Your Purebred Puppy, Honest Advice About Dogs and Dog Breeds

Sensible advice for raising your Maltese puppy so he lives a long healthy life and seldom needs to visit the vet. Learn about the most common health problems and issues in Malteses, the best dog food diet for feeding Maltese puppies and adult dogs, the truth about vaccinations, spaying and neutering, and natural health care.


11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, my best-selling dog health book

Maltese dog breed

Maltese Health Problems and Raising a Maltese Puppy to be Healthy

By Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2013

Quiz – How Long Will Your Dog Live?
How To Raise a Healthy Dog
Feeding the Best Dog Food
Feeding the 2nd Best Dog Food
Vaccinations: Needed or Not?
Are You Sure Your Vet Is Good?

The most common health problems in Maltese:

The leading health issue in toy dogs is INJURY. You must keep Maltese under constant surveillance and leash/arm control. Too much can happen to these small creatures in the blink of an eye.

  • Bone fractures or a concussion can occur from jumping off furniture, or falling or leaping from your arms, or being hit on the head by a thrown or falling object, or being stepped on.
  • Maltese can choke on the tiniest object and it takes very little to overdose them with anything toxic.
  • Maltese can squeeze through the smallest crack of a door or fence and be gone.
  • If you allow them to act foolishly aggressive toward larger dogs, their neck can be broken with a single grab.
  • If you let them off-leash, their excitable chasing instincts may send them under the wheels of a car.

The most common orthopedic problem in Maltese is luxating patella (loose knees).

Heart disease (especially patent ductus arteriosus and mitral valve disease) and epilepsy are becoming real concerns in the breed.

Eye diseases in Maltese include corneal ulcers, tear duct disorders, eyelash abnormalities, glaucoma, and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA).

According to the Michigan State University Thyroid Database, Maltese have the 9th highest rate of hypothyroidism of 140 breeds (up to 22% affected).

Skin diseases include allergies (which cause itchy skin and can lead to pyoderma) and demodectic mange. Ear infections are common due to profuse hair in the ear canals.

A serious neurological disease that occurs in Maltese more than any other breed is white shaker dog syndrome. Other health problems that occur regularly in Maltese are inherited deafness, hypoglycemia in Maltese puppies and in adults under 4 pounds, collapsing trachea, pyloric stenosis, and liver shunt.

Maltese are prone to dental disease and harmless episodes of reverse sneezing.


You probably want to know if you can prevent those health issues from happening to YOUR Maltese.

Yes, often you can.

  1. Some health problems are genetic, which means inherited from parents. Genetic health issues are common in the Maltese today because of unwise breeding practices. My book, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, shows you how to find a Maltese puppy who is genetically healthy.
  2. Other health problems are environmental, which means they're caused by the way you raise your dog. My best-selling dog health book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy shows you how to prevent environmental health problems by raising your Maltese puppy (or adult dog) in all the right ways.

Here are my dog health tips for raising a healthy Maltese puppy or adult dog:

Dog lifespan quiz How Long Will Your Dog Live? – Take This Quiz!
Based on your dog's breed and how you're raising him, this personalized quiz will help you understand how long your dog might live – and most importantly, how you can increase his life expectancy.


Obedience instructor and author Michele Welton Dog Health Care – The Sensible Way
Read my advice on daily health care so your Maltese lives a long, healthy life and seldom needs to see the vet.


Real homemade dog food The Best Dog Food For Feeding Your Maltese
The best diet for feeding your Maltese is real food. Real chicken, turkey, beef, bison, venison, fish....This is not "people food" and I'll tell you why.


Natural dog foods for your Maltese. The Second-Best Dog Food For Your Maltese
If you can't feed homemade dog food, here are your next-best choices.


Information on booster shots for your Maltese. Vaccinations and Booster Shots: Needed or Not?
How many vaccinations does your Maltese puppy really need? Does your adult Maltese need yearly booster shots? The vaccination guidelines have changed. Find out what some vets aren't telling you....


Information on choosing the best vet for your Maltese. The Type of Veterinarian I Recommend
Is your veterinarian really the best choice for your dog? Learn about the differences between vets who practice conventional, holistic, and alternative veterinary medicine.


Information on spaying your Maltese. Spaying Your Female Dog: Pros and Cons
Advantages and disadvantages of spaying your female Maltese.


Information on neutering your male dog. Neutering Your Male Dog: Pros and Cons
Advantages and disadvantages of neutering your male dog.