Hi there! It’s great to meet you! I’m Molly the Maltese, and I’m so excited to tell you all about my favorite foods today!
We Maltese dogs may be tiny, but that doesn’t mean we don’t need just as much nutritional care, if not more, than some other dog breeds!
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Unfortunately, Maltese dogs like me are predisposed to a lot of health conditions. If we’re fed substandard diets that don’t meet our needs, we can get very sick, becoming obese, and developing problems with our joints.
This can be absolutely devastating for us because we’re typically very playful and high-energy. Weight and joint-related conditions can be debilitating for us, limiting our once fun and active lives. This is also very difficult for our humans, who have to see us tired, miserable, and in pain.
Luckily, by choosing the right dog food for your Maltese, you can circumvent a lot of these problems as an owner!
So, let’s not waste any more time! Let’s jump right into my top choice!
Right now, my humans are feeding me Halo’s Natural Dry Dog Food, and it’s absolutely perfect for me!
The food contains plentiful quantities of real chicken meat and chicken liver. As a result, it provides a lot of lean, high-quality protein. Like all dog breeds, we Maltese dogs need plenty of good-quality animal protein. Just like humans, protein helps our bodies to grow and repair.
However, because we’re prone to obesity, we don’t need a lot of very fatty protein sources (although we do need healthy fats in our diets!). This is why lean meats like chicken and turkey are ideal for Maltese dogs.
In addition to being high in lean protein, Halo’s Natural Dry Dog Food contains lots of healthy, wholesome grains as a fiber source. Halo Natural’s fiber content promotes healthy digestion and gives us the energy we need to live our playful, active lives!
Unfortunately, though, the grain content does mean that this food might not be suitable for Maltese dogs with grain sensitivities or allergies. The kibble also contains dried eggs, which some dogs may be allergic to.
The formula is also high in Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, which are important for maintaining healthy skin and keeping our long coats thick and shiny!
All ingredients in Halo’s Natural dog food formula are cage-free and GMO-free, supporting sustainable and organic farming practices.
- Contains chicken and chicken liver – Very high in lean protein
- Cage-free meat – No factory-farmed animal ingredients
- Non-GMO – Naturally grown ingredients
- High in Omega 3 and 6 – Promotes skin and hair health
- Contains grains – Not for dogs with allergies
- 14-lb bag of Halo Holistic Chicken & Chicken Liver Recipe dry adult dog food: Chicken dog food made with real, whole chicken as the first ingredient and no meat meals of any kind.
- High-quality ingredients: This dry dog food is cooked in the USA with high-quality ingredients for optimal nutrition and digestive support
- Healthy skin and coat for dogs: Holistic dog food is formulated with Omega-fatty acids to support radiant skin and coat
- Responsibly sourced: Halo Holistic uses GAP (Global Animal Partnership) certified Cage-free chicken raised without antibiotics, and non-GMO ingredients.
- Made with healthy, whole grains to help adult dogs maintain their strength and energy level.
I’m lucky enough that I can eat food with healthy grains to keep my energy levels up. However, I do know that some of my Maltese friends can’t tolerate grains, either because they are sensitive or allergic to them.
This is quite common for Maltese dogs because we have such tiny stomachs and digestive systems that it’s easy for them to become irritated.
Any humans reading this: if you know that your Maltese suffers from stomach sensitivity, consider switching them over to Wellness’ Core Grain-Free Small Breed Mini Meals.
This food blend from Wellness is specially formulated for small breed dogs like us, so it won’t be too much for our little tummies.
All Wellness Core Mini Meals consist of a high-quality protein source in a savory gravy, alongside other ingredients, including egg and potato.
The combination of quality protein with potassium and fiber from the potato and the extra protein and fatty acids from egg products make this an extremely desirable formula for building lean muscle, maintaining skin and hair health, and keeping energy levels up. These are all essential in the Maltese diet.
The chunky consistency of the blend is very palatable and provides the perfect balance between hearty meat chunks and smooth, succulent gravy.
Moreover, the Wellness Core Grain-Free Mini Meals variety pack includes a selection of delicious flavors, adding a bit of variety to mealtimes. The chicken and chicken liver flavor is my favorite, but the chicken and tuna is delicious, too!
