Maltese Diet & Meal Plan Advice

By Hungry Bark | October 6, 2021

One of the premier toy breeds, the Maltese is distinct for its sheen white coat of hair that frames its face to give it a unique and recognizable look.

Their gentle demeanor and playful spirit make these agile little dogs one of the more popular among urban settings.

Known for their flowing silky white hair, Maltese don’t shed, making them ideal for allergy sufferers, and having been bred to be a companion dog, Maltese are very affectionate.

As a pet parent, it’s essential to take a holistic approach to your pup’s health, one that includes getting the proper amount of exercise, the correct type of diet, and regular trips to the veterinarian.

Like people, Maltese have unique personalities and preferences that may change over time.

Additionally, their exercise and nutritional needs will evolve at different life stages. Discussing nutritional needs with your dog’s veterinarian is a good suggestion when you are looking at the health needs of your Maltese, and as we will discuss, finding the right meal plan is easier than you think.

As we explore the best meal options for your Maltese, keep in mind how important the ingredient list is. When taking a closer look at the guaranteed analysis and what the food is made of, ask yourself if you would be confident in eating those ingredients.

A common mistake that many pet parents make is not thoroughly reading through the ingredient list of their dog's food.

Keep reading to find out more about how you can improve the life and longevity of your Maltese through personalized nutrition.

The Importance Of Getting Enough Exercise

The Maltese breed is known to be a high-energy small breed dog who requires exercise daily.

Although a Maltese may not need as much exercise as other large breed dogs, a 30-minute walk or other form of physical activity will help their overall health and wellness.

Like people, exercise builds and maintains muscle, increases cardiovascular function, boosts the immune system, improves moods, and alleviates anxiety.

Additionally, the benefits of exercise include an opportunity to bond with your Maltese and reinforce proper behaviors.

Health Benefits To Exercise:

  • Aids With Digestion: One of the significant benefits of exercise is that it aids in digestion and appetite. Daily vigorous activity will help maintain a healthy appetite and assist your Maltese in digesting what it eats. This feature is significant as your dog ages and digestion slows some.

  • Improves Cardiovascular Function: Increasing heart-rate improves the cardiovascular system, which enhances overall health. A robust cardiovascular system will provide your Maltese with more sustained energy throughout its life.

  • Helps Manage Weight: Like people, a sedentary life can lead to a whole host of health concerns stemming from onset diabetes to heart issues and weight problems. Daily vigorous activity will help your Maltese manage a healthy weight that will eliminate too much pressure on its joints, heart, and other vital organs.

Dogs that maintain an ideal weight balanced with exercise and nutrition on average live almost two-years (1.8 years on average) longer than dogs that are overweight.

  • Improved Flexibility: As dogs get older, joints become tighter, leading to the possibility of injury. By adding a daily activity, you’ll help your Maltese lessen the potential of tight joints and muscles and help eliminate the possibility of injury during everyday activities.

  • Increased Mental Function: The brain functions from sugars released and circulated in the bloodstream. Increasing blood flow throughout the body, such as from vigorous exercise, will boost the mental function of your Maltese.

    Additionally, the dopamine and other neurochemicals released by the brain after exercise will improve your Maltese’s mood and alleviate potential anxiety.

Maintain And Build Muscle Tissue: Much like its joints, aging has a degenerative effect on the skeletal-muscular system. Weaker muscles may lead to potential injury even during low-impact activity.

Another benefit of strong muscles is it does two things: stronger muscles force the bones to solidify and strengthen. Second, stronger muscles require more oxygenated blood, which in turn stimulates and strengthens the heart and cardiovascular system.

Creating daily exercise routines has the added benefit of something you and your Maltese can look forward to, reinforce the bonds between the two of you, and allow you to work and train with your pup to reinforce the behaviors you want for them.

Finally, exercise allows the benefit of socialization and discovery for your Maltese. Instinctually dogs like to wander and explore their immediate surroundings to discover about their surroundings.

They use their sense of smell to sniff around and figure out if there are threats or food sources in the neighborhood.

By making a daily activity outside, you’re allowing your Maltese to itch its curiosity about their world and immediate environment as well.

Depending on where you live, we have a few suggestions to help you explore the neighborhood and get your Maltese the exercise they crave.

Walks: As discussed, walks serve more than just a bathroom trip.

Dogs experience their environment through smells, and taking walks daily is a great low-impact way for your Maltese to get some exercise while checking in with all the activities and going-ons of the neighborhood.

