Breed-Specific Conditions and Pet Insurance for Alaskan Malamutes


Ru Chen

- Updated February 26, 2024

Key Takeaways

  • Alaskan Malamutes are prone to breed-specific conditions
  • Common ones include hip dysplasia, bloat, and cataracts
  • Pet insurance can offset the expensive costs of treating your pet
Breed-Specific Conditions and Pet Insurance for Alaskan Malamutes

Alaskan Malamutes are strong, loyal, and playful dogs. Once used to scare off polar bears and hunt prey, they are now beloved pets of families everywhere. Unfortunately, the furry Alaskan Malamutes are also susceptible to breed-specific conditions, which can raise serious health problems for them. Pet insurance is a good strategy to help pet owners deal with vet costs for their best companions.

Let’s go over what you should know about Alaskan Malamute breed-specific health conditions and how to use pet insurance as a helpful financial tool.


Common Health Conditions in Alaskan Malamutes

As a pure breed, Alaskan Malamutes are more prone to certain genetic and inherited conditions. Here are the most notable health issues encountered by Alaskan Malamutes.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a hereditary condition commonly seen in large dog breeds, including Alaskan Malamutes. The condition can occur during a dog’s growth stage. The affected dog’s hip joint is loosened and doesn’t fit perfectly, resulting in pain and mobility issues. Hip dysplasia can lead to arthritis and muscle atrophy.

Common symptoms of hip dysplasia in Alaskan Malamutes include:

  • Abnormal sitting positions
  • Limping and lameness
  • Difficulty standing
  • Bunny-hopping gait
  • Inability to jump around, use stairs, or jump onto cars


Chondrodysplasia (CDPA) is a genetic skeletal disorder seen in Alaskan Malamutes and other purebred dogs. Canine chondrodysplasia is known for causing canine dwarfism and can cause the following symptoms:

  • Disproportionate legs
  • Spinal issues
  • Slow growth
  • Teeth and jaw problems
  • Heart issues

If you believe your Alaskan Malamute might suffer from chondrodysplasia, you should bring your dog to take a full physical exam at the veterinarian. Unfortunately, there is no cure for CDPA. However, there are numerous methods and medications that can help manage the condition for your Alaskan Malamute. This usually means that the vet will prescribe the affected dog anti-inflammatory medications, painkillers, and even a canine wheelchair if necessary.

Chondrodysplasia can also comorbid with other health conditions, such as arthritis and canine obesity. For an Alaskan Malamute with CDPA, it is essential to visit the vet regularly for routine checkups and updated treatment plans.


Alaskan Malamutes, especially young ones around 8 weeks of age, can suffer from polyneuropathy, which is a neurological disorder that hinders nerve function. As the condition worsens, the affected Alaskan Malamute will develop an abnormal gait, exercise intolerance, and muscle atrophy. Difficulty breathing can also be a symptom of polyneuropathy.

Without quick and proper treatment, it is very likely for an Alaskan Malamute puppy with polyneuropathy to die. The condition can quickly worsen, especially since the first symptoms can go unnoticed.

Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV)

Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus is also known as GDV and bloat. Bloat most commonly occurs in dogs that have deep and narrow chests, like Alaskan Malamutes. The condition causes stomach twisting, blood supply to the stomach and/or the spleen cut off. Blood from the hind legs will no longer reach the heart. Without sufficient blood volume for necessary body functions, the dog will be sent into shock, which involves rapid breathing, weakened pulse, and collapse.

GDV is a lifethreatening condition for Alaskan Malamutes. It can manifest with the following symptoms:

  • Enlarged abdomen
  • Salivation
  • Retching
  • Stomach pain
  • Shock
  • Death (if untreated)

If you suspect that your Alaskan Malamute has bloat, it is absolutely critical to head to the emergency vet. Bloat causes shock within the first hour or two once a dog gets GDV. After causing shock, bloat can quickly lead to death.

To treat GDV, vets usually first deal with the shock to stabilize the Alaskan Malamute. Then, the dog will be taken into surgery where the stomach is deflated and returned to its correct position. Any damaged stomach wall may need to be removed. Since up to 90 percent of dogs that have bloat will have it again, a procedure called gastropexy is required to prevent the stomach from twisting again.


Alaskan Malamutes are prone to hereditary cataracts. Cataracts are cloudy, opaque areas that affect the eyes, resulting in vision inhibition or even complete vision loss. It is usually difficult to notice cataracts until they have progressed into the late stages of the disease, making them hard to treat.

To deal with cataracts, vets may prescribe eye drops or surgery. While eye drops can be used to reduce pain, they will not be able to restore vision. Earlier detection of cataracts can help reduce the pain that an Alaskan Malamute with cataracts will go through.


Importance of Pet Insurance for Alaskan Malamutes

Since Alaskan Malamutes are a large, purebred dog, they are more prone to breed-specific conditions than mixed breed, smaller dogs. With many of their breed-specific conditions posing severe and potentially lifethreatening risks, it is critical to give Alaskan Malamutes the medical attention they deserve when they need it.

Pet insurance is a great way to offset the potentially exorbitant costs of treating certain health conditions. If surgery or other expensive vet services are needed, you might need to pay thousands of dollars at a time to meet your Alaskan Malamute’s medical needs.

The main types of insurance coverage for a dog are:

  • Accident-only insurance: Covers vet expenses related to accidents, such as swallowing a toxic object or being bitten
  • Accident and illness coverage: Covers accidents as well as illnesses, such as dog cancer

Pet insurance can be confusing for first-time Alaskan Malamute owners. Let’s go over how pet insurance can help.

Financial Protection Against Veterinary Expenses

Pet insurance can cover a significant portion of your veterinary expenses. After you’re billed a covered expense by your vet, you can file an insurance claim. The pet insurance company will reimburse you based on whether you’ve reached the deductible, the insurance policy’s reimbursement rate, and other factors.

