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9 Best (Healthiest) Dog Food For Maltese in 2020

For such as small size, Maltese are a hardy breed and excellent watchdogs. They can be absolutely fearless and love all sorts of activities including agility. Despite their long coat, they don’t shed very much, but you will need to add regular grooming to your list to keep the coat shiny and trimmed correctly.

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They have very long lives like many toy brands and will need proper health and nutritional support to make the most of those very long years. Let’s take a look at some of the things your Maltese will need to stay in top shape even in its senior years.

9 Best (Healthiest) Dog Food For Maltese in 2020 7

Why Quality Food Matters for Your Maltese Dog

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Their long lives mean they’ll need a proper start in puppyhood and adulthood to keep their quality of living high. Just because a dog does liver for longer than average doesn’t mean it’s a good time. Maltese' that have proper nutrition can stave off a lot of the issues prevalent in senior Maltese dogs.

They don’t need much food to maintain proper weight, so quality foods help the Maltese get all the appropriate protein and nutrients without adding a lot of extra calories. Maltese are also prone to dental problems, so proper nutrition can build that healthy dental foundation to prevent issues later.

3 Common Health Issues

The Maltese is a pretty hardy breed compared to some of its other toy breed companions, but that doesn’t mean you have nothing to watch out for. Here are a few things likely to occur in your Maltese’s health.

  • Dental Issues – Larger breeds of dogs have more space between teeth, so bacteria have nowhere to take refuge. Smaller breeds frequently have crowded mouths, and because they don’t have as much space between teeth, plaque buildup can cause major issues later. Dry kibble can help remove plaque in between teeth cleanings and keep that build up at bay.
  • Skin Issues – Dogs with a single layer coat are frequently subject to skin irritations. While you can’t do anything about your Maltese’s environmental triggers, you can feed it food without common fillers such as corn or soy. These fillers help reduce the cost of the food but are frequent suspects in food allergies that manifest as skin irritations. Essential fatty acids help hydrate the skin and build a healthy coat. Foods that provide a spectrum of these fatty acids help soothe irritated skin over time and keep it supple even in older age.
  • Weight Issues – Maltese are picky, but they’re also a toy breed. Adding even a half a pound of excess weight can have detrimental effects on their bone structure and joints. Food must have dense nutrition because padding on empty calories causes weight gain and a reduction in activity. It’s a vicious cycle. Maltese are prone to trouble with knee joints and hip dysplasia, two conditions worsened by excess weight. In addition to foods that support these joints, keeping a tight grip on weight ensures a much better quality of life, especially for your senior Maltese.

9 Best (Healthiest) Dog Food For Maltese in 2020 8

What to Look For in a Quality Dog Food for Maltese

Your Maltese needs around 200 calories per day to maintain weight. That’s it. The food that you choose should get calories only from quality ingredients without known fillers. Foods that are heavy in whole proteins can keep your Maltese stronger and healthier and slow, release carbohydrates help maintain energy.

Dry kibble is preferred because it can help scrape plaque from the teeth and remove bacteria in between your professional cleanings. If you choose a wet food, you may want to add dry kibble to it for dental hygiene purposes.

Foods with glucosamine and chondroitin can help your senior Maltese with joint issues, and calcium may help keep bones from becoming too fragile (and as a toy breed, your Maltese will need all the bone reinforcement it can get). Essential fatty acids can protect the skin and coat.

Ingredients to Avoid in Your Maltese’s Dog Food

Budget dog food companies often use a long list of fillers to help reduce the cost of dog foods. Fillers may help your Maltese feel full, but they can wreak havoc on its health and well-being. Corn and soy are two common fillers that cause weight gain and provide empty calories that do nothing to support your dog’s immune system or musculoskeletal structure. Soy is a typical food allergen as well, which can cause itchy, inflamed skin and sore spots.

A tentative link has been revealed between diets high in potatoes and legumes and a congenital condition called canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). The research is still preliminary, but you may want to use your best judgment on these ingredients. We recommend staying away from foods in which potatoes or legumes are listed in the first three ingredients.

A few very common brands to avoid because of fillers and food allergens are Beneful and Kibbles N Bits. These both use fillers and lower quality ingredients to help reduce the cost of the food. Another frequent offender is Ol Roy. What you save in dog food each month may get spent on extra veterinarian trips, so take the long view and invest in your dog’s health and well-being.

9 Best (Healthiest) Dog Food For Maltese in 2020 9

Maltese Feeding Chart

The average adult Maltese needs just around 200 calories per day. This translates to about 50 calories per pound of body weight. If your Maltese is naturally on the larger side, your veterinarian may recommend something more. Be sure to get your vet’s advice for feeding your Maltese puppy or senior.

