Best Dog Food For Maltese: Here’s a look At Our Favorites.

Maltese are adorable, energetic little creatures. They are full of joy and are often very playful and active. One of the unique characteristics of a Maltese is their long and shiny coats. As a Maltese owner, you want to make sure to meet all of your dog's nutritional needs. To do this, you're going to have to educate yourself on their dietary needs based off of guidelines designed specifically for your Maltese's breed.

Overview of the Top Products

Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Small Breed Dog FoodWellness Complete Health Natural Dry Small Breed Dog Food

COMPLETE HEALTH: complete and balanced everyday nutrition for your small breed dog.

e size, reduced calorie diet with delicious turkey to satisfy hunger and maintain a healthy weight.

Nature's Recipe Grain Free Dry Dog FoodNature's Recipe Grain Free Dry Dog Food

Contains 1 - 12 pound bag of dry dog food

Real chicken is the #1 ingredient, and contains high-quality protein to help maintain muscle health

Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Dog FoodWellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food

GRAIN FREE: 100% grain free, complete and balanced everyday nutrition for your small breed dog.

SMALL BREED: Naturally grain free and protein rich, made with premium turkey & chicken, and the optimum calorie levels to support higher energy needs of small breeds.

BLUE Life Protection Formula Adult Dry Dog FoodBLUE Life Protection Formula Adult Dry Dog Food

15lb Bag

Delicious, protein-rich, Deboned Chicken

Hill’s Science Diet Small & Toy Breed Dry Dog FoodHill’s Science Diet Small & Toy Breed Dry Dog Food

This Hill's Science Diet Adult Small & Toy Breed dry dog food is precisely balanced nutrition for adult dogs under 25 pounds

This premium dry dog food is made in the USA with U.S. and imported ingredients

AvoDerm Natural Dog FoodAvoDerm Natural Dog Food

Nutritional benefits for smaller breed dogs 

CRAFTED FOR SMALL BREED ADULT DOGS: Optimal nutrition and protein found in each bite sized kibble

Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets Dry Dog Food - Sweet Potato & Fish FormulaNatural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets Dry Dog Food - Sweet Potato & Fish Formula

Contains 1 - 12 pound bag of dry dog food

Smaller kibble designed for small breed dogs


This recipe enriches overall health, energy, and activity with concentrated nutrition and is specifically designed to meet the needs of your small-breed dog.

Real Chicken is the #1 Ingredient. . Formulated with L-Carnitine to help burn fat and maintain healthy metabolism. Nourishes the heart with 7 essential nutrients.


Chicken is the #1 Ingredient, tailored nutrition for your pets’ unique needs; rich in nutrients and full of flavor; simple, purposeful, trustworthy

NATURAL INGREDIENTS PLUS VITAMINS, MINERALS & OTHER NUTRIENTS: with real chicken and natural ingredients plus vitamins, minerals and other nutrients come together in this delectable meal; Our dog food contains no added artificial flavors or preservatives

Halo Spot's Stew Natural Dry Wholesome Chicken for Small Breed DogsHalo Spot's Stew Natural Dry Wholesome Chicken for Small Breed Dogs

Made with real WHOLE chicken, no rendered "meat meal," like "chicken meal" or "fish meal"

Proven superior digestibility, providing more bioavailable nutrients to your small breed dog, the Proof is in the Poop

Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Small Breed Dog FoodWellness Complete Health Natural Dry Small Breed Dog Food

These tiny dry kibbles aren’t just easy to eat and digest, but they’re jam packed with natural and mostly locally sourced ingredients that you can trust, including delicious deboned turkey and rice.

As you probably already know, meat by-products, fillers and artificial preservatives can be remarkably detrimental to your dog’s health, which is why it’s so reassuring to know that this food doesn’t contain any of those nasties and what you see on the packaging is truly what you get.

You’ll also be happy to know that Wellness has opted to not include any wheat, soy or corn in this food either and they’ve really gone the extra mile to incorporate premium ingredients to keep your pup’s coat shiny and his tummy happy.

