The Maltese is a charming dog, with a lively and bright personality. The breed has existed for centuries as a companion dog and is specifically designed to love and be loved. Maltese are known for retaining their puppy-like attitude throughout their life, and these vigorous little sprites love to play and accompany their owners on daily walks. Their size and adaptability makes them well-suited to any size living quarters, and they are generally happy to make new friends of all ages. As this is a long-lived breed with an average life expectancy of 15-18 years, high-quality nutrition is essential in ensuring long-term health and wellness.
These foods are our top picks for Maltese.
Considerations When Choosing The Best Dog Food For Maltese:
Small breed dogs like the Maltese have very fast metabolisms and generally require a diet higher in fat than most traditional kibbles. They still, however, need plenty of protein to maintain lean muscle mass and a healthy body weight. When it comes to choosing a diet for your Maltese, choose from small- or toy-breed recipes which are designed to meet the high energy needs of smaller dogs while still providing balanced nutrition.
Juvenile Hypoglycemia (Low Blood Sugar in Puppies)
Hypoglycemia is a condition where blood sugar drops to dangerously low levels in the body. In Maltese, this is a juvenile condition that usually occurs from weaning to about 4 months of age. Some signs of hypoglycemia include listlessness, depression, staggering, muscle tremors, weakness, and pale/white gums. If this happens, the treatment is restoring blood glucose levels as quickly as possible. Karo syrup is good to have on hand, administered by mouth, but you could even use honey, Gatorade, or table sugar. If the puppy is unconscious or unable to swallow, rub the substance directly onto the puppy’s gums. If the puppy does not respond or appears to be in trouble, take them immediately to your vet.
It is important to feed your Maltese puppy 3-4 times/day, and feed them a high-quality dry dog food that sustains energy, promotes growth, and maintains health. Though free-feeding, or leaving food out at all times, is generally discouraged for most dogs, free-feeding your Maltese puppy is a perfectly acceptable practice.
Teeth and Dental Problems
Another concern that is common among small breeds is dental problems. Small dogs tend to have very small mouths which leads to overcrowding of teeth. As a result, Maltese may lose their teeth at a relatively early age. It is important to pay close attention to teeth and gums, keeping them as healthy as possible in order to prevent periodontal disease (gum disease), decay, infection, and tooth loss. You will want to schedule a cleaning once a year with your veterinarian.
Maltese are prone to a condition called a luxating patella, which means the knee is out of place, or dislocated. Some dogs can tolerate this problem for many years, and some for all their lives. With advancing age, arthritic changes may take place in the joint resulting in pain for the dog. Obviously, joint problems are only made worse in a dog that is overweight. When choosing a food, you may want to select one that has supplements for joint health.
Obesity In Older Dogs
It’s important to remember that as your Maltese ages into her senior years, she needs fewer calories. Never free feed your adult Maltese, and reduce her portion size if she starts to pack on a pound or two. A Maltese generally weighs between 6 and 9 pounds, so gaining just one pound is a significant increase in body weight. This puts a lot of pressure on bones and joints.
The Best Dog Food For Maltese
Wellness Complete Health Toy Breed
- Complete health: Complete and balanced everyday nutrition for your toy breed dog
- Toy breed formula: Smaller kibble size protein rich diet with delicious chicken to support higher energy needs
- All natural: Contains only premium, all natural ingredients with no wheat, corn, soy, meat by products, artificial flavors, colors or preservatives
- Made in USA: Backed by the wellness guarantee and proudly made only in the USA
First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Ground Brown Rice, Rice
The Wellness brand is a trusted brand that contains only premium, all natural ingredients with no wheat, corn, soy, meat by-products, artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. This highly-rated toy breed formula is designed to have the perfect balance of protein, fat, and essential vitamins and minerals to help support the unique health needs of toy breed dogs. It has a smaller kibble size for smaller mouths, and is packed with antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables to help support cellular health. Wellness is made in the USA.
