15 Best Dog Foods for Maltese: Our 2020 In-Depth Feeding Guide

Known for his long white coat and bubbly personality, the Maltese is the ultimate companion pet.

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This breed originated in the Mediterranean island nation of Malta over 2,000 years ago which makes it an ancient breed. The Maltese has been known by many names throughout its history, though it has always played the role of the lapdog and faithful companion. These little dogs are lively and playful by nature, though they can sometimes become impatient and snappy around children. They do, however, bond closely with their owners and are highly affectionate.

The Maltese is a toy breed that stands 8 to 10 inches tall at the shoulder and weighs 4 to 7 pounds at maturity. These dogs are not particularly active, but their long silky coat makes them a fairly high-maintenance breed. They also have a moderately high risk for health problems, though they still have a long lifespan of 15 to 18 years.

A high-quality Maltese diet plan is a necessity to ensure long-term health and wellness. It is also important to note that these dogs often have sensitive digestive systems and a propensity for developing food allergies and sensitivities. The best dog food for Maltese dogs will be centered on quality proteins and healthy fats with other highly digestible ingredients.

Keep reading to learn more about your Maltese’s dietary requirements and to see our top 15 picks for the 2020 best dog food for Maltese.

Understanding a Maltese’s Diet Requirements

All dogs require a balance of protein, fat, and carbohydrates in their diet plan. Protein is made up of amino acids which are the building blocks of healthy muscles. Your dog needs 22 different amino acids, 10 of which he cannot synthesize in his body – these are called complete amino acids and they come from animal proteins like meat, poultry, and fish.

Fat is the most highly concentrated source of energy available to dogs which is why it is particularly important for small breeds like the Maltese who have a very fast metabolism compared to larger breeds. This nutrient is most biologically valuable when it comes from animal sources like chicken fat and salmon oil, though plant-based fats can be used to balance out the omega-3 and omega-6 content of your dog’s diet.

In addition to protein and fat, your Maltese needs certain vitamins and minerals which can come from a variety of sources including carbohydrates. Fresh fruits and vegetables provide the most biologically valuable form of these nutrients, though most dog foods contain synthetic supplements to ensure nutritional balance. Chelated minerals are chemically bound to protein molecules which makes them easier for your dog’s body to absorb and utilize.

  • Puppy Maltese – As a puppy, your Maltese is going to grow very quickly, especially considering his maximum size is only around 7 pounds. Your puppy needs a minimum of 22% protein and 8% fat, though more fat is always better to provide your puppy with the energy he needs to grow. The best way to ensure that his nutritional needs are met is to feed him a toy- or small-breed puppy food.
  • Adult Maltese – Once your Maltese reaches 12 months of age, you should switch him to a toy or small-breed dog food to make sure he gets the energy he needs and the protein to sustain lean muscle mass. As an adult, your dog needs a minimum of 18% protein and 5% fat, ideally from animal sources.
  • Senior Maltese – When your Maltese reaches senior status around 8 or 9 years, his metabolism will start to slow down. Considering the Maltese is already a low-exercise breed, you may need to reduce the amount you feed him to prevent him from gaining an unhealthy amount of weight. A healthy weight formula or senior recipe might be a good choice.

In addition to meeting your Maltese dog’s basic needs for protein, fat, and carbohydrate, you should look for beneficial supplements in his food such as prebiotics and probiotics to ensure healthy and regular digestion. A healthy digestive system means more efficient absorption of nutrients and better overall health for your dog.

Special Dietary Considerations for Maltese

As an ancient breed, the Maltese is generally very healthy, and they have a long lifespan of 15 to 18 years. Even so, all dogs are prone to developing certain health problems and the Maltese is no exception. There are several hereditary health conditions to be wary of as well as a propensity for food allergies and sensitivities.

Here is a quick list of the health problems to which the Maltese may be prone:

  • Allergies
  • Collapsed Trachea
  • Dental Problems
  • Glaucoma
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Patellar Luxation
  • Portosystemic Shunt
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy
  • Reverse Sneezing
  • White Dog Shaker Syndrome

Most of the health problems to which the Maltese breed is prone are related to allergies, eye problems, or genetics. Let’s take a closer look at some of these issues.

