Alaskan Malamutes are considered a large breed, weighing between 75-100 lbs. As larger breeds tend to live shorter lives than their smaller counterparts, longevity is important to consider before adopting a puppy.
Fortunately, there are easy ways to increase the lifespan of Alaskan Malamutes, including exercise, regular check-ins, and a good diet.
Read ahead for everything you need to know about Alaskan Malamute’s lifespan and how to do your best at giving them the longest, healthiest life possible.
How Long do Alaskan Malamutes Live?
Alaskan Malamutes usually have a lifespan between 10-14 years. However, some factors can influence whether they live the shorter end of this average or the longer end.
- Food Habits: It’s simple. If you don’t feed your dog a healthy diet, their lifespan won’t be as long as another Alaskan Malamute with a healthy diet. Like humans, dogs require a well-balanced diet of macronutrients and micronutrients to maintain their health and live a long, happy life. Check out our guide to the best Alaskan Malamute food here!
- Environmental Conditions: Dogs, especially intelligent breeds like Alaskan Malamutes, need healthy environments to maintain their health. For example, an Alaskan Malamute in a small apartment in the desert will not live a very long life, as they will likely be unhappy, unchallenged, and overweight. Alaskan Malamutes require space, regular exercise, and brain activities to help stimulate their mind and increase their health.
- Health after Birth: A significant factor in the health of any dog starts with their parents. Many of the health problems Alaskan Malamutes face are genetic, meaning they will get them via their parent’s DNA.
- Health Throughout Life: If the health problem isn’t genetic, it’s developed throughout their life. Many common health problems in Alaskan Malamutes, like diabetes and obesity, can be avoided by maintaining a healthy routine throughout their life.
Common Health Problems in Malamutes
Different breeds tend to have specific health problems, no matter how well-bred they are. Luckily, most of the health issues common in Malamutes are non-deadly and can be treated through medication.
Here are the common health problems in Alaskan Malamutes:
In a recent study, 35% of Alaskan Malamute deaths were from cancer. Likely due to old age, cancer is common among most breeds that reach their golden years. Luckily, most cancers can be treated via surgical removal if detected early enough.
Although hip dysplasia isn’t likely to kill your Alaskan Malamute, it may shorten their lifespan and quality of life. Hip dysplasia is caused when the hip joint doesn’t correctly fit into its socket. This health problem is widespread in medium to large breeds but can be easily avoided through thorough research. A good breeder will perform x-rays on the female before breeding her to ensure that this issue isn’t passed down to the litter.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
Progressive Retinal Atrophy, or PRA, is a general term for genetic diseases that cause degeneration in the eye. By breaking down the eye’s photoreceptors, dogs slowly become blind in the eye(s) affected.
According to veterinarians, dental problems are dogs’ most common chronic health problem. Even though dental issues usually present themselves in older dogs, they can start becoming an issue before dogs reach two years old.
Dental hygiene is as important in dogs as it is in humans. Dental degeneration not only affects the mouth but also affects the brain, heart, liver, and kidney.
Other Health Problems
The other common health problems for Alaskan Malamutes are:
- Coat Funk
- Chondrodysplasia (dwarfism)
While these health problems are common for Alaskan Malamutes, most are non-worrisome and can either be:
- Avoided through purchasing through a registered, good breeder, or
- Treated through medication.
How to Increase Alaskan Malamutes Lifespan
Luckily for owners of this popular breed, there are many ways to increase the lifespan of an Alaskan Malamute. Because of their common health problems, the best way to avoid health problems is through diet, exercise, regular brushing, and routine check-ups.
High-quality dog food is a vital element in preventing disease and other health problems. While owners should do their own research before purchasing food, there are some general guidelines to consider before sticking to a dog food brand.
- Nutritional Guidelines. The Association of American Feed Control Officials has set up guidelines for nutritional content in dog food. Ensuring your dog’s food meets these basic guidelines ensures they are at least getting the proper amount of micro-and macronutrients.
- Digestibility and Safety. While many dog foods may have the same amount of macronutrients, the varying degrees of preservatives and high-quality, digestible ingredients will make a big difference in food quality.
- Vitamins and Supplements. While your vet can recommend the best vitamins for your dog’s specific needs, glucosamine is a common vitamin for dogs predisposed to hip dysplasia and other joint problems.
Brushing Their Teeth
Since Alaskan Malamutes run a high risk of having dental problems, brushing their teeth is an easy preventative measure to take to lengthen their lifespan. While brushing a dog’s teeth isn’t always the easiest, there are ways to make it simpler.
One way is to have a professional dental cleaning annually, generally during their annual check-up. Another way is to give your dog dental chews manufactured to work away at tartar and build up.
Give Them Regular Exercise
Alaskan Malamutes are hardworking, intelligent dogs. That being said, they can be stubborn and destructive if their exercise needs aren’t taken care of. Additionally, not getting proper exercise can take a toll on their mental and physical health in the long run.
To stay healthy, Alaskan Malamutes need a minimum of 2 hours of heavy exercise per day. The best way to do this is by running, walking, hiking, and playing with them. However, another way to exercise their body and brain is through interactive play toys that stimulate their brains and bodies.
Another way to ensure they get proper exercise is to give them ample space to play by themselves or with other dogs.
Many common health problems, like hip dysplasia, cancer, and progressive retinal atrophy, are easily identifiable by a veterinarian. Regularly taking your Alaskan Malamute to the vet is a crucial way to lengthen their lifespan through preventative care and early treatment.
As many common health problems are genetic, researching your breeder before purchasing a puppy is vital. The breeder should always be AKC registered to ensure the highest quality parents. In addition, the breeder should be getting vet screenings to make sure their dog is not passing on any genetic issues.
Alaskan Malamutes are great dogs and can live long, healthy lives if you take the proper steps. While Alaskan Malamutes’ lifespans average around 10-12 years, they can be extended through taking care of their mental and physical health, giving them routine check-ups with their vet, feeding them a high-quality diet, and researching their breeder.
Taking those steps, combined with researching common health problems for Alaskan Malamutes, will result in a happy, healthy life for your dog.