Admittedly, this isn’t the most budget-friendly dog food option. However, in this case, you certainly get the quality you pay for.
- Grain-free – Suitable for dogs with grain allergies or sensitivities
- Protein as the main ingredient – Promotes growth and repair
- High in fatty acids and fiber – Maintains skin, hair, and digestive health
- Chunky consistency – Palatable balance of textures
- Available as variety pack – Allows for dietary flexibility
- On the expensive side – Less budget-friendly than some other brands
- GRAIN-FREE WET DOG FOOD IN NO-MESS POUCH: Wellness natural dog food is packed with real protein and vegetables for a complete and balanced meal, with the nutrients your small adult dog needs to thrive. Mealtime will be mess-free with the convenient single serve pouch.
- CHUNKY VARIETY PACK: Includes two wet dog food flavors with real protein as the first ingredient: Chunky Chicken/Chicken Liver and Chunky Chicken/Tuna. Wet food features cube-shaped protein pieces served in light gravy.
- SUPPORTS IMMUNE SYSTEM AND ENERGY LEVELS: This grain-free wet food is packed with antioxidants to support your dog's immune health and high-quality nutrients for optimal energy levels.
- NO CORN, WHEAT, OR SOY: Contains only premium, all-natural ingredients with no poultry by-products, wheat, wheat gluten, corn, soy, artificial colors, or preservatives.
- COMPLETE & BALANCED NUTRITION: Wellness wet dog food is created to nourish and sustain your pet. Each recipe promotes the five signs of wellbeing: energy, lustrous skin and coat, sound digestion and immunity, strong teeth, and healthy eyes.
Best for Puppies
Maltese puppies may be even tinier than the average adult Maltese, but we still need careful and plentiful nutrition from a young age!
Purina’s Pro Plan Toy Breed Dry Puppy Food is perfect for Maltese puppies because it specifically caters to the nutritional requirements of our size, breed, and life stage.
This is a high-calorie food for toy breed puppies, meaning that its calorific content is high relative to the nutritional needs of early-life-stage toy breeds. This allows Maltese puppies to absorb as much nutritional goodness and energy from the food as possible without surpassing their calorie limitation and becoming overweight.
The formula is also high in lean protein from real chicken, which is essential for lean muscle development in Maltese puppies. We aren’t very muscular dogs, so we need to develop a healthy foundation of lean muscles while we’re still young.
Purina has fortified its toy breed puppy food with live probiotics for healthy digestion and strong immunity. It’s easy for Maltese dogs and other toy breeds to get sick, and we’re especially susceptible to viral and bacterial infections. Therefore, healthy immunity is absolutely crucial.
The nutrients we receive as puppies can play a large role in determining our health as we grow. For this reason, the Purina Pro Plan Toy Breed Puppy food is filled with calcium and phosphorus for strong teeth and bones, plus plenty of fatty acids to give our luscious coats and sensitive skin a good head start.
This formula does contain rice, which means it may not be suitable for puppies with grain allergies or sensitivities. However, in the absence of these issues, the rice will provide a healthy boost of fiber and energy.
- High-calorie formula – For maximum energy and growth
- Contains real chicken – High in lean protein for muscle development
- Fortified with probiotics – Strengthens immune and digestive systems
- Plenty of calcium and phosphorus – Strong teeth and bones
- High in fatty acids – Nourishes skin and coat
- Contains rice – Not grain-free
- One (1) 5 lb. Bag - Purina Pro Plan High Protein Toy Breed Puppy Food DHA Chicken & Rice Formula
- Formulated high in protein to meet the needs of highly active toy breed dogs. High protein formula, with real chicken as the first ingredient
- Fortified with guaranteed live probiotics for digestive and immune health. Used to be known as FOCUS Chicken and Rice Formula
- DHA from omega-rich fish oil nourishes brain and vision development. Rich in antioxidants to support a puppy’s developing immune system
- Calcium, phosphorus and other minerals build strong bones and teeth. Vitamin A and omega-6 fatty acids to nourish skin and coat
Best for Seniors
Most dog owners know that puppies need special, age-specific nutrition, but senior dogs can sometimes get forgotten about.
