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Top Treats

The Best Treats and Snacks for a Maltese


When it comes to feeding your Maltese, just as much thought should go into the treats that you give to your puppy or dog, as it does for his main kibble. 

In this section we will cover:
  • The importance of dog treats
  • Elements to avoid
  • What you want treats to have
  • Fantastic choices for both store-bought treats and wholesome 'real foods' 
Want to see recommendations right now? Jump to Top Recommended Dog Treats for Maltese

The Importance of Dog Treats

Treats play a very important role in many different aspects. They are wonderful for:

1) Training. When a dog is learning housebreaking, commands, how to heel, or any other sort of training, the #1 motivating factor is reward.

Once a dog has enough repetition, treats are no longer needed, as muscle memory and desire to please comes into play. 

However, when a dog is learning, reward at the exact moment of the desired action sends a powerful signal. And this is what starts a dog on the right path. 
2) Overall behavior. Canines are very intelligent and are capable of a range of emotions. Yet, being governed by canine rules in a human's world can be hard to navigate. 

There are a lot of behaviors that will need to be shaped, including but not limited to sitting still for grooming, behaving well around guests, playing well with children or other pets, refraining from excessive barking, and more.

When you want show your Maltese which behaviors are desired, a big part of doing this is by giving a treat for reward. It sends an immediate message that a certain behavior was appreciated, and when done consistently this will lead to a Maltese repeating what he did to earn the reward. 

3) Nutritional supplementation. This is particularly relevant to tiny toy breeds like the Maltese. This breed does not eat very much at any one meal. So, to be sure that a Maltese is receiving enough nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and calories, giving treats a few times a day is an effective method to reach dietary goals. 

Additionally, not eating throughout the day can lead to drops in blood sugar levels for toy breeds. For this reason, a few small snacks each day can keep a Maltese's sugar levels balanced and his body more evenly fueled. 

Elements to Avoid with Dog Treats

Never underestimate how treats can affect a Maltese puppy or dog. Sure, each treat is individually smaller than what your Maltese will eat for his meals; however, each bite will either be beneficial to a Maltese's heath or detrimental. 

Hiding among some cute packaging and tasty-sounding names are some terrible ingredients that can have awful effects on dogs.

There are some dog treats out there (many are well-known brands) that can have the following: 
1) Artificial coloring, flavoring, and preservatives.Dogs can have allergic reactions to these chemical additives and these are found in a lot of different dog treats. 

Reactions can vary from gastrointestinal distress (upset stomach, diarrhea, general uneasiness that often leads to decreased appetite), to skin reactions (dry, itchy, inflamed, irritated skin) and coat issues (thinning and/or brittle coat), and even changes to the nose such as discoloration and dryness. 

Food dyes to avoid include but are not limited to Blue 2, Red 40, Yellow 5 and 6, 4-MIE.

Synthetic dog food preservatives are toxic to canines, but are still found in some snacks. Ethoxyquin is a pesticide that is also used to preserve some dog treats, and has been linked to liver and blood problems. 

Shockingly, this can be in dog treats but NOT be on the label. This toxic agent that is banned from human food but allowed in dog food and treats, sneaks in under certain 'fish meals'. 

Both butylated hydroxyanisole and butylated hydroxytoluene are considered to be possible carcinogens, but are still put into some dog treats. 

2) Cheap cereal grains and high levels of corn can cause a host of stomach issues and/or intolerance. In addition, these are fillers, which makes the treat rather worthless in regard to nutrition. 

3) By-products are parts of animals that that are deemed unfit for human consumption, but are added to some dog treats.This includes such things as spleens, undeveloped eggs, brains, intestines, feet, lips, and lungs. 

4) Generic meat sources means that the ingredients can contain any type of animal that was found as road kill, animals that were dying or died on route to facilities, pets (dogs and cats) that were euthanized at shelters, and diseased livestock. 

5) Hard to digest ingredients - It's amazing how some dog treats are made with ingredients that cannot even be digested by a dog's body. Any type of raw hide or pig's ear are the worse offenders. These are both choking hazards and can cause partial or full stomach or intestinal blockage. 

6) Treats made overseas - Each year the numbers go up; however, there have been 5800+ cases of pets that got ill and 500+ estimated deaths from China-made treats. 

The way in which those treats are fatal to dogs varies; about 60% of the dogs that died suffered from severe gastrointestinal problems, 30% had Fanconi-like syndrome (acute kidney failure), and about 10% had a variety of other illness including mushroom poisoning, pneumonia, meningitis, and other infections. 

You need to be careful when choosing treats, because some brands place 'Made in the USA' in big lettering, BUT they source the ingredients from overseas. 

