Top 10 Best Dog Foods for Maltese

Top 10 Best Dog Foods for Maltese

Maltese dogs are affectionate, curious, and fearful companions. As one of the oldest dog breeds in the world, this toy breed is relatively easy to care for. They’re people-pleasers at heart, but they are spunky little dogs that aren’t afraid of a challenge.

It can be difficult to find the right dog food for small and toy breeds. While you want to find nutritious, high-quality dog food, you also need to find a food that your Maltese finds palatable. It needs to be easily digested and flavorful. Since these dogs have a few health problems that they are prone to developing, it’s also important to find a dog food that works for your dog, not against them.

To help you do this, we developed reviews on the best dog foods for Maltese. Read on to find foods for your tiny companion that are delicious, nutritious, and budget-friendly.

The 10 Best Dog Foods for Maltese Dogs


American Journey Small Breed Adult Grain-Free Dog Food

American Journey Small Breed Adult Grain-Free Dog Food
Brand: American Journey
Life stage: Adult
First five ingredients: Deboned salmon, chicken meal, turkey meal, chickpeas, sweet potatoes
Primary protein source: Salmon
Food Form: Dry food
Special Diet: Grain-free, no corn, wheat, or soy, high-protein

To meet the high-energy brand of your Maltese, American Journey has made its grain-free, small breed dog food with salmon and chicken meal as the top two ingredients. The fish contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids to give your dog a healthy coat and skin. The chicken meal contains glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate to support joint health.

American Journey’s kibble is bite-sized for small mouths, so it’s easy for little dogs to chew. This food is also high in fiber, so your dog won’t have to eat as much to feel full, which is great news for their waistline and your pocketbook.

This is one of very few small dog recipes with a novel protein. If your dog has sensitivities to poultry or beef, it’s a great food to try. It is a bit higher in calories than we’d like to see in small breed dog food, though. It’s also considered a high-fiber food, which isn’t always necessary. That said, the fibers are from natural ingredients.

  • Novel protein
  • Bite-sized kibble pieces
  • High calories

Ollie Fresh Dog Food — Best Overall

Ollie Fresh Beef

Ollie is our choice for the best overall dog food for your Maltese. A feature that we love about Ollie is that you can create your own recipes, gearing them specifically with your pup in mind.

Ollie’s website has a quick quiz, and once it is filled out, it will give you recommendations based on the information about your dog. It will consider factors such as your dog’s age, weight, and breed. Likewise, it will use your dog’s activity levels and any known allergies to include or rule out specific recipes.

Another great feature Ollie provides is the ability to customize your dog’s meal plan. If you decide that you want to swap the chicken in their meal with beef, for instance, you can do that at your discretion.

The ingredients for their recipes are sourced from quality suppliers. Their chicken and beef are from farms in the United States, while their lamb comes from the United States and Australia. A veterinary nutritionist contributed to the creation of the recipes, ensuring that they are wholesome and balanced. All meals are cooked and hand-packed at their very own facility.

  • Expensive
  • Customize your dog’s meal
  • Meal recommendations based on age, breed, and size
  • Diets created by a veterinary nutritionist

Halo Holistic Chicken Small Breed Dry Dog Food

Halo Holistic Chicken Small Breed Dry Dog Food
Brand: Halo
Life stage: Adult
First five ingredients: Chicken, chicken liver, dried egg product, dried peas, oatmeal
Primary protein source: Chicken and chicken liver
Food Form: Dry food
Special Diet: With grain, non-GMO

Halo is well-known for having high-quality ingredients in its pet food, and this recipe for small breed dogs is no exception. It’s made with wholesome, natural ingredients, with small kibble bites filled with dense nutrition. Although not in high quantities, there is grain in this food, and it’s enriched with vitamins and minerals to provide complete nutrition for your Maltese.

This food isn’t a good choice for picky eaters, though, as many dogs don’t seem to like the flavor. It is also a strong-smelling food, so it’s probably not one that you want sitting in the open for too long.

  • Natural ingredients
  • Small kibble pieces
  • Complete nutrient profile
  • Not all dogs like it
  • Strong smell

Blue Buffalo Life Dry Dog Food — Best Value

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Dry Dog Food

Blue Buffalo is the best dog food for Maltese for the money because it is formulated for small breed dogs and is offered at an affordable price. The primary ingredients are chicken, chicken meal, and brown rice. Menhaden fish meal and flaxseed provide omega fatty acids to help keep your dog’s coat healthy and shiny.

The kibble is small and tasty and is designed to help remove tartar from the teeth. Blue Buffalo adds their LifeSource Bits, which are a blend of seven antioxidant-rich nutrients that will keep your dog healthy and full of life. On the downside, it is not grain-free for dogs with certain sensitivities, but it has plenty of protein and carbohydrates to meet the energy needs of your Maltese.