The two eye problems to which the Maltese breed is prone are glaucoma and progressive retinal atrophy. Glaucoma is a condition in which fluid accumulates in the eye without draining properly which can affect the dog’s vision and potentially lead to permanent damage and blindness. Progressive retinal atrophy is a degenerative eye disorder that eventually leads to blindness and it is often an inherited health condition. In most cases, however, it is detectable before symptoms present.

Some of the genetic conditions to which the Maltese breed is prone include musculoskeletal issues like patellar luxation and anatomical abnormalities like portosystemic shunt and collapsed trachea. Patellar luxation occurs when the kneecap slips in and out of place, causing progressive degeneration of the joint. Portosystemic shunt is a renal disorder that occurs when blood from the digestive tract bypasses the liver through an abnormal vessel, allowing unfiltered blood to circulate through the body. Collapsed trachea is a condition in which the trachea collapses into the airway, causing breathing difficulties.

Generally speaking, Maltese breeds often have sensitive digestive systems and they also seem to develop food allergies and sensitivities more often than other breeds. The quality of the ingredients in your dog’s food as well as their digestibility plays a key role in reducing these problems. Many Maltese dogs do well on a grain-free diet, though it is not a necessity if your dog is able to digest whole grains. Look for a recipe that contains prebiotic fibers to support healthy gut flora and probiotic supplements to help regulate digestion. Fresh fruits and veggies are the best source of vitamins and minerals, though chelated minerals are beneficial as well.

Maltese Feeding Chart

The Maltese is a toy breed that grows to a maximum of 7 pounds. This means that he is likely to reach his adult size well before he reaches a year old – probably before he even hits 6 months old. To make sure his nutritional needs are met, however, you should feed your puppy a toy- or small-breed puppy food for the first 8 to 12 months and follow the feeding recommendations on the package according to his age and weight.

After 8 to 12 months, you can switch your Maltese to a toy- or small-breed adult recipe. Again, refer to the feeding instructions in the package to see how much to feed your dog according to his age and body weight. Generally speaking, you’ll be feeding him somewhere between ½ and 1 cup of food per day. Both puppies and adult dogs can be fed three meals per day, though puppies may need an additional meal while they are still growing.

The Best Dog Food for Maltese: Our Top 15 Picks for 2020

The best dog food for Maltese dogs is made with high-quality natural ingredients to ensure digestibility and to reduce the risk for food allergies and sensitivities. Look for premium animal proteins as the main ingredient with healthy fats and digestible carbohydrates. Recipes made with a limited number of ingredients are always a good choice and some dogs respond well to grain-free recipes.

Here are our top 15 picks:

Solid Gold Mighty Mini Lamb, Sweet Potato, and Cranberry Toy & Small Breed Recipe

Overall Best Food for Maltese Dogs: For high-quality nutrition and a low risk for food allergies and sensitivities, it is hard to do better than this Solid Gold Mighty Mini Lamb, Sweet Potato, and Cranberry Toy & Small Breed Recipe. This formula is uniquely designed for toy and small breeds like your Maltese and it is made with novel proteins and digestible grain-free carbohydrates. Overall, this recipe provides 30% protein and 18% fat to support your Maltese’s lean muscle mass as well as his fast metabolism. It contains fresh fruits and vegetables for nutritional balance with probiotics for digestion. It is also completely free from artificial additives and low-quality fillers that might upset your dog’s stomach.

  • Pros: High-quality natural ingredients, novel protein sources, digestible grain-free carbohydrates, 30% protein and 18% fat, fresh fruits and vegetables, probiotics for digestion, no artificial additives
  • Cons: Contains some plant protein (pea protein, fairly expensive)

Simply Nourish Grain-Free Chicken with Peas & Potatoes Small Breed Recipe

Most Affordable Food: If you’re looking for an affordable dog food that offers decent quality, try this Simply Nourish Grain-Free Chicken with Peas & Potatoes Small Breed Recipe. This formula features both deboned chicken and chicken meal for a protein-rich diet with grain-free carbohydrates for energy and fiber. It provides 28% crude protein and 17% fat, plus it is supplemented with dried fruits and vegetables as natural sources for key nutrients. This recipe is formulated for small breeds in particular and it is free from artificial additives and low-quality fillers to reduce the risk for triggering food allergies and sensitivities.

