We have cared for two Siberian huskies, Zarya and Luna, multiple times while house sitting in Mudjimba, on the beautiful Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia. They are gorgeous, sweet-natured girls and Luna, in particular, loves to “sing”.
Next time we meet them we’ll tell them all about their Alaskan husky cousins in Finland and let them know they have to toughen up.
This is not to say these girls are not strong. They can be prone to sudden bursts of energy when they see a magpie on the path in front of them. They can take off without warning, usually taking you with them for a few steps until you regain control of their leads.
Queensland, in Australia’s north-east, is tropical in parts and probably the last place you’d expect to find huskies. Zarya and Luna’s double fur coats regulate their temperature in the cold and the heat but there’s no doubt that their energy levels are higher in cooler weather. We have looked after them in summer and winter and they are much more energetic in winter.
In the summer, their idea of a big day out is a leisurely walk on the beach. After that, all they want to do is eat, sleep and occasionally harass Ralphie, the orange cat who also lives at the house.
In the winter they love to chase each other around the yard and go for longer, more energetic walks.
Zarya and Luna are much loved by their humans, Colleen and Ian, so they are groomed regularly and often have their coats thinned. But they still dig holes, classic husky behaviour, in the manicured lawn so they can lie down in the cool earth. They love to splash around in their wading pool, too. If tidy lawns and gardens are your thing huskies are probably not for you.
The husky character
Huskies and the prey instinct
Huskies love to chase things, unfortunately for their housemate Ralphie. Luckily Ralphie is accomplished at managing the huskies’ prey drive. He jumps on high cupboards, fences, or bench tops and every so often gives the girls a swipe across the nose.
High energy and exercise needs
Siberian huskies are known for their high energy levels and require a significant amount of exercise and mental stimulation. As a pet sitter, you may need to spend more time engaging in physical activities with the huskies, such as walking or running, playing fetch, or providing other forms of stimulation to keep them entertained and prevent boredom. If you are not able to meet their exercise needs, Huskies may become restless, anxious, or exhibit destructive behaviour.
Siberian huskies are notorious for their Houdini tendencies. Their strong prey drive and high level of curiosity can lead them to try to escape from enclosures, yards or even homes. As a pet sitter, you may need to be extra vigilant in ensuring that the huskies are safely contained and secured at all times. Escaping could result in accidents, injuries or getting lost.
Siberian huskies have a thick double coat that requires regular grooming to keep it clean and free from matting. They are also known to shed heavily, especially during certain times of the year when they “blow” their coats. As a pet sitter, you may need to spend time grooming the huskies, including brushing their coats and possibly dealing with shedding, to keep their fur in good condition. This can be time-consuming and may require extra effort, particularly if you are not used to dealing with heavy shedding. Zarya and Luna spend considerable time indoors, so we also have to vacuum every alternate day.
Siberian huskies are intelligent, but known for their independent and stubborn nature. They may not always respond well to commands or training. As a pet sitter, you may need to be patient and persistent in training efforts, and understand that huskies may not always be obedient or easily controlled.
Like all dog breeds, Siberian huskies can be prone to certain health issues, such as hip dysplasia, eye problems, and skin conditions. As a pet sitter, you should be aware of these potential health issues and take appropriate precautions, such as providing any necessary medications, monitoring for signs of discomfort or illness, and coordinating with the owners or a veterinarian if any health issues arise.
Siberian huskies are social animals that require attention, interaction and companionship. As a pet sitter, you may have to invest a significant amount of time in caring for and interacting with the huskies to meet their social needs, which could be challenging if you have a busy schedule or other commitments.
Siberian huskies are beautiful and intelligent dogs. Caring for them may come with challenges such as their high energy levels, escaping tendencies, grooming requirements, independent nature, cold/warm weather adaptation, potential health issues, and time commitment. It’s important to try to thoroughly understand them and their specific needs before taking on the responsibility of pet sitting . And that goes for Siberian huskies or any other breed.