Best Dog Food For Maltese— Pleasing The Royal Palette

Weighing in at less than seven pounds (usually) these doggies have been around since before the bible. Their charming playfulness, big dark eyes, and adorable button nose has made them irresistible for dog enthusiasts.

The glamorous Maltese will truly surprise you — with that luxurious, silky coat, many think they’re prissy in nature.

While it’s true, they have aristocratic roots, they’re really good athletes on an agility course and good watchdogs — protecting their homes and their pack.

Many Maltese owners will tell you they’ve got plenty of stubbornness as well — and won’t sit or roll over unless there are ample treats involved. We say “Well played”.

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Small Breed is our top pick for feeding your possibly picky Maltese. Not only are we confident they’ll like it, we’re confident it will deliver the nutrition they’ll need to grow and thrive. This recipe features delicious whole deboned chicken and healthy carbs from brown rice to give her the energy she needs to keep her on top of her game when it comes to those marathon sessions of fetch.

The Best Dog Food for Maltese Are…

ProductDetails
1. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula

  • Formulated for toy and small breed dogs
  • Intended for adult dogs
  • Chicken and brown rice recipe
  • Dry kibble texture
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2. Iams ProActive Health

  • Formulated for dogs over one year
  • Dry, MiniChunk consistency
  • Chicken flavored recipe
  • Specifically formulated for small and toy breed dogs
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3. Nutro Wholesome Essentials Small Bites

  • Intended for adult Maltese
  • Specially formulated for small and toy breed dogs
  • Dry kibble consistency
  • Lamb and rice recipe
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4. Hill's Science Diet Adult Small Bites

  • Formulated for adult dogs 1-6 years of age
  • Chicken and barley recipe
  • Dry kibble consistency
  • Formulated specifically for small and toy breeds
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5. Merrick Lil' Plates

  • Wet food formula
  • Contains a variety of flavors in one pack
  • Food tray packaging
  • Intended for adult dogs
  • Made specifically for small and toy breeds
  • This is a grain-free food, be sure to consult your vet before feeding your beautiful baby to make sure this food is right for her
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6. Purina Pro Plan Savor Small Breed

  • Intended for adult dogs
  • Formulated for small and toy breeds
  • Dry kibble formula
  • Chicken and rice flavor
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7. Purina Bella Grain-Free Pate

  • Wet, pate textured formula
  • Intended for small and toy breed dogs
  • Beef, peas, and carrots blend
  • This formula is grain-free, be sure to speak to your vet about whether this food is right for your bestie
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8. Royal Canin Small Puppy Dry Dog Food

  • Dry kibble formula
  • Specifically formulated for small and toy breed dogs
  • Specifically formulated for puppies up to 10 months
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9. Wellness Core® Natural Grain-Free Small Breed

  • Grain-free formula, although this is sometimes a good alternative to foods with grain in their ingredients when it comes to Maltese with allergies — be sure to consult your veterinarian.
  • Dry kibble formula
  • Chicken recipe
  • Intended for small and toy breed dogs
  • Intended for adult dogs
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1. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula — Best Food for Maltese

Blue Buffalo formulas contain a special blend of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients sourced from garden fruits and veggies along with quality proteins in the form of their “Super 7 package”.

This proprietary kibble is a supplement that adds powerful nutrition for your tiny partner.

The enhanced blend of protein and carbohydrates in this food is specifically formulated to provide your dog with all the muscle growth and energy she needs to impress the whole dog park.

The Blue Buffalo brand boasts more formulas catering to unique breed sizes and life stages than any other natural pet food, so their small breed formulas are sure to fulfill their needs.

Blue formulas always feature quality proteins with no poultry by-product meals, soy, wheat, or corn.

Specs

  • Formulated for toy and small breed dogs
  • Intended for adult dogs
  • Chicken and brown rice recipe
  • Dry kibble texture

Pros

  • Kibble designed for small breed dogs provides the crunch they need for effective dental hygiene
  • Joint health and mobility supported by glucosamine
  • Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids give her healthy skin and a beautiful, glossy coat
  • Quality, whole sources of protein provide lean, healthy muscle development
  • Essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants support immunity and overall health.

