Summit Farms banner image

Caring for Alaskan Dogs


If you decide to train your Malamute with the idea that once trained, he or she will be 100% dependable to go to dog parks and/or run off-leash and play like other dogs, think again. In most cases, this just doesn't happen. It doesn't mean again that the dog is aggressive or defective. It simply means that this breed needs more structure than most. The key is to train the dog for the situations that do work and get he or she to behave at all times but without the illusion that the Malamute will behave like other dog breeds.

image of Alaskan malamute training on agility course.jpg

When training any breed of dog, the goal is to selectively pick out the most important things you want them to know or the commands you feel are the top priority for your Mal to respond to. In determining those, you will need to have a laundry list of activities that you plan on doing with your dog. Then base the teaching of commands around those activity potentials, so when the time comes, you and the dog will be ready, and you will have a greater chance for success.

Remember that all members of the dog's family must be equal participants in its training. That doesn't mean that children should be training the dog, however. Remember that these dogs are wickedly big for the most part, and small children should never be expected to "handle" these dogs or enforce behaviors.

Boredom is perhaps the greatest challenge in training an Alaskan Malamute. This extends beyond the norm of boredom from not enough exercise, socialization, etc. A Malamute is one of the most stubborn breeds you can ever deal with but again, with their high degree of intelligence, if you don't keep the training interesting, you'll be just as frustrated as they are. They will adopt the "dumb" face and act like they do not know what in the world you want from them, so always keep it interesting.


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.

image of Alaskan malamute on grooming table


Health & Nutrition

When deciding on what is the best Alaskan Malamute food, it's important to consider the canine anatomy and digestive system. Dogs' digestive tracts have not significantly evolved from when they were undomesticated wolves, and are best suited to fresh, high-protein prey-based diets. We call this 'species-appropriate nutrition' and is what a natural, raw diet seeks to replicate.

A dogs stomach is not anatomically designed to digest and ferment carbohydrates (the main ingredient in kibble). Even grain-free kibble often contains high levels of starchy carbs, including legumes, peas & lentils. Feeding this to a dog puts their system under pressure, creating metabolically stressful insulin, glucagon and cortisol spikes throughout the day as well as causing inflammation and putting strain on vital organs, leading, in some cases, to a host of serious health conditions.

There's no doubt the canine species is resilient, and despite eating a diet which isn't providing the natural components they may need, they will adapt and survive for some time. Still, there's a world of difference between surviving and thriving.

Dog eating

Alaskan Malamutes are a relatively healthy breed with an average lifespan of 12 years, but they can suffer from some common conditions like hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, and bloat.

Dental disease is the most common chronic problem in pets, affecting 80% of all dogs by age two. And unfortunately, your Alaskan Malamute is more likely than other dogs to have problems with her teeth. It starts with tartar build-up on the teeth and progresses to infection of the gums and roots of the teeth. If we don’t prevent or treat dental disease, your buddy will lose her teeth and be in danger of damaging her kidneys, liver, heart, and joints. In fact, your Alaskan Malamute’s life span may be cut short by one to three years! We’ll clean your dog’s teeth regularly and let you know what you can do at home to keep those pearly whites clean.