When your Malamute stops eating, it can be quite concerning. You don’t know whether he’s just fussy, or if there’s something wrong.
This article covers the 7 main reasons why your Malamute isn’t eating and what you can do about it.
7 Reasons Why Your Malamute Won’t Eat:
1. Disagreeing With His Food
2. Insufficient Exercise
3. Unclear Feeding Schedule
5. Environmental Changes
6. Treats & table scraps
7. Other Health Issues
Each will be explained in full detail below.
7 Reasons Why Your Malamute Won’t Eat
Let’s run through the 7 main reasons why your Malamute isn’t eating their food. Remember, it could be one or a combination of the following reasons.
1. He Disagrees With His Food (Diet & Nutrition Issues)
This is likely the main reason. Let’s get into it..
Dog food isn’t made equal, and the quality from brand to brand varies greatly. Unfortunately, the cheaper the food, the chances are, the lower the quality.
This is due to manufacturing costs, processing costs, storing costs, and much more. Essentially, the cheaper the food is to make, the cheaper it is for you to buy.
However, cheap ingredients are bad ingredients. Many of the cheaper brands contain fillers, by-products, preservatives, additives, chemicals, and/or many other irritative ingredients.
The ideal diet for a malamute
Malamutes thrive on a diet that is high in protein, medium to high in fats, and low in carbohydrates. So check your Malamute’s current food and see what the ratios are.
It just so happens that premium brands naturally follow this better ratio. Lower-quality brands usually have higher carbohydrate content and they use that as a way to “bulk” up their food, for a cheaper price.
Malamutes, much like huskies, have “soft” stomachs, meaning they are naturally sensitive to what they eat. This plays havoc when trying to find a food that works well for them, a lot of trial and error is needed with breeds like this.
You may be surprised to know that chicken, beef, lamb, and pork are all considered to be common allergens, despite being in everything (almost!)
Malamutes often get on better with food where the main source of protein comes from salmon, duck, turkey, or other fish.
Raw food diet
Although I agree that a raw food diet (BARF) is likely to be the healthiest diet for a dog. The truth is that it doesn’t work for every dog out there.
It’s incredibly hard to get right, and not to mention immensely expensive.
This article will focus on using kibble, as that’s what the vast majority of owners still use.
Malamutes know what food is good and isn’t
Malamutes are working dogs and have developed an awesome metabolism. Their bodies are trained to use food in the most efficient ways possible for sustained energy.
The moment your Malamute eats food he doesn’t agree with, he likely won’t eat it again. This breed knows what’s good for them and what isn’t.
2. Insufficient Exercise
Alaskan Malamutes are one of the hardest-working dogs known to us. These sled-pulling dogs were bred to work for entire days, pulling loads many miles in arctic conditions.
Malamutes MUST receive around 2 hours of exercise, if not more (for malamutes in their prime).
Due to the way that Malamutes have lived for thousands of years, they have developed one of the most efficient metabolisms seen in dogs.
This means they can eat little food for continued energy spanning several hours.
What this means for you is that if your Malamute isn’t receiving enough exercise and exertion, he just isn’t going to build a big enough appetite to eat. And when these dogs don’t feel they need to eat, they won’t. Snowdogs and northern breeds are not greedy.
3. Unclear Daily Feeding Routine
Dogs who graze throughout the day, either due to having their food bowl left down, or from receiving tidbits, are less likely to eat their entire meals.
If you’re currently leaving the food bowl down with food, please stop that, and set appropriate feeding times.
The best times are usually when your household wakes up around 7 am or 8 am and then again during the evening 6 pm is ideal as it’s not too close to bedtime.
Once you set times, you must stick to them. Your Malamute’s body will adjust and eventually become hungry at those specific times.
It’s almost like you’re training your Malamute to be hungry in time for dinner. So it’s really important to stick to the same times.
There is a chance that fussy eating and food refusal are simply down to boredom.
Admittedly, it’s a little harder to diagnose “boredom”.
But usually, if it is boredom, food refusal will happen slowly over a few weeks or even months.
Little by little, your Malamute leaves more and more food until he’s not eating any of it. This is usually a sign of boredom (although not always the case)
I will explain a clever way to combat boredom in the next section.
5. Environmental Changes
A subtle change in his environment could be putting him off his food.
Dogs are very sensitive to their surroundings, and eating is a moment when they naturally feel vulnerable.
Changes could be anything from outside noise, cars going by, foot traffic, other pets, new neighbors, you have moved house, an additional person living in your house, the loss of a person in your house, building works, and the list goes on…
Slight changes might make your Malamute feel uncomfortable enough not to eat.
