The major health concern in Alaskan Malamutes is joint disease, such as hip and elbow dysplasia, which cause lameness and pain and can require expensive surgery. The Malamute, is categorized by genetic trait as coming from the Northern Working Breeds and recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1935. These Northern Breeds are susceptible to these diseases at a high rate. Statistics researched show that 1 out of 9 Northern Breed Canine’s will come down with serious Hip dysplasia during their lives. While today’s Veterinary Medicines and techniques are improving with options to fight this disorder, it is very expensive. Alaskan Malamute puppies cannot be initially checked for this disease until they reach the age of 6 months or there about. Dogs cannot be x-rayed and true evidence cannot be established to this disease until the Malamute is approximately two years of age. Reasoning for this is some puppies don’t develop their full bone structure until they have matured. There are a few organizations which began certification and study on dogs and provide data, to those dogs, whom have passed their certifications. Although, the facts they provide only demonstrate that they were right in the first place. 1 out of 9 Alaskan Malamutes will get hip dysplasia. Even the offspring of a certified dog. Certification has not provided any evidence that it has improved these numbers. In fact, since they only track statistics of the dogs they certify. It only provides evidence that one of their certified dogs is proven to have more offspring that acquire dysplasia then a dog that has not been certified or tracked. All one has to do is check the AKC pedigree data-base. A dog passing certification is only that. It doesn’t have hip dysplasia!!! These certifications have not improved the statistics by any means. They are expensive and give breeders and owners bragging rights of falsehood. Because after a few years of future litters being examined and checked. 1 out 9 pups will still have hip dysplasia. Even still, after they thought that, because the Sire and Dam passed certification they would never again have bad pups!
Bloat is a gastrointestinal disorder, It is a syndrome where an Alaskan Malamutes stomach either completely flips or entangles in the intestines or other organs. It can happen to any Malamute at anytime. It is Natures flaw in the design of most dogs, but especially Northern Breed or large athletic dogs. Sometimes, just the wrong turn or maneuver of the dog, can force this syndrome into action. The major issue is that there is too much space in the organ cavity. Your Malamute is especially susceptible to it right after eating or minutes after. When the upper intestine and stomach are bogged with digestive food and fluids. The only remedy to save your Malamute when this happens, is immediate surgery. Or it will die in a few hours.
Alaskan Malamutes, have a severe threat of Cataract and some eye issues.
Since Alaskan Malamutes, have a dual coat, they are susceptible to many skin irritations and funguses. Especially after shedding the outer coat when it is at it's thinnest.
There are many other viruses and illnesses and disease that for the most part are do to virtue, that your Malamute may acquire.
This is another one of those controversial topics, that you will or might want to test on your own. Understanding this is vital, because every Malamute is different in their feeding habits. Talk to other Malamute owners and enthusiasts and you will get a different opinion every time. Dog Food companies claim they research the perfect formulas and blends to provide your dog the perfect balance. Your dog can't talk, and tell you if he likes it or not. You'll only know this if he eats it fast or doesn't even like it. Then some dogs eat a lot and some barely eat. Don't ever try and attempt to Stereotype what's best for all Malamutes.
If your dog has eating disorders you will have to adjust it's diet. If you have multiple dogs, you might want to feed them all different kinds of food. You only know what diet is best for your dog, if it is active, happy has solid stools and seems to feel ok. Well then it's eating good food. If it's getting fat, lazy, doesn't want to eat. or has loose stools. Yeah, your going to want to probably change it's diet. It might just be the food. It's up to you! Or maybe your Veterinarian. Just make sure somebody isn't getting kick back for selling some Brands of food, and Veterinarians are guilty for that, then most. Basically, start with a high protein, medium fat, low in corn and preservatives. Then see how it does. As I said before. Some Malamutes eat more and some less. Some are more active and some are just laid back. If you give your dog supplements and get active with them you won't need to pay for high priced scientific researched dog food. I don't know I have never met a dog food scientist yet!! The average adult Alaskan Malamute and again, there is no average Alaskan Malamute, but a good ball park figure is about 10 to 12 cups of solid dog food divided into 1 or 2 feedings a day. Some a little more and some a little less!
Brushing and Shedding.
The Alaskan Malamute sheds generally two times annually. The problem is you can't keep track of when it's going to shed. only it knows. You can't track it like heat cycles. I've seen them shed right after they just shed. I've seen em barely shed and then shed like crazy. Again your going on averages again. Depends on the dog, Depends on the coat. It has nothing to do with weather. climate, or anybody's incredible opinion. It's all up to the dog and time and space. Usually right after you put in new carpet or just had Stanley Steamer clean your rugs. You want to try and brush your thicker fur Malamutes, about once a week. Standard coats every once in awhile. Generally don't use human detergents or any thing that will leave residue and most human shampoo's do. Your Malamute will clean itself better than you can. And if it licks up chemicals it can get real sick. So bath it all you want. It's your dog. And all Malamutes are different. Please don't ever shave your Malamute for any reason. It is equipped with a dual layer coat. The inner coat protects it in the warm and the cold. If you harm what is called the guard coat you are putting your Malamute in harms way of many skin disorders and viruses.
Relationship with your Veterinarian
If you can't afford to pay for a Veterinarian or care, please don't get a dog period. Although, if you do get one make sure if it's a Malamute, you attempt to find a Vet that is knowledgeable about the breed, or Northern Working dogs. Not many of them are. If you find one that understands the differences about them versus, about Toy Poodles and Labradors. You better keep them. They are hard to find. You also want to make sure they have a good orthopedic program and in-house x-ray systems along with on-site lab work or have a quick turn around on lab work. Most vets are equipped with most of this. Some send you to other companies to do labs or x-rays. The faster and more thoroughly you can get these services done might just save your dogs life. Usually labs and Veterinarian x-rays specialist are a lot more expensive, as if your Vet, isn't already. Remember there is no such thing as Veterinary Mal-Practice. They also don't have an ethics program. Although, they sure charge for care like there is. So finding a Vet, with all these accommodations and is knowledgeable about Malamutes, and is fair priced, isn't easy. So search around, second opinions and even thirds, might lead you to a good one.