General recommendations are as follows:

  • Puppies: Puppies change a lot throughout a few months, so suggestions will change rapidly as well. Work with your vet to establish good dietary health early on.
  • Adults: An adult between two to four pounds will eat 1/4 to 1/2 of a cup per day. Larger adults will need 1/2 to 3/4 of a cup per day.
  • Seniors: Generally, senior dogs will receive the same amount of food as they did while they were younger adults. If there’s a weight or other outstanding health issue, your vet may modify those serving sizes.

Best Dog Food for Maltese

We’ve put together a list of our top picks for best Maltese food covering all life stages so you can support your furry companion’s health and well-being.

Merrick Lil' Plates Grain-Free Real Beef & Sweet Potato Dry Dog Food

Merrick Lil' Plates Grain-Free Real Beef & Sweet Potato Dry Dog FoodOur best overall food is a protein-packed, small bite kibble designed for the mouths of small breeds. It uses whole beef for a complete protein source as the first ingredient plus whole fruits and vegetables for a comprehensive set of vitamins and minerals.

It’s grain free and contains no soy or corn fillers. Flaxseed provides a good source of fatty acids to support skin and coat health. It’s gluten-free and offers a broad spectrum of digestive probiotics to help your Maltese digest the food thoroughly and cut down on any issues with sensitive tummies.

First Five Ingredients:

  1. Deboned Beef
  2. Lamb Meal
  3. Sweet Potatoes
  4. Peas
  5. Potatoes

About The Company

Merrick is a small, US-based company that creates all its pet food recipes right in its organic kitchen. It strives to provide dogs with quality, nutrient dense food that can support a lifetime of health and well-being. It doesn’t use any fillers or artificial colors, and all meats are quality sources.


  • probiotics for sensitive tummies
  • flaxseed for coat support and better digestion
  • no fillers
  • two protein sources
  • small kibble size


  • taste may not appeal to picky dogs
  • contains potatoes and peas

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe with Red Meat Small Breed Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe with Red Meat Small Breed Grain-Free Dry Dog FoodBlue Buffalo’s small bite kibble uses beef, bison, and lamb to provide a rich source of complete proteins. Fruits and vegetables provide the bulk of vitamins and antioxidants. It’s formulated for small breed varieties and features a slightly higher protein and carbohydrate count in a small bite kibble to help smaller dogs maintain energy throughout the day.

If your Maltese has a sensitive tummy, this food may help. There are no fillers, no gluten, and it contains pumpkin to help settle digestive issues. There are no artificial preservatives either. It’s intended to mimic the ancestral canine diet and provide a more accessible alternative to raw diets.

First Five Ingredients:

  • Deboned Beef
  • Chicken Meal (source of Glucosamine)
  • Peas
  • Pea Protein
  • Tapioca Starch

About The Company

Blue Buffalo was started by one family’s search for the perfect food for their beloved Airedale Terrier, Blue. Now, the company provides quality nutrition to pets and creates recipes in their US-based test kitchens using locally sourced ingredients.


  • no preservatives
  • no artificial colors
  • three protein sources
  • glucosamine and fatty acids
  • higher protein and carbs for small breeds


  • only 4 or 10 lb. bags
  • uses peas

NomNomNow Fresh Pet Food Delivery

9 Best (Healthiest) Dog Food For Maltese in 2020 19

NomNomNow provides a complete, “cooked” diet in easy to serve portion sizes. Tasty lamb gives your Maltese complete proteins while fruits and veggies offer a comprehensive source of vitamins and antioxidants. Meals are prepared and shipped fresh, so you just pop them into your fridge or freezer for storage.

First Five Ingredients:

  • lamb heart
  • Lamb
  • butternut squash
  • Rutabaga
  • Chickpeas

About the Company

NomNomNow strives to provide pets with full spectrum, raw meals for health and proper digestion. You can customize your meal plan, and recipes and pre-portioned sizes arrive at your door. No fuss. No measuring. They’re simple to serve and mimic an ancestral canine diet. Pros:

  • whole, fresh ingredients
  • easy serving sizes
  • multiple recipe options
  • delivery
  • Human-grade


  • requires cold storage
  • lots of packaging

Best Puppy Food for Maltese

Puppy food will likely change over the course of the puppy years but look for easily digestible things that will build long-term health.

Nulo Freestyle Duck & Chickpeas Recipe Grain-Free Small Breed & Puppy Canned Dog Food

Nulo Freestyle Duck & Chickpeas Recipe Grain-Free Small Breed & Puppy Canned Dog FoodNulo’s wet puppy food uses a rich duck recipe for protein sources plus chickpeas for energy throughout the day. It’s formulated for puppies and small breeds, so it’s easy to digest but provides steady, consistent strength despite your Maltese’s high metabolism.