Walks are also a great way for you to build a better rapport, teach your Maltese new behaviors, and encourage better behavior.  

Running: Maltese don’t need many sustained exercises, but an occasional short-run will bolster their cardiovascular function, allow for muscle strength, and improve endurance.

Keep in mind that although your Maltese has a lot of short burst energy, they won’t do well with long-sustained runs, so keep in short. A combination of quick runs mixed with longer walks is a good idea.

Hikes: Hiking is a good suggestion if for short brief periods.

Getting out in nature and discovering new sights and smells will more than stimulate your Maltese and can be a great reward from time to time.

Keep in mind that like running, hikes tend to be more vigorous than may be needed, so plan for short, quick little explorations rather than full-day hikes.

Dog Parks: Dog parks are an excellent way for your Maltese to get exercise and socialize with other dogs at the same time.

They can run around, explore a large area, and socialize with others and, in turn, get the exercise and mental stimulation they need.

The Type Of Nutrition Your Yorkshire Terrier Needs

Every dog needs the nutritional building blocks that stem from Macronutrients.

Macronutrients are those essential nutrients that contain proteins, fats, and carbohydrates and make up most energy sources for your dog.

Like people, all dogs have individual preferences, likes, and dislikes that may change at different life stages.

What your Maltese enjoys at a young age may not be the same type of food they want later in life.

Additionally, a puppy’s nutritional needs are much different from a full-grown adult, and deciding the right meal plan should consider those factors.

All dogs should have a higher percentage of proteins to carbohydrates, and fats in their diets with vitamins and essential minerals.

High-quality dog food will have this ratio in the proper proportions without unnecessary fillers that offer little-to-no nutritional value.

In determining your ideal meal plan, factor your Maltese’s age, activity level, food preference, the perfect weight, and food-borne allergies before selecting the best food.

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How Old Is Your Maltese

There are different nutrition needs at different ages, and your Maltese’s diet should reflect those life stages. For example, a baby needs a much higher diet of fats than an adult, and your Maltese is similar.

How Active Is Your Dog

Depending on the amount of exercise your Maltese is getting, you should calibrate their food accordingly. If it is more sedentary, a diet rich in protein, low in fat, and smaller portions may be necessary to manage an ideal weight.

Of course, increasing your Maltese’s activity level would be ideal, if possible.

What Is Your Maltese’s Food Preferences

Much like a person, if you feed your Maltese some food they don’t like, you’ll see a stubborn attitude during feeding.

However, if you offer a food source they enjoy, they’ll happily eat at feeding time.

Sometimes the food preference may be a flavor choice, and other times it may be a sign that your Maltese is trying to communicate with you that something is wrong with the food.

It could be that they don’t feel well after they eat something and as they speak by body language, reading their actions is crucial in understanding.

What Is The Ideal Weight Of Your Maltese

Ideally, a full-grown Maltese weighs less than 7-pounds, so if your pup is off-target by being over-or-under-weight, discuss with their veterinarian what are some suggestions and tactics to target their ideal weight for optimal health.

There is a need to exercise more or less, and portion size may be another consideration.

Why Your Maltese’s Food Ingredients Are Important

Not every dog is the same, and not every dog food is made the same.

Some are made with unnecessary fillers and additives that don’t provide much nutritional value and may cause health issues.

It’s a priority to find a meal plan made from pure sources of ingredients and listed clearly.

For optimal health, the type of food you offer your Maltese should include the right balance of Macronutrients, eliminate unnecessary additives, and be comprised of foods from a pure, singular source.

Too often, food-borne allergies and intolerance can occur from subpar food sources so learning about the ingredients and how to read the ingredient label is crucial.

In understanding a food label, you first need to understand what your Maltese needs in its diet.

A protein-rich diet is crucial for energy and muscle development, followed by single-source carbohydrates that serve as sustained energy and fats from animal sources for sustained energy stored in reserve.

Vitamins, essential minerals, and probiotics should be added and clear on the labeling.

Dog foods that include additives and unclear food sources such as “meat meal” may have things that can cause allergic reactions in some dogs, or worse, a food intolerance.

Food allergies can wreak havoc on the immune system, and often a food-borne allergy can cause the tear ducts of your Maltese to overproduce, which creates that tear-stain look sometimes found in the breed.

Food intolerance is a condition where a specific food may not be digestible for your dog and may have more severe issues as well. Think about peanut allergies in some people, and you get the idea.

The goal is to provide your Maltese with superfoods such as chicken, salmon, turkey, and lamb without additives.

