10 Best Dog Food For Maltese: The 2020 Buying & Feeding Guide

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

Last Update:

The Maltese may look tiny and shy, but they are among the most affectionate, playful, and love-craving pooches out there.

If you are the proud pet parent of one of these sleek little guys or girls, you’re in for an adventure – don’t underestimate them based on their size!

Their coat requires some care and they do love to be made a fuss of, but they’re also fearless and won’t hesitate to take on a bigger dog than themselves. Make sure you feed them something that will nourish that hair and keep them ready for action at the same time. 

This list of the best dog food for Maltese contains something for every type of Maltese dog – after all, pups are as much individuals as we humans are. Choosing the right one for your pooch will ensure they stay healthy, happy, and fluffy, as they should be.

Rank
Ranked #1
Ranked #2
Ranked #3
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Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food, Small Breed, 12-Pound Bag
Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Small Breed Dog Food, Turkey & Oatmeal, 12-Pound Bag
Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet, Natural Senior Dry Dog Food, Turkey & Potato 24-lb, BUA-260
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
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
Best For Puppies
Rank
Ranked #2
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Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Small Breed Dog Food, Turkey & Oatmeal, 12-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
Best For Seniors
Rank
Ranked #3
Thumbnail
Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet, Natural Senior Dry Dog Food, Turkey & Potato 24-lb, BUA-260
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
Sources researched
30
Sources researched
Customer reviews
23,000
Customer reviews
Hours spent testing
33
Hours spent testing
Products tested
10
Products tested

10 Best Dog Foods For Maltese Dogs

1. Wellness Core Small Breed Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Premium Option: Best Quality For Small Breed Health

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

It can be hard to find dog foods aimed at toy breeds, but small breed formulas generally work great for the tiny pups. This one is small breed-specific and is grain-free, wholesome, packed with vitamins and minerals, and well-balanced.

Your Maltese dog should thrive off of this kibble, and they’ll be getting all they need in every meal to keep them healthy and happy.

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Premium Quality Ingredients 

Although this dog food may not be suitable for pups who are sensitive to chicken, the ingredients are high-quality and super nutritious for your dog. Turkey, turkey meal, and chicken meal are the protein sources, and they’re great as they’re affordable and lean meat proteins. They account for the 36% protein level in this kibble. 

It contains plenty of veggies and fruits and no grains whatsoever. Potatoes and peas are the main carbs that provide sustained energy throughout the day.

Later on down the list, we have sweet potato, broccoli, and carrots, which provide plenty of energy and vitamins and minerals. Apple and blueberries add a nice little pop of antioxidants and different vitamins and minerals.

High In Omega Fatty Acids 

While your pup will be getting all the necessary nutrients to keep his or her body healthy and fit, their coat and skin will also be getting a dose of the good stuff to stay nourished and soft. The high levels of Omega fatty acids provide plenty of good stuff for your pup’s coat and skin to absorb.

2. Wellness Small Breed Complete Health Puppy Dry Dog Food

Best Dog Food For Maltese Puppies: Get Your Pup Off To A Healthy Start

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

This Complete Health dry dog food is specifically made for small breed puppies, so it contains everything a little one may need to grow up strong and healthy.

It’s wholesome and balanced and has a smaller kibble size to make it as easy as possible for your pup to crunch on these comfortably. Healthy grains like brown rice and oatmeal make it very digestible.

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Complete Puppy Nutrition 

The fat count is high here, at 19%, which is great to fuel energetic, excitable puppies. One of the great things is that the protein isn’t too high here – it comes in at 28%, which is perfect for dog foods for growing pups to gain muscle mass but not put too much pressure on still-growing bones. 

This Complete Health small breed dog food has a high level of DHA, which will ensure your little one’s eyes develop as they should, and their brains are well-nourished and grow properly. It’s got a great calcium/phosphorus ratio to help bones grow at the right rate, and vitamins and minerals to add some extra goodness. 

