When it comes to the Maltese, its picky eating habits are a well-known characteristic that can make feeding this small dog a challenge for many owners.
In general, Maltese dogs should be fed a balanced and nutritious diet that considers their weight, age, and activity level. Maltese puppies require ¼ to ¾ cup of food daily, while adults need ½ to ¾ cup per day, and seniors would require ¼ to ½ cup per day.
This guide will explore the best practices for feeding your Maltese. This will also cover the nutritional needs of the Maltese based on their age. Keep reading to learn more about properly nourishing your Maltese dog!
What Factors Impact How Much to Feed a Maltese?
When it comes to determining the right amount of food to feed a Maltese, several factors should be taken into consideration.
Here are some of the factors that can impact how much to feed them:
- Age: Maltese puppies have different nutritional needs than adults or senior dogs, as they are still growing and developing. As Maltese puppies grow older, their food intake should be adjusted accordingly. Adult Maltese require a different balance of nutrients and calories, and senior Maltese would need fewer calories and specific nutrients to maintain their health.
- Weight: To maintain a healthy weight and prevent obesity, it’s crucial to provide a balanced diet with the appropriate amount of food for a Maltese’s ideal weight and age. It is important to monitor their weight and adjust their food intake accordingly to maintain a healthy weight and provide them with the necessary nutrients.
- Activity Levels: Smaller dogs, such as the Maltese, tend to have a high metabolism, which means they need small and frequent meals to maintain their energy levels. Also, Maltese who exercise regularly or have active lifestyles require more calories to fuel their energy needs than those who are less active.
Further, some physiological changes, such as pregnancy and nursing in female Maltese, may also affect their dietary requirements. When selecting a diet for your dog, it is essential to consider these factors and customize its diet based on them.
How Much to Feed Your Maltese
To make feeding your Maltese easier, there are feeding charts that you can use as a reference. These charts provide general recommendations for how much to feed your Maltese based on its weight and age.
It’s worth mentioning that these are just general recommendations, and you may need to adjust the amount of food based on your dog’s individual needs.
Maltese Puppy Feeding Chart (2 to 12 months)
Maltese puppies rely on their mother’s milk for the first four weeks, and they go through weaning to transition to solid food.
To support their growth, it’s important to provide them with a well-balanced diet that contains essential nutrients. Look for products that follow the nutrient profiles set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials.
These foods are designed to provide your pup with the right amount of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals to support their growth and development.
Here’s a general feeding chart to follow during this period on how much to feed your Maltese puppy:
|Age||Daily Food Quantity|
|2 – 3 months||¼ – ½||125 – 180|
|4 – 5 months||¼ – ½||140 – 253|
|6 – 9 months||¾||297 – 335|
|10 – 12 months||¾||297 – 335|
While their food portions may seem small due to their size, their dietary requirements are just as important as those of larger breeds.
By following a feeding chart tailored to their specific age and weight, you can ensure that your furry friend gets the proper amount of nutrients to thrive.
As a Maltese breeder myself for about five years, one of the challenges I regularly encounter in feeding this breed is that it tends to display its picky eating habits as early as its puppyhood.
Due to this, aside from ensuring that they consume the right number of calories, I always prepare palatable meals for them. I would usually add aromatic wet canned food or pour an adequate amount of chicken or beef broth on their kibbles to make them more flavorful.
Adult Maltese Feeding Chart (1 to 7 years)
When a Maltese reaches its adult size, it will typically weigh between 4 and 7 pounds. Generally, an adult Maltese will need about a ½ to ¾ cup of food per day.
To ensure they receive the appropriate nutrients, prioritize high-quality protein sources like pork, chicken, beef, or fish.
These protein sources provide essential nutrients like glucosamine and DHA and enhance their food’s taste. These nutrients are good for their bones, joints, and coat, which is one of their distinguishing features.
Here is the recommended amount of food to give your adult Maltese:
|Age||Daily Food Quantity|
|1 – 8 years||½ – ¾||159 – 268|
By using this chart as a reference, you can assist your adult Maltese in reaching its ideal size and weight. This also ensures that it stays healthy in the long run by maintaining a balanced diet.
Senior Maltese Feeding Chart (8 years and above)
The Maltese dog is considered senior as it reaches the age of 8 to 9 years old. As it reaches this stage, its digestive system can become sensitive and may be unable to digest fat efficiently.
Therefore, it’s important to feed them less fat, not only to avoid weight gain but also to prevent any digestive health issues that might arise.
However, senior Maltese still require high-quality foods that are rich in glucosamine and chondroitin to maintain their healthy bones and joints.
The chart provided below shows the recommended daily food intake for your senior Maltese dog:
|Age||Daily Food Quantity|
|8 years and above||¼ – ½||127 – 214|
Considering a reduced fat intake for senior Maltese can help manage their weight at this age while ensuring they stay healthy.
How Often Should You Feed Your Maltese?
