Tiny but fearless, affectionate but playfully curious, the Maltese is the ultimate companion dog. This toy breed is one of the oldest dog breeds in the world, and as such, is well-adapted to both humans and other animals. They’re easy to take care of as they’re such people-pleasers if trained properly, but don’t let the innocent appearance of this pup deceive you – they are lively, spunky little dogs who are not afraid to challenge those larger than them!
Malteses do love to be pampered though, so it can be a bit difficult to find the right dog food for them. For these dogs, nutritious and good-quality foods are just a part of the puzzle – to please them, you need to find a food that lives up to their high standards. It needs to be delicious, full of flavor and easily digestible. Plus, there are a few health problems you need to look out for and make sure the dog food is actually working for your Maltese’s health and wellbeing, not against it. To help you find foods that do just that, we’ve done our research –below, you can find the best dog foods for Malteses that are delicious, nutritious and budget-friendly!
Best Dog Food for Maltese Buying Guide & FAQ
With so many different products on the market, finding a reliable Maltese dog food can be a bit challenging. Hopefully, our Top Picks list was able to help you make up your mind, but if you’d like more information about what makes a great Maltese dog food – keep on reading. We’ve prepared this handy little buying guide and answered some of the commonly asked questions when it comes to buying dog food. Make sure you read it all, as the more informed you are, the better your purchasing decisions will be.
Characteristics of a Reliable Maltese Dog Food
Like all dogs, Malteses require good food to have a long, healthy, happy life. But what is good food for dogs, and specifically the Maltese breed?
- Wholesome food ingredients
Your primary focus should be on wholesome, good-quality food ingredients in general. This means quality meat first and foremost, healthy fats and complex carbohydrates, meaning whole grains if your Maltese doesn’t have any stomach issues, veggies, fruits and some seeds (flaxseed is excellent for your pup’s coat!). Basically, the more healthy, wholesome ingredients, the better. Of course, there are always exceptions – if your Maltese has digestive problems, strange food allergies or skin and coat issues, it may be best to stick to limited ingredients.
- Plenty of quality protein
Like all breeds, Malteses thrive on moderate to high protein diets. But no any protein will do – look for real meat sources first, such as real chicken, turkey (deboned or whole), beef, lamb, fish, etc. It’s perfectly fine for a dog food to contain meat meals, by the way, such as chicken meal, fish blend meal, and so on, however, it’s wise to avoid meat by-products for Malteses. This breed is prone to some health issues if not fed only the best of foods, so stick to real meats as much s possible.
- Healthy fats
To have healthy skin and coat, Malteses need plenty of healthy fats. So make sure the dog food you’re buying has at least 10% of fats listed in its analysis. Indoor pets may require less fat than usual, but active dogs who get plenty of exercise (and Malteses should get plenty of physical activity) need much more. Animal fat, salmon oil and flaxseed oil are all great fat choices.
Nutritional Needs of Malteses
Although they have their unique needs and preferences, Malteses are not particularly different from other small dog breeds when it comes to their nutritional needs. They need:
- Good-quality protein
As mentioned, plenty of good-quality protein is a must for Malteses. For growing puppies, that’s at least 22%, and for adults, that’s at least 18%, as the AAFCO recommends. Now, this is a general recommendation for all dogs, but the Malteses are not different in this case – they need lots of protein to be healthy and happy. As a general rule of thumb, quality dog foods exceed these percentages.
- Healthy fats
Fat is an important source of energy for all dogs, including the Malteses. Omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids are crucial for your Maltese’s coat, skin, heart and brain health, so make sure the food you’re buying contains plenty of fats. For a Maltese puppy, fat should compromise at least 8% of its diet, while for an adult Maltese, at least 5%. Again, reliable dog foods exceed these recommendations.
- Complex carbohydrates
Some dog owners avoid carbohydrates in their pet’s diet like a plague, but canines are omnivores and need complex carbohydrates in their diet to be healthy and well. Carbs provide essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, so they’re an absolute must for most Malteses. There are exceptions, of course – if your dog has diabetes, then go for low-carb dog foods, and if your pup has a sensitive stomach, limit their carb intake to only basic ingredients.
Ingredients To Avoid Feeding Your Maltese
So now you know what to focus on when buying dog food for your Maltese – but what about the things you should avoid? Naturally, many dog food brands use quality ingredients and formulate great products that are not only tasty, but are nourishing too. However, many brands do not – it’s easy to find dog food brands that use a bunch of unnecessary fillers, artificial additives and low-quality meat products, as there are so many of them. In fact, it’s safe to say there are much more bad-quality dog foods on the market than there good-quality ones. To avoid the former, pay attention to:
Fillers are low-quality ingredients added to most pet foods. They’re not nutritious as they don’t contain anything valuable, but they do up the calorie content a little and help make the food appear plumper and a little tastier. Common dog fillers are:
- Oat hulls
- Soybean mill run
- Wheat mill run
- Corn barn
- Cereal by-products.
If your dog loves his food but you notice some of the fillers in the ingredients list, don’t throw it out immediately – if the rest of the ingredients are good, a little bit of fillers won’t hurt anybody. On the other hand, if you’re looking for only the best-of-the-best, avoid all fillers.
- Artificial additives
Artificial preservatives, colors and flavors can be commonly found in pet foods. They help the food stay fresh longer, look and taste better, but they’re anything but healthy – especially for toy breeds such as the Maltese. They can cause stomach issues, nausea, poor skin and coat health and even some allergic reactions such as rashes and thinning coat. Avoid these ingredients at all costs, and instead look for natural preservatives.
- Animal by-products
Meat by-products are animal parts that are not fit for human consumption, so anything from feet and claws to brains and intestines. Granted, these things are not unhealthy per se, however, with animal by-products, you never know what you’re getting. Still, if your pet is fine with a dog food that contains some by-products, we say don’t throw it out immediately – just make sure that’s not all your feeding your pooch.
Common Health Conditions in Maltese Dogs
Malteses are a pretty healthy breed, but like all purebred canines, they too have a tendency to develop certain health problems. Some of them include:
- Dental issues: regular dental care is necessary for all Malteses;
- Eye problems: if your dog’s eyes frequently tear or swell, up their hygiene and see the vet for a checkup.
- Colitis: to avoid colitis, feed your Maltese only the best foods and make sure he gets regular wellness checkups.
- Heart problems: older Malteses may develop heart murmurs and other issues, so make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise. Also switch to low-sodium diet if the vet recommends.
Q: What should I know about Maltese puppies?
A: Although they may look all cute and innocent, Maltese dogs, even as puppies, are quite fearless and energetic. As such, they need constant stimulation, so make sure they have enough physical activity in their day-to-day life.
Also be careful with the dog food you choose – because they are prone to certain health issues, Maltese puppies should be fed only the best of ingredients.
Q: How often should I feed my Maltese?
A: For Maltese puppies: 3 meals a day, preferably always at the same time.
For adult Malteses: 2 to 3 meals a day, depending on a dog’s level of physical activity.
Q: How much should I feed my Maltese?
A: Maltese puppies need around 55 calories per pound of body weight, while adult Maltese dogs need around 45, although this too depends on the level of physical activity they have.