The cost of owning an Alaskan Malamute usually falls between $20,000 and $30,000. With pet insurance, you can easily save hundreds if not thousands of dollars over your Alaskan Malamute’s lifetime. Whenever you file an insurance claim for a covered expense, you can receive reimbursements up to your policy’s coverage limits.

Timely and comprehensive care

As pet insurance reduces the financial burden of taking your Alaskan Malamute to the vet, it is a great way to ensure you can afford to provide your pet with the best medical care. Timely care is particularly necessary in curing the genetic conditions and predispositions that Alaskan Malamutes can find themselves suffering.

If your dog requires diagnostic tests or emergency surgery, it can be easier to obtain veterinary care if you have pet insurance.

Coverage for Breed-Specific Conditions

Alaskan Malamutes are known for being prone to the following health conditions:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Chondrodysplasia
  • Polyneuropathy
  • Bloat
  • Cataracts

Pet insurance generally covers common conditions for dogs. However, it is a good idea to know what to look for when buying pet insurance specifically for your dog’s breed. Let’s talk about how to find pet insurance for an Alaskan Malamute.


How to Find Pet Insurance for Alaskan Malamutes

Researching Pet Insurance Providers

Finding a suitable pet insurance provider can go a long way in helping you and your Alaskan Malamute. Make sure you choose a pet insurance provider that offers coverage for an Alaskan Malamute of your dog’s age. Consider the following options:

  • Insurance premium: The premium is how much you need to pay for active insurance coverage. Higher premiums typically mean more comprehensive coverage. Lower premiums are affordable but may not meet the needs of an Alaskan Malamute.

  • Deductible: The insurance deductible is how much you need to pay the vet out-of-pocket for pet expenses before insurance kicks in to provide reimbursements. A lower deductible means a higher premium, but it will let you avoid higher upfront costs.

  • Customer reviews: Read customer reviews and testimonials to see whether a pet insurance provider is suitable for you and your Alaskan Malamute. Online bloggers and video creators with Alaskan Malamutes may be good resources to check out.

  • Additional perks: Pet insurance companies often offer perks and deals to their members. Before choosing an insurance policy, see if there are any current deals or policyholder perks that align with your financial goals and pet care needs.

When looking for the best insurance provider, don’t miss out on our best pet insurance companies list. These pet insurance providers are expertly reviewed, giving you insight into what the best insurance options could be for your Alaskan Malamute.

Reviewing Policy Coverage

It is essential to thoroughly review the pet insurance policy coverage prior to buying an insurance product. You want the policy to cover breed-specific conditions, including the ones most commonly encountered by Alaskan Malamutes, such as hip dysplasia, bloat, and polyneuropathy.

Pet insurance coverage can also be limited by restrictions, waiting periods, and exclusions.

Restrictions: Many pet insurance policies come with age and breed restrictions. Make sure your Alaskan Malamute falls within the allowed age range.

Waiting periods: Most pet insurance companies impose a waiting period of around 2 weeks. During this time, you will not have activated pet insurance coverage. If your dog is diagnosed with any new conditions during this time, the vet bills for treatment for the new condition may not be covered by the insurance provider.

Exclusions: Pet insurance companies typically do not cover pre-existing conditions. Other common exclusions are pet dental care, annual wellness exams, cosmetic procedures, vaccinations, and breeding. If you want an excluded item added to your pet insurance policy, check to see if the pet insurance provider offers add-ons or endorsements.

Consideration of Add-Ons and Riders

Add-ons, riders, and endorsements are provided by pet insurance companies. They allow you to add extra terms and coverage options to your pet insurance policy. These add-ons can help you ensure that there is adequate coverage for your Alaskan Malamute and any potential hereditary conditions.

An alternative therapy add-on may also be desirable if you expect to try out alternative pet therapies such as hydrotherapy and acupuncture. These methods are popularly used for improving range of motion and providing pain relief.

Wellness plans are a popular add-on product for pet owners with Alaskan Malamutes. A wellness plan (AKA preventive care package) gives you reimbursements for covered expenses that aren’t usually covered by the standard pet insurance policy. These include dental cleanings, routine pet wellness exams, preventive care, vaccinations, and more.

When purchasing pet insurance, think about what type of customizations you would like that suit your Alaskan Malamute best. Consider the common needs of these large, purebred, energetic dogs.

Early coverage

Generally, the earlier you obtain pet insurance for your Alaskan Malamute, the better. Certain health conditions can be diagnosed early. For example, polyneuropathy is a neurological disorder that can manifest symptoms around 8 weeks of age. If you delay pet insurance coverage for your puppy, you may not receive reimbursements for any diagnoses your puppy receives without active insurance.



Alaskan Malamutes are loving, strong dogs. However, they are prone to genetic and breed-specific conditions. Some of these health conditions are grave emergencies that require urgent treatment and surgery, which can pose a financial hurdle for pet owners. Pet insurance is a good idea for Alaskan Malamute owners since it serves as a proactive measure for pet health and medical needs.

When choosing a pet insurance provider, make sure to check that the common health needs of an Alaskan Malamute are covered. Alaskan Malamutes can suffer from numerous breed-specific and genetic health conditions, including:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Polyneuropathy
  • Bloat
  • Cataracts
  • Chondrodysplasia

With the right pet insurance, Alaskan Malamute owners can feel more secure in giving their dogs the best vet care they need.

About The Author

Ru Chen

Ru Chen

Content Writer

Ru Chen is a content writer with several years of experience in creating engaging and well-researched articles. She mostly writes about insurance, business, digital marketing, and law. In her free time, she can be found watching horror movies and playing board games with her partner in Brooklyn.

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