Every Malamute owner believes they have the prettiest dog. Mine was. Kari was a beautiful animal. But that coat! The same coat that made her such a gorgeous creature was a constant problem. She shed year-round and blew coats seasonally, which meant constant sweeping and vacuuming. That thick warm coat that keeps them so warm and cozy in winter can be a bit of a problem when it comes to keeping cool in the summer.
You can keep your Malamute cool by following our 9 tips. With these tips, you won’t have to pass on the joy of bringing a Malamute into the family just because you live in a warmer weather area.
- Invest in a swimming pool for your Malamute.
- Learn to recognize the signs of heatstroke and how to treat your Malamute.
- Plan exercise and walks during cooler hours of the day.
- Provide plenty of shade in your Mal’s outdoor play area.
- Keep a steady stream of clean, fresh water for your Malamute to drink.
- Brush frequently to thin out their thick undercoats.
- Practice healthy weight management efforts.
- Offer plenty of cool treats on hot days.
- Consider bringing your Malamute inside when things heat up outside.
How to keep your Malamute cool? This article explores why these 9 tips are so important for helping you keep your Malamute cool. Plus, I’ll share some extra nuggets we learned with Kari that may help you manage these steps better. Now that you know quite a few ways you can keep Malamutes cool in the summer, let’s dive deeper into each one.
Why Listen to Me?
Experience is the greatest teacher. I was fortunate enough to enjoy nearly 12 years of living with our Malamute, Kari, who was a rescue. Over time, she became my best friend. I spent a lot of time doing research (I called it homework) on how to best care for her.
We weathered quite a few cold winters and warm summer months because I learned these tips and tricks for keeping her comfortable, cool, and safe. Hopefully, these tips for keeping Malamutes cool will help you do the same for yours.
1. Invest in a Swimming Pool for Your Malamute
There are swimming pools that are made just for dogs. These are great places to begin.
Be aware, though, that some Malamutes have a propensity to dig. Kari certainly did. Consequently, this means that small doggy pools with soft linings mean flooded lawns (and empty pools) waiting to happen.
If you want your Malamute to swim, choose deeper dog pools or family-sized pools that are three or more feet deep. Or choose doggy pools with hard plastic bottoms instead.
If you want your Malamute to chill, get a large splash pool:
- Check out the Alcott Mariner if your dog doesn’t dig.
- If your dog does dig, try this plastic bone-shaped pool.
While many Malamutes do love spending time in the pool, others are not so inclined. You MAY be able to convince them to play in the sprinklers to help cool off. Try this splash mat for dogs and kids. Or you could even hose them off yourself.
To keep Malamutes cool, wet them down during the hotter hours of the day.
2. Learn to Recognize the Signs of Heat Stroke and How to Treat Your Malamute
Heatstroke is a life-threatening condition for Malamutes. On the hottest days of summer, you need to be especially mindful of the heatstroke risk for Malamutes.
Learning the signs of heatstroke so that you act early can save your dog’s life. The following are symptoms to be on the lookout for as temperatures rise:
- Excessive panting.
- Salivating profusely.
- Appearing confused.
- Stumbling or unable to get up or walk.
- Glazed or glassy eyes.
Also, the next thing you need to know is what you can do for your Malamute if it is exhibiting these symptoms.
Swift action is essential.
Above all, act immediately to lower the dog’s core body temperature by taking him inside where it is cool and place him in front of a fan.
In addition, use wet towels to wrap around your Malamute or submerge your dog in your swimming pool or a tub of water.
The idea is to cool him off quickly.
For instance, call your vet (or better, have someone else call your vet while you’re doing these other things) and follow the instructions your vet provides.
Here’s a video with advice from vet Dr. Alex
3. Plan Exercise and Walks During the Cooler Hours of the Day
Malamutes are boisterous animals that need plenty of exercise. Otherwise, you could find yourself with a pup that is acting out fiercely. Which is definitely, something you’ll want to seek to avoid.
At the same time, you don’t want to tax your dog’s system in a way that could be harmful to your Malamute. It’s a delicate balance when summer temperatures soar.
These ideas can help to keep Malamutes cool.
- Consider play dates at indoor doggy daycare centers. Many offer playtime events regularly. Some will even provide daily playtimes for a fee. It is money well spent as they learn how to behave in social settings, and you have a worn-out pup on your hand when the day is done.
- Go walking in indoor dog parks.
- Go for outdoor exercises during early morning or late evening hours when the sun is not as powerful, and the temperature is often cooler.
- Take plenty of breaks during your walks and make sure there is water for your pup to drink. Bring bottled water and a portable doggy dish along if necessary.
- Mental exercise can be tiring for Malamutes, so use these exercises during the warmer hours if your Malamute gets over-excited.
- Plan your walk-in shaded areas whenever possible.
That doesn’t mean you can’t exercise your Malamute on warmer days. The steps above will help you make the most of the exercise your Mal gets on days when things really heat up outside.
4. Provide Plenty of Shade in Your Mal’s Outdoor Play Area
Malamutes are rare among modern dogs in that they are content, for the most part, to spend a lot of time outdoors. Their love of the outdoors is better in winter than summer, but they do love their time in nature as much as they love spending time with their human “pack.”
To make the most of their time outdoors, owners need to plan plenty of shade for your Malamute. While tall shade trees take time to grow, there are things you can do to create shade for your Malamute’s comfort and protection from the heat.
