Has your Maltese puppy stopped eating their food? This can be a concerning sign and there could be a number of reasons which could be the reason for them not eating their food. A Maltese generally is a picky eater and will turn their nose up at a lot of options but they will eat anything if they are hungry. There are a few things you can look at before you call the vet but there are also other signs which would mean a vets assistance should be obtained as soon as possible.
Reasons Why your Maltese Puppy is Not eating its Food
The following list is a comprehensive assessment of why your Maltese puppy is not eating its food. Check this list for the likely reasons and make an assessment on whether it is a serious reason or just a phase your Maltese puppy is going through.
- They are in a new environment: If your puppy has just come to your home and its the first couple of days they may be scared or worried. Fear can make Maltese puppies hold off eating any food because they are being super cautious. They will be unsure of their environment, who you are and what is safe. Taking the time to be gentle with them, speaking softly to them and holding them close will allow them to feel safe. As they feel more safe hand feeding may be needed to get them to start to eat and then you can move onto feeding them in the bowl. When you purchase a Maltese puppy a good tip is to ask the breeder what food the are currently feeding the dog as the dog will more likely accept this food more easily and make the transition to your home a little bit easier.
- New Food: New and different food can upset your dogs stomach, or they may not want to eat it because they are unsure. Whenever you introduce new foods to your Maltese puppy you need to keep an eye on their poop to ensure that it is not runny and loose. Loose stool is a sign the food did not agree with your Maltese puppies body. Lower quality food can sometimes be an issue and if you find the current brand is not working well with your Maltese puppy you should look to move to another brand which is high in protein.
- Time of day: The Maltese dog is renowned as a fussy eater. One of the best ways to ensure they will eat their food is to keep a routine in place for feeding. This routine should be done in the same spot, with the same bowl and at the same time. Your Maltese puppy will learn to use the environment queues of time, location and equipment as a sign that it is feeding time. When they are hungry they will also try and get you to that location to prompt you that they want to eat. If you are trying to feed you Maltese at different times of the day or in different locations then it would be a wise choice to get a routine in place and stick with it for several days. One of the best times to feed your Maltese dog is while your dinner is cooking and just before you eat. The smells of your food will also be a trigger for your dog and they will associate the smell of your dinner with their food.
- A Power Trip: Your Maltese may be on a power trip and think by not eating the food you have set out it has gained the upper hand. If you change the food or offer it the food you are eating it will think it has the upper hand and is the more dominant member of the pack. This power trip is quite easy to identify as the Maltese puppy will look at the food and walk away from it in disgust. You are best to leave the food there and see if they come back in a few minutes. if they do not come back feel free to take the bowl away and put it in the fridge. They will come back and notice the food is gone and they will slowly understand that if they do not eat the food they are given in their bowl they will go hungry.
- Bad teeth: Maltese are a breed which suffers from decaying teeth. If their teeth get bad they may need to be removed, so check your Maltese dogs mouth for any decay. Your vet will be able to advise the best treatment if you do see decay. Hard foods for an adult dog with bad teeth are not a good idea and your Maltese may not be able to eat the hard food without pain. If you think your dog does have tooth decay then a soft food in the short term might be much better.
- They have already eaten: You may not realize it but maybe someone else has feed your Maltese. Someone could be deliberately feeding your Maltese because they didn’t realize you were feeding them or because your neighbor thought they were being nice to your dog or it could be by accident where your Maltese puppy has found food on the floor or got into the treat box. If your Maltese has already eaten they are less likely to want to eat any food you are now putting in front of them. Keep an eye on your Maltese and maybe ask your neighbors if they are feeding anything to your dog.
- Stomach blockage: This is a serious issue where your dog may have ingested an inedible object and it has become stuck in the throat or the stomach. Maltese puppies tend to grab things off the floor and sometimes the mistaken objects for food. You will need to take your Maltese puppy to the vet to get them checked out. A hard stomach or a bulge in the throat could be a symptom of this condition. Another symptom could be heavy breathing and lethargy. If you think your dog may have swallowed something contact a vet immediately and get your dog looked at as a blocked stomach can be serious. In order to minimize this from happening you need to ensure that small objects are kept away from your Maltese puppy and are not left on the floor.
- Sickness: Your Maltese puppy could be sick. They will usually be lethargic along with avoiding their food and water. If you notice your dog is limp, can’t walk or is very sleepy then contact your vet immediately and they will assess the situation. It could be life threatening or just a minor illness but your vet is the only person who can assess the real cause of the issue.
