11 of the Best Dog Food for Maltese (2021 Top Products Review)

Mike PowellEdited by: Mike Powell
Abby TexasReviewed by: Abby Texas

Last Update:

The Rundown

Best Overall for Maltese: Wellness Core Grain Free Dry Dog Food
“This dog food is formulated specifically for small breed dogs like your Maltese. It is made with premium-quality ingredients which has high Omega fatty acid content for the skin and glucosamine and chondroitin for hip and knee support.”

Best For Maltese Puppies: Wellness Complete Health Dry Puppy Food
“This puppy recipe has DHA, glucosamine, and Omega fatty acids, on top of its high quality protein and other ingredients that provide everything your puppy needs to grow strong and healthy.”

Best For Maltese Seniors: Blue Buffalo Basics Senior Dry Dog Food
Provide your dog with a balanced meal to keep them happy and healthy as they age. This limited ingredient dog food with a single protein source is packed with antioxidants that boosts your senior Maltese’s health.”

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Maltese dogs are one of the cutest, cuddliest breeds. Although they’re a tiny breed, they’re not as prone to allergies that plague other small dogs. They do still have some common health concerns that Maltese dog parents need to watch out for such as asthma and congenital heart failure.

Having your little pup treated for any of the mentioned health risks can be expensive. The best course of action to prevent your dogs from getting sick is to provide them with the best dog food for Maltese breed specifically or at least a balanced diet that’s formulated for small breeds like your Maltese.

Product Name
Best Overall for Maltese
Best For Maltese Puppies
Best For Maltese Seniors
Rank
Ranked #1
Ranked #2
Ranked #3
Thumbnail
Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food, Small Breed, 12-Pound Bag
Wellness Natural Pet Food Complete Health Natural Dry Puppy Food, Chicken, Salmon & Oatmeal, 5-Pound Bag
Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet, Natural Senior Dry Dog Food, Turkey & Potato 24-lb
Rating
Our Rating 91 / 100
Our Rating 89 / 100
Our Rating 88 / 100
Pro 1
Small breed formula with vitamins and minerals
Puppy-specific, and contains all a Maltese puppy needs
Contains LifeSource Bits – an antioxidant and vitamin and minerals blend
Pro 2
Very high Omega fatty acids, great for skin and coat
Good levels of DHA and EPA fatty acids to encourage proper growth and development
Limited ingredient, which helps as pups get older
Best Overall for Maltese
Rank
Ranked #1
Thumbnail
Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food, Small Breed, 12-Pound Bag
Rating
Our Rating 91 / 100
Pro 1
Small breed formula with vitamins and minerals
Pro 2
Very high Omega fatty acids, great for skin and coat
Custom Button
Best For Maltese Puppies
Rank
Ranked #2
Thumbnail
Wellness Natural Pet Food Complete Health Natural Dry Puppy Food, Chicken, Salmon & Oatmeal, 5-Pound Bag
Rating
Our Rating 89 / 100
Pro 1
Puppy-specific, and contains all a Maltese puppy needs
Pro 2
Good levels of DHA and EPA fatty acids to encourage proper growth and development
Custom Button
Best For Maltese Seniors
Rank
Ranked #3
Thumbnail
Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet, Natural Senior Dry Dog Food, Turkey & Potato 24-lb
Rating
Our Rating 88 / 100
Pro 1
Contains LifeSource Bits – an antioxidant and vitamin and minerals blend
Pro 2
Limited ingredient, which helps as pups get older
Custom Button
Sources researched
30
Sources researched
Customer reviews
23,000
Customer reviews
Hours spent testing
33
Hours spent testing
Products tested
11
Products tested

Best Dog Food for Maltese Dogs

Here are the best dog foods for maltese dogs:

