The Alaskan Malamute is a large, thick-coated dog bred for strength and endurance. Its intended purpose as a heavy freight sled dog requires it to have proper nourishment and fuel. Even as a companion dog, the Alaskan Malamute requires some special dietary treatment.
The Alaskan Malamute, having its origin in the cold, Arctic regions in the North, is accustomed to a more limited diet than other dogs. In its original habitat the Malamute did not have access to corn, grain, gluten, or other similar ingredients you wouldn’t think grow in the harsh cold. It is best to choose a dog food that avoids these ingredients in excess as well as meat from unidentified sources and preservatives. Another important factor to keep in mind when feeding your Malamute is to avoid overfeeding. Follow the guidelines on the dog food bag and do not free feed you Malamute.
To get a more detailed picture of how to best feed your Alaskan Malamute, what it can and cannot eat, and things you should and should not do to help your pet, read on. We will cover these topics and more in depth.
Feeding Requirements for Alaskan Malamutes (Puppy and Adult)
As a puppy, an Alaskan Malamute will need food that provides a lot of protein and healthy fats sourced from animals. This diet should usually last from birth until they reach about eighteen months old. The best way to find protein-rich dog foods is to check the ingredients on the bag and make sure animal-sourced proteins are at the top of the list.
Once your Alaskan Malamute grows past eighteen months, their diet will need a little changing. You should still keep a look out for dog foods with high animal-sourced protein, but your adult Malamute will not need as much protein packed into its diet.
As your Malamute grows older and reaches older age (around eight or nine years old) you should consider slightly changing up its diet again. Your pet will start to need less protein than its adult and puppy years and require more calcium and glucosamine to maintain its health.
Alaskan Malamute Gastrointestinal Problems
A big part of the gastrointestinal problems vet see in Alaskan Malamutes stem from this breeds propensity to overeat. The number one thing you can do to help your Malamute avoid problems like obesity or bloating is to never free feed your dog. Your Malamute will eat anything and everything you put in front of it and will not stop until the bowl is empty. Be sure to divide the food into proper serving portions.
Alaskan Malamutes and other similar breeds of dog are especially susceptible to bloat. In addition to preventing overeating, the best way to treat bloat in your pet is to have a good vet nearby and a plan to quickly treat your dog. If left untreated for too long, your Malamute’s bloat can quickly turn into worse problems, such as stomach torsion and even death. If you suspect your dog is suffering from bloat, rush them to the nearest vet as soon as you can. You usually have under an hour, sometimes as little as twenty minutes to treat your pet’s bloat before it causes serious lasting problems or results in death.
Safe Fruits for Your Alaskan Malamute
Most fruits are not safe to feed to most dogs, the same goes for your Alaskan Malamute. Many fruits can be harmful to your Malamute’s digestive system, if not fatal to its health. Before feeding you Malamute any fruits, check with your veterinarian about what is and is not safe for your dog to eat.
Safe Vegetables for your Alaskan Malamute
Unlike fruits, vegetables are great additions to your Alaskan Malamute’s diet. Though 90% of its diet should be properly nutritious dog food, you can add just about any vegetable to your pet’s diet. Raw or cooked, even the water you cook the vegetables in can be a nice treat.
Other Safe Human Foods
The best human foods you can feed your Alaskan Malamute is food typical of the Malamute’s original habitat. The best food you can supplement their diet with is pieces of raw meat. This will provide them with the animal-sourced protein they need, especially as puppies, and can even help clean their teeth and improve dental health.
You should always feed your pet table scraps in moderation, though. The large part of their diet should be nutritious dog food. For a clearer picture of what foods you should and should not feed your Malamute, talk to your veterinarian.
Human Foods to Keep Your Alaskan Malamute Away From
Though Alaskan Malamutes do tend to suffer from food allergies, namely to wheat, corn, soy, and similar foods, allergies in this breed vary from dog to dog. Again, the best way to get a clear picture of foods to avoid is to talk to your vet.
However, there are certain foods you should always avoid giving to dogs. They include:
- Grapes and raisins – they can cause acute kidney failure
- Alcohol – these drinks can have adverse effects on the best of us. Give them to dogs with smaller bodies and problems can ensure
- Chocolate – theobromine and caffeine are ingredients often found in chocolate, dark chocolate more so than milk or white, and can be fatal to dogs
- Macadamia nuts – these nuts contain a toxin that can harm the dog’s digestive and nervous systems
- Onions – these can cause red blood cell damage in a dog and, if eaten enough, can cause a special kind of hemolytic anemia which can be fatal to your pet.
Always Avoid Giving an Alaskan Malamute These Foods
A rule of thumb to follow when making a list of “do not eat” foods for your Alaskan Malamute is to take into account the habitat it was originally bred in. The harsh cold climate of the Arctic does not lend itself well to growing crops like wheat, soy, corn, etc. The Malamute’s original diet, gleaned from the environment around it, mainly consisted of animal-sourced protein and fatty meats.
Foods to Avoid (Not Dangerous, But Not Great for Alaskan Malamutes)
An Alaskan Malamute’s diet should consist of high amounts of animal-sourced proteins and fats. If you buy a dog food with these two things at the top of the list of ingredients, you should be fine. In general, it is best for your Malamute’s health to avoid foods high in wheat, soy, corn, or preservatives.
What to Watch for With Their Diet
Again, make sure your Malamute’s diet has sufficient protein and fats. It is also important to properly measure and space out your Malamute’s meals. Free feeding is NOT a thing to do with Alaskan Malamutes. They will eat any amount of food you put in front of them. Overeating can lead to serious health problems like bloating.
Why Your Alaskan Malamute Won’t Eat
Alaskan Malamutes are known to be rather picky eaters. If they will not eat, they may not approve of the food you have given them. Check the ingredient label on the dog food bag and make sure it lists animal-sourced protein.
Another reason your Malamute might not be eating could be health problems. Malamutes are prone to getting bloat or other gastrointestinal problems. If you think, even the smallest bit, that health problems might be the cause, rush your dog to the vet ASAP. Gastrointestinal problems such as bloat can worsen quickly and kill just as fast.
How Often Should Alaskan Malamutes Eat
Although spacing meals is a must when it comes to feeding Alaskan Malamutes, how you space them is up to you. You can opt to do meals at breakfast and dinner, divide it up into three meals, or even choose six smaller meals throughout the day.
How Much Should Alaskan Malamutes Eat
Your dog food bag will give you a guideline on how much food to give your Malamute. However, this is just a guideline. You should adjust this as need be according to your dog’s weight and body composition. Alaskan Malamutes tend to weigh anywhere btween 65 and 95 pounds. For Malamutes btween 65 and 80 pounds, feed them 1 cup of good quality dog food twice per day. If they are a bit heavier and weigh between 80 and 95 pounds, feed them around 2 cups of good quality dog food twice per day.
A good way to check if the amount you are feeding your Malamute is correct, check to see if you can feel their ribs. If you can see or feel their ribs through their fur with easy, chances are they are not eating enough. If you cannot feel their ribs through their fat, chances are you are over feeding them.
Special Diet for Pregnant Alaskan Malamute
The diet you should provide a pregnant Alaskan Malamute is very similar to that of any other Malamute: high in animal proteins and fats. Just keep in mind she is eating for two so adjust and amount or frequency as needed. Again, the best way to make an informed and proper decision on what and how much to feed your pregnant Malamute is to consult your veterinarian.