  • Pros: Affordable and decent quality, real chicken as the main ingredient, digestible grain-free carbohydrates, dried fruits and vegetables, no artificial additives or fillers
  • Cons: Main source of fat is plant-based (canola oil), may be too high in fiber for some dogs

 Taste of the Wild Appalachian Valley Small-Breed Grain-Free Recipe

Maltese Favorite Food: If you can’t decide what to feed your Maltese, this Taste of the Wild Appalachian Valley Small-Breed Grain-Free Recipe is a popular choice among dog owners. This particular recipe is formulated to meet the nutritional needs of small breeds, loaded with healthy animal protein and a blend of omega fatty acids for a healthy coat. This formula features novel proteins like venison, lamb, and duck with fresh fruits and vegetables as natural sources for key nutrients. It is also supplemented with prebiotics and probiotics to support healthy and regular digestion.

  • Pros: High-quality natural ingredients, several novel protein sources, digestible grain-free carbohydrates, fresh fruits and vegetables, prebiotics and probiotics, no artificial additives
  • Cons: Contains some plant protein (pea protein), main source of fat is plant-based (canola oil)

Nature’s Variety Instant Raw Boost Toy Breed Grain-Free Chicken Recipe

Super Premium Food: If you want to give your Maltese the best of the best, this Nature’s Variety Instant Raw Boost Toy Breed Grain-Free Chicken Recipe is an option to consider. Not only is it uniquely formulated for toy breeds, but it features high-protein kibble mixed with freeze-dried raw pieces. The high-protein kibble helps keep your dog’s teeth healthy while the freeze-dried raw pieces provide a boost of nutrition and natural flavor. Overall, this recipe provides 37% crude protein with 16% fat and it is completely free from artificial additives and low-quality fillers.

  • Pros: High-protein kibble and freeze-dried raw pieces, digestible grain-free carbohydrates, nutrient-rich chicken fat, no artificial additives or fillers, 37% protein and 16% fat, prebiotics and probiotics
  • Cons: Very expensive to feed as a staple diet, some dogs may be sensitive to chicken ingredients

FirstMate Small Bites Australian Lamb Meal Formula LID Dry Food

Best Food for Maltese Dogs with Allergies: For Maltese dogs with food allergies, you want to avoid common proteins, grains, and low-quality ingredients so this FirstMate Small Bites Australian Lamb Meal Formula LID Dry Food is a good choice. This formula is made with a limited number of main ingredients and it is formulated specifically for small-breed dogs. It features Australian lamb meal as a single source of novel protein with fresh fruits and vegetables for vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It contains 78% animal-based protein and fat for a total of 24% crude protein and 13% fat. It is also supplemented with prebiotic fibers for healthy digestion and chelated minerals for optimal nutrient absorption.

  • Pros: Made with a limited number of main ingredients, single source of novel protein, digestible grain-free carbohydrates, 78% animal ingredients and 22% vegetables, prebiotics for digestion
  • Cons: Very expensive to feed as a staple diet, could be higher in protein and fat

Canidae Grain-Free PURE Petite Small Breed Salmon Formula

Best Food for Maltese Dogs with Sensitive Stomachs: If your Maltese has a sensitive stomach, you want to limit the number of ingredients in his food and make sure it is highly digestible. This Canidae Grain-Free PURE Petite Small Breed Salmon Formula is a great option because it contains just 8 primary ingredients including a single source of animal protein and digestible grain-free carbohydrates. It also contains plenty of omega fatty acids to keep your dog’s silky coat healthy plus probiotics for healthy digestion. It is also free from artificial additives and low-quality fillers that could upset your dog’s stomach.