  1. Best Overall for Maltese: Wellness Core Dry Dog Food
  2. Best for Maltese Puppies: Wellness Complete Health Dry Puppy Food
  3. Best for Maltese Seniors: Blue Buffalo Basics Senior Dry Dog Food
  4. Best for Toy Breeds: Instinct Raw Boost Grain Free Dry Dog Food
  5. Best for Skin & Coat Health: Stella & Chewy’s Raw Kibble Topper
  6. Best Value For Money: American Journey Grain Free Dry Dog Food
  7. Best for Hypothyroidism: Blue Buffalo Life Protection Dry Dog Food
  8. Best Fresh Food: Tylee’s Human-Grade Grain Free Dog Food
  9. Best Limited Ingredient Dog Food: Canidae Pure Petite Raw Dry Dog Food
  10. Best Maltese Specific Dog Food: Royal Canin Maltese Dry Dog Food
  11. Bed Dog Food with Real Meat: Merrick Lil Plates Grain Free Dry Dog Food

1. Wellness Core Grain Free Dry Dog Food

Best Overall for Maltese

Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food, Small Breed, 12-Pound Bag
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Overall Rating91%
Wholesome, Natural Ingredients95%
Fat Level & Quality90%
Protein Level & Quality88%
Additional Useful Ingredients94%
Affordability85%

PROS

  • Small breed formula with vitamins and minerals
  • Very high Omega fatty acids, great for skin and coat
  • Glucosamine and chondroitin for hip and knee support
  • Special smaller kibble size for littlies

CONS

  • No variation in flavours
  • Somewhat pricey

The Wellness Core Grain Free Dry Dog Food is a small breed-specific and grain-free formula that’s packed with vitamins and minerals specifically formulated for small breed dogs. It’s a well-rounded meal that is both nutritious and delicious – exactly what your little pooch deserves.

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Premium Quality Ingredients 

The ingredients in this dog food are high-quality and super nutritious for your Maltese. It uses turkey, turkey meal, and chicken meal as the main protein sources which are premium quality, affordable, and lean meat proteins. They account for the 36% protein level in this kibble. 

It contains plenty of veggies and fruits and it doesn’t have any grains in it. Potatoes and peas are the main carbohydrates sources that sustains your dog’s energy throughout the day.

There’s also sweet potato, broccoli, and carrots, which provide plenty of energy and vitamins and minerals. Apple and blueberries add a good amount of antioxidants that boosts your dog’s immune system.

High In Omega Fatty Acids 

While your pup will be getting all the necessary nutrients to keep his or her body healthy and fit, they will also be getting a good dose of Omega fatty acids for their coat and skin to absorb.

2. Wellness Complete Health Dry Puppy Food

Best for Maltese Puppies

Wellness Natural Pet Food Complete Health Natural Dry Puppy Food, Chicken, Salmon & Oatmeal, 5-Pound Bag
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Overall Rating89%
Wholesome, Natural Ingredients95%
Fat Level & Quality90%
Protein Level & Quality90%
Additional Useful Ingredients90%
Affordability80%

PROS

  • Puppy-specific, and contains all a Maltese puppy needs
  • Good levels of DHA and EPA fatty acids to encourage proper growth and development
  • Really great Omega fatty acids, 3 and 6
  • Superfood ingredients included for antioxidants

CONS

  • Doesn’t contain glucosamine
  • It’s a little pricey

The Wellness Complete Health Dry Puppy Food is specifically made for small breed puppies and it contains everything they need to grow up strong and healthy.

It’s a wholesome and well-balanced meal that is made in smaller kibble size to make it as easy as possible for your pup to crunch on comfortably. It’s also very good for their tiny stomach as it contains healthy grains like brown rice and oatmeal that make it easily digestible.

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Complete Puppy Nutrition 

The fat content in this food is 19%, which is great to fuel energetic and active puppies. The protein content is sufficient at 28%, which is perfect for growing pups who needs to gain muscle mass but not put too much pressure on still-growing bones. 

This small breed dog food has a high level of DHA, which will ensure your little one’s eyes and brains develop properly. It’s got a great calcium/phosphorus ratio to help bones grow at the right rate, and vitamins and minerals for immune system support. 

3. Blue Buffalo Basics Senior Dry Dog Food

Best for Maltese Seniors

Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet, Natural Senior Dry Dog Food, Turkey & Potato 24-lb
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Overall Rating88%
Wholesome, Natural Ingredients95%
Fat Level & Quality85%
Protein Level & Quality89%
Additional Useful Ingredients88%
Affordability85%

PROS

  • Senior-specific formula
  • Limited ingredient diet for extra sensitive dogs
  • Contains LifeSource Bits – an antioxidant and vitamin and minerals blend
  • Contains DHA, glucosamine and chondroitin

CONS

  • Slightly pricey, but that’s not unusual for a limited ingredient food
  • Not grain-free, but contains brown rice and oatmeal

Blue Buffalo Basics Senior Dry Dog Food is a limited ingredient, complete meal that contains no artificial flavors and a good amount of vitamins & minerals, antioxidants, and other important supplements.

