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How To Help a Malamute Lose Weight: 5 Great Tips

How To Help a Malamute Lose Weight: 5 Great Tips

If your malamute is looking a little fat or weighing more than he should, then it’s important to step in and help him lose weight. An overweight malamute is prone to additional health issues as well as serious bone and joint problems.

This article will explain how to know if your malamute is overweight, the ideal weight ranges, as well as the causes and solutions for you to try. Let’s get into it!

How Much Should Your Malamute Weigh

So how do you know if your malamute is actually overweight, to begin with?

Before getting too caught up with the numbers shown on the scale, most breeders and veterinarians agree that a better way to gauge your dog’s weight is to look at them and feel them. And I totally agree.

Run your hand along the side of your malamute, and with light pressure, you should be able to feel his ribs. But don’t let his thick fur mislead you.

If you cannot feel his ribs at all, even with considerable pressure, then you can be confident that he’s overweight.

How does your malamute move? Is he capable of getting up from laying down with ease? these are additional things to think about. If he looks impaired or sluggish in any way, this could also indicate that he’s overweight.

And finally, the accepted weight ranges for healthy adults. It’s fine to use this as a reference, but remember that these are just averages.

The healthy weight range for male malamutes:
80-95 Pounds (36-43kg)

The healthy weight range for female malamutes:
70-85 Pounds (31-38kg)

So, if you’re still sure your malamute is overweight, let’s get into the tips to help him drop a few pounds!

Recommended Read: When Do Malamutes Stop Growing & Reach Full Size?

5 Ways To Help a Malamute Lose Weight

Let’s run through some of the best ways to help your malamute lose weight. It’s worth noting that you might want to make the changes one at a time to avoid disrupting your malamutes current daily routine or diet too much all at once.

1. Cut out all tidbits

A recent study showed that 40% of dog owners in the USA give their dogs table scraps on a daily basis. And this is very likely to be why over half of all the dogs in the USA are overweight.

Table scraps and tidbits contain a lot of calories, especially when combined on top of your malamute’s normal food and treats.

Food that we eat has a lot more calories than dog food. All it takes is a small pork sausage, a few slurps of gravy, and a potato, and all of a sudden your malamute will be 200-300 calories over his daily calorie intake.

Not to mention, our food contains a lot of ingredients that dogs should not be consuming, from preservatives, additives, and flavorings.

2. Switch treats to low-calorie treats

Instead of offering your malamute calorie-dense dog treats, switch to a low-calorie dog treat.

You might be surprised to know that dog treats such as jerky treats, pig ears, and certain fatty chews, contain around 100-150 calories, per treat. Which is a lot!

On the other hand, there are specially made treats out there, that only use natural ingredients, that are just 2 calories per treat! Zukes Mini Naturals are our all-time favorite.

By switching over to a low-calorie treat you can continue using treats for training purposes and rewarding purposes, without the risk of giving your furry giant too many calories.

Switching treats is easy and a must, imo.

3. Increase exercise & daily activity

Malamutes thrive off a decent daily exercise routine. Though not needing as much as a Siberian Husky, they still do need a considerable amount.

If your malamute isn’t receiving around 2 hours of dedicated exercise per day, this is certainly an area to focus on. Additionally, increasing general activity and playtime will also help.

Of course, this doesn’t mean 2 hours of constant sprinting or running. In fact, that would actually be terrible for his joints. But 2 hours of activity outside, hiking, walking, socializing with other dogs in the park should be a part of every malamute’s day (assuming he’s a healthy adult). Puppies require different amounts of exercise.

An increased level of exercise will burn more calories and keep your malamute’s metabolism working for longer. And assuming he isn’t already eating way over his ideal calorie intake, then the extra activity should result in some weight loss.

Only increase his exercise if he isn’t already receiving an adequate amount and is otherwise healthy with no joint issues.

4. Consider changing diet

I only recommend changing your malamute’s diet if the current one either doesn’t work well with his stomach or contains a high ratio of carbohydrates to protein and fat. (check the back of the kibble for that).

If the kibble you are using contains a high amount of carbs, this could be a big contributor to the extra weight gain.

It’s been proven from the National Research Council in the USA that “zero carbohydrates are needed to sustain a healthy canine diet”.

For thousands of years before the domestication process, dogs would have consumed primarily protein and fat with very little carbohydrates (in the form of natural vegetation).

Carbs contribute to a lot of unused energy, inflammation, and many other undesirable effects. To remain fair, carbs are not all bad, especially complex carbs that release energy at a slower rate. Unfortunately, those kinds of carbs are not the ones that manufactures are putting into dog food. In the world of dog food, low-quality carbs are used as a cheap way to bulk up the final product. This is why a lot of inferior kibbles are cheaper, yet higher in carbs than the premium kibbles out there.

Here’s a good example of high protein and fat, to low carbs:

Calorie weighted breakdown for Orijen Premium Dry Dog Food Six Fish

  • 37% Protein – Considered high
  • 40% Fat – Considered high
  • 23% Carbohydrate – Considered low

If you think a change of diet is necessary, I recommend opting for a brand like Orijen, Taste of The Wild, Acanna, or Wellness.

5. Reevaluate portion size

You might already be doing everything right, including using a high-quality kibble, providing sufficient exercise, and avoiding table scraps… but if the portion sizes are incorrect, this might be all it takes to pile on the pounds.

Finding the correct portion size is a lot trickier than many think. And the truth is that all malamutes require a different amount of calories per day depending on their health and activity levels.

But as you need to start somewhere, the first port of call is to follow what’s on the label of the specific dog food you are using and monitor weight as you go.

In general, 3-4 cups of high-quality dog food per day usually equates to around 1500-2000 calories, depending on the brand. This is the typical caloric average for a healthy active malamute.

Recommended Read: How Big Do Malamutes Get

When To Visit a Veterinarian

One thing I haven’t mentioned yet, is the issue of underlying health problems.

As you can imagine, there are a wide range of underlying health problems that can be the cause of weight gain.

Issues like: Source PetMd
Hypothyroidism (which malamutes are prone to)
Bloat (causes the appearance of weight gain)
Fluid retention
Cushing’s disease
Parasites
Heart disease

Often, these issues are accompanied by many other symptoms. So if you notice your malamute to be acting differently, fatigued, experiencing diarrhea, nauseous, or in pain, then it’s important to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian.

Additionally, if the weight gain has come quickly and unexpectedly this is another cause for concern and you should seek veterinary help as soon as you can.

Some conditions like bloat or gastric torsion could see your malamute suddenly bulge or look bigger from one hour to the next. If this happens, this is usually a medical emergency and you should seek immediate help. Fortunately, however, these situations are rare.

And finally, if your malamute is overweight and you just can’t think of a legitimate reason why and are concerned for his or her health, do not hesitate to consult your veterinarian. Ruling out health issues should always be a priority.

Last Thoughts

If your malamute is overweight, it’s really important to find the cause and offer a solution. Prolonged weight gain dramatically increases the chance of health issues as well as a shortened life expectancy.

When it comes to weight in dogs, it’s even healthier to be slightly underweight than it is overweight.

Remember, if you are concerned for the health of your malamute, or need further help, waste no time in seeking help from your veterinarian.


Thank you for reading!
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Check out more breed information on huskies here: Siberian Husky Breed Info here.

Disclaimer

The advice given in this article is for educational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice in any context. Before making any decisions that may affect the health and/or safety of your dog, you should always consult a trained veterinarian in your local area. For the FULL disclaimer Visit Here


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