7) Improperly sized treats. With a small dog like the Maltese, a generic dog treat size will not suffice. If a Maltese needs to struggle to fit the treat into his mouth or chew it, he is not going to enjoy it very much. 

Elements of Really Great Dog Treats

The good news is that when you are looking for the best treats to give to your Maltese, you'll just want to look for the exact opposite of what the inferior and harmful treats have. However, finding them is not always easy amid the overflowing possibilities (we do have recommendations ahead).

The best treats will have:
  • Zero chemical additives. No artificial coloring, no artificial flavoring and no artificial preservatives.
  • Only all-natural ingredients will be used for preservatives such as vitamin C (may show as Ascorbic acid, L-Ascorbic acid or sodium Ascorbate among others) and vitamin E (may show as tocopherols).
  • Made with real meats, vegetables, cheese, and fruits.
  • Have no corn, soy, or cheap grain fillers.
  • Will be made in North America (USA and/or Canada - some of the best fish are caught off of the Canadian coast).
  • Will be sized for small toy breeds. 

Top Recommended Dog Treats for Maltese

Keeping all of the above in mind, there are a couple of dog treats that really stand out as superior choices for the Maltese breed, both in the quality of ingredients and sizing. 
Zuke's Mini Naturals - Zuke's Mini Naturals Dog Treats,which are moist treats packaged as training treats but perfectly sized for adult Maltese, and Zuke's Tiny Naturals (half the size of the minis) which are ideal for tiny Maltese puppies, are fantastic for a number of reasons.

They come in a wide variety of super-tasty flavors including chicken, peanut butter, salmon, and wild rabbit. 

There are no extra ingredients that you do not want. For example, the chicken variety's #1 ingredient is chicken, and there's great natural flavoring such as cherries and natural preservatives such as rosemary and turmeric.

Best of all, these have no wheat, corn or soy. There are no artificial additives, and no by-products. These are sourced and made in the USA.  

And as a bonus, these come in handy resealable pouches.
Fruitables - The entire line of Fruitables fruit-based dog treats including Fruitables Pumpkin & Apple Crunchy Dog Treats are quickly catching on as a top choice. 

They have put a lot of thought into offering some wonderful flavors including pumpkin & banana, pumpkin & blueberry, and pumpkin & cranberry. They even have crisp bacon and apple, sweet potato & pecan, and a Greek yogurt dog treat.

These are sized perfectly for Maltese puppies and dogs. 

The ONLY ingredients are the all-natural foods needed and these have none of the nasty stuff like additives or chemical preservatives. 

Fruitables are sourced and made in the USA. And as a bonus, these also come in cute resealable pouches. 
Green Butterfly's Premium Salmon Dog Treats - These are amazing. The ONLY ingredient in Green Butterfly Brands Premium Salmon Dog Treats is wild-caught American salmon, and these treats are processed and made in the USA (Alaska and Indiana). 

The size of these little squares of fish are perfect for Maltese. And, these are pre-cooked then freeze-dried, so there are zero preservatives. There is literally no other ingredients at all. 

Salmon squares are well-received by dogs due to their tempting smell and taste, and these are rich in omega 3 fatty acids which are important for brain health, joints & immune system, and to maintain a shiny coat & healthy skin. 
Wellness WellBars Crunchy Wheat Free Natural Dog Treats - A list of the very best treats cannot be complete without mentioning WellBars Crunchy Natural Dog Treats. The Wellness company goes above in beyond with everything that they offer, and is why they are one of our top choices for main meals as well. 
These treats come in 4 fantastic flavors: chicken & cheddar, lamb & apple, peanuts & honey, and yogurt, apples & banana. 

There is no corn, soy, wheat, artificial coloring, artificial flavoring, preservatives, or by-products. 

These small oven baked, crunchy treats are sized just right for Maltese. And, these are made in North America (USA and Canada). 
Below are our recommended dog treats for Maltese. If you do not see the images, try a refresh. And on mobile, you may need to turn your screen horizontal to see all four. 

Wholesome 'Real Foods' as Snacks

There are some vegetables and some fruits that you can give to your Maltese; either as snacks or mixed into meals.

This can be a good way to add an extra boost of vitamins, and with fruit it is a good method of offering some extra water if a dog is dehydrated. 

Some good choices for vegetables include sweet peas, green beans, broccoli (not too much), and baby carrots.

For fruits, both blueberries and raspberries are good options since these have lots of antioxidants and have a high water content. Also, strawberries, banana and mango are healthy and are often well-received.

As with any food ingredients, moderation is key. Fruits are a bit high in natural sugar, though their high fiber content causes the sugar to be metabolized at a slow pace. On hot summer days, offering frozen fruit can be a fun treat. 

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