The Alaskan Malamute is a friendly, but hairy giant. If you own a malamute you know all too well just how much this breed sheds. But fortunately, managing malamute shedding is easier than you may think. This article has everything you need to know.
The best ways to deal with Alaskan Malamute shedding:
1. Stick to a brushing routine
2. Don’t over-bathe your malamute
3. Improve your malamute’s diet
4. Don’t cut or trim your malamute’s coat
5. Provide sufficient exercise
All of these points, including more frequently asked questions will be covered below.
How To Deal With Malamute Shedding
Let’s run through in detail the 5 most important steps in successfully maintaining your malamute’s coat.
Although you can’t stop your malamute from shedding altogether, you can certainly reduce it to a more manageable level. Let’s get started!
1. Stick To a Brushing Routine ⭐
Alaskan Malamutes need to be brushed, and brushed, and brushed some more! Sticking to a good brushing routine will make or break everything.
Little and often is the key principle. Many make the mistake of forgetting to brush, then trying to make up for it with one long tedious brushing session. This just doesn’t work.
● How often should you brush your malamute? A good routine would consist of short 20-minute brushing sessions, 3 to 4 times per week. And in the height of spring and winter when shedding increases, daily brushing is preferred.
● What’s the best way to brush your malamute? Focus the first 10 minutes with an undercoat rake. This will penetrate the top layer and pull out dead hair from the undercoat. Finish off the last 10 minutes with a slicker brush. This will focus on cleaning up the topcoat, removing final hairs.
This routine, with these brushes, has been by far the most effective brushing routine I have ever tried. And I’ve tried a lot.
● Will it feel like you have done much after each session? No, it won’t. But little and often is the key. And as a result of doing this 3 or 4 times per week, you will eventually be on top of the shedding, instead of trying to catch up with it.
2. Don’t Over-Bathe Your Malamute ⭐
Over-bathing is easily done, and naturally, we think it will help with removing hair. And, well, it does. But there’s a catch.
Bathing your malamute more than 4 to 6 times per year will eventually dry out his skin and hair. This will make shedding worse.
The issue is that the shampoo strips away the essential natural oils found on the skin and throughout the coat. These oils play such an important role in keeping the skin moisturized and the hair follicles strong and healthy.
The healthier and stronger your malamute’s skin and coat, the less dead hair you will have in general.
● The ideal amount to bathe your malamute is 2 to 4 times per year. Personally, I would stick to 4 times per year, and I would reserve 2 of these for when your malamute is currently blowing his coat.
● Owners often ask me “but won’t my Malamute smell?” the answer is no. In general, malamutes are an extremely hygienic breed and without you realizing, they maintain their coat themselves with a lot of licking. Much like a cat does. Also, as long as you are sticking to your regular brushing routine, this will do a significant amount of cleaning.
And one last thing! Whenever you do get around to bathing him, always use an all-natural ingredient dog shampoo. Other shampoos (including regular dog shampoo) often contain too many harsh chemicals, alcohol, and parabens, which only leads to more dry skin.
This is original content produced and published by My Happy Husky | www.myhappyhusky.com
3. Improve Your Malamute’s Diet ⭐
An often overlooked aspect of shedding management is diet and nutrition. The overall health and strength of your malamute’s skin and coat all starts from within!
In fact, malnutrition is one of the biggest causes of excessive shedding. Not receiving enough nutrients can really play havoc on the health of any malamute’s coat.
Ensure your Malamute is on a premium kibble with the proper macronutrient breakdown.
● Macros are important. Malamutes thrive on a diet that’s high in protein and fat with low carbohydrates. This macronutrient breakdown mimics the diet that malamutes would have eaten for thousands of years in the wild. This style of diet is typically well-received by the digestive system. A better digesting diet means more nutrients, vitamins, and minerals will be properly absorbed.
A diet that your Malamute doesn’t get on well with, will mean many nutrients aren’t being digested which could lead to malnutrition in a specific area.
● Salmon takes first-place. I have always had great success with premium kibbles that focuses on using salmon as the main protein source. Not only does salmon contain a naturally high amount of essential fatty acids like Omega 3 and DHA (which significantly help the skin and coat), but it also digests better than chicken, beef, lamb, or pork (which are all common allergens).
● Don’t stop until you find a food that works. It’s also worth mentioning that it’s crucial for you to keep going until you find a premium kibble that your malamute actually gets on well with.
Just because one specific kibble is of high quality, it doesn’t mean all dogs will tolerate it. So it’s worth keeping that in mind.
Have another think about the kibble you are currently using and whether your malamute is happy on it. If he is, then that’s awesome!
● About the raw diet. The Raw diet is something I am a fan of, but have not had success with. For some, it works well, and for others, it doesn’t. I strongly recommend getting help from a veterinarian if you would like to try this diet. It can be hard to set up and it’s crucial to feed your malamute the correct ratio of meat, organs, bones, cartilage, and veggies.
● What I recommend. Despite a higher price tag, I decided to take the plunge and use Orijen’s Six Fish. It certainly isn’t as friendly to my wallet as other kibbles, but I’ve noticed improved overall health and so has my veterinarian. It may not be for everyone, but It’s worth checking out.
4. Don’t Cut or Trim Your Malamute’s Coat ⭐
I know, most of you will already be with me on this one. And the only reason I need to include is that there are still many owners who do cut, trim, snip or shave their malamute.
