Maltese dogs are a small breed, and arguably, the cutest breed of dogs in the toy group. These dogs are lightweight (weighing 3 to 7 pounds), affectionate, and easygoing, making them the perfect choice for a pet or fur baby.
Malteses usually feed like every other dog. They can feed on dry foods, wet foods, homemade food, and a variety of treats as well.
However, as with all fur babies, it’s quite a hassle figuring out what to feed them, what’s healthy and what’s not, what they can eat and what they can’t, etc.
But not to worry, I’ve got you covered, below is the ultimate guide to what Malteses can and cannot eat.
What Malteses Can Eat?
There are a few things these cuties can eat, and I’ve divided them into four categories:
- Organic or natural food (homemade food)
- Dry food
- Canned foods
#1 Organic or Natural Foods (Homemade Food)
Homemade food according to some experts is preferable for the Maltese dog as it is devoid of additives and less likely to contain harmful bacteria or infections as it is homemade.
These are the homemade foods you can prepare for your Maltese:
- Raw chicken neck mixed with raw bones
- Cottage cheese
- Cooked beef or chicken
- Chopped vegetables
Raw chicken necks mixed with raw bones
This is easy to prepare; get the desired amount of raw chicken necks and raw bones for small dogs, then proceed to ground them up together.
Ensure that the chicken necks have more flesh than bones, and then proceed to serve your little one.
Cottage cheese is a mild-tasting product of cheese curd. It’s an excellent addition to your Maltese’s diet because it’s high in many nutrients, including protein, B vitamins, and minerals like calcium, selenium & phosphorus.
It’s great for muscle building as well as weight loss, which is perfect for Maltese that can easily become hypoglycemic if he’s underfed, or diabetic and obese if he’s overfed.
To prepare: Mix cottage cheese with a vitamin supplement and some chopped carrots, and then pass it on to your fur baby to dig in.
Keep in mind that the cottage cheese you feed your Maltese should not make up for more than 10 percent of its daily dairy intake, to prevent diarrhea.
There’s a bit of a conflict over rice as one group of experts argue that white rice is pure starch with no nutritional content or value whatsoever, so brown rice is better. Another group argues that brown rice is hard to digest.
In a case like this, the best thing to do would be to strike a balance. Use enriched white rice; this way, you get the best of both worlds – easy digestion and nutrients.
To prepare: Use low sodium canned chicken broth or your meat stock (be sure to defat it) as part or all of the cooking liquid. For preparation, boil rice until its soft, and then serve.
Pasta is capable of meeting your Maltese dog’s starch requirements as it is mainly starchy. It prevents him from developing hypoglycemia which he is prone to.
To prepare: Boil the pasta till it’s soft (make sure it’s not undercooked), then proceed to cut it into small pieces. It should be small enough for your fur baby to chew without choking. To spice it up, throw in some meat & vegetable while it’s hot, and then serve your buddy at room temperature.
Cooked beef or chicken
Ensure that it’s lean meat or chicken breasts and is organic and devoid of antibiotics, preservatives, etc.
To prepare: Cook meats thoroughly by baking or stewing. Chill the meat juices and remove the solidified fat. (Note: fat is good for Malteses but not all fat, plant-based fats and amino-acids are healthier for Maltese dog) Now proceed to chop meat into small bits and serve. Alternatively, you could use ground meat to make things a lot easier.
Choose a variety of vegetables to make up at most 30 percent of your Maltese diet. Examples of vegetables that your Maltese can eat are squash, green beans, sweet potato, etc.
Avoid other vegetables like onions, tomatoes, red color beets, spinach, and kale as dogs have a short digestive tract and cannot digest them.
To prepare: Stew or steam vegetables in a little water until fork-tender, then puree or mince.
#2 Dry Food
Using dry food is an effortless way to keep your Maltese full at intervals, and it’s also quite easy to access as well. Simply ask your veterinarian for a brand recommendation, or get one from the breeder from whom you got your baby.
Be sure to get a specific brand and stay away from generic brands, as they could be detrimental to your dog’s health.
What to Know About Dry Dog Foods
Dogs mostly prefer wet dog food over dry foods. However, wet food is not often the best choice for them as it could result in a running stomach, and dry food is better for teeth health.