Cons

  • Some owners said their dogs seemed less energetic after eating this food
  • Some owners said the food smelled a little “off”

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2. Iams ProActive Health

Iams ProActive Health Adult MiniChunks provides your pint-sized powerhouse with all the nutrition she needs to stay running and happy.

Protein sourced from egg and chicken build lean muscle, boost her energy, and support heart health. Powerful antioxidants give her a strong immune system and robust overall health.

The dry kibble texture is nice and crunchy, so each bite will scrub away plaque and tartar buildup.

Your Maltese is happy on the outside because of the love and nutrition you give her — so make sure you’re giving her the best with a food packed with nutrients and with no artificial preservatives, colors, flavors, or fillers.

Specs

  • Formulated for dogs over one year
  • Dry, MiniChunk consistency
  • Chicken flavored recipe
  • Specifically formulated for small and toy breed dogs

Pros

  • Naturally sourced prebiotics promote healthy digestion and strong immunity from the inside out
  • A combination of vitamins, minerals, protein, and fat contribute to complete health.
  • Omega fatty acids courtesy of fish oil promote healthy skin and keep that beautiful coat shiny and show worthy.

Cons

  • Some owners reported their Maltese didn’t care for the flavor
  • Some owners reported the chunks weren’t as small as advertised
  • Some Maltese reported they didn’t appreciate having to run to the yard to avoid an “accident” after eating this formula

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3. Nutro Wholesome Essentials Small Bites — Best Dog Food for Maltese Tear Stains

Maltese are prone to tear stains — perhaps no more than other breeds, but because their fur is so white, the unsightly streaks stand out quite starkly.

It helps to feed them natural, organic food like Nutro to lessen the chance of inflammation and infections that could result in discolored tears.

Deboned lamb is the first ingredient of this formula that ensures your Maltese is happy, healthy, and satisfied.

Omega fatty acids provide her with a soft and shiny coat, and it’s non-GMO garden fruits and veggies provide all the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants she needs to stay active.

Round it out with natural fibers that assist with healthy digestion and immune system support, and you have a food you can feel good about giving her.

This recipe contains no corn, wheat, soy protein, or animal by-products. Made in the US with non-GMO ingredients — it’s free from artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives, so you’ll be giving her everything she needs and nothing she doesn’t.

Specs

  • Intended for adult Maltese
  • Specially formulated for small and toy breed dogs
  • Dry kibble consistency
  • Lamb and rice recipe

Pros

  • Small kibble helps her clean those teeth and freshen her breath with every bite
  • Quality, pasture-fed lamb is the first ingredient to deliver the amino acids she needs for strong muscle and a healthy metabolism.
  • Natural sources of fiber help her digestion and boost immunity
  • Omega 6 fatty acids and zinc give her a shiny coat that will be the envy of dogs everywhere. And maybe some people too.

Cons

  • Some owners weren’t pleased that the formula changed without warning
  • Some Maltese had to use the yard more frequently with this formula
  • Some Maltese for real just didn’t like the flavor

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4. Hill’s Science Diet Adult Small Bites

Little dogs still need big nutrition, and Hill’s Science Diet foods for small and toy breeds will give her everything she needs to stay fabulous.

This formula boasts enough omega fatty acids and other skin-nourishing vitamins to give your Maltese a noticeably shinier coat in 30 days, which is important if she’s got a photo-op coming up.

Add a scientifically formulated blend of antioxidants to support her immune system, and you’ve got a formula that will keep her healthy.

Quality protein courtesy of fresh chicken provides her with lean muscle development and optimal metabolism.

Hill’s Science Diet foods are among the top recommended brands of veterinarians everywhere so you know they’re a trusted source of wholesome nutrition for your lap companion.

Manufactured in the US with no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives — their ingredients are carefully sourced and meet the strict requirements for nutrient content and purity we’ve come to expect from HSD pet foods.