It’s a low glycemic formula, so it gives your puppy a great start in the weight department. It supplements protein with sources from whole turkey, so your pup gets a complete protein source.

First Five Ingredients:

  • Duck
  • Duck Broth
  • Turkey Liver
  • Chickpeas
  • Dicalcium Phosphate

About The Company

Nulo started ten years ago in the search for better, nutrient dense pet foods. The food is designed in the way diets are for athletes, to support performance and prevent energy crashes throughout the day. There are no artificial flavors or cheap fillers in any of Nulo’s products, and they’re proudly manufactured in the USA.


  • multiple protein sources
  • easy to serve
  • small portion size
  • low glycemic formula
  • energy management


  • some unclear ingredients
  • one can size

Nutro Wholesome Essentials Small Breed Puppy Farm-Raised Chicken, Brown Rice & Sweet Potato Recipe Dry Dog Food

9 Best (Healthiest) Dog Food For Maltese in 2020 20Nutro’s small breed puppy formula is a dry kibble designed to protect teeth while being comfortable to eat. It uses whole, deboned chicken for protein and has optimal levels of fatty acids to protect the skin and coat.

It uses no artificial flavors and contains no cheap fillers. It’s suitable for sensitive stomachs and supports the building blocks for lifelong health.

First Five Ingredients:

  • Chicken
  • Chicken Meal
  • Whole Brown Rice
  • Brewers Rice
  • Pea Protein

About The Company

Nutro uses quality, whole ingredients without a lot of cheap fillers so that your dog gets a nutrient dense food that won’t add weight or affect digestion. The company is based in Tennessee and tests food to make sure it’s the highest quality available

What Customers Like:

  • kibble for good teeth
  • suitable for sensitive tummies
  • whole chicken
  • good fatty acids
  • convenient packaging

Common Complaints:

  • uses pea protein
  • not gluten free

Best Dog Food For Senior Maltese

Seniors need extra joint and skin care as well as something that will maintain weight.

Merrick Lil' Plates Grain-Free Real Chicken & Sweet Potato Senior Dry Dog Food

Merrick Lil' Plates Grain-Free Real Chicken & Sweet Potato Senior Dry Dog FoodMerrick’s Lil’ Plates is designed for small breed teeth and mouths. It uses real chicken and sweet potato for balanced protein and energy sources throughout the day. Real fruits and vegetables provide vitamins and antioxidants to maintain a healthy immune system.

Probiotics and prebiotics provide digestive system support, and essential fatty acids maintain the skin and coat. There are no artificial colors and no cheap fillers that can irritate allergies.

First Five Ingredients:

  • Deboned Chicken
  • Chicken Meal
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Peas
  • Potatoes

About The Company

Merrick’s values help the company create quality foods that support your Maltese even into the senior years. It uses only premium ingredients for kibble, and many pet owners see improvements after switching from cheap dog foods.


  • probiotics and prebiotics
  • small kibble
  • protein/carb balance
  • helps with weight
  • no cheap fillers


  • uses potatoes and peas
  • only 4 and 12 lb bags

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Small Breed Senior Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food

9 Best (Healthiest) Dog Food For Maltese in 2020 21The Life Protection formula is for small breed seniors who may need extra vitamin and antioxidant support. It uses Blue’s trademark LifeSource bits, freeze-dried blends of essential nutrients nestled in with the kibble.

The first ingredient is whole, deboned chicken for complete protein. Brown rice is a slow release carbohydrate that helps senior Maltese dogs maintain energy levels without adding in extra calories. Glucosamine and chondroitin provide joint support and essential fatty acids keep the skin and coat supple.

First Five Ingredients:

  • Deboned Chicken
  • Chicken Meal
  • Brown Rice
  • Barley
  • Oatmeal

About The Company

Blue Buffalo uses only quality ingredients to support your senior small breed’s changing needs. It provides the building blocks of nutrition to help your senior even in the final stages of life.


  • extra antioxidant support
  • whole chicken
  • glucosamine and chondroitin
  • brown rice for slow carbs
  • 15 lb bag available


  • Your senior may not like LifeSource Bits
  • may not satisfy picky eaters

Final Thoughts

Satisfying your Maltese’s picky tastes may take some adjustment, but providing quality nutrition will help your Maltese build health and maintain weight. Make sure your food has all the necessary pieces for your Maltese’s health and wellbeing, and you should enjoy your beloved companion for many years.

What’s your favorite Maltese hairstyle? Is yours trimmed closely or tied up? Let us know how you prefer to style your Maltese’s hair in the comments below.


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