The raw food diet is becoming a hot topic for discussion amongst Alaskan Malamutes owners with some boasting its benefits and others claiming it is unsafe. All this discussion leads back to one important question – can Alaskan Malamutes eat raw meat safely? Keep reading to find out and to hear our views on the raw diet!
Can Alaskan Malamutes eat raw meat?
A question we regularly hear is ‘can Alaskan Malamutes eat raw meat?’.
The short answer to this is yes – their stomachs can safely handle raw meat just as they have since before domestication. Many owners feed their Malamutes occasional raw treats such as discarded cuts of meat from cooking, or bones from the butchers.
The longer answer to this question is a little more complicated.
Raw meat can contain lots of harmful bacteria and parasites which normally get killed in the cooking process. If you are going to feed your Malamute raw meat, frozen meat is typically the safest as some of the bacteria will be killed in the process.
Also, as with any meat, keep in mind its origin. Raw meat that is intended for human consumption is usually a higher grade than meat that would otherwise be discarded and so may be better for your Malamute.
As we’ve said, the occasional raw treat shouldn’t negatively impact your Alaskan Malamute. For those of you curious about an entirely raw diet, keep on reading!
What is a raw diet for Alaskan Malamutes?
So, now we know that Alaskan Malamutes can digest raw meat it’s time to look at the raw diet. The diet is becoming popular amongst Malamute owners thanks to its many supposed benefits, but what exactly is it?
A raw diet is exactly what it suggests – raw food! Malamutes are fed on a diet of exclusively raw foods rather than the cooked foods that are usually recommended such as kibbles.
Typically, raw diets consist mostly of raw meats to mimic the diets that dogs would have eaten before domestication. Many raw diets also include some other uncooked ingredients such as eggs, fruits, and vegetables, to create a more balanced and nutritional diet.
Although the raw diet is becoming more popular, it is still quite a polarising topic with many Malamute owners strongly against it.
As for us, we remain undecided. We know Malamutes who are very healthy on both the raw diet and on a standard kibble diet. We believe that as long as a Malamute is getting all the nutrients they need to remain healthy and happy, it doesn’t particularly matter where it comes from.
We’ve tried to provide a balanced and fair review of the advantages and disadvantages of implementing a raw diet with your Alaskan Malamute below to help you make an informed decision on whether it’s right for you.
What are the advantages of feeding an Alaskan Malamute a raw diet?
Before we get into the advantages of feeding your Alaskan Malamute a raw diet, we want to make it clear that these are based on other owners experiences. There is currently no research that supports the advantages of feeding a raw diet to dogs over a standard, commercially prepared diet.
One of the most commonly reported advantages of switching to a raw diet is improved digestion. Owners of raw-fed Alaskan Malamutes boast that their Malamutes have smaller, less-smelly poos.
Interestingly, many owners also talk about how their Malamute’s poos dry up into a white chalky powder after a couple of days, making clean up duty less of a chore. We can’t attest to this but it’s certainly an advantage we wish we had!
Raw feeders claim that this is because dogs utilize a higher percentage of the food they eat when eating raw food compared to eating commercially prepared food such as kibbles.
Currently, there is no available research to back up this claim and the fact that the vast majority of Malamutes who are fed commercially prepared food are deemed healthy by vets suggests it is untrue.
Keeps Teeth Cleaner
Raw feeders commonly talk about the improvements seen in their Alaskan Malamute’s dental hygiene after switching to a raw food diet.
They claim that the act of having to chew through tough meats and bones naturally keeps their teeth cleaner by dislodging plaque. Many can completely forgo the daily dental treats that most of us are used to feeding our Malamutes.
We should note here that many vets actually recommend against regularly feeding your dogs raw bones due to the increased risk of tooth fracture. Keep reading for more of our thoughts on this!
On top of this, raw feeders claim that their Alaskan Malamutes have fresher breath when eating a raw food diet. This is attributed to the fact that sugars and starches that sit in a Malamute’s mouth can cause rotting of the gums.
If you regularly give your Malamute dental treats and practise good dental hygiene with them (something that should still be followed on a raw diet) this issue should be prevented.