Now that I’m 7 years old, my humans have been introducing senior-specific foods into my diet. I’ll admit I was slightly offended at first, but then my humans explained how Maltese and other toy breeds are prone to various health problems, especially as we age.
Cataracts, for example, tend to affect elderly dogs more often, as does heart disease and luxating patellas (where our kneecaps shift out of place). Luckily, Merrick’s Lil’ Plates Grain-Free Small Breed Senior dog food is specifically formulated to keep problems like this at bay.
This is a grain-free formula, perfect for seniors either with long-term or newly developed allergies or sensitivities. Instead of grain, the food contains sweet potato, which is an excellent and easily-digestible source of fiber and energy. It’s also full of vitamins and helps to maintain eye health, which is important because we Maltese are prone to cataracts as we age.
Additionally, the formula is fortified with glucosamine and chondroitin. These nutrients are essential for joint health and may help to ward off luxating patellas, and other joint problems are we get older.
I must admit, I’m not the biggest fan of the flavor of this food, but I know it will help to keep me healthy in the long term.
- Grain-free – Safe for sensitive seniors
- 60% protein and healthy fat – For energy and muscle health
- Contains sweet potato – Easily digestible and boosts eye health
- Glucosamine and chondroitin – Promotes joint health
- Some dogs do not like the taste – Not the best for picky eaters
- One (1) 4 lb Bag - Merrick Lil' Plates Small Breed Dog Food, Grain Free Senior Real Chicken and Sweet Potato Recipe, Small Dog Food
- Real deboned chicken is always the first ingredient in this grain free dog food, which offers the ideal combination of protein and healthy fats to help a dog maintain optimal weight and increased energy
- Natural dog food grain free recipe crafted for senior dogs and made with probiotics and prebiotic fiber for healthy digestion
- Merrick dog food small breed recipe made with leading levels of glucosamine and chondroitin to aid in maintaining healthy hips and joints while omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids to help maintain a healthy coat and skin
- This senior dog food from Merrick Lil Plates dog food for small dogs features L-Carnitine to support healthy senior metabolism
Best for Overweight
It’s no secret that we Maltese struggle with our weights more than some other dog breeds. Because we’re so small, it’s easy for those sneaky extra treats to build up over time and cause problems.
This can be a difficult issue to navigate. Not to brag or anything, but we’re pretty adorable little dogs, so our humans love to spoil us. However, being overweight can seriously affect our quality of life.
With Nutro Ultra’s Adult Weight Management Small Breed Dry Dog Food, however, it’s possible to keep us at a healthy weight while still making us feel indulged!
The primary ingredient in this food is chicken, so the formula is centered around lean protein. This is one of the single most important ingredients for maintaining a healthy weight in dogs.
Other meats included in this formula are lamb and salmon. Like chicken, lamb contains a lot of protein, but it also has the optimal amount of healthy fat for dogs. Plus, it tastes amazing! Salmon is high in Omega 3 fatty acids for strengthening immune function.
In addition to this, the food is packed with no less than 15 superfoods, including blueberries, kale, coconut, and chia. These are low-calorie, nutritious ingredients. Blueberries have excellent antioxidant properties, while coconut is a great anti-inflammatory.
Kale is full of calcium for strong bones as well as iron for heart health. Meanwhile, chia is a great source of fatty acids for skin, hair, and brain health. Chia is also especially good for helping puppies to maintain their healthy weight.
The formula also contains brown rice and wholegrain wheat for healthy digestion and heart health. These ingredients will not be suitable for all dogs, but for those without allergies or sensitivities, the healthy grains will be an excellent source of low-calorie nutrition
- Chicken-based formula – Full of lean protein
- Also contains lamb and salmon – Healthy fats and fatty acids for brain and immune support
- Contains plant-based superfoods – Anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and low-calorie
- Full of healthy grains – High in fiber for energy and digestion
- Not grain-free – Not for dogs with grain allergies
- Contains one (1) 8 lb. bag of NUTRO ULTRA Small Breed Adult Weight Management Dry Dog Food with a Trio of Proteins From Chicken, Lamb and Salmon
- Features trio of protein from chicken, lamb, and salmon—chicken is the ingredient—specially formulated for overweight adult dogs to help with healthy weight management
- Our premium, all natural dog food kibble is made with high-quality ingredients (plus vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients) and provides complete and balanced nutrition for adult dogs in every bowl
- NUTRO ULTRA Dry Dog Food is made with high-quality protein and our blend of 15 vibrant superfoods, like coconut, chia, kale, blueberries, and other quality ingredients
- Made with no chicken by-product meal, corn, soy, or wheat, and no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives
Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Best Dog Food for Maltese
Now that I’ve told you all about my favorite foods, it’s up to you to decide which one will be best for your Maltese dog.