  • Natural ingredients
  • The small kibbles make it easy to eat for dogs with missing teeth
  • Keeps your dog’s coat and skin healthy
  • Some dogs refuse to eat this dog food
Nature's Recipe Grain Free Dry Dog FoodNature's Recipe Grain Free Dry Dog Food

Nature’s Recipe lives up to their name with this grain free dry food for your Maltese pup. Made with natural ingredients like real chicken and easy-to-digest carbs like pumpkin and sweet potato, it’s flavor is sure to be a hit during mealtimes.

This tasty recipe is also fortified with all the essential vitamins and minerals that you best friend needs to keep them healthy and energetic, while the fiber in the sweet potato and pumpkin is also ideal to keep them regular, which means higher jumps to welcome you home, and even more fanfare during playtime.

  • Great even for picky eaters
  • Grain free properties are great for certain dogs
  • Affordable price
  • Some dogs are sensitive or allergic to this brand
Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Dog FoodWellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food

If you’re looking for a dog food to relieve your fur babies from constipation and other stomach issues, look no further than this grain free dog food from Wellness CORE.

Not only is it formulated to ensure that your dog gets their balanced nutrition each day, it also contains deboned turkey and chicken meal as its protein base, with several nutritious veggies and fruits, as well as vitamin and mineral supplements added for good measure.

However, what really makes this dry food exceptional is the fact that Wellness has omitted the use of beet-pulp from the recipe, a popular ingredients in most dog foods that often causes constipation. You’ll have peace of mind knowing that after each serving, your dog will still be his usual spirited self, with a healthy coat and loads of playful energy.

  • Grain-free
  • Full of nutrients
  • No beet-pulp included in recipe
  • Not recommended for puppies
BLUE Life Protection Formula Adult Dry Dog FoodBLUE Life Protection Formula Adult Dry Dog Food

As the writing on the package says, this dry dog food from BLUE is made for the protection of your dog’s life, and the manufacturer really seems to take this statement seriously. Not only have they created a dog food that is healthy and organic, they’ve also made it in a way that is appealing and flavorful for your pup to eat.

Ingredients here include real chicken as a protein base, complemented by whole grains, veggies and fruits that contain all the nutrients and antioxidants needed to help maintain strong bones, teeth and muscles, as well as a shiny coat and a healthy immune system.

  • Helps dogs maintain healthy weight
  • Nutrient-rich ingredients
  • Not upsetting to dogs’ stomach
  • Some dogs can be allergic
Hill’s Science Diet Small & Toy Breed Dry Dog FoodHill’s Science Diet Small & Toy Breed Dry Dog Food

Apart from being a vet trusted brand, these tiny kibbles from Hill’s Science are ideal for fussy eaters, as they’re made with premium and mostly local ingredients that include deboned chicken, whole grain sorghum, cracked pearled barley and brewer’s rice to name a few.

There are no artificial colorants or flavorings in this food, as the antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables take care of that aspect of the recipe. With its unique combination of organic ingredients, it improves immunity, strengthens bones and keep their energy levels up.

  • Loved by picky eaters
  • Has ingredients needed for your pet’s growth
  • The small kibble size makes it easy to eat
  • Gave some dogs diarrhea
  • Some dogs don’t like eating it
AvoDerm Natural Dog FoodAvoDerm Natural Dog Food

These bite sized nibbles from AvoDerm make for a scrumptious healthy meal for small breed dogs, made entirely from real, high-quality ingredients. It’s also free from by-product meals, corn, wheat, soy, artificial preservatives and an other additives that could prove harmful to your dog’s health.

As the name implies, this food is infused with the natural goodness of avocado oil, which really beautifies the coat with Omega 3 nutrients. It tends to be filling as well because a little really goes a long way, which is a good thing because it’s slightly pricier. However, it’s well worth the price when considering all the health benefits it comes with.

  • Packed with nutrients
  • Helps dogs to lose weight
  • Helps relieve dogs with allergies
  • Unfortunately, didn’t sit well with certain dogs
Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets Dry Dog Food - Sweet Potato & Fish FormulaNatural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets Dry Dog Food - Sweet Potato & Fish Formula

Natural Balance has decided to do something different and deliberately limit the amount of ingredients included in this food. The result is a unique combination of wholesome and natural ingredients like salmon, sweet potatoes and various mineral and vitamins to fortify and balance it out.

