Updated May 9, 2013
The Alaskan Malamute has an extremely thick and waterproof double coat that needs daily brushing.
Regular brushing is one of the best things you can do to keep your pet healthy and happy.
It’s very important to brush a dog with a double coat.
Mats can develop that harbor fungus and create infection. Hot spots can occur in out breed, regular grooming can help you find them and treat them.
If you find a “hot spot” you can self-treat with either a powder such as Gold Bond medicated, or a fungus powder, such as Desenex, another favorite that works is one called “Sulfodene” made by Hartz Mountain and can be simply found in your grocery store. IF these aren’t successful, you will have to take your malamute to the veterinarian for further treatment.
- Removes dirt and debris
- Invigorates skin
- Spreads oils to moisturize skin and keep a shiny coat
- Prevents mats and tangles which are irritating painful and can harbor bacteria, fungus, other infections
- Keeps your house cleaner during shedding seasons
- Help bonding, massaging, loving interaction
- Early detection of fleas, ticks, eczema, infection and smells that alert you to illness
Tools: Slicker, firm bristled brush.
Brush your Alaskan malamute daily with a bristle brush or slicker. Rub it down with a chamois to get a good shiny coat. A rake might come in handy and will pull out the undercoat. The new “furminators” are not recommended for Alaskan Malamutes as they will cut thru the guard hairs.
Eyes: Check your dog’s eyes daily.
Debris is flushed to the corners of the eyes and daily wiping with a wet cloth or paper towel can prevent the buildup of bacteria. Now many pet stores carry disposable eye wipes, which are disposable and easy to use.
Ears: Check ears once a week. Disposable ear wipes are of great value, and they do a great job of cleaning the malamutes inner ears.
Your dog’s ears should be pink and healthy inside. Keeping your dogs’ ears clean minimizes odor, removes dirt, bacteria and mites trapped in wax. Do not use cotton swabs in the dogs’ ears. Leave this type of cleaning to your vets or your professional groomers.
Teeth: Brush Regularly.
80% of 3 year old dogs have periodontal disease due to lack of brushing. Cavities and gum disease are painful for your dog; they diminish its pleasure and ability to eat. A bacterium that develops can infect the heart, kidney, liver and brain. Really bad breath is usually a sign of gum disease.
Never use human toothpaste. It is not edible. There are a variety of products for teeth maintenance of dogs. These include toothbrushes, finger toothbrushes, solution for water etc. Many pet salons now offer a treatment that is sprayed on and then brushed off in 30 minutes and it successfully removes a lot of tartar, which cause the decay.
Start off by getting it used to its mouth being handled.
Progress to touching the teeth with your finger.
Get some meat-flavored toothpaste and apply with your finger.
Then introduce the brush. Clean a few teeth at a time and soon you will have a routine that takes just minutes.
Brush in a circular motion and get under the gum line.
Lots of bones and hard, crunchy foods can minimize plaque but not to a truly effective degree.
Nails: trim approximately every 6 weeks.
Nail care is very important for your Alaskan Malamute. Nails that aren’t trimmed can splinter and infect the quick or grow and curl into the flesh. This can be painful for your dog to walk on. It will affect its gait, posture, and eventually it’s skeletal and ligament health. Nails should never touch the ground. When your dog is standing its nails should rest above the ground. If you hear clicking on the kitchen floor, clipping is overdue.
Tools: Doggie Nail Clippers (Scissors, pliers, guillotine), Dremel or file, Styptic or Kwikstop.
Introducing your dog to nail clipping should start off by getting it used to its paws being handled. Stroke and touch your Alaskan Malamute’s paws whenever you are giving it affection.
Getting it used to a Dremel is your best bet to avoid clipping altogether. A dremmel is a tool that can be found in most grooming supply catalogs, dog shows, or simply in the tool section at WalMart, they have a cordless one and that is very easy to use!
Pet Salons usually have very reasonable rates and walk in status for nail trimming and are much more reasonable than the veterinarians. They have dremmels readily available and can grind the nails for you as well.
Paws: Check every week, trim hair on bottoms of pads about every 6 weeks or so.
It is very important to check between dog pads for foreign objects that may have wedged there and to check the pads themselves for cuts, scrapes and infection.
The Alaskan Malamute has hair that grows between its pads, traditionally insulating its feet. This hair can mat and trap bacteria besides becoming painful to walk on.
Trim hair around the bottom of the paws to keep them clean. Just trim hair even with the pads. (Only do this when the dog is standing on the paw.)
This is a task normally done when you take your dog in for professional grooming. Your dog uses scent glands in the anus to mark its territory.
These glands also excrete when your dog defecates. At times, they may get impacted. Signs of this include: increased doggie odor, excessive licking and chewing of the behind and worst of all, scooting (when your dog drags its bottom along the floor or carpet).
Bathing the Alaskan Malamute:
Malamutes need regular bathing!
Things have changed so much on the grooming front, and while they don’t require frequent grooming… your dog will look nicer, smell better, and it will keep the shedding at a minimum if you do regular bathing and drying every 6-8 weeks. Show malamutes are groomed weekly and it has proven that the coats are in better conditioning, less shedding, and overall good health because of it. Shampoos vary, a good oatmeal shampoo is always a good choice, or a general cleaning shampoo works well too. You can condition the malamutes coat if it feels dry, just don’t overdo it. Most importantly is drying the malamutes coat completely. Getting a high capacity blow dryer is great, but also many grooming salons now offer do it yourself at a very reasonable rate, and they include the shampoos, conditioners, towels, and high velocity dryers, which keeps your home without the mess, and the raised tubs are much easier on your back.
Long coated malamutes require brushing every week, as well as good grooming (we recommend professional grooming for long coats every 6 weeks) about every 6-8 weeks
If you do not follow this protocol for the long coats, you stand a very good chance of a very matted malamute that only shaving can remedy. If the mats develop to the point that the dog needs shaving, it can create problems for the dog and its seasonal growth cycle is disturbed. The dog will have problems regulating its temperature; it can get windburn or sunburn, and shaving severely alters the color and texture of the coat. Shaving also leaves its skin itchy and irritated because dead hair shafts are left behind. If you cannot keep up with a long coated malamute yourself, find a pet salon near you to take on the task!
A good groomer can trim your long coat up very nicely for you. Regular grooming will help your groomer do their jobs properly and keep your long coat in gorgeous condition and grooming!
If you have other questions, make certain you contact your breeder, or another knowledgeable malamute breeder for more grooming tips!