  • Pros: Made with 8 primary ingredients, single source of novel protein, digestible grain-free carbohydrates, probiotics for healthy digestion, rich in omega fats for healthy coat, all natural
  • Cons: Expensive to feed as a staple diet, main source of fat is plant-based (canola oil)

3 more Top Rated (5 Star) Maltese Adult Foods

Merrick Lil’ Plates Grain-Free Salmon and Sweet Potato Recipe

For a high-quality adult dog food formulated for small breeds, try this Merrick Lil’ Plates Grain-Free Salmon and Sweet Potato Recipe. It features real salmon and sweet potato as the main ingredients with supplemental protein from whitefish and whitefish meal. It also contains fresh fruits and vegetables to ensure complete and balanced nutrition and probiotics for healthy digestion.

Blue Buffalo Basics LID Grain-Free Lamb & Potato Small Breed Recipe

If you’re concerned about your Maltese’s digestion, choose a limited ingredient recipe like this Blue Buffalo Basics LID Grain-Free Lamb & Potato Small Breed Recipe. This formula features lamb and a single source of animal protein and it is a grain-free recipe as well. It also contains natural sources of glucosamine for joint support, prebiotics and probiotics for digestion, and a mixture of fresh fruits and vegetables for nutritional balance.

Go! Sensitivity + Shine LID Grain-Free Turkey Small Breed Recipe

For a recipe that supports your Maltese’s silky coat and provides high-quality nutrition, try this Go! Sensitivity + Shine LID Grain-Free Turkey Small Breed Recipe. This formula features deboned turkey and turkey meal as the main ingredients with digestible grain-free carbohydrates like peas, lentils, and chickpeas. It is rich in essential fatty acids and supplemented with chelated minerals. Plus, it is uniquely formulated for small-breed dogs.

3 More Top Rated (5 Star) Maltese Puppy Foods

Wellness CORE Grain-Free Small Breed Puppy Deboned Turkey Recipe

To make sure your Maltese puppy grows up well, try this Wellness CORE Grain-Free Small Breed Puppy Deboned Turkey Recipe. This formula features deboned turkey and chicken meal as the main ingredients with nutrient-rich chicken fat for essential fatty acids. It also contains salmon oil for omega fatty acids to keep your dog’s coat silky and smooth with chelated minerals for optimal nutrient absorption.

Holistic Select Small & Mini Breed Puppy Anchovy, Sardine, & Chicken Meal Recipe

Formulated specifically for small and mini breed puppies, this Holistic Select Small & Mini Breed Puppy Anchovy, Sardine, & Chicken Meal Recipe is a great choice for your Maltese. Not only is it designed to meet his unique nutritional needs, but it is a holistic recipe made with all-natural ingredients. It also contains a bounty of antioxidant-rich superfoods and beneficial supplements.

Nutro Wholesome Essentials Small Breed Puppy Chicken, Brown Rice & Sweet Potato Recipe

Starting your puppy off right means choosing a nutrient-rich formula like this Nutro Wholesome Essentials Small Breed Puppy Chicken, Brown Rice & Sweet Potato Recipe. Featuring real farm-raised chicken and whole-grain carbohydrates, if your dog can tolerate grains, this recipe is highly digestible and all-natural. You’ll also be glad to know that it is supplemented with chelated minerals to ensure optimal nutrient absorption.

2 More Picks for Senior Maltese Foods

Now Fresh Grain-Free Small Breed Senior Weight Management Recipe

As your Maltese gets older, you need to protect him against obesity. This Now Fresh Grain-Free Small Breed Senior Weight Management Recipe is a great choice because it is still formulated for small breeds but has a lower fat content to keep your dog at a healthy body weight. It still contains high-quality, all-natural ingredients, however, as well as beneficial supplements like prebiotics and probiotics to support healthy digestion and nutrient absorption.

Merrick Lil’ Plates Grain-Free Chicken & Sweet Potato Senior Recipe

To meet the changing nutritional needs of your senior Maltese, try this Merrick Lil’ Plates Grain-Free Chicken & Sweet Potato Senior Recipe. This formula features real chicken and sweet potato and provides ample protein to support lean muscle mass with moderate fat to control calories. It is naturally grain-free, so it won’t upset your dog’s digestion and it features prebiotics and probiotics as well. Plus, it has L-carnitine to support a healthy metabolism.