If you suspect it to be this, the best thing to try is moving his food bowl to a different room, or even just to the other side of the room.
Changing the food bowl location could get him to eat again.
6. Treats & table scraps
Treats and table scraps cause many issues when it comes to appetite and eating habits.
The two main issues:
- Giving too many treats causes a lower appetite
- Giving table scraps causes your malamute to wait for tastier food
Either the treats give your malamute a lower appetite because they’re too heavy (or you give too many). Or your malamute has learned that refusing their own food results in you giving yours.
Firstly, we should avoid table scraps altogether as our food often has way too many calories and contains a lot of toxic ingredients (for dogs).
Additionally, it’s essential to opt for a low-calorie natural dog treat, and avoid the calorie-dense ones.
We recommend the perfect dog treat below.
7. Other Health Conditions
In more unfortunate situations, food refusal may be due to an underlying health issue.
There is a wide range of health issues that can cause a lack of appetite, or even make it painful to eat.
Malamutes, in particular, suffer from Zinc deficiency. Zinc is one of the most important trace minerals in the body and it’s responsible for the normal functioning of many bodily processes.
Zinc deficiency can well be a cause of low appetite.
But it’s not limited to Zinc issues. There are a plethora of health issues that may be preventing your Malamute from eating his meals.
To rule out health conditions you must make an appointment with your local veterinarian, where all necessary checks will be done
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How To Get Your Malamute To Eat His Meals
It’s always advised to rule out health issues first. If your Malamute has suddenly stopped eating and hasn’t eaten anything for 2 days, you should waste no time in visiting a veterinarian to have him checked and properly assisted.
The following is just advice. If you are ever unsure, please take your dog to your nearest veterinarian’s clinic.
1. Remove common allergens from his diet
Make sure to remove common allergens including chicken, beef, lamb, and pork. These ingredients, despite being super common, usually upset a lot of dogs with sensitive stomachs.
Opt for a kibble that uses salmon, duck, turkey, or other kinds of fish as the main protein source.
Not only are these not common allergens, but many owners claim these kibbles digest far better than others.
2. Increase exercise
If your current exercise routine isn’t around 2 hours per day. It’s a really good idea to increase it.
Young malamutes and old malamutes shouldn’t be pushed too much. But Malamutes in their prime 2-7 years should easily be capable of 2 hours per day.
This could be what your Malamute needs to spark that appetite and start eating again.
It’s recommended not to feed dogs 2 hours either side of eating, so time the exercise appropriately.
3. Stick to proper eating times
As mentioned earlier, it’s really important to stick to eating times.
If you let your Malamute pick and graze throughout the day, he’ll never be hungry enough to eat a full meal.
Create two times, one in the morning and one in the evening, and then stick to that religiously.
This will essentially train your Malamutes body to be hungry at those times.
4. Stop feeding tidbits and switch treats
Completely stop the table scraps and tidbits. Not only are they no good for dogs, but these may be preventing his appetite from properly developing.
Dog treats are important and it’s normal to use them every day for a range of valid reasons.
The type of dog treats you offer should be small tiny low calorie treats like Zukes Mini Naturals, these bad boys only have 3.5 calories per treat!
Compare that to a bone or ear-chew that could contain upwards of 150 calories!
Switch treats ASAP.
5. Add wet dog food to his dry dog food
If you think your Malamute is just being fussy, adding some wet dog food to their kibble will raise their eyebrows, to say the least!
Veterinarians often recommend a split: 80% dry kibble with 20% wet dog food.
This can be given regularly multiple times per week as a way to keep their mealtimes interesting, and it provides a boost of extra nutrition.
Not only is wet dog food palatable and super tasty, but it also contains far more nutrition than dry kibble.
Wet dog food mixed in with the kibble will certainly get your Malamute eating his meals.
Be sure to check calories and avoid adding a lot of wet dog food. It’s very rich, and if too much is consumed, it can result in long term weight gain and even diarrhea.
6. Start a rotation diet
This is a great way to prevent boredom.
Once you have at least two kibbles that you know your Malamute gets along well with, all you need to do is rotate them every month.
Feed him one kibble for a month, then the next month rotate it over to the other kibble.
It’s very simple, but the change in flavors keeps it interesting and appealing.
Most owners have the best results sticking to the same brand and just altering the flavors. This way, you can be sure that the ingredients are not changing that much. And this prevents upset stomachs, from too much variance.
Alaskan Malamutes can be fussy eaters, but they are also sensitive eaters. It’s always important to rule out health issues, so it’s advised to do that first.
Once you have that out the way, you can think about the other causes and what you can do to start fixing the food refusal.
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DisclaimerThe 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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