To switch it up a notch and give the little one a bit of an incentive, you could add-on some wet food, preferably the same brand as the dry food, or a bit of low-sodium beef broth into the dog food.
Grain-Filled and Grain-Free Dog Food
Grain-free dog food previously was the go-to feed until recently, 524 cases were reported of dogs developing severe heart disease in the US. These dogs were on grain-free diets, eating foods consisting mostly of potatoes, lentils, peas, and other legume seeds.
Avoid Dog Foods With These Ingredients
- Fillers: These are worthless ingredients added to cheap dog food to make it seem better than it is. They possess few calories that are not absorbed by the body. Your dog poops it out just as it took it in without any gain whatsoever. Some fillers to look out for are cottonseed hulls, citrus pulp, and wheat mill run.
- Generic meat sources: If the meat contained in the dog food is not identified or named, it may be a cover-up for any roadkill, deceased zoo animals, poultry that died on it’s way to a facility or ill livestock.
- Unspecified by-products: They are usually masked as mild ingredients such as chicken by-products. These things are generally things like feet, claws, beaks, brains, spleen, etc., that are unfit for human consumption as well as inappropriate for your dog.
- Artificial additives: With most allergies stemming from additives, it is important to stay away from foods with additives. They most times result in stomach upsets, nausea diarrhea, poor skin, and allergic reactions such as rashes or thinning coat.
Purchase Dog Foods With These Qualities
- Real food ingredients and no fillers: Search for a quality blend that contains only actual food and no empty calories.
- Zero additives: Look for brands with zero chemical ingredients.
- Actual meat sources: Make sure the meat source is clearly stated. Acceptable meat sources are lamb, turkey, rabbit, chicken, or pork.
- Fish oil: Dog foods that contain fish oil are excellent as they enrich the skin and coat of your Maltese.
- Fruits and vegetables: Dog foods that contain fruits and vegetables provide a balanced diet and should be cherished.
Not all dogs need supplements, so it’s essential to check with your vet to know if your Maltese is lacking any vitamins and needs a supplement.
However, generally speaking, if your Maltese is under six years, within the appropriate weight bracket, and has no degenerative health condition, then it probably doesn’t need a supplement.
Let’s make a list of some of the most common supplements a Maltese can take. However, this is not a comprehensive list and will not be dwelled upon. So it is recommended that you seek your vet’s opinion before proceeding to give your Maltese a supplement.
These are the common supplements you can feed to your Maltese:
- Omega-3 fish oil
- Calming supplements
- Daily vitamin and mineral supplements
- High-calorie nutritional supplements
#4 Canned Food
Find canned food by a reputable brand that is packed full of the nutrients your Maltese require. Canned food could be used as your dog’s main meal.
However, it is advisable to leave out dry dog foods for your dogs in-between or late-night snacks, especially for pups, to avoid starvation and possible occurrence of hypoglycemia.
Suggestions for canned food are Nutro Ultra-Small Breed Recipe and Wellness Core Grain-Free Small Breed Recipe.
Again, when you want to purchase canned foods for your Maltese, you should check out the ingredients list to ensure ingredients like fillers, artificial additives, chicken by-products, and other generic meat sources are not included.
The ideal canned foods will have high protein content, fish oil, and some healthy fruits in them.
Things to Consider When Choosing Your Maltese’s Diet
Malteses can be picky eaters
Maltese dogs are quite different from many large breeds, and even some of the other toy breeds. They can eat anything that smells like it had life at some point.
Maltese dogs will not hesitate to refuse any food they find unattractive or unpalatable for whatever reason that could be.
Malteses are prone to obesity
Maltese are tiny dogs that weigh between about 4 and 7 pounds. Due to this minuscule size, it doesn’t take much for them to become overweight.
Hence, it is advised that you keep tabs on their calorie intake and weight to manage the risk of obesity.
Malteses have delicate teeth
Maltese dogs seem to have sensitive teeth, as research shows that they, more often than not, suffer from dental problems. Hence, this little one’s teeth need to be considered when you choose a dog diet for it.
For healthy Maltese teeth, it is advised that you give them dry kibble as it will keep your pup’s teeth cleaner than wet foods will.
Therefore it is generally preferable and more affordable to avoid wet foods when tooth decay and gum disease are part of the concerns you have for your Maltese.
Additionally, some premium kibbles also include unique teeth-cleaning characteristics. This is a win-win as your pup gets to eat as well as clean its teeth at the same time.
