OVERVIEW OF THE ALASKAN MALAMUTE
If there’s one word in the English dictionary that can aptly describe an Alaskan Malamute, it’s regal. An extraordinary breed that boasts a swanky tail that curves towards their muscular backs, Alaskan Malamutes, or Mals for short, are extremely intelligent dogs whose intellect is only outweighed by their endurance and playfulness.
Their lustrous brown eyes sit atop a medium-sized muzzle that is velvety to the touch. Their coat, on the other hand, isn’t as smooth. Rather, it is pretty coarse and feels almost like wool. This wooly topcoat insulates its mushy and dense undercoat to provide Mals with an unparalleled level of coziness.
This coziness is important, especially when you consider the history of this breed. You see, the Alaskan Malamutes were bred by the nomadic tribes of Alaska to defend themselves from polar bears, hunt seals, and pull camp supplies. These good boys were even enlisted as sled dogs for the Antarctic expeditions of the two World Wars.
As peace settled around the world, the Mals were almost exclusively domesticated and used as house dogs all over the world. Their affectionate temperament makes them a great option if you have kids at home. Since they are so friendly to everyone, however, we wouldn’t recommend getting a Malamute as a guard dog.
ALASKAN MALAMUTE FOOD AND HEALTH
The Alaskan Malamute is a powerful and muscular dog that can weigh between 75 pounds (in the case of females) and 85 pounds (in the case of males). This abundance in muscles, coupled with their active lifestyle, means that the Alaskan Malamute requires quite a lot of nutrients. These can be in the form of dog food and supplements that support bone and muscle development.
An adult male, for instance, can consume up to 2,000 calories a day. Calories shouldn’t be all that you look for, however. You must keep an eye out for carbs, proteins, and fats too. Take the Taste of the Wild Roasted Bison and Venison Premium Dry Dog Food, for instance. Each cup of this dog food contains 32% protein, along with 422 calories and a whole host of antioxidants and other nutrients.
If you’re opting for a protein-intensive diet for your Mal, make sure that they also get the right type of exercise. The number of calories will obviously need to be curtailed if your dog is a senior or just a pup.
You can also add treats into the mix if you’re training your Mal. Just make sure that you do not go overboard with them as that may cause obesity. Also, it is worth noting that Mals are extremely picky. So, the best course of action is to keep rotating between different types of foods.
Talking about the best course of action, you must consult your vet before setting a diet for your new furry friend. The vet will not only help you ensure that your pup gets the right blend of calories and nutrients according to their age and lifestyle but also ensure that the dog food you opt for doesn’t contain anything that your pooch is allergic to.
Allergy symptoms in your Alaskan Malamute can show up in the form of itchiness, swollen nose and eyes, rashes, diarrhea, and even vomiting. While changing their diet should do the trick, if the allergy symptoms in your furry friend persist, immediately book an appointment with your vet.
Also, you must never forget that your new four-legged friend, with its wooly fur, is meant to thrive in extreme conditions. So, on hot days, consider cranking up the air conditioner for them. Frozen treats or a dip in the pool should also do the trick.
As a pet parent, along with setting a safe and healthy diet for your pup, you must also regularly screen it for medical conditions. In the case of Alaskan Malamutes, these range from hip dysplasia to elbow dysplasia to autoimmune thyroiditis.
Hip dysplasia is a genetic condition that is pretty common among Alaskan Malamutes. It causes their displaced hips to painfully grind against each other. In severe cases, it may even lead to arthritis. Consider surgery if your pup is young. For older Mals, the only solution is in the form of supplements and weight control.
These supplements, medicines, and screening procedures can cost you quite a lot. So, we recommend insuring your Alaskan Malamute’s health by a firm like Geico, Allstate, or Nationwide.
LEASHES AND COLLARS FOR YOUR ALASKAN MALAMUTE
While there are many dog accessories, three of them are nothing short of essential. These are collars, leashes, and harnesses. So, you must invest in these three accessories when getting an Alaskan Malamute.
First up is the collar. What function does it serve? Well, a collar on your pooch will help you identify them. You can also attach a leash to it when walking your dog. Let’s also not forget that collars can be used to style up your pooch and add some instant drip to their look.
The problem here is that Mal’s are extremely furry which can potentially hide their name tags on the collar. So, you must opt for a large dog collar. It shouldn’t be so large, though, that it ends up not fitting. Always remember that your pooch’s collar should leave enough space for two of your fingers to pass through it.
The collar should also be extremely comfortable and not cause your dog’s fur to matt. We recommend investing in something made from leather that is not only durable and classy but also comfortable. The Soft Touch Collar is a great option in this regard.
Next up is the leash. This is the rope that you can attach to your dog’s collar or harness and then lead it during walks. What’s important to consider here is that the leash should not hurt your dog when he pulls on it. As we previously said, Alaskan Malamutes are pretty strong. And, a powerful tug on the leash can hurt you both.