It doesn't contain any grains so it’s great for maintaining optimal gut health and keeping your dog’s energy levels up, and there are no artificial flavors, colorants or preservatives that have been added, just a balanced meal with good protein, carbs and nutrients.

  • Picky eaters enjoy eating this brand
  • Made with natural ingredients
  • Grain-free
  • Relatively expensive
  • Some dogs did not react well with this brand

We must commend IAMS for their ability to produce a solid dry dog food option that’s made with premium ingredients and no nasties, yet available at such a reasonable price point. The food comes in the form of small kibbles that easily fit into your dog’s tiny mouth, and contains real deboned chicken protein, combined with fruit, veggies, whole grains and beet pulp.

It promotes heart health, increase energy levels and stronger muscles with which to climb up your leg as they welcome you home.

  • Has small-sized kibbles for easy chewing
  • Affordable
  • Helps dogs with and allergies
  • Gave some dogs diarrhea

After pulling us in with their rustic packaging, Nutro Wholesome Essentials won our hearts - and our dog’s appetite - with a recipe that combines farm-raised chicken with brown rice and sweet potatoes.

They also had us at GMO-free, with a commitment to providing clean and high-quality food that is second to none, and while this means forking out a bit more for the purchase, it is well worth it when you consider the benefits that come with getting a truly natural source of nutrition for your dog.

Eating clean food with ingredients that are as close to nature as possible comes with several advantages for your dog that include having a healthy fur and coat, healthy digestion, a stronger immune system and high energy levels. Because Nutro sources their ingredients locally, you’ll also be using your buying power to support local farmers and suppliers.

  • Great for dogs with sensitive stomachs
  • Wholesome ingredients
  • Can be pricey
Halo Spot's Stew Natural Dry Wholesome Chicken for Small Breed DogsHalo Spot's Stew Natural Dry Wholesome Chicken for Small Breed Dogs

Get more bang for your buck with this nourishing dog stew from Halo Spot. Not only is it free from GMO’s, growth hormones, artificial flavors, colors and preservatives, it’s also made with your maltese’s health in mind, as the recipe is formulated to ensure that the nutrients are bioavailable to your dog for fast and easy digestion.

The ingredients consist of normal and natural foods like chicken liver, dried egg, pea protein and others that are a superb combination of mouth-water flavors for your dog to enjoy, and great source of nutrition too.

  • Loved by dogs with sensitive stomachs
  • Relieves allergies
  • Healthy ingredients
  • The new formula may not work well for all dogs

Choosing The Right Dog Food For Your Maltese

As a Maltese owner, you're probably aware that they need a different diet designed for smaller breeds. While they are very active and energetic, they still have a slight build, which leads them to need fewer calories than you would initially assume. Listed below are a few key features you should look at when looking for a dog food brand.


The AAFCO stands for The Association of American Feed Control Officials. This label guarantees that the food you're purchasing follows strict guidelines for the formula and the manufacturing process. This can help assure you that the food you're choosing for your dog is a higher quality brand and also includes essential nutrients in a dogs diet.

Ask a Veterinarian

To better understand your Maltese's nutritional needs it's highly recommended you talk to a veterinarian. They can help provide guidelines to help design a diet specific to your dog, especially a guideline based off of any health problems your dog may have or is predetermined to have. This can help put you on the right track to choosing the best food for your little one.


The best diet for your dog is going to be one that has a variety of different high-quality food sources. This means that you should be aware of the ingredients, and make sure that the nutrients are coming from multiple various sources instead of just one primary source. For example, a brand may exclusively be high in protein, but this may be because it lacks carbohydrates and fats. A balanced diet is essential to keeping your dog in the best shape.


Don't be fooled by the various benefits companies offer on their commercials or packaging. Often brands will make claims that they are giving a high-quality source of food but can be full of ingredients that just aren't going to offer your dog any nutritional value.

Check the back of the bag and see what the first few ingredients are listed. If the first five ingredients don't seem like they're from a whole source of food, put it back and keep looking. Wholesome ingredients should be easily identifiable by name.