  • Not ideal for dogs with food allergies
  • Easy to eat
  • Tasty
  • Removes tartar
  • Affordable
  • Great for a healthy coat
  • Uses LifeSource Bits


Royal Canin Maltese Adult Dry Dog Food

Royal Canin Maltese Adult Dry Dog Food

Royal Canin offers a formula that is specific to adult Maltese through the ingredients and the shape of the kibble. Since the Maltese has a tapered muzzle, the kibble is shaped so your dog can pick it up easier, and it also encourages slower eating.

The recipe features proteins that are easily digestible, with a fiber content of 3.3% to reduce stool amount and odor. The main protein is a chicken by-product and pork meal with brewer’s rice, corn, and wheat gluten. Fish oil provides EPA and DHA, which provides nourishment to keep your dog’s coat silky, and long, with a lovely shine.

On the downside, this formula is pricey but offers specific ingredients to keep your Maltese healthy and happy, since they are known to be picky eaters. Overall, we think this is the best dog food for maltese this year.

  • Pricey
  • Helps with finicky eating
  • Digestible proteins
  • Ideal for adults
  • Formulated for Maltese
  • Customized kibble
  • Reduces stool odor and amount
  • Fish oil for a silky coat

Purina ONE SmartBlend Dry Dog Food — Best for Puppies

Purina ONE SmartBlend Dry Dog Food

Purina One offers an affordable recipe that is formulated specifically for puppies. It contains real chicken, whole-grain corn, and oatmeal that provides digestible protein for sensitive tummies. The high level of fat is ideal for providing all-day energy, and fish oil supplies a source of DHA for optimal brain and eye development.

It blends vitamins E and A to keep the immune system healthy, and the addition of calcium and phosphorus is added to increase the strength in your puppies’ joints and bones. Your pup will love the tender meaty morsels within the kibble that provide flavor and texture. Unfortunately, this is not a breed-specific food, but Purina One states that every ingredient serves a purpose and provides complete and balanced nutrition for a growing puppy.

  • Not breed specific
  • High in protein and fat
  • Fish oil provides DHA
  • Affordable
  • Digestible proteins
  • Antioxidants for immune health
  • Meaty morsels add soft texture

Taste of the Wild Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Taste of the Wild Grain-Free Appalachian Valley Small Breed Dry Dog Food

Taste of the Wild is known for providing food as nature intended. This formula is specific for small breed dogs such as the Maltese. It is a grain-free recipe with venison and lamb as the primary protein ingredients and protein sources. Healthy legumes are added for fiber and other nutrients — these are garbanzo beans, peas, and lentils.

The addition of duck and ocean fish meal provides flavor, as well as protein. Grain-free is ideal for dogs who cannot tolerate grains, but those who have other food sensitivities may find it not as easy to digest because it contains many animal proteins. There are no artificial fillers, colors, flavors, or preservatives, used, and it includes a proprietary K9 strain probiotic blend to support digestive health.

  • Contains many different meat proteins
  • High in protein and fat
  • Healthy legumes included
  • No artificial ingredients
  • Formulated for small breeds
  • Grain-free
  • High-quality meat protein
  • K9 probiotic blend for digestion

Wellness CORE Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Wellness CORE Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

This food from Wellness CORE is formulated for small breed dogs, so it contains a high concentration of meat protein to build lean muscle and fat to provide energy throughout the day. This is a grain-free recipe, so it is ideal for dogs who have sensitive stomachs or food allergies. The main ingredients are turkey, turkey meal, chicken meal, and potatoes — this is a great flavor combination that dogs love.

Salmon oil provides omega fatty acids for a healthy coat and skin, while glucosamine and chondroitin are ideal for maintaining bone and joint health. Probiotics are included for digestive health, and it contains 5% fiber from flaxseed and the addition of fruits and vegetables. On the downside, the use of potatoes as one of the main ingredients is controversial, but they are tolerated and easily digestible.

  • Contains a high amount of potatoes
  • Grain-free
  • Tasty
  • Great for skin and coat
  • Formulated for small breeds
  • High in protein and fat
  • Easily digestible
  • High in fiber

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Blue Buffalo offers a recipe that is specifically made for small breeds to fit their nutritional needs. The formulation contains three animal protein sources for added flavor, but it can also be a negative aspect if your dog suffers from food sensitivities. However, the chicken, chicken meal, and turkey provide a high amount of digestible protein to the food, so your dog has plenty of energy throughout the day.