By offering a food source from a single source, you have a better idea of the nutrition you provide to your dog to maintain energy, muscle development, joint maintenance and avoid any potential for allergic reactions.

Simply put, the benefits of offering good nutrition for your Maltese include:

  • Stronger muscle tone
  • Repairs and maintains the skeletal-muscle system
  • Healthy bones and teeth
  • Increased energy levels
  • Improved digestion
  • Enhanced immune system
  • Better sleep routines
  • Healthier, shinier coats

How To Read The Ingredients Label

Dog food is a highly-regulated industry, and the Food and Drug Administration has a list of requirements concerning food labeling.

It is essential to understand your Maltese dog food label because foods are listed in the mixture’s highest weight percentage.

The first item is the heaviest and the most significant percentage of make-up in the recipe, while those lower on the list are of less percentage and priority in the mixture.

The priority of ingredients on the food label, how food is labeled is another crucial thing you need to know.

Understanding the ingredient label is vital as manufacturers may use tricky language to hide additives and other impurities, which is why the FDA has regulations about what can, and can’t, be said in a product description.

The 95% Rule: The 95% rule states that if a food is listed, such as “chicken for dogs” in the name, then 95% of the product must comprise that ingredient.

The 25% Rule: If a food label includes any of the terms “entree, dinner, or platter,” this is due to the 25% rule. With the 25% rule, if a product has 25-95% of an ingredient, it must include one of these terms. For example, if you see “turkey dinner for dogs,” that description tells you that there is at best 94% of turkey included and at worst only 25% of turkey as the protein source.

The “With” Rule: The term “with” is used to denote that a product may only have, at minimum, only 3% of that item included. So if a label says “...with salmon,” you know that only 3% of salmon are included in the food.

The “Flavor” Rule: A product list with the term “flavor” means that there only needs to be enough of that item that is listed to be traceable. It doesn’t mean that it’s included beyond the barest of minimums.

Other things to avoid when reading your food labels:

  • High-Grain Counts: Many grains are used as a filler to keep costs of food production down.

    But know this, while some grains may provide necessary carbohydrates, there are a lot of grains your dog may be allergic to, and a combination of them may impair its immune system.

  • Preservatives: Would you feed your kid something with a ton of chemicals listed in the ingredients? I don’t think so. Preservatives can lead to a variety of health issues from allergies to respiratory problems and even be a catalyst for developing certain types of cancer.

  • Fillers: These can be from grains, “meal,” and other sources. They won’t provide much in the way of nutritional value and should be avoided.

Unclear Protein and Other Food Sources: Too often, terms like “with, flavor, and meal” are used to obscure the source of the protein and other nutrients.

You should look for an ingredient list that includes very specific and clear superfoods like “Chicken and brown rice” so that you know precisely the foods your dog is eating and the source they came from for optimal nutrition.

Selecting The Right Meal Plan For Your Maltese

Now that you understand how food labels are written and what specific terms mean, you can find an ideal meal plan for your Maltese.

The best meal plan should prioritize the macronutrients to focus on proteins, carbohydrates, and fats in order.

Proteins are critical as they provide the most amount of energy for your Maltese. Proteins provide quick burst energy, maintain muscle strength, and are the primary ingredient you should shop for in your meal plan.

Carbohydrates provide energy over more time than proteins are thus second in importance. With a good meal plan, dog food will have a single clear source of carbohydrates, such as “brown rice or legumes.”

Carbohydrates act like sugars in the body, and sugars help with brain activity and energy sources.

Fats are necessary for the delayed energy they provide. Fats are energy reserves and serve much the same function as carbohydrates within the body.

When factoring in your dog's overall activity level, weight, age, and food preferences, you should be able to select an ideal meal plan that will keep it healthy and happy.

In some instances, preservatives are ok. Tocopherols and some herbs may help with the preservation of the dog food as well as some secondary benefits to your pup’s health.

High-quality ingredients with Superfoods from a single, clearly labeled source is the best thing for you to find on an ingredient label.

Look for protein from a specific source like turkey, chicken, salmon, or lamb, and avoid those obscure labels and use less than transparent terms such as “meal, flavor, entree, etc.”

If you’re still unsure what is the best meal plan for your Maltese, the Hungry Bark Custom Meal Planner is a great place to start!

In as little as 1-2 minutes, taking into account characteristics such as breed, age, weight, and activity level, you’ll receive a Custom Meal Plan designed just for your Maltese to live a happy, long life.

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