A young puppy should NEVER be fed only once each day! Their stomachs are too small to hold enough food at a single meal to sustain the proper level of nutrition for their full growth and proper development. They need to have access to dry kibble 24/7 until they are at least six (6) months old and possibly longer depending upon their size. In addition, your puppy should be feed a “wet mixture” at least once (1 time) a day, or in the case of extremely small puppies, twice (2 times) per day until they are six to eight (6-8) months of age (again depending upon the size and overall hardiness of the particular puppy). Puppy food should be fed for the first year. I currently feed Chicken Soup for the Pet Lovers Soul, puppy dry kibble and canned food. There are several other top quality brands as well, such as Pro Plan Small Breed Puppy and Eukanuba Small Breed Puppy Food. Good quality pet foods are not usually available at the supermarket. There are a wide variety of premium pet foods available from pet or feed stores, both canned and dry, any of which provide a fully nutritious and balanced diet without the need of added mineral or vitamin supplements or specialized dietary products and additives. Consult your veterinarian before adding any supplements to your dog’s diet.
We currently feed Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul puppy, dry kibble and canned. In the case of extremely small puppies, I feed Eukanuba Small Breed Puppy kibble as the kibble size is the smallest on the market.
WET MIXTURE: Mix about ¼ cup of the dry kibble and about one to two (1-2) teaspoons of canned food in water until the kibble is soft. Again, the amounts will vary a little depending on the age, appetite and size of the dog. Feed this mixture in a flat dish as it allows the dog to eat without getting food in their whiskers and facial hair – encouraging the naturally clean nature of the Maltese.
Note: Leaving dry food down all the time will also help to maintain sound teeth, as long as the dog doesn’t overeat. It is best to feed exactly what he has eating. If you desire to change his diet, do so gradually by mixing the new diet with the one his system is already accustomed to. Gradually, over a one (1) month period, increase the new diet while phasing out the old. Doing this will eliminate digestive changes, which can cause diarrhea or constipation. Avoid the temptation of giving your puppy scraps from your plate. This will begin the habit of begging as well as grabbing food out of unsuspecting hands, such as a child’s. Table scraps should not be offered. While they are tasty, table scraps are not nutritionally complete, may give your puppy diarrhea, and will make your puppy a “picky eater”. Do not give them fresh milk as milk usually causes diarrhea. Older puppies and dogs do not need milk. Also, do not feed raw egg whites. Cottage cheese and scrambled eggs may be given on occasion. Be careful regarding the size of the kibble you give the puppy. Don’t ever give it chunks of food that have any size to it as it may get stuck in their throat and they can choke to death. Ask your veterinarian to demonstrate what to do if they are choking.
Fresh water must ALWAYS be available to any dog, especially a young puppy. Filtered or distilled water is best. Wash the bowl and change their water daily. It is very important that the puppy gets as much water as they want. Therefore, it is best not to solely use a water bottle as it can limit their water intake.
Small breed puppies must be monitored and watched carefully to make sure that they are eating and getting enough rest. Young, toy breed puppies can develop a low blood sugar condition due to overexcitement, overexertion, or injury and can very, very quickly become unconscious and even die without immediate treatment! If the puppy misses a meal, offer a tasty bite of lean meat or baby food (chicken or beef), scrambled egg, cottage cheese or goat’s milk just for the purpose of getting a little food in the stomach. If the puppy does not eat, is stressed by too much excitement, handling, or new experiences, it may result in a hypoglycemic (low blood sugar) attack. Prevention and treatment is simple.
The early signs of hypoglycemia: lethargy, sleepiness, a dazed look, then, as it progresses, a staggering or “drunken” gait, drooling, collapse and convulsions. If it is not treated, it continues into coma and ultimately death!
TREATMENT: IMMEDIATELY dap your finger into a jar of honey, jam or corn syrup and smear a small amount directly into the puppy’s mouth. Be careful as you don’t want to give so much that can cause chocking and too much “sugar” can shock the puppy’s system. A high calorie supplement such as Nutra-Cal or Nutra-Stat can also be given in as a preventative or in the early stages of hypoglycemia. In addition, Gator-Aid given slowly into the side of the mouth with a syringe will also help. Once they seem to be recovering in response to the treatment of honey or corn syrup, you should also prepare a mixture of the following: 2 Tbs. Gerber Baby Rice Cereal, 2 tsp. Gerber Strained Chicken Meat, 1 tsp. corn syrup. Add water to make it the consistency of pudding. Fill a large syringe or a baby medicine dropper with mixture and give it to the puppy by squeezing the mixture either on the tongue or between the cheek and gum. Give the puppy a chance to swallow and then give them more. Give approximately 12 cc and repeat every 4 hours. This will need to be done until they feel better and start to eat on their own.
