Is Your Malamute Not Eating? 9 Reasons & What To Do

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Is your Malamute not eating?

You’re in the right place. Malamutes can stop eating for a variety of reasons, such as simply being too stubborn to eat or if they are suffering from a health issue.

In this guide, we’ll cover the 9 most common reasons for your Malamute to stop eating, how to encourage them to eat, and when to get in touch with your veterinarian.

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Is It Normal For Malamutes To Stop Eating?

If your Alaskan Malamute stops eating it can be quite worrying, but a lot of the time a Malamute will refuse food out of stubbornness or simply because they don’t feel like eating.

Malamutes are not like most other dogs who will keep eating until they physically can’t.

Instead, they will only eat when they are hungry and it isn’t unusual for them to skip a meal if they don’t like the look of the food.

There are of course limits to this, so how exactly do you know when it’s normal and when it isn’t?

Most dogs, Malamutes included, can go without food for 3 to 5 days.

However, if your Malamute is still not wanting to eat anything or showing signs of being interested in food after 2 days you need to take them to the vet as soon as possible.

It’s also important to take them to the vet if they are not eating and showing other symptoms of illness such as diarrhea or sickness.

9 Reasons Why Your Alaskan Malamute Isn’t Eating

Here are the 9 most common reasons why your Malamute isn’t eating.

1. They Are Being Stubborn

Malamutes have the characteristic stubbornness that is seen amongst many Spitz-type dogs.

This can show itself in many ways.

Oftentimes a Malamute will simply refuse to listen to you or take themselves away to get their own space for a while.

They may also refuse food, especially if you feed them the same diet every day.

There are some easy ways to get over this hurdle, such as offering treats or changing up their diet, and we’ll explore these tips later in this article.

In most cases, your Malamute will be refusing food because they are being stubborn, and simply changing up their food or offering them food later will get them to eat again.

2. They Are Not Exercising Enough

Another common reason for a Malamute not eating is because they aren’t exercising enough.

Malamutes are an incredibly active breed and need at least 2 hours of exercise per day, and with this comes a big requirement for food to give them enough energy to be this active.

An Alaskan Malamute running through a forest

If your Malamute isn’t getting enough exercise, they won’t be as hungry and therefore are more likely to turn down food.

3. Their Food Lacks Nutrients

High-quality dog food should be the main bulk of your Malamute’s diet.

A lot of people argue that these types of food are ‘bland’ or ‘boring’, but the fact is they are designed to be nutritionally complete.

If you aren’t feeding a good, high-quality food then your Malamute’s diet might be lacking in nutrients without you realising.

This can lead to them lacking energy, refusing food, and eventually suffering from illness.

This is quite common with the raw diet. A lot of people see the appeal of feeding raw, but don’t do their research and end up providing a diet that lacks a lot of essential nutrients.

4. Anxiety

Malamutes are very intelligent and can get anxious at times, especially if they are left alone for long periods of time (this is known as separation anxiety).

Separation anxiety isn’t the only source of anxiety for a malamute, it can also be caused by loud noises, traveling, or being around new people.

Anxiety can cause your Malamute to lose interest in food pretty quickly.

5. Bored Of The Same Food

A lot of dog breeds are happy to eat the same thing every day, but Malamutes are a bit different.

It isn’t unusual for a Malamute to get bored of having the same thing to eat, and sometimes they will refuse a meal if it doesn’t live up to their standards.

6. Toothache

Malamutes can develop several issues with their teeth, including problems relating to teething as a puppy to issues related to dental hygiene as adults.

Teeth problems like these can be very painful and put your Malamute off food simply due to the pain as they try to eat.

If your Malamute is trying to eat but it looks like they are in pain or struggling examine their teeth right away and take them to the vet if necessary.

7. Stomach Ache

Malamutes will suffer from stomach ache from time to time, and it’s usually caused by them eating something bad or from constipation.

Even if you feed your Malamute the best diet in the world they still might eat something in the yard or while out on a walk, and you can’t prevent them from picking up a stomach bug either.

Stomach issues will commonly come with other symptoms like diarrhea, sickness, or flatulence.

8. Vaccinated

The main vaccinations for dogs are DHLPP (distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvo, and parainfluenza), Rabies, & Bordetella. Vaccinations activate the immune system, which elevates body temperature and causes fever.

During this time it isn’t uncommon for your Malamute to go off food, so don’t be surprised if your Malamute isn’t eating after a vaccination.

9. Other Health Issues

There are many other health problems that can cause your Malamute to go off food.

These include infections, parasites, liver disease, cancer, and several more.

These are not as common and will typically be seen in older Malamutes or those that are displaying other signs of illness such as weight loss.

How To Encourage Your Malamute To Eat More

If your Malamute isn’t displaying any other symptoms such as diarrhea and seems to be in good health, it’s worth trying to get them to eat before you rush them to the vet.

Here are some quick tips you can try to get them to eat.

Change It Up

Malamutes are like most other Spitz-type dogs when it comes to being stubborn, and it’s common for them to refuse food simply because they feel like it.

Consider offering them a different meal to see if they will at that instead. Cooked chicken, rice, and eggs are my go-to option but you can really change it up however you feel.

Sometimes changing from dry to wet food does the trick, but it depends on what your Malamute likes.

Offer Treats

This is one of my favorite methods when my dogs are being stubborn about their kibble.

Offering treats is an easy way to check if your Malamute is being stubborn or if they actually aren’t hungry at all, but I wouldn’t recommend doing this all of the time or they will come to expect treats instead of their regular food.

Cooked chicken or beef is always a good option, but it’s best to stick to what you know works for your Mal. You can check out some of our recommended treats for Malamutes here.

Make Sure They Are Active Enough

If you suspect that your Malamute is being stubborn when it comes to food, sometimes they just need to be hungrier to accept food in the first place.

This method is only recommended if your Mal isn’t showing any signs of a health-related problem, but sometimes it’s a good idea to let your Mal skip a meal and then take them for a long walk.

They will be much more hungry afterward and more likely to simply eat the food rather than be stubborn again.

Remember that Malamutes need at least 2 hours of exercise per day, so if you aren’t meeting this requirement then there’s a good chance they won’t be as hungry as you would expect.

A Word Of Warning

It’s great to switch up your Malamutes diet or offer them a treat, but don’t fall into this cycle every time they refuse to eat as there’s a good chance that they will start acting up every time you offer them something to eat in order to get something different.

Malamutes are smart, and they’ll use it to their advantage without hesitation. This can lead to a lack of nutrients as the main part of their diet should consist of high-quality dog food.

If you are ever unsure, keep in mind the 2-day rule – if your Malamute hasn’t eaten in two days, it’s time to take them to the vet.

In Summary

In most cases, there is no need to worry if your Malamute isn’t eating.

It’s usually due to stubbornness, and offering them a treat or an alternative meal is an easy way to tell if there is another issue.

If your Malamute has any other symptoms of illness or hasn’t eaten in two days then they need to go to the vet as soon as possible.

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About The Author

Caitlin is the owner and lead writer for The Malamute Mom. She has over 10 years of experience with Alaskan Malamutes and Huskies. She is currently working on getting her PhD in materials science but continues to write for The Malamute Mom in her spare time.

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