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Limited Ingredient 

Seniors’ tummies may become fussier as they age, and this dry dog food avoids chicken, which is the most common allergen especially for aging dogs. Limited ingredient does not mean limited nutritional value. This food is still loaded with nutritional goodness to keep your dog satisfied and healthy. 

Vitamin & Minerals Boost  

Blue Buffalo has created something called LifeSource Bits, which they add to their dog food formula. These are cold-pressed little bits that you’ll see scattered throughout the regular kibble. They’re a blend of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants and have been created and approved by animal nutritionists, so you can guarantee they’re safe and beneficial for your beloved pet. 

They’re cold-formed, which means no nutritional value is lost during the heating or cooking process.

4. Instinct Raw Boost Grain Free Dry Dog Food

Best for Toy Breeds

Instinct Raw Boost Small Breed Grain Free Recipe with Real Chicken Natural Dry Dog Food by Nature's Variety, 10 lb. Bag
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Overall Rating88%
Wholesome, Natural Ingredients85%
Fat Level & Quality95%
Protein Level & Quality90%
Additional Useful Ingredients90%
Affordability80%

PROS

  • High-quality freeze-dried raw meat bits add to the protein count
  • High in fat, which is ideal for little energetic pups
  • Toy-breed specific formulation
  • Free from grains, potato, and artificial ingredients

CONS

  • Somewhat pricey
  • No variety in flavors, so if your toy is sensitive to chicken they may not be able to eat this one

Instinct Raw Boost Grain Free Dry Dog Food is aimed specifically at toy breeds.

It contains all a toy breed needs to give them energy for their day, a dose of vitamins and minerals to support growth and proper development, and antioxidants to keep them healthy and boost their immune system. It’s a little pricey but your pup most likely won’t be eating a huge amount of it, so it should last quite a while.

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All A Toy Breed Needs 

The 20% fat content in this food keeps bouncy little toys full of energy. The protein comes in at 35%, which will maintain muscle mass and support joints nicely. The addition of glucosamine and chondroitin will help keep those joints even more supported and tough.

There are also some really great Omega fatty acids and vitamins and minerals in this food. The mix of premium ingredients in this dog food ensures healthy digestion, strong bones & joints, and shiny fur. It is no doubt one of the most well-rounded dog food options on the market. 

Raw Nutrition 

This isn’t just your average kibble. It’s extremely high in protein, with added probiotics, and sprinkled with bits of freeze-dried raw meat. This is a great option if you understand the benefits of raw feeding but don’t want to or aren’t in the position to commit to full-on raw feeding. 

The toy breed-specific kibble is only available in chicken flavor, but if you would like a couple more options, you can use the small breed recipe instead. It contains all the same good stuff and will prevent your pup from getting bored with chicken flavor.

5. Stella & Chewy’s Raw Kibble Topper

Best for Skin & Coat Health

Stella & Chewy's Stella's Solutions Skin & Coat Boost Grass-Fed Lamb & Wild-Caught Salmon Dinner Morsels Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Food, 13 oz
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Overall Rating90%
Wholesome, Natural Ingredients90%
Fat Level & Quality95%
Protein Level & Quality95%
Additional Useful Ingredients90%
Affordability80%

PROS

  • Top of the range Omega fatty acids
  • Freeze-dried and minimally processed
  • Highest fat level on this list
  • Added vitamin E for skin and fur health

CONS

  • Can be expensive, but should be less so for small dogs
  • Doesn’t contain glucosamine, so if your pup needs it you will have to supplement

Maltese dogs are known for their luxurious flowing hair, and they need a bit of looking after to make sure their hair stays sleek, shiny, and healthy. The Stella & Chewy’s Raw Kibble Topper is an excellent option if you’re looking for something that’s going to nourish your small breed pup’s coat and keep their skin hydrated and allergy-free.