This is a grain-free dog food that is ideal for dogs who have grain sensitivities. Sweet potatoes, peas, and potatoes provide plenty of complex carbohydrates for added energy. Antioxidants supplied from blueberries, cranberries, and carrots keep the immune system functioning correctly, and glucosamine helps with increasing mobility and keeping the joints healthy — these are present in their LifeSource bits, which some dogs do not like the taste of.

  • Not ideal with some food sensitivities
  • LifeSource bits not tasty to all dogs
  • Complex carbs for energy
  • Keeps immune system healthy
  • High in digestible protein
  • Grain-free
  • Glucosamine for mobility

Nutro Ultra Small Breed Adult Dry Dog Food

Nutro Ultra Small Breed Adult Dry Dog Food

Nutro Ultra is a dry dog food that is formulated for adult small breeds. It contains chicken, lamb, and salmon for protein sources. This combination lends a tasty flavor that dogs enjoy; however, the salmon makes the food odorous. Crude fiber equals 4%, with sources from brown rice, flaxseed, beet pulp, and whole-grain oatmeal.

Since it contains rice, it is not grain-free, so it’s not ideal for dogs with food sensitivities. However, it provides the right amount of protein, fat, and carbohydrates to keep your Maltese healthy. Antioxidants are present to preserve the health of the immune system, and sunflower oil keeps your dog’s skin healthy and coat shiny. There are no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives, and the high amount of fiber is great for your dog’s digestive system.

  • Odorous
  • Not ideal for dogs with food sensitivities
  • Ideal source of protein and carbohydrates
  • Antioxidants present
  • Three animal proteins
  • Tasty
  • High in fiber
  • Keeps skin healthy and coat shiny

Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Best Dog Food for Maltese

To choose the best food, you must keep a few considerations in mind before making your final decision. It doesn’t have to be a complicated process, and once you know what to look for, you will feel confident in the choice you make. This section focuses on things to think about when you are searching for the right food for your Maltese.

Considerations For Dog Food

Know Your Dog’s Breed

Maltese are known for having a few temperament and health-related issues. They can become obese easily, suffer from joint problems, are finicky eaters, and can suffer from dental issues.

  • Obesity: Since they are small dogs, they need more calories per day than their larger counterparts because of their fast metabolisms. However, if they don’t get enough physical activity, then they can become overweight, especially if you continue to feed a food that is high in protein, fat, and carbohydrates.
  • Digestion: Maltese can suffer from digestive concerns, such as food allergies or sensitivities and general stomach concerns. They need a diet that has plenty of probiotics and fiber with easy-to-digest proteins. If they have food allergies, you can choose a grain-free variety or pick a formula that offers only one animal protein. Keep in mind that artificial ingredients can also wreak havoc on the digestive system.
  • Finicky eaters: If they don’t like a food, they won’t eat it and Maltese are known for their pickiness. Once you get to know your dog, you will have a good idea of what they like and don’t like. If you are unsure, start with a recipe that contains minimal ingredients and has only one protein source.
  • Joint concerns: A common health concern with this breed is canine arthritis. Food that contains chondroitin and glucosamine can help preserve and protect joints and ligaments. Keeping your dog fit will also prevent damage to the joints.
  • Dental issues: It’s not uncommon for this breed to develop tartar, gingivitis, and early tooth loss if their teeth aren’t cared for properly. Finding a kibble that is easy for them to pick up but makes them chew slower is ideal because this will clean their teeth to prevent plaque from forming.

Ingredients to Avoid in Dog Food

Artificial ingredients should be avoided. There is no reason for the food to contain artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives because they contain no nutritional value. Fillers are found in lower quality dog food and should also be avoided because they can cause allergies and stomach upset and provide no nutritional value.

Ingredients in Dog Food

  • Carbohydrates: Not all carbs are created equal, and typically, complex carbohydrates are what you want within dog food. Carbohydrates provide energy, and when you feed whole-grain carbs, fiber and vitamins and minerals are also needed to maintain a healthy body. Carbohydrates can be found in grain and grain-free formulas.
  • Fat: An important part of your dog’s diet needs to include the right amount of fat. Not only do they provide energy, but omega fatty acids nourish the skin and keep the Maltese coat beautiful and shiny. Plus, fatty acids are essential for heart and brain health.
  • Protein: Providing a high amount of protein is recommended as long as your dog is active. Protein builds lean muscle and provides energy. Amino acids are present in protein that help with tissue repair and muscle maintenance.

Dog Food Price

Everyone has a budget that needs to be followed. Even though Maltese eat less in one sitting, they have to eat more often to maintain their energy. Quality dog food that contains all the essential ingredients and doesn’t use fillers and artificial ingredients will cost more money. But think of it as an investment because your dog will be healthier and won’t require as many visits to the veterinarian, so you will save money over the life of your dog by feeding them quality food.