Specs

  • Formulated for adult dogs 1-6 years of age
  • Chicken and barley recipe
  • Dry kibble consistency
  • Formulated specifically for small and toy breeds

Pros

  • High quality proteins promote strong, lean muscle development
  • Omega 6 fatty acids and other nutrients take care of her skin and promote that trademark coat — with a 30 day guarantee
  • Antioxidants courtesy of vitamins E and C provide a healthy immune system
  • Quality fiber supports healthy digestion
  • Specially constructed kibble shape and size scrub her teeth for plaque and tartar buildup

Cons

  • Some Maltese didn’t like the chicken and barley recipe
  • Some owners reported the kibble texture was too small
  • Some Maltese gained a little weight on this recipe and had to do some extra cardio

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5. Merrick Lil’ Plates

Merrick brand foods has been feeding dogs from the same kitchen in Hereford, Texas for over 30 years. This labor of love for a doggie named Gracie has expanded to include dogs everywhere, providing them with delicious, wholesome recipes they can’t wait to sink their teeth into.

Lil’ Plates Mini Medley food trays provide your tiny compadre with superior sources of protein, including meat, fish, or poultry as the #1 ingredient.

Vitamin-packed ingredients from the garden include fruits and veggies like blueberries, peas, sweet potatoes, and apples.

All ingredients are locally sourced in the US, and all recipes contain no artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, or gluten.

With recipes like Bitsy Beef Stew, Tiny Thanksgiving Day Dinner, and Petite Pot Pie, your Maltie will eat like the queen she is.

Specs

  • Wet food formula
  • Contains a variety of flavors in one pack
  • Food tray packaging
  • Intended for adult dogs
  • Made specifically for small and toy breeds
  • This is a grain-free food, be sure to consult your vet before feeding your beautiful baby to make sure this food is right for her

Pros

  • Pure proteins in the form of real chicken, beef, or turkey are the very first ingredient
  • A rainbow of garden-fresh fruits and veg provide your baby with a variety of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
  • A variety of recipes means you won’t have to call her down for dinner twice
  • Perfectly-portioned single-serve trays make feeding her super convenient

Cons

  • Some owners found the packaging cumbersome, exploding doggie food everywhere when attempting to peel back the foil
  • Some owners found the color of the food to be unappealing

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6. Purina Pro Plan Savor Small Breed

Manufactured in US facilities — Purina Pro Plan Savor Adult Shredded Blend uses the best ingredients to create recipes that your little buddy will love.

This chicken and rice recipe combine crunchy, tooth scrubbing kibble with tender, flavorful shredded bits. A balanced ratio of proteins and fat sourced from real chicken helps keep her metabolism functioning optimally, and her energy high.

Natural prebiotic fiber courtesy of wholesome wheat bran and live probiotics support a healthy digestive and immune system.

Vitamin A and omega fatty acids maintain healthy skin for a sleek and shiny coat, and a blend of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients provide her with the overall health she needs to keep you company for a long time.

Specs

  • Intended for adult dogs
  • Formulated for small and toy breeds
  • Dry kibble formula
  • Chicken and rice flavor

Pros

  • Real chicken provides an optimal protein to fat ratio for healthy metabolism and lean muscles
  • Contains pre and probiotics for great gut health and robust immunity
  • Contains vitamin A and omega fatty acids for healthy skin and beautiful coat
  • Wholesome brown rice provides her with the carbs she needs for tons of energy

Cons

  • Some owners reported their doggos weren’t happy with the recipe
  • Some Maltese reported difficulty eating this food because the shredded bits weren’t soft enough
  • Some doggies ended up with some smelly gas after eating this formula

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7. Purina Bella Grain-Free Pate

Little dogs need big nutrition, and Purina Bella Grain-Free Pate is formulated specifically to deliver it to your pint sized pup.

You won’t find grain in this formula, but you will find real beef, chicken, liver, peas and carrots for a balanced tray of delicious.

She’ll love the velvety texture and the rich flavor — and with no artificial preservatives, flavors, or colors, you can feel good about watching her devour her dinner!

Specs

  • Wet, pate textured formula
  • Intended for small and toy breed dogs
  • Beef, peas, and carrots blend
  • This formula is grain-free, be sure to speak to your vet about whether this food is right for your bestie

Pros

  • Contains added vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants for healthy immunity as well as overall robust health.
  • Real beef, liver and chicken provides quality protein for strong, lean muscle
  • Peas, carrots, and other veg delivers delicious nutrients

Cons

  • Some owners thought the peas and carrots should not have been served whole with the pate
  • Some doggies didn’t like the flavor

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8. Royal Canin Small Puppy Dry Dog Food — Best Food for Maltese Puppy

Your baby Maltie may be a tiny fluff ball now, but she’ll grow fast, so she needs all the quality nutrition you can give her. This Royal Canin formula is blended specifically for small breed puppies and their appetites.