It’s a raw diet and it’s packed with supremely healthy nutrients, vitamins and minerals that will benefit your Maltese.

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High Omega Fatty Acids 

There’s a good amount of omega fatty acids in this food which are essential for keeping dog skin and coat shiny and healthy. Other substances in this food that contribute to the health of your pet’s fur and skin are biotin and vitamin E

High Nutrient Levels 

If you have a Maltese that’s way more active than usual, the 32% fat content will absolutely do him good. This gives a small breed dog a good source of quickly metabolized energy to see them through their day. It comes from premium quality salmon, salmon oil, sunflower oil, and flaxseed. 

It also contains 32% protein, which comes from lamb, salmon, lamb heart, and lamb liver. Organ meat adds a nice bit of protein and amino acids and ensures a very well-rounded protein profile for your pup.

The ingredient list also shows kelp, which helps immensely for Maltese dogs as they’re prone to hypothyroidism.

6. American Journey Grain Free Dry Dog Food

Best Value For Money

Overall Rating90%
Wholesome, Natural Ingredients90%
Fat Level & Quality90%
Protein Level & Quality90%
Additional Useful Ingredients90%
Affordability90%

PROS

  • Very nice nutrient levels for an affordable dog food
  • Contains dried kelp which helps for pups prone to thyroid problems
  • Has good levels of glucosamine for hip and joint health
  • High in Omega fatty acids to keep skin and coat healthy

CONS

  • Slightly high in calories, so it can be easy for a Maltese or a poodle to gain weight if not monitored

The American Journey Grain Free Dry Dog Food offers everything your pup needs to be healthy at a very affordable price. It’s slightly high in calories, which means you’ll need to monitor how much your pup eats quite closely if you don’t want him gaining some weight.

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Healthy Nutrition 

This dog food uses salmon as its main protein source and adds chicken and turkey meal to pump up the protein content, which sits at 32%. The fat level is well within the recommended amount for moderate to highly active pups. 

The Omega fatty acids in this dog food are great too, and it also includes some DHA which is a special Omega 6 fatty acid that helps keep eyes and brain tissue healthy and functioning optimally. 

Helpful Additions For Small Breeds 

The glucosamine and chondroitin levels are high, and that combined with the Omega fatty acids will help strengthen and keep joints flexible and healthy.

Also added is dried kelp, giving a boost of iodine that will help fight off thyroid problems that Maltese dogs can be susceptible to.

7. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Dry Dog Food

Best Dog Food For Hypothyroidism

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Natural Adult Toy Breed Dry Dog Food, Chicken and Brown Rice 4-lb
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Overall Rating88%
Wholesome, Natural Ingredients90%
Fat Level & Quality90%
Protein Level & Quality90%
Additional Useful Ingredients90%
Affordability85%

PROS

  • Great protein and fat levels for little but energetic pups
  • Toy-breed specific, which is rare
  • Contains kelp, which is useful for hypothyroidism
  • No beef products, which is also essential for dogs who have low thyroid function

CONS

  • Not suitable for pups who are sensitive to poultry

If your pup suffers from hypothyroidism or if you simply want to ensure they have less chance of developing it, the Blue Buffalo Life Protection Dry Dog Food is a great dog food option.

The protein and fat contents here are great for moderately active little dogs26% protein and 15% fat. The calorie count is at 415 per cup, which is perfectly fine considering you’ll be giving your tiny dog a small amount. 

In addition to the useful thyroid-related ingredients, there’s also a significant amount of Omega fatty acids, vitamins and minerals and glucosamine in this dog food to keep your pooch as healthy as possible and keep the symptoms of hypothyroidism to a minimum.

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Combats Under-Active Thyroid 

One of the biggest things that affects the functioning of the thyroid is an iodine deficiency. Kelp, which is found in this dog food, contains iodine and can up your pup’s level quite nicely. In addition to that, it has brown rice and barley which are easy-to-digest healthy carbs as energy source.

This dog food also avoids beef products, which have been known to be a problem for pups with low thyroid function. These two facts, in addition to the high-quality ingredient list and great digestibility of the dog food, makes this a good option for pet parents whose small breed fluffs need something to combat low thyroid activity. 