Malteses can suffer from joint problems
Some Maltese dogs develop joint problems like canine arthritis, which is likely due in part to their susceptibility to obesity.
Consequently, it is wise to pick foods fortified with chondroitin and glucosamine, which may help prevent such problems from developing, and help repair any damage that may occur.
What Malteses Can’t Eat?
There’s a rather famous saying that when it comes to feeding dogs, “if you wouldn’t eat it, don’t give it to your dog.” It sounds like good advice, right?
Well, not exactly, as there are a host of things that are good for you, in fact helpful, but dangerous and deadly for your dog.
The following are the things you should never feed to your Maltese:
- Onions and garlic
- Coffee, tea, and cola
- Alcoholic beverages
- Raw eggs
- Leftover or spoilt food or garbage
- Sugarless gums and candies (Xylitol)
All prescription and over-the-counter drugs such as painkillers, anti-inflammatory drugs, cold medicine, antidepressants, anticancer drugs, and vitamins are very harmful and could be fatal to your dog. Refrain from medicating your dog except on your vet’s prescription.
The yeast used in making bread that causes it to rise should be kept out of reach and sight of your Maltese.
If your dog consumes yeast, it could lead to a swollen stomach, a gas-filled digestive tract, pain, possible stomach rupture, and other possible life-threatening complications.
#3 Onions and garlic
Both contain a chemical that can cause damage to a dog’s red blood cells, which in extreme cases, can result in anemia. One small onion can end your dog’s life.
Considering how dangerous this could be, you should endeavor to be careful when disposing of leftovers containing onion while also keeping your onions out of reach and sight of your dogs.
Note that onions and garlic powder contained in most pet foods are safe and below toxic levels.
#4 Coffee, tea, and cola
Containing caffeine and methylamine, coffee, tea, and cola are all toxic for your dog. Consuming any of these could lead to rapid heartbeat, hyperexcitability, tremors, and could also lead to death in extreme circumstances.
Chocolate is extremely dangerous and can kill your dog within 24 hours. It’s one of the most toxic things you can ever feed your Maltese dog.
Dark chocolate is indeed healthier for humans, but it turns out that, for dogs, it’s the exact opposite – the darker the chocolate, the higher the toxicity.
The methylamines in chocolates can cause increased urination, vomiting, rapid and irregular heartbeat, muscle tremors, and seizures.
#6 Alcoholic beverages
Alcohol can be fatal to dogs, and even a little drop could cause so much trouble for your dog. Hence, the best dog-care practices compel you to keep alcohol away from your Maltese dog, and yes, all types of alcohol.
#7 Raw eggs
While they aren’t necessarily toxic, there’s a chance that they can contribute to, result in, or cause food poisoning. Many veterinarians frown on serving raw eggs to dogs. However, cooked scrambled and hard-boiled eggs can be a tasty treat for your Maltese.
#8 Leftovers or spoiled food or garbage
These should be kept in the trash where they belong and away from your Maltese dog. Spoiled foods are toxic and can cause internal organ damage, vomiting, and diarrhea.
After family mealtime or feeding your dog, ensure you pick up all the scraps and leftovers. Failure to do so will put your Maltese at risk of eating spoiled food that could be detrimental to its health.
Your Maltese can also pick up a half-chewed bone and choke on it. To avoid these possible issues, take out the trash regularly and keep your trashcan out of the reach of your Maltese.
With Black walnuts, the trouble is not the nuts themselves. There is a toxic mold that usually forms on the husk or bark of walnut trees. This mold is a potent neurotoxin and can cause tremors and seizures.
Black walnuts are so toxic that they can be poisonous to horses, too, causing colic and laminitis – an inflammation of the hoof.
#10 Sugarless gums or candies (Xylitol)
Contrary to what you might think of sweets as harmless choices for your fur baby, they contain Xylitol, which can result in a rapid drop in your dog’s sugar level, and that’s most certainly not good.
Deciding the best food and feeding plan for your Maltese can be quite a challenge but the joy of having a boisterous and healthy Maltese pet is invaluable.
As repeatedly stated in this article, you should consult your vet before deciding any new formula. You can also consult a veterinary nutritionist to plan your Maltese’s diet that meets all of the nutritional needs of your Maltese.