It’s wintertime, and all you want to do is to snuggle up in your blanket with a warm cup of chocolate. But wait, what’s that? Is that hair all over your couch? Your floor? Even your side table?
At this point, you’re probably wondering, “Why is my Malamute shedding in the winter?” After all, their coat seems so cozy and warm, so there should be no reason for them to lose it just when it’s getting cold outside, right?
In this article, we’ll find out why Malamutes shed, why it happens specifically in winter, and when it is considered excessive shedding.
Why do Malamutes shed?
Shedding, also sometimes called “blowing,” is a normal function that helps animals get rid of their old, damaged coats and grow new, seasonally appropriate ones.
Different breeds shed coats at different times and rates throughout the year. Most shed year-round, though, typically once or twice a year. The latter is especially common among cold-weather breeds like Malamutes.
That said, if there’s one thing you should know about an Alaskan Malamute’s shedding process, it’s that they shed—a lot. While they make really great pets, you have to be prepared to find hair all over your clothing, furniture, carpets, and even in your food, if you’re not careful.
Why is my Malamute shedding in winter?
Again, shedding is a completely normal and healthy process that happens in dogs, including Malamutes, every year. Even shedding that seems excessive can be normal, depending on your dog’s breed, weather, and a number of other factors.
For Malamutes specifically, they typically have two shedding schedules: spring and winter. During this time, especially the latter, your Malamute will shed so much that you’ll be able to fill bags with their hair.
The first shedding occurs in spring. Malamutes have extremely thick coats, so it’s only natural that they start to shed their undercoats just as the weather gets warmer.
In colder weather, these undercoats serve as a reliable layer of protection against the temperature. Understandably, they won’t need as much during the spring and summer seasons, so expect to see them blow their coat for a few weeks as the spring season starts.
The second shedding occurs during the winter. For many furparents, this is the most noticeable shedding period for Malamutes. It may seem counterintuitive for them to lose so much of their coat during the time that they need it the most, but actually, their need for a thick winter coat is exactly the reason why it’s happening.
As the temperature starts dropping, Malamutes also begin to grow a new, thicker undercoat to prepare them for the coming cold. This results in a lot of the old hair coming off, sometimes even in clumps. While it may be alarming to beginner furparents, don’t worry, it’s completely normal.
How to stop Malamutes from excessive shedding
Alaskan Malamutes have thick, waterproof double coats to help them survive in the harsh Arctic regions. It may look gorgeous, but keep in mind that it requires constant upkeep.
Here are a few tips on how to groom a Malamute properly and avoid its excessive shedding:
1. Stick to a brushing routine
Generally, Malamutes should be brushed 3-4 times per week, regardless of shedding. During spring and winter shedding, however, daily brushing with a pin brush and metal comb is preferred, if not required. Make sure to check for matted fur, which can harbor fungus, as well as hot spots, which can become infected if untreated.
2. Don’t over-bathe your Malamute
Your Malamute doesn’t need weekly brushing unless it competes in pet shows. If yours mostly stays inside the house, it can go anywhere from 6-8 weeks in between baths. Use conditioner on his coat if it seems dry and dull.
3. Improve your dog’s diet
If your Malamute’s skin and coat don’t look too well, it could be that their diet isn’t nutritious enough. Proper nutrition is needed to avoid excessive shedding.
Fish oil and omega 3-fatty acids are some of the key supplements you can add to your dog’s diet. They not only help the skin and coat but also contribute to the strengthening of the immune system and heart health.
4. Don’t cut or trim your Malamute’s coat
Malamutes are a double-coated breed and both the under and topcoat perform important roles such as regulating body temperature. As such, shaving or cutting the coat in an attempt to reduce shedding can jeopardize their overall health and safety.
This is especially true for short-coated Malamutes, as their coats aren’t that thick, to begin with. For long-coated Malamutes, however, a good grooming session every 6-8 weeks may be done to contain the Malamute’s coat.
Final thoughts on Malamutes shedding in winter
So, now you know the answer to, “Why is my Malamute shedding in winter?”
As mentioned, shedding is a common process that dogs, including Malamutes, undergo to maintain a healthy coat. That said, it varies depending on many factors such as breed, weather, nutrition, environment.
To summarize everything:
- Alaskan Malamutes shed year-round, but more so during spring and winter or at the beginning of big seasonal changes.
- To avoid excessive shedding, pet owners can follow the aforementioned tips, such as sticking to a brushing routine and bathing schedule.
- Providing adequate exercise and good nutrition can also help reduce shedding.
- Some excessive shedding is normal and expected, but it’s also important to be aware of issues that may otherwise indicate an underlying medical condition.
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