The first thing to remember about feeding a Malamute, as well as any other breed of dogs, is, that there is no one-and-only perfect food. And, whatever it eats, do not overfeed! Using the recommended norms on the pack of the food is a good start, but running through the ribs of the dog tells much more – you should always be able to feel the ribs without a layer of fat on them.
The usual ‘do nots’ include:
- Do not free feed a Malamute. They will never stop eating, have enormous diarrhoea, will become very sick and obese.
- Avoid table leftovers and sharing your food with your dog in general. Human food is processed, thus it is not beneficial to dogs. Also, succumbing to the dog’s hungry eyes will become an Alpha issue at some point.
- Never let your dog eat: avocado, alcohol, onions, garlic, caffeine (in coffee, tea and any other form), grapes, raisins, milk and dairy products in general, macadamia nuts, candy and gum, sugary foods and drinks, chocolate, persimmons, peaches, plums, salt, yeast dough, human medicaments (apart from active charcoal and fish oils), fat trimmings and bones (human food leftovers). Also, be very careful with raw eggs, fish and meat. The ‘why’ is very well explained widely on the web, but we can recommend reading the DogDesires website for a very thorough explanation.
What to feed?
It is important to understand, that while developing for thousand years in Alaskan wilderness, their diet was scarce and never included grain, corn, gluten and other ingredients unusual for the location. Have you ever seen a wolf eating corn? When choosing a kibble for a Malamute, the list of ingredients on a pack is the first place to look at. Apart from the aforementioned unwanted ingredients, everyone should avoid unidentified meat sources, sub-products, etc., especially when these are on top of the ingredient list. Then, when you start wondering about where those products actually come from, helpful resources become invaluable.
The best dog food research to date was made by Review.com and we’ve already posted it on our blog. Also, there are plenty of useful websites reviewing dog foods and explaining their ingredients, such as Dog Food Advisor, or Pet Food Ratings, or resources to help you master a RAW diet – Top 50 RAW FAQ for beginners, RawFed. These resources are never a one-fits-all solution, but they can be a very good place to start educating on dog nutrition.
In our own experience, we are too lazy to be feeding our Mal a RAW diet and believe it would be too much hassle during the travels, thus we choose a good kibble with an occasional addition of raw beef.
Kibble, that proved good for us and our malamute-owner friends:
Annamaet Petfoods, both Grain-free and Originals formulas. This is what our Mals eat, the Aqualuk cold water formula (wild caught salmon and herring) being the favourite. With Robert Downey in front of it, it’s kind of a special and symbolic company for sled dogs. Read more about their history.
Orijen – a Canadian company, focusing on local ingredients that are sustainably raised, passed ‘fit for human consumption’, and then delivered to their kitchens fresh each day. Rich in meat (80%-90%), low in carbohydrates and whole fruits, vegetables and other natural ingredients. Their Freeze-dried foods are incredible. But it can be a bit of a protein bomb for less active dogs, ending up in loose stools.
Acana – the same company as Orijen, same exceptional quality, the only difference is in meat balance (60%-70%). Their Regionals line of kibble is most recommended and is more moderate in terms of protein and price if compared to Orijen.
Raw unfrozen high quality beef once a week will make the dog happy, coat shiny and teeth clean. Yes, interestingly, large chunk of meat is much more efficient than a toothbrush! During the hot summer days, medium sized frozen beef pieces are not only a joy for the dog’s stomach, but also a substitute of ice cream to help cool down a bit. Regular ice cubes also are a fun snack.
High quality Omega-3 supplements will be a good addition to the Malamute’s diet for it’s health, digestive system and coat. We prefer Kronch Salmon Oil, as well as Lakse Kronch – The Original treats, both made by a Danish family run business Henne Pet Food.
B group vitamins can be occasionally given in order to boost the dog’s immune system as well as to help solving such issues as consumption of animal or human faeces (yes, it is gross, but vitamin B is a miraculous solution!) and all sorts of other unwanted objects.
Joint protection supplement formulas tailored specifically for sled dogs are recommended once in a while for working Malamutes.
Also, post exercise supplements could be considered for a Malamute with heavy everyday working activity schedule. We can recommend the Annamaet Glycocharge Supplement – muscles restore much faster, as well as the desire to work the next day.