Being a high energy breed, Maltese need a balance of quality proteins and carbohydrates to fuel her busy days. The kibble shape and size is tailored for tiny jaws, cleaning their teeth and reducing the formation of plaque and tartar for healthy teeth and gums with each crunchy bite.

Specs

  • Dry kibble formula
  • Specifically formulated for small and toy breed dogs
  • Specifically formulated for puppies up to 10 months

Pros

  • Contains quality proteins for strong, lean muscle and vital energy
  • Nutrients like naturally sourced fiber and probiotics support digestive health
  • Omega fatty acids keep her skin healthy and her coat shiny
  • Crunchy kibble size and texture tailored for tiny jaws help keep teeth clean and breath fresh.

Cons

  • Some Maltese fans say the quality of the food doesn’t justify its price
  • Some dogs didn’t like the flavor
  • Some owners say the formula changed and their doggies didn’t react well to it

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9. Wellness Core® Natural Grain-Free Small Breed — Best Food for Maltese With Allergies

Because one of the most common allergens for Maltese can be gluten, we chose to list Wellness Core Natural Grain-Free as the best food for doggos with allergies.

This protein-forward formula delivers the quality chicken she needs for lots of energy and lean muscle without fillers or grains.

A proprietary mix of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants sourced from fruits and veggies rounds out this recipe — giving you a healthy Maltie with lots of energy and a happy belly!.

Specs

  • Grain-free formula, although this is sometimes a good alternative to foods with grain in their ingredients when it comes to Maltese with allergies — be sure to consult your veterinarian.
  • Dry kibble formula
  • Chicken recipe
  • Intended for small and toy breed dogs
  • Intended for adult dogs

Pros

  • A proprietary blend of botanicals delivers vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants
  • Probiotics support healthy digestion
  • Contains omega fatty acids sourced from salmon oil gives her healthy skin and a silky coat
  • Contains Glucosamine & Chondroitin for optimal bone and joint health

Cons

  • Some owners reported their doggies turned their noses up at the recipe
  • Some owners reported worries over changes in the formula
  • Some owners said their dogs’ breath smelled bad after eating this formula — sadly, they had to stop accepting doggie kisses

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The Best Dog Food For Maltese — A Buying Guide

Humans say “you are what you eat,” and the same applies to our canine companions.

We all want the best for them, so when choosing a food for your Maltie, it’s important to scrutinize the ingredients and nutrients that go into the bag.

It’s also important to keep in mind the special nutritional needs of the Maltese breed.

What To Look For In A Quality Dog Food

A good quality dog food for every breed begins with quality ingredients and standards of production. Here are a few basic things to look for when choosing what they’ll be eating at mealtimes:

  • High-quality food will contain fresh, whole sources of protein. Real chicken, fish, red meats, and eggs are all good things to look for. They should be at the top of the list of ingredients, preferably as the #1 ingredient, at the very least within the top three.
  • Choose your dog’s food based on where its ingredients are sourced and where it’s manufactured. Foods manufactured in the US are preferable if you live in the US — the point is the closer the better, this ensures the food will spend less time in a truck or a warehouse, and more time in your pantry. Fresh is important when it comes to where a company sources it’s ingredients as well. If the manufacturer can identify where the ingredients come from, you can trust you’re getting better food.
  • Artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives have no place in a quality dog food. Animal by-products or fillers are detrimental as well, as they provide no nutritional value. Many fillers are added only to help your dog feel satiated, but they don’t deliver the vitamins, minerals, proteins, and other essential nutrients she needs to stay vibrant and healthy.

Your Maltese Needs More Than These…

Because the Maltese are toy dogs, and because they have their own set of preconditions and physiological quirks, they need to eat according to certain needs.

Here are some conditions that Maltese are prone to and how to mitigate them through thoughtful nutrition:

Skin Allergies

Maltese are prone to skin allergies and sensitive skin conditions, so it’s important to select foods that contain ingredients that support healthy skin. Besides, you want to make sure she keeps that coat luxurious and pageant ready!