There’s a lot to consider, but don’t worry! I’ll break it all down for you in this buyer’s guide.
For Maltese dogs like me and all dogs, in fact, the most important nutrient is protein. This doesn’t mean that we can just eat foods that are high in protein and nothing else because we definitely need plenty of nutrients from other food groups, but protein should always be at the center of our diets.
Always look for food formulas that name a real animal protein as the primary ingredient. Chicken is typically the best choice because it’s so lean, which is ideal for muscle development. However, other lean poultries like turkey are excellent, too.
Where red meat is concerned, I’d recommend lamb. It’s one of my favorites, and in addition to being high in protein, it’s got optimal fat levels – neither too high nor too low for a healthy canine diet.
Fish, especially salmon, is an excellent protein source and also has several other health benefits for dogs, such as high levels of Omega 3 and important minerals.
However, salmon intake should be limited to roughly once a week to ensure any potential heavy metal or radiation contamination doesn’t harm your dog.
Because we Maltese dogs are prone to obesity, our well-meaning humans might automatically assume that our fat intake should be limited. However, it’s crucial for us to get enough healthy fats in our diets to keep our brains working properly.
You might not know it from our tiny size and fluff-ball looks, but Maltese dogs are actually very smart! Okay, so we rank 111th out of 138 dog breeds for intelligence, but that’s mainly because we’re not the best at obedience training.
Despite this, we have highly adaptive IQs, which make us great learners from experience. We’re also very curious. We’re smart hunters, and we love to play games with our humans.
So, all in all, Maltese dogs like me have a lot of neurological potential. Sources of healthy fats are one of the best ways of achieving this potential.
Plus, fatty acids are essential for maintaining healthy skin and keeping our gorgeous coats soft and thick.
As I’ve already mentioned, meats like lamb and salmon are great sources of fat in addition to protein. Fish, in particular, provides high levels of Omega fatty acids for brain development.
Seeds, such as flaxseed and chia seeds, are also high in healthy fats, as are vegetable oils!
While some dogs may not be able to tolerate eggs, they are wonderful combined sources of protein and fat. They’re also high in iron, including folate and selenium.
Selenium is important for thyroid metabolism, and this is especially crucial in a Maltese’s diet because we’re prone to thyroid issues, which is one of the main issues we are likely to become overweight.
If your Maltese can tolerate eggs, a little will go a long way towards maintaining a healthy weight.
Carbohydrates and Fiber
The most common source of carbohydrates and fiber in most dog foods is grain. In high-quality dog foods, these will be wholesome, healthy grains, such as brown rice and whole-grain wheat.
Brown rice has many health benefits for dogs, including being low in calories and high in fiber. It’s also a good source of Vitamins B and D. Whole-grain wheat also happens to be high in protein as well as fiber.
With that being said, it’s also true that many dogs of all breeds can develop intolerances and allergies to grain products. Therefore, it might be necessary to look for other sources of carbs and fiber.
Luckily, there are plenty of foods to choose from in this respect. One of my absolute favorites is sweet potato because it has so many benefits for blood, bone, and eye health due to its iron, calcium, and vitamin content.
Other starchy foods, like normal potato, are also great sources of energy, as well as iron, potassium, and magnesium. A word of caution, though: while potato is absolutely fine as part of a pre-cooked dog food formula, potatoes should never be served to dogs raw because they contain solanine, which can be toxic.
Fibrous superfoods, such as blueberries and kale, have impressive antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Because we Malteses are prone to bacterial and viral infections, we need lots of these vitamins and minerals to keep our immune systems robust. Getting plenty of antioxidants in our diets is crucial for this.