How to Get a Maltese Puppy to Eat

Maltese puppy
Maltese puppy (Image: Christine Cameron)

Small breed puppies like the Maltese often cut their first teeth later than larger dogs. This means they may have trouble adjusting to hard dog food nuggets. Choking is a hazard too. Canned food can be expensive and can cause diarrhea. Canned dog food is also more fattening than dry nuggets. There are some things you can do to help your new Maltese puppy eat dog food.

Things You'll Need

  • Dog bowl
  • Water fowl
  • Puppy food
  • Water
  • Yogurt
  • Beef
  • Rice

Add warm water to dry puppy food about 20 minutes before feeding time. Let the puppy food absorb the water; add more water as needed to make an oatmeal-like consistency. Use a fork to break up the nuggets. Pour off excess water as a Maltese puppy can choke on the liquid. Gradually add less liquid to the food as the puppy's teeth come in. Crunching on the harder nuggets will help their new teeth.

Add one teaspoon of plain yogurt (not vanilla) to the puppy's food. Mix with a small amount of water and let stand for several minutes. The yogurt will help replace necessary digestive bacteria and settle a nervous stomach. Let the dog food nuggets absorb the liquid until it can easily be mashed with a fork.

Serve all dog food at room temperature. Wait for cold ingredients to warm up, and warm additions to cool completely. Changes in temperature also change the taste of the dog food and will not be as appealing to the puppy.

Serve a homemade food diet to the most finicky Maltese puppy. Boil one pound of ground beef until completely cooked through, about 40 minutes. Strain, rinse and let cool. Boil two cups of rice according to package directions. Let the rice cool completely. Combine rice and beef in dog bowl and serve a quarter cup per puppy. Freeze the unused portion for later use.

Clean all food and water bowls daily. Bacteria builds up in the bottom and sides of the dog bowls. The bowls may smell bad, so the puppy won't use eat out of them. Provide plenty of fresh room temperature drinking water for the puppy at all times. A thirsty puppy will not eat. Adding moisture to the food is not enough. All dogs need access to fresh drinking water throughout the day.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use canned dog food sparingly. Add just a small amount of canned food if you choose, to entice your Maltese puppy into eating. It can be difficult to wean a dog off of canned food once he's had it, so use less each day until the Maltese can eat dry food alone.
  • If a puppy refuses to eat for more than 12 hrs, call a licensed veterinarian. Do not add more than a tablespoon of yogurt to a puppy's food. Do not use flavored or fruity yogurts, puppies do not need the added sugar. Watch small puppies while they are eating, choking can occur if the dog eats too fast or the food is too hard. Always boil meat before feeding to any animals, never fry. Boiling gets rid of more grease.

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