Can Alaskan Malamutes sleep outside, or is it better for them to stay indoors?
Alaskan Malamutes can definitely sleep outside, and some may even prefer to depending on how they were raised and the conditions where you live.
Keep reading to learn everything there is to know about letting your Mal sleep outside, including the temperature ranges that they are safe to go outside in, how to let them sleep outside safely, and what to do if you want them to start sleeping inside.
- How A Malamute’s Double Coat Affects Sleeping Outside
- Can Malamutes Sleep Outside In Summer/Winter?
- Temperature Is Key
- Should You Let Your Malamute Sleep Outside?
- Can Malamute Puppies Sleep Outside?
- Top Tips For Letting Your Malamute Sleep Outside Safely
- How To Encourage Your Mal To Sleep Inside
- In Summary
How A Malamute’s Double Coat Affects Sleeping Outside
Their double coat is made of two layers – a dense, wooly undercoat that provides insulation and a long guard layer that protects the coat and skin below.
Thanks to their double coat, and also the general thickness of their fur, Malamutes are able to withstand pretty cold temperatures.
This makes perfect sense when you consider that they were bred as working dogs in Alaska with ancestors originally brought across from Siberia thousands of years ago.
Can Malamutes Sleep Outside In Summer/Winter?
Malamutes can sleep outside in most conditions as long as it isn’t too hot or too cold, and they will have no problem letting you know if they want to come back inside.
Winter is usually when you’ll find them wanting to sleep outside more frequently as they do prefer cooler temperatures, but don’t be surprised if they want to go outside in the shade during summer either.
Their double coat is very capable of keeping them cool in the heat, which often surprises a lot of Malamute owners to learn.
Temperature Is Key
Malamutes, just like huskies, can withstand extremely cold temperatures (down to -75oF (-59oC) in some cases), when they are kept outside from a young age and brought up to deal with the cold.
When kept as pets in a domestic setting, Malamutes don’t build up as much of a cold resistance and tend to be comfortable down to around 10oF (-12oC).
On the other hand, temperatures of 68oF (20oC) or higher are where Malamutes will start to become uncomfortable, so you should provide them with a cool space when it starts to get hot. You can find other tips for keeping them cool during hot weather in our guide.
It’s much easier to understand temperature limits rather than considering the season as the temperature can fluctuate greatly depending on where you live.
Should You Let Your Malamute Sleep Outside?
So, Malamutes can withstand a range of temperatures, but should you let them sleep outside?
Here are some things to consider to help you with your decision.
The main thing to consider is what it is like outside. Firstly, check the temperature before anything else to make sure it’s in a comfortable range for them.
After that, you need to consider things like rainfall or even snow, and how much shelter they have from the elements.
Working Vs Family Dog
It’s pretty common for working Malamutes (those used to pull sleds) to sleep outside with other members of the pack.
These Mals come from lines that are used to sleeping outside and have a much higher cold tolerance than a domestic Mal kept as a pet.
The vast majority of Malamutes kept as pets usually sleep inside and are used to the temperature as well as being closer to the family.
Some Malamutes simply prefer cold temperatures more and have a better tolerance for them.
If your Malamute loves to go outside during the afternoon for a sleep when it’s cold outside, or if they are the first one out the door when it finally snows, they probably have a pretty good cold tolerance.
Not all Malamutes are like this though, and if your Malamute prefers to stay inside why force them to sleep outside?
Can Malamute Puppies Sleep Outside?
It’s recommended to not let Malamute puppies sleep outside as they are still developing their double coats and putting on fat that helps to insulate them from the cold.
They can, of course, sleep for a few hours outside during the day as long as the temperature is suitable and they are being supervised, but you shouldn’t let them stay outside asleep for long periods of time and especially not overnight.
Top Tips For Letting Your Malamute Sleep Outside Safely
If you want to let your Malamute sleep outside, or if they simply prefer to sleep outside, here are some top tips for letting them sleep outside safely and comfortably.
The most obvious thing to do is make sure that they have shelter from the weather.
While Malamutes can withstand most types of weather, they will struggle to stay warm if their coat becomes wet from rain. There are a lot of options that you can use depending on where you live and how much space outside you have:
- Kennel – Kennels require a lot of space and are suitable for multiple dogs. Kennels are great because they can have indoor and outdoor spaces.
- Dog House – Dog houses are more suited for one dog and are much better for space.
Ideally, you want to provide an area that is raised off the floor by around 2 inches and fully waterproofed.
If you live in an area where the temperature can drop below 10 degrees, you should also have heating fitted as well. Alternatively, you can use hay or a blanket for insulation.
Keep It Secure
Malamutes can have a tendency for wandering off, especially if they spot a small animal and decide to chase after it.
This is why securing their outside space is very important. Make sure there is a fence around your yard that they can’t jump over, and if they are in a kennel or dog house make sure it can be locked or secured.
This also has the added benefit of keeping any unwanted animals out.
Allow Access Back Inside
In an ideal world, it’s great if your Malamute can get back inside when they want to.
You can install dog doors for this, but they are expensive so this isn’t a realistic option for a lot of people, but if you can afford it we would recommend it.
How To Encourage Your Mal To Sleep Inside
There can be situations where you want your Malamute to stay inside – it isn’t cheap to get them secure shelter outside, and it can be stressful if there are other animals in the area that pose a threat.
Malamutes do tend to be stubborn, so if they have gotten used to sleeping outside it can be hard to get them out of the habit.
The first thing to do is make sure you are meeting their exercise needs. If your Mal is properly tired out, there’s a better chance that they will fall asleep inside.
Aside from that, make sure they have somewhere super comfortable to rest when inside. Dog beds are a great choice for this (see our recommendations here), or simply a nice blanket on a sofa.
If your Mal starts howling and barking to go outside, try to ignore them, and then give them praise when they stop.
If you react to their behavior and open the door they will know exactly how to get you to open it again in the future.
Don’t be discouraged if your Malamute wants to sleep outside – it’s quite a natural thing for them to do, especially if your Mal is from a working line.
Alaskan Malamutes can definitely sleep outside, provided the temperature and weather conditions aren’t too harsh.
You need to provide them with a shelter that is waterproof and lifted off the ground, with insulation or heating if it gets too cold.