If the puppy has reached advanced stages of hypoglycemia and has gone into the staggering state, it ABSOLUTELY must be taken to the veterinarian, even after it has been given sugar and has recovered. The reason for this is that once a puppy has had a serious drop in blood sugar, it can occur again with even less stress and the veterinarian can help prevent this. Be very vigilant while the puppy is still young (up to 6 months of age, depending upon their size)!
You must regulate the amount of activity your puppy gets. Young, small breed puppies tire very easily and quickly, especially if they are allowed to romp freely about the house or are handled excessively. They need their rest just like an infant.
A healthy puppy’s temperature is normally 101-102 degrees. Should a puppy exhibit signs of illness such as vomiting, diarrhea, runny eyes or nose, excessive panting or whining, dizziness, lethargy, etc. take them to the veterinarian. DO NOT WAIT! It does not take long for a puppy to become dehydrated.
Some health-related issues can be treated with the following medicines: Cough, try one (1) cc Robitussin or other cough syrup. Diarrhea, try 1-2 cc Pepto Bismol or Kaopectate. Gas pains, try 1 cc DiGel Liquid. NOTE: 1cc = 1/5 teaspoon. I use a syringe, without the needle, to measure and dispense medications.
Check daily for stuck stools as this can cause blockage disallowing the dog to eliminate. Keep the hair trimmed around the rectum to help this situation. This can cause serious problems and be very painful for the dog.
Take them to the veterinarian until they have received the complete series of puppy shots. Do not let the veterinarian give more than one shot per visit. These toy dogs are given the same amount of serum as the large breeds and too much at once can cause problems. It is important for their health that they have the proper protection. DO NOT put your puppy on the ground in public areas until their have received their full series of puppy shots.
Disease can kill a small dog five (5) times faster than a large dog. Large dogs can live with worms in their stomach longer because they have more blood. A toy dog has less than a pint of blood in their entire body.
Have a veterinarian check their teeth when the puppy is about six (6) months old. Puppies often retain their deciduous (puppy) teeth and they must be extracted by a veterinarian so that it doesn’t cause the adult teeth to become misaligned.
Do not allow small children to handle or hold the puppy without close supervision. They are very wiggly making them difficult to hold onto and they can quickly leap from your arms. Maltese can be injured quite easily even in a fall of only a couple of feet, especially onto a hard surface. Also they should NEVER be left unattended on top of a table, sofa, or a bed. DO NOT ENCOURAGE THEM TO LEAP ONTO OR OFF OF FURNITURE! Maltese are delicate, fine-boned dogs despite their boisterous nature and fearless personalities. As puppies mature, they will learn what they can and cannot do. Until then, you must protect them from themselves.
Be very careful and selective with the toys your puppy plays with. Rawhide toys are fine occasionally, but throw them away after they become too small. You must monitor your puppy whenever it plays with a latex toy that has an exposed squeaker as they can chock on the squeaker if they are able to remove it. You may choose to remove the squeakers yourself. Some infant toys are perfect.
Make sure your house has been puppy-proofed. Clean-up anything they can pick-up and chew. As tiny as they are, small objects will look large to them. Make sure they do not get in the habit of chewing electrical cords as this can be deadly. If you see them chewing, immediately check it out to see what it is they are chewing.
Don’t ever let them outside a secured area by themselves. They are very easy and tempting for someone to steal. More importantly, large dogs can kill them in an instant. Poisonous frogs, snakes, and spiders have also been known to kill them and coyotes and hawks have been known to carry them off.
If you choose to sleep with your puppy, be extremely careful not to accidentally and unknowingly lie on top of them and possibly suffocate them or allow them to fall or jump off of the bed.
The four (4) most important factors in raising your puppy are:
- IT MUST EAT
- IT MUST REST
- IT MUST BE KEPT WARM & DRY
- IT MUST BE LOVED
Please don’t hesitate to contact me should you have any questions or concerns about your puppy. I am available to assist you 24/7. I encourage you to keep in touch and let me know how everything is going. After all, your new family member was a member of my family first and always. I would appreciate a picture of your puppy as it matures. I am proud of all of my “kids”. Your feedback helps me to better prepare future puppy owners with a closer approximation of their puppy’s size, weight, overall appearance, and temperament. Your help is essential in providing me with enough data to make this possible.