Choose Fresh Food

You'll find that not all dog food is packaged equally. Some have longer shelf lives than other brands, but some brands tend to extend the life of their products by adding extra preservatives. You don't want to pick up a dog food that has been sitting around on the shelf for a long time. Shops throw away expired food, but it’s always best to check the expiration date printed on the package, as mistakes can happen.

Pick dog foods that have recently been put on the shelf to ensure that the ingredients are fresh and did not lose any nutritional value. This will help ensure that your Maltese is getting maximum benefits from eating the dog food.

A Maltese’s Diet

A Maltese's diet is different from other small breeds. Other dogs tend to be more sedentary so that those dogs will need fewer calories in their daily diet. A Maltese are tiny, but they can be quite active, so it's important to put together a well-balanced diet.


Calorific needs of your Maltese dog is going to be dependent on its size and weight. The bigger your dog is, the more calories it is going to need. Experts estimate Maltese dogs requiring an average of around 350 calories per day. However, you can calculate your dog's needs by counting 30 calories per pound of weight for fully grown dogs.


Protein is an essential component in your dog's diet. Lack of protein can lead to growth issues, loss of muscle mass, and bone deterioration. To help prevent this, it's best to get around 30% of your dog's daily calories from a high-quality protein source.

Try to avoid dog foods that synthesize the protein in their food, as they do not digest well and are unhealthy for your dog. The best way to determine if the protein is a high-quality protein is to see if the dog food lists a wholesome protein source and not a byproduct or meat substitute.


Maltese are known for their long attractive coats. Getting the right amount of healthy fats in your dog's diet will help maintain a healthy coat and even make it shinier. Fats are also critical to keeping your dog's cardiovascular system healthy.

If your dog doesn't get enough healthy fats in their diet, it could lead to increased risk of cardiovascular diseases.


Carbohydrates fuel your dog with energy. A happy, healthy dog will need at least 30 to 40% of their daily calorie intake to be from carbs. Differentiating between processed carbohydrate versus complex carbohydrates is essential.

To ensure that your dog is getting the best form of carbohydrates, look for lists of fruits and vegetables in the first half of the ingredient list. To ensure that your dog still gets other nutritional needs, make sure the carbs are listed after the primary protein source.

Health Problems

Maltese's are known to develop sight problems later in life. While you can't prevent this from happening, you can make sure that you provide the correct nutrition to stop it early on in their lifespan. Eyesight is highly linked to a nutrient called "beta-carotene," it comes from orange-colored vegetables.

Slipped knees and weak joints are also typical of the Maltese breed. Again, as your dog ages, it will most likely develop joint problems. However, there are steps you can take to ensure they keep healthy joints. Glucosamine is the nutrient that is tied to supporting healthy bones. You will find glucosamine in some very odd ingredients, such as elk antlers, or added as an additional supplement.

What To Avoid

To help ensure that the dog food you're picking is the best available, here is a list of things to avoid when choosing a new food.

Wet Food

While it may be tempting to grab a wet dog food, it should be avoided for smaller dogs. Maltese dogs usually have very sensitive digestive tracts, and soft foods can lead to runny bowels and stomach aches. Feeding your Maltese soft foods while they are growing can prevent your dog’s teeth from becoming strong, as they will not be chewing anything hard enough to strengthen their teeth.

Filler Ingredients

Fillers are often made from cheap and non-nutritional ingredients intended to bulk up your dog's food. They are usually very low in calories and offer no benefits to your dog's diet. Look for tese ingredients to avoid, such as;

  • Corn bran/cob
  • Oat hulls
  • Peanut hulls
  • Cottonseed
  • Rice hulls
  • Soybean mill
  • Wheat mill
  • Cereal by-product
  • Poor Meat Sources

A majority of meat sources added to your dog's food are often inferior in quality and come from odd cuts of meat. It's legal for companies to include meat from any animal that has diet, as well as include parts that aren't safe for consumption. This includes eyes, tissue, back, feet, and hands. These companies often provide low-quality meat which is not adequately maintained.

Artificial additives

Avoid artificial additives at all costs. Maltese are tiny and therefore have very sensitive digestive tracts. A diet high in extra additives can be hard on a Maltese and may lead to excessive diarrhea and vomiting. Many dogs also have allergies to additives, so it's best to avoid them at all costs.