If you are handy, you can build structures that take advantage of the sun’s progress, offering shade in different parts of your yard through the day. Take a look at this DIY project.
Otherwise, you might consider investing in pre-fabricated dog canopies designed to offer shade for your pup. Our recommendation is the Cooler Dog Pup-Up Pop-Up Shade, which blocks 98% of harmful UV rays.
5. Keep a Steady Stream of Clean, Fresh Water for Your Malamute to Drink
The more sources of clean, fresh water your Malamute has during the summer, the better.
This is especially the case for outside dogs.
With multiple sources of clean water (in shady areas of the yard), you don’t have to worry about it running out, especially if you check several times per day.
Proper hydration doesn’t change the temperature, but it does help your Malamute adapt better to higher temperatures. Don’t let your Mal dehydrate.
6. Brush Frequently to Thin Out Their Thick Undercoats
A Malamute’s coat plays a critical role in helping them manage their temperatures. It serves to insulate the animal to a large degree. Plus, the thick topcoat helps prevent them from getting sunburnt during summer weather, which they are vulnerable to.
This means you don’t have the option of shaving your Mal. But who would want to get rid of those beautiful coats, right? Anyone who has had an indoor Malamute, I assure you, has been tempted. Especially if you have carpet in your home. However, shaving them won’t help with temperature regulation for Malamutes.
Brushing their coats, daily when possible, is a great way to keep Malamutes cool. It helps to remove loose hair from their undercoats which could cause them to feel overheated.
It also feels good and creates excellent bonding opportunities between you and your Malamute. Kari was never one to stay in place and let you brush her. Still, she would make passes and let you give her a couple of brush strokes before making another loop around the house.
The kind of brush you choose is important. We always used a rake for her undercoat. It was great for pulling out all the loose hairs and was tough enough for the challenge.
For the top coat, we recommend using a slicker brush. Some people prefer bristle brushes, but we liked the slicker. The Alaskan Malamute Club of America recommends against using “FURminator” brushes for Mals, suggesting that these brushes cut through their guard hairs.
Once you’ve finished with the slicker brush, use a bristle brush.
Here are our recommendations for accessories to brush you Mal:
- Best undercoat rake
- The Best budget option slicker brush
- Best two-in-one double-sided slicker (pin) and bristle brush.
7. Practice Healthy Weight Management Efforts
Believe it or not, obesity among Malamutes can be extremely problematic during the heat of the summer.
Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to tell when they are putting on a few extra pounds because those coats hide a lot. Work with your veterinarian to identify a nutrition plan that works best for your Malamute and to make sure your Mal is an appropriate weight.
Overweight dogs have more significant risks for various health conditions, including heart disease and diabetes. This means diet and exercise are as crucial for your Malamute as they are for you.
8. Offer Plenty of Cool Treats on Hot Days
While this might sound counter to maintaining healthy weights, the truth is that cool treats on a hot afternoon hit the spot with many Malamutes.
It’s the little things humans can do to keep their Mals cool and happy.
You don’t have to make unhealthy choices when doing it either. Kari loved all the following treats:
- Ice cubes.
- Frozen pumpkin cubes. We just scooped canned pumpkin into an ice cube tray, froze the cubes, and gave her one of these treats on hot days.
- Frozen Greek yogurt. We did the same thing for Greek yogurt that we did for pumpkin.
- Vanilla ice cream. We saved these treats for days when she went to the groomer or the vet (neither were her favorite places), so they were special treats.
For outside Malamutes, consider freezing water in a one-gallon ice cream bucket and letting your Mal lick on the huge ice cube throughout the day. Because the cube is so large, they can’t eat it quickly, which eliminates any risk of bloat but gives them something cool to keep coming back to until it melts. Be sure when giving it to them outside, there’s a layer of water on the surface of the giant ice cube, so their tongue does not stick.
9. Consider Bringing Your Malamute Inside When Things Heat Up Outside
Our Malamute was an inside dog for the bulk of her days. She wasn’t much for being outside unless her humans were with her. Even then, she didn’t like being outside if it was rainy or muddy. Which goes against the usual grain for the Malamute breed. However, she would stay outside all day long in winter. She loved the cold.
Even if your Malamute is usually an outside animal, it is a good idea to bring your Mal inside on days when the heat index is particularly lethal-looking.
More than bringing them inside, consider bringing them into the coolest part of your home, especially if that room has hard surface floors.
You might even consider using a fan for your Malamutes on these hottest of hot days.
Your dog will feel pampered, and you have confidence that your Malamute is not overheating beneath a blistering summer sun.
If your Malamute isn’t house-trained, make sure to offer frequent trips outside for potty breaks. Do not discontinue water in hopes of avoiding an accident.
It’s a Wrap
Your Malamute will bring you many years of joy if you’re lucky. If you are looking for ways to keep malamutes cool in summer, the 9 tips we’ve covered will significantly help. These steps will help you extend those years of great fun in all seasons. It will also give you an appropriately pampered pet once the heat of summer kicks into high gear.
Do You Love Malamutes? We Do Too!
And that’s why we feature a couple of articles about this beautiful outdoor dog breed on our blog:
- Should you worry if your Mal doesn’t howl?
- We’re going backpacking, should you bring your Mal?
- Could you Mal kill a wolf?
- How your Mal thrives living outside
- We’re going ice-fishing: pack your dog booties for your Malamute
- Malamute vs Husky – what are the similarities and differences?