Why does my Maltese have Diarrhea?

If you own a Maltese puppy it is inevitable that they will get diarrhea at some point and you will wonder if this is normal or if it is an issue. There are numerous reasons why a Maltese dog may have diarrhea and some of them can be serious but most of the time its a fairly harmless cause. If you Maltese has diarrhea then I am assuming you are seeing a very loos, liquid like poo. You may have also noticed them trying to go to the toilet more often but after a few attempts only a small amount of liquid is being released. If these are your only symptoms that you are seeing then you are generally going to be in the harmless category and your Maltese dog should return to a normal bowel consistency in the next couple of days. There are some recommended practices to help lessen the time and speed up solidifying the stool. There are other symptoms though such as blood, vomiting and lethargy which can indicate a much more serious health issue or even an emergency situation.

Emergency Situations due to Diarrhea:

If your Maltese dog has any of the following symptoms with diarrhea you should immediately contact your vet:

  • Vomiting
  • Hard stomach
  • Lethargy
  • Suspected poisoning
  • Discomfort

There are some conditions which can be life threatening and need urgent vet treatment. You should ring and discuss the symptoms with your veterinarian if you are concerned for the welfare of your Maltese puppy. They will be able to provide a quick diagnosis over the phone and give you a good idea if you need urgent treatment. Remember you know your Maltese dog the best and if you are concerned then that is a good sign that they should be taken to the vet immediately.

Reasons for Diarrhea in a Maltese Dog

There are a number of reasons why a Maltese puppy or Maltese dog may have diarrhea. The following list will be discussed in detail so work through the items and determine if any of these could be applied to your Maltese. Even if you believe it is a harmless reason keep an eye out for lethargy and vomiting so that if needed you can take your Maltese dog to the vet.

The most common reasons include:

  • Food Changes
  • Food Poisoning
  • Bacterial Infection
  • Viral Infection
  • Parasites
  • Toxicity Poisoning
  • Allergic Reaction
  • Ate a solid objects
  • Medication
  • Health issues
Maltese Puppy
Maltese Puppy

Maltese Diarrhea from Food Changes

If you change the food you are giving your dog it is likely that they will get an upset stomach and have diarrhea. This can be a change from soft to hard food (kibble) or a change in brands. Even if you feed your dog some scraps from dinner these could upset their stomach. Maltese dogs are a very small breed so any change in food can have a larger affect on them than a larger breed. Many people travel the world and have this same problem. People travelling to India, Bali or other exotic countries will usually taste the local cuisine and they will get upset stomach’s as their body is not use to those ingredients. Its exactly the same effect when you change the food you give your Maltese. If you have changed the food you give your Maltese dog then give it a few days for the body to be accustomed to the new food ingredients. Better quality food usually will not have as much of an effect on the stomach but it can happen with any change in diet. If you have gone to a poorer quality food which has more filler and fats this period of upset stomach and diarrhea could last a few more days than expected. If you don’t find an improvement check with your vet for any other reasons for the diarrhea and go back to the original diet.

Maltese Diarrhea from Food Poisoning

If you feed your dog raw meat or fish there is a chance they can get food poisoning. While a dogs stomach is a lot tougher than a humans stomach and they can eat a lot of things which would make us sick it is still not a great idea to give your Maltese raw chicken, raw beef or raw fish. Food poisoning in dogs will usually be dealt with by your Maltese itself by eating some grass and throwing up. Still it can cause diarrhea for a short period. Even some dog food can cause food poisoning and there have been recalls of products as they sometimes can have their products contaminated. Keep an ear out for recalls of any dog food your Maltese puppy eats. A good way to do this is to subscribe to any newsletters and email lists that the dog company has on their website as this will usually be there first point of communication sent out to customers on any product recalls. The real point of this section is be careful what you feed your Maltese puppy as eating poor food can have detrimental affects on their health.