8. Tylee’s Human-Grade Grain Free Dog Food

Best Fresh Food

tylee's human-grade turkey recipe

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Overall Rating85%
Wholesome, Natural Ingredients95%
Fat Level & Quality85%
Protein Level & Quality85%
Additional Useful Ingredients80%
Affordability80%

PROS

  • Human-grade, so it’s as healthy as can be
  • Low calorie per cup (161) making it easy to keep small breed pup’s calories down
  • Minimally processed, no artificial flavors or colors
  • Contains dried kelp, which gives an iodine boost

CONS

  • Lower in protein than most kibble
  • Low in fat, which may make it best for less active pups
  • Somewhat pricey

If you’re keen on fresh feeding your pup, Tylee’s Human-Grade Grain Free Dog Food is a superb choice. It’s low in calories, so it’s easy to monitor how much your pooch is eating.

The ingredients in this food are all things that you may use in your own recipes. It’s safe enough that you don’t have to worry about your little kid accidentally ingesting it. You can guarantee that it’s chock full of healthy, wholesome, perfectly nutritious ingredients with natural vitamins and minerals. It’s super digestible for your pup too, so if they’re the sensitive type, this should be a fantastic option for them. 

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Best For Less Active Pooches 

The protein and fat levels are slightly lower than most dog foods. This isn’t necessarily a problem, especially if you have a couple of high fat, high-protein treats you can surprise your pup with between meals. 

2 cups of this will push your dog’s meal up to about 320 calories, with 22% protein and 10% fat. This is the perfect food for Maltese dogs who are less active and need a less readily-available energy source. If your pup is highly active, don’t brush this food off. You can add some extra fat in there by way of treats.

9. Canidae Pure Petite Raw Dry Dog Food

Best Limited Ingredient Dog Food

Canidae Pure Petite Raw Coated Salmon Dog Food 4Lb
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Overall Rating85%
Wholesome, Natural Ingredients95%
Fat Level & Quality85%
Protein Level & Quality85%
Additional Useful Ingredients80%
Affordability80%

PROS

  • Limited ingredient reduces chances of allergies (only 8 ingredients)
  • Aimed at small breeds specifically
  • Added vitamins and minerals and probiotics
  • Freeze-dried and minimally processed

CONS

  • Slightly lower protein and fat than others
  • High calorie (525 per cup)

Even if your pup doesn’t specifically need a limited ingredient diet, it’s never a bad idea to feed them something that doesn’t contain any ingredient that may cause some problems down the road.

Less is more, as the saying goes, and that’s accurate for the Canidae Pure Petite Raw Dry Dog Food – it’s small-breed specific, has moderate levels of protein and fat, and your pooch won’t be missing out on anything (except maybe a dose of glucosamine).

Each bite-sized piece of kibble is raw-coated and laced with probiotics, which have been added post-cooking to ensure they keep their nutritional value. The raw coating is highly nutritious and also tasty (so we’ve been told).

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8 Key Ingredients 

The main ingredients in this dog food are salmon, salmon meal, peas, lentils, tapioca, canola oil, garbanzo beans, and freeze-dried raw salmon.

These are premium quality ingredients, and you can be happy knowing that your pooch is getting nutrients from these in their everyday meal. You may be surprised to see the length of the ingredient list considering this is limited ingredient, but the rest include chelated minerals (which help with digestion), and vitamins and minerals.

10. Royal Canin Maltese Dry Dog Food

Best Maltese Specific Dog Food

Royal Canin Maltese Adult Breed Specific Dry Dog Food, 2.5 lb. bag
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Overall Rating75%
Wholesome, Natural Ingredients70%
Fat Level & Quality85%
Protein Level & Quality75%
Additional Useful Ingredients85%
Affordability80%

PROS

  • Maltese-specific dog food formula
  • High in fat to provide quick, easy energy
  • High Omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat
  • Contains glucosamine and chondroitin

CONS

  • The ingredient quality is not on-par with others
  • Contains poultry by-products
  • Contains grains (corn, wheat)
  • Meat meal is quite far down on the list

There are not many dog foods out there that are geared towards specific breeds, so the Royal Canin Maltese Dry Dog Food does stand out.