Supplement With Glucosamine 

The guaranteed analysis list doesn’t show any glucosamine or chondroitin. While that doesn’t necessarily mean that there is none (some ingredients contain it naturally), for a small breed who is prone to joint issues it’s always a good thing to see on dog foods’ lists. 

It’s really easy to supplement with glucosamine though, as you can get glucosamine treats or supplements to feed your small breed pooch separately. The best Maltese puppy food doesn’t necessarily have to contain it.

3. Blue Buffalo Basics Turkey and Potato Senior Recipe

Best Dog Food For Maltese Seniors: Keeping Oldies Happy & Healthy

Overall Rating88%
Wholesome, Natural Ingredients95%
Fat Level & Quality85%
Protein Level & Quality89%
Additional Useful Ingredients88%
Affordability85%

PROS

  • Senior-specific
  • Limited ingredient, which helps as pups get older
  • 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

We’ve chosen this Blue Buffalo offering over the regular Blue Buffalo senior food because it avoids chicken, and as these pups can develop allergies, we decided to avoid chicken as much as possible with our senior choice.

It’s limited ingredient and contains no artificial flavors and a really nice amount of vitamins and antioxidants, as well as some other helpful things for seniors.

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Limited Ingredient 

Seniors’ tummies may become fussier as they age, so we’ve chosen a limited ingredient Blue Buffalo dry dog food here that also avoid chicken, which is the most common allergen that pups can develop. Limited ingredient does not mean limited nutritional value – this is still loaded with goodness to keep your pup satisfied and filled with wholesome nutrients. 

Vitamin & Minerals Boost  

Blue Buffalo has created something called LifeSource Bits, which they add to many of their dog foods. These are cold-pressed little bits that you’ll see scattered throughout the regular kibble. They’re a blend of vitamins and minerals and antioxidants and have been created and approved by animal nutritionists, so you can be sure they’re little health-bombs. 

They’re cold-formed, which means no nutritional value is lost during a heating or cooking process, which means they’re filled to the brim with good stuff that can only assist in your pup’s improved health and wellness.

4. Instinct Raw Boost Toy and Small Breed Grain-Free Dry Dog Food Recipe

Best Dog Food For Toy Breeds: Nutrition Aimed At Tiny Dogs

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 super for little energetic pups
  • Toy-breed specific
  • 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

It’s rare to find dog foods that are aimed specifically at toy breeds, so it’s great to see this offering from Instinct. 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.

It contains all a toy breed needs to give them energy for their day, a dose of vitamins and minerals, and keep them healthy.

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All A Toy Breed Needs 

The fat level is lovely in this kibble, at 20% which will keep bouncy little toys full of beans. 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, so between that and the protein your toy breed should stay pretty strong and avoid joint issues. 

There are also some really great Omega fatty acids and vitamins and minerals in this food, which will help nourish your little guy or girl’s coat and add a bit of flexibility to joints.

The mix of good stuff in this dog food ensures healthy digestion, bones, joints, and fur, which means it’s one of the most well-rounded options out there. 

Raw Nutrition 

This isn’t just your average kibble. It’s made to be high in protein and with added probiotics, but it’s also sprinkled with bits of freeze-dried raw meat. Not only will this be a treat for your pup’s taste buds, but it’s also a fantastic little dash of minimally processed, nutrient-packed protein.

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 food instead. It contains all the same good stuff and will prevent your pup from getting bored with chicken flavor.

5. Stella & Chewy’s Skin & Coat Boost Freeze-Dried Raw Kibble Topper

Best Dog Food For Skin & Coat Health: Staying Sleek & Shiny

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. This dog food is the top of the pops 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 raw nutrition, but it’s packed with supremely healthy nutrients, vitamins and minerals and we can guarantee you’ll see a difference if you start feeding it to your adult Maltese.

