The Maltese, like many small dog breeds, can be finicky eaters. They will attempt to turn from foods they are unfamiliar with in hopes of getting those they prefer. Ensure first that your Maltese is healthy and not suffering from any ailment that is affecting eating habits. Then, by providing a nutritionally balanced diet and following a few tips, you will have success in preventing the Malteses finicky eating habits from leading to health issues.
Set a Schedule
Set a regular time for meals, as well as play and exercise. Feed puppies three times daily for the first three months of their lives. Then reduce the feedings to only twice daily throughout the dogs life. If you want to change the brand of food, make the change gradually, allowing the puppy to adapt to his new surroundings before introducing a new food. Once the puppy comfortable, mix the familiar food with the new food for a few days, then transition over a week until the puppy eats regularly.
Maintain Proper Diet
Avoid switching foods. Keep a new puppy on the food to which it has become accustomed. Once your Maltese is eating regularly, keep feeding the same dry food product. Choose foods appropriate to the age of the dog and its nutritional needs. Dogs suffering from skin problems may have allergies and require a higher fat and protein content or a hypoallergenic variety of food. Older Maltese are less active and may require less protein for proper digestion. Look for food brands that have specific varieties for older dogs.
Make Food More Palatable
Puppies prefer soft food to dry, crunchy varieties. Soften kibble with a little water for the first three to four months. As an alternative, mix the dry food with a moist canned food or mix in a little cottage cheese or strained baby food meat. Avoid feeding any milk. When feeding wet food, try warming the food slightly before feeding. Feed water through a pet water bottle to keep the dogs facial hair from getting wet, which can be sloppy and uncomfortable. This also prevents yeast from growing on the face, leading to staining of the hair.
Reward With Treats
Offer treats to your Maltese as a reward for eating the regular diet. Serve crunchy raw carrots and small, cut-up broccoli pieces that also provide gum stimulation. Additionally, look for packaged meat treats in pet food departments and cut them into small bite-sized pieces to supplement the diet. Prepare fresh beef liver and hearts, a favorite of Maltese. Boil them with cut-up garlic for about 30 minutes. Spread them on a baking sheet and bake at 250 degrees, turning them once to create a drier consistency. Cut and refrigerate. Serve sparingly to avoid digestive problems.