Please note, if your Maltese is prone to allergies, Wellness does make a Simple Limited Ingredient Small Breed Formula that includes only a single source of protein and easily digestible carbohydrates. This formula is free of meat by-products, wheat, corn, dairy, eggs, artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives.
Nutro Wholesome Essentials Toy Breed
- Contains One (1) 4-Lb. Bag Of Nutro Toy Breed Adult Dog Chicken, Whole Brown Rice And Oatmeal Recipe Dog Food
- Nutro Dog Food Uses Real Chicken As The First Ingredient, Plus Other Whole, Natural Ingredients, Such As Whole Brown Rice And Sunflower Oil
- The Kibble In Nutro Food For Dogs Is Designed To Naturally Reduce Plaque And Tartar Buildup Due To Their Tiny Mouths
- The Nutro Dnadvantage Blend Formula Includes A Unique Blend Of Antioxidants That Nutritionally Rejuvenate Your Dog’S Immune System
- Formulated With Patented Levels Of Omega-6 Fatty Acid (Linoleic Acid), Zinc And B Vitamins To Guarantee** Healthy Skin And A Soft, Shiny Coat
First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Whole-Grain Oatmeal, Split Peas, Whole Brown Rice
This Nutro Toy Breed Formula provides natural fiber for healthy digestion and essential antioxidants for a healthy immune system, plus vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. This recipe is specifically tailored to meet your toy breed’s unique needs, and is made with patented levels of Omega-6 fatty acid, Zinc, and B Vitamins to promote healthy skin and a soft, shiny coat. This formula follows Nutro’s FEED CLEAN philosophy, and is always made with non-GMO ingredients. It is free of animal by-products, corn, wheat, soy, artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. And the unique kibble shape is smaller for toy breeds and designed to naturally reduce plaque and tartar build-up. Nutro is made in the USA.
Instinct RAW Boost Grain-Free Toy Breed
- TOY BREED GRAIN FREE DOG FOOD WITH FREEZE DRIED RAW CAGE FREE CHICKEN: Instinct Raw Boost natural dry dog food combines high protein, grain free kibble with all natural bites of freeze dried raw chicken. Cage free chicken is the #1 ingredient.
- TOY BREED DOG FOOD PLUS FREEZE DRIED RAW PIECES: Made with calcium & phosphorus for strong teeth and bones plus glucosamine & chondroitin for joint health. Made without grain, potato, corn, wheat, soy, by product meal, artificial colors or preservatives.
- THE FIRST RAW BOOSTED TOY BREED KIBBLE: Raw Boost mixes natural, high protein, grain free dog food with our freeze dried raw dog food toppers in one bag. Also includes probiotics and omegas. Complete & balanced nutrition for small dogs, puppy to senior.
- POWER OF RAW INGREDIENTS: Our dog food is made with the pure, real nutrition of raw. Raw is natural, made from real meat & whole food ingredients, protein packed & minimally processed. Made in the USA with the finest ingredients from around the world.
- OUR BEST DOG FOOD FOR TOY BREEDS BOOSTED WITH RAW: We craft dry & wet dog food from real ingredients. Compare Instinct to Blue Buffalo, Rachel Ray, Hills Science Diet, Purina One, Taste of the Wild, Merrick, Natural Balance, Wellness, Orijen, Royal Canin.
First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Chickpeas, Turkey Meal, Tapioca
This high-animal protein, boosted nutrition features bites of freeze-dried raw meat throughout. It is made to unlock your Maltese’s potential to thrive by putting the benefits of RAW nutrition in every bowl. Featuring cage-free chicken as the first ingredient, there is an ideal balance of protein, fat, and calories to help maintain a healthy body weight. This formula includes probiotics for digestive health, high levels of omegas for healthy skin and coat, plus plenty of antioxidants for immune health. Instinct RAW boost is proudly made in the USA, and contains no grains, potato, corn, wheat, soy, by-product meal, or artificial colors or preservatives.