Please do not do this. In any way, or in any amount. It will only cause more harm than good.
● Malamutes are a double-coated breed. Their undercoat, and their topcoat both perform important roles and together they are responsible for significant bodily processes, particularly body temperature regulation.
Shaving or cutting the coat in an attempt to reduce shedding can jeopardize their overall health and safety.
Believe it or not, a malamute who has both undercoat and topcoat will better be able to cool themselves down than a malamute that’s had their coat shaved.
● Permanent damage. Finally, shaving the two layers may ruin the coat forever. Yes, that’s really possible. This is because the two coats do not grow in sync after being shaved. This leads to thick matting that makes the coat go almost like velcro. This not only impedes their ability to cool themself down, but it could be irreversible.
5. Provide Sufficient Exercise ⭐
Exercise, just like diet and nutrition, contributes to overall health and fitness.
Anything that contributes to the overall health of your malamute, will undoubtedly affect the health of their skin and coat.
Malamutes are similar to huskies, in that they absolutely require a huge amount of exercise to be truly healthy, fit, well-behaved, and happy.
● Malamutes in their prime need around 2 hours of exercise per day. And for some, this may not be enough. Exercise should be split up into the morning and evening.
● There is also a physical benefit to this as well. Especially when your malamute is blowing their coat. By moving around, running, jumping, and chasing their ball they will constantly be loosening up dead hairs that are desperate to fall out.
A good running session can significantly help excess dead hair to fall out.
It’s a wise idea to take your brushes with you and finish the exercise session with a quick brushing.
● For puppies and seniors, this rule is a little different. Exercise needs to be reeled back in order to protect their bones and joints.
I promise you, that if you take on board the 5 key steps that I have just covered. You will be managing your malamute’s hair like a professional. Get started with your brushing routine today.
When Do Malamutes Shed
Alaskan Malamutes shed year-round with two significant “blowouts” at the beginning of big seasonal changes.
Spring and winter are when you can expect your malamute to shed more than normal.
● Spring shedding. As the warmer weather approaches, your Malamute will start shedding the majority of his undercoat. This will result in huge clumps of hair coming off him for around 2-4 weeks.
● Winter shedding. As the winter approaches, your malamute will start growing a new, thick undercoat at a very rapid pace. Due to the speed in which this new undercoat is growing, shedding increases as a result.
So, you can expect your Malamute to shed all year, with two significant increases throughout spring and the start of winter.
How Much Do Malamutes Shed?
Malamutes are considered to be one of the heaviest shedders we know of. This is due to their overall huge size and their super thick coat which needs to be shed before the warmer weather.
Compared to nearly all other breeds, there isn’t one that sheds more than a malamute.
Sometimes, malamute sheds so much in such a short space of time, you can pile their dead hair up to the point where it looks like you have a second Malamute.
Yep, you’ve got a lot to look forward to!
Why Does Your Malamute Still Shed In Winter?
If there was a time when you think your malamute should stop shedding, it would be winter, right?
I totally understand and agree. And to some extent, this will be the case with some malamutes.
But we first need to state that at the beginning of winter, you can actually expect shedding to increase once again. This is because the colder weather encourages your malamute to grow their undercoat at a rapid pace. And as a result, shedding typically increases.
However, for some malamutes, wintertime will help them retain some of their hair more than others.
It really depends on your malamute and your kind of winters. But you certainly shouldn’t expect their shedding to stop completely, or you’ll be in for a big surprise!
What Are The Best Brushes For Malamutes?
As previously mentioned in the brushing routine section above. There are only two brushes you need to do an amazing job.
And no, it doesn’t involve a Furminator de-shedder. The reason I don’t actively recommend de-shedding tools isn’t because they don’t work. In fact, they work very well. But they are difficult to use and without knowing what you are doing, it’s very easy to cut bits of the healthy topcoat right off with these brushes as they are very sharp. It’s just best to avoid them.
I keep it simple with a Furminator Undercoat Rake. This brush has a single row of long prongs that reach deep down into the undercoat. The prongs act like a comb pulling out the dead loose hair. Simple, safe, and highly effective. (and much cheaper than de-shedders)
I then use a Hertzko Slicker Brush. These brushes are made from thin, short wires that only penetrate the topcoat. I use this brush after the undercoat rake to smooth out, clean up, and remove the dead hairs on the surface.
I believe using these two brushes are unbeatable when used in combination with each other.
Stress Will Make Shedding Worse
Another huge contributor to shedding is stress and anxiety. Stress and anxiety is a very common problem in dogs, and it can be incredibly hard to notice and detect.
Many things can cause stress from spending too much time alone, not receiving enough mental stimulation, exercise, boredom, lack of training, consuming a bad diet, and much more.
Try thinking about all areas of your malamute’s life and consider if he is lacking anything.
The best way to keep your Malamute stress free is to ensure all of their needs are met, and it helps to go above and beyond. The more awesome your malamute’s life, the less hair on your floors! I know, it’s kind of a weird thing to say, but it’s true! 😂
You won’t be able to stop your malamute from shedding altogether, but you can implement a better routine that will more effectively manage it.
Better managing of the hair will eventually lead to less hair on your floors, carpets, couches, and clothes.
Implement a good brushing routine with the correct brushes, don’t over-bathe him, ensure his diet and his exercise needs are met. That’s it!