Alaskan Malamutes are large sledding dogs with thick double coats. Their coats helped protect them from the freezing conditions in the Arctic where they once pulled heavy sleds long distances. Their robust coats are evidence of their origins as working dogs but can be high maintenance to groom. Alaskan Malamutes are heavy shedders and benefit from daily grooming.
Although bathing and nail trims are only required a few times a month, brushing and regular skin and coat checks will be more frequent.
This article will provide you with helpful tips on grooming your Alaskan Malamute.
The 6 Tips on How to Groom an Alaskan Malamute
1. Brush Them Daily
Brushing is an important part of grooming your Alaskan Malamute. These dogs require daily brushes to keep their coat manageable and to prevent matting. If your Alaskan Malamute is shedding particularly heavily, you might need to brush them twice a day to minimize the number of loose hairs.
You ideally want to brush in the direction of their hair growth using a molting, pin, or slicker combs. Those types of combs will help brush through the Alaskan Malamutes’ thick coat and remove tangles. When brushing an Alaskan Malamute, you should focus on areas with the most hair growth like their back, tails, and flanks.
2. Use an Undercoat Rake During Shedding Season
Although Alaskan Malamutes shed year-round, they shed heavily twice a year during seasonal changes. This heavy shedding season is called “blow coat” and they typically shed large clumps of fur. Shedding season for Alaskan Malamutes is in spring and fall as their coat adjusts for the expected cooler or warmer temperatures.
To help reduce the amount of hair your Alaskan Malamute sheds, an undercoat rake will come in handy. You can use an undercoat rake alongside their regular brushes every day during periods of shedding. The undercoat rake should be used gently to avoid injuring your Alaskan Malamutes skin.
3. Keep Their Nails Trimmed
Alaskan Malamutes benefit from nail trims every 3 to 6 weeks to keep their nails short and comfortable. You can either get their nails trimmed by a professional dog groomer, or you can do it at home. However, it is a good idea to speak with your veterinarian or groomer to see how it can be done safely.
You want to avoid cutting too close to the quick, so rather focus on trimming just the curve of the nail. Most Alaskan Malamutes are not fond of nail trimming, so try trimming their nails when they are in a relaxed position or occupied with a chew toy.
Once you have finished trimming their nails, reward your Alaskan Malamute with a high-value treat. This helps them to associate nail trimming with a positive outcome.
4. Avoid Shaving or Over Trimming Their Coat
It is not recommended to shave your Alaskan Malamutes coat or trim off too much hair. While this might make grooming easier for you, it may put your Alaskan Malamute at risk of heatstroke or sunburn. Alaskan Malamutes rely on their coats for temperature regulation during both the warmer and cooler months.
According to the American Kennel Club (AKC) breed standard, trimming is not acceptable for shows unless to keep their paws neat.
5. Use High-Quality Shampoos and Conditioners Only When Necessary
Alaskan Malamutes do not need to be bathed often, and every 3 to 4 months is fine. Bathing your Alaskan Malamute too often with harsh cleansing shampoos could remove the natural oils that they need for a healthy coat and skin.
This could lead to dry and irritated skin, which might exacerbate their shedding. It is better to use a high-quality yet gentle shampoo on Alaskan Malamutes followed by a moisturizing conditioner.
If you find it difficult to bathe your Alaskan Malamute at home, taking them to an experienced groomer to bathe them is recommended.
6. Regularly Check Their Coat and Skin Condition
You should check your Alaskan Malamutes coat and skin condition a few times a week. This allows you to spot any abnormalities on their skin, such as hot spots, bumps, rashes, and irritation. Checking their skin is essential during tick or flea season, as those parasites can remain invisible underneath your Alaskan Malamutes thick coat. If you notice something concerning on their skin, don’t hesitate to contact a veterinarian.
Compared to many other dog breeds, grooming an Alaskan Malamute can be a demanding task. However, it is important if you want to keep their coat clean, manageable, and tangle-free. Alaskan Malamutes should be brushed more frequently than they should be bathed, and nail trims should be done once a month.
Ensuring that grooming is a positive experience for your Alaskan Malamute allows them to feel more comfortable during the process.