Alaskan Malamutes are famed for their lively temperament and their dense double coat. The coat is made of an undercoat, which has an approximate thickness of 1-2 inches and an outer guard coat, which is more coarse. The undercoat is notably oily and woolly. Indeed, this is efficient in withstanding cold and repelling moisture. This double coat mechanism contributes significantly to temperament modulation for the Alaskan Malamute.
The double coat makeup of the Alaskan Malamutes allows it to survive extreme weather conditions like the arctic climates. As usual with most dogs, the Alaskan Malamute will shed to get rid of dead secondary hairs. A healthy Alaskan Malamute shouldn’t shed heavily more than two times every 12 months. Factors like feeding, stress, and temperature contribute to how much your Alaskan Malamute will shed.
Alaskan Malamutes are beautiful and enthusiastic, no doubt. But how much do you know of their grooming needs? Are there ways to reduce their shedding? How do you know if the shedding of your Malamute isn’t healthy? How would you bathe them when they shed? All these valuable pieces of information we will be dishing to you in this guide.
Why Do Alaskan Malamutes Shed So Much?
Firstly, let us establish that Alaskan Malamutes are not hypoallergenic. The Alaskan Malamute is a breed of dog known for its double coats. Certainly, these layers have different textures. The outer coat is softer and wooly. This skin extends all across the body.
Malamutes shed to rid themselves of damaged hair. Many factors contribute to the intensity of the shedding of your Malamute. These factors include hygienic conditions, grooming, temperature, allergies, sunlight, nutrition, hormones, and overall health.
A dog breed like the Alaskan Malamute that has two layers of coat will definitely shed more than one than the dog with no undercoat. While an outdoor Malamute would shed more in winter, a domesticated Malamute will shed continuously across the years given the controlled temperature indoors.
Alaskan Malamutes experience two cycles of intense shedding. This is when they blow their coat. These “coat blowing” cycles come during the fall or the spring. But if your Alaskan Malamute lives in hotter climates, it can blow its coat more than two times in a year.
This blowing can take up to 21 days. This period should be enough for your Malamute to lose all the dead/damaged hairs and possibly replace them.
The shedding is a necessary process to improve the breathability of the skin. The duration of this period can be reduced by you regularly brushing the coat of your Malamute.
Aside from these two periods of heavy shedding, your Malamute would shed mildly (and uniformly) throughout the year. Across this time, you would find tiny patches of hair intermittently spread across your home. Agreed, this can be annoying at times.
Of course, brushing your Malamute every 7 days will contribute significantly to reducing this shedding. But take note that this brushing will not entirely stop the shedding.
The good thing about a Malamute’s shedding is that this fur doesn’t smell. Malamutes –just like cats – love maintaining very high levels of personal hygiene. They would lick their coats often to stay clean.
Tips to Control Shedding
The fact that your Alaskan Malamute sheds doesn’t mean that you would have to put up with the mess all this time helplessly. Yes, there are steps you can take to control the shedding.
Let us look at some of these steps.
If the meals of your Malamute lack adequate moisture, the chances are higher that your Malamute will shed more. If you are the type that overwhelms your dog with fillers or just dry dog food, prepare for voluminous shedding from your Malamute. The fur will be too weak and break off more frequently.
We highly recommend integrating more fluids into the diet of your dog. There are some great options to get more moisture into your dog’s feeding regimen. You can add watermelons, carrots, or green beans to the meal of your dog. Just ensure you are feeding them moderate rations.
It is more than just moisture. It may enhance the condition of your Malamute’s coat if you feed it dog flaxseed oil. However, let us point out that this may not be specifically compatible with your Malamute. Therefore, we advise that you first consult your vet.
Frequent brushing of your Alaskan Malamute is crucial in reducing the volume of shedding. Brushing the hair has a way of stimulating your Malamute’s hair follicles, which makes them look shinier, firmer, and smoother.