Maltese Diarrhea from Bacterial Infection

Sometimes bacteria can enter the Maltese dogs gut and cause an infection. These can result in symptoms such as stomach pains and diarrhea. If you think that your dog may have a stomach infection it is a good idea to see your vet so they can determine the cause. A Maltese dogs stomach can be very tough and can withstand a number of bacteria naturally. If your vet does diagnose a bacterial infection they will usually refer to it as Gastroenteritis which means there is some inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. This may be the stomach or the intestines. Your vet may order x-rays and blood testing to determine if the cause is a bacterial infection. The blood counts will usually be able to give them a good indication. Other symptoms of a bacterial infection include lethargy, vomiting and your dog not being able to get comfortable sitting or laying down.

Maltese Diarrhea from Viral Infection

Some viruses can cause a Maltese dogs stomach to become upset and cause diarrhea. A viral infection will usually be associated with a fever, lethargy and rapid breathing. It is best to check with your vet anytime you think your dog may have a viral infection. The treatment may be bed rest, or could be some medication to treat the symptoms of the viral infection.

Maltese Dog
Maltese Dog

Maltese Diarrhea from Parasites

Parasites can be picked up from other dogs, parks, trails and beaches. The most common form of parasite is a worm and is why it i very important that you give a worm treatment to your Maltese every year. These parasites can live in the intestines, stomach and blood and can cause the Maltese puppy’s stomach to not work properly which causes the diarrhea. The best treatment in these cases is prevention and ensuing that your Maltese puppy is up to date on all vaccinations and that flea, tick and worming medication is given at the appropriate intervals to keep your Maltese puppy healthy. This may be monthly or yearly depending on the age and what medication you use to prevent these parasites.

Maltese Diarrhea from Toxicity Poisoning

Dogs are known to eat things they should not eat and this can include some flowers, weeds and mushrooms which appear in your garden. Very low Toxicity poisoning can cause diarrhea but any poisoning is not a good thing for your dog. The usual toxicity plants include daffodils, mistletoe and holly. Other flowers which are not good included honeysuckles, ivy and bluebells. Some dogs also eat grass which has had poison sprayed on them. Other items can include sunscreen, make up, overdosing on medication, vitamins, chalk or charcoal. All of these things can present as diarrhea. If you suspect you dog has toxicity poisoning because they are also panting, vomiting or looking lethargic then you should seek urgent vet advice.

Maltese Diarrhea from Allergic Reaction

Some dogs can be allergic to the environment they live in or the food which they consume. Diarrhea happens due to allergies as it is one way that a Maltese puppy’s body will try and flush out the allergens. Allergic reactions can happen in many forms such as runny eyes, sneezing, skin problems and diarrhea. If you suspect your dog is having an allergic reaction to something they have eaten or to something in their environment try changing the cause of the allergy. This could mean using different cleaning products, feeding them using different food or removing certain flowers from your garden. Your Vet can run blood tests to determine if your Maltese dog has allergies so if you are concerned you should talk to your vet and ask about it. When it comes to allergies you should always try and minimize the cause in the environment rather than treat the symptoms.

Maltese Diarrhea from them Eating Non-Edible Objects

Maltese puppy’s will grab anything and everything they can in their mouths. They are very curious and sometimes small objects can be eaten. These may include things such as rocks, pebbles, hair bows, string, marbles, etc. Basically anything small enough to be swallowed can be a danger to your Maltese puppy. Generally as a Maltese ages it is less likely they will eat non-edible objects as they will have learnt what is food and what is non-edible. There are two major concerns with non-edible objects and that is choking and blockage in the stomach. It can be life threatening for your Maltese dog. Other signs which may indicate this issue include vomiting and a hard stomach or tender stomach. They will also lose their appetite and may not want to be touched. As I said this is a life threatening condition and you need to get your Vet to check the blockage. They may be able to pass the object naturally or it may need surgery to remove depending on the size and the position of it. Seek medical attention from your Vet immediately.