This dog food is made for Maltese dogs and contains targeted nutrients for these tiny pups. It’s high in fat, making it great for them as small breeds tend to metabolize energy pretty quickly.

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Maltese-Specific Nutrients 

It also contains DHA and glucosamine and chondroitin, which keeps their brains sharp and their joints tough, combating hip and knee dysplasia from the start. 

It’s also quite high in Omega fatty acids, which is helpful for pups who have hair instead of fur. This will keep your Maltese dog’s hair healthy and shiny, as well as their skin hydrated and supple. 

11. Merrick Lil Plates Grain Free Dry Dog Food

Bed Dog Food with Real Meat

Merrick Lil Plates Grain Free Small Breed Recipe, 12-Pound, Beef
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Overall Rating75%
Wholesome, Natural Ingredients70%
Fat Level & Quality85%
Protein Level & Quality75%
Additional Useful Ingredients85%
Affordability80%

PROS

  • Comes in real beef, chicken, salmon, and lamb flavors
  • Grain-free to cater to sensitive stomachs
  • Made with leading levels of glucosamine to support smaller joints
  • Crafted with probiotics and prebiotic fiber

CONS

  • The ingredient quality is not on-par with others
  • Contains poultry by-products
  • Contains grains (corn, wheat)
  • Meat meal is quite far down on the list

If your Maltese plays favorites, Merrick Lil Plates Grain Free Dry Dog Food is bound to satisfy even the pickiest of dogs. Its real meat and sweet potato recipes contain balanced levels of protein and fat, allowing your dog to stay at its optimal weight.

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Omega-3 and omega-6 inclusions also promote a healthy coat and skin. Smaller-sized kibble also allows for easier digestion and helps keep your Maltese’s teeth clean. 

This food is available in options for all life stages.


Things to Consider When Buying Dog Food for Maltese

1) Wholesome, Natural Ingredients

This goes for all dogs, not just the Maltese, but it’s essential that this criterion is fulfilled first and foremost before others are even considered. This is the foundation of great dog foods – the building blocks of health and wellness that dogs need.

Natural ingredients are important, but the flip side of this is that the dog food contains no artificial colors or flavors or chemical additives. There are often big words on dog food labels but not all of them are bad, and we’ve made sure that whatever ingredients the dog foods on this list contain are wholesome and healthy.

This includes avoiding artificial flavors, artificial colors, and preservatives, animal by-products, low-quality fillers, and ingredients that are known to be hard to digest (including wheat, corn, and soy). 

We’ve looked for high-quality animal protein sources, animal fats, easily digestible, good quality carbohydrates (including good grains), chelated minerals, and added probiotics and prebiotics in the best foods for Maltese.

2) Fat Level & Quality

Small breeds, in particular, tend to have faster metabolisms than larger pups, and fats are essential for energy. Carbs are super for long-term, sustained energy, but fats are very quickly metabolized and are a source of immediate, punchy energy that will give your pooch their bounciness throughout the day. 

You want to see a great quality animal fat on the ingredient list, even if this is a different animal source than the protein is. It’s good to see extras such as flaxseed, fish oil, and canola oil, but these should be secondary to an animal fat source such as chicken fat or pork fat. 

Omega fatty acids also do wonders for your pet’s coat, and the flowing locks of a Maltese will definitely benefit from it. Omega fatty acids will be shown separately on the ingredient list from the normal fat level, but they’re as important (maybe not for energy, but for other purposes). 

We’ve based this rating on the main fat level to ensure your pooch has enough quickly-metabolizable energy to see them through their day, as well as making sure that fat comes from a great quality source.

3) Protein Level & Quality

Unless your dog is on a vegetarian diet recommended by a vet (which is rare), they will need the main source of protein in their dog food to be a high-quality animal protein. 

Vegetable proteins are nice to see as additional sources in dog foods, but as a main source of protein they don’t quite bring the same things to the table as an animal source. Animal proteins contain amino acids that are necessary for building healthy muscle and bones, and it’s a fact that vegetable proteins don’t contain all of those amino acids. 

Animal proteins come in many forms – chicken, turkey, beef, lamb, venison, salmon, whitefish, and even more unusual things such as goat and kangaroo. The one you choose for your fluff depends entirely on you, and on your pet’s tastes (and possible food allergies). 

