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Proper Feeding for Your Maltese
Food for the Maltese

There is a lot more to properly feeding your Maltese than just filling up their dog bowl a few times a day.

Properly feeding your Maltese is vitally important to your pet's health.

We discuss many of the important issues that are most commonly asked:

  • How much do you feed a Maltese pup?
  • How much should an adult Maltese be fed?
  • Human food VS dog food
  • Dry VS wet dog food...what is the best food for your Maltese?
  • Help for an overweight Maltese...and more

food for Maltese
How Much Dog Food Does a Maltese Need

The amount of dog food that your dog needs, will vary according to age, activity and their own bodies natural metabolism. Pregnant Maltese females will need to have much more food and should be switched over to a puppy formula if you choose manufactured dog food.

However, there are general guidelines, specifically for the Maltese dog.

Feeding Maltese Puppies

During the first 2 years of a Maltese puppy's life,  the dog's diet is vitally important to ensure proper growth.  During these 2 years, a dog is growing very quickly, bones are enlarging at an enormous rate and providing the correct amount of calories, vitamins and nutrients is crucially important.   At the end of the first 2 years, a Maltese will be at their adult weight and height. 

Free feeding is never recommended passed the age of 3 months(and the puppy is over 2 pounds).   This method is one in which an owner always keeps dog food accessible to the dog so that he or she may eat whenever they want to.  While this initially may seem like a good idea for a growing puppy, doing so will set the stage for a dog to always expect this.  Adult dogs should only eat a full meal once per day; therefore free feeding is allowing the dog to learn a bad habit.

Growing puppies need about 1 ounce (28 grams) to 1.5 ounces (42 grams) of dog food per pound of body weight every day. If you choose to home cook for your Maltese, you will not need to worry about wet VS dry.  If you  choose to give manufactured food,  it is recommended to do a mix of  2/3 dry to 1/3 wet high quality dog food especially formulated for growing puppies.

This is distributed throughout 3 to 4 meals up to the age of 6 months. For example, a 3 pound (1.36 kg)  Maltese puppy should be given approximately 3 ounces ( 85 grams) of food, spread out 3 to  4 times per day.  A Maltese puppy's stomach is very small so meals must be very small as well. 

If you have a very active puppy or dog or any age, you may find that you will need to increase the amount of dog food.

6 Months Old Maltese puppies can work down from 4 meals to 3 meals or from 3 meals to 2 meals.  At this time, you can offer 1.5 ounce (42 grams) for every 2 pounds of body weight.   Teething is done and your Maltese should be able to chew on dry dog food, which not only is good for his or her teeth, but better for the digestive system in regard to dry VS wet commercial food.

Food should be served in the same spot, at the same times each day;   this gives the Maltese pup a sense of organization and reliability.  A small puppy is going through a major change from mom's milk to real dog food.  Knowing when and where meals will be served is very important for the dog.

A puppy should be allowed to eat for 15 minutes.  Any remaining food can be set aside for the next meal.  While very tempting, do not give in to your dog's begging for human food. If you choose to offer wholesome home cooking, this will be  healthy food specifically for the Maltese and not tacos and Doritos!  A Maltese, or any other breed dog, does not have an instinct to refuse food that is toxic to their body.  Fruit,  fruit cores, onions, caffeine, overly salty food and so much more can make a dog sick.  Additionally, once an owner gives in to the begging, this can set up a lifetime of begging behavior and a lot of training must be enforced to change this.  It is best to not even begin!

Dog supplements are helpful and there are specially formulated dog supplements for growing puppies, for either diet choice.

If your under 2 years old Maltese does not seem to be eating enough food and you notice weight gain ceasing or a loss of weight, bring your dog to the vet ASAP.

How Much to Feed an Adult Maltese

By 2 years old, your little, tiny Maltese is considered an adult dog and will eat less: 1/2 ounce (14 grams) of dry dog food per pound of body weight every day.  Adult dogs can usually eat just one meal per day.  Some owners do choose to feed 2 meals: this does not mean double the food!  This means the food, divided into 2 smaller meals.  Do keep in mind that if you feed your Maltese a breakfast in the morning, he or she will need to eliminate soon afterwards.  This is one of the reasons that feeding 1 larger dinner time meal is usually done.

If you have a very active dog, you may find that you will need to increase the amount of dog food.

From ages 7 and on it is recommended to switch over to a high quality dog food for senior dogs. 

Feeding an adult dog is much easier.  You no longer need to worry about helping your dog gain the necessary weight to keep up with the growth spurts.  It is still important to keep the food in one spot; preferably in a quiet corner of your kitchen where foot traffic and noise will not disturb your dog.  One meal should be served; ideally at dinner time, with fresh, healthy snacks given during the day.