Maltese dog love
Maltese dog love

Maltese Diarrhea from Medication

If your Maltese god is being treated for an infection or a chronic illness they can have diarrhea as a side effect. Whenever you give your Maltese dog a new medication you should monitor them for side effects for at least a couple of weeks. Sometimes the diarrhea will be short term but if it continues for longer than a few days after administering the medication you should consult your vet to see if they have an alternative medication. They will be able to assess the side effect and its impact on your Maltese dog. diarrhea may be a problem if its causing dehydration especially if the medication is for a chronic illness. Your vet is the best person to assess the impact of changing medications, lowering the dosage or providing additional medication to deal with the side effect of diarrhea.

Maltese Diarrhea from Health issues

Some health issues such as irritable bowel syndrome can cause a Maltese dog to get diarrhea. Other health issues which can lead to diarrhea are liver and kidney problems. These conditions can be caused by many things such as old age, cancer, parasites or infections. The other symptoms which can present at the same time will be weight loss, vomiting, blood in urine, not wanting to eat and lethargy.

Diarrhea is a common symptom of dogs with kidney or liver disease. Causes of kidney disease include age, trauma, toxic ingestion, cancer, parasites, amyloidosis (abnormal deposits of protein in the kidney), congenital disorders and bacterial infections. Other signs of a serious health issue include a hunched over posture, not wanting to move, weight loss, vomiting, blood present in urine, lack of appetite and an increase or decrease in urine.

If you suspect your Maltese dog has a health condition it is best to get your vet to do a thorough examination and diagnosis. They will be able to run blood tests to determine if there is any chronic illness which needs to be monitored and treated.

Treating Diarrhea in a Maltese Dog

If you notice that your Maltese puppy has diarrhea there are a few things you can do to try and help them recover:

  • Ensure they are hydrated: Hydration is very important for a dog. You need to ensure that your Maltese dog is drinking water when they have diarrhea as they can quickly become dehydrated. Ensure that you leave multiple bowls of water out for your Maltese dog so that they can get a drink when needed. If you notice they are not drinking or eating this should be brought to the attention of your vet as it could indicate a blockage in the stomach.
  • Keep to one food: Changing food brands or food types can cause your Maltese dogs body to try and process the food differently. This can lead to Diarrhea. Because the food is not the normal food the body it expecting it may try and expel the food or it may react differently to the Maltese dogs stomach acids. If your Maltese has diarrhea try and stick to one food that they have been having without issues previously. Keep to the same brand and the same type to ensure that the Maltese stomach has consistency. The only exception to this rule is if you think that brand of dog food or type of food is causing the diarrhea.
  • Provide hard dog food (kibble) rather than soft food: Solid food such as kibble has a lot more fiber than a softer food. Providing extra fiber will help to solidify the feces and reduce the diarrhea. If your dog does not normally eat a harder dog food such as kibble then you should not change to using it as this could just prolong the diarrhea. But if your dog normally has kibble as part of their normal diet then increasing the amount of kibble may help to reduce the diarrhea and shorten the length of time it occurs.
  • Take them to the vet: If you are at all concerned about your Maltese puppy and the diarrhea especially if they also show symptoms of vomiting or lethargy then you should immediately call your vet and ask for advice. They will likely want you to bring your Maltese dog to them for an examination so that they can determine if the cause of the symptoms is life threatening. If in doubt always seek out your Vets advice on what to do.
Maltese Dog
Maltese Dog

Dehydration due to Diarrhea in Maltese Dogs

One of the dangers of diarrhea is that your Maltese dog can dehydrate. This can be even more of a danger if the diarrhea is also accompanied by vomiting and hot temperature. Ensure that your dog has access to adequate amounts of water in various places around the yard and house. If you are concerned that they are not drinking and believe they may be getting dehydrated you should contact your vet to get an expert opinion.

Did we answer your Questions on Maltese dogs with Diarrhea?

Hopefully this article gave you some insights into the multiple causes of diarrhea in a Maltese dog. Have you had a Maltese dog with Diarrhea and if so what was the cause? Did you try any of the recommended treatments from the article and did they work for you? We are always excited to hear from readers who have extra tips and advice on good ways to deal with the common issues which are faced by Maltese dog owners. Leaver a comment if you think we have missed a key concept on Maltese diarrhea or if you have any great tips to help other readers.