An appropriate amount of protein is first on the list. Options that contain 10-20% fat are recommended, although you should check with your vet to see how much she recommends is healthy for your Maltie because of their digestive issues and tendency toward obesity (more on this below).

Omega fatty acids preferably sourced from small fish like sardines and anchovies, or coldwater fish like salmon are important. Your dog can get part of her omegas through other sources such as flaxseed as well.

Vitamins E, C, B2 should be included, as well as biotin, zinc, and copper.

Digestive Issues

Digestive issues are common in Maltese, as is obesity, so read your labels for ingredients that support metabolism and digestion, as well as the balance of fat to protein ratios. Foods too high in fats and proteins are chock-full of calories as well, so if we’re trying to stay trim, count them.

As important as the amounts of proteins and fats are the sources of meat that provide it. Look for whole, deboned meats. The better quality the protein, the easier it will be for her to digest.

Some say avoid chicken and beef, but again, this is a question for your veterinarian. Rule of thumb: no matter what protein you’re giving her, make sure it’s at the top of the list.

Look for foods with lots of natural sources of fiber and prebiotics. Probiotics should be included as well, as both work within the gut to aid digestion.

Tooth and Gum Issues

Like many toy breeds, Maltese are prone to tooth and gum issues. Crunchy kibble is recommended for your dog beginning as a puppy, just be sure to buy a kibble that is appropriately sized and shaped to “brush” her teeth as she crunches away.

If you want to give her a soft food treat, give it to her half-and-half with dry kibble. Foods fortified with calcium and chondroitin, and glucosamine contribute to bone health as well as joint health, also common in toy breeds, so look for these ingredients on your dog food labels.

How Much Should I Feed My Maltese?

How much and how often you feed your Maltese depends largely on her age, weight, and activity level.

For Puppies

Your Maltese pup can begin eating puppy food after they are weaned from their mama. Start her off with ¼ cups of food per day between three meals.

Remember, if you’d like to mix wet food and kibble, do so in a 50/50 ratio, or even less wet-to-dry, a spoonful may be enough to make her enthusiastic enough to gobble a kibble if she’s picky. She needs the crunch to strengthen those (puppy-sharp) little chompers.

When your baby hits about 6 months old, she’ll be ready for grown-up food, just be sure to wean her gradually. Don’t switch abruptly, as this can cause stomach upset. Introduce a small amount of adult food at each meal, increasing until she can eat adult food by itself without stomach issues.

For Adults

Maltese aren’t known for their robust appetites and tend to naturally eat pretty moderately. During adulthood, feeding her based on weight is recommended.

Dogs between 2 and 4 lbs usually will eat ¼ cup to ½ cups of food daily over two equal meals per day.

Dogs 5 pounds and up (usually they won’t get much past 7 pounds at their heaviest if they’re eating a healthy diet) should eat ½ cup to ¾ cups per day over two equal meals.

This may not seem like much, but it’s plenty for this breed. They’re tiny, and remember, the kibble they’ll eat will be tiny too.

For Seniors

After 8 or 9 years, your Maltie is considered a senior citizen and may begin to slow down a bit, so fewer calories per day is recommended. Consult your veterinarian on whether a lower calorie formula for older dogs is right for her specific needs.

What About Treats and Extras?

Since they can have problems with teeth and gums, treats formulated to scrub her teeth and freshen her breath are great, even baby carrots are a good choice, Maltese pups often love these. Avoid treats like jerky and pig’s ears, as they are a choking hazard.

Maltese can choke easily, partially because they’ve got such a tiny windpipe, but they’re also prone to a condition called collapsing trachea (not to be mistaken with “reverse sneezing”) that happens when the pharynx spasms.

Collapsing trachea seems to be more common after vigorous activity, so If you’ve been exercising, let her breath mellow before giving her a treat.

As with every dog (and most living things) be sure she has plenty of fresh water — for some dogs, tap water can be harsh so if she seems to have adverse reactions to it, filtered water should be given.

A Few Words In Closing

The ancient Romans erected special tombs for their Maltese, and it’s speculated the Egyptians did too. It’s no wonder, this breed certainly leaves an impression with its charm, beauty, and intelligence.

They’re the whole package — and they certainly deserve food that fuels it. We recommend Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Small Breed to provide them the ample nutrition they need and the great taste they love!

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