Ideas on How to Get a Maltese Puppy to Eat
If your Maltese puppy is not eating for a non-medical reason listed above then you can check this out by offering it some meat. Maltese puppies love chicken so if you have some chicken (without bones) then you should try to offer that to your Maltese. If your Maltese does not want to eat the chicken then there could be something seriously wrong and you should take your Maltese directly to the vet.
If you Maltese dog does eat the chicken then the next step is to try hand feeding your Maltese puppy its regular food. This will help it associate the food as safe. If the food is hard kibble and your Maltese puppy refuses to eat it, then check the teeth for any cavities and also check if the food is just too hard for your Maltese to chew by trying to break it with your fingers. If it is too hard then try some soft food and see if your Maltese puppy will eat the soft dog food. If your Maltese puppy eats the soft dog food then this is a good indication that the hard food is just too tough for them to eat. Talk to your Vet about alternatives for the hard kibble and wait a few weeks or months and try reintroducing it. In the meantime feed your Maltese puppy the soft food and they should begin eating normally again.
The worst possible thing you could do is force your puppy’s head into the bowl with the food. This will associate a bad emotional state and negative overtones with the food bowl and feeding time. This will be detrimental to getting your Maltese puppy to start eating.
A good tip in order to get your Maltese puppy into a routine is to always feed your Maltese their food near their water bowl. This will allow your puppy to get the repetitions needed to form the habit of eating and drinking in the same spot. They will know if they go to that specific location that they are likely to find water and food. This is a simple way of training your puppy to eat when food is placed in the same location and can work very effectively.
If your Maltese dog is just being a picky eater then you can always put the chicken they love in with its normal food. It will eat the normal food as your Maltese puppy will not want to miss out on any of the chicken which it is craving. You may need to do this a few times before your Maltese just accepts the normal dog food which you are providing it to eat. Again it is the repetition and the creation of a habit which is training your Maltese puppy to eat in the same location from the same bowl but they are hoping to find some chicken hidden in the food.
When to seek Vet Advice for a Maltese Puppy not Eating.
If you notice any signs of the following in your Maltese dog then seek vet advice immediately:
- Discomfort in the jaw
- Discomfort in the mouth, especially teeth
- A swollen stomach
- Crying from your Maltese puppy
- Lethargy (i.e. your Maltese is sleeping more than usual).
- Blood in their stool
- Runny or sloppy stool (or Diarrhea)
- Any blood near the mouth
All of the above signs mean you should seek medical treatment from your local vet as soon as possible especially if your Maltese puppy is not eating and is not drinking. It may be serious or it may not, but you will need a vet to make do a thorough examination of your Maltese puppy to determine what is the true cause of your Maltese puppy not eating.
Always ask your vet for advice if you have any concerns and they can offer a good choice of dog foods that they recommend and tips on getting the best diet and can give adequate feeding guidelines for your particular Maltese puppy.
My Maltese is Under Eating and Losing Weight. What can I do?
If you find your Maltese is not eating all of their food and they are very skinny you should get them checked out by a vet to ensure there are no medical reasons on why they are not eating. If the vet gives the all clear then it may be that you have just gotten yourself a very picky eater. There are two options in this case. The first is to purchase dog food which will add weight to your dog. The second is to find out what they really love to eat and add it to their meal to ensure they eat more than normal. Your vet will be able to recommend the best products and foods to try and add weight to your skinny Maltese puppy.
My Maltese has vomited its food up. What should I do?
If your Maltese is vomiting up its food on a regular basis the best thing you can do is to talk to a vet. Sometimes a dog will throw up their food if it does not agree with their stomach. You may notice them eating grass before doing this as it makes them easier to throw up. If this has only occurred once or twice you will not have to worry too much but if it is happening on a regular basis or for a few meals in a row then your should get a check up of your dog to rule out any issues like they have swallowed an inedible object and it has got stuck in the stomach or intestines of your Maltese puppy.
Did we Answer your Question on Why a Maltese Puppy may not be Eating their Food?
This article has tried to address the wide range of reasons which a Maltese puppy might not be eating. The reasons can range from the serious to the mundane but all should be treated with caution and with the best interests of your puppy in mind. If we missed anything that you think should be included or you had another question which could help us improve this article let us know in the comments below. Do you have any good tricks to get your Maltese to eat, if so then let us know below.