Home Cooking VS Manufactured Food

Most commercial dog food contains fillers. It is important to understand exactly what fillers are.  They are empty elements,  containing zero calories and zero nutrients.  A dog's body does not absorb them, since they are not food.  They pass right through and come right back out. 

You may wonder why dog food companies add there a good, legitimate reason?  No.  Fillers are there to:
  • Bulk up the food so that it appears as if you have more than you actually have
  • Fill up your Maltese - This is the sad part, your little dog will feel full without getting the needed vitamins, nutrients and real food.
Have you ever wondered why it is that you would not take a portion of dog food and eat it?  Think about it for a moment.  Most likely you will answer that it is because it is not real food.  Therefore, why in the world should we expect our darling Maltese to eat this "fake" food?  It contains fillers, additives, coloring and any "meat" is derived from sources you may not even want to know about.

You may be wondering....

  • Is home cooking time consuming?   It is not.   Many great recipes allow you to easily make a week's worth (or more for freezing).
  • Is it hard to do?  No.  Recipes are rather simple.  Because a dog needs simple, wholesome foods you will not need to saute, add seasoning, baste, boil, ice and so forth.
  • What is the Cost?  This is a great element, especially in today's economy.   Most of the ingredients will be foods that you already purchase.  Buying in bulk is always less expensive.  For example, if you choose a chicken based meal, you most likely already buy chicken for you and your family.  Buying a bit extra, you can set some aside for your Maltese.
One very important element to remember is that all dogs, even the lovely, beautiful Maltese are carnivores.  They need meat as their main food source, and then vegetables and then starch.    Many manufactured food do not contain a high percentage of real, fresh meat sources, as you know the "meat" is so horrible and sub-standard that no human would happily eat it.  And therefore, neither should your bundle of fluff.

What to Feed for Home Cooking

What should you feed to a Maltese when home cooking?
  • You will want at least 40-50% of meat.  Organs are best - This includes liver and heart (usually chicken). However, lean chicken, fish, lean hamburger and lamb are fantastic
  • You will want about 25-35% vegetables - This should include baby carrots, peas, green beans, broccoli, spinach, potatoes and sweet potatoes
  • Starch - about 25 -35% should be rice (either white or brown) and pasta.  The Maltese loves pasta and should not be kept from enjoying this healthy, wholesome food.
Veggies can be raw, however steamed is perfect also.


As you may have noticed, there are dog food recipes scattered all over this big Internet.  However, it is very unfortunate, as many we have seen actually contain foods that the Maltese would find toxic or intolerable.  It appears that in many cases, random people place recipes while having no idea what a precious Maltese should be eating.

For this reason, the only recipes that we stand behind and suggest are Dr. Sara's Healthy Home Cooking for the Maltese. 

Read Much More About Home Cooking VS Manufactured food to help you make a choice


Dog treats can be given at any age.  Dog treats and chews should be saved for rewarding good behavior and following commands. This will make training much easier.  If a dog is given snacks and chews all the time, they will lose important significance when you are attempting to train your Maltese.

What to Feed for Manufactured Food

We do only recommend home cooking, however if you do not wish to offer this to your Maltese, we would then recommend Orijen or Blue Buffalo.  You'll want the main ingredients to be meats & fish, followed by vegetables. Probiotics added into the  mixture is a plus. 

Switching Foods for Puppies

It is important for a puppies to eat the exact same food as they did at the breeders when first brought to their new home.  Many breeders, even great ones,  feed a not-so-great puppy food, as they have many dogs to care for  and also because the pup will only be on the food for a few weeks (since they wean starting at 5 weeks can go to new homes at 8 weeks).

A slow change should then be made to have your Maltese eating what you decide is best.  You can make this change as follows;
  • Week 1 - Same food
  • Week 2 - 3/4 old food, 1/4 new food
  • Week 3 - 1/2 old food, 1/2 new food
  • Week 4 - 3/4 new food and only 1/4 old food
  • Week 5 - Complete switch to a healthy, wholesome new diet.
We do recommend Dr. Sara's Home Cooking for the Maltese

Is Your Maltese Overweight?

Owners should not worry about weight gain before the dog is 2 years old, unless there is a lack of weight gain.  Once the dog is 2 and older, care must be taken so that the Maltese does not become too heavy.

How many calories does your Maltese need?  There is a formula to determine this.  Get out your calculators!
In terms of metric:
  • 1. Take the weight of the dog in kg and multiply this by the number 30.
  • 2. Add 70 to that number and this equal the calories needed
In terms of decimal:
  • Take the weight of the Maltese and divide the number by 2.2
  • Multiply that number by 30
  • Add 70; this is the amount of calories your Maltese needs each day

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