Maltese should always be “free-fed”, by leaving their kibble down and allowing for grazing throughout the day. Allowing a Maltese to graze, helps to maintain the appropriate blood sugar levels without having spikes. This also helps to maintain an ideal weight for their small bodies.
It is my experience that Maltese who are fed two meals per day are often overweight. The dogs fed in the morning gulp down their food and then are forced to wait until the end of the day for their 2nd meal. This creates blood sugar drops during the day. Snacks are not recommended, as dogs need their nutritionally sound kibble to properly nourish their body. Since the Maltese is going to have blood sugar highs and lows by withholding their food during the day, they end up gorging themselves at each meal. Some even seek out other things to satisfy their hunger, such as feces or items on the floor.
If your dog is overweight and you are feeding 2 meals per day, you can try free feeding with this food: Hill’s Science Diet Adult Small Paws Light Dry Dog Food This dog food is only 20% protein and just 5% fat. It is by far one of the lowest fat dry dog foods I have found in my research.
Maltese tend to have small livers. Smaller livers than other breeds in comparison to their body size. This creates a false elevated liver enzyme for some dogs when tested. The liver is the organ in the body that processes and breaks down proteins, drugs, vaccines, vitamins, chemicals, etc…. and by feeding a high protein diet you are elevating and overworking your dogs liver.
The mistake most dog owners make is wanting to give their Maltese lots of meat or proteins in their diet. In fact, most dog food companies make high protein- ‘small breed’ dog food! Its such an oxymoron! Find a good dog food that is lower in proteins if your vet tells you they are concerned with their liver or ALT scores. It can most often be ‘fixed’ by changing your dogs diet!
If you keep your Maltese on a dog food that is 18-26% protein, you should be fine, but you can always feed additional carbohydrates in the diet. (Carrots, cooked rice, potatoes, etc).
Nutro Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Adult Large Breed Lamb & Sweet Potato Recipe Dry Dog Food is a dog food that has only 20% protein. Feeding a tablespoon of cooked rice and carrots with it with also lower the overall protein in your dogs daily diet if necessary. Most times a liver has elevated enzymes, this simple dietary change is all that is needed.