How Often Should You Bathe An Alaskan Malamute? Find Out!

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Alaskan Malamutes require a lot of grooming to keep their coats healthy, but how often should you bathe an Alaskan Malamute?

Bathing a Malamute should not be done very often. Bathing once every 3 to 4 months as needed is the best idea, as frequent bathing interferes with the natural oils in their double coats.

In this guide, I’ll explain exactly why you should avoid bathing your Malamute too often and how to bathe them properly when the time comes. Let’s get into it.

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Why Malamutes Shouldn’t Be Bathed Often

It might seem counterintuitive to not bathe your Mal often, but it’s actually the most beneficial thing to do for their coat, and here’s why.

Disrupts Natural Oils Within The Coat

Bathing your Malamute either too often or with the wrong kind of shampoo can strip oils from the hair and skin.

These oils naturally regulate the coat, keeping it clean and protecting the skin underneath.

This can quickly dry out their skin, leading to irritation in a breed already prone to skin conditions like zinc-responsive dermatosis.

Malamutes Will Clean Themselves

Malamutes are excellent at cleaning themselves and are almost like a cat in this way.

Not many people know this as it isn’t exactly common behavior for dogs, but Malamutes are not your average kind of dog.

If something gets caught in your Mal’s coat, you better believe they will try to get it out themselves.

Does Bathing Have Any Benefits At All?

There is still a place and a time for bathing, and it definitely does have benefits.

Bathing can help clean their coats thoroughly and remove any dirt or debris they cannot remove. It’s also a great way to eliminate loose hairs missed during grooming.

How To Tell If Your Malamute Needs To Be Bathed

From my experience, you will simply know when your Mal needs to be bathed.

It’s usually very obvious when your Malamute is ready, as most of the time, their coat should look pristine and shiny.

The most obvious sign is matted hair that is difficult to remove during grooming. Other signs include excess dirt or debris in the fur.

Ideal Bathing Frequency For Malamutes

You should aim to bathe your Mal once every 3 to 4 months as needed, but this obviously can be more frequent if they are unable to clean themselves.

For example, if you take your Mal for a long walk and their coat gets covered in mud, you might not have a choice but to clean them up.

Even mud will eventually dry and fall off, though, so we’re talking more about stubborn dirt or debris that they can’t remove themselves.

How To Bathe A Malamute

Bathing your Mal should be an enjoyable experience for everybody involved.

Here’s a step-by-step guide for bathing your Mal to make it as easy as possible.

Groom First

You should always groom your Mal before bathing to remove any loose hair.

This makes it much easier to apply the shampoo and will also help prevent any blockages due to the excess hair in the drain.

You can find full details for grooming an Alaskan Malamute here.

Apply Warm Water & Shampoo

After grooming, wet the fur with warm water gently water.

Make sure it is warm and not hot, and gently wet all of their hair, avoiding the ears to prevent any infections.

After wetting the hair, apply shampoo (see our recommendation below) along the back and gently massage it deeply into the hair.

You’ll probably need to apply extra shampoo as you get to the legs.


I like to make bath time as relaxing as possible for my Mal by spending some time massaging the shampoo and giving them lots of praise and positive reinforcement.

I find this is beneficial in the long term because you want your Mal to be excited to be bathed rather than anxious about it.

We all know how stubborn Mals can get, and bath time is a prevalent time for them to show this type of behavior.

If you can start bathing them from a young age, this will also make it easier.


After applying the shampoo, it’s time to rinse it out.

This part can be tricky because Malamutes have amazingly thick double coats that seem almost to absorb shampoo, so it’s important to take the time to remove all of the residue.

The easiest way to do this is to use a spray nozzle and gently spray the fur while pushing downwards with your other hand.

Repeat this several times to make sure all the residue is removed, paying particular attention to the legs where soap residue tends to build up.


Now all that’s left to do is dry!

Towel drying does work well, but it’s a good idea to use a blow dryer for Malamutes because of how thick their fur is.

If you only have a towel, dry them down and then let them go outside if it’s warm so they can finish drying off properly. If you have a blow dryer, use a warm setting with maximum airflow and switch to a cooler setting if your Mal starts panting.

What Type Of Shampoo Should You Use?

When choosing a shampoo for your Mal, it’s important to choose one that is soothing to the skin and hypoallergenic.

Also, if your Malamute has a known allergy, you should consult a vet before trying a new shampoo, as ingredients can be listed under different names.

Our recommendation is this natural shampoo by Bobbi Panter. It is suitable for sensitive skin and prevents the coat from drying out. You can also check out our other recommendations in this article.

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Can You Wash A Malamute In The Shower?

If they fit inside, you might find it easier to bathe your Mal in the shower!

Using a shower makes removing all the shampoo easier, so it’s a good alternative if you have the space.

Using a shower can be stressful for your Mal, so we recommend starting on a lower setting and giving them lots of positive reinforcement.

A Note On Professional Groomers

Taking your Mal to a professional groomer is a great idea, but make sure they have experience with double-coated breeds prone to sensitive skin.

I’ve heard some stories of groomers shaving Malamute coats, which should only be done under veterinary advice.

In Summary

Hopefully, this article has cleared any doubts about bathing your Alaskan Malamute.

Many people suggest bathing Mals often, but this is simply the wrong advice. Your Mal will do much better if you bathe them less often and let their double coat take care of itself, but it’s important to know how to bathe them properly when the time comes.

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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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