We’ve made sure every dog food we’ve reviewed on this list contains a premium quality animal protein as the first ingredient on their list. The protein may vary, but many dog foods come in various flavors anyway, so as long as the protein is a high-quality animal source, the food is good to go on this criterion.

4) Additional Useful Ingredients

While it’s absolutely essential to have those healthy, wholesome ingredients in a dog food, there are other additions that can be super useful for your pup’s health. 

Maltese can be prone to joint problems, hypothyroidism, and other health issues that can be helped by certain supplements in their food. Glucosamine, chondroitin, DHA, and kelp are great things to see on an ingredient or guaranteed analysis list, and we’ve made sure each dog food we’ve reviewed contains some things that give your pooch a little health boost, over and above the base ingredients.

5) Affordability

The mission of Dog Embassy is to help you make sure your furry friends are healthy, happy, and get everything they need. Of course, while we’re set on making sure your pup’s quality of life is great, it’s important to do what we can to make sure the human in the equation doesn’t bankrupt themselves to keep their pup happy. 

Dogs pick up on how their human is feeling, and when you’re feeling stressed they can feel it too. Feeding your pooch should not inspire worry or fear in you, and that’s why we always include this as a part of our reviews – although some dog food is more expensive than others, there are many great quality brands out there that won’t dig into your savings and cause you stress. 

The more content you are, the happier your pooch will be, so although this criterion is more aimed at the human, it definitely has an effect on your pup’s wellbeing too.


Ingredients to Avoid Feeding Your Maltese Dog 

Even if your Maltese doesn’t have a sensitive stomach, these ingredients should be avoided. They offer no nutritional value and can cause digestive upset. Check the dog food label first! 

Grains Containing Gluten 

Corn, wheat, and soy should be avoided completely. They’re chock-full of gluten, which can be difficult for dog’s digestive systems to deal with. They also contain almost no nutritional value whatsoever! 

They’re often added to dog foods as fillers, and because they’re cheap. But they’ll do nothing for your Maltese, except possibly to make him or her ill! 

Choose grains like brown rice, oatmeal, sorghum, or millet. These contain no gluten, are much easier to digest, and they pack a fiber punch. Of course, they’re also much more nutritionally-dense than corn, wheat, and soy. 

By-Products 

Not all by-products are bad for dogs. These are the “left over” parts of the animal once the meat has been used. 

Some by-products contain organ meat, cartilage, and bone which are loaded with healthy amino acids and easily digestible. But others may contain things like hooves, beaks, hair, and feathers. 

The problem is, it’s hard to tell which food’s by-products are good quality and which aren’t. When it comes to your dog’s health, can you really afford to take that chance? 

It’s best to avoid by-products entirely. They don’t offer anything your dog can’t get out of healthy, wholesome, real meat! 

Artificial Ingredients 

Artificial colors, artificial flavors, and artificial preservatives can wreak havoc on your dog’s system. This is true whether or not your Maltese has a fussy tummy! 

They’re chemical ingredients that serve no nutritional purpose. It may be hard to figure out if a dog food contains them at first glance (although some have brightly colored kibbles, which is a giveaway!). It’s worth taking some time to examine the list of ingredients on the packaging. 

Avoid buying kibble that has any the following ingredients on its list: 

  • BHA (Butylated hydroxyanisole) 
  • Ethoxyquin 
  • Red 40 
  • Yellow 5 and 6 
  • Blue 2 
  • Propylene glycol 

Unidentified Meats or Fats 

Understanding what your dog is eating is important so you can keep them healthy! But some dog foods contain very vague descriptions of what protein is in them. If you see a dog food label with “meat”, “animal meat”, “meat meal”, or “animal fat”, avoid! 

Transparency is important. If a dog food manufacturer can’t be honest about what they’re using, it calls into question the quality of their kibble. 


Common Health Conditions in Maltese Dogs 

Maltese dogs are quite healthy little things. But there are a few health conditions that may pop up that you should be aware of. 

Patellar Luxation 

A luxating patella is a kneecap that keeps dislocating. It can be painful, but it’s also just downright annoying for your Maltese! 

