Maltese Health Guide
In spite of being one of the smaller dogs and considered a toy breed, the Maltese is a generally healthy animal that may live as long as 15 years or more. There are a few things that owners can do to help this energetic little pet live a healthier life. Therefore, you always want to buy this and any breed from a top-quality breeder.
We recommend visiting at least three breeders and asking plenty of questions about the general health of the parents, as well as the breed.
Buying a healthy young puppy from a reputable breeder who has clean, safe living conditions for his dogs is essential to give any pet a strong start.
Health Problems in the Maltese Dogs
The Maltese can be subject to a few health problems, including an eye disease called retinal atrophy that leads to limited vision in low light. In severe cases, this condition may eventually lead to loss of vision in one or both eyes. This is something that you should be aware of as you look for a Maltese puppy and it would be best to ask the breeder and veterinarian about the condition.
In addition, the Maltese as a breed does not do well in damp environments, so it would be ideal to make sure that the home and surroundings are not overly wet or damp to avoid any respiratory problems or other health conditions that may result from dampness.
Your Maltese should do very well in an apartment or small house, since this is a very active breed indoors. An occasional walk and some outside play should be sufficient for this breed. The Maltese should never be tied outdoors since they can be sensitive to weather extremes and may even sunburn on the small amount of exposed skin on the back.
Some owners and veterinarians report a problem called luxating patella, in which the kneecap moves out of its normal location. This condition may be from a hereditary defect or from some bump or accident. Considered a common condition among small and miniature breeds, you would likely notice some limping and/or pain around the age of four to six months.
Some reports have been made of a “liver shunt” in smaller dogs, in which the circulatory system does not develop properly and the liver is affected either internally or externally. This condition is definitely one of which you want to be aware. As for feeding your Maltese properly, ask your breeder and veterinarian about possible problems with a sensitive digestive system in this small dog. However, it is best to try to feed high quality food, possibly even fresh meats, and some vegetables to avoid such problems, as dry skin and poor condition of the coat. Just be sure to consult your veterinarian about any diet for a new dog.
To maintain the excellent quality of the Maltese coat, it may be necessary to include some higher protein and fat ingredients. However, if your pet is doing well on the diet you use currently there should be no reason to switch. Remember that the higher-priced foods are more likely to have the nutrients a dog requires and those nutrients may be in a more usable form for the dog’s digestive system.
One recommendation would be to feed your Maltese puppy three times each day in smaller amounts rather than once in a large amount. This can be adjusted, as the dog grows older. Good quality prepared treats are also fine in limited amounts.
Read More About Maltese
- Maltese Breed Information
- Maltese : 10 Most Common Questions
- Maltese Training Guide
- Owning a Maltese : Breeder Recommendations