We recommend that you brush your Malamute at least twice every week – or once if you are not too disposed. A quality brush can get the job done so long it is compatible with the fur of your Malamute.
Also, ensure you control the exposure of your Malamute to fleas and allergies. This goes a long way in preventing your Malamute from scratching its skin perpetually. Of course, we don’t need to emphasize that regular scratching will only increase the amount of hair shed and the irritation of your dog’s skin.
Do you know that sustained stress can increase the shedding of your Malamute? If your Malamute is shedding too much fur, try to moderate its exercise regimen if it is relatively intense.
Also, make the exercise routine more orderly. Walk them every day at a particular time (without erratically switching their walk time or meals or mealtime). The idea here is to get your Malamute as used to its daily schedule as much as possible. This will reduce its stress reaction.
Elements That Can Affect Your Alaskan Malamute’s Abnormal Shedding
If your Alaskan Malamute is shedding too much, something is possible wrong. Let us examine some of the causes of abnormal shedding.
If the overall diet of your Malamute is not sufficiently nourished (with the essential nutrients it needs), it could shed excessively. We have already established the importance of adequate moisture content in their meals.
Giving your Malamute a healthy dosage of omega 3-fatty acids and fish oil can help its coat and skin. Precisely, you need an appropriate ration of omega-6 fatty and omega-3 foods. This can be bolstered with minerals and vital vitamins that will enhance the quality of the skin of your dog.
Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is an outstanding ingredient that can improve the structural integrity of the skin of your Malamute. Such bio-available sulfur supplies the skin much needed keratin and collagen.
While bathing your Malamute is cool, excessive bathing can lead to skin dryness from substantial loss of skin oils. Actually, given that Malamutes regularly lick themselves, you may not even need to give them a thorough bath more than twice every year.
It is advisable to wait till your Malamute’s coat is considerably dirty before bathing it. When washing it, use premium conditioners and lots of anti-shedding shampoos.
Skin diseases can cause your Alaskan Malamute to shed more. If you see symptoms like skin irritation (typified by scabs, bumps, rashes, and redness), open sores, excessively thinning coat, and bald spots, your Malamute may be suffering from skin disease or another underlying medical condition.
Taking Care of Your Alaskan Malamute’s Coat
As we have established, your Malamute doesn’t need to be bathed frequently. It is okay if you can wash it 1-2 times every 12 months or every 8 weeks (if you are living in more tropical climes). This would reduce the shedding.
It is best to go with shampoo that is compatible with very sensitive dog skins like that of the Malamute. We prefer you to use oatmeal shampoo. Some hair could have gotten loose while bathing it. Brush them off.
Your Malamute may remain damp for the next 24 hours after the bath. You can get the coat to dry quicker using a high-velocity blow dryer.
Ideas for Cleaning Up After Your Alaskan Malamute
Deploying a de-shedding tool is excellent for getting rid of loose hair from your Malamute. This reduces the ugly incidences of the furs of your Malamute spewing all across your home.
Indeed, it can be a mess cleaning up these amounts of fur. They can get lodged across your car seats, home furniture, and carpet. You can use vacuum cleaners to get rid of the hair on your carpet or floors. Vacuuming at least 2 times in 7 days is excellent.
You can also complement this with removable covers that would protect the surfaces of your furniture and car seat. Also, make sure to quickly remove the hair as soon as you notice it. It is much more convenient taking them off earlier before they get embedded into your upholstery.
Grooming Tools for Shedding Alaskan Malamutes
We don’t approve of you using clippers for grooming your shedding Malamutes. Use it only at extremes when you can’t do without it (preferably for shaping the fur). Clippers can give your Malamute terrible rashes.
You can also use rakes for ridding the skin of the loose fur. Take note that it is not advisable to use rakes for sensitive areas of your Malamute’s skin. Also, don’t use rakes in brushing over the joints. You can alternatively use pin brushes and pins.