Hill’s Science Diet Small Paws For Small Breeds
- An adult dog food made with highly digestible ingredients that are easy on your small dog's stomach
- Nourishing omega 6 fatty acids and vitamin E help promote healthy skin and a shiny coat
- Provides high quality protein to maintain lean muscle in small breed dogs
- Uses an antioxidant blend specifically for lifelong immune support in toy and miniature dogs
- Made with natural ingredients
First 5 Ingredients: Chicken Meal, Whole Grain Wheat, Brewers Rice, Whole Grain Sorghum, Soybean Meal
Made with wholesome ingredients such as savory chicken meal and rice, this nourishing recipe is balanced to meet your Maltese’s needs, support bone and muscle strength, and promote skin and coat health. Manufactured in the USA, every ingredient of Hill’s Science Diet meets strict requirements for purity and nutrient content which exceeds industry standards. On Amazon.com, Hill’s even has a full satisfaction 100% money-back guarantee.
And for those of you that like the idea of “giving back,” with the purchase of every bag of Hill’s Science Diet, Hills Food, Shelter & Love program uses a portion of the proceeds to donate food to shelters across the country, feeding 100,000 homeless pets every day, 365 days a year. Amazing.
Please note that Hill’s Science Diet also has a Small Paws Puppy Formula, an Adult Sensitive Stomach and Skin Formula for Small and Mini Breeds, a Small Paws Senior Formula for dogs 7+ years of age, a Small Paws Senior Formula for dogs 11+ years of age, and an Adult Weight Management Formula for Small and Mini Breeds. All of these formulas rate 4.4 out of 5 stars or higher.
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Toy Breed
- REAL MEAT FIRST: Blue Buffalo foods always feature real meat as the first ingredient. High-quality protein from real chicken helps your dog build and maintain healthy muscles. Plus they contain wholesome whole grains, garden veggies and fruit.
- TOY BREED DOG FOOD: Specially formulated for the wellness of adult toy breed dogs, BLUE Life Protection Formula Toy Breed Dog Food contains an optimal blend of high-quality proteins and carbohydrates to meet the unique energy needs of smaller dogs with a kibble size ideal for smaller jaws.
- WITH LIFESOURCE BITS: This formula contains BLUE’s exclusive LifeSource Bits – a precise blend of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals carefully selected by holistic veterinarians and animal nutritionists, to support immune system health, life stage requirements, and a healthy oxidative balance.
- A NATURAL DOG FOOD: BLUE dry dog foods are made with the finest natural ingredients enhanced with vitamins and minerals. BLUE contains NO chicken (or poultry) by-product meals, corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors or preservatives.
- Contains one (1) 4 lb. Bag of BLUE Life Protection Formula Toy Breed Adult Dry Dog Food, Chicken and Brown Rice
First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Whole Ground Brown Rice, Oatmeal, Whole Ground Barley
All Blue Buffalo Formulas start with real meat, whole grains, and garden vegetables and fruits. Unique to this brand are Blue Buffalo’s exclusive LifeSource Bits, containing a precise blend of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, which are cold-formed. This means that they minimize the amount of heat exposure to these bits to prevent the important nutrients from being destroyed in the manufacturing process. This toy breed formula contains an optimal blend of high-quality proteins and carbohydrates to meet the unique energy needs of your Maltese, with a smaller kibble size for smaller jaws. Blue Buffalo contains no poultry by-product meals, corn, wheat, soy, artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.
Please note, for those looking to address food allergies, Blue Buffalo also makes the highly-rated Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain-Free Small Breed Formula, which is free of grains, gluten, and artificial preservatives, and Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet for Small Breeds, which is made from fewer ingredients and may prove beneficial for dogs with food sensitivities.
Given the Maltese breed’s long life-span, it is essential to nourish their little bodies with the proper nutrients to carry them through a long and healthy life. Any of these highly-rated choices will provide them with top-notch nutrition.