Caring for your Alaskan Malamute
HIP DYSPLASIA IN MALAMUTES
Hip problems are unpredictable in all large dogs, and any of them (regardless of breed) may begin to show some signs of difficulties as they get into their older years. It is a known fact that genetics are not the only cause for hip problems. Food, environment, and activity also play a roll in this factor. It is well known and documented, and there is still much controversy about its mode of inheritance and the effect
that the environment has on this crippling disease.
*The Alaskan Malamute is a double coated breed. This coat consists of a woolly
undercoat and longer guard hairs.
*Twice a year, Malamutes "blow" their undercoats, that is, they shed
their undercoats completely. It is a very intense shedding period that can last
up to three weeks from start to finish. The good news is that this only happens
twice a year. The remainders of the time, Malamutes are relatively shed free
(unlike smooth coated breeds). The bad news is that the shedding period can be
rather messy and lengthy. The hair comes out in large and small clumps. Lots of
vacuuming and brushing are in order.
*It should be noted that some owners that live in very warm climes, ones that
lack "seasonal changes," report some shedding year round in the
breed. Add ice to their water to help keep it cool. Some also enjoy a small
wading pool filled with water in the summer time to cool off.
*The Alaskan Malamute is a very clean and relatively odor free dog. It tends to
clean itself like a cat. Even when a Malamute becomes covered in mud, it will
clean itself. Therefore, bathing needs are minimal.
*Other than during coat-blowing season, the Malamute needs very little grooming
except for the occasional brushing to remove dead hair and keep the coat fresh
and shiny. No trimming or shaving of hair is required or recommended. Their
nails should be checked and clipped periodically.
*A Heartworm preventative is recommended. Some give their Malamutes heartworm
preventative all year long. It is recommended that you still test for heartworm
every couple of years if they are on preventive all year and every year if only
during the season.
*There are currently many studies ongoing about the frequency of vaccines. Many
are no longer vaccinating as often and now are checking titers before
revaccinating as it is now believed over-vaccinating can harm the immune
*Rabies should be given according to state law.
*In the heavy summer months it is important to watch for fleas, ticks,
corkscrews, foxtails, and take as many preventable measures as possible to
protect your four-legged friends. Highly recommended is FRONTLINE top spot for
*Alaskan Malamutes are generally very clean dogs and easily house trained when
*Outside, the dog should have a large, fenced yard. Alaskan Malamute possess a
strong "prey drive" which is part of the hunting instinct. If it
moves or squeals, a mal will chase it - sometimes with dangerous consequences.
Malamutes have been known to kill small animals, as well as neighborhood cats.
From my experience, what you want your mal to be ok with as an adult you MUST
get him or her around it as a puppy.. Mals only do well with small animals such
as small dogs and cats, etc when they have been raised with them and have also
been taught to control their natural instincts. ( My advice is never leave a
small animal unattended with your Malamute, even when raised around them
circumstances can arise and things can happen). Don't leave your mal alone with
small animals, or farm animals for any amount of time.
*Mals also have a tendency to roam the neighborhood or countryside. Never let
your malamute "off-leash" as few are consistently trustworthy to
commands (unless they wish to be) and are not particularly mindful to road
traffic. In the countryside, they may learn to chase wildlife & livestock,
or may be mistaken for wolves (or wolf-hybrids) and killed.
*A large, fenced yard is a must for keeping a malamute in the city. Even so,
they should be walked or given some other form of exercise every day. Mals that
are kept primarily outside the house or on larger property should be provided a
sturdy run with a covered kennel or large doghouse.
*Mals should be taught caution & control around children. Besides their
love of humans, they are also attracted to children because of the quick
movements and high-pitched voices (similar to those of small hurt animals - a
natural prey )
The fence should be strong and at least 6 feet tall. It is also a good idea to
bury wire, or bury concrete in the ground to discourage digging out.
*Malamutes are notorious diggers. It is usually best to set up a sand box
somewhere in a shaded part of the yard and encourage digging there, if
*Malamutes should not be allowed to roam around the neighborhood. If one
chooses to kennel aMalamute, the kennel should be chain link, with concrete or
stone with wire under it, and should be 6 to 8 ft wide and 15 to 20 ft long. It
should be at least 6 ft high with chain link across the top of the kennel. It
should be in a shaded location and have an insulated dog house with a door for
shelter from the elements.
*Because the Malamute is an arctic dog, it can remain outside in very cold
weather. However, it should be provided with shelter from the elements in the
form of a good sturdy house. The house should have a flat roof, as Malamutes
love to lay on top of their houses and observe the world. A good insulated
house with nice straw bedding is perfect for Malamutes that spend most of their
time outside. Heating the dog house is usually not necessary. When it's hot,
most dogs like having ice added to their water to help keep it cool. They also
enjoy a children's wading pool filled with water in the summer time.
This is NOT a dog that will leave food sitting on the counter or on a low
table while you leave the room (or sometimes even with you IN the room).
Malamutes have strong survival instincts - and one of their best motivators is
*They are world-class thieves and collectors of everything from a chip bag from
the trash to your freshly laundered underwear. Often they will have a
"stash" of stolen things in a favorite spot. My Malamutes love
getting on the counter when not watched. They love to snoop and see what they
can get into.
*Raising your malamute, you don't get a
second chance to do it right .
*Diet should be tailored to the dog's level of activity and eating
habits. Do NOT overfeed your Malamute.
*They would have you believe they are starving 24/7 but they actually need
quality NOT quantity.
*As for the type and "brand" of dog food, basically any reputable dog
food manufacturer provides a dog food that is sufficient to keep a dog healthy.
However, the premium brands of dog food have the advantage that one can feed
the dog less and still get very good nourishment.
*In addition, stool size and amount is generally less with the premium dog
*If the youngster is supported with a nutritionally balanced diet then he/she
will grow to their fullest genetic potential.
*Supplements can be dangerous and, more specifically, dangerous in the hands of
those who are not familiar with their dog's "genetic codes" in
conjunction with the present diet. In simple language, supplementation when not
required can have an adverse, completely reverse effect from that which is
desired. Dogs which have been ill, under stress, old dogs, all can use support
for their diet . . . as is indicated by the individual's requirements