So, we recommend investing in something with some sort of padding to it. The MayPaw Heavy Duty Rope Dog Leash is a great example. You can also opt for retractable leashes that adjust in length depending on how close your dog is to you.
Finally, the list of essential dog accessories includes a harness. These vests boast hooks, straps, and handles that you can use to carry your Mal and attach its leash. Harnesses are particularly useful when you’re training your pup. This accessory ensures that the pressure you put on your dog is evenly spread through its body and doesn’t cause any sort of neck strain.
BEST CRATES, BEDS, AND DOG HOUSES FOR ALASKAN MALAMUTES
Do you know Alaskan Malamutes trace their lineage all the way back to the arctic wolf-dogs? So, it comes as no surprise that they boast a denning instinct. In simple terms, it means that your pooch retires to a cave when tired, scared, or lonely. Well, a dog crate can serve the purpose of a makeshift cave.
We all know how these crates help train young pups. The same is true for Alaskan Malamutes. A problem arises due to their large size, though. You will need a dog crate that is big enough for them to sit in. Also, its doors should be strong enough to withstand their superior strength. This dog crate from AmazonBasics is a great option if you’re in the market for one.
While you’re in this market, also consider buying a good quality bed for your Mal. Trust us, if it was up to your Alaskan furry pal, it would have slept outside. But outdoor sleep sessions may expose them to germs, fleas, and other weather elements. Let’s also not forget the hip conditions that this breed is prone to. So, a night of comfortable sleep is essential.
Talking about comfort, consider investing in something with memory foam padding. Such beds adjust to the shape of your doggo to provide them with enhanced comfort. The PetFusion Ultimate Orthopedic Dog Bed is a great option if you’re looking for a memory foam bed for your Alaskan Malamute.
You must also make sure that the bed is big enough for them and strong enough to handle their weight. If you travel often, we recommend opting for something foldable and lightweight.
On the more permanent side of things, you can also opt to build a dog house for your new friend. While plastic ones are cheaper and easier to clean, we recommend investing in something more long-term with a wooden structure.
This area will serve as a safe space for your Mal to coop up when it is all tired from frolicking around all day. You can also add some cushions inside it to really enhance its overall coziness and comfort level.
ALASKAN MALAMUTE TOYS
There’s a common misconception surrounding Alaskan Malamutes that this breed isn’t exactly interested in toys. Well, toys can be a great way to develop their mental prowess and bond with them. Let’s also not forget that they will keep your pooch occupied for hours on end.
What’s important, however, is that the toy has some sort of intellectual value to it. You see, these dogs are extremely smart and may get bored of run-of-the-mill toys. So, consider investing in rope toys, ball toys, and even chew toys. In the case of the latter, it would be wise to invest in something indestructible like the Wobbler from Kong since Mals have some really strong jaws and teeth.
You can even go full old school on these dogs and play fetch with them using a stick or tennis ball. A tennis ball may pose a choking hazard for your ball of fur so steer clear away from them if your Malamute is rather chew-friendly.
Let’s also not forget that this dog breed is extremely extroverted in nature. Consider taking them to the beach or hiking if you get the time. You can even go to a hill station near your home and engage in skijoring with them.
GROOMING INSIGHTS FOR ALASKAN MALAMUTE OWNERS
Taking care of your dog’s hygiene and maintenance is your duty as a pet parent. So, make sure that you brush your Mal’s teeth and trim its nails daily. Their ears must also be checked daily to ensure that they are clean of wax buildup and any sort of external matter.
Talking about foreign matters, your Alaskan Malamute is prone to catch fleas and ticks, thanks to its extroverted nature. The threat of fleas is even more in the summer months. So, if you find these parasites on your dog’s coat, consider investing in a good quality flea treatment like the Advantage II Large Dog Flea Treatment. You must also spray your home and yard with flea-control sprays.
Coming back to your Mal’s grooming, you must brush its coat daily. We recommend using a metal comb and pin brush for this purpose. Also, since your pooch’s fur is pretty thick, you must make sure that it hasn’t matted in any area. These mats can prove to be pretty harmful to your doggo by housing fungus and so must be taken care of.
As far as shedding goes, your Malamute will shed extensively twice every year. The plus point is that since its coat is odorless, it won’t be much of a hassle. Just make sure that you brush its undercoat with a rake to keep the shedding to a minimum. Unless your Mal gets itself dirty, they can go a full six to eight weeks without bathing. We recommend adding a conditioner to the mix if the coat feels too dry.
ALASKAN MALAMUTE ACCESSORIES
When in the market for accessories for your Alaskan Malamute, consider its lifestyle and the type of personality that you’d like it to possess. We recommend buying a high-quality bowl for your pup that is fit for its regal personality. You can even opt for a smart feeder like this one from SureFlap if you own a variety of dog breeds.
To learn more about large breeds like Alaskan Malamutes, check out our breed hub page.