Byproducts are found in many dog food brands, especially ones that are cheaper on the market. Always check the ingredient list to make sure that byproducts aren't one of the leading ingredients. These byproducts are usually made of feet, claws, beaks, lungs, eyes, and other animal parts that don't offer much nutritional value to your dog.

Artificial color, flavoring, and preservatives

No matter what type of breed your dog is, you should always avoid buying food that includes artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. Most brands are now trying to eliminate these harmful ingredients, so it shouldn't be hard for you to find a brand which excludes these.

Avoid Buying Overseas dog food

Other countries guidelines are not as strict on what ingredients goes into the food. If you want to avoid sketchy and low quality foods that may be harmful for your Maltese it would be better to avoid these at all costs.

Feeding Tips

As your Maltese grows from a pup to an adult, it's nutritional needs will change. Here are a few tips that you can follow to help provide a sufficient diet for their age.


When your pup is younger than eight weeks, you’re going to want to start transitioning them from their usual food to a dry dog food. You can quickly do this by mixing their regular food with dry dog food every day until they are more used to it. Maltese pups are known for being very picky about their diets, so it’s always best to slowly transition them to new food sources.


Young puppies from 8-12 weeks should be free fed. You will need to leave food out for them at all times. Maltese are tiny, and when they are young they can’t fit much in their stomach at one time, so it’s best to give them a snack from time to time. Maltese pups are also very hypoglycemic, meaning their blood sugar levels will drop if they don’t eat every once in awhile.

Young Adult

Young dogs who are 12 weeks to 9 months should start to transition to 3 solid meals a day. To calculate your Maltese’s caloric intake, you should use a guideline for 55 calories per every pound while they are still growing.


Your dog will eventually hit it’s adulthood and will not need as much food as it did while it was growing. A good guideline is to calculate around 35-45 calories per every pound and adjust it according to any other additional needs.

Do Not Overfeed

Smaller dogs will have a higher risk of becoming obese if overfed, especially since many of them do not know when to stop eating. For a Maltese from 2 to 4 pounds, it is best to eat around ¼ cup to ½ cup of dog food per day. If your Maltese weighs over 5 pounds, then it is recommended ½ a cup to ¾ cup per day.

Treats & Snacks

Any treats and snacks you give to your dog should follow the same guidelines as food. You may be tempted to treat your dog to extra food for good behavior or just to make them happy, but this should only be on occasion. Treats high in fat can cause digestive issues and may make your Maltese feel sick, and can also cause extra weight gain.

Human Food

Never give your Maltese scraps of your food or cooked bones, only high-quality foods. Cooked bones splinter and should be avoided by all dogs at any costs. Other foods to never feed your dog include;

  • Raisins
  • Onions
  • Chocolate
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Alcohol
  • Avocados

It’s crucial never to feed these foods to your dog as some of them can be toxic to your dog's health and can even lead to death. Maltese are very small creatures, so even a tiny amount of these foods can be very detrimental.

Breed Specific Food

Many brands now offer breed-specific dog foods. Most of these foods follow strict guidelines and can help relieve the burden of trying to figure out the nutritional breakdown that your Maltese needs. It’s always best to check the back of the packaging for the main ingredients and also go with recommended serving sizes.


While these little ones are very adorable, you have to remember that because they are a smaller breed, they’re going to have different nutritional requirements than other dog breeds. Pay close attention to the size of your Maltese, as some are bred as toy sizes, which means they are bred to be smaller than usual.

Your Maltese may be reluctant to try new dog foods, especially if you’re switching to a new diet. Don’t give up and keep being persistent with the food you give them, even if at first they seem like they will refuse to eat. Mix their food slowly, with a bit of the new mixed in with the old, this will help get them use to the taste and smell of a new brand.

If your Maltese suffers from any other illness, make sure to get advice from a veterinarian. Dogs who have certain diseases may need specific vital nutrients in their diet. Older dogs may not need as many calories to help them stay in shape and healthy. Always check with a professional if you think your dog needs a diet specific to their own needs, and if you have any questions feel free to leave a comment down below.

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