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High Omega Fatty Acids 

Omega fatty acids are essential for keeping dogs fluffy and soft. They moisturize the skin and coat to keep your pets super soft and cuddly, as well as being healthy. Other things in this food that contribute to the health of your pet’s fur and skin are biotin and vitamin E

This dry dog food is specifically aimed at nourishing skin and coat, and it’s been formulated with that in mind. So you can be sure it’s packed with all the goodness needed to maintain a flowing coat. All you’ll need to do is keep your Maltese nicely brushed and clean. 

High Nutrient Levels 

If your Maltese dog is active, they will thank you for the fat level in this dog food – a whopping 32%, the highest we’ve seen. This gives a small breed a super source of quickly metabolized fat for plenty of energy to see them through their day, and it comes from great sources too – 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 experience for your pup.

The ingredient list also shows kelp, which helps immensely for Malteses as they’re prone to hypothyroidism. That, and the fact that this dog food avoids chicken and beef, makes this a super dog food for Maltese dogs in all ways.

6. American Journey Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe Dry Dog Food

Best Value For Money: Affordable & Health-Promoting

Click to open expanded view  video     DEAL American Journey Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
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 dog to gain weight if not monitored

This dry dog food offers everything your pup needs to be healthy while doing so at a great price. It’s slightly high in calories, which means you’ll need to monitor how much your pup eats quite closely, but the nutrients, vitamins and minerals are super and the price is right for everyone.

Not only will it keep price pressures at bay, it will, as the packaging says, fuel your pup’s everyday adventures, and don’t we all want a happy, adventure-loving pooch?

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Healthy Nutrition 

The ingredient list is super quality, using salmon as its main protein source (which is also super for Maltese dogs’ hair), and adding chicken and turkey meal to pump up the protein, which sits at 32%. The fat level comes in at 14%, which is a nice 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 acids 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 Formula Toy Breed Chicken & Brown Rice Dry Dog Food Recipe

Best Dog Food For Hypothyroidism: Toy-Breed Specific

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

One of the health conditions you should be aware of as a Maltese parent is hypothyroidism, which is under-functioning of the thyroid. This can lead to a host of problems, and while it can’t be avoided by choosing particular dog foods, what you feed your Maltese can have an effect on whether or not this makes an appearance in their lives.

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

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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 contains iodine and can up your pup’s level quite nicely. Brown rice and barley are easy-to-digest healthy carbs for energy.

This Blue Buffalo Life Protection 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. 

Great Nutrients For Toy Breeds  

The protein and fat contents here are great for moderately active little dogs – 26% protein and 15% fat. The calorie count is at 415 per cup, which is all right considering you’ll be giving your tiny dog a small amount. 

In addition to the useful thyroid-related ingredients, there are also super Omega fatty acids, vitamins and minerals and a nice dose of glucosamine, so this really contains all your little guy or girl will need to stay as healthy as possible and keep the symptoms of hypothyroidism to a minimum.

8. Tylee’s Human-Grade Frozen Food Turkey Recipe

Best Fresh Food: Human-Grade Health

Tylee's Human-Grade Frozen Dog Food​
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, this food is a superb choice. It’s low in calories, so it’s easy to monitor how much your pooch is eating. It’s also of the highest quality – so much so that you and your Maltese could both have it for dinner.

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Human-Grade Healthy 

The ingredients in this food are all things that you may use in your own recipes – you can feed this to your (human) kid in good conscience, knowing 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. 

Best For Less Active Pooches 

The protein and fat levels are lower than most, even once you’ve doubled the amount to make sure your pooch gets enough in. 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 Small Breed Formula Limited Ingredient Freeze-Dried Raw Dry Dog Food

Best Limited Ingredient Dog Food: Reducing Chance Of Allergies

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 a bunch of different things.

Less is more, as the saying goes, and that’s accurate for this recipe from Canidae – 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).

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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.

Raw Boost 

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).