The recommended feeding frequency for Maltese dogs varies depending on their age. Free feeding is advised for puppies under four months, while those between 4 and 12 months should have 3 to 4 meals per day. In contrast, adult and senior Maltese dogs should be fed twice daily.
Puppies under four months old are highly active and need a constant supply of nutrients to fuel their growth and development. For this reason, free feeding is recommended.
However, it is crucial to monitor your puppy’s food intake and avoid overfeeding, as this can lead to health problems later on.
From 4 to 12 months, they should be fed an adequate amount of puppy food to accommodate their fast-growing bodies. Thereafter, they should eat twice daily during their adult and senior stage.
Here’s a table summarizing the feeding frequency recommended for a Maltese depending on its age:
|0 – 3 months||Free-fed|
|4 – 12 months||Three to four times a day|
|1 – 8 years||Two to three times a day|
|8 years and above||Twice a day|
You can often find that Maltese dogs are energetic and can burn calories easily, but they can quickly become overweight if they have unrestricted access to food.
To avoid this, it’s important to follow the recommended feeding frequency unless advised differently by your veterinarian. This will also maintain your dog’s energy intake throughout the day.
Optimal Feeding Times for Maltese
Younger Maltese puppies may be free-fed and then switched to 4 to 6-hour even intervals daily as they reach four months. As adults, it’s best to establish a feeding routine with specific meal times in the morning, noon, and evening. For senior dogs, it’s ideal to feed them in the morning and evening.
Apart from the quantity and frequency of meals, another factor to take into account when feeding Maltese dogs is the timing of their meals.
It’s best to feed your dog at the same time every day to establish a routine. This practice not only keeps track of your dog’s food intake but also helps them develop a sense of structure and discipline.
Further, puppies who are fed on a regular schedule are less likely to beg for food or exhibit food-related aggression.
Dogs thrive on consistency, so creating a regular feeding schedule for their daily activities is key to building a strong and healthy bond with your furry friend.
Here are the recommended feeding times for Maltese, based on their age:
|Age||Optimal Feeding Times|
|0 – 3 months||Free-feeding|
|4 – 12 months||7:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m., and 7:00 p.m. if fed thrice a day;|
7:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., 3:00 p.m., and 7:00 p.m. if fed four times a day
|1 – 7 years||7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., if fed twice a day;|
7:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m., 7:00 p.m. if fed thrice a day
|8 years and above||7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.|
Establishing a consistent feeding schedule can prevent grazing, promote good mealtime behavior, and make your dog feel like it’s part of the family.
Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Maltese
Due to their sensitive stomachs, Maltese are prone to developing digestive issues if they are fed foods that are not suitable for their delicate digestive system.
To avoid serious health issues, it’s important to be mindful of what food you feed your Maltese, as certain foods can be harmful.
As previously mentioned, Maltese are known for being picky eaters, so it can be tempting to give them table scraps or other human foods as a treat.
However, this can be a mistake, as many human foods are not safe for dogs to consume. Here is a list of human foods to avoid feeding your Maltese:
- Chocolate: Although chocolate may be a tempting treat for humans, it’s important to note that it can be lethal to dogs due to the presence of theobromine, a compound found in chocolate. Theobromine is a toxic stimulant that can cause kidney failure in dogs and should be avoided at all costs.
- Coffee, tea, and cola: These all contain caffeine, which can be harmful to your dog’s health. Consuming any of these substances could cause your dog to experience rapid heartbeat, hyperexcitability, and tremors. In the worst-case scenario, it could even lead to death.
- Onions and garlic: Regardless of whether these foods are dried, raw, or cooked, they are highly toxic to dogs and can result in gastrointestinal discomfort and the destruction of red blood cells.
- Chewing gum: Chewing gum may seem harmless, but it contains an artificial sweetener called xylitol, which is toxic to dogs. Even a small amount of xylitol can cause a rapid insulin release in your dog, leading to hypoglycemia, seizures, and even liver failure.
- Grapes and raisins: While it’s unclear what exact substance in grapes and raisins causes a toxic reaction in dogs, these can lead to acute kidney failure, abdominal pain, dehydration, lethargy, and loss of appetite.
- Yeast: Eating yeast can be dangerous for dogs and may cause a range of serious complications, including a swollen stomach, gas-filled digestive tract, pain, potential stomach rupture, and other life-threatening issues.
- Alcohol: Alcohol can cause severe poisoning to dogs. It may lead to breathing difficulties or seizures that need hospitalization and supportive care.
As a responsible owner, you should keep in mind that not all human foods are suitable for your Maltese, and some can even be life-threatening. Keep your Maltese safe and healthy by avoiding the toxic food listed above.
If you have any doubts about whether or not a particular food is safe for your Maltese, consult with your veterinarian before feeding it to your pet.
Watch this video on what human foods are safe to feed your Maltese:
How to Transition Your Maltese to a New Food
The Maltese can be sensitive to changes in its diet, and abruptly switching its food can cause digestive problems such as vomiting, diarrhea, and a loss of appetite.