The shine of an Alaskan Malamute’s coat is often used as an indicator of their health. Glossier coats suggest a healthier dog compared to one whose coat is dull and dry.
Raw feeders often brag about the condition of their Malamute’s coats. Many claim to see improvements to not only the glossiness but also to the softness and overall feel.
The reality is that if your Malamute is consuming a balanced diet with all of the vitamins and nutrients they need, whether that be through a raw diet or kibble, their coat is bound to be shiny.
Better Behaviour Towards Mealtimes
Now, this is an advantage that we can believe. Alaskan Malamutes who are fed on a raw diet are said to have a better attitude towards their mealtimes.
Alaskan Malamutes are highly food orientated so it makes sense for their behaviour to be altered by the food they are eating. If a Malamute particularly likes their raw diet or is more satisfied by it, they may beg less in anticipation.
Of course, this also swings the other way. If a Malamute gets excited by their upcoming meal, you could find them behaving more erratic in the build-up to mealtimes. This applies to any diet they are on and is not exclusive to the raw diet.
There are some theories to suggest that eating a raw diet reignites old hunting instincts in Alaskan Malamutes which could alter their behaviours. There is no evidence to back this up though.
What are the risks with raw diets for Alaskan Malamutes?
Although a raw diet does appear to have lots of benefits for Alaskan Malamutes, there are some risks involved that you should be aware of before making the change.
The most common issue encountered by owners using raw diets is failing to feed their Alaskan Malamutes a balanced diet with all the nutrients they need to stay healthy. Feeding an Alaskan Malamute an unbalanced diet can quickly lead to them becoming unenergetic, moody, and ill.
Commercially prepared dog foods such as kibbles are designed to ensure dogs fulfil their daily nutrient needs without having to add supplements. In many cases, beneficial vitamins are also added to boost their overall health.
If you do choose to feed your Alaskan Malamute a raw diet, we advise you to speak to a pet nutrition specialist. They will help you to curate a diet plan that will ensure your Malamute stays healthy and works for your budget.
Bacteria and Parasites
Another risk involved with the raw food diet is that raw food often contains harmful bacteria and parasites that would normally be killed in the cooking process. Feeding your Alaskan Malamutes high quantities of raw meat not only increases the risk of them becoming ill but also increases the risk for other household members too.
If you are preparing raw food for your Malamute, remember to be extra cautious of cross-contamination and try to feed them away from where other household members eat. Thoroughly wash everything after feeding and sanitise all surfaces the food has come in contact with.
Also, keep in mind that their saliva and faeces may contain more of these harmful bacteria after eating raw food. Be sure to wash your hands after being in contact with them and don’t allow them to lick your face.
One last thing to consider happens to be a hot topic for debate in the dog world, and that is the fact that feeding your Alaskan Malamute a raw diet may include giving them bones.
Uncooked bones, like those included in raw diets, undeniably pose less risk to your Alaskan Malamute than cooked bones. Cooking bones makes them splinter much easier which can cause severe damage to your Malamute’s stomach if ingested.
If you ask the majority of Alaskan Malamute owners, they will tell you that their Malamutes love to chow down on an uncooked bone as an occasional treat to keep mealtimes interesting.
Surprisingly, vets actually recommend against feeding your Malamutes any kind of bone altogether. This is because smaller bones can easily cause blockages in their stomachs if ingested, and regular chewing of bones can cause fractures in their teeth.
Whilst we’ve personally not experienced any negatives from feeding our Malamutes bones, owners need to be aware of potential risks.
If you are feeding your Malamute a raw diet, we recommend staying away from foods that could potentially include small bones. If you choose to feed them the occasional bone as a treat, keep them supervised and watch for any changes in their health afterwards.
So, there you have it. The raw food diet seems to have improved the health of many Alaskan Malamutes but no scientific research is currently available to back its benefits. The biggest challenge owners will face with it is ensuring their Malamute is eating a balanced diet with all the nutrients they need. We believe that so long as this is achieved, there is no inherent problem with the raw diet.
Is your Malamute on a raw diet? We’d love to hear about your experience! Please leave a comment below.
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