10. Royal Canin Breed Health Maltese Dry Dog Food

Best Maltese Specific Dog Food: Aimed At Maltese Breed

Overall Rating75%
Wholesome, Natural Ingredients70%
Fat Level & Quality85%
Protein Level & Quality75%
Additional Useful Ingredients85%
Affordability80%

PROS

  • Maltese-specific
  • High in fat to provide quick, easy energy
  • High Omega fatty acids
  • 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 this one does stand out. There are some big differences in ingredient quality and this dog food does contain grains that are generally considered to be lower quality and non-nutritious.

Their main meat source is also quite low down the list, but there are some good things here that make it Maltese-specific, and if it works for your pup, why not?

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Maltese-Specific Nutrients 

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

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. 

Lower Quality Ingredients  

The ingredient list begins with brewer’s rice, corn, and chicken by-product meal, all of which are considered to be low-quality ingredients in dog foods that contribute to allergies. The first decent ingredient and protein source, pork meal, only appears at ingredient number 6, although chicken fat (ingredient number 4) is not a bad fat source at all. 

One thing that is quite noticeable is the lack of real-food ingredients. There are no fruits and vegetables, which automatically puts it below the others on this list, and the only grain carb source is corn, which is a notoriously hard-to-digest form of grain.

If your pooch has a tough stomach, they may be totally okay with these ingredients, but if they’re a sensitive one, we wouldn’t suggest choosing this dog food for Maltese dogs.


Testing Protocol & Criteria Used For Evaluation

Criteria 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.

Criteria 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.

Criteria 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.

Criteria 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.

Criteria 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.


Questions & Answers

What are common health problems to look out for that a Maltese can suffer from?

Thankfully these little guys and girls are pretty hardy, but there are a few health issues that can pop up. 

Dental problems can make an appearance as these pooches have really little mouths. Choosing a small-sized kibble can help with this, and making sure to check your pup’s mouth regularly and clean their teeth is a good idea. Bad breath is a sign that something may be wrong in this area. 

Other more common health problems that could come up include patellar luxation, hypoglycemia, hypothyroidism, food allergies, glaucoma and progressive retinal atrophy

Maltese can also become overweight very easily as they’re super tiny, so even a small increase in calories every day can cause the weight to pile on. It’s essential, therefore, to make sure you’re feeding your Maltese the right amount of calories for their size and activity level. Obesity can lead to other health issues, so keeping your pooch’s body the right size and weight is very important.

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.

What should I look for when shopping for the best dog food for Maltese?

The best food for Maltese dogs should be all-natural, filled with healthy ingredients that are wholesome and recognizable. You will find dog foods that are specifically catered for toy breeds, but it’s still essential to check out the ingredient list to make sure these are really going to do good for your pup. 

A high-quality animal protein is needed as the first ingredient on the list. This can be any protein (chicken, beef, etc), as long as your fluff isn’t allergic to it. A whole meat is great, and a meat meal is the next best choice. Vegetable proteins are great as added proteins, but should definitely not be the main protein source. 

Animal fat is also essential. Often, chicken meal is added to non-chicken flavors as it’s quite commonly available. Pork fat is another common one. There are plenty of other fat sources, like fish oil and flaxseed, which are also super ingredients. 

Glucosamine and chondroitin are good to see as they will help to counteract potential joint issues. DHA is an Omega fatty acids that is often seen on labels and helps keep eyes and the brain healthy, which is good for pups who are susceptible to eye problems.

The best dog food for these small breed dogs will contain no artificial flavors or colors.

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. 

Are there any ingredients that I should avoid feeding my Maltese, and why?

These fluffs can be prone to food allergies, so it’s essential to monitor your pooch to make sure they aren’t reacting badly to something they used to eat with no problems. 

Apart from being conscious of potential allergies, you should be avoiding anything artificial flavors or colors. Dogs need to avoid low-quality fillers such as wheat, corn, and soy.

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!