Our FAQ and Maltese Feeding Guide

Choosing a high-quality dog food for your Maltese is essential if you want him to live a long and happy life, but it isn’t the only thing you need to think about. Take the time to choose a quality dog bowl as well, ideally one made from ceramic or stainless steel. Not only are these materials durable and easy to clean but they don’t tend to scratch, and scratches can harbor dangerous bacteria. You should also be sure to wash your dog’s bowl often.

In addition to serving your dog’s food safely, you also need to think about how to store it safely. Dog food bags are treated on the inside to keep the product fresh, but simply rolling up the bag may not be enough to prevent air exposure. Exposure to air can cause dog food to lose some of its nutritional value, so try to avoid it. The best thing to do may be to place the entire bag in an airtight container and to store it in a cool, dry location.

And now, here are the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about feeding a Maltese:

How much food should I feed my Maltese? – The amount you feed your Maltese depends on the type of food you feed him as well as his age and body weight. Puppies will eat more than adult dogs because they need the protein and calories to fuel their growth and development. Feed your Maltese puppy a high-quality toy- or small-breed puppy food and refer to the feeding instructions on the package. When you switch to an adult recipe, adjust the amount you feed your dog and adjust it again as he gets older.

How many times a day should I feed my Maltese? – When your Maltese is a puppy, you should feed him three or four meals a day – you can also simply keep his bowl full if you’re not sure he’s getting enough calories. As an adult, your Maltese should do well with three meals per day, though more active dogs may need more. Just refer to the feeding instructions and remember that it is the total amount recommended for the day – you’ll need to divide it into three meals or more.

What kind of food do Maltese eat? – All dogs require a high-quality diet, but the quality of the ingredients is particularly important for Maltese dogs because they are so small and because of their propensity for developing food allergies and sensitivities. Your Maltese needs a calorie-dense diet, but he won’t actually be eating a large volume of food, so the quality of the ingredients is paramount. Furthermore, high-quality ingredients are less likely to trigger your dog’s allergies. A high-quality dry food is always a good choice, particularly because it will help keep your dog’s teeth clean, but a raw, dehydrated, or freeze-dried diet would also be a good choice if you can afford it.

What vegetables are good in a Maltese food? – Fruits and vegetables provide a natural source of key nutrients for your dog, so they are always a good addition to any high-quality dog food. In addition to looking for vegetables in your dog’s food, you can also feed him small amounts as a healthy treat. Here are some of the best vegetables for dogs:

  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Cucumber
  • Green beans
  • Peas
  • Pumpkin
  • Spinach
  • Sweet potato
  • Zucchini

Before feeding your dog any fresh vegetables, make sure they are safe for dogs and that they have been thoroughly cleaned. Buying organic veggies will help reduce the risk for pesticide residue but you should still feed small amounts to make sure your dog tolerates it well.

Do Maltese need grain-free dog food? – Not all Maltese dogs need a grain-free diet, but dogs who are allergic or sensitive to grains might. There is a great deal of controversy surrounding the long-term safety of grain-free diets for dogs but there is no conclusive evidence to this point. What is most important is to choose a diet that your dog tolerates well and that offers high-quality nutrition. If your dog has recurrent ear infections or skin problems, he might have a food allergy that switching to a grain-free diet might help resolve.

A Final Word

In order to keep your Maltese happy and healthy for as long as possible, feed him the highest quality dog food you can consistently afford. The best dog food for Maltese dogs is made with wholesome natural ingredients including animal-based proteins and fats with digestible carbohydrates and beneficial supplements to ensure complete and balanced nutrition.

If you’re still not sure where to start in choosing the best Maltese dog food, try one of our top 15 picks reviewed above!

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1 thought on “15 Best Dog Foods for Maltese: Our 2020 In-Depth Feeding Guide”

  1. Avatar

    I want to give my dog veggies and ground turkey how do I make sure she is getting enough vitamins and minerals! If she isn’t allergic to grains does she need them? Where do i
    Find a recip e for her meals

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