So, if you’re planning on changing your dog’s food, do it gradually. One way to do this is to decrease the amount of the current food and increase the amount of the new one over a period of seven days.
During this process, you should closely monitor your dog’s behavior and appetite to ensure they adjust well to the new diet.
The table below provides a summary of the recommended feeding percentage when switching your Maltese from its current food to a new one:
|Day||New Food||Old Food|
|1 – 2||25%||75%|
|3 – 4||50%||50%|
|4 – 5||75%||25%|
If you notice any signs of gastrointestinal upset, you may need to slow down the transition and give your Maltese more time to adjust.
Remember, a gradual transition is key to preventing any digestive issues that could arise from a sudden change in diet.
Tips on Feeding an Overweight Maltese
Due to their small size, it can be challenging to keep track of the weight of Maltese dogs. Maltese dogs are prone to becoming overweight, which can lead to various health problems.
If your Maltese is overweight, here are some tips to help you manage their weight and maintain a healthy diet:
- Know your dog’s healthy weight: Knowing your dog’s ideal weight helps you monitor and ensure they maintain a healthy size. Typically, a healthy adult Maltese dog should weigh between 4 and 7 pounds. However, the optimal size may vary depending on the dog’s age, gender, and activity level.
- Consult with your veterinarian: The vet will evaluate your dog’s overall health, determine its ideal weight, and assess its current weight. They will also help you create a personalized diet plan tailored to your dog’s specific needs.
- Measure your dog’s food: Measuring your dog’s food can help you ensure it’s not eating too much or too little. Start by checking the recommended portion size above or on its food packaging. Use an 8 oz measuring cup or a kitchen scale to portion out its food accurately.
- Choose low-calorie dog food: Choose a low-calorie dog food that is high in protein and fiber but low in fat and calories. Switching to weight management dog food can be an effective solution. This food has lower calories than regular dog food and contains added nutrients to support healthy weight loss and overall health.
- Increase physical activity: Increasing their physical activity can be a great way to help them shed some pounds. It can be achieved by taking them out for walks, playing with them, or engaging them in other physical activities they enjoy.
- Avoid free-feeding: It’s important to avoid free-feeding and follow a definite feeding schedule instead. This will help you keep track of how much your dog is eating and prevent overfeeding.
If you follow the advice mentioned earlier and stick to it, you can assist your Maltese in shedding extra pounds and keeping a healthy weight.
However, dog weight loss can take some time, so don’t rush the process. Be patient and stay committed to the healthy habits you’ve established.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do I Know If I’m Feeding My Maltese Enough?
To ensure that you are feeding your Maltese enough, you should monitor their weight, check their body condition score, follow the feeding guidelines on their food packaging, and observe their behavior.
You can also consult your veterinarian to determine the appropriate portion sizes based on their age, activity level, and overall health.
Why Is My Maltese Not Eating?
A Maltese may refuse to eat either due to health or behavioral reasons. Hence, it’s essential to identify the cause of your Maltese’s refusal to eat and address it appropriately.
If your Maltese is not eating, it may be because of boredom with its current food or due to stress. If this happens, provide it with a more palatable diet and a more comfortable and encouraging environment.
However, if your Maltese continues not touching its food for a long time and displays other health issues, immediately bring it to a veterinarian.
Can I Feed My Maltese With Human Food?
Feeding your Maltese with human food is safe, provided that it is done correctly and in moderation.
Further, it is crucial to ensure that the human food given is nutritionally balanced and complete. It must also not fall under the restricted list of foods harmful to dogs, including foods high in fat or sugar.
Additionally, before introducing human food to their diet, it’s best to consult with a veterinarian to ensure that it’s safe and appropriate.
Do Maltese Eat a Lot?
Maltese dogs have a reputation for being picky eaters. Hence, they have smaller appetites and may not eat as much.
Generally, most adult Maltese will do better with multiple smaller meals throughout the day rather than just one large meal.
Can Maltese Eat Bones?
Dogs love to chew bones, and while it may be true for most dogs, it’s essential to know which types of bones are safe for your Maltese.
The good news is that most raw bones, including raw chicken, turkey, lamb, or beef bones, are edible for dogs. These are soft enough to be chewed, eaten, and digested by your Maltese.
However, keep in mind that there are risks associated with feeding bones to your dog. Choking is the most common risk, especially if your dog swallows a bone without thoroughly chewing it.
Maltese dogs may have a small appetite due to their size, but it’s important to keep track of how much they are consuming.
Feeding your Maltese the right amount at the right frequency and schedule that is appropriate for its age, weight, and activity level is essential for maintaining its overall health and well-being.
To achieve this, you can use the Maltese feeding chart for both puppies and adults as a guide. Keep in mind as well that every dog is unique, and their nutritional needs may differ.
Can you share your personal experience in feeding your Maltese? Drop some helpful tips and tricks in the comment section below!