usual target is your dog’s head. If swallowed, your Husky may experience nausea or vomiting.
The spray can also irritate the victim’s eyes.
When your Husky is sprayed, your first response might be to hose them down.
Caution: The smell becomes even more repulsive when your Husky becomes wet.
Read on to find out what you can do when this unfortunate event happens.
7 ways to keep your Husky smelling good
#1: Regular brushing solves a lot of problems
As previously mentioned, Huskies are self-cleaning. Thus, it merits an inspection if they smell.
Did you know that brushing solves a lot of problems listed above? Having a Husky at home means that brushing will be a part of your daily routine.
Especially since Huskies have double coats.
The topcoat can repel dirt, water, and mud. But your Husky needs help with keeping their undercoats clean.
Undercoats are thick and dense as a forest. Whatnots can actually get trapped in there.
If not brushed, those things can form into lumps with the loose hair. And it’s going to smell sooner or later.
What regular brushing does
The following observations are collected from Husky owners:
- Brushing often removes the stinky undercoat.
- Brushing removes muck, dried poop, and burrs.
- Regular brushing keeps the coat clean, thus preventing smell.
- Brushing helps speed up the time it takes for the smell to dissipate.
The must-have tools for brushing
You don’t need a lot of brushes for your Husky. Just get the ones that will keep their fur in good condition.
For the undercoat, invest in an undercoat rake. Such as this Furminator Grooming Rake.
It gets deep into the undercoat to remove loose hair without disturbing the topcoat.
A slicker brush is another must-have tool. It effectively removes knots, tangles, and mats.
This Glendan slicker brush is one of the most popular on Amazon. You can get a lot of fur in a few minutes of brushing.
Plus, the brush won’t hurt your dog as the ends are covered in massaging particles.
A slicker brush also encourages blood circulation. And it distributes your Husky’s natural oils to keep their coat soft and shiny.
#2: Ask the vet
At times, it’s beyond your powers to solve your Husky’s smelly problem.
In that case, visit your vet. They’re the ones you need to consult with if the foul smell stems from:
- Diet or food.
- Kidney failure.
- Ear infections.
- Yeast infection.
- Impacted anal sacs.
- Bad breath or oral cancer.
- Skin diseases and infections.
Warning: For the love of your Husky, refrain from self-medicating. Antibiotics are not meant to be given to your dog without your vet’s approval.
Besides, your vet needs to check your Husky personally. One thing could be caused by something more serious. Like an underlying condition.
#3: Keep your Husky’s choppers clean
A dog’s mouth doesn’t get regular inspection.
Most often, the problem has already progressed at the time of inspection.
But dental and gum problems can be avoided by improving dental health.
Brush your dog’s teeth at least 3 times a week
Your Husky may hate it at first. Get them used to it by starting early on.
But some Huskies take to brushing teeth the first time. Watch K’eyush getting his choppers brushed by his mum:
Give your Husky dental bones and chews
Like Dentastix for example. Chewing one stick a day helps to reduce plaque and tartar buildup.
#4: Clean paws when needed
It is normal for a Husky’s paws to smell a bit.
- Dogs sweat through their paws.
- They have bacteria on their paws.
- Dogs lick their paws on a regular basis.
- They walk or run outside where they step on dirt and even animal poop.
All these factors add up to make the paws smell.
In some cases, it could lead to a yeast infection between the toes.
Keep it from happening by doing the following suggestions:
- Wipe the paws with dog-friendly wipes. Try Pogi’s deodorizing wipes. It’s hypoallergenic and unscented. Use it every time you get home from outside.
- Wash your Husky’s paws with water and shampoo if they step on something foul-smelling. Dry the paws thoroughly after washing.
#5: Use the right shampoo
Huskies don’t need frequent baths.
Frequent baths can dry their skin and strip it of natural oils that keep their coat healthy.
A lot of Husky owners share that they bathe their Huskies once or twice a year. Particularly when their Huskies blow their coats.
Aside from this once or twice a year, they bathe their Husky when their dog smells.
Shampoos are not made equal. Use the right one according to your Husky’s needs.
When it comes to scents, it’s the owner’s preference.
Of course, shampoo is not all about the fragrance. You’ll want something that gets the job done: clean your dog’s fur and leave them refreshed after a bath.
You might consider getting Oliver’s Choice. It will leave your Husky’s coat soft and shiny. Plus it leaves an amazing smell on your pooch.
For yeast or skin infections, the vet will recommend a medicated shampoo. This has antibacterial/antifungal properties that help remove the smell from your dog.
A Husky owner shares that it was what she had used for her Husky. In addition, she rinsed her dog with half water, half apple cider vinegar mixture.
Many dog owners are singing praises for apple cider vinegar. They say that it can help relieve itchy skin. And that it can help remove foul smell.
But just to be on the safe side. Ask your vet if it’s safe for your dog’s skin or fur.
#6: Use dry shampoo or cornstarch
For days when your Husky smells, dry shampoo comes to the rescue.
Dry shampoo is in powder form. You sprinkle it on your dog’s coat and rub it in.
What’s good about dry shampoo is that it helps dry out any moisture.
If there’s no dry shampoo around, a good alternative is corn starch. Rub an appropriate amount into your Husky’s coat.
Aside from drying out moisture, it absorbs excess oils and dirt.
Note: Do this outside as it can get messy.
#7: For a skunk spray
So the unthinkable happens and your Husky gets sprayed by a skunk!
There are commercial products to neutralize skunk spray. But what if it happens at an hour when clinics are closed?
You can’t just let your Husky roam around the house, spreading the smell everywhere. And you can’t leave them outside the house, either.
Good thing there is a homemade recipe that works!
Here are two important things to remember first:
- A skunk’s spray is a yellow oil. Break down the oils first to easily wash it off the fur.
- Change the chemical structure of the spray to neutralize the odor.
Use a combination of:
- 1 part baking soda.
- 3-4 parts of hydrogen peroxide.
- A teaspoon of dish detergent.
The dish detergent breaks down the oils. The baking soda and peroxide change the chemical structure to neutralize odor.
Note: For maximum effect, use a ‘fresh’ solution, meaning the solution is still bubbling.
Apply this solution to the sprayed areas.
Warning: Do not use the solution containing peroxide near the eyes. And be careful when using the solution near the mouth.
As soon as you can, buy a commercial product. If used properly, you won’t smell the skunk spray every time your Husky gets wet.