Can you feed your Maltese eggs?

Yes, cooked eggs are a great source of protein, and you can experiment by providing them with a moderate amount. Start with a small amount and keep an eye on their digestive health.

What fruits should you avoid feeding your Maltese?

One should generally avoid feeding their Maltese cherries and grapes and raisins. You should also avoid feeding them fruits with pits due to the danger of choking.

What are the best ingredients for cooking food for Maltese dogs?

The best ingredients are proteins like chicken, fresh fish, and turkey. You should also use vegetables like carrots, peas, and sweet potatoes and fruits like raspberries and blueberries, but avoid using onions. Pasta is also an excellent choice of starch.

Is it better to feed your Maltese home-cooked food?

Home-cooked food is better in many ways. It doesn’t contain any preservatives or artificial flavorings, it is usually fresher and tastier than packaged food, and you have the satisfaction of using quality ingredients.

Should you feed your Maltese dogs home-cooked food?

Yes, Maltese dogs can be feed home-cooked food. Although cooking food every day for your Maltese can become inconvenient, home-cooked dog food has several benefits over packaged ones.

How should you store your Malteses dry dog food?

The best way to store your Malteses dry dog food is to place it inside an airtight container. Protect it from moisture and heat to further preserve its freshness.

How do you transition to new dog food?

The best way to transition to new dog food is to mix 1/4 of the new food with 3/4 of the old food. Change this ratio to half new and half old food after a week. Then 3/4 new and 1/4 old in week three and then feed them the new food completely in the fourth week.

What should you feed a new Maltese puppy?

The best dog food to feed your Maltese puppy right after you bring it home is the same one it ate at the pet store or breeder’s place. Try to keep them on that brand for a couple of weeks before transitioning.

Is overfeeding your Maltese dog dangerous?

Accidently overfeeding your Maltese once or twice can cause bloating and discomfort to your pet but doesn’t pose any danger. However, if this turns into a daily habit, overfeeding can cause several health hazards in the long-term.

Is smaller kibble necessary for Maltese?

Yes. Smaller kibbles are easier to chew by Maltese due to their smaller jaws. Large kibbles are slightly dangerous as they pose a choking hazard to smaller dogs like Maltese.

What should you AVOID feeding your Maltese?

Foods such as chocolate, raisins, alcohol, avocados, onions, and macadamia nuts are lethal to Maltese dogs; just a small amount can kill them.

How many calories do Maltese need?

For dogs younger than nine months, they require approximately 55 calories per pound of body weight in a day. Adult Maltese dogs older than nine months need 45 calories per pound of body weight in a day.

How to know if your Maltese is allergic to a specific ingredient?

Itchy skin is generally the first sign of an allergy. If this is followed by vomiting or diarrhea, it could be a food allergy, and you should consult your veterinarian about what steps to take next.

Which proteins are best for Maltese dogs?

Proteins such as chicken, fish, lamb, and turkey are optimal sources of proteins for Maltese dogs. We recommend you make sure that these proteins are ‘whole’ and not ‘by-products.’

How much should you feed your Maltese dog?

The general rule of thumb is to feed Maltese dogs that weigh between 2-4lbs anywhere between 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup each day. If they weigh more than 5 pounds, feed them around 1/4 cups to 3/4 cups each day.

Should you feed your Maltese grains?

It’s advisable to purchase grain-free dog food if your dog suffers from allergies or sensitivity issues. If not, you can feed your Maltese normal dog food without worrying.

Final Thoughts

Taking care of your energetic and spunky Maltese can be a full-time job, especially when you aren’t sure what food formulation is the best choice. This reviews list highlights seven of the best formulas that can provide a nutritious diet for your pet.

Our top pick is Ollie Fresh Dog food because it provides optimal nutrition that is specific to dietary needs, and the food comess in a few different flavors. The best value on our reviews list is the Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula for small breed dogs, as it contains whole grains, veggies, and fruit for optimal nutrition throughout the life of your dog.

We hope this reviews list helps you find the right food for your Maltese. We know it is important that you provide the best care for your dog, and by feeding them an optimal diet, you are doing your best to help them live a long and happy life.

Edward Hollon is an avid dog lover and writer, knowing all there is to know about our furry friends. Edward has been writing for petdii for three years now, wanting to use her knowledge for good and share everything she can with new dog owners. Edward has two dogs herself - a German shepherd called Banjo and a chocolate labrador called Buttons. Edward knows more than anyone how adjusting to new life with a puppy can turn your life upside down, and she wants to ease some of the burdens through her articles.