Typically, it’s not a serious problem. But for some pups, it can become a daily thing that reduces their quality of life. Best to get it checked by a vet! 

Dental Problems 

Those tiny mouths are prone to dental issues thanks to the close proximity of their teeth. It’s easy for food to become stuck in their teeth and cause problems. 

You can try cleaning your Maltese’s teeth yourself, or get their teeth cleaned at the vet. It’s a good idea to get some dental chews and a dental water additive or breath freshener spray

Sensitive Stomach 

Because Malteses are picky eaters, it can be hard to tell when they have a sensitive tummy. Look for changes in his skin and coat; dry, flaky skin and dull, brittle fur are signs of allergies. 

Also, you’ll need to be on poop patrol for a while. Any changes in this department could be a sign of an allergy. 

Heart Problems 

Malteses are also prone to heart disease, particularly patent ductus arteriosus (PDA). If identified early, it can be treated. Feeding your Maltese a heart-friendly kibble will also help. 

If you notice any of the following, get your dog checked up at the vet. 

  • Dry cough after physical activity 
  • Cough that worsens at night 
  • Unusual fatigue 
  • Restlessness at night 
  • Losing consciousness 
  • Rapid weight loss 
  • Distended abdomen 

Questions & Answers

What are the caloric requirements of a healthy adult Maltese, and a Maltese puppy?

On average, a healthy, active, adult Maltese needs about 40 calories per pound of bodyweight per day. This means that a 10-pound pup will need about 400 calories a day. This can go down a little if your pooch is quite inactive (try 35 calories per pound), and up a bit if you have a little spitfire on your hands (around 45 per pound). 

A Maltese puppy will need around 55 calories per pound. You should switch to an adult dog food (and adult calorie requirements) between 8 and 12 months of age. You will need to assess your pup and decide if they can switch at 8 months or if they should have a couple more months of puppy eating before going adult. This will depend on their weight and activity level, and how this changes as they grow.

Do I need to feed my Maltese a dog food that’s been designed for toy breeds specifically?

As long as the food you choose fulfills the above requirements, it doesn’t have to say “toy breed” on the packaging. Of course, toy breeds have different requirements to large breeds, s o it may not be advisable to choose a large breed food for your Maltese, but as long as all of the requirements of a good food are met then it should be great to feed your little one. 

If you do choose a toy breed specific food, make sure to check the label and not assume that it fulfills all of these requirements. Just because it has the words “toy breed” on it, doesn’t mean it gets the ingredients right, so you will need to take a tiny bit of time to assess what your pup will be getting when you buy a food. 

How often should I feed my Maltese, and how much in each meal?

A puppy should get three meals a day, and it’s best to stick to meal times quite strictly to avoid their blood sugar dropping. Adults can have two or three meals a day, depending on what works best. 

How much you feed them will depend on your pup and the dog food they’re eating. You will need to work out how much of the food your pup needs per day to fulfill their calorie count and then split it between the number of meals you’re feeding them. 

It requires a little bit of maths, but most foods have a feeding guide on their packaging which will help you get this right. If your pup is getting chubby, that’s a sign that they need to be eating a little less, and if they’re looking a bit scrawny, you might need to give them a little more each day.

What are tear stains and how do I stop my Maltese from getting them?

You may have noticed your Maltese is getting reddish-brown stains near his eyes, around his mouth, or on his paws. These are generally known as tear stains because they are most often seen near the eyes. There is no single cause for these, although some common ones include:

  • Eye infections 
  • Ingrown eyelashes 
  • Inward-turned eyelids 
  • Bulging eyes (some breeds are more prone to this than others) 
  • Excessive minerals in their water (this also causes stains around the mouth) 
  • Food or environmental allergies 

You’ll need to pay some close attention to your fluff to figure out what may be causing it. It’s not a dangerous condition, but there’s a possibility of the underlying cause being a problem. Choosing the best dog food for tear stains can help reduce the appearance a little and keep your pup as healthy as possible!

Mike Powell

Mike is an avid dog lover and writer. He’s based in Los Angeles, CA where he grew up in a household surrounded by pets. He’s been a dog owner all his life and he uses this extensive experience of having dogs as part of his family to share valuable, practical tips to improve other people’s dog parenting experience.